Friday, October 9, 2015

Chaplet #3 - The Freeflowing All by Jonel Abellanosa

The Freeflowing All
Chaplet by Jonel Abellanosa

The chaplet’s theme is how, as sentient beings, we are shaped to a certain degree by our connections to and intimacies with the spirit world, the natural world, the cosmos and the past-present-future fabric of the universe.


The author wishes to thank the following journals where the poems first appeared:

The McNeese Review (McNeese State University, Louisiana) – “Ode to the Sun”
The Penmen Review (Southern New Hampshire University) – “On the Balcony”
Philippine PEN Literary Journal – “Second Sight”
Pyrokinection – “Igloo Booth”
Penwood Review – “According to the Leaves”
Eastlit – “Medium”
Poetry Pacific – “Visitation”
Golden Lantern: Poetry in the Essence of Buddhism and Taoism: “Lullaby”
Dark Matter (University of Houston, Downtown): “Ode to the Moon”
Five Willows Literary Review: “Interplanetary Caravan”

Table of Contents

1.      Ode to the Sun
2.      On the Balcony
3.      Second Sight
4.      Igloo Booth
5.      According to the Leaves
6.      Medium
7.      Visitation
8.      Lullaby
9.      Interplanetary Caravan
10.    Ode to the Moon

Ode to the Sun 

Aphelion, as when I’m away brooding or
Basking, questions like corona.  My bones
Crave strength, your morning flares like
Dandelions, neighborhood waking with joggers,
Early sizzling of pans in corner stores.  I follow the 
Familiar with rubber shoes, circling like my mind’s
Gnomon.  Running stirs imagination – a
Heliotrope.  After an hour of exercises and recalls
I retreat to my room, in shadows, brew
Jasmine tea, in my poetry’s woods reshaping
Knots, feel rejuvenation in my veins, your
Light like blood to organs.  I invoke your
Melodies, secrets of magnifying life,
Noting how movements turn familiar
Or varied.  I often doubt my descriptions like
Partial eclipses, as if unknowns bring me to
Quiet.  These moments glow as silks of
Reticence, introversion like books in boxes,
Spaces longing to be ordered.  I picture    
Transformations in your touches, echo the
Unpurified but also labor for the true in my
Visualizations, trusting your revelations. 
Wise bestower, grant me seeing and
Extend my understanding.  I dwell in
Your colors, angling this glass to your
Zenith – to filter your tenderest sparkles

On the Balcony

Beethoven knew my life
Would take this turn and slow,
Seeing me leaning for hours
Watching window panes turn
White from yellow, then gray,
Listening again and again
To how he emptied the music
Of its vast and endless longings. 
He waited for night’s sacramental
Wafer to appear in the window,
Its full light on the piano.
He had become deaf, yet how
Clearly he heard it hold, the way
It asked him to be on the balcony
As it drifted in the cold.
That was when his sonata
Slowed, diminished notes
Bridging centuries, finding me
Through the wish wormhole.

Stars are now lonelier together,
The wind spreading a promise of net
It won’t keep.  Silence doesn’t mean
Cicadas have stopped singing,
City lights keeping vigil growing
Fewer, fewer with sonata ending. 
Gravity is the Earth’s tongue. 
I am the elevated host,
Consecrated for the pavement’s
Yearn for communion. 

Second Sight 

The brain is like a fruit, I said, with a seed
Between the left and right hemispheres
Specialists call pineal gland.  I, too, believe
It’s the sun’s mirror during meditation,
The energy the same as the heart-slowing calm
Flowing from darkness.  I told stories of monks
Who never fall asleep, spending lifetimes
Of love, compassion, charity, contemplating
Thoughts to oblivion, the seed their third eye,
Gateway to the cosmos.  I showed him
The poem I wrote after hours of stillness,
A day before the plane disappeared. 
I brought to our session fifty poems written
Months before the neurologist recommended him,
Newspaper clippings to back my sanity. 
He said it isn’t the pineal gland
But the tumor, as though he believed
In precognition.  After days of deep thought
I decided to keep the crystal ball in my head.

Note: “heart slowing calm/flowing from darkness” is melatonin, a darkness-stimulated secretion of the pineal gland that is part of the system that regulates the sleep-wake cycle

Igloo Booth 

Come in, sit.  To shut out applause
And fireworks, background music,
Close your eyes for ten seconds.
Steady your right hand over the tiger
Orchid as if anointing it with prayer.
There are no answers here, only herbs
To help you take which way when
You leave.  Now drop a ten-peso
Coin in the bowl.  If the koi glows neon
The mirror will show you your face
Twenty years hence, or else revisit
The cathedral where you speckled
Your wishes.  There are no more saints
On my altar, and hills have vanished
From the wall paper.  Another coin
And the flaming wick will whisper your
Heart’s scents, how to mend if it’s broken,
When to roll the dice.  You’re here
Because you’ve noticed trees conversing,
Wind’s starling murmuration weave,
Watersound’s homage to pebbles. 
You’re here because you’re no longer
Afraid clouds might find the moon and follow.
If you put your name in the guestbook
You’ll see the forking path in your dream.   

According to the Leaves

These, in clay-brown pots,
To the grotto, growing leaves
Like palms raised in prayer

These, lanceolate-thin,
Tapering acerose
Clustered like candles

Moringa saplings
Orbicular foliage
Reflecting like paten

Bougainvillea bonsais
Ovate, elliptic foliation
Like chalices

Greens in stems
Of light, the morning

In these arrangements:
Just another intuitive,
Contemplative, moment

I take a seat on the patio
In the middle of silence,

Is this delight, the spirit’s
Earnest to be where
Wind might be seen?

Nothing shapes
The wind’s melodies
Like swaying leaves

Suddenly I know:
This ornamentation, this time


My back like blackboard, 
My head like ball of paper in water. 
Filling her fictionalized story with
Pearl, eggshells, bird bones, teeth, rock salt –
Anything to recall the tutoring days. 
Picturing her Buddha statuettes, stringed
Sampaguita, joss sticks, smell of rice steam,
Food offered to our ancestors.  I want to feel her
Behind me, our cheeks touching, her wrinkled
Hands enclosing mine in prayer recited
In Mandarin: I knew we asked for long life
Her salty noodles and century eggs stood for.
Gold paper burned for grandpa’s afterlife riches.  

I conjure her presence with pencil and notebook –
Instruments of how she guided my boyhood
Chirography.  Unless I memorized her prayers,
She wouldn’t adorn the small blackboard I carried
With calligraphy, nor reread aloud her cockroach-
Smelling books: tales from China of the emperor
Collecting disobedient children’s teeth; pearl-eyed
Peasant who ransomed the world; rain dancers 
And bird bones, eggshells, rock salt.
I’d be sleepy, lulled by her voice. 
No one loved me more than papa’s mother
And I keep reinventing her story
Till her ghost shows and scolds me.


Customary for us to see the moth
As a departed loved one, contrast
To the wall.  It has found a shade
In our All Saints’ Day sense
As if not happenstance to find one
The day we pilgrim to the cemetery.
I recall seeing one next to papa’s
Picture framed in the wall.
I prayed for his forgiveness
For stepping on marble to wipe glass.
It remained.  Father, my first English instructor
Who threatened my iron head 
With the leather belt coiled round his hand.
Mine was a restless childhood,
Play my only wall, study the flame
I loathed, so my parents would say
It was grandpa come to visit.
But this one adding more brown hues
To afternoon’s white silence
When the poem moves
With what it teaches.


Were you the cat
On the sidewalk
Gracing my late afternoon
As I watched our neighborhood
Wake up for the night?
You’d look into my eyes
As if you found a way in
And remembered
What I’ve forgotten,
Meowing for my attention.
But this is the third dusk
You’re not around.
Maybe you doubt
I’m still the grandson
You deeply loved.
I’m still, deeply.

Clouds have grayed
The sky’s memory.
Tonight, come to me
As the light rain, grandma.
Let roofs and trees
Sing, lola, bye.

Interplanetary Caravan

                                    After Imagika Om- Cosmic Sutras

The interplanetary caravan stops by
            Drops two blues

My sacred core’s small voice exclaims
            Glass!  Glass!

The small voice of laughter replies
            Orb!  Orb!

The harpist bends the music
            And the percussionist pounds
                        A hundred centuries of sadness
            Into dust

But sadness overwhelms like laughter
            As the caravan
                                     Pulls into space

And leaves the sky
                            A floating carpet
                                    Of stars

Ode to the Moon 

Apogee, as when you long for the galaxies,
Barely reflecting for my wonder the way your
Crescent smile augurs the fisherman’s skiff or
Diana with bow and arrows.  In the canvass you
Evince my wishes.  I return and rise from
Forks of dreaming to be here in artificial
Gibbous light.  Three sweepers haunt the street,
Harvesting leaves trees shed this summer,
In wee hours baring sidewalks and pavements,
Janitorial diligence the only stirrings.  I’ll
Keep them in mind as Cynthia, Phoebe, Selene,
Later add them to the picture where you
Might be sensed beyond the boundaries:
Not seen, your fullness, but light unmistakable.
Over brushstrokes shimmer hints of your
Presence, your silvering shades stilling
Questions.  This immaterial hour invites the ear,
Renews the strolling wind’s immanence over
Silences.  They move, chores separate but
Together following rhythms of broomsticks.
Until I alter my images with solitude, I’ll
Venture on.  You’ll be round someplace,
Waxing or in perigee.  I imagine how
Xanthic their parts in your company,
Yellowish their nightcaps in life’s stopovers:
Zinfandel or whiskey, beer or brandy

copyright 2015, Jonel Abellanosa


Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines.  He has a chapbook, Pictures of the Floating World (Kind of a Hurricane Press).  He is working on three full-length poetry collections, Multiverse, Multiverse II and 100 Acrostic poems. 

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