Thursday, June 1, 2017




A Zen garden
express the ineffable
that lies hidden.

It is true beauty,
as delicate as gossamer,
as real as a tree.

Deep silence is heard
that language cannot say,
yet too simple for words.

Behind what is true,
one finds simplicity.
Behind what is simple,
one sees its elegance.

That is shibumi.


The scent of cheap perfume
From the lonely man at the next table
Brought back forgotten scenes
As she stared at her steaming mug of coffee.
Thinking of lost souls
Wandering he dark alleys;
Everyday is the just the same
Goes the song in the old radio
In his insomniac canteen for taxi drivers,
Different lovers different names –
The story of her life.
It was just after Labor Day
In the year before the Millennium;
Another menthol cigarette she lighted
A treat for herself after a long solitary walk
Gazing at the pavement, thinking
Of the thousand who’ve passed this way
Not leaving even a footprint –
The story of our lives.


Once again she walked the city;
It was past midnight at the University Belt,
And for the first time she really looked at the derelict souls sleeping in he streets:
Some with children, too young to work
But old enough to beg. Mammon’s lot,
But the heart can only ache so much
And in the end, there’s nothing she can do
Not even Christ was saved from agony.
She tried to examine her life
But gave up, blinded by visions
Of screaming g darkness
Filled with guilt and torment
And unutterable emptiness.
After a while, an old man appeared,
Asking for the time,
Then asking for her name
And she gave a false one.
They spent a short time
Under an unspeaking lamppost
Then he offered some snack
And they went to Stoplight Bar
For ham sandwiches and beer;
Two lonely people, sharing intimacy,
Numbly, for while the flesh may rise,
The spirit remains trapped, doomed,
Forever sealed
In a forgotten tomb.



The souls of ancient songwriters live on
Through their music, strains of nostalgia
gives the mind thoughts of noble sentiments,
Like the lingering scent
of a dead father's cologne


On a café a young man sits
On a table just for one
In silent contemplation
Over a cup of black coffee;
Meditating over the rising steam
Of the lotus above a placid stream
In a Zen garden.


Outside, an old man takes a deep breath,
His dog his only companion;
The spirit of his beloved wife
Gazes without his knowledge
But still,
He finds comfort in the night.


JONATHAN AQUINO is the author of five books: Fisherboy, A Celebration of Life, The Way To Inner Peace, A Child of A Lesser God and Why The World Needs Heroes, all published by Smashwords. His poetry, stories, essays, and magazine articles have appeared in major publications. His radio plays have aired in DZRH. He is a Filipino whose native language is Tagalog and writes in both Tagalog and English. He lives in Cebu in the Philippines.

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