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Kilala kita. Oo, ikaw 'yun: Nagkasalubong na tayo minsan, sa LRT, sa Gotohan, sa kanto ng Aurora at Katipunan. Nagkatinginan tayo. Hindi mo ako kinausap, pero alam ko, nakilala mo rin ako. Kaya ka narito, di ba? Para sabihing, Oo, oo, ikaw nga 'yun. Naaalala kita.
na, mula noong 24 Enero, 2006, ang nakitambay dito
three poems from "The Wesleyan Tradition: Four Decades of American Poetry"
Sunday, March 25, 2007
No Friends of the Heart Nancy Eimers
Believing the heart was the center of knowledge, the ancient Egyptians would leave it inside the mummified body and hope the other organs, bottled and placed inside the catafalque, might be put to some more enlightened use. The summer I worked in a factory I was told by Edelmira to stay in college to learn more wonderful stories and teach them to others. I would say we were almost friends, working across the table from each other, oiling and polishing notebook binders and stacking boxes all day, every day in a white fluorescent eternity. By midafternoon the women from Cuba and Puerto Rico and Mexico had made each other lonely by talking in Spanish too intimately, parents, husbands, children, brothers, sisters, names that went by and imagined the rest, all the details that get so homesick we can't stay long with each other's lives. But when Edelmira was generous with my future, imagining a white room with windows and the sound of my voice addressing itself to a classroom's shy and receptive silences, she was leaving herself in the dingy present, the little table with somebody else across from her, the piles of binders, ring after ring after ring that would not meet. When I tried to be cheerful-- you have so many friends here-- she answered, putting her hand to her chest, no friends of the heart. She said it in English and it sounded true, breaking out of her language and into mine with the urgency that has still not learned to be indirect. If there is another life, I hope it is ruled by affection, which in this life we can only restore to each other unexpectedly, a chance bit of news, an odor, an old, bleak feeling just biding its time. It seems in this life the heart is not yet the center of knowledge, but we have always been in awe of blood. When I sat by the pond with you a few days ago you said one reason to have a child is so lovers can dwell at last in a single body. But friends can't live in each other's bodies. If sometimes language fails them less than their looking quietly at each other, if vocalizations, gestures, expressions are meaningless layers we have to cut through somehow, I don't know what we will find inside. For now, all we can do is take care of each other from the outside, as when mosquitoes swirled up from the grass and we brushed them off each other's arms and faces and hair.
Thirty-six Poets After Sakai Hoitsu Judith Baumel
Some are drunk. Some are mumbling. Many are solitary, each in his way fixed. They are all happy over their very good number, an easy square; its root six, itself a lovely number, exponential chrysalis. And if, in the array of patterns taken from nature-- clouds, spider webs, starfish-- we might yet find a true square not one of these thirty-six, not the one, whose square is on his sleeve or heart, cares.
My old group, my buddies, the Math Team would measure our drunks by booming the quadratic formula, gleaming with rum, slopped over some parents' living-room rug like these bards in their curtained cabal. No one of us flubbed our password, the drinking song, that poem of radicals pressed in our brains, no gauge at all, absurd. Minus b plus or minus the square root of b squared minus four a c over two a. Now even sober I lose those cancelled lines of youth and drunk I am easily distracted, say, by the discriminant, the bee squared et al. Concentrating on minutiae, I am lost in the well- folded sleeve of the great poet's silk kimono, lost on the silkworms trail winding through Japan and wonder, drunk, watching my steps split by Xeno, drunk, wonder what led me to the simple numerical plan and then away like dust in the path of a paper fan.
In My Own Back Yard David Young
1 July, I'm dozing in sun on the deck, one thrush is singing among the high trees, and Li Po walks by, chanting a poem! He is drunk, he smells unwashed, I can see tiny lice in his hari, and right through him a brown leaf in the yard flips over flips again lies still all this time no wind.
2 From behind November glass I watch the wind truck all its winter white furnishings item by item into my yard. In a dusty raincoat mu neighbor throws a tennis ball, over and over, to exercise his police dog.
Sometimes I feel like one of the world's bad headaches, sometimes I get no closer to what I have wanted to mean than the gumshoe calling "Testing" up to the bugged ceiling...
You can try to put words to a mood or tell yourself to ignore it, but what kind of message is coming from the chickadee, dapper in his black mask and skullcap, grooming himself on the big pine's branch-tip? His music is small and monotonous, bit it's his own.
3 I am turning pages in lamplight. Outside, above blue snow, in February dusk, in the double world of glass, more pages filp, like wings-- this merging of me and the world done with mirrors and windows.
4 Hunting for duck eggs at the end of March I wacth three mallards and a speckled female make a tight flotilla on the swollen creek.
The dog barks at her counterpart on the other bank. Nothing is green the way these mallards' heads are green.
Empty-handed, I turn back to the house. Small waterlights play on the underbranches of the ash. High up the sycamore lifts its light-peeled limbs against a turning sky.
5 Late May. Summer coming on again. I think Li Po may not be back. Worried about the world's end, as, I realize I have been most of my life, I take my work outside and sit on the deck, distracted. It was a day like this, I think, in Hiroshima. Distracted. There must be something in the pinecones that the chickadees-- there's another one. What's this that's snowing down? Husks, pollen, freckle-sized petals from our wild cherry trees!
We sneeze and plant tomatoes. Ultimatums. The world comes close and goes away in rhythms tthat our years help us begin to understand.
We haven't long to live. And the world? Surely the world... A deep breath. Sunshine. Mosquitoes, bird calls, petal-hail.