Seventh Circle of Earth





SOURCE: Night Sky With Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)

music & lyrics

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea


What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all round the sun
What a beautiful dream
That could flash on the screen
In a blink of an eye and be gone from me
Soft and sweet
Let me hold it close and keep it here with me

And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see
Love to be
In the arms of all I’m keeping here with me

What a curious life we have found here tonight
There is music that sounds from the street
There are lights in the clouds
Anna’s ghost all around
Hear her voice as it’s rolling and ringing through me
Soft and sweet
How the notes all bend and reach above the trees

Now how I remember you
How I would push my fingers through
Your mouth to make those muscles move
That made your voice so smooth and sweet
And now we keep where we don’t know
All secrets sleep in winter clothes
With one you loved so long ago
Now we don’t even know his name

What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all round the sun
And when we meet on a cloud
I’ll be laughing out loud
I’ll be laughing with everyone I see
Can’t believe how strange it is to be anything at all


Honey/Manila Portfolio


This is not a book. Otherwise, by now
We would love each other.
You would not put me first,
Out of a kind habit, under your coat
And clutch—as a sudden rain
Spate down. For I’ve seen it done
For the hardly known.

No, you would know with a book you love:
How nothing held your eyes
The way the words did, with archer-focus:
How each arrow heading toward you
Was slowed by the dripping beehive
On its spike—

Nothing else could hold what you are
Still: I pressed your heart in speech and saw
What a musical you let rush, nothing
Else in the eyes. This is not a book,
But a streak—
Words cross reins—
The brow splits, veins careen.

SOURCE: Poetry Foundation




Tell me about the dream where we pull the bodies out of the lake
and dress them in warm clothes again.
How it was late, and no one could sleep, the horses running
until they forget that they are horses.
It’s not like a tree where the roots have to end somewhere,
it’s more like a song on a policeman’s radio,
how we rolled up the carpet so we could dance, and the days
were bright red, and every time we kissed there was another apple
to slice into pieces.
Look at the light through the windowpane. That means it’s noon, that means
we’re inconsolable.
Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.
These, our bodies, possessed by light.
Tell me we’ll never get used to it.

SOURCE: Crush (Yale University Press, 2005)


Dear discipline


All day I rehearse show tunes in the second person.

Trite like tourism, my trilling heart.

Is this the button for my visa to the interior?

My accents hallucinate a surplus of prepositions.

My protagonists take turns taking no for an answer.

SOURCE: There is no emergency (Youth and Beauty Brigade, 2015)


The Quiet World / Ang Mundong Tahimik


In an effort to get people to look
into each other’s eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond,
I know she’s used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

SOURCE: Poetry Foundation

Ang Mundong Tahimik

salin ni VLAD GONZALES, halaw sa “The Quiet World” ni Jeffrey McDaniel

Upang maitulak ang tao na mas tumitig
pa sa mga mata ng bawat isa,
at para rin mapanatag ang mga pipi,
nagdesisyon ang pamahalaang
maglaan sa kada tao ng eksaktong sangdaan
at animnapu’t pitong kataga, kada araw.

Tuwing nagri-ring, idinidikit ko ang telepono sa tenga
na hindi nagsasabi ng hello. Sa karinderya,
itinuturo ko lang ang kanin at tinola.
Maayos kong nakakapa itong panibagong buhay.

Sa lalim ng gabi, tinatawagan ko ang irog sa kabilang ibayo,
ipinagyayabang na limampu’t siyam lang ang nagamit ko ngayon.
Ang lahat ng natira’y para sa iyo.

At pag di siya sumagot,
alam kong ang mga salita niya’y said na,
kaya mabagal kong sasabihing mahal na mahal kita
nang dalawampu’t tatlo at kalahating ulit.
Pagkatapos, sa magkabilang linya’y
mauupo kami’t makikinig sa aming mga buntung-hininga.

MULA SA: http://vladgonzales.tumblr.com/post/32304115481/ang-mundong-tahimik




Perfection is the campsite for those who have stopped halfway.
I’ve melted my silver for you.

Belonging is invisible: this can be seen at the proper distance.
I’ve burned my blue curtains

and spent myself on an intricate openswork of razor wire, to cut
skylights for the honeybees in webs.

I’m living alone in a kind of cube which is barely electric, the hot
plate blows the tiny fuse

but I have noodles and wine and a nice singing voice. If you
came back I could make you

a necklace. The small planets drop by every few months, slivered;
the big ones never and never

do I feel abandoned. Belonging is invisible: I, on the other hand,
am merely shielding.

SOURCE: Interior With Sudden Joy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000)