Davao Writers’ Workshop Poems


In this unsettling heaven for the youth,
where smoke eels
and the quiet mourns at night,
the road opens up and devours
every toddler feet
that steps on its cobbled cheek.

Sometimes a pounce,
or at times a blinding light,
but there’s always
a struggle,
a weapon,
a hit,
or a scream…
and then,
a gush of pitch black silence.

The row of houses… The sleeping cars…
all under the bleeding sky;
stripped off their senses…
of the murmuring growls of the concrete.

Had they listened
with their skewered ears and
had they looked beyond their fogged up mirrors
with their mutilated eyes,
they would have heard the angels tremble.

even a glimpse
of the flickering lamp posts.

The wind talks.
The trees mourn.
The dawn breaks.

Lights off.


Herr’s Cloak of Darkness

Rusty dents of orange and gray
prickle my bare spine.

A vertigo awakens me
as Herr’s cloak of darkness consumes the sky.

I sit up to the sound of clicking crickets,
hooting owls,
and rubber frogs,
and I look on…

Like fireflies, the city burns.

Throngs of beetles crawl on winding roads,
flashing yellow lights here and there,
spreading like a wild virus…

A multitude of dots in brown and white
appear into the pavements
one step,
two step,
three step
and like black paint splashed on a white wall,
they eventually disappear into alleys and shelters unknown.

Like the night, the city darkens.

A gush of wind
brings me back to my senses.

Life below isn’t much like the life I have here among the dents.
Here, it’s tranquil.
Here, time is unbound.

I’m alone and the world is
without me.

I throw a coin to the forest of forests,
lips curved,
and I retreat to my abode,
as Herr’s cloak of darkness yawns to my eyes.



Two, four, six, eight,
Ten-legged creatures scurrying towards me.
In this dung-littered pit
fit for a scavenger’s loot,
I have become a disease.

What was once a spring affair,
now beckons a savaged catacomb.
Fields of gold now barren,
Singing birds now mute,
Petals of pleasure now withered…

I remember faintly how you,
with your careful, gentle hands –

Uprooted my crown of splendor,
leaving me bald and powerless.
My strength of an army
now mere measurements.

Took away my sight
and sold them in bowls of prisms for the blind to haggle.
My vision for a future
now a drought.

Deafened my ears
with promising empty words,
My hope of a legion
now etherised.

Stitched my lips
with your tongue of schemes.
My voice unknown,
now chants murmurs.

Tied my callous fingers
to my toes; body disfigured, rotten…
My glory which fueled me to move,
now nothing but a stone.

As if you couldn’t get enough,
you, with your careful, gentle hands –

Peeled my skin,
length-wise, cross-wise…
Briskly but surely,
leaving nothing amiss
and fed on me until you hungered no more.

Broke my hollow bones.
Burned them one by one.
Part by part.
Piece by piece.
…and seasoned my ashes to your gratification.

What I were to you
is the same decomposition that I am now.

With this, I lay a torment on this pavement.
Summoned by Hypnos.

Though, I sleep and sleep,
I wait for my retribution
…until the worms burrow



My “seemingly poems” that were torn, crumpled, spat at, and stomped on at the 2011 Davao Writers’ Workshop (which I will talk about soon), before they were thrown to drown in Davao City’s Bankerohan River (courtesy of writer and legend, Sir Macario Tiu).

I left the workshop manuscript somewhere in the Philippines, so my intentions to put this “seemingly poems” into order is terribly, terribly long overdue.


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