Eileen R. Tabios

HOPE: First 2021 Poem
 
Once upon a time, 
as a poet I was a maximalist— 
I considered the haiku a corset 
 
The gods were bored, 
thus, played with me— 
they made me invent hay(na)ku. 
 
I didn’t think it funny 
but the gods slapped knees in laughter— 
I am not a god, thus, gritted my teeth. 
 
But I refuse  
to forget— 
Today 
 
I 
excel in 
writing poems blasting  
 
gods off pedestals, 
like XYZ 
whose


slitted but salivating
eyes and
tongue

reign with a 
deadly combination: 
cruelty  
 
with mischief—thus, 
the year 
2020. 
 
Well, the god-slayer 
have come,
am
 
here*: I grasp
bouquets of 
roses,

voluntarily clasping palms 
around thorny  
stems. 
 
My blood drops 
to shivering 
ground 
 
as seeds more 
deceptive than 
cats 
 
eating raw mice 
in gods’ 
bowls. 
 
This seed is 
buried deep 
for 
 
sprouting deceptively-perfumed blooms
where nobody
expects:
 
if you are
not cruel,
if
 
you strive to
do well
by
 
your fellow Kapwa,
if you
still

believe in ethics,
I am
here,
 
grizzled, snow-haired, unafraid.
“Happy New 
Year!”



 
(* after Jose Garcia Villa)

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