climb

some unfinished poems

francis asked me recently about poetry and i remember deciding to write again after responding to his question. but i haven’t had the opportunity, nor the reason, to write outside my work, my raket, and LJ. inspiration isn’t indispensable, but in certain instances, might be necessary. so i looked into my old poetry notebooks and came across some seeds of poems, and a few ones missing a stanza, an ending, a title, a word, a central theme, a point, a character, a suitable digression, an apt beginning. here are the first two of a series of three poems that would’ve been called “for three men”:

To my father
I am semen,
seed of a hundred names.
Farmer, I shall irrigate
his barren dreams
and plant my feet
into his soil.
My dead toenails
shall bear the fruits
of his plans.

To my lover,
I am amulet
a piece of the sun.
In his grip,
I turn crystal,
fragile,
and burst into a million
bleeding stars.
Together,
we shall rouse legends
from their sleep
and earn the jealousy
of gods.

now the third part starts off: “To my brother,/I am doppelgänger,/reflection/in a broken mirror.” the rest of the page is blank. and it has remained that way for over 7 years. i know since the last time i actually wrote a poem (or at least finished one) was the summer before i started law school. here’s one which survived my literary suicide. it’s called “Barber Shop” and it saw print in a magazine and a literary folio:

Whenever the barber cuts my hair,
He tells the story of another customer,
And details fall to the floor
In short black strands of memory.

Each one is a word, sometimes
A comma. And the absence
Of a pause changes the plot.
The narrative turns elsewhere
When he combs my hair in parts.

He whisks a blade and shaves
A chapter from my nape.
Leaning his head to whisper
That we are about to reach an ending.

He moves my face around
And we reflect each other
On the mirror. I am beginning
To look like one of his characters.

He says, “You’re done.”
And so is your story.
Another head of ears is waiting to listen.
He slaps a white towel
On my shoulder, and I know for sure
That is final. I won’t
Be hearing him for some time.

Meanwhile, his stories grow
On my head, though I am none
The wiser. I leave knowing one month
Of dreams has been taken away.

By the end of the day,
The barber would have a dark novel
Strewn all over his checkered floor.
He would sweep the scattered chapters
Of another epic, and gather them
In a dustpan. It is enough to fill
One garbage can. Tomorrow,
The bin would be emptied,
And with it, a cast of characters,
Houses, places, secrets, and occasions.
But always, a reason
To tell a story will be found tangled
In someone else’s hair. And the barber,
With a comb and a pair of scissors,
Will pen another.

are my poems autobiographical? yes, only because they’re drawn from an experience, actual, imagined, or vicarious. but it’s not always about me, in the sense that i am the “I” in the series of poems, nor is the character getting a haircut based on something i’ve experienced personally. come to think of it, my barber doesn’t talk beyond asking “yung dati?”

okay, now that i’ve started it, must search more poems to post on the blog. i miss being a literary artist.
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