Some children get to know their grandparents by having conversations with them. Other children get to know their grandparents by listening to conversations about them. Some children grow up with what their grandparents tell them before bedtime or over dinner. Other children reach the point when such stories can never be told again. Some children find out who their grandparents really are through narratives interlaced with anecdotes and undercover emotions. Other children cease knowing their grandparents, at least beyond their own memories.
Some children can vividly recollect the times they spent with their departed grandmothers or grandfathers. I, unlike these children, have few firsthand memories of my late “Nana” in my possession.
A bartender pours another round of shots as a gunman prepares for the kill. He’s loading his rifle. He’s lining up his ammunition—rows and rows of glowing, multicolored bullets designed for sober targets. He eyes his next mark: one among the crowd around the counter. More often than not, he knows exactly where to hit them.
Cheers. Clink. Bang.
And so the bartender, a ruthless gunslinger, awaits the impact.
Several tequila based chasers later, your drinking comrades have fallen. You see the bartender grinning. You’re the last man standing. He fires another round of El Hombre—more like El Diablo—tequila. Liquid flame goes down your throat. The shot’s been taken. You realize too late that you were a target.
NB: Discretion advised.
6:30 am. An alarm clock shrieks obscenities. A hand, fingers stubby and yellowed and stained by nicotine, inches out from under a heap of bed sheets. It barely grazes over the snooze button.
6:45 am. Again, the alarm clock rings. The same hand reemerges, slam dunks the air onto the alarm’s off switch. The clock tips over, its diagonal displacement disrupts the order of the bedside tabletop. It remains the only object unaligned.
Fifteen minutes na?
Such displacement puts in motion a can of Red Horse, letting it fall as if suspended in time. As the can hits the floor, some leftover beer spills to be drunk by the wooden floorboards. It rolls along the uneven flooring. Hollow sounds—the echo of the aluminum’s movement—break the silence.
Sige. Bangon na nga.
NB: Published in the WriterSkill core board (2013-2014) chapbook, fission chips.
If there’s a way to recover lost dreams—
the city lights that, in their cacophony, accompanied a waltz through imagined streets; the fuel tank millilitres away from being empty; the evening train with two faded trunks in a reserved cabin; the anywhere pieced together by a dormant escapist; the imagined you, a lost traveller in the boundlessness of my subconscious; the part of me that goes missing as every morning comes
—let me know.
Here comes another hour and a half of putting meaning into signs and digits. These numbers make me dizzy. They rearrange themselves when they ought to be fixed markings on paper or a screen. There’s a chain of (zeros) wrapping itself around my throat. I choke on absent substance. I suffocate in between the positives and negatives. I’m impaled by a spike made only for (one). Isn’t it curious how (two) when inverted and juxtaposed to its original is a heart on a stage? (Three) is a broken butterfly’s wing, detached from both its body and its symmetrical partner. (Four) is a room on a stilt. Please, so I can once more jump into the unknown and undefined, let me out of here.
NaPoWriMo 2013, Day 14: Write a poem that relates to a superhero or supervillain.
NaPoWriMo 2013, Day 15: Write a pantun.
We’re dizzied by the abundance of green
blurring behind as we speed through the streets.
We’ve stopped for a breather in a place unseen.
“Be alone with me,” I speak through heartbeats.
NaPoWriMo 2013, Day 13: (see title)
You move your bare feet
with a spring in your step.
The heat from the asphalt
leaves your skin prickling.
You run, I’m left with no choice
except to match your pace
since we’re tied together.
Yet I know I can’t follow.
I’ve let go of the string
linking me to you.
“Please come back,” I call out
until you return to me
barking, panting, and chasing cats.