green green grass


Four Walls, Four Corners of Domesticity:
March 24, 2008, 1:26 am
Filed under: cw posts

A Collection of Ten Poems:

 

 

A Poem of Home-Welcoming

 

 

Dear Uncle Don, the house

is gray and woody for more

than a decade now. The doorknob

is accented

by the dark stains from the hands

of people who go in and out,

in and out–. Lola is upset

dressing her

windows with green (her

favorite color) pongee curtain she

bought in Bankerohan. When it

rains, we

move the kitchen-table. We

do not want rainwater

on our food. Lolo Gwapo

made a

spittle in the front porch

after you called from

New York. You said you

will come

home and bring us whatever we

want. We cleaned the house and

rearranged the furniture. We

perfumed it

with sampaguita (laced to

our little Santo Nino) and

air freshener. We also

sprayed

insect repellent all over

the house. We are quite excited

to see you. The house

can tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Saturday

 

The champorado has gone cold

on the table.

The midday sunlight stays behind

the still curtain.

The blight of the day before remains

in the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chopsuey

 

The table is set:

fork to spoon, one by one,

on plates over placemats

as the soggy rice disguises

on fragile whiteness.

 

Chopsuey is served:

A tentacle of squid

slips from the mouth.

A piece of Chinese petchay

is shoved on the side.

The bald quail egg is

crushed over by the fork.

A bit from a strip of carrot is

between the two front teeth.

 

The table is emptied:

except for a bowl of chopsuey

covered by an unused plate,

saved from the saliviating dog

outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haiku: Seventeen Syllables

 

i

lay

on

folds

and

waves

of

sheet

we

made

with

our

eyes

closed

 

 

 

Mama

 

On a Saturday, hang the clothes

and the sheets on the clothes’ line

to dry. Clip the underwear the way you

clip your hair from reaching your eyes,

for the wind not to blow them away.

 

On Monday to Friday, wake up

with the roosters. Feed the children

and the father to send them to study

and work. Wash the plates and clean

the house. Watch T.V to set you

to sleep. Prepare the dinner before

your children and your husband

come back.

 

On a Sunday, pray–

pray without ceasing.

 

 

 

The Crime Of A Bored Kid

 

You saw, wide-eyed,

even to death.

Your stomach, from that day’s

generous feed,

bulged.

 

Now, the fishbowl is empty.

 

 

 

A Family Affair

 

The pot-bellied uncle guffaws

at the platter of caldereta and rice

(his thrice) after his brother

faltered a note from his

favourite song.

 

The aunts seat on the couch

talking about their children’s

newly acquired talent.

 

The cousins run away from porcelain

vases and the Buddha, away from

the urns that keep their grandparents,

to the front yard,

bruising their knees.

 

 

 

Idle

 

a rainbow of dirty clothes about

the fed-up pink basket

the dusts on top of the shiny black

leather-dressing box

jane eyre and the queen of the damned,

on the floor, flat and shut

a fancy pearl-earring sealed inside

the clear zip-lock cellophane

the dangling blanket on the bed-side, and the

loosing pillow-cases off the pillows

the desk’s shadow on the stuffed

travel-bag (the unzipped small pocket on its side)

an evan and jaron-song in altering high

and low volumes from an old cassette-tape player

like a drunkard in karaoke who can hardly

read the lyrics and shout with pride

the all-too familiar chorus

of a three-peso song.

 

 

 

 

When walls peel, on their own

 

When walls peel,

they get rid of the dusts

and cobwebs of

photographs and words

that injure Silence

in its gut,

on their own.

 

 

 

The Old, Dying Dog

 

By the door, where the dawn enters

and purports the day

and the days to come, the dog stands,

in its feet.

 

By the door, where the twilight claims

what is spent during the day

and the days to come, the dog sits,

waiting.

 

By the door, at night,

the old dog

lays on the cold floor dying

for another day

and days to come.

 

 

 

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A Letter of Home Welcoming
February 5, 2008, 3:29 am
Filed under: cw posts

Dear Uncle Don, the house

is gray and woody for more

than a decade now. The doorknob

is accented

by the dark stains from the hands

of people who go in and out,

in and out–. Lola is upset

dressing her

windows with green (her

favorite color) pongee curtain she

bought in Bankerohan. When it

rains, we

move the kitchen-table. We

do not want rainwater

on our food. Lolo Gwapo

made a

spittle in the front porch

after you called from

New York. You said you

will come

home and bring us whatever we

want. We cleaned the house and

rearranged the furniture. We

perfumed it

with sampaguita (laced to

our little Santo Nino) and

air freshener. We also

sprayed

insect repellant all over

the house. We are quite  excited

to see you. The house

can tell.



for caedmon whom–for once in my life—i thought i had met
December 23, 2007, 5:03 am
Filed under: it's just me. you dont have to care.

(It might be

that)

 

when

a painted wall

peels,

on its own,

it gets

rid

of dusts and

cobwebs of

photographs

and

words that

injure

Silence

in its gut.

As when

a tiled floor is

mopped—it takes

away

the stamped

labyrinths

(of,

say,

two pairs of soles.

 

 

Tell me—

if this skin,

against

this flesh,

is scrubbed

off like the paint

on the wall

—will looking

at you

feel

any difference

as one should feel

leaving

without footprints?).



*
December 17, 2007, 1:37 pm
Filed under: cw posts

a rainbow of dirty clothes about

the fed-up pink basket

the dusts on top of the shiny black

leather-dressing box

jane eyre and the queen of the damned,

on the floor, flat and shut

a fancy pearl-earring sealed inside

the clear zip-lock cellophane

the dangling blanket on the bed-side, and the

loosing pillow-cases off the pillows

the desk’s shadow on the stuffed

travel-bag (the unzipped small pocket on its side)

an evan and jaron-song in altering high

and low volumes from an old cassette-tape player

like a drunkard in karaoke who can hardly

read the lyrics and shout with pride

the all-too familiar chorus

of a three-peso song.

*subject to changes during the cold, cold holiday season



seventeen syllables (version2)
December 11, 2007, 1:33 pm
Filed under: cw posts

i

lay

on

the

waves

and

the

folds

of

the

sheet

we

made

with

our

eyes

closed.



poetry exercise 2
December 11, 2007, 1:06 pm
Filed under: cw posts

Persian Poetry
Jalal al-Din Rumi, 1207-1273 A.D.

From the Divan-i Shams-i Tabriz

This is love — to fly toward the heavens,
To tear every instant a hundred veils;
At the first moment, to renounce life,
At the last, to journey without feet;
To regard this world as invisible,
Not to see what your eyes behold.
“O heart,” I said, “may you be blessed
To have entered the circle of lovers,
To look beyond the pale of eyesight
And roam over the bosom’s winding ways.
O soul, whence is this breath upon you?
O heart, whence this urgent throbbing?
Speak now, O bird, the speech of birds.
I can grasp your secret meaning!”
The soul replied: “I was in God’s workshop
While He baked the house of clay and water.
I flew away from God’s workshop
At the time that it was being created,
But when I could resist no more,
They dragged me there to shape me
like a ball.

DAY1

There are two characters in the poem: the speaker himself/herself and his/her soul. These two characters, although they are as one physically, builds up the tension in the poem with the duality of the voice. At first, the speaker expresses in the first line, “This is love—“, and asserts love’s beginning and end. But then again, in the succeeding lines, I get the sense that the speaker is quite unsure of what it is he/she is feeling. It is still unclear to me but it seems that the soul’s reply to the speaker’s queries about the existence of that particular feeling, whatever it is, is divine.

DAY2

I thought I would never notice. I knew from the first time I read the poem that there is more to it than I could understand from reading it on the first session. Now, I see that in the lines, “O soul, whence is this breath upon you? O heart, whence this urgent throbbing?”, actually demands answer about life. How did life cast breath to the soul. And how life came about to the heart. The idea of love in the preceeding lines is mentioned because it is love that starts (“to renounce life”) and ends (“to journey without feet”) life. In these lines, the the speaker recognizes the physical world. The soul is in one with the heart in order to renounce life.  As he/she says further, the end of life is not having to walk on bare feet, not being able to touch the ground.

DAY3

Is the speaker having biases with the soul or the heart (as the representative of his physical body)? When he/she states his lines in the poem, for whom is he/she speaking for? Or maybe the speaker is neither the soul nor the heart. He/she is the entity between the two. He/she is the scientist in every human mind. He/she is always hungry for answers of existence. When has life really started? Did it start with the body? Or the soul? The soul’s reply is that it is there in the “God’s workshop” when the body was made. So the soul is already there, before the body was made. But  what should we call the persona between the two parts of the “self”, the one that asks these kind of questions on life and existence?

DAY4

In my reading this time, the reply of the soul made an impression to me. I get the idea that the soul does not agree that it will be united with the body. The line, “I flew away from God’s workshop”, expresses the soul’s disobedience to God. But when the soul “could resist no more”, “they dragged” him/her to shape “like a ball”. It seems that the soul’s unison with the body made of “clay and water” means giving up something which might mean the freedom of the soul. It could also be that this unity would imply mortality. By the time the body dies, the soul also dies.

DAY5

Having pointed out that there are two characters: the soul and the heart, the speaker in himself/herself could be counted as a different character. He/she is in charged of the two entities within himself. He/she contains the two in a way that he/she is neither the soul nor the body. He/she thinks, inquires and feels. He/she recognizes the very feeling, which is love, that may have been the reason of his/her life. He/she is able to describe love—“ To regard this world as invisible, Not to see what your eyes behold”.



seventeen syllables
December 7, 2007, 8:04 am
Filed under: cw posts

i lay

on the ripples and waves of the sheet

we made with our eyes closed.