Consider this my birthday wish

If, today, I were
to die, donate
my body
half

to the National Museum.

Ask, for them,
to plastinate
my lower
body
half

in the grace of eternal run.

Donate my eyes to the blind
and merest child. My skin
for the cold uncovered. Bones
for the frailest flesh.

Grind my innards fine, and
feed them to
the fishes. Feed them to
the birds.
Cremate the ones too many, and
fertilize the earth.

For in death
we are
the earth.

And I hope,
for when I die,
for me
to be
not nowhere
   but everywhere.

I am the world

(Originally written in Filipino as “Ako ang daigdig” by Alejandro G. Abadilla in 1955, this poem, considered as the poet’s magnum opus, contested the established forms of the milieu’s romantic rhymes and meters.

Abadilla was then referred to as the father of modern Philippine poetry.

Here is my English translation of his poem.)

I.
i am
the world

i am
the poem

i am
the world
the poem

i am
the world
of poem
the poem
of world

i am
enduring, me
the deathless me
the poem of world

II.
i am
the world of poem

i am
the poem of world

i am
liberated, me
to self am truthful
to my world
of poem

i am
the poem
of world

i am
the world
of poem

i am

III.
i am
the feeling
free

i am
the image
life

i am
the life
illimited

i am
the feeling
image
life

feeling
image
life
poem
i

IV.
i am
the world
in poem

i am
the world
of poem

i am
the world

i am
the poem

world
poem

i

Chronophobia (or How You’re No Longer 17. I won’t always be 17)

Father,
Your hair
Is growing
Thin.

You may try,
As much as try,
To comb it all
To the side,

Comb it,
In such a way
That the whole
Of your hairline’s
Covered.

But you cannot hide your age.

For father,
Your hair
Is growing
Thin.

And I understand
You’re scared, well, both
Of us are scared,
And so is Mom.

We are all afraid of time.

(Time is eating
Our time — a metastasis growing
Perhaps too long,
Too early.)

We are all afraid of time.

In the sand dunes
That’ll follow,
Let us hope
Our hope
Grows thick.

We are all
Afraid of time.

we cannot as much as try aestheticise

you are no Plath and i
No Hemingway.

Perhaps there is
No other way
For me to say
This truth and truth alone:

We suck at writing, we suck
At dying,  We suck
At everything there is to suck
But sucking.

Dying
is the final art form,
A culmination of our lives as a poorly written
Art form,

   an art form nonetheless.

You Are With Me In Photograph

For I know no other way of breathing,
Other than this,

Breathe, for example,
As if the chambers of my lungs
Are caving in to the blueness of the night,

As I see through your eyes and I drown
In the vastness of the ocean inside you.

(There are flotsams, and jetsams, and ruins,
That are witnesses to our ruins;

The only thing we could lose now
Perhaps is lost itself.)

For I know no other way of breathing,
Other than this,

Breathe, for example,
As if sighs are my utterance of the unutterable
Silence. Sound waves travel faster in water

Than in absence. There are ghosts escaping from my lips
Every time I look at you, and in the blueness of the night,

As I see through your eyes and I drown
In the vastness of the ocean inside you.

(There are fishes that feed on our ruins,
Tiny and silver and salmon that shine

Still as the moon reflects them; There were
Seven, now eight, still counting.)

In silence I will swim, I will let my body whisper
The words perhaps my words can’t speak.

For I know no other way of breathing,
Other than this,

And I know no other way of speaking, know no other way
Of eating, of sleeping, of thinking, and of living,

Than this, when you’re with this,
When you’re with me, and I with you.

It so happens that I am sick.

And it happens too,
To my lament,
That my sickness has
No cure.

No medication needed, not even
A simple diagnosis.

No walking down
The indifferent hallways
Of half-deserted hospitals —-
Where people stare on walls and see
The abyss of the sea.

   By then, just let me drown.

I am tired, and I am restless
And I feel my body aching
In places where I
Have never known
Existed

For it happens: I am sick.

For I cannot last on days with meds
For then, I would be dead.

This sickness is a part of me.
I can never not
Endure.

To the limbo, I secure.