Monday, December 11, 2017

Untitled Fragment

Notice the individual
Strands of white hair sprouting
From my head.

Notice the individual
Leaves in red and gold barely tethered
To the solemn tree.

Beyond creed or colour
Notice the individual.
Time steals away who we are.
Yet here and now

We exist.

Perhaps this will be reborn one day as a full-fledged poem. For now, let it exist as is.

Friday, April 14, 2017


Play riffs.
Shuffle data sets with nimble fingers
to wager on ideas ordinarily unspeakable.
Grind words into fine dust
to scatter over waiting earth.
Peer through houses made of paper and wire
built on a gravitational field
under an absent constellation.
Expose scar-work to sky.
Strum strings with tender fingers,
interrogative recomposing
of the spectrum of braided time.
Dig through finite territory
with an empty thimble.
And sleep on rich textures
of other people's maps.
Learn your recipes;
prepare for the harvest.

Christine Fojas

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Welcome back to 1974

The most lucid (but probably outdated) definition of poem I got is from an old 1974 book  by David Swanger called "The Poem as Process." (which I've been reading in bits instead of doing my homework)

He writes: "It is poetry because it is excited, precise, presentational, and evocative; as such it encourages meaning-making by the reader and engages him as co-poet in the act of empathetic re-creation." (p.144)

"But how do we know when a poem achieves precision? ...when it elicits the desired range of responses from the reader. Precision in poetry links the poet to the reader and consists in the effect a word, a line, a stanza, the entire poem, will have." (p. 13)

 "...[P]oetry can no more be wholly presentational than it can be wholly discursive. It must be both, but its discursive function must always be supportive of its presentational, never supersede it." (p. 153)


"The poet collaborates with a linguistic culture in the first instance simply by writing in a given language." (p. 164) ---which makes me want to write more Tagalog poems.

Now I feel as if very little of what I've written does justice to that definition.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Random quotes from “Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile” by Verlyn Klinkenborg

Retreat under roof of self. Under vault of ribs and spine.

My blood creeps along a dark endless track. On quiet feet.

Unbury myself.

Such a bulk of being to regulate. Disorder stalks then day and night. They stalk it back.

My shell never slips askew. Pupil never dims… Yes, the mould sometimes clings to my back as I rise in April. Yes, I carry the dishabille of earth for a time.

Shadows thicken under shrubs…

Walk through the holes in their attention.

So it is with humans. Quickness draws their eye. Entangles their attention. What they notice they call reality. But reality is a fence with many holes, a net with many tears. I walk through them slowly. My slowness is deceptively fast.

Because I have slow animals and the earth on my brain. 


Anak ng pusa
Anak ng putakte
Anak ng tipaklong
Laman, loob, lupa
Sa putik ka gumulong

Son of a cat
Son of a snail
Son of a tadpole
Muscle, core, earth
In mud you roll

Note: Just experimenting with translating myself. Some things cannot be carried over. Like the "laman-loob" meaning innards/guts and "lamanlupa" is a term for gnome that dwells under a mound of earth. Also you won't get the euphemism unless you're familiar with the Spanish/Tagalog word for whore (puta). Aside from cat/pusa & snail/putakte I also use mud/putik as a "cleaner" substitute. As for the tipaklong, it's just something I say to myself, a second-layer euphemism since it follows the rhythm of putakte in my head.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Rise and Fall

1. Hello

You pressed into me like flesh was just
another barrier that love could overcome.

We were such fools, giddy in the heat of sunlight
and summer dreaming.
Nails scoring nape, tasting salt and sharing sips
of drinks always too sweet.

We spoke like we could climb over each other's
words and reach the sky together.

Breathless murmurings, birdsong.
Touch flesh and touchstone.

2. Goodbye

Silence never fords a river
and my hands are bare. Like flowers
they open and speak in the rise
and fall of heat, in fleeting scent
and aborted gestures and touch.
(Oh, but kisses and bruises fade.)
It is time for clouds to rest. Outside,
the sun settles below the horizon,
like an eyelid shuttering, like goodbye.

3. Hello (Again)

I search the lines around your eyes
and your mouth as if unraveling
a mystery. Time was not kind to me,
nor to you. But we can be kind enough
to each other. I look down at my hands,
curled up together like birds in the nest.

(We said goodbye like we had planes to catch.
The thread snapped and we lived with hearts
that still wanted healing. Not so tender now.)

I once said that silence never fords a river.
But what did I know? Wordlessly we speak
in gestures that have or have not changed.
A rough translation: hello again, hello.

4. Goodbye (Again)

What did I know of pain?
Whatever heights we reached together--
Whatever depths we dived together--

Nothing, nothing hurts more
than watching you leave

5. (    )

Will there be another hello?
Only the gods know.

Okay. This just started with number two--a draft I wrote down five years ago--and it grew from there. Still a draft, but richer and deeper perhaps?

Friday, April 24, 2015

For Those Who Were Here Yesterday

first posted here: tumblr

But not today.
Today turned into a labyrinthine tangle
and this city was full of wild and kind hearts
and the moving bus carried me home too early
on wheels made of loud worries 
which kissed the grey road stretched before us
like a long arm reaching 
for the other hand and the bus 
wove among the orange cones 
and yellow lights of vigorous construction
because no matter what happened, we tend 
towards remaking–what we should have said
or done, or how we should feel–
and the buildings were like bald faces,
tired faces, weary and heartsick faces,
nodding at each other, eyes sliding over
to compare and measure and fall short
and the crows collaborate
with metal fences
and become makeshift gargoyles
watching over sidewalks we’ve stumbled on 
with our eyes closed, while seagulls circle 
like an immigrant’s thoughts, full of guilt
and need, and songbirds show off 
their red chests and chatter about sex
in the season’s careless glories, landing
among growing things, pecking 
at the hard truths, showing how the cage
has no door except the one everyone walks through, 
and then the lights changed
so the tide of sound ebbed and returned
like our own stuttering breath
and when I knew nothing
about everything, and something of nothing
I stopped at my usual place
greeted the black dots of rain 
like an old friend going over an old conversation 
and I put both my feet on the ground
swung my backpack over my shoulder
which I have crushed against myself
thinking what will come from today’s subtraction
thinking of what rushes in to fill the cracks
thinking what will I do today
today, today, today–
this excess of time 
I’ve been squandering since.

Remix of Jessica Greenbaum's poem.