Intimacy deserves a closer look
La indolencia de los Filipinos…
on the boulevards, where a mural assembles nightly.
Bodies the hue of scrap metal beneath train tracks,
feathered by neon. My friend the pathologist walks
back to Manila Hotel, cuts through the park and comes
across lit fires in iron gratings. The third eye
of a Sanyo rice cooker blinks the hours from a billboard.
A man scrubs himself with a pumice stone in the fountain,
a family of four sleeps next to their faded mango trishaw.
So languid even in repose, he writes. Here,
as in that part of the world, the spirit relinquishes itself.
Lizards free-fall to the ground. Bells’ tongues rend the Angelus.
But history expounds on the imprecision of Chinese
water-clocks and the industry of Northerners, the brighter
ink of spiked holly berries against white, the augur-shaped
bodies of tropical parasites, the people that scan
the skies for rain and omen birds, the fear of avian flu.
“Intimacy deserves a closer look” first appeared in Indiana Review, winter 2007 (Finalist, 2007 Indiana Review Poetry Prize), and is from Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, University of Notre Dame Press).