Oscar Jr Serquina

Oscar Tantoco Serquina, Jr. currently serves as an instructor in the University of the Philippines-Diliman, where he finished his BA degree major in Speech Communication. He was a fellow for poetry in the 10th UST National Writers Workshop and the 49th Siliman National Writers Workshop. His works have been published in several online journals, like Writers’ Bloc, The Houston Literary Review, and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He maintains a blog, http://lettersinthedark.wordpress.com


One Can Be So Sure

The feel of our bodies locking
on each other—that is everything
we know about ourselves, as these days
are scaled down to their ultimate
sensation. We are snug with such relief,
such release, having shared all this
in numerous places: in malls and cafes,
in bars and cheap inns, in the accommodating
rooms of our parentless houses. And how,
in the endless hours of mourning over
our losses, romance rescues our beaten
lives, like a common alibi. Nothing
is gravely given—not our careless actions,
nor the labels in which we are nastily
forced into, nor the acerbic arguments
we have the mornings after. And if only
we could avoid the appetite of a touch,
the appeal of a private hour, the startling
slipping into showers. But there, at the end,
is our full surrender, arranging itself
like a tempting foreplay. We have known
better, of course. That when we talk
about these matters, with crassness
or caress, they end up as casualties
of our brazen indifference. If this becomes
our one and all, the huge wall that separates us
from the rest—so be it. Let the real
and the fake be blurred and blundered,
let the rumors stale in the grimy sink,
let the stink of our week-
old clothes concretize inside the hamper,
the unanswered calls summarize what we
shamelessly mean. Unfazed, we are left with this
sincerity: you, assured, me, assuring.


It Has To Be Done

Trying to make sense of things, he remains
With her in a park, under a gunmetal sky,
In a terrain that collects and collapses itself
Like a heap of debris. He is attempting to be one
With her, to position himself in the boundary
Of owning and letting go. I’m having a good time,
She says to him, expectations chaining together
In every syllable she makes, as if unready to accept
A pending sorrow. But what does it mean
When he finds no vigor to unlock her
Understatements, always furtive, always adrift in air?
He stares at the bunch of roses being sold
At the corner, their redness saying something
To him—a ridicule perhaps, or a conscience
That needs to be welcomed. At sundown,
The obligatory strolling down around the area, the fingers hinting
On intimacy. After a while everything recedes
From the view: the gush of delight, the urgency.
And all at once the conclusion dawns on him,
Cause after cause, effect after effect.
He is no longer lying to himself.