Poetry at Sangam



PLAYA DE KAMAKURA by Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta

          (As Juan Luna)

          Luna traveled to Japan in the summer of 1896.
          In August of that year, he and his brothers were arrested
          on suspicion of being participants in the Katipunan
          revolution.–Museum of Arts and Sciences, UST


                 No turn in sea or sky,
no smear of sun or balm of air—
incredulous atmosphere, shattered
by neither gull nor human cry.

                 This is the end, I think, of allegory,
the end of red on the canvas, gaudy as
smoke in gentlemen’s bars; I tighten my stroke
and keep my eyes plain on the scene.

                 Pewter and salt on the surf, the soft,
wet earth as dull and brown as tsokolate-ah
in Salvi’s house—I try more silt in the dye
and black in the red.

                 The eye turns slack that kept its look
on gallant monsieurs who knew her tightest
quivers; and from the old vermilion,
only eggshell and slate.

                 Luna, I ask myself, is this the end
of a long pilgrimage—a sky that keeps
its leaden rumor of sun? Under the pillow,
I tighten the hand on the gun.