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The Real Meaning of Chaos

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The Real Meaning of Chaos
"NUMBER 17A" by Jackson Pollock
By Marne L. Kilates

Wrapped like a chrysalis in a cocoon
It will not reveal itself
Until it emerges as a shimmering wing
Ready to sprinkle its magic dust
Among twig or tendril or branch,
Savoring its pure freedom.
If I hold your hand,
Does it mean I won’t ever let go?
Or am I just leading you
Where you want to go?
Fact is, we’re going everywhere
At once. Like stars and space rocks
From the Big Bang:
Everywhere is our destination.
We divine our own destiny.
We are the horizon of mountain or ocean
Or the distance between fingertips
And lips. Speech creates us.
Listen, among the branches of mangrove
And waterlogged driftwood
The grub nurses on rot and pulp
Until it is extracted as a tourist delicacy
For its adventurous umami.
Listen: among the creaking bamboo,
Quivering blades,
Flapping of herons,
And chattering of orioles:
The rumor of monsoon or typhoon
Arrives: that is how we shape each other
Like mud figures cured over fire,
That is how we whisper cosmos or forest
Into being and existence.
Because we do not want to forget.
We settle among the shingles,
Drift to the bottom of the water table,
Seep and simmer under the earth’s mantle
And rise like rain as water vapor
Or the hiss and hiccup of a volcano.
And we become the hieroglyph of roots,
The map of veins among stomata,
The exhalation of the leaves,
The astrology of the skull,
The Minotaur in his labyrinth,
The golden ratio in the whorl of petals,
The winding staircase to the bell tower,
And we breathe in unison.

Marne Kilates
28 August 2022

About the Poet

Marne Kilates is an award-winning poet, freelance writer, editor, and translator. He has published six books of poetry and translated works by leading Filipino poets such as National Artists Rio Alma, Bienvenido Lumbera, and Lazaro Francisco. He has won the Philippines’ Palanca Memorial Awards, the National Book Awards, and the SEA Write Award given by the Thai royalty.

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