Two Poems by Jonathan Aquino

Journey Through Wasteland By Jonathan Aquino

I

For too long I’ve been on this desert,
A young mariner on dry land,
A nomadic Bedouin in cactus land;
Deceitful mirages have become my world.
I long to soar with the eagles of Jove,
To be one with the eagles,
To be one with Jove.
But this lot is that of Job,
The Old Testament pawn;
Suffering under the same twilight
Suffering under the same dawn.
But the forces of the universe have not conspired
To bury me in numbing ice,
Or burn me with searing fire.
I’m not the last nor the first
Destined for this path of agony
That which drove the weak to perish
Achieving oblivion
Though their own actions.
But still, listen to me,
May their souls hear my words?
An anvil is worth a thousand words.

II

I have seen too much death;
Will I live to see mine?
Who will bear witness?
To the death of my mind,
To the murder in my mind?
Am I still alive? Or is my life
Like an afterimage of the sun,
Or like a vision of the blind?
Angels are real, we are told,
And demons are midwives’ songs,
But I wonder. I don’t want to grow old
Believing it’s the other way around:
That Satan rules the heavens
And God is six feet underground.

III

Unspeakable tortures I have known,
Still I choose not to cry,
And I choose not to die.
They can make the life-force flee,
Compound to dust this mortal body,
And bless with ashes the indifferent sky,
Summoning my spirit, like a skylark, free.
Even with hoops of steel,
My soul the grave cannot steal;
For Death is an old friend,
Like the flame within the spark
Like the silence within the dark.
For the Grim Reaper I hold no fear,
He that took the ones I held dear;
But still I remain, have immersed deeper
Into the illusions of this dimension,
Though I tried to break the chains,
The tentacles of Maya, the bonds of delusion;
For I have become weary of the shadows,
Moving shades in the walls of the cave,
Dying to soar, like a convict nearing the gallows.

 
 
 

The Measure of a Man By Jonathan Huggybear

I.

Any fool can carry a weapon
And even a coward can kill,
I told the warrior as he rose,
Drawing his sword as I sat still,
Unmoved as death draws near

II.

He told who he was, and how dare I,
I did, and there is no need, said I,
To say what I already knew, and he,
As he raised the blade, saw I wasn’t afraid

III.

My eyes, steady in gaze, are crystal-clear,
And he saw it, he whose weapon is fear.
Am I not afraid to die, he asked me,
And then I spoke, and he listened closely

IV.

Death arrives as the dawn brings out the sun,
And courage is to face it when it comes,
And yet the measure of a man is more than valor,
For it is hallow without decency and honor