Bais by Night & Other Poems

by Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena

Bais by Night

Every night, in this city,
my itinerant eyes seek
phantoms above ceilings,
where darkness gazes
upon my trembling body.
After the clock strikes
twelve, the moon is pale
due to blood loss.

The dogs begin to howl.
And there are no clattering footsteps
nor human voices, only
the whispering wind speaks
of cyanide and tears.

For the night here in Bais
is an ocean that drowns
rainbows and luxury ships.

For the night here in Bais
is a gathering of poets
who wail before streetlights
and broken bottles of beer.

Naked
I lay
surrounded
by sugar canes
and decrepit ancestral houses.
Here in Bais,
night is longer
than day because
the sun hides
in shame.

 

Mornings in Bais

As always, the old sun rises
over my weary eyes in the city of desiccated peasants
and wooden caskets. The whistle of the maya birds echoes,
again and again, in my garden. The same apparition
of faces remains sullen in the starving streets.
The same zephyr sways the leaves of sugar canes
and water apple trees. Here, where everything is filtered
by my quotidian breath, there is this horror of mangled realities
of a past within faded photographs—

Every morning, my shadow has the scent of ancestral houses.

 

Homecoming

1.

No one waits
for you. No smiles, no handshakes,
no embraces. And the word
kumusta will not be uttered
in this sleepy town
where leeches abound.
Indeed, you are a stranger
who speak a language
they can never comprehend.
In silence, your memories await
inside the maze of cobwebs,
as the litany of curses
echoes at mahjong tables
and outside derelict chapels.

2.

Home, means comfort. But
comfort is replaced by grief
like this old photo of your father
watching you as you sleep
when you were still a little kid.
And you tremble
every time you stare at it—

there was anguish in the image
of that cardiac arrest, ten years ago,
in that painful summer night,
there were no ominous signs,
and the beams of the pallid moon
radiated in the torso of the ocher coffin,
as the prying eyes of the rabble
stared and stared continuously…
3.

You return to the emptiness
of your home, to the city
of molasses and dusts:
a city devoid of dreams.
To walk past the ancestral city
hall inhabited by rats,
to the cemetery of protruding
tombstones and leafless acacia trees,
to the twisted mangrove forests
where sea birds are perched
like an ailing memory
pinioned to the earth.
To the same emaciated peasants
working in the sugarcane fields
of the Castilian elite,
to the streets of grief
where drunkards and stray dogs coexist.
And, to your bedroom
filled with worthless mementos
and broken picture frames,
yes, you return home
to your gilded mirror
so you can stare once more
at your own corroded face.

 

Editor’s Note on Bais by Night:

Bais by Night & Other Poems are not the first poems that Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena has had published in Eastlit. Apart from Bais by Night, he has previously had work published as listed:

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