The Morning Rush Hour

The morning rush hour
goes on a snail pace
moving along inner lanes
steady and unmoved
in this density of our strange
alien lives.

We cry out to the traffic flow
declaim what the soul
has got when the early 
light streaks through
the pavement with our late
starts, beginnings that are too many
to strike it out with roads
that end in counter flows.

We left them here, the daily
gifts from salvaged memory
traveling with us all the time
on freeways we know
but do not know us.

In the nine o'clock hour
is the sun smiling 
from the cotton clouds
from the Tantalus mountains 
we have yet to peak
from waves of turquoise seas 
we need to ride
from verdant valleys whose furrows
we must tame to let our roots
take in the nourishment
to parry the stormy wind 
what whips us each time
we want to go back
where the foamy waters
start their journey to reach us.

In this morning rush hour
you go slow, poet of dreams.

You count the rhymes
from the reason you cannot trust
for having come
for having not the courage to leave.

In the meantime in this morning rush hour,
you count the minutes you will lose
to put in your work hours
to put venom to your word
so the poison can clean out
what poets need to throw up
them the poets of your people
who have forgotten how to love.

They announce their names
before us all: 
in the announcing
is the chasm that hits us right
in the heart: 

here is a poet with medals
their sheen and shine of gold
with the ribbons and the honor
he bought from friends 
and friends of friends
his peso for their dollars
and the eternity of writing the mundane 
writ in the skies of black betrayals:

here is a poet who made good
with the ambition huge and heavy 
that goes with the sharp fangs
of reptiles or the cloak of birds of prey
he keeps in his lines his pens his verses 
the titles his and his own he mixes
with corrupted metaphors he lives by 
the tender tropes he uses 
to make us believe
poets are born in animal mangers
with their magic of mangled prose
passing off as the proverbs
of broken lives.

Here is one for the hometown.

Here is one for the ghosts
of poet laureates who come
from the same story 
of our damaged devotion
to what is right in the similes
we create out of self-exclamation
and the synecdoche 
of who we are.

And the poet goes home
in the rush hour, imagining
what imagination can offer
in the mundane duty 
of the hyperbole that is us.

He goes to read the chat box,
day in, day out, copy-and-pastes
the copious lies and in the traffic
of vacuous verses,
turns them to ashes
turns them to dust.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI/Mar 5/09

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