from Ecstasy Facsimile



   When  profaned  like a country,  a lynch-mobbed | martyr who  sees his statue

and is moved | by it, as someone knifes herself into | her captor’s mouth, as doped-up

diplomats | bicker in line  for Holy  Communion | taken  so the  Lord is  within, hammer

| used to crack the skull, unlucky eggshell | the photographer snaps the night into

   its  known fiction, the country  slumps  inside | a tricycle  and  stares with  one

intact | eye, an exit  wound on his  scalp, let God | speak to  you  through  brandy  and

soda, let | Him reach the soul winking above itself | the planted grams the prayed-for

sign, our lives

   menaced by a dream

that like a sunset drops dead these bodies

float without mercy in idle gossip




The selves I’ve fabricated, dressed

.    in beach formals, slacks spattered with mud:

    we’re sending someone off, you know

who it is, and I’ve yet to learn the words

for grief, having until now coped

    only by drinking it away, I succeed

.    as a stale narrative; some have their heads

bowed, the others stare at a point

where the shadows on waves aren’t

.    distinguishable from the moving water,

    the sepia wind making the scene

as sad as a season finale, I’m my imagination,

    I’m whichever form I steal: to raise the stakes,

.    someone makes a speech


about children I’ll never have—I can no longer

.    rely on the torments I suffered through

    my childhood, too far back to elicit pity, the soul

forgetting where it sprang from,

of course it’s from the body, greatest

    source of unease, like heavy machinery

.    it backs away slowly, the motion beeper

rejects the sureness of disaster,

I’m willing to be seduced by it, therefore

.    this scene, this draft

    of what happens to me, deadline

imminent, and when the mourners amble back

    to the concrete road, you emerge from the reeds

.    and walk apart from the story on water.

Mark Anthony Cayanan is from the Philippines. They obtained an MFA from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and are a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide. Among their publications are the poetry books Narcissus (Ateneo de Manila UP, 2011) and Except you enthrall me (U of the Philippines P, 2013). Recent work has appeared in Foglifter, Crab Orchard Review, NightBlock, The Spectacle, and Lana Turner. A recipient of fellowships to Civitella Ranieri and Villa Sarkia, they teach at the Ateneo de Manila University.