Julius Marc G. Taborete

filipinx Oedipus

the only way
to cure people’s
heart is
to gouge your
eyes out

and exile—

(and empathize)
says the Oracle,

Asclepius’ myth
          Asclepius’ demise meant that a mortal man can reach only one certain limit
          in the natural order of things and it is forbidden to him to exceed this limit

A dream is one harmful thing.
I was a harmless six-year-old
sputtering senseless words.

White shirt with a miniature stethoscope,
given by Papa. It kept falling,
but I always clung to it.

We played doctor-patient
pretenders. Tended his life and my
stuffed bears, nursed from here to there . . .

until now . . . but
here’s a doctor’s advice:
put a swab inside, thrust, and wait
for disgruntled moans. Slowly
pull out, catch the colorless liquid.
If it bleeds, rest. If not, wait
for the result—and keep
on repeating until tons
of sweat trickle
down your coveralls.

Asclepius’ myth is similar, too
I was given a bare elixir to dream, yet
to live was another;
senseless words are harmful.

10 hr

. . . here’s a 10-hr uniform for September,
heats up like an unsung August protest,
sweats like July’s national address.
Or maybe that
tightens up like empty June promises, later
breaks down in May working holidays
and isolates all alone in April,
then gets discriminated by March.
That has been the same difference last February.
Here’s a “Thank you, frontliners!”

(counts up to 7 seconds)

. . . with(out) pay.