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Month: April, 2015

As the flower to the soil

It’s not only that I need you to live.
It’s that when you have touched something
the way a tendril does grain for grain,

when that root goes deep enough—
because this depth is always enough

as far as my life is concerned—letting go
becomes almost death.

Not in the sense that my life is deep
in your life, although that is also true,
although you have proven yourself to me
as necessary as truth.

Not in the sense that my existence
is intertwined with yours, for I can be
admired without you. I could remain
alive detached from your person.

I will remain alive
if it means to remember,
if the lovers deem me worthy of a vase
or the poets worthy of a poem.

I can remain alive
but not for long.

My want and my need for you
becomes as mutual as us,
nostalgia becomes as necessary.

When you’ve been that long in that feeling
you would also want to come back.

*

Day 26 of NaPoWriMo: Write a persona poem where you take on a voice of someone else. I don’t know. I think this could have been better. Maybe in future revisions.

Picture theory of loss

p

*

Day 25 of NaPoWriMo: Write a clerihew, which is a humorous rhyming quatrain that talks and explicitly includes a name. I don’t think it would fit well into the whole breakup series, so I just took the name part of the prompt and reshaped it into something else. And since the form is a bit abnormal, and WordPress is terrible at tabs and empty spaces, I just screencapped it.

Also: Special shout-out to Wittgenstein!

Breakup poem where I am not sad

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
As a matter of fact, I can also write
the happiest lines, the angriest lines,
lines with the greatest guilt it won’t
admit. Lines that moan and sigh, lines
that apologize, lines with the longest lines
as far as lines are concerned. Lines of equal
lengths and measures. Lines with snow
and rain in it. Lines of fire and thunder
and the weather in it. How’s the weather?
Oh the same lines of clouds, the same
contrails above our heads, lines of birds
slicing the sky, lines of electric wires.
Lines that carry a voice to a distant ear,
cable lines for bodies too tired for
the line of a mountain, the lines that
make us wait, lines on the faces after
years and years of waiting for the lines
to finally erase themselves in the palm
of a God, that line in the Bible where
He would not forget, write that down.
That line where we are told how to love,
write that down. The line we put below
that line. Red lines and blue lines. Lines
telling us how to write. Lines for walking
and lines for driving. Lines in the mileage,
lines in the gas tank. Lines for empty
and lines for full. Tree lines, fault lines,
lines that divide and lines that bring things
together. Lines that lead from point
to point. Lines that form a picture.
Color inside the lines, then color outside.
Lines we follow are also lines we tend to
break. Lines for boundaries. Lines we cross.
Lines of vision, lines for precision, lines
that have nothing to do with me. Lines
that have only something to do with me
at only the slightest moment of touch.
Tangential lines and parallel lines. Lines
that cross each other then never again.
Invisible lines like constellations, pathways,
rose compasses blossoming on the road.
Lines that lead us home. Lines that lead us
away from home. Lines we forget because
they’re lines that mislead. A bridge like
a line over the line of a river. The river a line
to the tune of the sea. The sea and its lines
of boats, ropes like lines, anchors like lines,
hulls cutting water open like a surgeon
with a marker in hand, a needle in
the other, a line of thread in the needle
of the other, the line between death
and life. The life line, the heart line,
the line that tells us how long it takes
for that heart beat to flat-line. The line
we rehearse. The line for the hearse.
The line for loss and its many variations
where I am sorry is one of them,
happy places are one of them, peace and
eternity like a line that stretches across
space and time. Lines as endless
as the shoreline. A line in the sand.
Your name in the sand like an arrangement
of lines. Like a firewood is an arrangement
of twigs. Twigs like lines. Smoke lines,
ash lines, cigarettes sitting parallel
on the tables. Lines of people waiting
to be seated on the table. A list of names
that look like lines when you blur your eyes.
The guiding stick like a line for the blind.
If we’re heading for the right direction,
keep it straight. Keep your line in line.
Your body in line. Your memory in line.
Your face against the sunshine. Your face
turned from mine. The lines of your brows,
now erased. The bridge of your nose, outline
of your smile, erased. Your name just a line
as far as we are talking about lines, erased.
Your name I’d rather not say, your name a line
I refuse to pray. A line like a shadow against
the light. Your name a line I refuse to write.

*

Day 24 of NaPoWriMo: Write a parody or a satire of a poem. As the first line suggests, I chose Pablo Neruda’s famous poem Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines. Needless to say, it got out of control and turned into one mess of a breakup poem. Whereas Neruda is filled with a sadness from loss, I would want mine to be void of bitterness and regret. So I included everything. Haha.

In other news, I finally caught up with my NaPoWriMo! And the poems so far from my breakup series are mostly doing okay.

Breakup poem with a card trick

In a desperate attempt to make you stay, I hand you over
my heart in a deck of cards, my club-shaped heart, this
spade-shaped, diamond-shaped, heart-shaped heart of mine,
my heart beaten black and red with all the kings and queens
who only talk with shuffles and draws and those pick a card
moments where I actually pick a card when you ask me to,
give you my body like a bird shuttling to the trust of the wind
when you ask me to, look at it and put it back when you
ask me to, baby, ask me if I want this taking and giving
and taking it back and I’ll take it back if you ask me to,
the evening with the radio turned up, the radio talking
to itself, entertaining itself, the air a different kind of static,
an ashen kind of taste, like we just swallowed fire and now
we’re bodies of coal, that gasoline sky and your knees drawn
together like a prayer, like a pilgrim with a secret life, and baby
I want in, I want to walk the distance of your fathomed hands,
your rows and rows of shops, the chapel on your thigh,
my heart singing twelve variations of hallelujah, a candle lit
at a saintless altar, breath like sandalwood, breath like glass,
breath like the atmosphere of a courtroom drama. You want drama?
I could give you drama. I’m divorce, baby. I’m the lone gun
in the middle of the hero and the enemy. I’m the bullet
next in line to the bullet who will finally kill the one
who deserves to die, a spare, an afterthought, a contingency plan
when shit happens. And because shit happens, somewhere
I am fired because someone failed. Somewhere someone fails
and I deserve the happy ending, the getaway car, bag of cash,
a bungalow in the quiet area of town. Maybe you will be in it
if you want, the hero if you want, be the prize I don’t deserve
to deserve if you want. But what exactly do you want?
All these years with you in cinemas and we are just waiting
for movies to end without really watching, without really rooting
for a good ending, just ending, and now we’re so close to it
I can taste the credits in our skin, our names on black side-by-side
with the names we called ourselves, baby, honey, darling,
my forever and ever, things we pretend to be when we are
in love and our heads are in flames with the idea of a perpetual
yes to a body who will soon slink away into the darkness
of the future, which is now, which is you with the cards,
you in your cluelessness as your mouth waits for the finally
admission of it, you trying all night to guess what it is:
is it the king of hearts, the six of spades, is it the wrong kind
of dinner, is it that time when I said no when I should have
said yes, and yes, it is all of those and at the same time it isn’t,
which means go on, let me pick another card and guess
if this means I don’t have to say another version of sorry.

*

Day 23 of NaPoWriMo: Find a deck of cards, draw from it, and write a poem that is based on the card chosen. For some reason, I can’t find our cards at home so I just pretend I got a card by just randomly putting a card or two inside the poem. In another life, this will probably have Crush-like line cuts.

Some sense of closure

On that day, one distant day from today,
incommensurate but always enough,

I will give back this poem to the grace of sky,
all these half-hearts to the leafless tree, my sighs

to the immense grief of the ocean, the pain to the thorns
and the red to the roses, surrender her breath to wind,

give her form back to the spine of a mountain, my mouth
to the shape of a cloud at the verge of speaking rain.

On that day, I will give back all the sorrows of the world
to the world when all I’ve borrowed has been spent,

when all the carrying over has been carried over
and there’s nothing more to bear, and on that day,

that glorious day, I will give the memory of her
back where I took it from this earth,

but until that day, I will have this earth,
and I will keep dreaming of the distance.

*

Day 22 of NaPoWriMo: Write a pastoral, which is basically any poem that engages with nature, especially since it was Earth Day. I did try to incorporate some nature themes, and I think it shows, but I just wished I would have written this better. *sighs*

Breakup poem with omitted parts

The part where the dust is a frenzied tango
in the solemnity of sun. The part where a plate
is taken away, is washed, and is taken
back to the table. The part where we break
the plates in front of a tape recorder
and played it backwards after. The part
where it sounded like a flock of doves
about to fly. The part where you say
our hearts were an attempted flock
but we flew anyway. The part where
the doves are splayed open on the kitchen
counter. The part with the most light. The part
where we remove the feathers. The part where
we understood. The part with silence in it.
The part with our breaths spinning
on the phonograph of guilt. The part
where we went wrong. Is the part
we won’t admit. Is the part I would omit.
Is the part I’d rather have gone instead.

*

Day 21: Do an erasure poem. Now I have done a couple of erasure poems before, and it’s one of the most interesting things I’ve done in the name of poetry. But I just don’t feel doing it. So instead of a literal erasure, how about an integrated act of erasure in a poem?

Breakup poem without you in it

Last week a forsythia and tomorrow, the sun.
Today that forsythia under a wheel,
a bird on the ground, and tomorrow,
the sun. Remember the deer, the seed, the man
on the asphalt and tomorrow, the sun.
Then the message to the anxious lover, a letter
to a fatherless son, the bomb on the cheek
of a ruin, the ruin on the chest of a city,
the city on the heart of a war-torn land
and the land on the face of a spinning earth
and tomorrow, the sun. The moon and the tide
with the flood and the drowning to bring in
the bodies and the bodies with the flies
with its wings and the wings with its song
and the song and the drone and tomorrow
the sun. Then the water levels on the knees
of a continent minus an elephant minus the tusks
and a man minus his job minus a woman minus
a child and the town minus its children minus childhood
minus knowledge minus sense and tomorrow, the sun.
Then the sun minus the sun and tomorrow, no more sun.
Just me and the forsythia and the absence of forsythia
and the absence of sun and tomorrow—

*

Day 20: Write a poem that states the things you know. Well, some of it I know is happening, but I tried to play with the prompt a little bit by doing a palinode of some sorts.

Breakup poem with the news

And when all is spent, all is spent,
and I am left alone with my thoughts on death,
the television crying from yesterday’s news,
I will be writing again about you.
No offense to the world, but this is true:
I am an undocumented tragedy, a boy
deserted by some embodiment of attention,
the minutest kind in the shape of a woman
being pulled away from me by Carpe Diem
like a dog being dragged on a leash.
It’s harsh to be compared to a dog on a leash
when women in some other place are being force-married
to a man who barely knows what to do with his lust.
On good days I’d like to think I am better than them
but after a whole day of trying to un-remember
your name on my mental phonebook, I feel
only what the rest of the world feels about
an overplayed human tragedy: wishing it was numb.

*

Day 19 of NaPoWriMo: Write a landay, a couplet with 22 syllables per line. It’s a form commonly employed by women in Afghanistan where their society is more oppressive towards their kind. And while I strayed from using the form for this poem, I thought of some of their struggles I have read in articles and heard in news and thought how to incorporate at least one in this poem.

Onwards

And because we could not carry on together,
let my words fork our paths, dear traveler,

once-wanderer on the thickets of my soul—
I have no more reasons to keep you from going

on your way, but first the bluebirds, first the distant
whisper of the stream, the magnetism of thirst—

why love is not blind, love is borrowing from
an other’s eye, and so the horizons we aim for

—yours the sea and mine the mountain. We must
be going. This almost dusk. The wind divorcing

grass from another grass. We are fortunate
to have come this far and not look back

to the mouth of regret. The always present threat
of its teeth. Goodbye without saying goodbye.

*

Day 18 of NaPoWriMo: a poem that indicates a journey and a message. Well, an urgent journey and an important message. Personally, I don’t think it sounds urgent.

I had a lot of ideas on how the Day 18 poem should be written but none of them ever actualized.

The story of today

The other day I was lost for words.
In my ribcage it was the national day
of mourning, and it was barely past
noon. Today is a different story
because I said so: Today, I’m still sad,
but not anymore the kind that desiccates,
that empties a throat of meaning,
the kind I had that day, I’m sure
you know what I mean, my tongue
poised like a gun as an approximate
metaphor for thought. That was the only
thing I had that day: an unloaded gun
in the form of my tongue. But today,
I have mountain, smiley face, a hand
poised in a peace sign, I have the world
in her hands of silicon and fiberglass,
ones and zeroes like it means I love you
in the most detached language possible.
Still I wanted to tell you the story of today
in the most approximate translation
of me in relation to my body, in relation
to the different versions of what I am after
us: Today I am cat, a man with raised hands,
ambulance, diamond ring, tie. Today
I’m feeling clock, half-moon, a cup of coffee,
a tidal wave. I want you like wristwatch, a girl
in prayer, the image of a handgun
with no bullets in sight.

*

Day 17 of NaPoWriMo: Write a social-media-inspired poem. Immediately I thought about how emojis are starting to become a creative way to talk to people on the Internet, so I incorporated some common emojis in text-form. I tried to channel Gilbert here without risking sounding like him, so of course I fell off completely short and inadequate by miles.