Everyone I Know is Dead

Ode[s] to Joy

Ode[s] to Joy

I. Merry Little Bones

Leaf in xi—
Veins spread over, contoured in their halcyon,

She is a melody laid gently
In the raw curls of teacup-smoke.

She allows the ants to crawl on her back
And make the intricacies in her spines their home,
Her fractals.
She loved the itch, more so when it grows,
Slowly but surely in the fanning, like a fire,
The scarlet sentiment, licking clean the corners
And coating it in rain and ash.

When she dries, she becomes
A bookmark for thoughts,
Her fingerprints: all indices.


II. Saint Sylvia, Overseer of Obscurity

But for every bone is a museum housed,
In every joint a point in history — stories in every fold.
A short clash of sighs,
Of spirals of wings fey and fertile,
In her neckline clasped and plunged
Pristine knives of nerve and sharp
Curiosities curated from places unknown.

Come, innocence, ask me,
How virgin is the virgin earth? Where have her soles trudged?
Her feet, explorers of virgin dirt, while her teeth on tongue,
Producers of laughter in virgin mirth,
As if I needed more miracles.

Look, she comes bearing
The diagonal carve — stone-cleft nuisance in space and shine,
Blooms forth between grime and dust, the ever-clearest!
In your nearness, words fuse themselves into structure,
Letters life-like — rain on me, book-shelterer.


III. Cloud-Phalanx, in Reverence of Sun

Curiosity comes as a braided maidenshield, her pre-Medusan aegis,
An anthem to Athena. Call me out to Olympus, your lofty wall;
I shall follow where the scent of ambrosia takes me.
In such a well of references, a fallow page
Distort the struck chord in the heartstrings of yore,
Humble and pure, the glow ancient.

Dream of me as a necklace of smoke, pendant ascendant from lips to eyes,
Enveloped in your hair like the a’mentioned curls, for the life of me
I cannot fathom to be apart from your pores.

In my thinnest I sway, as a river flows, like water, like stars,
Be them kissing pebbles or kissing scars — paths in sky,

This Ionian plea in common time must be
But a throne of dust between fingers as delicate as the Venetian
— so runs in your veins.

Again, and again, the circuitry begs to complete itself,
And prove itself, like ympyrä…
I expected you in my weakness, you appeared in my strength, tongue-tied dove,
Your feather-waves’ deceivingly gentle caresses
Effectively disrupting circadian rhythms.

— A. P.

when the trees

When The Trees

When the trees sigh in summer,
I shall let my head wander the wilderness.

In that such arrivals bring
what even Helios favors,

a glow that crumbles upon the swing
of little stars’ hook and sea,
off-flavor at even his chariot’s return

that they disappear. Even the mountains get confused,
at their standstill they discern not the brave
from the one that stays near the base.

When the trees sigh in the summer,
I shall find us content, unwanting,
hands frozen as if such nemesis is time,
always present, always gone—

and what memory can save us, what discovery?
I can only hear the rustle of the assuming wind,
I can only see its existence expressed
through the tangles in the locks of your hair.

When the trees sigh in the summer, I shall find my rest
in the lowest of leaf, that though sun is far,
with the slightest tiptoe, your hands can reach
and caress me.

— A. P.



In the twenty-first saddling of the second floor,
Even my eyes hung serendipitous; fold
The dance-stacks rolling in the great awe.
Over at the plebeian halls, our presence known.

Gouged, like doubt, stentorian steel net
And a red flower for each faux pas. Under the arch
Comes a promise. Let us grow like reverse candles,
Shape us, crowd-like unharmony of sin.

Once, my voice among the rattle, drowned
By the grinding of every edge, of every teeth exclaiming,
Its blue baton filled with malice. Sharp in color,
Such moments of shock for innocence’s youth.

Like little umbrellas, and sand-grain satin,
Lethe in rain, little Styx’s cousin. The wanton myth
Is upon us. Dredge, soul — harper, wight:
Grant me forgetfulness and I shall owe you peace.

Seek me, colonial peasant dreamer, in the middle
Of sticks, making fire for myself. Demand
The sum of my debts, plus one for every thread:
I am made of cloth, of every spirit embracing wildfire.

— A. P.



…but should your corrugated splines collapse,
what shall shelter me when it rains?

When wreaths come in the form of whirlpools,
when threats to my sanity and safety become real,

shall I fall in your middling, shall I regard
grasslands as bedding, as ceilings might as well be open sky?

I know how you are good at guiding tears.
How long before you shatter? How long

before you admit to drowning, before
the giving-in to siren song, before

my words no longer echo in the caverns you create?
Such cave-ins in my the chambers of my heart

bring only questions. Is this doubt?
Is this fear? Is this longing, or is this the feeling

of unbelonging? The sensation of not-coming-home,
the none-embrace of arms that non-exist…

then, my fingers shall enjoy your every turn, your every twist,
though I risk, in your sharpness, wounds that ache

not only on the surface but deeper, thorough,
building up on every slice and bruise that once before—

Oh, dear, am I nothing but a broken home?

…should your corrugated splines collapse, I must
be there to catch your fall.

— A. P.

dasmariñas, '08

Dasmarinas, ’08

where the air is thicker,
the atmosphere heavier than what’s carried
by imus and bacoor.
i vividly remember

the smell of sandwich after school
and youthful laughter.
a denser crowd, background projections
in their starch-white uniforms:
the college kids in checkered shirts,
as coffee brews in styrofoam,
the taste of cigarettes on lips,
deceptive hints of mint.

i loved the bridges and highways, too,
my feet in air suspended, my shoes
unworthy of such little shrines.
‘awaken, my bare feet!’ i would whisper,
my meagre soul,
innocent, unbroken, unsold.

when was the last time i have appreciated smiles?
by lips, by eyes…
my eyes liked the purple flower in her shirt, as well,
and she knows i do. i can tell.
the reddest lipstick compliments the spell. i wonder…
must girls as young be wearing so much red?

a million cities overpass the world, and
a million city overpasses dot the world,
but every single one
i walked on have become
a pretty sea of faces, an ocean of chatter—
where one starts and one ends does not matter.

perhaps you have forgotten i once dared walk
into your dark (the streetlamps warmly greeting me).
perhaps you have forgotten i once walked and
held hands with another, your heart explored.

have you forgotten our laughter, i wonder?
were we mere little explosions,
little seconds of delight,
quick to ignite and quick to fizzle?
‘awaken, my bare feet!’ i would whisper,

only to realize

it’s not only your streets
that could hear me no more.

— A. P.