The Queen’s Library

delusion-angel by happy garaje

delusion-angel by happy garaje

if it hadn’t been for the books
thrown about by the stairs
I wouldn’t have noticed
how with each purchase
she revealed herself
one on top of the other
covers pressed upon covers
titles lost upon genres
“The Color Purple”
casting shades of “Black and Blue”
on some oriental “La Bete Humaine”
as “Madame Bovary” vanishes to “Sleep”
with Murakami’s elephants
her majesty has yet again
leafed through the truths
of her characters
flung about in the pages
one would dare ask how the King
gets by with such a collection
but would not dare question why
her bookshelves haven’t been built

(As published in SunStar Weekend Davao and in Dagmay | Literary Journal of the Davao Writers Guild | May 11, 2014, Davao City, Philippines)


If you would be…


If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American,
you can conquer the conquerors with words….”

—Lawrence Ferlinghetti, From Poetry as Insurgent Art [I am signaling you through the flames]


Interviewer: Why can’t you be alone without Yoko?

John Lennon: But I can be alone without Yoko, but I just have no wish to be. There’s no reason on earth why I should be alone without Yoko. There’s nothing more important than our relationship, nothing. And we dig being together all the time. Both of us could survive apart but what for? I’m not going to sacrifice love, real love for any whore or any friend or any business, because in the end you’re alone at night and neither of us want to be. and you can’t fill a bed with groupies. It doesn’t work. I don’t want to be a swinger. I’ve been through it all and nothing works better than to have someone you love hold you.


The words flee,

towards the ether.

Leaving no trace,

but a veil

of silence.

A silence

so subdued,

there’s no room for

a breath, a smile, or a whisper…

I labor my larynx

in rebellion

to raise the vowels of

places, faces, or names,

but the ridges

of these lips

can only purse

the pledge

of absence,

so there goes

my halted verse.

I am brought back

to the symphony

of a syntax.

One that suddenly


To mend the fault,


to punctuate

our failures,

and so you took flight,

too waxen

for rhymes to tiptoe.

For now,

I let the silence levitate:

unhinged and untethered,

in the hopes that

this jarring

will be no life sentence,

but an echo

that so too,

like words,

shall return.

On the Seventh Day


he said to me

and he pried my plot open.
A rapture catharsis could never equal.


he deconstructed.

Now, I was his
and he was finished with me.

(As published in Full of Crow Poetry – Web | July, 2013, Full Of Crow Poetry: Independent Online Literary Magazine of Poetry)


I died when I read Ms. Lynn Alexander’s e-mail asking permission if she could publish my seemingly poem. Utterly humbled and grateful.

…and about the bio note, wasn’t expecting they’d take it seriously.

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I KEEP the books I own in ziplocks. These books that are sprawled all over my room.

Bare ones, covered ones, the new, and the old. Bought, given, legally stolen, and passed over. Their pages intact or missing, crisp or flaccid, creaseless or dog-eared, torn or taped, highlighted or flanked with post-its.

Some, fresh from the wombs of birthing bookstores, others, shipped and delivered to my doorstep bringing with them the scent of continents unknown, and a few, putrefying on sale, nationally or internationally acclaimed, anthologized or singular gems, bestowed upon me with cursive monikers and inscriptions from the writers themselves.

Yes, I keep my most prized possessions, these books, my books, in ziplocks.

Not that I am mad. Rest assured, I don’t cleave them into nuggets and store them in the fridge the way you associate food with these transparent, sealable contraptions, so please unwrinkle the furrows on your forehead.

You see, I prefer my books raw–printed, not digital. Although I welcome the surge and practicality of digital books, my affinity with the printed word cannot be severed. I keep them here because they are mine, nurturing them the way a doting mother would her child. Well, in most cases.

Ziplocks preserve books in a way plastic covers can’t. If kept unprotected over time, they will face the inevitable: moths, molds, and book-borers. Being a blue-blooded bibliophile, I cannot allow that to happen. I prefer to keep them in their “virginal” state.

And there are other practical reasons for doing so: in case of break-ins, I can hurl them at burglars without having to worry about much damage –to the books, of course.

Also, when traveling, it would make me less of a worrywart. No need to recite novenas throughout the entire flight and invoke the Lord’s angels and saints to watch over my books and keep them from the carnage that befalls other luggage stuff that cold-blooded airline staff recklessly toss about.

And then there are reasons beyond the practical: ziplocking offers a series of reminders.

For instance, the act of sealing would remind me of the rush that enveloped me at first glance of these books on the shelves of my resident bookstores.

The process of meeting them for the first time and handing them over to the cashier in a heartbeat.

The anticipation once they’re finally with me alone: slowly disrobing them of the package, touching their contours, smelling them page by page, flipping them back and forth at my pleasure, until I have finally devoured them whole.

Talk about insurmountable firsts.

Ziplocked books remind me of the relationships I have fostered through the years. The bonds stitched in their spines and the lost loves echoing in their pages. The ones I have forsaken.

All these saunters in me a sigh, but so does the thought that the book in its present form is doomed.

I preserve my books in ziplocks because, like the lives of others, they aren’t mine to keep. This act of preservation has the next upwelling of readership in mind, in the hopes that they too, will know how books once looked, felt and smelled like.

With this minute effort, I hope to leave a piece of me as well. It’s a tall order, but these books have ziplocked me for perpetuity, and as such, I would like for them to survive the purge.

Then again, who knows the future of printed books?

(As published in SunStar Weekend Cebu | June 16, 2013, Metro Cebu, Philippines)

Such prestige to be on the same page with poet Sir Larry!
Photo courtesy of Sir Lawrence Ypil

The Immigrant

SunStar Cebu Weekend: The Immigrantmidnight
and the wantonness of wandering
in New York’s insoluble streets is history
it has been eight hours since
and I am still swamped in a Chinese bus
with twice the number of hours
seated in odds and evens
each with a repertoire of algorithms
I look at them and find no relevance
they look at me and find indifference
I turn up the volume
just as Bono rises at the coda
and bring my backpack closer to my chest
fur coat jostled, PETA be damned
every eight minutes
and I am brought back to the tropical fever
floured living woods
morphing into tall palm trees
bare and proud on a high noon
smooth stretches of asphalt
shaping into potholes and humps
converting devotees to drunken bystanders

and a bump on my head stirs me awake
“Welcome to Chesapeake Bay!”
the signage knifes through the horizon
and the buzz and the bliss of homecoming
fades into a blur
I am home, aren’t I
but then again, never so
I look around and fish for a smile
the same fracture reverbs
no angle of intimacy in this excursion
would bring us closer
Not in this irregular form
so I plead for a window
and see the sun’s arms cradling the bay
an indefinite stretch of blue
up ahead
an exponential longing

(As published in SunStar Weekend Cebu | May 26, 2013, Metro Cebu, Philippines and in Dagmay under the title, “Cities” | August 11, 2013)