The Actions of the Fox



© SSJ 1978



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© 1978 SSJ

Author’s Note:

‘Fiasco’ is one of five poems that form the collection Silent Verses. The collection, written under the pseudonym Dias was written in the period 1977-1978, during the martial law years of the Philippines, while the author was in university trying to finish an electrical engineering degree. Later in 1978 (or early 1979?), the collection was entered into a literary writing contest in the University of the Philippines, Diliman, and became one of the three collections awarded the top prize in the poetry category.

The poems of Silent Verses (all of which will be posted in this blog in the coming days), speak of the farce that was inflicted on a country by the regime of Ferdinand Marcos (who was President of the Philippines from 1965 – 1986, ruling as a dictator under martial law from 1972  – 1981). They also lament the failings and anguish of a generation that allowed such a despot and his cronies to lord it over a country for so long, engendering a fiesta-fiasco of extreme extravagance by a few while the majority of the populace endured and/or groveled in extreme poverty.

— SSJ, 19 May 2017

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The Cattle Rustlers


the flash, an image mashed up from several photos

the rain last night,
a misty leaden shield,
––had all but washed
–––away the muddy field.
––––the green is greener now
–––––the sky is deeper blue
––––––and the labyrinthine wood
–––––––opens up to show
––––––––three stricken men, weary and furtive,
–––––––––with eyes that scan the level view,
––––––––––a field that beckons like a sieve
–––––––––––to lead them to some resting pew.
‘the sky is clear,
the field is clean,’ the first man says
––‘the end at last is near,
–––let us cross in haste!’
––––he sees an end
–––––to all this wayfaring
––––––an end to the pain
–––––––of running, trudging, struggling,
––––––––pursued in the night,
–––––––––in mire and in rain
––––––––––by rangers who hunted them
–––––––––––with mighty fierce guns, in vain.
‘the field is deadly still,’
the second man says
––‘the sun scorches,
–––i fear the silence!’
––––the pathway swerves
–––––about, beyond the plains
––––––yet unknown, touching at length
–––––––the sky, yet unseen.
––––––––he fears the light
–––––––––more than the painful night,
––––––––––he fears the end
–––––––––––more than the actual flight.
‘i see no being
that may do us harm,
––your fear unfounded
–––must not cause any alarm,
––––nor do i see the end you speak of
–––––my other friend,
––––––the sky is deeper blue
–––––––and only greener the green.’
––––––––so as the third man speaks
–––––––––he pulls the rope
––––––––––and herds the cattle forward,
–––––––––––onward, with but a hope.
three burdened men wend on
across the open field
––each to his thought
–––and the stock the grangers yielded.
––––they leave the labyrinthine wood
–––––from whence they come
––––––three weary men out into the lea,
–––––––into the sieve, exposed under the sun —-
––––––––a bolt from out the blue
–––––––––flashes and as suddenly sweeps
––––––––––and in no time has felled

© SSJ 2017

WPC:  danger!

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Dark Skies


Every once in a while, we break off from presenting our original works to share with you something profoundly awesome out there: the dark skies. And if you have a wanderlust for the wonders of the night skies, you know that the threat of light pollution is real. The International Dark-Sky Association is trying to raise awareness of our dark skies and the threat of light pollution to this natural nighttime environment. We hope you take the time to view the videos and photos shared hereherehere and here, and explore the other links in this post, for education as much as for enjoyment.

from the


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Panda Alert!

It certainly would be a surprise to find a panda at one’s door! If you were in such a situation, what would you do? 🙂 The photo below is of Ibzy and Imzy, romancing the panda! No! Actually, they are simply playfully posing against a life-size poster of “a panda at the door” pasted on one of the walls of The Curve, a mall in Petaling Jaya, Selangor Malaysia. Finding the postered walls during one of the family’s forays to the mall was unexpected, and was certainly another surprise treat for the kids.


photo of ibzy and imzy with ‘the panda’. photography by ssj, july 2016

And here’s another treat, this time for you, dear readers: a haiku that seems to be playful on the surface, but … Before continuing with my notes further below, enjoy the haiku first:


beware, bamboo shoots!
might as well feed the panda,
cola and tributes.

-© SSJ 2016

This haiku is actually a political allegory to a very sticky situation in the disputed area called the South China Sea, with the panda & its bamboo symbolizing China. Wikipedia’s overview of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, found here and here, underscores the complexity of the situation. While the Philippines, with its pittance of land, air and naval arsenals, cannot hope to win in a military confrontation with China on the issue, nor can it afford to disengage itself from the economic influence that China wields in the region, it is thus well advised to instead nurture its economic and social ties with the superpower — to tame the panda at its doorsteps, so to say — in the spirit of cooperation and fraternity among nations.   — SSJ, 15 April 2017

Additional Reading: 

Developments in the South China Sea arbitration case …

What’s at stake in the messy South China Sea dispute (according to CNN)

The ruling on the South China Sea arbitration case  (Philippines vs. China)

Current ‘fluid’ status at the South China Sea: Philippines mending relations with China?



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This is not like it, the visions



This is not like it, the visions
of a gradeschooler
who too willingly would have
traded for a twitching butterfly
his balding, if not for the tonic,

The boy now man cannot see
the adult, his dreamer’s man
of plenty, unheeding
old shadows of proselytizers
nor the ease in blending with
divisive corridors, rooms and hallways
of edifices in whose massiveness
the boy now man sees only a boy
his haughty hallucinations of daring
into massage parlors and the dark
mysteries of a woman’s softness
is libidinous
no more than the thick
gum of a jackfruit prim
stuck out of a stick trembling
to snare taut a dragonfly as
the lad in his pants thrilled full.

His early Seventies’ Che Guevara
under whose posterized nose
huge red, black and white,
he had gone to bed, a guitar
beside him seems no more than,
to the intercourse of creed and color,
now a mere contrast, two dimensional
wall-covering sick against
the counter counterrevolutions
of nations whose vacuity of souls
is carved out of international polities.

This tyke might then have equated
the Beatles with the Four Horsemen
of the Apocalypse, exacting
the same precision with which
computers in their ignorant endurance
read, write or execute
his digitals and analogs.

He might even just have dreamt
becoming tough like the Sulu wars
which in the passion of novels
and the panorama of the movies
craft of clouds crowding
stood hungry like the rubble,
hesitant ghosts of a town besieged,
while under the fallen leaves, with age,
he dug worms for the mudfish.

Only, the river rippling cosmopolitan
permeates so much, the dead would bloat
softening the fibers of tension
into a swelled man’s deceptive health.

He now remembers his old man complain:

“Even our verses crawl 
limpid like litmus. 
We have ceased 
using cork pads under 
cola bottle caps. 
The substituted plastic 
yields harder to scratches 
to bare the pleasant marks of 
like desert drought reposed 
in languidness. 
Surely this is not like it, 
the visions.” 

© SSJ 1980

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All before in the days

all before in the days
the easter shells off me were peeled
and out my umbilicus
were yanked the rainbows cold

a brave child i was blending
like lizard lazy into rocks
softer than the rim my days were
of a sun floated across
the nearness of gentle sky
in leaps and bounds my winds
cotton-candy rolled
in between mountains

there is just now scaling rocks
a bitter one of his barrenness
only dust and nothing floats is soft
on the sky surely not the scorch
even the birds get tired
and how the clouds could bleed
stranger the wind is his no more
no two mountains could cotton-roll

who exactly his predators were
he does not even know
and how to him they ever got
and who today changed am i

© SSJ 1980

< WDP: Outlier >
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