“The Red Model II” by José Edmundo Ocampo Reyes

José Edmundo Ocampo Reyes


René Magritte, oil on canvas

On the calculous clay, two pennies
stare down a lone dime,

while a matchstick pretends to ignore
the cigarette it once kissed. Someday

the oak wall on which I lean
will warp and shed, splinter

by splinter, long since forgotten
by those who erected it. What is

the point of news, when in the end
all we are left with are scraps

that no one can decode?
I sigh, longing for streams

of stock tickers, Monday-morning trains.
O to escape the tyranny of inaction!

To unlace and take off my feet,
and run to the office bareshoe!

from Rattle #24, Winter 2005
Tribute to Filipino Poets


José Edmundo Ocampo Reyes: “When I was a high school senior, my class would make weekly visits to a nearby public school to tutor a group of sixth-graders. Towards the end of the year, I decided to bring my students some poems. One girl innocently uttered one of the wisest things anyone has ever said about poetry: ‘Poetry is an encyclopedia.’”

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