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Antino Art Apr 25
They met at a tea shop. There, the three apprentices emptied their cups to learn about the secrets of the elixir. Its key ingredient was the power to create, hidden deep within the seed they each carried.

From the tea shop, they left their cups on the table and set out with their seeds in search of the elixir. The first apprentice, named Datta, was a monk. He climbed to a monastary in the mountains and planted his seed in prayer. The second apprentice, named Mark, was a Renaissance man. He locked himself in a studio and planted his seed in art. The third apprentice was a non-believer. He doubted whatever he saw. Still, he went through the motions, planting his seed with a sense of wonder he lost over time.

No matter how far they went, they ended up back at the tea shop, seeds in hand. The secret of the elixir was beyond their grasp.

Tea cups emptied, they asked Manu the teamaster for directions.

“Where do we start: point A, B, or C?”

“And which way do we go from there: left or right?”

The teamaster said nothing. He knew what was on their minds.

He picked up the stick he used to stir tea with and pointed the way.

Somehow, one seed moved.

It didn’t matter which path they chose.

The opposite direction would have worked just as well.

The teamaster’s lesson was there was more than one way up the mountain.

Knowing this, the apprentices each took their seeds and set out once again from the tea shop.

The monk escaped to his temple, the Renaissance man to his studio, and the non-believer to the shadows of his doubts.

Because they never left their comfort zones, they all ended up back at the tea shop empty-handed, their paths intertwined.

They asked the tea master to just show them how to brew the elixir, so they didn't have to keep searching.

The tea master put down the stick he used to stir tea with and told them to empty their cups.

The lesson was about the illusion of separation: what the apprentices saw as separate and different paths were really one and the same.  

The teamaster took one seed and threw it away. He took the other seed and threw it away. He told them to focus only on the seed in the middle, for they were all searching for the same thing.

Still, the three apprentices got nowhere and ended up back at the teashop.

The tea master saw that his lesson wasn’t getting through.

So he taught them a secret:
even if you take the seed and throw it away, it stays with you.

When you empty your teacup, you let the seed fall from your hand.

It was a lesson in letting go.

With the seeds gone, how many are left in the middle, they wondered.

All of them. The tea master pointed to the center cup.

The apprentices finally understood. They threw their seeds away and left the tea shop.

There was no elixir at the top of the mountain. It was just water.

And when you add water to seeds, they grow.

Years later, the three returned to the tea shop with the wisdom of a mountain forest and a plant sprouting from each of their cups.
Mar 5 · 383
Any-Her's Holiday
Antino Art Mar 5
Any-Her has a name. Had.
It was the title of a travel book.

Any-Her had a
name tattooed along her spine.
You search and read her
up, down, sideways.
She was a work of fiction,
a ghost story. You read her
under the covers
by the beam of a flashlight
against your chin for dramatic
effect. In a flash, she's gone.
You flick the lights out and sleep.

Any-Her is a dream.
Was. Bright eyes, pierced
lips. You'd recognize her anywhere,
in the travel aisle of a library.
She had a name. Her signature
was jotted in the margin
of a catalogue card. She was
a name on a list of borrowers.
You'd wait your turn, check her out.

Any-Her is a number.
She writes it down on
the back of a bar napkin.
You skim details,
fill in blanks.

Any-Her is easily
(mis) read, goes by
an alias based on the
date. You name her
after obscure holidays,
like, "Winter Solstice '20",
or, "Funny Valentine '21".
You celebrate her coming,
the -where and the
-when. The -who is
irrelevant, the -how,
irrational. And -why
is what you keep asking
the next morning
while waiting for a reply
that never comes.

Any-Her is a city
far from home,
you decide. You don't
remember the name.
Don't need to.
You're just one
of -any, passing
Sep 2020 · 411
Guitar Gets Girl
Antino Art Sep 2020
I suspect that if I was taller,
I'd get laid more.

Think Basketball: I'd shoot my shot
over her friend zone defense and score.
Her weak knees would wobble at
my every move.

And there’s research to prove it:
the female psyche is hard
wired to conflate height with power.
Leadership. Responsibility.
Extra large shoes.
As if size mattered
more than say,
as a true measure
of the lengths I'd go for the people I love.

Still, if I was taller,
I'd have an evolutionary edge.
I'd play the game
like a guitar.
Because guitar gets girl, right?

Picture this:
me strumming at heart strings
under the lights of a coffeehouse stage,
a tall post-modern Troubadour
with say, an east European or French accent.

A Filipino with a French accent:
how baller would that be!

I'd be unstoppable.
I’d have fans. Groupies.
Her phone number.
And the decency of a reply
to my text.

I’ll give the crowd what they came to see:
the tousled hair and rugged eyes,
the unshaven charm that makes her
want more by appearing to care less.

Hard to get: that’s what the crowd wants me to play
on that guitar
I barely know how to use.

(But I’m trying, right?)

yo who is it she's really after,
because that vertically privileged
guitar hero
sounds nothing like me.

I wish I was taller (high chord)
so she'd see me.
Because I am tired
of being turned
into a ghost
writing songs
for an empty room.

Guitar gets girl.

If thats true,
I suspect she won't get me
because maybe this isnt
the sound I'm supposed to make.
We'd just be pretending
to strike a chord on
strings attached
to a dissonant tune.
We'd play each other out:
a one hit wonder
on a radio station:

Guitar gets girl.

My nice guy cover falls flat.
My Asian appearance falls short
of the socio romantic standard she
is conditioned to fall for

Guitar gets girl
Same song. Play on.

And forget accompaniment (Ditch guitar)

All I need is a pen
to write lyrics
for my new single.

I’ll start a one-man indie band
and swoon in solitude
over who I sound like
on my own.
(Strum Flourish)
Antino Art Aug 2020
I greet you like a new shore with a wave that says hi and bye together.

Somewhere in between, I entertained the idea that we might have met on a train in Seattle once. We sat sideways on the edge of a deep conversation, staring out the window as the rain did the talking.

My mantra is an old Samurai teaching: defeat who you were yesterday. I told myself that I'll have something to say to you by tomorrow.

I write stuff down for inner peace. The pen is my sword.

I got it. When the pandemic is over, let's order clam chowder in lidded to-go cups and meet at the edge of a pier where ships leave. After a while, the sight of departure takes on a charm of its own.

I can talk to you more freely on higher ground, like a rooftop. Or a train platform overlooking uptown Chicago. It will feel like we've risen above the noise.

I make a pretty good penpal. I also have anime hair. And an enviable Samurai sword collection.

Do abs still count?

My brain is in great shape. Don't mind if the thoughts floating out of it are going over your head. It's better than going over heels. That would be hopelessly romantic.

Dating apps remind me of a formula in astronomy that says the odds of intelligent life beyond Earth are a statistical impossibility. Still, you can't help but look up on dark nights asking if you're alone.

I want to say I met a girl who I began writing about, the kind that doesn't just smile at you to be polite. Consider this an invitation to write back.

You'll get my name then,
-Annonymously Yours
Jul 2020 · 143
Star-Crossed Exile
Antino Art Jul 2020
   every few
thousand years,
    a comet
fades into view
     at an hour some call

It hangs
   out of place,
not a moon and not
   quite a star,
a wisp of incandescence
I never saw.

We talked
   for light-years
over soup,
on an empty rooftop.

The glow remains,
    no matter how far
apart we orbit
   through cold and godless
   past new worlds
      we’ll never know.
Space comet neowise sky
Jun 2020 · 148
Hi Cue
Antino Art Jun 2020
Words become the wind
We say Bye and Hi in waves
Strangers share a drink
Jun 2020 · 51
Yearbook Signature
Antino Art Jun 2020
I'm proud of the memories we forged. I'm proud of the times we wrote our names down when it counted. We showed up. I will never fail to smile while thinking of the moment you smiled back: on that stage at the Mill in Chicago, at the edge of that pier in Seattle, while walking through that lamplit alley in D.C. We were one story. I loved the way we rode the train on those nights. We were one with the wind. I loved how we got up each time the sky fell. It was about those steps we took to get back to our center. I love how we greeted adversity with compassion. I'm proud of how close we became in solitude. We got on planes and planted our flag of conquest in nearly every city on the map. I'm proud of how far we've come. There's no telling where we're capable of going from here.
May 2020 · 131
For George
Antino Art May 2020
I passed through the airport in Minneapolis once.

Maybe, we brushed elbows in the security line. We took off our shoes side by side while they poked through our luggage.

That's when it hit me: there are so many people I'll see once and then never see again. Like, one look is all I'll get, for life!

I walked straight through the metal detector and never looked back.
And now, I keep my distance: six feet away as six feet under, masks as muzzles so that we speak only in glances.

I should have given you a better look on my way to the gate,
before the flights to our final destinations.

Every meeting is both a reunion and a rift.

Strangers like us move apart
with each hollow hello or comment about the weather.

I mean, what if every meeting like that was a loss?

We are good as dead to each other
on arrival and departure,
footprints swept clean by
the wind created from dead bodies
walking the other way.

I should have said this to you
about the virus
as proof of our survival,
how we’re in this together, how your loss is mine.

Each new disaster,
natural or otherwise,
keeps seizing our lungs and
our last breaths like we have
nothing to say.
Mar 2020 · 168
For No-Face
Antino Art Mar 2020
This is a portrait of backs turned.

It's inspired by windows  
   on a railcar
passing an anywhere town
where turned backs
   the shape of faraway kites
move farthest on windy days.

This is the wall

where a portrait of backs turned
could have been framed,
by the silhouettes of parting words
left in eraser dust.

These are the overcoats left
on the backs of empty bar chairs.

We sat on the precipice of a deep
Your face was a blur.
Feb 2020 · 161
Saturday Morning Re-Runs
Antino Art Feb 2020
I feel like we are in
an old Hayao Miyazaki movie.
I suspect we are hand-drawn people
hunched over hand-spun milkshakes from a classic American diner
like Culver's burgers and fries.

I imagine the real me
has fallen asleep on a couch
in front of a microwaved dinner
somewhere in the distant future.
I think I was watching
the snow
fall outside the window
like static on a TV screen.

I could have been watching
the same Saturday morning
on loop,
walking in frames
to the same diner we've been going to since you were five.

There, we meet for breakfast
by the window.
Your hand is drawn wearing a gold wedding ring. I smile behind a silver beard.
Though it's hard to recognize our faces,
we say things that sound familiar

something about
how our favorite
Hayao Miyazaki movies
illustrated the passage of
through the eyes of a child

You order a kids meal
with a milkshake
in a classic re-enactment of
the days
I thought would
never end.
Feb 2020 · 241
The Kobe Summon
Antino Art Feb 2020
Dear Basketball,

Why am I not six foot six.

If I could reach just a little higher,
I would score you with ease.

We’d make a winning team.

You’d be my world
spinning on the tip of my finger.
We’d shoot for the moon
night-in and night-out,
with no fear of falling
because your gravity
is the force that
grounds me.

We’d have a bounce to our step:
you striking the pavement
like a war drum and me
walking on air
with my head in the clouds
of Southern California.

We'd turn soaring
over expectations
into a high art.

Imagine this: the first
sub-six-foot Asian minority
in the NBA
wins the MVP!

And they would pay us!  
Never mind the money.
We'll earn a wealth of respect.
We'll command conundrums.
Coaches across the league would
call us a problem and
scratch their heads drawing
up defensive formulas on white boards
named after us.

I realize that’s a long shot.
I'm taking it.

You won’t even see me flinch

even if you did hit me
between the eyes
and broke my nose
on that inbound play,
I’d grin
in the face of the opponent

like how my four-year-old girl
handled pneumonia in a hospital bed,
I will emerge from any cold spell
with child-like hope
and a Gigi-like game face,
jaws jutting out

Because adversity
is what brings out greatness
and struggle
is what proves you
are still alive.

I could be trailing
by 20 for an entire game

I could have zero points,
but no doubts
that the next shot is going in.

I'm taking it.

Even if it means
fading away
into the darkness
over multiple hands
outstretched with
our goal that is the basket
nowhere to be seen

I'd throw my hopes and fears
into the wind for you,
regardless of what the defense throws back.

If basketball is a religion,
then I am a devout practitioner,
putting up prayers from behind the arc

And when things don't bounce our way,
I won't blame you.

Defeat reveals what you're
fundamentally made of,
so I will work on my form:
fingers along your grooves,
toes pointed ahead,
follow through.

I will work on my endurance:
hustle beats skill any day

I will work on passing you
and the wisdom you bring
to the next generation,
so they can score whatever it is
they dream

I will work to give my daughter
the best possible shot

I will lead by example.

Championships come and go:
what we are working towards
will last forever

And guess what, Basketball?
I will still be far from six foot six,
making it very hard to play you well.

That’s no excuse.
That just means I will practice dribbling low
to the ground and moving
like a shadow beneath their feet.

No one can guard
what they can't see coming:
we'll fly under the radar.

I'd give you the best of me
to let you bring out
the beast in me:
an apex predator
with a forked tongue
through bared fangs
and black skin thick as
battle armor

No amount of hisses and boos
can block our shot.

We'd go the distance,
crossing over
into the unknown and
through whatever
physical and emotional
contact comes next

I will hit the floor for you,
rise up
and sink my free throws
on a limp.

If I needed 81 points
to win you over,
I’d bring back each one
in an autographed bucket,
even if it takes 82 games to do it.

We could spend a long,
loosing season together,
and I would still wake up at 4 a.m.
to see you
in an empty gym,
while dawn turns the sky
from purple into gold.  

I’d savor every drop
of sweat the comes from
running back and forth
for miles in your shoes
between your two bottomless baskets.

I don't care how tall I am.
We are chasing the footsteps of
immortal giants,
if only to write our own legends
that will never die.

Even if I had just 24 seconds
to do it,
I’d spend every last one
believing in miracles.

It’s a long shot,
but together,
we can’t miss.

Long Live You,
Your Number One Fan
Jan 2020 · 242
No Love for the Birds
Antino Art Jan 2020
The law of attraction says that you attract what you think.

So, there's a chance you're attracted to me
because I think about you often.

Except the law of attraction fails
when walking into a sliding glass door.

Ever done that?
It's like stubbing your toe, only it's your face.
And though it's your face that takes the hit,
it really just hurts your spirit.

Nothing about it looks attractive.

Like the other day, a hawk — a widely respected bird of prey —
flew straight into my office window
with a humiliating thud
because it thought the reflection it saw
was more sky.

Hawks are supposed to see everything!

So the law of attraction
causes blindness.

It promotes crash landings.
Or at the least, awkward tripping
over words
or the lines we drew in sidewalk chalk.
It's just a friendly game of four square, right?
I’ll wait to step into your circle
only to stumble and fall for you
with a humiliating thud.

sorry, did you hear something?

It sounded faintly like a dream just shattered,
but I think you said this is your fiance.


I hope your wedding has an open bar.

I mean, I hope your wedding sets the bar
to reach limitless heights.

And don’t mind the mess. I’ll just sweep it up like nothing happened and catch up with you love birds later (never) - watch out for the glass.

This law sounds a lot like gravity, and it too
is flawed because people fall
for people that don't fall back.
And then you get the odd man out
walking into closed doors and wanting to curse on impact,
but I will hold my tongue.
Because cursing will attract curses.
Instead, I'll bring gifts — I know,
a stuffed teddy bird —
and I'll leave one at the foot
of every sliding glass door
that doesn't open.

I realize that sounds creepy.

So I’ll just leave them by the window
(my window)
where I can watch the moon I shot for
behind the clouds.
Until another blind hawk goes down.
Then it's a less attractive view.

It's hard to get sleep in an empty bed,
to wake up in front of a fake tree in late January
and open the gifts I never got to give.

The law of attraction:
it’s an ugly Christmas sweater.

If I can't attract who I think,
then I'll repel the cold that I feel
until I'm convinced that this empty feeling
is freedom - the kind that precedes flight.

I believe in defying the gravity of my emotions.

Therefore, I don't believe in laws.
They just break.
I once believed in marriage
until it broke
and I want my daughter
to believe it was no one’s fault

This is a lawless country — think feudal Japan —
where lovers are fighters and who is to tell the masterless heart what to do.
It's a teenager
who never made it past high school
because it keeps skipping class.

Fear not: I am a grown up.
I am too old to be falling
for the pseudoscience of false hope
even if our chemistry doesn't lie.
Except our math doesn't add up.
And my history is an essay on wartime aviation
crumpled and thrown out of an open window
because I used the word 'alone' too many times
to describe what it feels like to fly solo

Alone means nothing on paper
It should be torn in half:
All and One no longer together

Anything that isn't one
must be in pieces,
and being with some One
is not the end all, be all

God was a lonely man for Christ sake

I’ll think of other words:
Alone, all one, no.

Thinking attracts no one.

I'll make up a new law:
don't think. Move

Just not near anything made of glass.
It’s bad for the birds.
I got nothing but love for the birds.
Jan 2020 · 177
All for One
Antino Art Jan 2020
The word alone
means nothing on paper.

It should be torn
in half: "all" and
"one" no longer

Anything that isn't one
must be in pieces,
and being with someone
is not the end all, be all.

God was a lonely man for Christ sake.

It's okay to be alone,
because oneness
is wholeness.

Sing it with me:
There is nothing greater
than being whole.
Dec 2019 · 494
Kiss of Winter
Antino Art Dec 2019
(1) Fall

was the season of
where she learned to kiss
old flames goodbye

She walks alone,

(2) Leaves

To stay warm,
burns love letters

As lips turn
the color of ice,
she holds onto an image
of a sweet word
left by the wind.
Dec 2019 · 239
For the Love of Pie
Antino Art Dec 2019
It's all about timing.
Or loosing
track of it all
while waiting
until the sepia-tinted end of
an autumn day together.
It's the time we poured
into an otherwise empty shell
made of crust:
sugar and flour falling into place like
minutes savored in sweet company,
like aftertaste.
It's the sound those ingredients
make when spun,
when licked off of fingers
as our handmade batter
takes on the color of a setting sun.
And unlike bean burritos from Taco Bell,
what's hidden inside is real and won't let us down.
It lifts us up like steam
from an open window,
the kind we create from within
as our excuse
to gather around a table
before winter arrives.
It has our voices baked inside,
because one does not eat
the whole thing in silence
by themselves.
No, the recipe calls for people:
not their likes of its picture
on a social media feed, hashtag foodporn.
I'm talking about
the delicacy of human presence
divided among kindred spirits.
It's the air from childhood
that we breathe back in
when we're home at last,
with only so many slices to go around
before the timer on the oven
and it's gone.

It's us, still hungry after
the feast ends in the absence of
Nov 2019 · 892
Sunflowers for Seattle
Antino Art Nov 2019
There are three bright spots worth looking for on cloudy days.

In the morning, it’s coffee with you. We find our silver lining in a hole-in-the-wall cafe near the market where fish fly, talking vividly about what we dreamed as muted light finds its way through the window where we sit. We save the moment, but say bye too fast as if we had flights of our own to catch. And we loose sight of each other in the never-ending current of strangers rushing past. The sky reverts to its stone grey self, and I drift in the company of office buildings, weightless as the clouds from my breath.

We meet again, at a walk-up noodle joint on the pier. We share a steaming bowl of tonkatsu ramen and gaze at the mist-covered bay, talking about the jobs that keep us from waking up. The sun peeks through a blanket of overcast to find us. We take a selfie: in it, we are beaming. We say bye again, this time, with an embrace as warm as the soup on our lips. We save the moment, floating alongside the edge of the water with a glow that will see us through the chilly night ahead.

The last bright spot is the golden hour. It gets dark far too early here, so there is no time to waste. We spend what’s left of it together, over a drink that burns when swallowed in a dimly lit bar beneath a stairwell. It begins to rain. We say nothing this time, and instead, share an unspoken understanding of who we are at the end of cloudy days. We put a finger on it, and promise that we’ll see each other again no matter how heavy the fog may get. We’ll find our way through. We save one last moment and slip into the wintery mist, seeing clear.

In a place with as much grey area as this, the word ‘alone’ looks blurred: it’s ‘all’ and ‘one’ put together, where nothing is missing. The selfie we took comes into focus: it was myself, a complete stranger in my own company. Now, when it's cloudy outside, we see each other through it, filling whatever is empty like a glass, toasting to the brightness found within.
Nov 2019 · 210
Emerald City Trio
Antino Art Nov 2019
I. Post Alley

Here, darkness isn't the villain.
It's the anti-hero.
We cheer on the absence of light
in favor of insight
- the kind used by blind swordsmen
who distinguish right from wrong moves
by feeling where the fighting spirit
of their adversary sways.
And so we stay awake,
following the signs etched in the neon,
blazing a path toward our fears
with a howl that cuts
the darkness in half like an alley.
We don't dream here.
We embrace the insomnia
like a cup of black coffee
with both hands,
eyes as moons,
tears as tide.


II. Olympic Sculpture Park

Every alley finds its way to water.
They all meet their ends
in a view that floods your eyes
at the speed of ferryboats passing.
It's the there and gone of it
that stops us in our tracks.
It's the childlike smile
you may never see again.
Days here
retain an afterglow
that brightens over time
we can't reclaim.


III. Alki Beach

I fled here when I thought the world ended.
I ate magically delicious clam chowder
from a paper cup
at the edge of Pier 57,
where a Ferris wheel that no one was riding spun.
Moving became mantra: a prayer put into practice.
So I flew
as far as I could get without crossing an ocean.
The fog I arrived in hid what was gone.
The sub-arctic air was balm
on what was burning up in flames.
Painters believe that lighting
defines what you're looking at, puts objects
as absolute as Mount Rainer in limbo.
I saw the heart differently here:
it was smoke
exhaled from the top of a building
to join the overcast like a freed spirit.
Love wasn't a concrete word,
but a formless mist
that your eyes keep redefining
depending on time of day: the first morning,
it was a cargo ship.
By twilight, it was a one-way ticket
on the Light Rail.
It was something that kept moving.
That's it: everything became far up here,
as if I was looking at it from the top
of a UFO-shaped observatory in a skyline
from the space age.
The sun itself appears removed:
it checks out at 5pm due to the extreme
northern latitude and lets night check in early
like an Airbnb traveler you'll never see.
It's okay to remain anonymously sad and blend
in with the rain.
Locals don't carry umbrellas on purpose.
I'm not okay yet.
So I return often to keep my cool
on their 51 degree summer nights.
Statistically, this is the city with the most single people in it –
soloists, loners, former lovers who understand that oneness is wholeness.
There's healing properties to that.
Up here, nothing is missing.
I'm so far away from what happened
that it becomes invisible,
or at least
lost to the fog that keeps rolling through.

Sep 2019 · 1.3k
Matrix for One
Antino Art Sep 2019
In dark times,
I'll follow the stars
from here to there,
arriving at my center
to trace my constellation.
If tonight is all I have,
I'll keep moving,
one with my shadow,
not knowing where this leads.
I'll cover new ground
when no one is watching
as stars align
to reveal a path through
the darkness toward
the bright spots ahead.
I'll take in the view,
under the stars
the way I came.
Sep 2019 · 414
Mission Statement
Antino Art Sep 2019
I pledge to write for an inner peace movement
To fill the void left on the blank page of a story we could not complete
I pledge to write more beginnings than endings, and if words fail to meet me where you left, I'll wait with the patience of a bookmark, holding down the gap we left pending
as if locked in stalemate: light paper vs dark ink because the way of the pen is the no-sword style of contending that deflects the black and blue thoughts that leave bruises where we think.
I pledge to erase, or at least, start over, only to toss each cumpled piece unfinished onto the pile of things I have no answers for- only hopeless questions, mailed into the static of heartbreaking silence, until it clicks, like a retractable pen, and finger flicks from an audience follow as this throwaway piece hits the mic on its head, drawing feedback, the static giving way to meaning and the audience now there, tuning in as if waking up while dreaming, now clicking, snapping, leaning forward as antennas to the right frequency we're streaming, snapping together now, a thousand pieces of a hidden picture completing, I write to throw captions around my own confusion, and watch them snap like photos of what I'm seeing beyond illusion on this train of thought leaving, the coast starlight from LA to Seattle, the lines of a notebook as my railway leading toward our emancipation from battle.
We are free from the places we are told define us. I write to move past them. Poems are what we leave behind us, in the graffiti'd nowheres of subway tunnels between the lights of the places we were meant to see.
Poems are the spaces between.
My mission is write
for you to read me.
Aug 2019 · 6.1k
Worst Asian
Antino Art Aug 2019
I am the only Asian in this bar right now.
Be my friend!
I will check the box of your social diversity quota.
Granted, I only speak a mispronounced fraction of
my immigrant parents' native tongue.
Ala Jackie Chan, I do not understand the words coming out the mouths of anyone on that massive continent (Russia included) that I appear to be more or less from.
But, I do eat spaghetti with chopsticks.
I am mystical as
fox, or Kitsune, in Japanese folklore.
I can hit you with wisdom worthy of a fortune cookie as fast as Google can tell you that the Philippines is nearly 2000 miles away from China. I want to say I'm from an exotic island where they play basketball in sandals and drink soda from plastic bags- like, A-level material you could make a movie out of in Slumdog Millionaire fashion and get awarded for your romantic portrayal of poverty you think is three worlds away from home. But nah, I'm just a kid from South Florida. Paved driveways and cul de sacs. But I do pump both fists in the air watching Manny Pacquio PPV fights on a bootleg stream. Beyond that, I'm probably the worst Asian there is. Not the crazy rich kind with a PHd. I dropped out of engineering after one semester and cannot solve a rubix cube. I never learned kung fu. Though I'm learning to face the adversity of becoming a single parent after my daughter's home broke in two. I write marketing proposals to pay the rent and poetry to fight without fighting in the spirit of Sun Tzu. My eyes do not slant in the direction of your narrative. I once ran in a pick up game where I caught the nickname of Yao Ming. Yao, I am 5 foot 8. Though I fall short of expectation, I can still check your diversity box on the way down and do a cool pen spin after to punctuate my intellectual prowess. I also happen to own an assortment of Japanese swords made in China, which I intend to use as heirlooms. This is what cultural colonization looks like: me, in a bar, the last samurai standing confused in an age of melting pots, Korean tacos and Asian slaw made by corporate imposters with names like PF Chang. What in the slaw is Asian? I wish I knew!  I wish I knew the true value of my heritage to be worthy of carrying it forward. Like how my grandfather planted a Malonggay tree in our backyard whose leaves my mother would pick and boil to make tinolang manok -the Filipino version of chicken soup- as a weeknight staple on our dinner table. I can barely soft boil an egg for instant ramen. Or how my motherland's socioeconomic gap tooth smile is so wide that it drove over 10 million of its native sons and daughters off its shores to find work overseas as servants on cruise ships and hospitals to feed the families they barely get to see. To follow their trail blazing footsteps, let me be the second generation tipping point where some form of cyclical tradition breaks. That way, I can raise my daughter free of predetermined scripts. So as the worst Asian in this or any bar, cheers:
to being the first of a new kind.
May 2019 · 946
Free Ninjas
Antino Art May 2019
we'd wake up and play with magic
like any other game of pretend
bath towel tied into a cape
we'd approach an empty plastic top hat
wand in hand
we were tapping into an ancient power
that we barely even knew
we've played a superhero, Sub-zero
and now, a miracle worker
there was nothing we couldn't do
we'd climb trees to the summit branches
as high as we'd dare to go
we'd lower the hoop and dunk with ease
alley-oops, 360s
sometimes in slow-mo
there was nothing but room
to grow and explore
frontiers of the imagination
seized on roller blades with plastic swords
we'd tie skateboards to the back of bicycles
and Jamaican bobsled down the street
we were free ninjas in the 90s
off to adventures no one sees
we'd front roll down hills like hedgehogs
we'd scrape knees
we'd footrace to the stop sign and back
to pretend we're going faster
we'd kick clouds of dust in our tracks
we'd steal bricks from the neighbor's garden
and throw them into lakes to see the splash
we'd throw pebbles to see how high they'd go
or paper planes from the top of the staircases
one time, we jumped off:
it was a dare
we did it though
we unscrewed the air cap from the tires
of our enemies' parked cars
we clapped back with super soakers
the block was truly ours
we'd play until the streetlights came on
with more discoveries left unseen
and in the shadows while sleeping
we'd play catch with our dreams
May 2019 · 203
Mr. Hippo
Antino Art May 2019
Mr. Hippo, you are 3,000 pounds. How is it that you are able to swim? Tell me, Mr. Hippo. Your legs are so short that your belly drags against the ground. Your head is huge, and your body is intensely round. Yet you are able to stay afloat and not drown. How is it that you are buoyant? And how is it that those stubby legs of yours can propel you forward in water?

Mr. Hippo, I hear you can run up to 30 mph on land. *******. You don’t even need to run. You’re regarded as the most dangerous animal in Africa. I hear you can snap a crocodile in two with one bite. What do you eat, Mr. Hippo, to get that big? I hear you only eat grass and you don’t really fight. Yet you have those giant teeth that lions do not ***** with.

Mr. Hippo, you’re that dangerous and feared, but still in a good enough mood to wiggle your ears. And maintain such shinny Hippo skin. It is for all these reasons that I would like to have you as a pet, Mr. Hippo. I’d walk you down the street and show you off to all the neighbors and let them gossip. You could swim in their pools and feed on their blossoms. You could stop their cars in their tracks and their yards, you could cross them. They will say, “Mr. Antonio, you are strange.” But it will cost them. Because later they will say, “Mr. Antonio, we are sorry. Mr. Hippo, you are awesome.”
May 2019 · 647
Paper Heart Project
Antino Art May 2019
If my heart was drawn on paper,
it would never fall apart.

I'd hang it on the refrigerator
like my daughter's works of art.

Though it bends
and crumples over time,
it cannot be erased.

    Where real hearts are heavy,
this one would be weightless
    folding easily into pockets
    like money
for betting
    win or loose,
    it unfolds unphased.

This is child-like thinking.

    If my heart was drawn on paper

it would rip, break
I would throw it
in every direction
until it went missing

They'd return it to me
no longer the drawing
I made
when we were just kids
K i s s i n g

I'd barely recognize it.

1 2 3 4
I delcare love a war.

So I'll make myself
a new drawing
and let go
of the past.

I'll leave the missing pieces
where they are,
with who I am

I'll pretend nothing is broken
and that my heart on paper
is meant to last.

This is childish thinking.

Still, I'll pick up the pieces
and start over
as my drawing goes up
in flames I'll rise above

Though the heart on paper
burns to ashes,
in the embers
I'll find new love.
May 2019 · 755
Ink on Toilet Paper
Antino Art May 2019
Poets are annoying

When regular people are busy,
they sit and wait to drop
words into the toilet
that'll make you dizzy

They stare at the blank page
the way one stares straight
at the bathroom wall
when taking a
as in, "shut up" and "listen"

the few who stop to do so
won’t be impressed at all
they’ll hear only…sounds
and get headaches, or frowns
they'll choose to forget it

poems are misunderstandings
and the few who dare write them
are nameless turds, wiping
their words onto paper
and calling the stains "art"

my "shhh" is fresh, they'd say
when their breath smells like brain ****

so the moment this poem comes out
I’d like you to throw it in the toilet
and flush it down

ha ha
maybe that’s why poetry
as an art form
stays underground

it stinks
to write what no one will read
or have thoughts no one will think

poets are lonely creatures
locked in stalls with too much ink
not enough toilet paper
and the ironic need to be heard

or worse, to sound cool
with every word-dump they take
only to emerge from their solitude
the way one emerges from the bathroom:
feeling great
May 2019 · 992
Fall, Rise
Antino Art May 2019
Run-down places are the nature of things
the decay that the gentrified smile of each city tries to cover up as trains move past them.
The empty strip mall, the mid-nowhere gas station, the vacant lots and bordered windows and all those hollow ruins for lease between the lights of the rented spaces we call home at night
So when you reply with silence as the answer I have no choice but to accept,
I think of an entire ghost town built on the sincerity of those run-down places where no one goes
And I go there, alone
not lonely,
if only to seek the company of the quiet truth that demands no explanation for why she left
or why I returned
to walk down each deserted lane from memory toward what I once called my hometown, my old stomping grounds
I ask if I am okay
with the absence and let the replies
come in echoes against the shell of my former house
carrying the sound of far-off ocean waves
maybe, a Rocky, sandless beach
in the Pacific Northwest
where we'll meet again someday
okay at last with the silence that comes from leaving everything behind and just going.

Spring is you
a re-learning of steps
needed to stand alone.
Spring is the water
from the sink that hits you between the eyes with the cold, hard fact that love dies
and you live on.
Spring is a face-off
with new realities
a rising to the ocassion as the weight of colder and darker days thaw off bent shoulders under the cleanse of April's first shower.
Spring is baptism.
Your re-newed steps pound the same pavement like falling petals this time around
And you remember, finally,
That you loves you
And you're forgiven when you did not.
You remember where it was you were going today
Spring is hello, good morning
Let's go for a coffee and talk
about what we dreamed
until we wake up
early enough to greet the brightness ahead.
May 2019 · 1.3k
For Rocky
Antino Art May 2019
The moves you made against your fear moved me to faith.
I watched through tears as you were saved -
the heroine of your own fairytale
facing nightmares to awaken the beauty they slept on.
You were candle-flame and made darkness your element,
quivering formlessly in all directions, then still
the moment you found your center to be where it burned the most.
You turned pain into a glowing power source.
You were my favorite self-love poem in motion,
one that dates back to 13th century Persia
about mirrors, and how the polisher of which took on the form
of moonlight itself, giving all it has
when no one was watching.
You poured yourself into that night
in a waterfall of polished movement,
shattering glass, dancing your way out of a distorted
reflection in a carnival funhouse of illusions
you were grown enough to see past.
From a distance, I watched you
transcend technique,
bend and shift through countless forms
as if through a kaleidoscope.
You filled my mind's eye.
I saw myself in your mirror,
coming face to face with every side of you
past and present, high-fiving one, embracing another
in celebration of your conquest.
There's a fighting word beyond our known language
for this: masakatsu agastu
or, "true victory is self-victory".
Fight the battles you need to finish.
I'll be waiting at the edge of my seat
until the house lights come on and the show
ends and the audience disappears,
leaving only us
in front of the mirror
you are no longer afraid of.
May 2019 · 626
Page One
Antino Art May 2019
What if the people in this room were the pages upon which we wrote: documented with our travels, or inscribed with our beliefs. Our stories, once secrets, become legible. We carry them in heart to heart conversations both trivial and deep. We brainstorm, helping each other write the missing parts and next chapters with our actions as much as our words. We read those around us in the quiet company of our thoughts- our dreams- sometimes loosing ourselves in the blank spaces left by those we once loved. We look up briefly from our reading with renewed perspectives, and we move. Our hands both reach for the same pen at once to rewrite the narrative, passing late-night notes to each other if only to keep ourselves woke. We don’t name what we’ve written, but we sign our names at the bottom and call it ours for the time being. We are impermanent. Still, we leave our marks like fingerprints on the pages of each other -  happy thoughts and revision comments color coded in the margins- our own jam session hidden between the lines we stay writing with no idea or expectation of how it will sound in the end. We utter mysteries and we’re misunderstood, simplifying our confusion into basic metaphors or parables, so that those who pick up where we leave off can understand them, or find some common ground; some shared chapter. We borrow pens and finish each others’ sentences as we collapse on the same endings. Our dialogue subsides into unspoken movement: into silent eyes reading. We are campfire surrounded by the stories we stay telling — that without, we'd be left to scratch the indiscernible signs of love on cave walls for only the darkness to forget.
May 2019 · 213
Out of Paint
Antino Art May 2019
I pictured the faint outline
we would make
on a blank slate.
We never held hands,
though we knew how to hold ourselves
together enough to feel it
when we brushed shoulders.
I began brushing by her
until the canvas gave way to color.
I filled in the blanks in hurried strokes,
the empty places
I pictured finding her in
or the questions she may have been
the answer to.
I began painting madly
on top of our undone outline
with the color of cherry blossoms
in full bloom
falling, the act an art in itself
whether she loves me or not.
We were barely a sketch
that I started without her.
There wasn't enough to see-
only the abstract impression
she left behind and the inspired
that swept
my brush away
as the paint ran out.
I never knew what we were.
I felt what we could have been.
Apr 2019 · 427
Dialogue- 2nd Take
Antino Art Apr 2019
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.
Apr 2019 · 625
Men of the Waves
Antino Art Apr 2019
In the warring states, 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 'hi's' and 'byes'. So we wave 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 broken compasses,
scars as maps and our souls held as swords to leave the mark of our nameless legends on the pages of history books that tried to forecast our fate. They now call us men 'a dying breed', though 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 keep a man of the waves down.
You should have seen us in our element.
We pretty much flew.
Feb 2019 · 1.7k
Dark at 4:30pm
Antino Art Feb 2019
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 world 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
like ghosts made of espresso mist
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 · 12.4k
Going North
Antino Art Nov 2018
in this floating
world, forever
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 · 4.0k
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 · 180
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 · 13.0k
Roaming in August
Antino Art Sep 2018
Who draws strength
from watching the passage of time
after dark
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

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,
during storms in late August.

Who finds their center
hurled in flight,
always coming and going.
Storm flight trains movement
Aug 2018 · 13.3k
Ghost Town
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 · 469
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 · 568
About Walking
Antino Art May 2018
What I like about walking is that
you're free:
no GPS, no machinery

The sidewalk is all you need

The sound of footsteps is
a slow-dance
against the backdrop of buildings on either side,
lamp posts overhead
passing audiences seated in cafe windows
passing time

sure, walking is the slower, old-fashioned way to get there,
but if you want to slow things down,
this is how. Look how it reveals
every crack in the sidewalk
with which to measure each step.
Look how it wraps the sounds of the city around you
as a record around its 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 sunset orange -
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 you were all along.
May 2018 · 126
Seafood Market Haiku
Antino Art May 2018
These fish on death row
are about to expire
Their fate: the fryer
May 2018 · 575
Walking Haiku
Antino Art May 2018
There's hushed aesthetic
to store signs passed on sidewalks
Empty neon words.
May 2018 · 307
Jazz Haiku
Antino Art May 2018
They sound like freedom
The unexpected let loose
Melodic chaos
May 2018 · 208
Haiku at 1:01am
Antino Art May 2018
Gazing awake at
the blank page of tomorrow
Fourth story window
Apr 2018 · 1.9k
1950 Something San Francisco
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 · 15.6k
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 old squares 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 move in a blur of faces that become us,
Rush at all hours through our veins
Cross our hearts and keep us breathing,
wearing the city on our minds
like the greyest pieces of their winter sky and 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,

We'll wear their dreams at night
like streetlamps flickering 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

and wear this city like backpacks over our shoulders

under the watch of their heavens,
the skyline
a glowing testament
of every step taken
toward someplace higher.
Feb 2018 · 49.2k
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
full of yourself in a souvenir glass with a toothpick umbrella
You're all image

You’re all talk: 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 post-storm debris
into the backyards of the Liberty City projects,
onto a landfill off the side of the Turnpike
Hide it beneath Bermuda grass,
line it with palm trees
if only conceal your cold blooded nature:
I see you.
You are overrun with iguanas,
blood-******* mosquitos
hot-headed New York drivers
not afraid to get hit

You get yours, Soflo
and you'll go as low
as the flat roofs of your duplexes
and the wages 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
like some badge of grit,
certificate of aggression
I know how to break a sweat
walk brisk, 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 remember
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
iron on iron, the forger striking
softness into swords
built for survival
I'm made of you

my South Floridian temper
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

I see you
in the rear view mirror,
like a sports car on the exit ramp
the color of the sun.
Feb 2018 · 442
Antino Art Feb 2018


14, 21

my cup overflows


keep walking

Sep 2017 · 384
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 · 971
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 · 485
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 —