green green grass

poetry exercise 1
December 4, 2007, 2:43 pm
Filed under: cw posts

Egypt- ca. 1800 B.C

Death is before my eyes today
Like a man recovering from illness,
Like a convalescent walking afield.

Death is before my eyes today
Like the scent of the myrrh
Like sitting under a boat’s sail on a windy day.

Death is before my eyes today
Like the smell of lotus flower
Like sitting on the bank of drunkenness.

Death is before my eyes today
Like a foot-worn path,
As when a soldier returns home from a campaign.

Death is before my eyes today
Like a clearing of the heavens,
As when a man is enthralled by the unknown.

Death is before my eyes today
Like a man is yearning for his home
When he has passed a long time in captivity.


The line “Death is before my eyes today” is the first line of every stanza. The repetition of the line is a manifestation of convincing his self (the speaker of the poem) who may be an old man because his words contain wisdom in them that only those who are experienced can ponder on. I get the sense that the persona is tired. The idea “Death is before my eyes” gives me the look of tired eyes and that his remaining strength he spends in ranting about existing—just because his strength is not enough to kill himself. However, it could also be that he is still not sure if he wants to embrace death.


I have an impression that this poem is easy to read since it is so usual. Or is it? It describes death in similes like a list poem. Although I can tell that not all similes in the poem have the same intensity as the other. The one with much impact to me is, “Like sitting under a boat’s sail on a windy day”. But rereading the line, I have second thoughts. Or is it my personal sentiments getting into me because I have a fear in sailing, be it a fair or windy day? Sailing is worse but sailing in a windy day is worst. It is death. But as what I wrote, I have second thoughts about the line. Without my sentiment, it is plain. It does not describe death. A windy day must transform into a storm before it can be as intense as death.


I noticed that each stanza’s second and third lines are always in pair with each other. They are in pair in a way that they share the same idea. For example, the first stanza works hand in hand to convey an idea of death as a healing or an emancipation from illness. This means that the persona’s view of life is suffering. And death is finally the end of it. The first stanza seems to be the ruling idea of the whole poem. Death is finally resting from “a boat’s sail”, from “drunkenness”, from a “campaign”, from “being enthralled”… and finally in the last stanza, it encloses the poem as death being a home.

It seems to me that the poem has so much life in it. While the word, “death” is present in every stanza, the lines that are supposed to work to describe death are alive. If the lines are looked into individually, they all represent experiences of life. They all represent an image perceivable by the senses.


The fourth stanza, when death is  “Like a foot-worn path, As when a soldier returns home from a campaign”, views life as a war or a campaign. Death is where the path of life as a war leads.


The images of the poem express the long wait of the persona for the moment of his/her rest. Death, as he repeats is “today”. By repeating the line, “Death is before my eyes today”, strengthens the power of the “now”. It is the strong impulse of the moment that the persona sees before his/her eyes what he/she has been waiting for.


Maybe it has something to do with the familiarity of the lines that I now perceive death differently. It is clear to me that death is not the opposite of life (as shown in the lines which are alive), but a part of it. It is a natural thing. And while many people are afraid to die, the persona of the poem asserts with much conviction that death is already before his eyes. The speaker describes it in a rather light and comforting way to end.


assignment: on the creative process
November 27, 2007, 9:52 am
Filed under: cw posts

In my poem, Let My Cat-Insticts Out The Bag:


Last night I had a mouse-chase going. I laid still

between the sofa and shoe rack

in case it will come out nicely

out a hole in that roomful of papers,

boxes, cans and dusts.

The whole time I did not flicker an eyelid.

It might scamper right before me

and I will miss it.


Until the wait expired and settled

as a false hope—I  closed my eyes.

Finally sensing the cold floor

appeasing my hairs down

to my very skin. And the night was

silently devouring me

to sleep. But I did smell it—

It tickled my whiskers down through

my wary nose. Ah! I heard it too!


But my instinct was swifter

than my eyes that it was Browny

I mistook for a mouse.


My heart leaped a hundred miles

that I screamed

the moment away and ran

like Uncle Cheetah. Until I found myself

a safe place up near that hung pictures. Thank whoever!

I do not want my nine lives to be

all gone at one time,

you know.


we were asked in our CW101 class to make a poem that would exercise the element called point-of-view. The instruction was to assume a point-of-view of an animal or an inanimate object. Our teacher presented  a sample poem (in a point-of-view of a bear?) that I considered painstakingly upon writing my own poem. My decision of choosing an animal’s point-of-view, (particularly a cat since we have one at home) was greatly infuenced by the sample poem.


Since I am still a creative writing student, if ever there really was a creative process coming from me, it was channelled in a way that will fit to what our exercise demanded.


The first stage of the creative process is called preparation (during which the problem is looked at from different angles and when a number of thought changes occur). In this stage, I looked at the sample poem as my model poem. Since it was an animal’s point-of-view, I discarded the choice of choosing an inanimate object and stuck with the idea that I would write from a perspective of an animal. I thought of possible animals I think I am capable of assuming its thinking. I thought that it would be practical to assume a domestic animal because they are closer to me and by that I know them better. I thought of house-lizards on the walls, house-flies, mosquitoes, then finally I was disrupted by my grandmother’s cat entering my room. Then I decided a cat would be fine.


The second stage is called incubation (no voluntary or conscious thinking on a particular problem happens and “ series of unconscious and involuntary mental events may take place”). This was probably the then-what? ­stage. After I came up with a decision to write about a cat, I suddenly felt tired of thinking—almost frustrated because I realized I do not have something in mind. Frustration is effective sometimes. It let my mind wander. I felt the pure need to come up with something. Then I just stopped. Then something came up. The muse made its way, I guess.


The third called the illumination stage ( a “happy idea” appears “together with the psychological events which immediately proceded and accompanied that appearance; the incubating idea “becomes definitely related to a specific goal… and the picture is first sketched”). This was the time when I started writing my lines. It was almost like Sigmund Freud’s dreamwork, wherein every detail seemed to happen in real life one what way or another. I always spotted my grandmother’s cat just outside my room waiting for the mouse to come out the hole in the corner. And the lines just flow. The determining what to write was more difficult and more time consuming than finally writing it. I came up with a narration.   


 The third stage is called the verification (the idea obtained in illumination is elaborated and revised to its exact form). This was the part when I did changes on  verbs. Some lines I omitted and changed the cutting. Then when I felt I could not do anything about it anymore, I decided to stop and abandon the poem that way.



September 24, 2007, 1:33 pm
Filed under: cw posts

Roselle I. Jimeno                                                                                                                     CL122

05-65504                                                                                                            September 25, 2007


            To start, I think I should begin with what the situation was like the time I was born. My parents were nineteen. My mother had to quit school to attend to me, and my father eventually quit school too. Since then we had always been supported by my father’s parents whose business until today is making and selling kakanin. For some time my parents had a stall in the market selling condiments and spices. Eventually, my mother went back to school from Civil Engineering to a degree in Education in 1998.

            We live in a community where some alleged drug-addicts get killed, where most of my age already have a child or two, where trisikad clog up our narrow streets, and children multiply amazingly. We still live in the house of my grandparents. We eat three times a day, or more. And thank God I haven’t experienced in my entire life having our electricity or water line cut for not having been able to pay the bill.

            I am a third-world country citizen—a Filipino. I am a Roman Catholic, although we rarely go to church. I live in Davao City where my mother works as an under-paid private school teacher and my father self-employs himself. I have three siblings who are in good health and studying. Everything which regards to my study is financed by my paternal uncle who works in a bank in Singapore. My brother, on the other hand, who is also in college gets to study in U.P Diliman because he passed the DOST scholarship. But because the stipend is not enough, our clan makes up for it. My sister who is in high school also studies in a public school from which the rest of my siblings, except my youngest sibling were educated. Our youngest only gets to study in a private school because my mother teaches there, and for convenient purposes.

            I belong to the bourgeois society because I am a student. At first I wanted to take up Nursing because it is the call of my time. All my close friends from high school were taking up Nursing. Yet my mother strongly discouraged me because she thinks I do not fit to be a nurse. She finds it unimaginable for me to wash somebody else’s ass. So when I passed the UPCAT and I qualified in my first choice of course which is BA English major in Creative Writing, my family neither disapproved nor approved for it was what I really wanted. My course was my sole choice and I will venture into it because I cannot turn away from it anymore. I aspire to be a tourist of my own country, at least.                                                                                     

i know you’re out there, somewhere out there
April 2, 2007, 10:30 am
Filed under: it's just me. you dont have to care.



do not show up now. you can not handle me now.

i won’t make myself manageable for you.

you will just ruin your life.

and i will just ruin my life too.

so please do not show up yet.

a tribute to the dodos
March 20, 2007, 6:15 am
Filed under: it's just me. you dont have to care.

we are no more than a pair of slippers. you’re my right,i’m your left. i’m your right,you’re my left; and vice versa. we look alike, in the mirror i’m you. i look exactly like you.

we are no more than a bubble gum. i just love to chew you until you’re neither sweet nor minty, until you become saliva. we are no more than the taste of saliva.

we are no more than shit. we have to be eaten alive or dead twice, thrice, they dont care. and they get everything out of nothing, as nothing as shit. so we become shit: the “shitee” and the “shitter”.

we are no more than immature poets. we immitate “mature” poets. and when will we mature? until we learn how to cheat?

we are no more than mothers. we are sucked and we suck. and life sucks. the least we can do is suck back.

we are no more than nikki, or kae… we feel we are them sometimes.

we are no more than stretch marks, hair split-ends and breaking callous. we are the flaws.

AND the dodos are more than just what and who we are.

the shoe bargain
March 17, 2007, 7:19 am
Filed under: cw posts

Her feet do not touch the ground when she sits so she can swing her legs childishly. The sun flashes angry rays on the tree over the long white bench where she waits for you. But before she knows it, you are already coming towards her. She hates it when you just show up like that, anticipated yet still surprising, making her stomach ache strangely.

You wear your new shoes. The day before, you described them to her excitedly. The color of the leather was exactly as she imagined it—like fresh macopas that her grandpa brings to the house on Sundays. And the smell of macopa is the scent of your sunny smile. She can tell you, “You are very attractive”, or “Hey, you are blooming! Are you in love?”, or she can just say, “You look good today”, and pretend a laugh. But she won’t say that in front of you. You know she won’t. These are the things she does not say at all and she is sorry she does not even know why.

You walk with each other a lot. She can walk with you as far as three kilometers without having to sweat about it—or farther; she does not care at all. She can walk with you anywhere: on a dusty cemented road, on an asphalted street steaming heat in midday, on paths that used to be rivers leading to the ocean time before time, on a red carpet showered with wild flower petals—or on a quicksand, flush down yourselves and struggle there—underneath all the ways you could have walked on through the surfaces of the earth. You make her feel that you are never tired of walking even though you can always ride on something at an expense of small change. You teach her how not to grow tired every time you walk her home on a paved road as you kick little stones that come your way and exchange kicks of a bigger stone, aiming to keep it as far as you can: a team effort.

“Belinda, Belinda, Belinda”, you love saying her name in a song over and over again.
Belinda tells you so many things and you listen to her like all the world is white noise. Remember when she tells you about how she found out her brother is gay? She dreads the moment she said it. She should not have said it. It is one of those things she hopes you, and her, can forget. And forgetting is too much to ask.

Remembering—has always been as much as forgetting. You kicked the slammed door, bury the old truths you and Belinda made so young, and the older ones you keep alone.

She stops walking with you.

There are so many things she does not understand; most of them she does not bother understanding. “You know this, right?”, you always say to Belinda. People only love what they understand and they only understand what they are taught.

Belinda happens to see you one bright morning. You sit at the far end of the horizon she strode with you one thousand times before; with your arms forwarded from behind her, clutching her shoulders. Once in a while you stop, pull her gently—and shut all the worlds. You still wear your shoes. It tells so much of the walks you had with her and the walks you had without her. The shoes are old; their color faded. Her stomach aches strangest. Belinda can no longer think of fresh macopas. The smell of macopa is not there anymore. You stand up and walk away. You do not look at Belinda. She does not look at you either. She moves her head down.

All Belinda can think of is her new pair of shoes she bought in a bargain.

trash, can’t care enough to care
March 4, 2007, 2:11 pm
Filed under: it's just me. you dont have to care.

i was thinking of something else a while ago. yet i saw something and i suddenly decided not to think about it anymore, whatever it is.

i do not want to sound like him.