Friday, March 27, 2009

The Other Woman

by Francisco A. Arcellana

I have watched her in stillness,
how still and white and long.
I have followed her about with my eyes,
how silent and swift and strong.
When she is still, it is musical.
When she moves, it is a song.
I have looked at her fearlessly,
openly, and without shame:
it is quite true that I desire you,
it is quite true that lust is my name.
I know, I always know where she is,
when she is around and about:
it is in my body like a shout.

soft hair, white brow, eyes young
nose fine, sweet lips, sweet mouth, tongue
proud chin, neck white, graceful, long
downy nape, smooth, shoulders strong
under the arms soft, arms long
sweet and exquisite, white and strong
wrist small and supple
hands neat, exquisite
fingers -- petals of the lotus
breasts like apples
white body shining, sweet and long
hips broad and ample, wide and strong
thighs like pillars, white and long
legs like cedars, firm and strong
feet that are sweet
toes like the rose

I know her name, I have called to her
but she does not hear, she will not listen.
I call to her but she does not come.
The Lord is my shepherd but I want.


by Gloria Garchitorena-Goloy

He was at once the jealous lover, black
with rage too swiftly called, too largely built
who gives the loved one no time to brace
in futile self-defense against his wrath;
he was at once impatient with the guilt
he sought to punish even while a lack
of evidence disturbed him so . . . But oh
he must at once unleash the initial blow
to teach her she should never cross his path,
must whip her now while bitter fury shot
with passion gripped him so and malice lit
its brand upon his brow.
Behold what hot
revenge he curdles in his mouth -- to spit
in beastly fashion on her hapless face!

Short Time

by Jaime An Lim

I am haunted by the sadness of men
hanging out at night
in all the parks and alleys of the world.
They wait and meander
weighing, measuring
the safer distance
between dread and desire.
Every face a catalog of possibilities,
every look a whole vocabulary of need.

Tonight you are the dream
who walks in my waking sleep,
who bears miraculously
the shape voice motion of remembered love.
How can I resist the reckless
leap from the world
of furtive bushes and tunneling headlights
to this room, no less anonymous,
of thin walls, thinning mattresses
where we grapple and thrash
like beached sea creatures
breathing the dry unfamiliar air?

When you stand to go, I ease myself
into the hollow your body leaves.
I press the faint smell of you on my face.

O Christ, were I loving you
drinking your blood. eating your flesh!

But the morning betrays nothing.
The chair in the corner stands mute,
the mirror repeats your absence.
When the curtains are flung back
to let the harsh light in,
the bed looms empty.

I am finally all I have.

Letter To Pedro, U.S. Citizen, Also Called Pete

by Rene Estella Amper

Pete, old friend;
there isn't really much change
in our hometown since you left.

This morning I couldn't find anymore
the grave of Simeona, the cat we buried
at the foot of Miguel's mango tree,
when we were in grade four,
after she was hit by a truck while crossing
the street. The bulldozer has messed it up
while making the feeder road into the mountains
to reach the hearts of the farmers.
The farmers come down every Sunday
to sell their agony and their sweat for
a few pesos, lose in the cockpit or get
drunk on the way home.

A steel bridge named after the congressman's wife
now spans the gray river where Tasyo, the old
goat, had split the skin of our young lizards
to make us a man many years ago.

The long blue hills where we
used to shoot birds with slingshot or spend
the summer afternoons we loved so much doing
nothing in the tall grass have been bought
by the mayor's son. Now there's a barbed wire
fence about them; the birds have gone away.

The mayor owns a big sugar plantation, three
new cars, and a mansion with the gate overhung
with sampaguita. Inside the gate
are guys who carry a rifle and a pistol.

We still go to Konga's store for rice
and sardines and sugar and nails for the coffin.

Still only a handful go to mass on Sundays.
In the church the men talk, sleep; the children play.
The priest is sad.

Last night the storm came and blew away
the cornflowers. The cornfields are full of cries.

Your cousin, Julia, has just become a whore.
She liked good clothes, good food, big money.
That's why she became a whore.
Now our hometown has seven whores.

Pete, old friend,
every time we have good reason to get drunk
and be carried home in a wheelbarrow
we always remember you. Oh, we miss
both Pete and Pedro.

Remember us to your American wife,
you lucky bastard. Islaw, your cock-eyed
uncle, now calls himself Stanley
after he began wearing the clothes you sent
him last Christmas.

P.S. Tasyo, the old goat,
Sends your lizard his warmest congratulations.