Category Archives: Exercise



With all due respect, sir Gilbert, all you said of the heart
was that it is as helpless as crushed birds, it lies to itself
because it must, it is a foreign country, like language too is a lie.
You wrote to us about the heart: it one day stops, going so far
as to show us how it does, how it does, what has it done. All heart,
without you, I stop where you left off, the abandoned valley,
the white streets of Greece, or Rome, or the wonderful room
where you watched someone die, I survey the words and agree,
maybe none are enough, none of them will do, but you, sir, are not me.


Eve, Anew

The body the many animals bound, the mind the leash.
The furred monster in your throat that snores in its cave
of dark sleep, and the sedate pigeons of your ruffled,
ordinary hands. The wolf, two large cats, the flamingo.
The desert of your back, my dry mouth, your face an oasis.
Your mouth a neon sign that says Enter. Some nights 
you are a safari, by day a petting zoo. I wander through 
the brush, surrounded by your beasts, they watch as 
I pretend I’m blessed enough to name each one.



Washing the dishes because I want to eat.
The rest I wash because I want to be neat.
You would scoff at the rhyme, I think, but
you have been gone so long. Longer than
these dishes have been in the sink, I think.
In this one, there was fruit, in that one,
pink meat. I wash the sugar bowl as well,
no need for it now that you have been gone
so long and I take my coffee black, I think.
So long, I said to you, and you turned to me
with a face full of glass. Why are the lines in
your poems suddenly so long, you asked;
so long, I said again, as the glass slips out of
my soapy hands and clinks down through the
water toward the bottom of the sink. No longer
hungry, I dry my hands. I think.

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The Kiss

The ceremony of greeting and goodbye was held
delicately between them, balanced on their shoulders.
Their faces tilting as if closed-eyed considering
one another. Her hand at the nape of his neck,
holding the kiss together. They are not thinking of the kiss;
it is happening undemanded, entirely without them.
She is thinking silently about open doors. A misplaced key.
When one finds a key, one also discovers the absence
of a lock. The presence of treasure. In his head,
he is humming a song. He was not sure she would know it,
yet here she goes, face uplifted, somehow singing along.

I think I have returned. Hello.

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“How are you? I remember scrutinizing your bookshelves
but not if you had very short, bitten fingernails.”

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An ekphrasis, Finish What You Started, on the Philippine Free Press Online.

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Past joys have left me unable to write,
be it my hands kept busy pleasing the loved object,
constantly smoothing sheets or hair back from high
foreheads, or plainly held at my sides away from
what I once held dear above all else – words and what
they could do for me about you. Which is: everything.
What I mean is that until today I thought all beauty
was indescribable, and love the property of pop music,
and pain the domain in which I was to wander, scribbling.
Still there is nothing in the dictionary about
how you make me feel, and when I look up "desire"
in the thesaurus they still have not described
the way you taste at three in the morning. But to have
you to turn to in the dark of night, and to move against
you in my sleep, the books are all sorely lacking in
where we are with each other, still so far from "goodbye,"
but the difference is that now I try, I try.

I’m back, I think.

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“Go deeper than love, for the soul has greater depths,”

but the depths are darker, and every day the blips from the small radio
cradled inside of me grow fainter and further apart, as if all this time
I have been drifting away from the source.

                                                                  When I said I would follow
you to the ends of the earth I didn’t know you would walk so fast.

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The mind that came alive when your mouth met mine is working overtime,
so notice that the lipstick for when I go to meet you is long-wear but not as long
as you keep your distance, thanks to the equilibrium of electromagnetic forces
that avow we can never really touch anyway, there being no actual physical push
in the universe, though we both believe that people who squeeze your upper arm
by way of greeting must all be quarantined and condemned unless they learn
that magnetism is really only repulsion in reverse, so hail that big crunch
that killed your great-grandfather and birthed the city of your intelligence
or whatever it was that gave you your last name, bringing you to a local notary
one September morning hoping to secure an affidavit for the loss of virginity,
thinking idly about the unicorns you would never saddle, celebrate the pocket
ghosts and the little demons of unfamiliar bedsheets, hooray for the shape
of the universe that will ultimately decide its end, and thank you forces above
for the battering ram that is only a less subtle version of the lockpick, I am
pounding ungracefully at your heart, hoping the universe is a sphere after all,
so when I stand on some high peak I can actually look at the back of my head
and from there admire the view.

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Sweet devil creates sweet.
Bossanova music creates bossanova:
devil music! Sweet, sweet devil
creates sweet bossanova. Music?
Creates bossanova. Devil!
Music, sweet, creates sweet bossanova.
Music creates bossanova. Devil!