Addicted to the sugary and the salty, I hate
Blandness like boredom, my mind tongued with
Craving. Coca Cola is the reading time’s raison
D’être, and I tempt myself with three books.
Enticing myself with potato chips, this feeding
Frenzy killing me, a diabetic. This gobbling need
Grows from boyhood, when my absent parents
(Hard at work, mom; papa, spaced out in rum)
Instilled love, bonding and their presence with
Junk foods. I’d buy papa’s rum if the errand
Kept my jaws churning 10¢ a pack cornicks. I’d
Liken mom to a leprechaun if she failed to
Make me happy with super salty dried plums,
Nougats, Fruit*tella candies. Grandma would
Offer dried mangoes so I’d drink her potion of
Powdered snake bile from mainland China.
Questing longevity is the lie I tell myself: Run
Regularly! Eat leafy greens! Drink tea! Truthfully,
Stroke is my preferred reentry into eternity. I’m
Terrified of cancer and cardiopulmonary diseases,
Using sugar and salt to craft hypertension, I live
Vicariously the fictive lives I read while eating.
Written words will damage my kidneys, poetic
Expressions making my heartbeats arrhythmic.
Yearn, after reading, is pleasure’s avocado shake.
Zoolatry is deep-fried, my stomach an altar
Ambrosia and nectar I stole from Zeus’ table –
Bounty for my people. I cloaked myself with
Covetousness. The banquet I hosted for godly
Desirousness, with my son Pelops’ body parts as
Entrée, earned me Tartarus’ most frigid place.
Frosted, the branch raised the apple as I reached.
Grief was the water that would recede and freeze.
Heaven is what I cannot reach. Temptation melted
Into hunger and thirst. I wore remorse like a
Juju, pendant of my prayers. Zeus pardoned me as
Kinslayer. I chose forensic psychiatry as cover,
Living among the affluent. As a Dante expert I’d visit
Museums and libraries. I’d attend classical concerts.
Noetic questions engaged me with the brightest
Of them. The need to serve gruesome beauty still
Piques my self-control, and I tremble, reduced to
Quietness. These tense moments of solitude are
Recall’s punishments. I read and write poetry in
Silence. I’d hear whispers, my desire for the knife
Tantalizing. I’d wrestle with myself to resist
Urges, the overwhelming need to cut and cook.
Voices I hear drive me continent to continent,
Wandering, giddy with bus rides, guided tours,
Experiencing local sensualities to distract my
Yearns. I’m known as a moneyed Caucasian, in
Zones where I present myself as Dr. Lecter
Note: “Heaven is what I cannot reach” is the first line of Emily Dickinson’s poem #239. The fruit as “apple” is also derived from Dickinson’s poem.
Perhaps in its
Entire History, has
The house been so glaringly white
In and wagged his naked
Butt, his crowd clapping, laughing and
The Temptation of Pope Francis
Matthew 4:1 – 11 (New International Version)
Donald Trump goes to the Vatican
To challenge Pope Francis
To turn stones to bread.
He brings Pope Francis
To the highest point of the temple
And challenges the pontiff
To throw himself down.
Finally, Trump shows the pope,
From a very high mountain,
All the kingdoms of the world
And their splendor.
“All this I will give you,” says Trump,
But before the billionaire dealer
Could finish what he’s saying,
Pope Francis bursts into laughter.
Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including, Rattle, Anglican Theological Review, Poetry Kanto, Filipino-American Artist Directory, The McNeese Review and Marsh Hawk Review. Early in 2017 Alien Buddha Press published his third chapbook, Meditations. His latest poetry collection, Songs from My Mind’s Tree is forthcoming (Clare Songbirds Publishing House). He is a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and Dwarf Stars Award nominee.