Billy T. Antonio


It is the month that opens the year
Arms lift ineffectual hands in vain
Lifeless the leafless trees appear
With impotent strength the hunters begin.
A road. A sign. A lost key.
A beggar’s plea for mercy.

Nakedness is a gift not a curse
An empty purse screams: Provider!
Cracked lips water no longer nurse
The hollow thin sacs in a corner.
The doors are bolted; the windows closed.
He seeks in a cold house the host.

The kingdom one must seek first
Neither light years nor meters away
Blessed (is man) only when he thirst
For quenched shall he be.
His burdens borne farther further
Into the bosom of the loving father.

Vox clamantis in deserto
When prosperity favors the sinner
And sforzandoic efforts remain staccato
In gait the giver the heart’s the keeper.
The tin receives the silvers
Hard and cold to the fingers.

His guitar’s riff falters one more time
Another broken string, another broken tune
The song’s left unfinished rhyme
Is forgotten beneath the pensive moon.
The seeker meets the keeper
In the house of the maker.

The burst of light
Keeps me sleepless the whole night
How acute the senses are
When one is on a hospital bed

I refuse to wear the blue gown
The nurse comes twice
To check my pulse, my temperature,
And my blood pressure

While the man in the other room wails
(I heard he has prostate cancer)
How much must we endure
Before time takes its toll upon us?

Billy T. Antonio is at present a teacher in the Philippines. His short Billy T. Antoniostory, The Kite, has been broadcast on 4EB-FM, 98.1, Brisbane, Australia. Some of his fiction and poetry have been published in the fiction anthology Only Men Please, World Haiku Association Haiga Contest, Mainichi Daily News, Rose Red Review, Tincture Journal, Red River Review, Penwood Review, Akitsu Quarterly, Three Line Poetry, Hedgerow: a journal of small poems, Poetry Quarterly, Asahi Shimbun, Sharpening the Green Pencil, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Wild Guide 2011, Anak Sastra, Philippines Free Press, Philippine Graphic, Ani, Liwayway, Sirmata, Tinig and The Literary Apprentice. He lives in Casantiagoan, Laoac, Pangasinan, Philippines with his wife Rowena and his daughters Felicity and Asiel Sophie.