Mark profile2


Mark Anthony Cayanan obtained a BA and an MA from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, as well as an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all in Creative Writing. He is the recipient of a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship in Umbertide, Italy, through the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists Programme. His poetry has appeared in local and international publications, such as High Chair, transit, Drunken Boat, Copper Nickel, and Verse Daily, and he is the author of Narcissus (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2011), Shall we be kind and suffer each other (High Chair, 2013), and Except you enthrall me (University of the Philippines Press, 2013). He handles composition, creative writing, and literature courses at the Ateneo de Manila University, where he also serves as an Associate Editor (Literary Section) of Kritika Kultura.


Mark title

These poems are an attempt to house seemingly private distress within a verse form—the Shakespearean sonnet—that is known for the muscularity of its exposition. Although the rhyme scheme and metrical count have been dropped, the poems nevertheless recognize the rhetorical moves that typify the sonnet through the privileging of affective shifts and repurpose the compactness of the form through the inclusion and intrusion of metonymic narratives


Unless we know guilt can be unfounded, my quiet
comes apart in a game of preservation. I cast into
deep water the unloved, three days sealed from light.
And already the quest in the mirror: ask me how soon

before we discompose into blue flame. Every man
passing through me is an announcement in the skin.
He resembles the end that I must dedicate you to:
presents itself read, comes to, and wants to disappear.

He is over and over how I measure warmth. You know,
don’t you, etc. The heart hoards its remorse, and between
mouth and pelvis is the impossible hope. I in this case
is the last dream of the body let go: conclusions fired

in the barely-living morning; the motive, keep it
quiet, so here for good I can scarcely identify ourselves.


From mortality o’clock to the impending
otherwise, the once acute mind grows
its down, the difficult heart unlearns its body.
Heat is speech. The eye, the great sympathetic,

comes to a full. I deserve this age, when death
is the casual marvelous found almost daily.
And the woman my story keeps exposing is
a glass held over his little village, a cold cloth

of holy water, a midnight voyeur rising
for the specter of my woman. Why I never-
theless am present is when what I want given
I am given. To knife the known life. I condone

belief as it up-spirals: to have never believed
in touch is immediately an always vital order.


This care tends to escape into time: the Less than,
the It may be hours or even days, the I’d rather believe,
although never. Should the heart be the field
of swelling, no good skin will remain. A person so low

he is feather, is mirror over mouth, is appearance
of death. Through their jugulars froth the hot
favorable light: violet be living, dead be dirty yellow.
Sometimes the incision will cause any man

to doubt, demand alcohol and electric life.
Where the dead turned on its side is in itself this change;
before this change the soon; as soon as this action is
is tissue. Litmus blue, any given brown, perfect weather,

he gave, he gave, he did not make the twenty-four hours.
My blood was dark and thin.


Thus from old fevers, the hours have disproved
the able space. Lightning that wells in the veins filled
with cholera. So violent does this stiffening become,
so violent the nervous jaw; the thumb found free

assumes its flexible condition. None of these
unless in my science the mouth, you note, is kept
mercury. The cooling body mistakes anatomy
for error: an eye we use without precision. And

the living wrong me; the coat of the eye is a moist
atmosphere and cannot be overlooked, my friend,
my friend, I will give good and not neglect the signs,
will repair the blister and listen to the skin. If your deep

blue parts are pressed upon, remain so after we have
been turned to. Take this heart, greenish with grievous art.

By nerve, by loss, by the muscular structure
of the empty. The patient brain—suspended
either through injury or the rapid heart—fractures
the inner unnatural; the mechanical charcoal

of the throat. Soon enough the warm slow of suspicion,
an opened negative. An excellent scarlet in the body
has dust from which it came. All year the new
death highest beneath the skin means time.

We will prove a few moments of complete
absence, will sever the have of the whole body:
he is called upon to care, he need not follow:
this test body is one mere fact. The careful pleasure of

resembling is a good needle passed into the sternum:
if life be trouble, the vein will rust just the same.


The End of All Things gazed in pieces and said,
The beautiful hour I tell you was for myself.
His home awaited an angry prophecy.
We fumbled with the bedclothes of death,

keeping time with the husky fever. Often
in the last moments of childhood, the appeals
of the brave swept onward, down the awful echo
of these imaginations. In mistaking health

for perception let the light enter, eternity take place
by the flame of an approaching story, anxiety
spread out visions of green fields, some sweet delight.
Energetically the pain in nearly every instance

is a famous friend. I wish I had the pleasant thing:
to be myself again, divine as we came into it.