May iniisip ka?
Ayaw kong sabihin. Baka magkatotoo.
Dahil makulit ka
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
Monday, May 26, 2008
This much I remember: we were happy, yes? Under the many bright trees whose names we found tucked under our tongues like stones or incandescent secrets floundering as the air trembled. Sound, we called it, even for that we had a name, but how could we not have noticed that none called back? Sparrow, we said, and it stared at us, unknowing with its black eyes. Cricket we said but they did not cease their laments, under the grass, their voices unwavering, their wings violent, hidden. Desire I said, but I am not as sure now, did I name it then or only afterwards, beyond Havilah when as the fields grayed the grain began their descent into bitterness? We were too oblivious, too obedient to notice the absence we granted things as we named them. Was it this knowledge, or was it the naming itself that undid us? Our tongues not content inside our bodies, we longed to possess even the other, possess them so long as their suffering was not ours, and when they began to shed their names by themselves, we invented new ones, when they began to hurt us we broke them down into more names, the part of the rose-bush that wounds us is the thorn; that of the tree, the promise; that of the serpent, the truth. Or we simply looked away, the way you looked away when we were driven from the Garden, the part of my body that hurt you, the heart. I was sitting by the river then, and this much I remember: the fruit lingering in my mouth, the names it burned on my tongue as I scampered away from the Voice. Until now there is no word for this, and this is the myth I make of it, the loss, everything: I will be grateful to you forever, for the fall.
I've included this letter in the group to be put into the cigar box-— the one with the rubber band around it you will find sometime later. I thought you might like to have an example of the way in which some writing works. I may not say anything very important or phrase things just-so, but I think you will pay attention anyway because it matters to you—- I'm sure it does, no one was ever more loved than I was.
What I'm saying is, your deep attention made things matter-— made art, made science and business raised to the power of goodness, and sport likewise raised a level beyond. I am not attaching to this a photograph though no doubt you have in your mind's eye a clear image of me in several expressions and at several ages all at once—- which is the great work of imagery beyond the merely illustrative. Should I stop here for a moment?
These markings, transliterations though they are from prints of fingers, and they from heart and throat and corridors the mind guards, are making up again in you the one me that otherwise would not survive that manyness daisies proclaim and the rain sings much of. Because I love you, I can almost imagine the eye for detail with which you remember my face in places indoors and out and far-flung, and you have only to look upward to see in the plainest cloud the clearest lines and in the flattest field your green instructions.
Shall I rest a moment in green instructions? Writing is all and everything, when you care. The kind of writing that grabs your lapels and shakes you-— that's for when you don't care or even pay attention. This isn't that kind. While you are paying your close kind of attention, I might be writing the sort of thing you think will last-— as it is happening, now, for you. While I was here to want this, I wanted it, and now that I am your wanting me to be myself again, I think myself right up into being all that you (and I too) wanted to be: You.
Ang kuwento, kapag daw magsusulat ka ng thesis mo para sa creative writing, 'yung intro ba nu'ng mga tula, du'n sa mahabang essay bago 'yung creative works mo mismo, may tatlong tanong kang dapat sagutin. Why do I write? Why do I write the way I write? Whom do I write for?
Sa tatlong 'yan-- na napag-ubusan na siguro ng di-mabilang ng bote ng beer ng sangkatauhan-- 'yung ikatlo ang pinakapeligrosong sagutin. Madaling sabihin na "nagsusulat ako para sa kapwa ko" o, mas malawak (at mas safe,) "sa mambabasa." Pero sino nga ba ang mambabasa? Di mo naman siya kilala e. Kilala mo man, sino sa kanila? Best friend mo? 'Yung nagwawalis sa kanto ng Tayuman at Oroquieta? Si GMA?
O lahat ba sila? Di ba problematiko 'yun, kasi kung multiplicity ang imagined reader mo, e di may ibang walang paki sa isinusulat mo, may ibang di matitripan, may ibang di makakaintindi. Kapag, kunwari, isa lang sa kanila, e di may peligrong ma-alienate mo lahat ng iba. Kapag naman sabihin mong isa lang nga tapos wala kang paki kung ma-alienate lahat ng iba, e di nahulog ka naman sa patibong ng confessional. (Na, teka, masama nga ba? Kailangang iexplore 'yun, a.) At kung isa nga lang, paano ka nakasigurong magiging epektibo 'yung tula mo para sa nag-iisang intended/imagined reader? Kilala mo ba talaga siya? Sino ka para mag-assume na kilala mo siya? Malay mo feeling close ka lang.
Ang naisip ko, kapag nagsusulat tayo, unang iniisip natin 'yung "ideal" na reader, bago natin siya ini-imagine. At sino itong ideal reader ko? Ang naisip ko, ako rin 'yun, e. Lumalabas ako sa sarili ko para i-objectify 'yung reader-na-ako. Isa siguro sa pinakamahirap na gawain (tungkulin?) ng makata 'yun: 'yung necessary shattering ng subjectivity mo, 'yung pag-come to terms mo sa multiplicity of selves na nagtatago sa loob mo. Pakiramdam ko, tatlo nga ang lumilitaw na persona ng sarili sa tula, e: 'yung Ako na nagsasalita/nagsusulat, 'yung Ako na imagined/ideal reader, at 'yung Ako na makakapulot lang ng tula sa isang abandonadong upuan at baka ganahang basahin ito, 'yung makakakita lang nito sa internet o sa isang magasin o anthology, 'yung makakahanap ng journal ko kapag patay na ako-- 'yung Ako na unaccounted for sa secret-sharing namin nu'ng mambabasang-ako at nu'ng makata-na-ako. 'Yung Ako na gusto nating imbitahing makisalo sa engagement. (Sa tingin ko 'yun ang pinakamahalagang I, pero kailangan pa ring iexplore 'yun.)
So sa ganu'ng logic, nabibigyan ng mas taimtim na kahulugan 'yung sinasabi ng matatandang "pribado" ang metodo, palagi, ng pagtula. Kailangan siguro ng mas mahaba-habang entry (o thesis, na hindi ko na naman isusulat,) ukol sa kung paanong tumatawid sa ikatlong I ang mga tula natin, pero pakiramdam ko, papasok ang mga hirit ni Scheller tungkol sa affect dito. 'Yun, at 'yung ideya ng engagement mo ng other-- tao-sa-tao, hindi makata-sa-mambabasa. Sa madaling sabi, lumalagpas na sa realm ng literature lang ang tula. Tumatagos 'yung pagkatao ng makata, at hindi na lang usapin ng writing skills, ng craftwork, ng intellect ang tula niya.
Parang, ang totoong quest natin bilang mga makata e 'yung pagpapakatao. Paanong mabuhay sa mundo, ganu'n. Paanong maging mabuting tao siguro. Mas makatao ka, mas buhay ka, mas kilala mo ang mundo na ginagalawan mo-- mas makaka-engage ka sa pamamagitan ng mga tula mo.
At kung nalilito ka sa mga sinabi ko rito, huwag kang mag-alala. Ako rin. Kailangan pa nating pag-usapan ito. Punta ka sa Green Papaya (Sa U.P. Village (o Teacher's Village ba?), malapit sa Bayantel-- alam na ng mga trike driver sa Philcoa ang Bayantel) sa Miyerkules, ika-28 ng Mayo. Iinterbyuhin ko si Joel Toledo, at magbabasa siya ng tula, bilang featured poet para sa buwanang poetry reading du'n. Alas-otso, larga na ang programa. Masaya 'yun, makakapag-usap tayo tungkol sa ganitong mga bagay. Mag-comment ka dito o mag-email sa akin kung may gusto kang ipatanong kay Joel. O kaya pumunta ka na lang tapos ikaw mismo ang magtanong. Mas astig kung ganu'n.
Because of the gunmetal mid-May skies. Because I feel like a lone leaf spiralling to the ground, or was it a bird, suddenly flightless after a minute of rain? Because smoke rises from wet asphalt, because the ache is fuller when I hear sadness sung in Esperanto, because vowels are sometimes violent let me repeat myself: I once was an ant and I still am now but once on a dry moonless night a sweetness came and it was too much to bear even for an ant. This is a song I say. This is a secret, and once I told you about it and the walls grew ears and mouths, a hundred gray faces looking at me saying rain, rain, rain. You will leave, and before you step out of this song you will say there is no sense trying to say something when all you want to do is mean. But where does meaning go when I speak, isn’t all thought ephemeral, isn’t the truth just another vanishing billow of smoke? A pillow is on fire, I say, but maybe I mean something else. I am by the window and I am staring out into the city and it speaks. Remember when you told me a secret it says. It’s not true I say. Oh it says. Remember when you sung to me it says and I say this is a song. This is a leaf. I am a leaf and I would like to fall now, turn into ground. Is it me by the window, and if it is how come I am seeing myself from far away?