Set 28, 2007

The How of Music

This is how it came
How I earned the dance
Someone had to slip
A boy jumping jacks
Never had the chance

I saw how he stepped up

This is how it came
How I learned to kiss
Someone had to lie
A man mouthing love
When he won my lips

I did not hear him sigh

This is how it came
The how of music
How the song arrived
A tear was whistling
A tune down my cheek

I heard how it survived

Bitter Water

All nightingales are false
Parrots are blasphemers
The true bird of sorrow
It has no throat for song

Hunger, always and always
I shall never taste your name

The lady of the night?
Or the sweetly sick rose?
That loneliest petal
It spits out no perfume

Hunger, always and always
I shall never taste your name

Neither the salt of tears
Nor the bite of syrup
For the saddest water
Is much too pure to flow

Your eye, your skin, your shadow
Your scent, your spirit, your voice
These, what I shall never know
Here, what I shall never know

Hunger, always and only
I shall never eat your name

Set 25, 2007


(Prof Gemini Lozada, 33, Psychology teacher)

must’ve been a storm of swerves
on a hot night
needing no sirens
on dry screech asphalt

only a van to Veterans’
hospital, AM, one
a freshly dead
a body arriving from bodies in hiding

must’ve been a run
of tire and turbine and eye
of night to night to night

heeding no dawn break
just a long black rolling

must’ve been out and away
from a panic of fingers and hair
of so many small wars within the ribs
of the wet butts of cigarettes

from the hailstorm of dreams it must’ve been
bludgeoning scalps down to skulls

swerves of
testosterone and sweat tendon muscle
testosterone and pus

must’ve been a conspiracy of boys
a societal envy of menses
with the cigarette smoke that clings to the hair
of slap happy boys hungry boys becoming

of a van delivering
up and away
a long gone van to Veterans’
where the mothers shall arrive

and many tiny boys

must’ve been

Set 17, 2007

For the Girls and the Boyboys

(Mr RV Esposa, 38, High School Work Education teacher)

For the girls and boyboys
who love
the sheen of fratmen
like the smell of upholstery
on posh cars
when you get too close

boys will be boys
one more time

For the sorority girls
who swoon
and sorrow on cue
campus figurines
fueled by med missions
and girly power

he had it coming
but out loud

For the fratmen
who care
enough to assume the wheel
and blow the horn
illuminating us
while touching each other’s

you can’t understand
and you’re right

Resignation Letter

(Prof Anjo Lavinia, 42, Math teacher)

I know it:
If I had been more precise
then I would not call myself teacher.

And already, an incompetent statement!
I said, I would not call myself teacher,
but see, see, that certainly I should not
for I cannot. I can never split myself
to become my own teacher
to my selfsame pupil.

Rather this:
If had been more precise
then I would not permit people
to call me teacher.

Then, if anybody addressed me thus,
I would not answer.
If that somebody insisted,
touched my shoulder, I would say,
Hey, why didn’t you tell me
you were in the area?

If that somebody called me teacher
once more, I would say,
You’re confusing me with someone else
less accurate

Yet I am the one less
so I accept that calling of teacher,
likewise Mencken’s postulate:
He who can, does.
He who cannot, teaches.

Let this personal imperfection be known.
Let this imperfection stand
but not preclude my possession
of some lessons,
though most certainly
not all.
These said, I posit questions:

Should I say: I lost
a boy to the twenty-first
of August, the 2007th Lordyear?

Should I say – Yes,
it was the day that cost me
a boy –
or the boy?

Or rather: No,
it was they –
or is it ‘them’?

Or another: No,
what cost (one) boy’s life
was the way they chose to stretch their sun
upon the composure of hours that they
eventually lifted to the night sky –
was there a moon – saying This is the life!
with bloodied sleeves?

Or should I say: Yes,
it was the boy
who made a purpose of strength
that day, and wanted it so much –
for civic ends I’m certain
so that we later-day elders,
we of the twenty-second,
twenty-third, -fourth, and -fifth, and -ninth,
we of further Septembers and Lordyears,
we have been obliged to be strong for him?

Rather this, exactly:
This September the sixteenth oh seven,
a Sunday, nonworking,
nonholiday, this nonday
is the choice, the life
formula, the day I spend –
like all my coins
clattering on the glass counter
of a liquor store
– for the boy

whether he likes it or not.
Whether this is me
or the day itself
speaking – split – precisely.

Set 1, 2007

The Rhoan Will

(Prof Kimmi Javel, 31, teacher of Speculative Thought)

The Rhoan will ascend and sigma
summing up to his diploma
invitation : excellence

–end up marrying a sis
or not marrying a sister
invitation : honor

or not having the courage to confess
his love
tradition : strength

–some-day have connections leading
jobs leading to leader connections
tradition : excellence

–attend reunions at hotels
alumni homecomings
tradition : a heart

at the mothering university
and brotherhood at cafes
initiation : kidneys

–bother to speak of Mendez
or not bother to speak of Cris
tradition : a liver

a some-thing that happened way back
when he was seriously being young
initiation : a brain

or leading to leader connections
or not proving courage to confess
tradition : a penis

any-way the Rhoan will
one-day father