What’s Left of the Imagination


Outside, the monsoon sings
its violent song. The little feet of children

are plunging into puddles, in pursuit
of thieves. Here’s a joke: First, I felt pity,

whereas the Martians who may be observing
must think different. The human inside me

wants to take off his shirt and display
an unsophisticated happiness to the Habagat,

to imagine an entire city that appears
only when it rains; to think of Manila divided

into new districts by new rivers
and noble, laughing lords. The ensuing wars

and chaos. I want to hold that sword again
that I sheathed in a drawer

in some childhood home. The one
that appeared on weekends with my father

in the cliffs and lava pools
of the hardware store.

But who the fuck will clean these clothes?
Who defeats my current evil nemesis named

Wet Car Seat? How will I explain
to this woman across the table

that I’m not crazy? That I was stabbing
the imaginary ninja behind her

who was about to snap her neck,
and that she should sleep with her hero?

The future of neckties and coffee has arrived.
It’s everything we imagined. We can only pretend

to be the ski-masked robber, shot
by the toddler across the room

with a gun whose name ends in “2000.”
Never again the good guys.

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