Austere Rex Gamao

Ev Yu, Domino Effect, 2018 (Photo courtesy of the artist)

You may begin at the middle if you want to be contained. Safe in the telling of the future. Cracked, sure, the voice, the ball. But safer than the melting outside, safer than the white under everything. A gum hovers there. Maybe not gum, what do you think? A moon? I guess. A gum can be taken down, divided, and eaten. What good’s a moon?

Further down, a flight of stairs carries you into management. Chaos everywhere, boss. The smoke alarms have quit and evaporated themselves. We’re still number one, boss. Still at it even if we won’t know the building’s on fire. A blue door keeps us from seeing the building’s a podium, no, the podium’s a building, no. A race has been concluded. Only the paint isn’t dry. A race can be two races, or three, or four, or back again to one. We’ve never televised this race before, sorry, boss. The podium can be reused. The building can be renovated. The podium where we house the building can be built inside out to be a building housing a podium. Or not a podium but a center for podiums to be displayed. Or not a center but a factory of podiums. We can only hope for everyone to have a podium waiting for them at their doorstep, at their office, at the bus stop, at their lover’s feet.

You may begin at the top. The side where a body un-melds itself or where the body is part wall, part door, part window, part dirt. The body becomes what it was always meant to become, a staircase without a landing too big for any step or part of the scenery, plant something in it, try, try. It permeates, for sure. It coagulates, too. Statistics difficult to distinguish from the field. Swirl the body that way. Oh no. Now, the body covers half of the world’s graphs. It pales into and from itself. An animal even after giving up its sounds. How can a body do this? Look! Another body spikes up in the charts. Phew! The shops are still open. There’s background music for whirlpools now. Yes, it’s the same music but every time it’s legs popping away to Water Tank Mountain Park and Spa.

You may begin at the sides if you want to be set loose. Walk into a city. Hold your breath. Hold the city in your breath. Exhale. Watch it sway out of existence. You can reverse that. Inhale the city, make it solid. Open it up to its river that stretches into the white horizon, and afraid, turning back to flood the foreground. Boss, what’s the itinerary? We can’t just walk around and be sad. That’s a waste of funding. There’s a new detour over at the border, orange and threatening to spill even to the next city. Let’s go home. I can make dinner out of yesterday’s stock market broth. Remind me again, do you live in the lime part or the teal part of the city? You’re not up to it, I can tell.

There’s a conveyor belt dumping packages in the bay. Too much surplus, management says. Too much extra time bundles, too much miles and miles of road, too much being out there and taking another shot at love. We’re still number one boss, even with these losses. Let the fishes have them, boss. Pink’s their color anyway. Management went down there in the deep bottom and saw the mountain of products. It’s a whole new revenue world, I’m telling you! Fishes are wearing our clothes and growing boobs and balls. They hold business meetings and traffic. Now, management is thinking of hiring them.

You may begin at the bottom if you want to be escaped from. Also here, a mobius strip un-experimenting itself. No more fun-in-the-bedroom mobius strip. No more night shifts forklifting air out of food. No more binge-watching shows again to follow laugh tracks. Just spinning and spinning until shedding off its skin and flying up to sink into the white beyond.

Here, a directionless drifting. We’re going to miss you when you go, boss. To where?

Austere Rex Gamao is from Sagay City, Negros Occidental. He was a fellow for the 14th Ateneo National Writers Workshop. His work has appeared in transit: an online journal, Underwood Press, and is forthcoming in Cordite Poetry Review and The Queer Movement Anthology of Literatures. He has also self-published zines of flash fiction called Heavenly Bodies and Heavenly Bodies 2 and 3 collections of autobiographical and observational comics called, What If He Is Thinking About Me?, Is It Okay if I Just Look At You Lovingly for A While?, and Did You Bring Me Here So You Could Watch Me Love You? He’s now taking up MFA Creative Writing at De La Salle University.