Dr. Cirilo F. Bautista,

The author of

The Trilogy of Saint Lazarus

Selected Poems

Kung Paano Matatamo Ang Katahimikan Sa Mundo






The Sea Cannot Touch


A Man Falls to His Death


Walking Around in Brussels


Written in Stratford-Upon-Avon


Dead Weight: In Memoriam
(Ferdinand E. Marcos, 11 September 1917—28 September 1989)

Excerpt from Telex Moon (Part Three)
The Trilogy of Saint Lazarus


Excerpt from Sunlight on Broken Stones
The Trilogy of Saint Lazarus



Excerpt from Sunlight on Broken Stones
The Trilogy of Saint Lazarus


Do What? Chimes I never heard, or halos wore,
the stone upon whose sheen I swore to shackle
the sharks, the barks I blew across cinnamon
and thyme in lieu of lupercals, lunes for lakes,
rice-cakes, bullets, parapets, donjons: of these

my bones sing like a book, beyond indigenes
and ultimatums: white in the solid dream
yet not contained in the plastic tide, wide brides
side by side move these islands whose chamber of
wisdom is the tomb, whose head of telex ticks

jigsaw jungles in jasmine clouds and parrots
in pine trees: whines the breeze, rankles the mind, march
the rues—the fat-bellied nothing does not lose:
of these my bones sing like a book, all these I
remember: I walk on a strand of cobwebbed

memory, I bring out my tools to incise
the sounds in history, and I remember:
him:: the cricket tree called to him with vultures
in his eyes: he shut the gates of sunlight and
propped epistles on the grass: the first spoke of

a terribel war between shifting mirrors
whose rage mathematic, technique pure, prevent
waterclerks from clipping the revenue: a
war of blood and brain cutting its own wound like
a diamond, a hooded abstract in twenty

carats: the second was a parable dressed
in lemon and turpentine; its line, printed
on sable, trumpeted tonsure as torture—
an experiment in cancer and royal
jigs: to invent what in the mind is optic

or midget is to grease contumely, is
to seal the concordat between pirates and
papal henchmen: the words hissed like flame against
metal: the terrible collusion that brought
ignorance to these Islands: and the third, O

the third was bantam, the third was brother to
the ox, the third stuck its feathers in gum and
broke the spine of priesthood: its intestines were
solid gold: it cackled the monasteries
to ruins: I walk on a strand of cobwebbed

memory and I remember: metal wings
beating conundrums in cathedral domes: that
doomed warrior Magellan, rusting with metals
in Mactan: that fruity sailor Legaspi,
drowning in his fever while in his thick eyes

Manila rose up on sticks and stones: that pale
Rizal, pinned like a butterfly to his texts,
Impotent as the alphabet he rode on:
“offerings of gold and silver and brass, and
blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen,

and goat’s hair and ram’s skin dyed red, and badger’s
skin’s, and shittim wood, oil for the light, spices
for anointing oil, andd for sweet incense, and
onyx stones, and also stones to be set in
blue ephod, and in blue breastplate”: the death with

their dryads and decimals, their spirit like
rubber mannequin—how long can they hold to
the letters of tombs? The pen sprouts their flesh and
numbers numb their bony solitude. So lost
the ghost they bought with their last gold, desiring

the warmth of womb, cursing the papers that etched
their sins: I remember: like glass, or a blade
of grass, I bend to the wind, throw the papers
to the wind, hoping the rustle will cover
the sound of ache in my heart for souls seeking

new homestead for their head. But more it is for
the world I weep to sweep away the decay
of warfare and darkness, and I am old and
childless, my words cannot shoot: The lotus moon
hands maximum on my lute—its pluck has dry

throats on the grass: alas! the lack the lutist
laments liks the art in my tongue which cannot
live long: my blood throbs with the wounds of ages—
Lapulapu, Humabon, Sikatuna,
Sulayman, Matanda, Mabini, Rizal,

Bonifacio—they clog the arteries of
my soul till I am aflame and through the heat
I see my people’s corpses piled high inside
th Walled City, their brains staining the streets,
the children’s limbs scattered like garbage upon

the mud, and the black words flapping like banners
in the wind, “Death to the Infidels!”: my blood
boils and I remember: the parables they
strung around our necks as amulets against
the unknown in the hope that catholic spells

would expel the voodoo in our speech, as each
to each we passed our sorrow: place the thumbs so,
on the temples, and hear my words, “for what man
knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit
of man which is in him?” Very like a kite

I am, cackling for a piece of the moon: touch
my words and my biography falls aparts:
dig into my breast and I have no heart: all
my patrimony burned with the fruit boats in
the Pasig when we abandoned the brown gods

for gunpowder and Paradise: whos eyes shape
the picture of our sin?: whose dagger shall draw
the poison from our blood?: what shall link our tongue
to the silent speech of the grave so that brave
words be quicker, be full, as I sing of things?



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