Green gate, rust-spotted
wears a lacy coat of leaves -
Spring in Manila?
Canopy of leaves
Vines curl into cheerful springs -
echo the season.
Hallo! I made a *rather* nice poem. LOL.
Sender: aaIk Received: 02:31:35pm
That’s nice! Email it to me, pls tnx
To: aaIk Sent: 02:32:07pm
Ookie! I shall email triumphantly!
Sender: aaIk Received: 02:37:28pm
I look forward to your triumphant email! I luv u!
To: aaIk Sent: 02:38:52pm
Sent, it is!
Sender: aaIk Received: 02:54:45pm
ze poem ~ (via email)
How I wish I could fly -
But I wonder where?
Well, as long as I could,
I would go anywhere!
Maybe to the beach,
Even to the mall.
Anywhere, as long as I
But what if one day, Mama came
And I was nowhere to be found?
She would be so worried, so I know
It would be best to stay on ground.
© 2008 Erika Alcasid
How mysterious is friendship, and the bonds that tie people together across years and distances. When I was in fifth or sixth grade in a Protestant school in Pasay City, one of the people I admired and looked up to was a senior named Joel H. Vega. We lent each other books, and talked about literature and how words could be powerful enough to move us in ways others could not understand, or even care to learn.
Joel graduated, and I saw him only once after that. He visited our school about a year or two after he had left, to tell me that he had entered the University of the Philippines in Los Baños and was taking Journalism. He encouraged me to develop my writing skills and take Journalism too.
When I became a senior myself and had to decide on my college course, I was confused. My other classmates were going for Nursing, Biology, Dentistry, and the other life sciences. This was the career path encouraged by our school. Not being particularly altruistic nor desirous of encountering blood and other body fluids on a daily basis, I remembered Joel’s words, and so I ended up also in UP, in the Communication (Journalism) program, where I spent four happy years.
Now I make my living from writing. And my choice of career path, I owe to Joel H. Vega, and a chance remark on his part, perhaps forgotten soon as it was said, but with a profound and significant influence on my life.
After 24 or 25 years, we are in touch again, through the Internet. Joel is in the Netherlands, working as a medical journalist, and before that in other countries, always as a writer. Always as a writer.
His life is filled with words and music and art and travel and culture and I am so happy for him.
One thing that made me even happier – and proud – was when I learned that he is a published writer and poet. His poetry has been anthologized many times in Philippine and US literary journals, and he also wrote a collection of essays - Dir’iyah – about life as an expat in the Middle East.
Here’s one of his most popular poems -
The Fifth & Careful Season
Beyond October, before the lure
Of orange, the swarm flies across
Listen, the talebearer says,
Listen as they drag the weight
Of distances from as far as Peru
Head, thorax, abdomen,
Two antennae, six legs.
Lepidoptera. Scaly wings
Open (inhale) close (exhale)
The dusty breath
Of mute birds.
What is an army of itinerant moths?
A catapulted piece of the moon,
Flung to earth from the Sea of Tranquility.
But ours is a season of agitation
When guns in an arid land
Hound orphans, their pain looming,
Bigger than a mountain.
Tonight, the moths seek shelter
In mossy ribs of fallen logs,
Their wings encoding
Secret trajectories of storms.
What we hear though is neither
Typhoon nor hurricane
But the solid rain
Of ricocheting bullets
Hissing in the dark.
Joel H. Vega
Copyright © 2004
About this piece, Joel says: “I am particularly delighted with the poem published by DMQreview (The Fifth and Careful Season), because I somehow hit a sensitive nerve with that poem. Besides, the images, words, rhythm, etc, just all came together…. Poems like that doesn’t come to me often. It can be my most successful poem to date as it has been re-printed thrice, and with that poem I bagged the Meritage Press ( a small Filipino-owned lit press in California ) annual poetry ‘fun’ contest in 2005.”
I look forward to reading all of Joel’s poems in one volume – whether published in the Philippines or abroad, as long as copies are available in this country – so that this wandering poet’s works may be read and appreciated in the land of his birth.
Automated blogs are created using software that will “allow you to put various blogs that have been already written by someone else” on your website or blog, according to a website that offers such services.
Autoblogs are the scourge of bloggers everywhere, as they steal content from other people to put on their own sites. “Keyword-rich” content is plagiarized in order to increase traffic to their sites.
Legitimate bloghosts such as WordPress have declared war on autoblogs, and suspend such accounts when they come across them.
Here’s a sample from an autoblog – misspellings and lack of punctuation as-is - that popped up on my WordPress “Tag Surfer” page:
“Themselves is we who are peaky; her is thus we who graduate the embassy in order to impart our stress, our dolor, and our discomfort, en plus being as how our thinkability. we apprehend disagreeing hard statements encircling our moira, excepting appear like compelled in order to maintain creature clearer and farther orotund in comparison with what we’ve heard off others.
[We] are advantageous in passage to treasure affluxion into medications and stamina be concerned tabloid howbeit we realize not restrain smash against fix you. Bountiful as regards our soundness problems argue been resolved irrespective of[antiretroviral] medications. Predisposed to how fell our environs was prefatory in transit to prolegomenon, we submit benefited in great measure. Again stretch we grant favored up to put surge over against these services, we experience idealistic blues since others who mullah’t take in the Tweedledum and Tweedledee regime we prosecute.
And by crescendo in transit to our naturalness problems, we carry exotic tribulations.
However fewer contemplative in re our allergic disease, we deathlike silence prehend problems
advantageous in that doss. We identify fluster unweaving recruitment. We be present
perturbed all but sending our tots for religious order. One and all session we foreside the
disquieting event that we cannot bring to light the action for give permission her. Not
heterotrophic organism smart over against abet our young people is the peerless raise a howl faced wherewithal mothers and fathers obliquely the belt in regard to Haiti. We tamper with autodidactic that congenitor calamities and also have being advanced extraneous countries. Equivalently we allude to wherewithal A to izzard these tragedies we rancidity interrogate: is every kind present-time not a guy? (italics booby trap)
It doesn’t make sense, right? It’s as if several posts were integrated into one blog entry, with some random words or phrases sprinkled here and there. It brings to mind the “million monkeys typing on a million computers for a million years” thing.
Sorry, I couldn’t find a cheerful monkey robot image to P’Shop. Original image here.
Curiously, some of the words are rather interesting – “effluxion”, “prolegomenon”, “rancidity”, “izzard”. Some phrases are downright brilliant – “our stress, our dolor, and our discomfort”; “idealistic blues”; “Tweedledum and Tweedledee regime we prosecute”; “we carry exotic tribulations”.
There you have it – robotic poetry. And it didn’t take a million years to produce.
Shared with me in 1989 by sportswriter Joel Atencio.
looking for a friend
if one thousand men
walking through this world
room to room to room
then home again
ask the favor of your friendship
know that i am one
within the thousand.
if one hundred men
making do within this world
in city places or the kindest country
fall down fighting for your friendship
know that i am on the battlefield
amid the hundred.
if twenty men
who know and knew this world
from crested hills to uncrowned valley
send letters breathing friendship
expect my letter soon
among the twenty.
if one man living in this too-grey world
running crooked paths or pacing pavements
comes in need of friendship
be not amazed or disbelieve,
i am that one man.
if no one comes to you
carrying a new world in his arms
or at his back in a rolling wagon
offering to you out of friendship
know that I have been detained
but even now am on my way
still no one comes to you
within this world
when two dozen years or half of that has passed
come and seek me out
for i’ll be lifeless in a grave and gone.
perhaps you were hiding
or concerned with other things
but know that while I lived
i went on looking.
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