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Confronted with emptiness
The artist fills it with red.
Or rather, creates space with it.


Confronted with abundance

The poet calls it empty: the pallor

Of absence, or fear: the loss of color.


Where is she here, then, your love?
How conjure her by these lustful
Strokes of foliage, this brillance of brush?


The love of one’s youth leaves you
A widower early, before you can
Know the color of sunsets.


You pine for her now that you know
It is a scarlet sea streaked with white
Sails—maybe Batanes, Albay Gulf,


Brittany, it doesn’t matter.
Bolinao or Balearic. It is the brink
Where my dreams are moored.


The poet imagines the lover for the artist:
Swirl of pigment, figment of tears,
Nameless heartbeat, passion’s fiction.


She lived here and left empty the yellow
Cottage: roof a sky of terra cotta tiles;
Beyond, branches of breadfruit,


Blue crown of birch, brown brow of star
Apple, to catch the deep light of evening:
All blue is red at the seething core of earth,


Purple the black hole at the center of whirling
Galaxies, the alternate universes of your exile—
Sunspots in the surge of solar prominences.


She looked, between the green storm
Windows, at the unkempt garden
With two wrought iron chairs (empty).


And the artist agrees, yes, she tended
The dama de noche and the nightshade
But left the bushes unattended.

She vanished like a ghost
In the invisible horizon—the vanishing
Point of the red dancers of Matisse,

Braque’s heavy strokes before he split
His vision into surfaces, the solid
Planes of Edades’ grace.

And the poet calls him
as he signs his name, “Carlos”—
Whose heart throbs like the scarlet

Sunset because it is empty,
Or bursts with thick daubs of blood
Because it is in ecstasy.

(2013; Parañaque; El Pescador, Bolinao, Pangasinan)


A Discourse of Red

by Marne Kilates

(After In My Dreams by Carlos)

In My Dreams

by Carlos


Acrylic on Canvas

48 inches x 48 inches


​​​Marne Kilates has published four books of poetry, the latest of which is Pictures as Poems & Other (Re)Visions (UST Publishing House, 2012), and has recently completed his fifth collection of poems. His ekphrastic work may be found distributed in his five books so far, though the two contain the most. He has also published numerous translations of works by leading Filipino writers, including National Artists Virgilio Almario and Bienvenido Lumbera. Pitik-Bulag, an art and poetry coffee table book with ekphrastic interactions between Filipino artists and poets, which he co-edited with national artist for literature Rio Alma and translated into English, is a major work published by the government insurance agency, GSIS, featuring its Museum collection. Kilates has won the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, the NBDB-Manila Critics Circle National Book Awards, and the 1998 SEA WRITE Award given by the Thai royalty. Recently he was the holder of the Henry Lee Irwin Professorial Chair for Creative Writing at the Ateneo de Manila University. He publishes and edits the online literary journal, The Electronic Monsoon Magazine, at


Born in February, 1950, Carlos grew up in a largely artistic environment; his father, the modernist architect Julio Victor Rocha, Julio’s friends the National Artists Vicente Manansala and Victorio Edades, and Julio’s one-time draftsman Onib Olmedo, strongly influenced the young Carlos in their fervently modernist inclinations. Carlos’ paintings have now evolved into works of art in a decidedly Fauvist style. Carlos’ paintings are characterized by the celebration of life in their joyous combination of pleasurable subjects and intensified color, and by his energized view of the world and its natural beauty.


His artworks have been commissioned by various corporations and grace several offices and hotels such as the Raffles Hotel (Manila) and Crimson Hotel(Manila). His works have also been exhibited several times at the Ayala Museum, the Rockwell Center, and Le Souffle and L’Entrecote in Taguig, among other venues. He has also had exhibitions abroad, including San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Brisbane. Features on the artist have been included in numerous local publications such as The Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Philippine Star, Business World, The Manila Bulletin, Lucerne Magazine, and CondoLiving as well as various foreign periodicals.


For more information on Carlos and other available paintings and sculpture, please visit

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