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,
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
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
press foreheads together
and coalesce into
a single body.
No longer facing
two opposite directions
Then, we/I spin
as the walls
inside and outside
So fast and we/I
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.
on the cold floor,
by the realization
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.