Three Poems

Justin Caguiat



box laboratory

a stranger by the window looks at the landscape of the city,

a loaf of bread keeping guard against the room,

the fall of the curtains of a value

monitor with a view of the produce aisle


without an audience,

the loss prevention staff performance,

its concrete agreement peeling back aspects

that are always obvious to her – whose ritual initiates act

but for privacy granted by such activity stealing,

object within the memory string, pulling –

dragging along with it the flavor,

the bread of the stolen object,

and the place setting still,

in the moment taken with her,

walks down another street, still smiling inwardly


this stolen jacket cannot compete with the shock

of the beautiful faces of passersbys,

always the sun shining wonderfully surprising

through her fashion,

the sunlight

reflecting in large glass facades,

notions of architecture cramped her thoughts,

generic forms of steel overcome

the futuristic feel of the civic policies,

enforcing the elegant expression of bodies,

their art is even, rigorous:


artisanal pastas, for example, designed and hung

from a grocery chain, an idea in hand, an organic clock,

always willing to change,

miniature sculptures,

conforming to the shapes of bodies,

Future food

Which it is designed and expressed

in the heat or cold,

happening on a flexible Spring Day.




Cultural Relief

Is it true im myself,

And no other?

Bubbly use inching thought

Indulgent actors imaginative performance

The strip of pleasure, sensory expense,

– impeccable, permitted and used surface –

good taste, the aspiring actors rare…

The ideal – dream of co-existence…

This is the voice of the flesh in chorus,

This is the oral tradition round!

Is it true im myself,

And no other?

Bubbly babble prophetic student,

So naturally I practice “innocent reticence”…

Whatever it is…

I walk around the city,

With all the time in the world,

My rehabilitation shading,

My eyes from the sun…

I instantly shot at the sight of a friend,

Amongst strangers but yoked always, forever at a distance –

Each friend on each side, unrecognized – – –

Coins each face looking back…

Vulnerable and confident,

Ignorant and knowing…

This exhibition could have been staged at home, I think…

Ill feed myself because I can,

And if im too sick to eat it,

Ill give it to a friend…

I love company, too, and I love to visit friends…

But, chatting and itching as spring comes along,

Quickly -where was winter, all these years in the sun?




january 30 2017


the stinking corpse


emerged wet and bloody


from the hole


was reanimated before my eyes


the object had been dead




now animated with life


later I noticed it had my face


I sent an image to my


mother and she said


He Has Your Face


He Looks Exactly Like You


I ran into the photographer the next day


the japanese german photographer


they had just returned from the protest


she took images of the birth


for her body of work


she wanted to call her show


your mother sucks cock in hell


“My darling was at home with the baby


I had been walking the day away


before thinking what have I done”


to laugh / to cry


sensation of a mild analgesic gone


to me it doesnt matter


ive already made my bargain


I have already discovered


the secret to fascism


it grows with the emergence of our children


now that he has arrived


if I had to choose between your life or ours


I would sacrifice all of you


Justin Caguiat is co-director of Manila Institute & is based in Chinatown, NYC.