Tag Archives: Neal Imperial

Resurrecting Words

I am in the process of translating my poems from two early books – Beneath an Angry Star (Anvil, Manila 1992) and Salimbayan (with Argee Guevarra and Neal Imperial; Publikasyong Sipat, Manila 1994) – in the hopes that I can release a new edition as an ebook that will be bilingual, expanded, and slightly revised. I hope I won’t have to leave out some poems due to translation difficulties or space limitations. After this I plan to put together a selected poems manuscript initially intended for South African readers. I need friends to keep me focused on this. Any out there? (… there… there… there… — think of echoes in a dark cave)Image

Butterflies on Fire

fire butterfly

for M. L.

We’re setting butterflies on fire,
the ghost of a long lost
childhood friend and I.

Our fingers are phosphorescent and sad,
like matchsticks before the spark.
So much for things of the past.

I look at her smile,
cold white flame

On her shoulder, an abstract
of a bird from the last
gasp of a dream

Before waking.
The windows rattle,
not knowing how she

Could have gotten through them
in the middle of the night.
The scent of burnt wings

Are trapped in the curtains.
What will Mother say
when she smells her ghost

In the secret pockets
of my dirty clothes?


This poem was written around 1992 and first appeared in Salimbayan, a collection I shared with three good friends back from university, Neal Imperial and Argee Guevarra.   The book was published in 1994 and is currently out of print.  One day we might get together and work on a revised version.

This currently appears on Helium.