Jonel Abellanosa


I tell the Earth, “seeds.”
Drizzle fails to wash
Mud off my hands.

It isn’t a lie
Midnight hosts black
Birds in the tree.

Stones lend the bolo
Sounds that aren’t
Near enough to wake.

Smells of jasmine like
Poems strong enough
To make me cry.


                After Chalice (acrylics and water-soluble oils) by Jean Vengua

The mind a receptacle of time’s
sacramental wine. Blues stain
desires for forgiveness, clouds
of doubt, sacred texts shaded
with lavenders of memorized words.

Belief’s bronze and white scratches
mysterious as smells of roses and
melting wax. Recall is both nave
and transept. Reds deepen as shadows,
illusion’s dome echoing as sparrows
crisscross the air. I listen to my
heartbeat, the church like a cupping
hand, raising love as offering.
Wisdom descends as the dove
no one else sees

The Vibration


                After Nesting (acrylics on canvas) by Jean Vengua

Perseus reincarnated as a hummingbird
with his human memories. Homage
makes him navigate Athena’s labyrinth,
serpentine footpaths, terpsichorean trees
in the heart’s forest of blacks and grays.

He remembers the way to the granite
altar. Along the maze he perches
for a while, his yearn for nectar
materializing like bee balms. Love
sweetens his beaks, equipping him
with a prayer lavender as the air.

Hours later, beyond the caravans,
sounds of humming blue as his flapping
wings, as he supplicates before
the gorgon’s enshrined head. Centuries
have stoned her countenance serene
as rocks, the place secluded from sunlight,
beneath her piercing gaze her devotees,
their postures hardened like stone


Birds rehearsing
as my mind’s tree choir

Sidewalk orchestral:
firewood cracking,
oil in the pan sizzling,
sharp smell of salted fish
as I jog by

No memories of jasmine
but night’s traces
on the pavement, beer bottles
and barbecue sticks
littered like craters
that have left the moon
to fill my daydreams

A past contributor of Otoliths, Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Rattle, Poetry Kanto, McNeese Review, Mojave River Review and Star*Line. His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and Dwarf Stars award. His fourth poetry collection, Songs from My Mind’s Tree, has been published by Clare Songbirds Publishing House (New York), which will also publish his collection, Multiverse. Sounds in Grasses Parting is forthcoming from Moran Press. His first speculative poetry collection, Pan’s Saxophone, is forthcoming from Weasel Press.
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