DECEMBER MOOD AND SOME TAGALOG POEMS
December 17, 2013
I noticed that Christmas is becoming less and less interesting. I sort of no longer look forward to it unlike when I was younger. Perhaps it is true that Christmas is only for children. I remember that when I was a kid, I would be very happy if I would get presents for Christmas. I did not care if the gifts were cheap, so long as I got them because it was Christmas.
My writer-friend Santiago Villafania said that there is such as thing as “December Mood.” It’s kinda ironic really. The feeling of emptiness and loneliness while everybody around seems to be happy or at least trying to be happy. Christmas songs being carried by the cold winds would instead chill the soul instead of thrill it. When I was in grade school, my classmate Estelito Abonalla told me about this Christmas phenomenon experienced by kids–waking up at dawn to the sound of Christmas song coming from a passing vehicle, say, a tricycle. I could relate because I experienced it too. My heart would leap in excitement for the coming new day. A day that would eventually lead to Christmas day.
Anyway, one memorable Christmas season for me was in the year 2000. I was then staying in Imus, Cavite and writing for The Daily Tribune. I was also trying to finish ROTC. I was “BS RO” so to speak. I would go to the Tribune office to get my money. They were so generous. I would even get my bonus! I was then reading “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Hemingway. The coldness of the war scenario in the novel would creep up on me. I was after-all just like the characters in the story. I was alone in that flat, and the place felt like a bunker.
Last night, I reread “Kirot ng Kataga,” a book of poems in Tagalog by Cirilo Bautista. You see, I bought the book in December 2000. It’s just a short book, more of a chapbook really. But man, it’s a classic! And the book calls to mind as I rewrite my poems in Tagalog. Let me post some excerpts here of my new poems. This one is from “City of Springs.”
Mga isda, ianod
n’yo ng huklubang ilog
ang huli kong pagdulog:
Ay! Aking sinusumpa,
kung lahat nang makata
ay bayad pag tumula—
Hindi s’ya matataga!
Hindi s’ya matataga!
I also wrote something about the death penalty. Of course, right now we have no capital punishment but just the same, I wrote about it. You see, it would really depend upon Congress if it would revive the same. The 1987 Constitution gives them such allowance. Here’s the last stanzas of “Bisperas (Awit ng Lalaki sa Bitayan)”:
Subalit ay sino itong paparating?
Huling pag-idlip ko ay gagambalain.
Nagmamadali pa’t nakabarong man din—
bagong abogadong sadyang matulungin!
Remedyo raw sana sa aking problema’y
automatic review ng Korte Suprema.
Ang aming kapatas na kasabwat pala,
lahat nang salarin ay kanyang kinanta.
Ang utak ng krimen ay ang aming meyor
na kulang ang pondo para sa eleks’yon.
Kunwari pa’y banal at suki sa Pasyon,
‘yun pala, tit’yempo saka mandarambong.
At dagling umalis itong si attorney.
Tatawagan n’ya raw pati Presidente.
Dapat daw ang husga ng aking ponente’y
swak sa absuwelto at hindi garote!
Ngayong hinahanda ng aking berdugo
ang kanyang ineks’yon at lasong likido.
Sa may isang sulok ay may telepono:
akala mo’y diyos na nakadek’watro.
I also worked on a poem about the poetic process itself. It even delves into the writer’s life and plight. Here’s the beginning stanzas of the poem “Pasada,” also included in my upcoming book:
Sinasabing kadalasan ay malalim na gabi
at ilang ang ruta ng makata.
Mga daliring tumitipa ay susi
sa makina ng makinilya at netbook
at makinaryang umaangil
ang daigdig sa loob ng bungo’t dibdib.
There you go folks. You can expect that I will labor some more for the next poems. I am actually working on a very long poem on my experience as an organizer of poetry gigs here in my locality. Things I do. I don’t expect to be rich by doing said things, but still, I do it. But does it mean that I will no longer do other things that could make me filthy rich? Legal and moral things? Nope. Not at all.
Until next time.