Naghalo ang lahat sa tinalupan
when you do this more than once
are you committed enough
the smell of cold metal
and a thin membrane of blood and flesh
when the desire to hurt starts
scouring its tart corrosive
it’s one thing against another
a taste to bite your tongue
with something more than hunger
something more like anger
thrills through me an inconstant thing
against the blows that come to us
Nahuli sa kamay
The open palm holds all that has vanished in the intervening
decades, stolen and given back, like time, like wrinkles, like
wisdom, and lies, infidelities, infelicities, reflections of the self.
Snatching at the parabola of the upward toss, the downward
trajectory, forever-suspended the practice sessions of deception,
let no bells ring, no needle sting, your pocket is now empty,
what’s mine is mine is yours is mine.
‘Naghalo ang lahat sa tinalupan’ is a Filipino idiom meaning a serious fight (literally, the skin was mixed with the thing skinned).
‘Nahuli sa kamay’ is a Filipino idiom meaning ‘things lost are found in the hand of the thief’ (literally, caught in the hand).