you are there

I have two paintings of you,

in my room, in my home in Negros,

watching over me.


In a cafe, listening in on the conversation

of the table behind me, in every sarcastic comment,

I hear your voice, I hear your laughter.


In every art gallery, I can see you

tracing a circle in the air and reciting

the name of Italian painters.


In the middle of a traffic jam,

I can feel your anger rising

and can hear you cursing the high heavens.


In the movies, that moment I gasp

when all the elements come together on screen;

I can hear you say, “Now, that’s cinema.”


Tattoos; books; classical, folk, and country music;

exotic cuisine; when people talk of history as if it happened

just yesterday; when someone forgets the word he’s looking for;

tufts of long white hair, and every time someone doesn’t want

his picture taken


you are there.

I see you.

You are there.


I look at the mirror and I see my face

and I trace a circle before me

and whisper, “Ghirlandaio.”

I whisper, “Caravaggio.”


And I hear you whisper in my ear,

“Now that’s cinema.”


(for my Dad, on his seventieth birthday. Happy birthday, Dad!)


5 thoughts on “you are there

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