October 3, 2015

Two Poems By Jonel Abellanosa: "Card Reading", "Echo"

Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines.  His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, including Pedestal (United States), Bangalore Review (India), Poetry Kanto (Japan), Cha (Hong Kong), Eastlit (Thailand), Deep Water Literary Journal (Ireland), Poetry Pacific (Canada) , Otoliths (Australia), Anak Sastra (Malaysia) and Philippine PEN Journal.  His poetry has been selected for the 2015 Dwarf Stars Anthology of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.  He has a chapbook, Pictures of the Floating World (Kind of a Hurricane Press, United States).  He is working on two full length collections, Multiverse and 100 Acrostic poems.

Card Reading

Ace of spades, and I imagine roots, dried
Barks of grandma’s Chinese medicines.
Cartomancy opens the middle eye.
Divining clarifies my wishes.
Except with royal characters, patterns
Foretell, the numbers 6 & 2 with special
Glimmers, 10 standing for 0.  I foresee  
How 9 fits this afternoon’s meanings and
Interpretations.  Queen of clubs echoes
Jasmine tea leaves.  5-fingered cannabis.
King of hearts, supreme lover.  
Light as I see the randomly drawn.  I
Make a square of cards for imagination,
Numinous expanse for watching birds.
Or skies of numbers for turtledoves,  
Pondering winged shadows tracing the
Quiet wheat field.  It might be easier to
Read a string of 3s like a scribe.
Seven is sacred and calls for a pause:
To invisible tree dwellers, prayer.
Until the sensed future, I reshuffle,
Visualize my life a decade later.  The
Wind knows my room’s windows, and I
Experience the divine without time,
Yearn for epiphanies from successions
Zeroed in kaleidoscopes of cards


The morning’s speaker talks about
moments of loss, but you’re here
in this retreat of bamboo and nipa
to remember and compose
grief’s letter.

After lunch you linger by the well.
It’s easy to see how stillness
repeats the sky, how water
can turn pebble into an eye.
You recall your father show
that hills have voice.
You call out his name, and smile.

The lady calls for afternoon session to start
but odd and even lines are rhyming.
You sit under the dovecote. A stray wind
spreads a jolt of carabao dung, crackles
firewood. The tree sends a greeting
of leaves to the passing stream.
You sense grasses parting, glad your
turn doesn’t conjure your fear.

Three more lines for the sonnet
as the bonfire begins, star-attended singing
and sharing.  Darkness in the house reminds
of what your father did after drinking:
you’d stagger and stir kitchen smells and sounds
and be gone by the time I like a mouse
wake hungry and reach that part of the house.

*First published in Red River Review
~Jonel Abellanosa

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