3 Poems

by Karlo Sevilla



Lately, always with fluorescent bulb bright above,

the interior of my eyelids a pleasant shade of purple,

thin skin suffused in light.


Soon, I walk across a desert strewn with skeletons,

where we all look alike: ossified and pure.


Afar, hard to tell apart our brittle remains

from those of horses, lions: the mammalian

rib cage of our heart and lungs.


I          squat to pick up/cradle a skeleton on my lap.

      Limp, dry androgyne stares back

with hollow eye-pits.


I          smile back, poke and wiggle my thumbs,

       one each, as serpentine tongue flicking

    into V-gape left by missing middle metacarpal

of each cold rake-hand.


I          am "not (nor) sweet like Mary."


Aba Ginoong Maria,


nakakapagod na.


Then, shade of purple suffuses everything

as chime of bony arches fossilizing 

in sand, as strummed by wind,



Hard at breath, I awaken to the miniature lamp 

on the ceiling that keeps the predawn dark at bay.


Acid reflux gives me stomachache.

Still, I get up for earlier-than-usual coffee.

I make then pour the aromatic black liquid

into my porcelain cup, osseous 

in its whiteness.


In my bedroom,

before me stands

not my reflection

but me.


Me facing me.

(Or is it, “I facing I”?

Anyway, I have

this sense of urgency,

and no more time

for grammatical niceties,

as this smartphone

is going low batt already.)


We step towards

each other,

press foreheads together 

and coalesce into 

a single body.


No longer facing

two opposite directions

but all.


Then, we/I spin

as the walls 

and everything

inside and outside 


into us.


So fast and we/I

are/am slain

by an epiphany

in every turn.



on the thousandth,

the spin slows down

and we/I stagger

in circles like a top

drunk and dying 

from its dance.


Now we/I

are/am sprawled

on the cold floor,

but warmed

by the realization

of One.

The Vicious Cycle


Every time I call for a ceasefire, 

I imagine it almost literally: 

to cease from fiery flesh of each.

We flirt with burns of third degree,

and we need cool offs periodically.

To step away and separate 

as far as possible.

As two pebbles, each loaded

on a slingshot facing the other,

are pulled in opposite directions.

To feel the balm of the cold air

soothe more and more 

with the growing distance.

Then, each pull reaches its maximum

in supernatural synchronicity,  

and upon release we shoot and crash

back into each other's arms, 

and once again violate a law of physics

as two bodies occupying the same space

at the same time—and burning.


(Yes, I intend to carry what we have

to the incinerated end.)

Karlo Sevilla, from Quezon City, Philippines, is the author of the full-length poetry collection, “Metro Manila Mammal” (Some Publishing, 2018), and the chapbook, “You” (Origami Poems Project, 2017). His poems appear or are forthcoming in Philippines Graphic, Small Orange, Voicemail Poems, Thimble, Months To Years, and others. He currently studies for the Certificate in Literature and Creative Writing in Filipino program of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and is a member of the Rat's Ass Review online poetry workshop. He tweets at https://twitter.com/KarloSevilla2.