Two poems | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022


Let’s have another round for the bright red devil
who keeps me in this tourist town.
—Joni Mitchell

Here is the plan
you do not know about yet:

I will meet you at your door
an hour before midnight,

and pull you out with me
into the evening.

You will be sleep-mouthed,
half-dreaming, and we will agree

to bring a couple of
beers with us,

enough gumption
for the night chill or the water-

slap against seawall: a sound
soft enough to betray height,

saying there is little to see
from such a distance.

The sky will be mute so we can hear,
beyond us, the slow breathing

of a ship asleep before it recedes,
unmoored, into morning.

Words will be few.
The last lights still warm

in this coastal town
will soon enough speak for us

—in their flickering out,
their slow inward collapse—

to show us brevity’s shape,
the face of impermanence…

This, dear one, is the plan.
I have told you,

And you will come with me.

I return from exile and an uncertain future
with only determination and faith to offer.
—Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

Nursed in hope,
they stumble from the arms
of kin and friends begging

them stay safe—
words for the abandoned—
and into streets

where, with found voices,
they join multitudes. The tanks
in repose are no less

poised, but still the people
march on, thousands crying
for freedom and life,

misjudging or perhaps
welcoming death’s easy swift-
ness, and so: they come

with flowers and song,
gifts a child might offer
to an unseeing mother, land-

ing now on his knees
for solace or succor—innocent,
each time, of tomorrow.

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