Imperial Manila

1

How straw hat to name a cross a
cross. Is there a manuscript?

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My bereavement swells
at your breath,

the morning itself is at a loss.
The word ‘critical’ has been wanting

a piece of you,
its heart whispering of halts.

The Masses are composed (I

delirious with song); a few
on motorcycles, blowing fully-

paid horns, worse for wear, brushed up. Of
the women, those pregnant: thighs

muffling the laughter, taking streets, tearing
down our petty names on iron sheets.

If, you

won’t call, why did you ask for it?
There’s strength in numbers.
If you’re already happy, what’s

the point? Is to change it so

important you have to mark our heads
with hearts of ash, our ears with tiny bites
our necks with the heat of you breathing? It’s

making us less than what we should be, asking

for the deed to honor our parents
as if forgetful lovers eating our work
making little of our hands, the entire

time piling contempt upon our needs:

babies want more TV more than you
they will buy you medicine, one day. Oh this
this cold sheet here, naked and without you.

A shore lined with cupcakes, my

daughters fixed on pink & sprinkled, my
wedded finds the array indelicate

yet able to say something, what
with tiny waves at it all day. What

if the rare type arrives to embrace
criticism? If some genius came to

wheeze on the same deck, face to
face? (a) Avoid at all costs. Myself

I’d chew the stressed ‘fore the unstressed
then forget where the turtle had buried her

eggs, which of my fold had squished her
way to murder.  (b) Maintain balance.

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