wordsmith

thoughts bound
to sound, strung
and set aflight
at the flick of the wrist
and our behest:

Wingardium leviosa!
Mimosa pudica!
humuhumunukunukuapu’a

now, alight
on parchments, ears,
and fecund minds
as green ideas
colorless, in sleep
fast and furious
transform to threads
of love located
or love lost,
of dissent and other
sentiments
drawn from daily
dread or delight,
sunsets, soapdish,
minutiae
or joy, joy, —
sheer joy —
of setting them aflight
these strings.

Peter Poet penned a poem on paper
A poem on paper Peter penned
Pray, tell, what thoughts the poem portrayed
On your persuasion what’s perceived?

Standardization of thiosulfate analysis

Add 50ml distilled water.
In case you’d forget,
it was a rosy sky,
on-screen, off-screen

Add 50ml thiosulfate solution.
I’d like to stop,
take a snap
but we move
sluggishly through⁠—

Add 20ml sulfuric acid.

Kids, salarymen,
weary faces illuminating

Let stand in
the dark
Past the equinox,
we move sluggishly⁠—
How long has it been?
3 minutes?
Fifteen?
Thirty?

Dillute to 100ml.
Titrate until pale yellow.

“I haven’t done you anything wrong!”
Exasperation verbalized.
Hers. Yours. Ours.
As we move sluggishly through⁠—

Add starch indicator.
The traffic. The jeepney.
“I’ll just squat in the aisle”
“Don’t worry,
I’ll be getting off soon.”

Titrate until colorless.
Colorless.
No, it was a rosy sky,
off-screen, on-screen.

In case you’d forget.

one

two

three
eyes glassy, not
four

five
dead, fixed
six

seven

eight
on the familiar
nine
rendered foreign
ten
by this hush, this absence
eleven

twelve

thirteen

fourteen
draping over
fifteen

sixteen

seventeen
useless
eighteen

nineteen

twenty
to count
twenty-one

twenty-two

twenty-three

twenty-four
all they do
twenty-five
is stare
twenty-six
stare
twenty-seven

twenty-eight
staring
twenty-nine
at me
thirty
I drown
thirty-one

thirty-two

thirty-three

thirty-four
the whir
thirty-five

thirty-six
shall sing
thirty-seven

thirty-eight

thirty-ni–

 

 

 

a lullaby

tula

bukas bibig
labas dila
nag-aabang ng mga salitang
dadapo:
paru-paro
sa bulakalak
na mahalimuyak
o kaya’y ulan
sa lupang tigang.

bukas palad
matatag na tindig
nag-aabang ng mga salitang
dadaloy
patungo sa papel
na bitag ngunit bakit
ang tanging nabibihag
ay mga malalansang
nilalang.

the great hunt

I am a hunter
pursuing fire,
elusive lanterns, threading
serpentine through forests
dark, deep, the traps
I set springs,
contains the catch,
so too am I ensnared
by flames that freeze
at slightest touch,
the gold disintegrating
into dust, and towers
heavy as they collapse.

I am the hunted
pursued since ages past,
the ancient Foe, the terror
deep, dark, I run
in frantic flight yet
never out of sight.
You sprung the gap,
the great divide,
in one fell swoop,
I am contained
in arms whose warmth
brings dead to life,
unrivaled love,
unceasing light.

An imagined translation

I heard of this event called Afterlife: A Workshop on Poetic Translation. The workshop was for free (and my schedule was also free) so I decided to go. I didn’t know what to expect from it, and all I knew was that it was organized by a local poetry group, The Stray Poets Collective, and that there will be discussions on translation and how techniques on the process can be applied to poetry.

I’ve been writing poetry for years now as a means of personal expression (although quite sporadically) but it was my first time to attend a poetry event. I was nervous at first but in the end, the workshop turned out to be quite interesting.

As a warm-up, we listened to a reading of Luis Cernuda’s Los espinos, and, without any knowledge of Spanish, we were to translate the poem based on how it makes us feel, an imagined translation, as it were.

Here’s what I came up with:

hawthorn

(in the spirit of Luis Cernuda’s Los espinos)

the trees stand
black fingers
against the white
of time
unmoved
by the seasons
staunch
steadfast
sentinels

******

Anyhow, I learned that one can be a member of The Stray Poets Collective. There’s no membership fee and all you have to do is attend their events a few times and then you’re officially part of the group. It could be an avenue for me to grow in my writing so let’s see.

…A time to plant, and a time to uproot

There was a rat infestation in the apartment building where I live, some months ago, and the nasty rodents ravaged my prized plants. These were cacti and succulents that I had acquired in a period of two-three years. I returned from a weeklong trip to discover pots overturned, and plants with chunks gnawed off them. Some have disappeared, completely devoured by the critters.

Discouragement set in. After all, I have spent a considerable amount of time and money on these plants. Not to mention several of them were difficult to obtain – the kind you’d see in pictures on Pinterest and Instagram, never imagining you’d be able to get your hands on them one day.

Since then I abandoned my plants to fate. I stopped watering them and only rarely would I visit my tiny balcony garden to check up on them. Of course, my neglect resulted in more casualties but somehow I stopped caring. Still, a few survived. Some, the rats left alone due to their vicious spines or unpalatability. Some, being true desert plants, endured the drought I unjustly imposed on them. While some, just happened to be in favorable spots when it rains.

The rat infestation has been fixed (or so I hope) and I keep telling myself, I should check on the plants, I should water them, I should discard the broken pots, the soil spilled, the empty husks, but I keep putting it off again and again and again.

But perhaps now is the time to confront the uncomfortable. In the same way, perhaps 2019 is the year to confront what agitates me: to ask the questions I dared not ask for fear of the answers I might find, to salvage the pieces of dreams that has persisted through the long years, and to put away what no longer works.

“…a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build”
– Ecclesiastes 3:2‭-‬3 NIV

Happy new year!

weak (Inktober 15)

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9‭-‬10