for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

red (for One Shoot Sunday)

photo prompt by Walter Parada

the truth about red:

my heart is like a man’s
although it flickers not throbs
as the Sun I am absent at the zenith
but in living things i lend my flare

my color is red not gold
as Red i seep in or withdraw
i blossom vermillion in camellias, azaleas,
or metamorphose into the rose

when blossoms shed petals,
leaving a litter of brown scraps
i desert the flowers
or blaze in berries, persimmons—
when juiced i spurt red

after coupling with Earth
i, as the Sun, leave it with
fire for smoldering births

find me, Red,
on chipped off terra cotta bricks
a mitt of rust on stray feet
a red organdy dress
to lift the shroud off grieving
i drip red on tubs of basi
shared after evening prayers
flaring on a monsignor’s cheeks
chanting a Te Deum

i pull Red out of my chest
to cloak archbishops
in carmine the color of fresh blood
the blaze of martyrs
who bleed for others
drain their heart out

but locked in self
i dry out a heart turn it black
blood when it dries up
that’s me, a two-faced Diablo
the apparition sneaking in at night
death masquerading as love

a bouquet of red carnations on Fridays
seething trees through bumpy rides
a stone in the moonlight rooting on a mango tree
a branch for a splint on broken bones
a face bruised by kisses
scarlet spears in childhood dreams
your name on my breath
a deep breeze

i, Red, am also the Sun swirling down
on a violent hand
but soften on pink tulle over the fields
coaxing you to reach up to me
scooping you to turn in my arms
switch off your fears
to smoother you with my most tender tinge
i, the Diablo slung in your heart:
you‘re freed

*basi, fermented sugar cane, native wine in the northernmost edge of the Philippine archipelago.

Posted for One Shoot Sunday at One Stop Poetry where I can’t resist the challenge as the other poets and artists who congregate to share their love of art and poetry in this site. Check us out!


May 22, 2011 - Posted by | free verse, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. ‘i pull Red out of my chest
    to cloak archbishops’

    ‘after coupling with Earth
    I as the Sun, leave it with
    fire for smoldering births’

    I enjoyed the poem overall but, enjoyed the above lines the most

    Comment by L Turner | May 22, 2011 | Reply

    • I, too, love these lines! Thanks for coming by and leaving your wonderful comment!

      Comment by alee9 | May 23, 2011 | Reply

  2. death masquerading as love…yikes…some pretty vivid imagery..the dried out heart turned black may stick with me for a while…

    Comment by brian | May 22, 2011 | Reply

    • You chose the most powerful imagery, Brian! Thanks as always!

      Comment by alee9 | May 23, 2011 | Reply

  3. Only you could have written this amazing piece, Alegria–“…a stone in the moonlight rooting on a mango tree..” and all the other very varied and alive images–seeing your imagination at work here is like walking through a tropical jungle surrounded by life and death in a million forms. And amid all the heat of the sun, there is something chilling, esp the finish. Fine writing, my friend.

    Comment by hedgewitch | May 22, 2011 | Reply

    • How does one reply to a ‘penetrating’ perception of one’s consciousness? That’s how your words reached me down in my depths where these imagery I’m not even aware would spangle screen when I was writing this poem. Like I said in my comment on your own poem, you are to me, my ‘babaylan’. Thank you, Joy!

      Comment by alee9 | May 23, 2011 | Reply

  4. Amazing piece. Loved reading it.

    Comment by mystic margarita | May 23, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for coming by, Margarita!

      Comment by alee9 | May 23, 2011 | Reply

  5. I enjoyed following your path here, and the exploration of red. There is so much structure to the photograph, so much that looks absolute; cold, even. Yours was a warmer take on this.

    Comment by Melissa | May 23, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks, Melissa. I like how you see my poem infuse some warmth, even passion, to the perfcet coldness of the prompt. It’s how it struck me and which is why perhaps, I wrote my poem as I did.

      Comment by alee9 | May 23, 2011 | Reply

  6. I enjoyed this take on the image. The red theme is well explored, and for me, there are some very memorable images here.

    Comment by James Rainsford | May 23, 2011 | Reply

    • Thank you, James!

      Comment by alee9 | May 23, 2011 | Reply

  7. Exemplary, focused-but-not-obvious write.

    Comment by Steve Isaak | May 23, 2011 | Reply

    • Wonderful critique as always, Steve! Thanks hugely!

      Comment by alee9 | May 23, 2011 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: