Houseboat has featured amazing work for some time now. It’s a real treat to anyone who loves words and images. My work has once again been given a chance to reach more readers. I hope you visit Houseboat and spread the word.
Tag Archives: A Thousand Eyes
My poem is among a few selected by the judges of Poetry! at Goodreads.com this month. Please find time to read and consider voting for “Ignoring the Hand of God.” HERE IS THE UPDATED LINK
I know it may be a bit cumbersome to have to join Goodreads.com and sign up with the Poetry! discussion group before you can cast a vote.
And yes, I’ve admired her work ever since I first listened to Debut. She and Nina Simone were my musical companions as I learned to cope with my unexpected move from Manila to Cape Town in 1994. More on that period later.
What I am posting here is a set of poems from A THOUSAND EYES. Enjoy and I hope to hear from you!
Thanks for being part of this journey.
My new paper child, A Thousand Eyes, has finally been born. I was in a bit of a mood when I wrote about it (in Filipino, translation later maybe) and posted the rambling as a Note on Facebook.
Copies of the book may for the meantime only be ordered via my Manila publisher, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. Try contacting them on their Facebook page or email them here: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope to be able to help with the distribution in the next few months. Meanwhile all I can do is try to promote it. I came up with a novel idea of asking friends to send me their readings, doodles, and photographs in response to some of the poems from the book. If you are interested in taking a creative trip with me, drop me a line here and I’ll send you the sampler. If I think we can make it work, I’ll ask your permission before I share it with others.
Thank you, dear readers, for staying with me.
Today my country of birth, the Philippines, celebrates Independence Day.
Google put this banner up, but being in South Africa it took me a while to work out that it was only visible when you log onto the Google Philippines search engine.
As a kid, all I remember when that day came was being on holiday. My parents never took me to wherever there might be parades or state activities. I do remember the national flag being displayed on the most prominent window of each house. I have this vague memory that it was more a national decree to do that rather than something citizens just felt like doing. You remember things differently as a kid. Sometimes memory and imagination cross borders. And sometimes children see things as they are (or should be) much clearer than adults would.
Is my country of birth truly independent when it welcomes military forces from another country to wage war? When drones fly over, identifying targets? When the leaders of the land need to consult foreign powers for the country’s own “protection”? When foreign-owned mining companies put up bogus “local owners” just to resources and displace indigenous people?
When you leave the country where your feet first touched soil, you will never return as the same person. But you also do not have to leave in order to see things a different way. It could be as simple as tilting your head or closing your eyes for a moment while you listen to what’s around you. Sometimes you are drawn to something and cannot explain why. The lines on your palms mark the way you close your hand when you sleep or are at rest. How can anyone see them as anything more?
Here is a poem from ALIEN TO ANY SKIN, the first book that my current publisher, UST Publishing House released (back in 2011). I am still very fond of that book for it made me want to get back in to publishing. I can’t wait to see my forthcoming paper child, A THOUSAND EYES.
Geometry and Fear
i knew someone once
who could read lines
it was a gift she never wanted
to use, unless you begged her
for some glimmer of a future
she said faith should be enough
and seeing the doubt in my eyes
she had to allow geometry
to lead me out of the dark
you will leave your country
stare loneliness in the eye
bury the dead among the living
and resurrect them unwillingly
because your hands are your way
of seeing in the dark
and i laughed
a bitter laughter
that i had
never heard before
October – November 2007
I have a feeling I may have posted this poem before, but no matter. There must be a reason I do not yet understand why it resurfaced into memory. It must be the thick fog that had settled overnight where I now live – and it still has not lifted though it is nearly 11 in the morning.
Most of my friends are scattered in various parts of the world. Not a single one was able to attend when I read at Off the Wall on Monday night.
It would have been nice to see familiar faces. But that night I also made new friends, I hope. Thank you to those who came to listen, and for those who wished they could’ve been there, I’ve made a brief recording and put it up on Soundcloud. Tell me what you think. And thanks again for all the support. Soon I hope to announce the release of A THOUSAND EYES.
If all goes well, I’ll be reading at Off the Wall in Observatory’s A Touch of Madness bar and restaurant here in Cape Town. One of the poems I intend to read is “The Man Who Wished He was Lego” which appeared in Sixfold. I shared a link to that in an earlier post. But for those who missed it, HERE IT IS AGAIN.
I’m hoping not to make the audience fall asleep. Well, an audience would be nice to have in the first place. So if you are in Cape Town or plan to have a weird night on Monday, come on over. 🙂
I’m also going to read work included in the recently released NEW COIN POETRY bumper issue. If you ever read contemporary poetry, this journal has got to be on your list. Convince your local library to subscribe to NEW COIN POETRY (check them out on Facebook).
Hmmm wait, might as well post the poem here for lazy readers who cannot even click to a link. haha.
The Man Who Wished He was Lego
His hands would be yellow
and forever curved
into a semi-square “C.”
Designed only for quick
and easy snapping
of pieces meant
to fit. His shoes
would be the same color
as his pants with no zips
or buttons, no pockets
for slipping in notes
that could be shredded
in the wash. He would need
not worry about the shape
of his head, or haircuts
and thoughts for that matter.
And best of all, his chest
would be stiff and hollow,
far too small
for a heart.