Author: Francisco Guevara

Francisco "Kokoy" Guevara was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. He graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2010 where he was a Teaching-Writing fellow. He is currently teaching at De La Salle University. His chapbook-length interview with Kenneth Goldsmith for the DLSU Publishing House's Critics in Conversation series is forthcoming.

Jus ad bellum, to awe

Jus ad bellum, to awe

one’s difference as amaryllises broken in by
a river’s susurrus there in summers where

a breeze could still refrain. About the sorry
in a signature, I was graying cracks to fore-

shadow a snow globe, and broke it for all
the king’s horses to simulate drowning for
distress—how its rain could behead when

lightened by sun or how laughter was
betrayed by its occasion. In the matter of

dawning, Alice in a snow globe was heard
over & over from a surface where fewer &

fewer bubbles rose until what dew could fall
fell & rose into an emptying concave. About

its fogged-out silhouette belied in a white read
for flaking, in a neighborly sense & the season

one was glassed-in from. About the sorry I was
graying into a crevice as counterfeits I could
stomach no longer could raise tomorrow, and

its warmth inhaled & whistle-blown for a future
free of tense & a sentencing of one’s stutter

kissed/ galloped in and around burning flesh
she read for swarm. With no makeshift wind-

mill, I revised/ was infected in the automated
sense I took for her coursing office; until its

scape could play itself out of glasses I spit-shined
in the shadow play you dated creaturely, in

a classical sense you nursed and, therefore, was
complicit with what my father’s father drafted—

thou tallied in disavowal. O, another glister one
invokes for dutiful, another kill box to ward off our
disquiet—my frequency coalesced then undone


At night the trees lining a sidewalk distend
with a drone prior to headlights passing/ drummed:
They that haue powre to hurt, and will doe none,

That doe not do the thing, they moft do fhowe,
I turned then turned her upside-down from snow,
or your arrivals all at once fleshed-out & sown


caught against what sowed in—what
could be misread when I salivated in
the meantime, against the now there was
none of—in the collusion I am in with my

own doing & disfigured faces undulated.
There were many ways of appraising how
tired we were of losing ourselves, to speak
of sense out of tragic registers—strummed,

and so the snow found longing found
torrential/ and so Alice sang the strands of
her hair, and her dress similarly fraying from
their flutter and tickling Alice with.

We were the dwelling we convexed, mirrors
promised to pry crowns out of my smile/ to pry
thought from a breadth and what light was un-
accounted for was gift-wrapped & dated as

a matter of toll—in order to be camouflaged,
my body had to screen my rearview to be someone

else’s vanishing point/ whored there to hum
a song of looking back at Alice and then in waking


In the bustle that was our confessional,
Alice strove to act out her outdoors—led

by one’s wanting to be taken by a first
shot or what crosshairs one squinted, nay

vanished me into. I was in the wake of
commotion while the white we read for snow

settled, while this mobile season sought to
reconcile faces & their seizures, while stars were

already in what I walked through & wanted
nauseously anew, flaking in its cinema-

tic tense—camouflaged on a day we could
become by wanting the debt instead, by

forcing weather into rimes by casting spirit
for a hum to feign what I’m taken up to.

Because one ruins a greenery
by holding breaths, by making
one’s hand a makeshift shade,

mooring the we we were and
kept from the next that was redressed,
happening by the sun Alice stared at,

and swaying one’s rearview in the lack
of field, in this settling I learned to infer
and, in inferring, left to stage sleep for

mourning, for Alice & whatever it was
that I wanted to preserve by missing—
lightened by the difference of seasons to

& from a hymnal, drowning between
the breadth of once to once & what mirrors
are framed out of—what light we thought

we could pillage from rain, and the pitter-
patter enough to act out the reddening
of Alice’s heart, to mention mines without

the fluency of concretion in mirrors
paralleled and a sigh that rendered them glassed
-in, a passage from which we become

the only resistance again in again in again in

To have said that we were once in
between, and our inability to notate tongues
the only way to praise childishly/ the lay of

a lighthouse of a dwelling that circles for its
currents, projecting the white that persisted

into plot into littorals appraised by emergency,
and apostrophes one becomes salivated on &
onwards the memory of a yawn we welled &

were buoyed from/ on to a corner burning now,
now arable in its ending & meant yielding limb

by limb to the currency one becomes in being
stricken, but to whom do we sustain this new
we owe as today turns cinematic, as that day became

anthemic without repose and the firework there is
in the Alice Alice wasn’t, was her filament & calling


and yet she felt abyssal on her
nape, walking to one’s shadow by straying

from a sun’s setting—arabesques this became
in being unable to shade what one foresaw

in erring, a home she rocked herself into after
having given up on overtaking or what one

storied on her silhouette—anchored on in order
to look away from, and to sing the wreck by


orchestrating one’s sinking & the Alice we were
always promised to sink into, and choruses

from one’s falling drowned-out in wanting to be
more than another’s, or to have faith in the

consistency of starting out of interring claims to
territory harbored word on word, “Harvested

from shores rallied from her genuflections

O, for her & the homesickness I effaced in
reading interred for dwelling, for her address

against an umbrella to map what was believed
into a canvas, and to have been the led/ for paper

cuts we yielded in having to enclose signatures
against what hands I thought I held in hymns,

in weighing and waiting for you by basking in
the red instead, and to have been swayed by these

makeshift sails against the wreck we misdirected
her epitaphs with, and the pledge on the left, left,

left, right & her letters without endings returned/
feasted in being worked through, and the seconds

I counted under seasons under a corner lined/ re-
vealed in a blink or the ill-lit scene I became in our

following, familiar with my deficit of whatever
it took to make iambic out of testimony reddening,

nay burning on a crosswalk as we bled this new
for future and these arms once flailing in flames

On this day’s frequencies, from the air mined
for total, what tropes is its own expiration
as mist leveling amid her march to and from

daylights delineated, nay distressed in what fell
& became its falling from a bough as the new
regurgitated what remained with beginning as

the bulls-eye there was in being moveable—after-
wards, ducks and drakes against my splaying for
this pond & its littoral until each stroke severed

stones severed waves read for the distance I quoted
enough for it to be unraveled, as crosshairs I kept
& keep making on a windowpane to be targeted, or

to feign weeping for the outdoors, or the weeping
that becomes me by absolving a season’s intrusion

We were your mistresses effaced for
the likeness of this & that afternoon,

as if staging one’s wanting was entombed
enough to breathe stanzas complicit

in reading refrain for exit/ doors that stood
for the absence of her suicide note

in a house that homes built on a fogged
shutter. How evening lights were splayed

when through—exhausted in one’s sense
for dismembering what stakes were laid

about, and about debris read for firewood
twined enough to make a noose, to haunt by

trying on breath & if one retried her and then
her waived interval to frame a ditch,

or struck our mooring enough for the filament
one takes for the premises of when she scatters.

The lines, “They that haue powre to hurt, and will doe none,/ That doe not do the thing, they moft do fhowe,” is a transcription of William Shakespeare’s sonnet 94 from the 1609 Quarto, which was reproduced in Stephen Booth’s facsimile and commentary edition, Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

On the day of the dead, & Aubade

On the day of the dead,

we made it our business to mishear
another’s passing as a march towards
the chorus of wanting to unmake

a night closer to a mistress. Can’t we
tell the lies of ourselves without having
to utter what was from a larger breath?

We praised without having to hold to-
morrow before the ends of a father’s body
as I swelled from lines of a coral reef

from the ghosts along a sea. I became
porcelain with every stroke inherited from
every father’s need to drown a setting

sun into the blueness of a sea, and hours
I willed from a shore by grasping waves
with a conch shell: On another shore lies

the we that washed up my plea as praise
scripted for someone who voted without
wanting to know who won between

the day, the dead and the lies of a father,
or news in my palms a boat I could follow
before being forced to surrender today.


Did you mangle the living out of her
enough to see the foxhole he was

digging become a snow globe he shook
himself? After his body was flailing

to think the noun in, he stepped into
her left then another’s left to rename

a street after their father, who was born
unbeknown to their desire to shed him.

Did you mangle the living out of he
who shook from having to say the same

thing again and again? She praised
a streetlight—waltzing its refusal to read

how he read bridges in possession while
his tongue paved what remained of her.