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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Mosquito Nets 

I have joined a group of Filipino poets called pinoy poets upon invitation of fellow blogger Jardine Davies who turns out to be a very good poet who has definitely found his voice. Anyway, my first submission which received feedback from members was a poem I made in 2000 entitled "Mosquito Nets". It goes like this:

Mosquito nets

I hate mosquito nets!
They shield me from nothing.
Not bedbugs nor creepy spiders
most especially from the noise
outside the window
as drunks fill the air
with discordant songs.

I hate mosquito nets!
They smell of liquor (INSERT COMMA)
sweat and retch (INSERT PERIOD)
they add heat to the
warmth of May,
froze me stiff that New Year's Eve.

That night
I saw his transluscent
with weak knees
He lifted the net and with
quivering hands on my mouth
he said:

"Never tell your mom,
or else you die!"

I hate mosquito nets!
they are cages for wounded beasts
they are coffins for my
rotting soul.

rolly

From among the feedback I got, one stood out fo me. (The others were excellent feedback, though, and I thank them) This is what she had to say:

Claire Madarang says:
Hi, Rolly. Gusto ko yung premise ng poem mo - it's a fresh way of
presenting incest. Ramdam ko ang galit ng persona rito. Nag-revolve
yung poem around the persona's "hate" for mosquito nets, when in fact,
ang talagang nagpapagalit sa kanya ay ang ginawa sa kanya ng tatay (I
think, or sinumang kamag-anak) niya. I suppose nagkaroon lang siya ng
"hate" for mosquito nets dahil na-associate na niya with "that night,"
from which the mosquito nets weren't able to protect him/her. Tingin
ko nainis na rin tuloy siya sa mga bagay na hindi siya kayang
protektahan ng kulambo (bedbugs, spiders, and drunks' songs, as you
mentioned in your poem).

Just a few comments in CAPS, below, though.



> rolly_santos43 wrote:
>
> Mosquito nets
>
> I hate mosquito nets!
> They shield me from nothing.
> Not bedbugs nor creepy spiders
> most especially from the noise
> outside the window
> as drunks fill the air
> with discordant songs.
>
> I hate mosquito nets!
> They smell of liquor (INSERT COMMA)
> sweat and retch (INSERT PERIOD)
> they add heat to the
> warmth of May,
> froze me stiff that New Year's Eve.
>
> That night
> I saw his transluxcent (TRANSLUCENT) frame
> with weak knees (WHY WEAK KNEES? IS HE DRUNK, OR IS HE OLD ALREADY? MAYBE THIS MAN SHOULD BE DESCRIBED BETTER IN THIS POEM) rocking heavily on the floor.
> He lifted the net and with (INSERT "A") quivering hand (WHY QUIVERING HAND? IS HE SCARED? I THINK CONTRADICTING YUNG WORD NA "QUIVERING" WITH THIS MAN'S VERY STRONG, THREATENING STATEMENT LATER: "NEVER TELL YOUR MOM, OR ELSE YOU DIE!")
> on my mouth he said:
>
> "Never tell your mom,
> or else you die!"
>
> I hate mosquito nets!
> they are cages for wounded beasts
> they are coffins for my
> rotting soul. (HMMM...MEDYO OFF AKO RITO SA LAST STANZA. KASI ALL THE PREVIOUS STANZAS GAVE VERY CONCRETE SCENES/EXAMPLES WHY THE PERSONA HATES MOSQUITO NETS, TAPOS DITO NAGING ABSTRACT ("CAGES FOR WOUNDED BEASTS," "COFFINS FOR MY ROTTING SOUL"). IF YOU ARE THINKING OF "SUMMING UP" THE IDEA OF THE POEM IN THIS LAST STANZA, I THINK HINDI CONSISTENT ANG IMAGES DITO WITH THE REST OF THE POEM, ESPECIALLY "CAGES FOR WOUNDED BEASTS." SINCE INCEST IS THE UNDERLYING MESSAGE OF THE PERSONA'S HATE FOR MOSQUITO NETS, MAYBE YOU COULD FOCUS ON THAT (IN A SUBTLE WAY). ANYWAY, THIS IS JUST MY SUGGESTION. MAYBE YOU SHOULD ALSO WAIT FOR OTHER MEMBERS' COMMENTS. ALL IN ALL, I ENJOYED READING YOUR POEM. ^_^ )

What is the reason for this post? In poetry, a poet does not argue with a reader. He/She has to learn how accept what the reader thinks about the piece for after all, the piece should stand on itself. However, I believe that that dogma is for published poets who have already earned a name for themselves. IMHO, students like me, should be able to say what their justifications are so that the one doing the critic will know and probably give suggestions on how to get the message across. After all, the message the poet wants to achieve should be first and foremost concern.

My response:
hi Claire,

Thanks for the careful read and comments on the poem. You hit the nail right on the head that this is about incest. Kungsabagay, ganon naman talaga akong kadaling basahin e. hehe

Anyway, your observations are correct. Medyo hindi nga siguro akma. I'm not going to defend my work but allow me to explain what was going on in my mind when I was writing the piece. Una, you're right, he can be the father or the uncle or anybody na kasamahan sa bahay. Yung weak knees is really a weak image... lasing sya. I was groping for a right word to suggest this. I can't just say he's drunk . that would be telling and not showing... yung quivering hand, medyo may kasama kasing excitement and guilty feelings. My thinking is that kahit gano ang kahayupan ng isang tao, minsan meron pa ring guilty feelings hindi nga lang ito nag-mamanifest agad. You're right, I failed to show this again.

LAstly, yung images sa huli, yes, I was trying to wrap it up and failed again miserably. Anyway, ang line of thinking ko dun sa cage is that of an irony dahil kahit flimsy lang yung mosquito net, hindi makakawala yung salbaheng mama dahil sa sobrang kahinaan niya to fight his desires... in like manner, yung coffin kasi helpless yung bata.

Again, thank you very much for your careful read. I appreciate it a lot. Looking forward to working with you.


rolly



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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Rite of Passage! 


mickey Posted by Hello

Coby Posted by Hello

Father and Sons Posted by Hello

This was written right after the three of us had gone home after a three day camping trip to Makiling during the school's Father and Son camp. This has been published online. You'll find it here Hope you enjoy the pictures and the poem as well. Here goes:

Rites of Passage

I have camped on
these grounds when
I was young,
braved the thick forest
to test if I
could be a man.

Leaves relentlessly fall
raining down on my tent
weave a golden mat on the dirt
just like it did before.

Insects stubbornly
invade the silence
unfazed by the dark night
or the snores from
other fathers
tending their sons.

Inside my tent
two growing boys
saturated with play
innocently asleep
carelessly sprawled
on the sleeping bag.

How I envy the trees
defying the wind outside
with each offspring
a success,
they stand
sturdy and proud.

I come back
to camp on these grounds
once more
to test if I
can be a father
to these youthful boys.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

A Parent's Wish  

As I disassemble the holiday tree,
I slowly gather the twigs
like picking up recollections of you.

Your toys usually littered the sala
geometric shapes you fit
with your little hands
while learning to walk,
Each ornament, a red ball or slver star
represents some of your fondest toys...

horses, trains, and cars
on your first steps.
Remote controlled tractors,
planes and battle ships
when you were two feet high

I wish you had not grown
taller than I am.
And you remained contented
with fitting shapes
and electric toy trains


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