Verse Exercises

A portfolio for her verses

Archive for the ‘Doing it more than once’ Category

Visiting Paco Park

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This is a revision. The first draft appeared in an older blog.

Various times, I have been motivated by wanderlust to go beyond ogling old buildings from within the confines of trains. In one occasion, a friend and I rode the train from EDSA to UN Avenue where we stepped off and looked for Paco Park using directions copied from Google Maps. The park turned out to be a very quick amble from the station. An archway greeted us at the entrance where a posted guard informed us that we had some thirty minutes to explore the place before the park closed at 5:30pm sharp. After paying a minimal fee in a small office to the right of the arch, we proceeded to make the best out of our half hour.

The park is enclosed in a thick circular stone wall. The passing of time and weathering had made the stone a rich habitat for moss and other fungal growth that mottled the wall as gray and black patches. From the inside, we noticed that arched niches had been bored into the thick stone. These looked like medieval ovens or overly large dovecotes. Round fluted column supports lined the wall in intervals. These also grouped the niches into sets of nine arranged in three columns and three rows. The first row from the top was only a few inches taller than I was, so it must have been a little over five feet. Some were empty and merely stored dusty darkness. Many others were sealed, and closer inspection revealed barely readable stenciled epitaphs. These declared their sleeping occupants to be the Spanish dead. The dates competed in age but I had been too hasty to note who trumped the rest in age.

Mossy steps led to a walkway on top of the outer wall. This we climbed. From there we spied a small church at the center of the courtyard enclosed within an inner wall. The chapel was octagonal, topped by a dome roof. Mosses and ferns grew wild in its nooks and crannies, even on the dome roof itself. It had an arched doorway flanked by four gray columns and two stained windows at either side. A low round fountain spouted water in front. It didn’t have the same mossy discoloration and so seemed to me recently installed. After having stared more than was deemed polite (for a wedding had been ongoing at the time), we decided to proceed on the walk way until a troupe practicing a dramatic performance below us caught our attention. We stood on the walk way observing them in their makeshift stage, until we were reminded of our limited time. We discovered that the walk way spanned the park’s circumference.

My friend had read in a blog that the national hero, Jose Rizal, had been buried there before he was finally interred at the Luneta and so like sleuths, we descended from the walk way and went in search for his tomb among the niches. We found a grave instead in the outer circle. It wasn’t difficult to find. A white metal fence about a foot high surrounded it. A white cross stood in the middle and a plaque anticipating our questions why the simple grave, why was he moved, and when. Our curiosity satisfied, we climbed back up the walk way and sat down on one of the small stone benches to transport ourselves in time with our imaginations. In my head, I peopled the park, then Paco Cemetery, with promenading Spanish mestizos and mestizas. I wonder though where they gazed at. Did they direct their eyes toward the inner courtyard toward the church, or did they look beyond the outer walls of Paco? If they did, what did they see?


Written by thedoe

October 21, 2013 at 2:25 am

Russ: A Reading Proposal for Set A

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The other day, you told me some of Set A was indecipherable, not open. I thought about it all the way home. I thought about how to make it open. Perhaps there is a way, without having to explain too much. So let me propose here, three ways of reading the verse set “A”.

Read it like a chronicler, going from line to line in a march along the linear progression of time:

Read it like you’re looking for answers, try each one and roll them off your tongue:

Read it like a misinformed examinee and take the busted “C” strategy, think about omission, think about focus:

Written by thedoe

October 19, 2013 at 12:33 am

Trees and walking

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She walked a mile to see the tree stand before the twilight.
She chose to walk the mile because walking was slower and subtle like dusk,
the receding city noise, and the presence of the passing scenery, and motion,
and time, and things growing, shrinking and wilting within that scale.
She chose to walk the mile to give the tree time to grow, and herself, too
so that looking upon the tree stand against the fading light in the sky
she could meet the full greatness with her own smile.


first draft 24 Jul 2010

Written by thedoe

September 11, 2012 at 1:41 am

what i figured was

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the best people
are the disinterested
unfailing trust
i adorn their sweeping gaze with
in which i am but a bit
of information the brain can forget
a dispensable pixel
blurred or cropped
out of the things that matter
out of that which must be won
the indifferent know a good joke
and wear their laughter
in the crow’s feet of their eyes,
nowhere is a more honest gaze
This poem is a revision of the first draft that appeared in an older blog.

Written by thedoe

June 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm

borrowing a word

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from the reader, to the author
dated this morning
on borrowing a word
dear author,
i just wanted to say that i picked a word from your book
because i quite liked the way it sounded. it is not a very big word, but not very small either.
i am writing to say i’m borrowing, just so. i wouldn’t want anyone thinking i stole a word
not so very small, not for talking with friends, it just isn’t that kind,
but something maybe that i can pick up like in a book,
like this morning. it isn’t a very big word but i wanted to be sure
that i could speak it, in that i meant it, like i’ve been saying it forever,
like it’s always been mine. you can tell when people sound their word if it’s theirs,
a word and a tongue can be very intimate.
so i mouthed it to myself a little in the bathroom mirror,
when the cat curious asked “watt arr yoo du win?”
and i said to him “Cat, I’m speaking a word.”
his brow quickly arched, pointing paws and said “a pro pre-ated word eef i saw wan,” mock hiss
and sat, languid metronome tail that sent me to the desk
citing my sources.
the reader
This is a revision and has appeared previously in an older blog.

Written by thedoe

June 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Still Life of a Woman at the Museum

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on your solitary walks
the shutter is your eye
captures moment after moment
pixelates the sky,
play of light
is this your intimacy
with art?
the way you stare at museum pieces
with that woman’s searching gaze
where is that fraction of you?
always hidden
like an afterglow, all your
little confessions

First published in issue#35 of poet’sPicturebook, now known as the Electronic Monsoon Magazine managed and designed by Marne Kilates. nth draft 10 Jan 2011

Written by thedoe

January 10, 2011 at 3:39 am

she comes home

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jangle of keys, click on a dead bolt, turn of a knob,
messenger bag and a thud, contents spilling out like guts;
a girl slumps down a couch, legs splay out

stares ahead, at nothing. slack jaw;
thinks: what am I doing?

2nd draft 22 Dec 2010

Written by thedoe

December 11, 2010 at 6:22 am