How many stations are there from Katipunan
to Recto? I’ve lost count. I’ve lost count
of the elective units I needed to enroll,
the verses submitted for Tulaan sa Tren.
Too I’ve lost count of the perfect scores
I received in a videoke lounge for singing
The Cure countless times, colored balloons
stood astound, cobwebbed by the idea
that Morrissey had in a dream a lover.
I’ve lost count of the LBC trucks
just passing by, not dropping off
letters or any delicious news smelling
of campto soup that once made Retiro
a streetway of stories for old movies
pelted with laughter and soundtracks
of which I’ve also lost count; the sight
of these sensor machines seemed OK
seemed civil like my blue beep card
with no-swipe tantrum, only magnetic
hearts beaming through worlds, worlds.
Rain, Sunday night
When cities wear around their necks
the seethe of the cold, traffic slows
to the gutter the clambering freeze,
and half a heart this rain touches our skin,
mere stains we believe home recollects
memories, drops of names uncluttering
suspiciously in the melting shadow,
over the ice age of our singular breath,
surface of things revives in the dark
what is lost from a deep gorge of sleep,
seconds on the side of water, more hope
than hiding, beyond the evening light--
there is a rustle of a long sworn word,
a lonely song at the night’s heels, oh
—but were you there to hear it?
The Dharma Train Triptych
As the morning sky paraded
to offer up the sun like victuals
for a happy send-off, Zeth
began to enter Buendia Station
with a head unsupplied with sleep.
“Vendetta Stanchion,” he said, yawning,
after a pretty lady from behind, who
in her blooming wakefulness, corrected him,
He replied in metallic malaprop,
“Bo-ni-ta Gro-yon?” In a slow
commanding diction, she enthused:
“It’s Buendia Station. You must be
working too hard for getting
a lack of sleep, a lack of sun.”
“How d’you know?”
The lady spoke no words and shifted
her gaze to the approaching
ilk of Zeth. She strangely
stared at the rising sun
which through her eyes reflected
in crazy colors. There was no train
in sight yet; only a few sleepyheads
staggering to hit home. The smell
of the odorless mute behavior
of people, the painted city,
the morning train—yes,
it’s to spear the haze of laziness--
coming toward them now like
There’s a lumen of fluorescent pink
flowering in her eyes. Some passengers
were getting ready to surround the door
for exit. While others feigned sleep,
she flirted that she had known Ortigas
mostly by light and color and the sun-ship.
Garoy, my friend, was beginning to smell
weird things, but he didn’t give a damn
about what was happening to her. At seeing
the next station, he exclaimed, “Oh
it’s my Boo-ni Cushion...
Once upon a time at Wendy’s!”
“What are you talking about?”
“Your eyes again, changing.” He looked
into her eyes like peering out the window
in searchlight-wonder. “I see, the sun.
Must be the giant sun up there
your eyes chase.” His gaze vagabonded
her beauty and miles and miles
toward the unquestioning.
that motioned between them—he, the lady
—between their eyes, was, in station
after station, mutual. Shaw Station
shrouded the train in a tunnel-like capsule.
One man spotted a friend from the window,
while a new batch of passengers
got into the train. But his friend
smalled in sight as the exiting passengers
blurred him. He knew he disappeared
out of his radar—permanently. Anyway,
a slew of CC agents smelling of after
-alcohol breath gave him free bumps.
The train quickened, making
his stationary comfort bumpier.
While in motion, the lady vanished.
He looked around… his search scoured
the train’s environs. Here, there, elsewhere,
she was gone. And when the train
reached Ortigas, the rushing throng
of passengers milled around the door.
Finally the door opened. Ashen light
suddenly fell. They took the bait
of pursuing the light until
they were carried to the stairs
and waned in view. Everything zen.
The mysterious light stood on one foot,
doing a pirouette, weight diminishing
like birds on the delicate shoulder
of Our Lady of Peace.
Lawdenmarc Decamora earned his Master’s degree in Creative Writing at De La Salle University (DLSU) in Manila. Presently a full-time college instructor at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), he is finishing his second Master’s in Literary and Cultural Studies at Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU). His poems have appeared in Cruising Magazine of Manila Bulletin, TAYO Literary Magazine, To Voice My Own (Proceedings of the 21st Iligan National Writers Workshop), PAMIYABE Literary Anthology, Paper Monster Press, and online literary magazine Mad Swirl, or are forthcoming in the maiden issue of Bukambibig. His works on criticism have been presented at DLSU’s conference on “Elitism in Art and Culture”, and at ADMU’s “PATOK: Comparative and Critical Perspectives on Pinoy Pop Culture”.