The Proxy Error and other Poems

Lakan Daza Umali

Monsoon Season

I have learned the measure
of moody weather. The barrage
of raindrops on stout houses,
washing rust, dust, grime
into the flooded street below.
The tincture of her, heady
musk primed to vanish
with the swiftest liquid
motion, a thought tipped
on a crest, before falling
into the neighborhood swell.
Outside the storm shakes
flowers from the vine, sends
jasmine-water crashing against
the dirty doorway of my house.
I scan the coast, count the boats
anchored to the city’s shore,
and I think of the god
caged beneath the sea, his fists
pounding the unyielding water
pressure pinning arms, legs,
lungs to the black ocean-bottom,
the price paid for misplaced desire
Inside, the fire burns low in the chaos of water.
every threshold invaded by the cold.
Still I remember her boon of fresh fish,
ropes of seaweed, mollusks peeking
from their shells, how her briny hands
plumb the ocean’s depths and gift me with salt.
In her absence, I peer out into the seascape
that always churns with divine anger,
I pick up a pen, a dry square of paper.
Before light fails me, before the chill
pins me to bed and makes me heave
for sun, I make a list of things
disturbed by rain.

The Proxy Error After Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta

How else can I fix your buffering presence?
When I hear chat notifications or watch two twinks
In high-definition, you still persist across screens
And fantasies, sending nudes and eggplant emojis.
It’s true that I think more clearly after climax,
Slumped on a keyboard, realizing no man, analog or digital,
Has ever given me any semblance of good sex;
Saying please, cooking breakfasts of eggs and milk
The morning after, the closest is you.

You linger in pixels and fiberwire;
Goading me to send picture and location,
Disconnecting when you find I’m too femme.
To ensure the morning after, you require
Specific rituals; lowering of the voice,
Cleaning flecks of shit from the hole to achieve
The actual you, real as words on the page.

You come like the signal, darlingaaaaaaaaFuck you.

The Gay Serpantine Anti-Imperialist Agenda

Let the spermatozoa of mongrel cities slither
Between my cheeks, happy marriage of flesh
And supplements. Catch my serpent-tongue, Uncle Sam?
I can loose a toxin of shiny sibilants while I corkscrew
Through your vocabularies, sucking the syllables
From MacArthur’s mouth, my tongue forked bilingual
Oh, you haven’t discovered the half of me yet;
All your nation’s foreign technologies taking root
In my body, I am colored metamorphic. Empire’s shame.
Watch me shift past moon and neon, masterless creature,
With my chrome-edged masks and painted limbs
Alien enough to slip past Blumenbach’s taxonomies.
From which you derive your island knowledge.
Do you want to touch me? My venom is bright.
I’ll bite your golden son and he’ll slip it in my cloaca
I’ll spike your grandchildren, tell them of the swish
Of Black Jack Pershing’s sword as he slashed my nest.
I am starved for everything. White-tinged flesh,
Brown indecencies. I am homewrecker. Abomination.
No exorcisms will banish me from your garden.
I am mother to ironies. I take your skin and make
A dark shadow to wear in the tropic night.
Kingdom’s fear. Have you realized me yet?
I’ll oil the path, spice and milk the virile poisons.
Come close. The snake keeps a good home.

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