Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 2



Jonel Abellanosa


Parable of the Tree

The hand that feeds
plants the seed, rain singing
to the sapling
dreaming of the Pleiades.

Billions of years later
branches and the bole turn into bones,
wind playing leaves like a harp
for the bird in my ribcage
that pumps blood,
circulating love.




Perception

I build mental worlds,
see faces in boles,
hear wind hieroglyphs.
Mindful, I turn our neighborhood
into canvasses, looking
for delicate folds. Insight
a line like the spinneret.

Syllabic footsteps, sense to my flow.
I’m aware of sounds
before they become sounds.
Emerging from self-interrogation
I make my hands useful,
mangoes plentiful
as time to be alone.




Adrift

Inspired by a scene in Life of Pi

I don’t remember how many days
held hands to form my own cage
in the open sea, recall a shipwreck.

Millions of lanterns from the deep,
water’s surface luminous, light green
as the full moon
like apple to the hungry.

My bare feet makes me look
at rafts I tied together, storm
from memory whispering
I don’t need anything          to cross over

to the island
                                      I don’t see.




Evolution

Thirty years ago,
unholy union of cough syrup
and the syringe’s opioid.

Keloidal snake in my arm,
ocean in my lungs, my spine
an arctic staircase.

Numbed, I’d close my eyes.
Time buzzed in my ears,
sour aftertaste at my tongue’s back.

Obsession to leave my body
a nectar. I now astral project
without meth and the bumblebee

in my bloodstream. I’m mastering
leaving my body using meditation
and 432 hertz sounds, desiring DMT.




Coffee

Caffeine makes opioid pills stronger,
ground bitterness breaking boredom
and banality. My subconscious mind
wakes. I listen past pandemic noise
like scratches in my tin ear.

Bad news abrade like metal bottle caps,
yearn’s sounds elusive as flowerpeckers.
I obsess over my mind’s grove,
dark brown granules magic. I hear
water syllables. Music waterfalls

like the guitarist in my headphones.
I turn mindful, aware like a sapling.
The numb hums to my jawbones,
hologram I see rising from the third
cup. I turn air into stories.



Jonel Abellanosa: “I live in Cebu City, the Philippines. My poetry and fiction are forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review and Chiron Review; and have appeared in hundreds of literary journals and anthologies, including, Rigorous, The Lyric, Poetry Kanto, That Literary Review, Loch Raven Review and The Anglican Theological Review. My poetry collections include, Meditations (Alien Buddha Press), Songs from My Mind’s Tree and Multiverse (Clare Songbirds Publishing House), 50 Acrostic Poems, (Cyberwit, India), In the Donald’s Time (Poetic Justice Books and Art), and my speculative poetry collection, Pan’s Saxophone (Weasel Press).”




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