Sa haba ng panahong lumipas hindi ko na alam kung sinimulan ko nang habian ng imahinasyon ang gunita. Ako na lamang ang mag-isang nakakaalala ng hapong iyon. Noong may kabataan pa ako, siguro mga labindalawang taong gulang, may binuo kaming saranggola ni Daddy. Kapwa naming pinalipad at pinanood ang pagpapaalagwa nito sa langit.
Malaon nang ginutay ng panahon ang kalansay at balat ng saranggolang iyon. Ngunit noong naglilinis ako ng mga putikang aparador isang lingo makalipas ang baha sa Marikina, natagpuan ko ang pisi na nakapalibot sa dalawang piraso ng popsicle sticks. Hindi ko alam kung bakit nakahalo and pisi sa aparador ng mga gamit ng tatay kong ilang taon nang yumao.
Noong Pebrero 2008 may nasulat akong tula sa Ingles. “Paper Skin, Bone of Bamboo” ang pamagat. Hindi ko alam kung maisasalin ko ito sa Filipino isang araw. At dahil nga ako na lamang ang mag-isang gumugunita at nagtala nitong alaala, may duda akong ganitung-ganito nga ang naganap. Hinabian ko na malamang ng imahinasyon.
In time, imagination sometimes weaves into memory. Now only I can remember a particular afternoon. I was only about twelve then. My father and I put together a kite. We flew it together, allowing sky and wind to toss it about.
Time has long since gutted that kite. But while I was cleaning one of the muddied closets back home a week after the flood in Marikina, I found a string spun around two popsicle sticks. It was the kite string; I don’t know how and why it was tossed in with the few belongings of my father who had years ago passed away.
In February 2008 I wrote a poem (or at least an attempt at one) in English, “Paper Skin, Bone of Bamboo.” I don’t know if I will be able to translate it in Filipino one day. And because I am the only one who remembers and has tried to record the events of that day, I have doubts that this indeed is how it was. It is more than likely that imagination has been woven into that memory.
I sent the poem to a few publishers, hoping one of them would deem it worthy of seeing print. A version (aversion?) of the poem can be found at a discussion site I now seldom visit, for reasons you might discover if you search around the net.
Update… many years later.
The poem Paper Skin, Bone of Bamboo may now be found at Goodreads.com where it was a finalist for the monthly poetry competition.