Anina Abola from the Metro Serye team sent me a message saying that they have received numerous requests for copies of the poems I read during the World Poetry Day event at the Ayala Triangle.
So here they are:
Always, the request to reconstruct what has already destroyed you. Show us where, and your finger sweeps mountains and seas to settle on a blossoming bruise, a gunshot wound, a burning wall, a room, a face, a sign. Tell us what happened that night. You unfurl what you know and hold down the corners with rocks. Tell us what you saw. If a witness: the bookcases, the overturned lamp, the ruined door, the bodies in supplication, the scattered self. If a survivor: the ceiling with a dying light. If the body – if the face on the photocopied poster –
Here I am, perhaps standing on the second before it happens. I have the grocery list as my guide. I have pre-marked my path.Why did this happen? The key is in the slow deconstruction. Bread, detergent powder, grapes, apples, cheese, a kilo of meat, a head of lettuce. This is why. This is where it starts. Every second is a second before it happens. I hear a siren and say a prayer. I hear a sound in the middle of the night and hope that you are safe. Your only weapon is what you know. I push the cart and know only these aisles and the order in which I visit them. The girl behind the counter offers no clues. What power do I have? Already the curtain curls under the weight of fire. Already the ground welcomes whatever it believes is coming.
Those of us who still remember – we know nothing but longing.
My grandmother sits perfectly content by the shore
of this day, this isolated ocean, contained within itself.
I never ask, What is my name? for who am I to invade her view,
skipping rocks on her calm waters, blocking this sun she believes
has done her no wrong. Didn’t my grandfather die in heat?
A headache on a summer day, a nap, a death that devastated her
now leaving her without a sound. Define injustice in this context,
define betrayal. Define love. Define peace. My father misses a turn
and I am filled with dread. Is this how it starts?
Perhaps inside him is a house now slowly being emptied
of photographs and furniture. How long before he throws open the door,
before I fail to stem the hemorrhaging moment?
Inside myself is an open window, where I cup my chin and long for you
while I can, while I can still remember. I now treasure the darkening sky,
the memory of disasters, the cold that visits me at night.
I treasure you, this open window, your absence and my awareness
of this absence. In my dreams, we are always the ocean,
I cannot see the end of ourselves, I am blinded by the sun
rising on our horizon, we are the one marvel I never fail to witness.
© Eliza Victoria