Monday, November 03, 2003

The Arm of God

The significant other (SO) is included in the anthology
Going Home to a Landscape, which is published by
Calyx. As part of the book launch, the SO read in the first of a series of public readings at Pusod this past weekend.

The SO read several poems about Angel Island from her chapbook "My life as a duwende." I sometimes do not try to read the SO's poetry because I am often confused by the duality/multiplicity of her life. Sometimes, I wonder just how many people inhabit the SO's body. The following is a list of the many aspects of my future wife.

There is the woman that I fell in love with. Then, there is the kali master, which is the first personality that I saw in a Maganda magazine issue launch. Then there is the kid who likes to ride the shopping carts in the parking lot of Costco. Of course, there is the poet. And how can we forget about the aspiring culinary chef who neither keeps time nor uses measuring cups or spoons when cooking? Oh, oh, how about the cerebral mechanic who lovingly takes care of a 1969 Mustang?

Are there more? Well, there is the testosterone-filled driver who curses at the slightest hint that a car will merge into the same freeway lane that said driver occupies. There's a sports lunatic personality which will play with guys in a game of touch football that will degenerate into tackle football. Then there's a personality of a child who watches two boxers pummel each other at the feet of her grandfather. And since we're discussing sports, there's the SO who enjoys a great game of basketball, specially the playoffs when her schoolmate Jason Kidd is beating the pants out of the Eastern conference.

What does surprise me most of all is that in the midst of all these personalities/people there is the Poet. I don't really get to see the poet unless of course it's a poetry reading. The poet manages to see things that I do not see. The poet understands where those wrinkles in a person's face comes from. The poet knows exactly the cry of the old woman weaving the banig. The poet knows the strife in the land of Mindanao. The poet knows the desperate gasp of Tagalog in the Philippines. The poet sees the great turtles of the oceans and feels the freedom of flying in the air. The poet sees the past and writes a poem that will wring the tears from rock. The poet will make you uncomfortable with her words of truth. The poet says, "Yes, you have a good life. Now why are you not out there helping others?"

I suggest you visit her blog and download the chapbook. Then, turn to page 22 and read the poem "this building."

I was happily going along during the night of "Araw ng Patay" when the poet started reading "this building." Now, there are a few times when I look at the SO and suddenly, it's not the SO I know. A different personality has replaced the SO that I know. It happened last Saturday while she was reading the poem.

How can I describe this? It's like everyone is reading their nice poem. We are all celebrating a book launch. Then out of nowhere, all these ghosts from angel island came in through the doors and the windows to watch their story be told. There was silence after the poet read the poem. There was no applause. I myself felt disturbed by it. It was not a nice poem to celebrate a book launch. It was a poem written for the future so that the future can know what it means to live in this world.

Sometimes, the poet scares me because of her ability to see things beyond my ken. Sometimes, the poet confuses me because of her ability to open up to things. Sometimes, the poet makes me happy because she picked me like a bumblebee choosing a flower.

For the Poet. Because she dedicated duwende to me.

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