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I sit beside myself on mornings like this, one coffee between us. We grab a chair facing the window. I ask, "What is her favorite color?"

A wordless song pours overhead: 'Sophisticated Lady' by Duke Ellington. We barely know her. "In jazz, the solos are the parts you look forward to," I convince myself.

"These things take time," I add. So we wait staring out the window at the road ahead, until the untouched coffee settles to room temperature. We leave it there, head for the door into the rainy December mist.

She shows up hours later, orders an Earl Grey, sits in the same chair. She covers her face with the latest issue of The Stranger, opened to the horoscope.  

"You will fall back in love with yourself." Coffee and rain sound good together, and Seattle knows it. They bring out the clear blue sky within. Or at least that's what I'd tell her.
7d · 30
Men of Waves
In the warring states before kingdoms, they called us men of the waves: 'ronin'.
Masterless, we drifted in and out with the tide, because we understood the nature of movement was nothing more than 'hellos' and 'byes'. So we say both: "peace".
It was in this freedom that we arrived at the fearlessness of dying.
We completed ourselves: one with our shadows,
our hearts as our compass,
our scars as maps and our souls held as swords to leave the mark of our unsung legends in between the pages of history books that tried to forecast our fate. They now call men like us 'a dying breed'. It was by facing death as a way of life that we became immortal.
We were light on our feet to the point of buoyancy, for you could not cut a man of the waves down.
You should have seen us in our element.
We pretty much flew.
Feb 19 · 171
Seattle Waterfront
Antino Art Feb 19
The smoke stacks that line the waterfront be like giant joints puffing thoughts of her into air embalmed by hundreds of rainy days
That slow burn, against the icy bay and the barges that carry their loads through them
This corner of the country gets six hours of daylight, tops
Greys seared by neon, smoke and clouds and fog produced as one
continuous substance
There's a pleasant blurryness here
floating amid the buoys and the docked ferryboats,
In the way the monorails glide above toward a 1960s dream of the space age through an Amazonian jungle of glass and cranes
in harmony with the clouds sailing overhead
Here is where you go to let off steam deferred, where you ride trains through a kind of dark that arrives early, stays up late
as shadows wander across the gum covered walls of Post Alley
lik lost souls
freed from lit joints protruding from the skyline
to a high beneath starless heaven
Resting into the glow of that harbor
against thoughts of her that cloud the view of the sea.
Nov 2018 · 2.0k
Going North
Antino Art Nov 2018
Raised
in this floating
world, forever
deep.
You can’t drain the ocean

Decidedly from down
south of here
You can’t un-trace the roots.

You can’t lie and say,
“This isn’t where I grew up”
You can’t deny the fruits
of what was planted two generations ago
when your grandpatents arrived from the Philippines, seeds in tow
soil for the taking
You can’t confiscate what they claimed
when they planted their flags
into the moon-white sand of a beach in Florida
on a far side of the planet
their forefarthers have never seen

You can’t say those flags weren’t there
when wind came
You can't ***** out that pride
of country,
cut off its native tongue and its acquired taste, or pass up the plate of fried lumpia and rice passed down from the kitchen of your Daddylol
feeding seven kids day in and out with tomatoes he planted,
chickens he raised, Malonggay leaves he grew
with thumbs so green they wrote in the papers about it
He was a farmer
Your grandmother, a nurse
And i was writer
And this is our story

You can’t erase the letters of your name,
your lineage written all over it
like a map
of everywhere we been
You can’t take back the words in Tagalog and Chavacano
your Lola Shirley must have sang your mother to sleep with
You can’t take their dreams

You can't just wake up one day and undo
the ripple effects their moves
created across waters 10,000 miles east of here,
the rolling waves they curled into
or the faraway shores they washed up upon
Bottled messages in hand
Our legends held within
You can’t say centuries from now that they won’t feel it
when their feet hit the sand of their own frontier
beside the waves we stayed making
a history written in deep water
for those who come after you
to sail above and beyond.
For Nali
Oct 2018 · 1.9k
Heart Back
Antino Art Oct 2018
If you're unclear about love,
return your heart to a place with fog
With clouds created from breathing in the cold during long uphill walks that end in a view of the water
Return the way daylight retreats to the grey embrace of the Pacific Northwest sky at the edge of winter, dissipates in all directions like ripples upon their misty bay
Return the way sunset colored leaves hanging in limbo fall back to Earth
Visions to pieces
Tears to eyes as condensation builds
against the glass of a coffeeshop window and distorts the view from outside and from within
Return the way rain lands on a broken sidewalk in Seattle,
not pouring so much as drifting
through what looks like a new morning
blurred with all the dark nights that came before.
Oct 2018 · 87
Becoming Seattle
Antino Art Oct 2018
Seattle is where it's okay to bury your head in the clouds,
where it's acceptable to walk beside and among their sad water

Here, the greys of puddled sidewalks
give way to deeper greys that extend beyond the reach of their docks

This is the place where you can get to any level of cold and wet, only to be steps away from any given coffeeshop and the steam from a mug held with two hands

This is where you'll wake up and face the rain sans umbrellas
where you'll gain an aesthetic to the gloom, a poise to the overcast
Shrouded in mist at the far corner of the map, you'll draw your energy
in harmony with the ups and downs of their multi-storied fish markets and undulant streets

Here, you'll find your path through faded daylight and breathe in air embalmed by hundreds of rainy days

You'll exhale the weight you carry within your chest into a healing view of a horizon lined by ferry boats,
there to take you across whatever darkness you're faced with at day's end.
Sep 2018 · 4.3k
Roaming in August
Antino Art Sep 2018
Who draws strength
from watching the passage of time
after midnight
blur against the windows
of a moving train bound
for ends uncertain.

Who walks most balanced
on the beams of empty tracks.

In the shuffle of strangers
at a crosswalk, who finds
direction.

Who sees
clearer through rain.

Who finds their place
in the limbo of airport terminals,
on delayed flights
between chapters,
over open roads that branch
into tales of cities unseen,
in the turn of pages unwritten.

Who can keep track of time
during the improvised chaos of jazz,
catching notes scattered
in the winds of horns.

Who understands
that wind moves
fastest through dark places like tunnels under Harlem,
during storms named in late August.

Who finds their center
hurled in flight,
always coming and going.
Storm flight trains movement
Aug 2018 · 2.9k
Waking Raleigh
Antino Art Aug 2018
maybe the buildings are hollow,
occupied only in facade on the first floor of storefronts

maybe this whole town is a hologram
of neon against puddles
on the pavement.

maybe the citizens are ghosts
floating by
in circles, or squares of city blocks,
around a routine,
or droning through on electric scooters
as if on muted theme park rides
to the next sensory diversion;
to the nearest gastronomical pleasure;
toward the weekend and its next party
celebrating the loss of time,
I see their tired faces

staring out from the glass
of coffeeshop windows
on every block.
I see their piles of beer cans
beside the trash chute.
I hear them singing
on *****-cruises to nowhere

What part of this cycle
that turns days into dust
moves us closer to heaven?

What feast from what new restaurant downtown
will feed our souls?

From which lonely night do we finally emerge
beside the one
whose presence fills
these hollow buildings
to the top-most floors?

Which of the empty lots
between us do we fill
with a conversation
about how this is all a dream,
or how we'll keep each other awake
on a bench
beneath a street lamp before dawn
waiting for the first bus to take us home.
May 2018 · 333
Notes in Blue
Antino Art May 2018
The complexity of notes
Chet Baker hits
a rainy morning downtown with
match the rise and fall
of rooftops,
the streams created by gutters

He traces the city's architecture
against the grey sky
with the wind from his trumpet-
there, outside a corner cafe on Hargett and Wilmington,
trumpet case open,
playing for passerby.

I take my morning coffee
studying Chet,
him putting notes in my head
through wired earphones,
Me writing them all down.
May 2018 · 74
Walking is Flying
Antino Art May 2018
What I like about walking is that
you're free:
no GPS, no machinery

The sidewalk is all you need to move forward
like lines of sheet music to follow

The sound of footsteps
is a sound-track,
a slow-dance
against the scene of buildings on either side,
lamp posts overhead
passing cafe windows with passengers seated within passing time
at the speed of espressos sipped in slow motion

sure, walking is the slower, old-fashioned way to get to where you're going,
but if you want to slow things down,
this is how. Look how it reveals
every ***** in the sidewalk
to measure each step with.
Look how it wraps the sounds of the city around you
as a record around a player
to where you hear the song beneath the static.

I wander in circles
to arrive at my center,
my soul-o
the jazz of each step improvised
over the plans that bridge today with tomorrow, burned
in the orange hue of the sunset over downtown-
a sepia photograph
we would have failed to take
had we driven in and out of the skyline at rush hour,
eyes locked on the road ahead, the day
a blur in the rear view mirror

walking is a panoramic experience
that motor vehicles can't replace

It's not so much
an act of movement
as it is of
arriving
at where the music
is coming from
May 2018 · 63
Seafood Market Haiku
Antino Art May 2018
These fish on death row
are about to expire
Their fate: the fryer
May 2018 · 274
Walking Haiku
Antino Art May 2018
There's hushed aesthetic
to store signs passed on sidewalks
Empty neon words.
May 2018 · 224
Jazz Haiku
Antino Art May 2018
They sound like freedom
The unexpected let loose
Melodic chaos
May 2018 · 138
Haiku at 1:01am
Antino Art May 2018
Gazing awake at
the blank page of tomorrow
Fourth story window
Apr 2018 · 242
Allegro ala Frisco
Antino Art Apr 2018
Let's talk about this jazz club
that lives in my cellphone
in 1950 something with Chet Baker
back from the dead.
Let's toast to random notes taking flight
into the city in the middle of nothing nights we've known or been familiar with.
Let's shake hands cordially with the unfamiliar as in "deal", or "peace be with you" as if in church, tipping hats at that stranger passing by at the crosswalk some late evening in spring alongside dandelions sprouting forth from the pavement. Let's read between breaks of beats Kerouac must have hit in 1950 something San Francisco in yelps into the moonlit stages of the balcony of his boxcar boxcar boxcar gone by in a mad blur with whatever graffiti'd message of hope it bore on its sides. Let's hitch into the unknowingly infinite by way of the pen's mighty point. Let's unlearn the way syllable by syllable and demolish languaged signs like hurricane force candor blowing down fact-ory made terms and political decorum as smoke from the pages of their corporate handbook joins the Chet Baker solo note pilgrmage into the holy skyline. Let's move side by side unspoken as those jazz notes he forgot to play. Let's fill in those blanks with uninformed confidence beyond our abilities and grasp the unsayable names of our dreams remmebered. Let's see in seconds passing like bums inebriated with the holy moments gone too soon. Let's talk about nothing but this sacred second at hand on this clock unseen pointing overhead to the face of the moon gone full and hungry for attention. Let this happen only now. Only then will we talk about where it's going.
Apr 2018 · 3.7k
Becoming Raleigh
Antino Art Apr 2018
We wear this city on our feet
Planting our roots with each step
Our shadows

cast shapes of ancient oak trees stretching out over Nash Square at daybreak
We grow here

with the spirit of buildings past,
present and rising like a staircase to heaven in the distance,
the plumes of white smoke from their rooftops as burnt offerings for incense,
spires for steeples,
the bundled masses of people moving beneath as the calloused soles
of our feet pounding the pavement,
Our congregation

seated in reverant silence on the R-Line hissing to a stop
Their hushed prayers filing out from within to bring the reclaimed sidewalks of Fayetville Street back to life to join this pilgramage
They march

downtown toward Capitol
holding signs for disarmament
They bar-hop through Glenwood toasting to deliverance
They sprint toward their cars on work week mornings in a blur of faces that become us,
Rush at all hours through our veins
Cross our hearts and keep us breathing
On the shoulders of this giant collective, we hold our heads high

to see that this is home now.
We cross into the unfamiliar
at the walk signal's cue,
breaking new ground, gazes meeting one another
as their counter-culture
coffee kicks in
to add this defiant bounce to each step
this rhythm to hop over puddles as they appear

We don't mind the way rain lands here
and its baptismal effect
We like how its capable of reinventing itself mid-fall into weightless snowflakes, then taking flight
We walk without umbrellas to see it

wearing the greyest pieces of their winter sky the way it caps the peaks of Mount PNC, BB&T and Wells Fargo like hoodies over our heads
We assume monk-like appearances
in robes color-coded by season- from blue collar sweaters to cold hard sweat
We'll wear their city until we're worn out and wet, mumbling last-mimute prayers for our salvation under our breath
We'll wear their dreams

at night, the moment the streetlights flicker on beneath wired telephone poles carrying conversations about each one as far south as Florida, fears unspoken, made visible
on iron park benches too cold to sit on at this hour
We'll keep walking

past the lights of apartment windows as they dim behind us
the doors storefronts closed for the day
the paid parking meters as they clock out and become free
We'll wear this city like backpacks over our shoulders and we'll walk while they sleep

under the watch of their heavens,
the skyline
a glowing testament
of every step taken
toward someplace higher.
Feb 2018 · 11.8k
From South Florida, With Love
Antino Art Feb 2018
South Florida
if you were a body part,
you’d be an armpit.

You’d be a bulged vein
on the side of a forehead
forever locked in a scowl
behind sunglasses.

You speak the language of horns
middle name, finger
blood type, combustible

You're a melting ***
that's boiled over the lid
sweating salt water at the brows
eyes red as the brake lights
in the maddening brightness,
you’re torrential daylight
heating nerves like greenhouse gasses
waiting for a reason to explode.

You’re a tropical motilov cocktail
no one can afford
2 parts anger, 1 part stupidity
melting in place, thirsty for attention
full of yourself in a souvenir glass with a toothpick umbrella
You're all image

You’re the curse words breaking out the mouths
of the angry line mob at Starbucks in the morning
You’re the indifferent silence
in the arena at the Heat games leaving early,
showing up late
due to the distance
from Brickell to Hialeah,
West Palm to Pompano
the gap between the entitled and the under-paid
a skyline of condos in a third world country
You’ve always been foreign to me.

You’re winterless, no chill
you attract only hurricanes
and tourists,
shoving anything that isn’t profitable
out of the way like the Irma storm debris
into the backyards of the Liberty City projects,
onto Mount Trash Can off the side of the Turnpike
hidden beneath Bermuda grass, lined with palm trees
you’re cold blooded
crawling with iguanas
blood-******* mosquitos
parking lot ducks and people not afraid to get run over
you get yours, Soflo
and you'll go as low
as the flat roofs of your duplexes
and the incomes that can barely pay the rent to get it
latitude as attitude
temper as temperature
if you were a body part
I swear you’re an *******

south of the brain, one hour
in all directions,
I’d find you.
You’d impose your way
onto my flight to the Philippines,
to Seattle, to Raleigh
You’d follow me like excess baggage,
like gravity,
bringing me back when asked where I'm from:

That area north of Miami, I’d say
(the suburbs, but whatever, we are hard in our own way)
I'd show you off on their map
as if some badge of grit,
certificate of aggression
I know how to break a sweat
walk briskly thru Walmart parking lots, drive evasive
ride storms in my sleep
I know you, I’d say,
“He’s a friend of mine.”
and I’d watch them light up
and recount
the postcards you've sent them
of the sunrise
welcoming brown immigrants
onto white sand beaches
You were foreign to us
yet raised us as your own
in the furnace of your summers
edges sharpened, iron on iron
the forger striking softness into swords
built for survival
I'm made of you

my South Floridian anger cools down
in your ocean breeze

if you were a body part,
you'd be a part of me
a socked foot in an And1 sandal
pressed to the gas pedal
as my drive takes me north
of your borders, far from home
You in the rear view mirror
tail-gating
like a sports car on the exit ramp
the color of the sun
Feb 2018 · 336
Treading
Antino Art Feb 2018
quest
odyssey
deliverance

doubt
no
fire

14, 21
exodus

my cup overflows

waters
rest.

keep walking

--
Sep 2017 · 267
Prayer for the Storm Riders
Antino Art Sep 2017
We in South Florida pride ourselves on getting hit by hurricanes. We take photos of how bad it is and post it on Instagram with appropriate doomsday event hashtagging.

Riding these things out is like riding a bike.

If you can shop for Black Friday and Christmas every year, you can shop for this. Take pride in your water divination skills and line-standing endurance feats. We are the state of Disneyworld ride lines that wrap around corners in swamp heat, and lines of red light bumper lights on i-95 Monday through Friday: this is another day in the office!

Putting up shutters is like putting up Christmas decorations: we get creative

Like today, we wedged pink and blue floatation noodles against the frames of the windows in arcs resembling a post-storm rainbow. My 2 year old daughter said it was beautiful.

One day of this is someone else's seven months of winter. Remember, people evacuate to here annually! So do not feel bad for fleeing north to them.

The news keeps saying stay calm as they embellish how dangerous this storm ride is going to be like some death stunt on a David Blaine TV special. He went underwater in "Drowned Alive": he didn't drown. He got buried underground: he rose from it. Per the broadcasted hype, the payoff is we won't die!

Here's some good news: you can leave what's out of reach and in the sky to the heavens, and what's in your mind to the steps you took on the ground below: all doors closed, stuff unplugged, things that resemble missiles stashed in closets, flashlights ready like lightsabers to battle this named foe from above. It will hit the worried and unworried just the same, revealing the gas station line cutters from the people who help you with shutters; the faith from the fear of those who choose to pray; the human heart and its varying sizes as it beats faster with the darkening of the sky.

At least we aren't trees: they cannot hide from this revealing event. See how they all remain serene up until the second the wind arrives, leaves rattled only then, roots of varying depths being that which holds them together

either they bend with grace or they break.
Aug 2017 · 737
Bitter Coffee, Rain
Antino Art Aug 2017
On rainy days
I look up poems set in Seattle,
then look back at the rain set against the window

I imagine the water was carried here
from the shores of their bay
across Pike Place, through Belltown,
in buckets they use
to carry Pacific salmon off fishing boats,
or in lidded Styrofoam bowls used
to take out clam chowder

I practice walking from parking lot to book store
without the aid of an umbrella
like how their locals do, somehow cool
with getting wet,
unhurried as they sip their coffees black

I renounce sugar packets and follow suit:
bitter coffee, rain,
toasting to this combination forged on their puddled streets
that see more poets per square mile
than anywhere else in the country

Magicians can have Vegas, its illusions
Asians, San Francisco and its gold bridge

I think I should just have this coffee,
and this rainy day
as the poem it is.
Aug 2017 · 342
Third Floor Apartment
Antino Art Aug 2017
Some people climb social media mountain
and post photo of them on top for all to see.

I just be chilling phone-off on third floor
apartment porch,
walking down staircase to ground level
down sidewalk
beneath stone high rise, winter sky,
gas station coffee in hand, face buried in non-face book
about those sleepless mountain climbers above.

I cross street as they tread slopes like high wire walkers,
and I'm walking onto this train as they make tracks,
breathing in the Views gained from the heights
to which they've climbed as I yawn
on subway car underground and recline
unseen beneath hoodie,
them racing to the top
and me coasting south, still in book,
flipping non-web page to next chapter
of them turning to look down at the crowds below
and the tracks they made
as if imprinting their story in the blank pages of the snow.

My stop arrives,
so I tuck away book unfinished in backpack
while they hike onward up Facebook wall
and continue stamping marks on snowy phone screen in darkness,
as I brush past them on street level thru city night unnoticed,
and their eyes squint back in pursuit of the likes of me and the gazes of strangers the morning they return from king of hill conquest, welcomed by followers of their stories waiting to be liked and loved.

The likes of me walk on back up to third floor apartment,
book shelved,
dreams of mountains blurred in the chill
of morning fog on the window,
in the freeze of internet page on the. screen.

— The End —