top of page
Rigel Portales11_edited.jpg

Metroimperial Intimacies

Rigel Portales

After Victor Román Mendoza’s book of the same name


Staged scenarios

of moonshine, 

the head

of a comrade

is tarnished 

by the police 

chief’s cumshot. 

Isn’t that

how it always

happens? The severed 

chin lifted

to higher realms

while the body

is roamed by fire

ants in the jungle. 

I was certain 

anything handsome 

would be found

out and hollowed.

I was certain

one was allowed

entry if only

they were emptied

of pleasure.

If they insisted

on cracking our legs

open like a crab

to suck the yield

from our brains

until we were pure


of the land.

I imagined —

all the pigs

we teased out 

of their slaughter

with just this


-ous mouth.

Open up,

the baton building


in your back,

the barrel, one 

alloyed finger 

ruffling your hair

like how someone

once told me

there’s so much

promise in you

and another person

on all fours

cannot begin

to fulfill them.

We were fucking,


I said it



full of



above the face

of landfall cliffs.


I said it.

This is where

we traffick

our children

along the mountains

within the rubric

of running

towards chaste

rivers plunging

into basins below 

with their cunning


I warned you.

Even the smallest boy

digs a grave

for their mother

land’s shores

when they jump

into the water. 

Even the smallest

girl has an equal 

boy in stature. 

Both sitting 

on mango trees,


tears from each

other’s smaller 


I dare you.

Take them 

from each other

and they will take up 

arms, cutting

with impossible


the answers

from your throat.

Rigel Portales is a 19-year-old Filipino poet afraid of disappearing. Fortunately, his works have appeared/are soon to appear on Palette Poetry, Frontier Poetry, and Cha with a poetry chapbook, DEAD BOYS MAKE THE BEST MEN, forthcoming from FlowerSong Press in the United States. He’s currently the poetry editor at the Malate Literary Folio. You can find him on his Twitter account @rijwrites where he writes to preserve and preserves to write. 

bottom of page