Jedd Ong Dec 2016

(i see) two scions dance in traffic: sun and moon,
sky and stars; God’s two heirs
dancing in traffic as if they weren’t demigods but
small maya birds - transfixed
mortals, fighting to keep away from the blinding
might their status affords them.

as His children their world and its light is for their taking,
of which they can feed - or not:
they go on instead like hungry wolves, next to I, rising
(sidelined, falling) flagging down jeeps
in the thick of the Vinzons Hall jeepney stop. They bark loud
and cheerily to keep idle; from unravelling
their wax-worn strings. They are birds guided by concrete routes,
those yearning to feel its bleakness

in each syllable creeping up their gold-and-marble throats:
the soft choke of exhaust smoke
and the rosiness of their gaunt in the face of all-knowing fate:
that of snatching from death
a world not theirs. They declare: “Perseus we are not, and
Janus we choose.” They shuttlling
commuters obscure and without fuss and without end
to and fro, where they come

they spit on the universe in baggy basketball shorts

Jedd Ong Dec 2016

the cat snores
at midnight, below

call centre agents:
bathed in white lights above
and the security guard’s badge below which gleams
of splendour; reflects the moon
by his chest: waxing
where it rises
and waning as it falls; a truck’s engine
roaring in the distance. my footstep

stirs not the cat

Jedd Ong Mar 2016

"Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
-Ozymandias

I.
O wait for us, Colossus

as we wait - and throw you
to earth: from heaven’s gates judge you
unworthy - to hades’ lands assign,
where your iron limbs make mincemeat out
of anguished homes - by tyrants
you were thrown but floated aimless past

the drifting realms where once lay hell,
and fired you your rocket boosters - apollo’s gift

blinding still your eyes -

II.
next, awake: the visage of the Child
in your face - languishing, affronted:
two vast and trunkless legs of iron glare, only to grow
rigid still - slumping at His feet: with heart-engine smoking,

eyes hollowed-black,
lying in slumber with giant's knees bent,
in grasslands rest and where hearkens the plain - He cries out:
’tis you!

though dwarf, He is - he kneads your iron
by grass, and your wounded legs the earth
now christens, snd blesses still your sleep.

III.
He moves forth with grass blades and twigs,
crown you a nest; and bear stones unrolled to where

your feet first kisses ground.

-2.17.16

An attempt at "sketching" a cartoon. Originally a photo piece.
Jedd Ong Feb 2016

do i want to lie flat in your prison cells? perhaps not.
but i do know that the curse of our words is that
they will one day swap out our air for oxygen,
and we will breathe ink down our throats; gasping
for sound.

it is inevitable. these vestiges of mind matchless to those
who give chase - we who disappear like ghosts - one day
to resurface - our bodies in exchange. we will be beaten
by batons, cut open by silver: a cuff for a tongue. we perish
for our

                      speech.

Jedd Ong Feb 2016

reverse engineering:

tomorrow
i will know still your voice,
how your silence splits words
into pieces, as you break me
with your collared sweaters and polka dot
socks: tell me i am floating,
question my Gods, forbid me
from touching your church elders; your parents’
Lord.

today
i will know your laughter, a tad frail:
the voice of an unsteady
deity - your fingers - never stilling a pen,
nor sketching a hand - whittling
my own: your chin trembling as you chide me
for their largeness; i show you their erasures:
your lack of wayward lines; your work
of an artist.

yesterday
i tell you to sing, you tell me not to -
you arm yourself and lock away in your room,
say your poetry terrible,
wrong, un-joyful, cross-averted; they cracks
in all the wrong places like your flimsy
hands, like your hopes massive-disintegrating
like the feebleness in your dust-allergic bodies; your lack

of lungs: brittled long by heavy-handed
words and thin brushes: you with death -
the un-wayward stroke: You
who are sickly, whose quiet breaths reach
where we cannot find

and find the places where
our gods long to be touchable.

Jedd Ong Feb 2016

i.

the poem has a beginning exactly as you’d expect it:
pa in sweatshirt, ma with purse; the funny thing is
i never used to call them those names:
“pa,”
“ma,”
always found them too cowboy-ish,
too un-me, un-like

us: who held chopsticks before dinner time and shared
stories of how grandpa came over from china.

ii. (at the dinner table)

there is no symbolism here. there has been none
for a while now. this household eats and
eats in quiet. my grandmother is a poet but their
books all burned down

back in ’45 when mao stormed into fujian and
all her uncles could eloquent on was that
“the communists were coming!”
“the communists were coming!”
and instead of poems took with them their
children, and their gold to pawn

and their clothes on their muddy
mortar-stained backs

and the japanese

iii.

my grandfather now comes twice a week to the
hospital for chemotherapy. it is a nice hospital.
good view of the cleanest part of our dirty

city. there are lights and white folks now. two things
my dad said did not used to be there. they

used to be spanish. they tilled
our rice fields and spent the money on living rooms
with lots and lots of space to sleep. we on the other hand,
worked. he claims.

your grandfather and his grandfather and i

iv.

awake every sunday morning at precisely 8:30.
made to go down to the temple in kalesas
and told to fetch the office paper for
noontime reading. see we weren’t spoiled: grew

up just next to the pasig river which back in
the 70s did not smell as bad as sin only
sweatshirts

and the sweat we soaked them in we reeled along
steamed fish heads and chopsticks for picking at them with
and bowls of rice we never really ate with spoons.

v. (back at the dinner table)

i listen to my mom and dad
sweat profusely in the evening heat only we can have here
he in his sweatshirt and she
with her golden purse,

preparing to leave - a wedding party awaits -
an jacket draped over his shirt just like grandfather used to do it
in a sense,
but gripping the chopsticks delicately for all us
to see:

“pa,”
“ma,”

v.

it is not cowboys that give us our names.

Jedd Ong Feb 2016

*for my pastor, for my father, and for a friend.

6.
i find your name carved quiet by the windowsill
in an empty room.

5.
i find half your coat hanging wayside where once his coat was, too.

4.
father told me you too keep your dentures in a cup like grandfather’s.

3.
that you were there as he packed his bags and warbled off
for the hospital. you didn’t talk to him then
but still we knew. or so he did:

he caught you smiling by the desks where he worked.

2.
i find your photographs by the balcony,
and your footprints by the garden. bits of your
hair by the pavement next to candy wrappers and
pencil jars.

1.
together we pick up the pieces you left behind. and sew. and stitch
ourselves together. open our mouths in silence.

0.
we wait for your next visit.

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