Bernidick Bryan Hosmillo
B.B.P. Hosmillo is a Filipino poet writing in English. He received the JENESYS Special Invitation for Graduate Student Research Fellowship in 2011 and the National University of Singapore—Asia Research Institute Graduate Student Fellowship in 2012. His poetry was shortlisted for the 2014 VOID poetry competition by Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Hong Kong’s premiere literary establishment. Currently, he is based in Rumatá Artspace in South Sulawesi, Indonesia where he is completing a collection of poetry. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Kritika Kultura, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Far Enough East Journal, Sundog Lit, Alice Blue Review, Kenning Journal, Nude Bruce Review, Ellipsis…literature & art, and elsewhere.
—for Liêm Vũ Đức
I have already spoken. It was loud. It was clear.
The insipid flesh comes to me with a pregnant ask without any point of return, not even a single
Was it the color of Mt. Fuji? Was it really a footprint?
Was the moon absent when you departed from the night and the sun nowhere to be found?
Were you, really, alone in the exterior estuarine damp?
The clinking sound of kitchen utensils is always ambitious in the forlorn arena of a bachelor’s
gourmet. His hip-hop metals are frantic against the table’s flat slab. His pointer-finger pokes
each corner of every apathetic wall, waiting. The city is agog for another visitor, humming.
Coins are triggered in a pocket, perhaps the left, of a single man in a walk, bulging. All are
noises of a limp for chaos is a woman; it has torpor of abyss. Departure is a guillemet, just as
inside, just as out. It is the word ‘either.’ Yet places of rest a porcupine to an outsider are a
grammatical relative: where is it that augmented? She takes the receiver of a ringing telephone
just to silent it. She presses the answering machine. A voice-over, recorded from a memorized
script. A repetition, practiced and perpetual. An imaginary friend, one of whom Caliban spoke to
in The Tempest: hast thou not dropp’d from heaven? But the weather is an acid grace. It was
your tongue devoid of sap, limping for an evil trance while my words are never fluid,
always dry, always black. You motioned me with a drunken litany, an accidental violence of husbandry to a
woman now sinful for smiling at her wedding. She is a chaise lounge. A body of another reclines
against her at 3pm while James Joyce is the narrator. She is a house. A son visits her every
summer, every burial.
My Prized Room
—for Liem Vu Duc
Whoever looks seriously at it finds that neither for death,
which is difficult, nor for difficult love has any explanation, any
solution, any hint or way yet been discerned; and for these two
problems that we carry wrapped up and hand on without opening,
it will not be possible to discover any general rule resting in
-Rainer Maria Rilke
Outside the room there are plenty of noises: crickets whispering, ting-tong of two elevators, scratching of cold neighbor’s bodies, and our feet.
What keeps me focused is how your eyes as we walk like we always did inspect my doubting iris. I wanted to ask ‘what happened last night?’ but your left hand holding a wilting brownish leaf of a fig made me forget speech.
There is no silence inside the room: ream of antiquarian papers, bags of tea from the most impoverished cities in Southeast Asia, a bed where two safe pillows aground, and our photograph.
I was told early morning yesterday how you cried heavily after our evening conversation. I had to doubt. I had to search for a graspable reason why you would allow your misfortune be known to other men in the most inconvenient time-a nocturnal call of the one ready to die. I had to see you as if you were a paper that I have to write on; a page’s mystery relies on its ability to obscure the eyes.
By your right hand, you took a pillow carefully bringing it underneath your head; your left hand still clutches the almost dried leaf. ‘Will this room be forever?’ you said. I touched your head, my hand counting each hair strand. I wrapped myself around you feeling your thighs, your proud chest a delight of the sweetest nipples, your broad shoulders that can be a bridge to troubled arms. Onto your beloved neck, I pinned my warm lips. The sublime electric emptiness was a force to trust you; I let fall my left hand unto your now empty right. Then our eyes conjoined as if by accident: we met again. I gave you the room key I left in my pocket. What we have now is distance: what makes a return that finds nothing, only separation?
It was too fast. You were at your feet. I find memory in what I have: a room, garbage bin full of torn papers and dirty letters, used tea bags that only bittered my lips, a soiled bed dwelling of a pillow whose color reminds of me of urine, our photograph the object of creative dust.
You left with what you have: a dried leaf that pulverizes each step, the key to my room and your eyes with a promise of return.
I started cleaning my prized room. Since your death, it became an everyday routine; your every faint shadowy appearance is a trace that even my room will soon expire.