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Alfonso Manalastas

Here lies the crane, a violent, intelligent machinery
designed to carry weight it does not understand—
though I suspect it is beginning to question our motives,

the way no poet ever truly speaks the language of brevity
and that our predecessors’ lamentation over our skilled
defiance is birthed from a place of guilt.

Measure my syllables, my verses, the length
of my sentences and you will arrive at a number
between zero and X. I add love into the arithmetic (not love,

the word; but love, the pain, longing, ecstasy, pragmatism,
poetry, etc.) and the mathematics of it all loses
its eloquence, no longer worthy of defining what it was

never equipped to define. The crane coaxes the weight
to dull its edges, to resign its arms to the brutal
extraction: love letter or peace treaty—though I suspect

it has its doubts, the way the poet sees the same world
everybody else sees but always from a tilted angle;
crooked and upstaging, forever suspicious and in awe

of the preciseness of things.

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