by Alton Melvar M Dapanas
His Northern Hemisphere
For Lennard Yeong, 27, Singapore, MasterChef Asia
Those eyes, those naked eyes, piercing, variations
of the dark—charcoal and raven—could speak to me
in Singlish—the British accent no longer the sexiest, lah—
as dark as your boyish hair. I wish to dishevel and undo them,
you know, in bed where you might forget, for a time,
that everything you learned from food came from cookbooks;
where I can blow your name on the mole on your neck
breath after breath: That tongue—for once, a nomad—
could taste of umami, as I trace the geometry of your jawline,
pear-shaped, smooth on the edges. I wonder how that chest feels
when pressed against mine or seized on my palms. Those nipples:
heavenly erectile contrast against your fit cobalt blue (sometimes, pewter) shirt.
On your right arm and left ring finger might be names
of loves who have gone wrong.
Smile that bony cheek smile, dear, further straightening those brows.
Caress the sauce to sweat, the fish to fluids.
Already, you have fed me.
The Sociology of the Body
[A]nalyse humans as embodied persons..
— Thomas W Laquer
Know my makeshift truths:
Finding you in these ruined landscape
Is like igniting the embers back to flames.
Elsewhere, a scent repeats your shadow;
Your absence echoes your thoughts.
What is this smell?, I once asked you.
That’s dried floor wax, you muttered
With cigarette, once soaked in vodka,
in your mouth; those homes long gone.
Already you have caused my downfall.
The night rushes to end, if as in a hurry
no traffic could pause. Minimum wagers
all sit jammed next to each other,
like canned sardines; the vehicle, too, is part tin
or is it aluminum? In this twenty-peso ride
roaring to life, the silenced part between what’s budots
and the sweaty slumber is all they end up with.
Is it still JaDine’s timeslot on TV?
Or is it Boy Abunda’s turn for gabfest? The millenials ask
as the ancients are left on the AM frequency.
Lined up sitting in cellophane-covered foams,
they pass on calloused hands some coined currencies,
which must’ve been worth a tenth of a day’s work.
One by one, they go down, each to his own route—
now by foot, reciting muted prayers—or wretched whims?—
petitioning to deaf divinities,
pleading for better days.
English for the Non-native: The Five Senses
Begin with the silence of cubicles:
Our lips twitched colonial accents
As fingers latch to foreign lexemes.
Our Skype emoticons remain muted.
Within these bland sundering walls
Are stares—timid but voyeured.
Added to this litany of unsaid words
Is your scent like the first rain of June.
Let me ask you now:
How do you remain unknown
to the language of my touch?