Verse Exercises

A portfolio for her verses

Archive for the ‘Where the image is central’ Category

Clouds Marching

leave a comment »

The clouds marched across the night sky
(unusually bright) as though they would never tire

From the third floor of an old renewed building I gazed
wide-eyed at a passing storm.


Written by thedoe

December 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Accounting on an afternoon

leave a comment »

orange light
slightly open door
fish in a bowl
kittens in the hall
girl on a bed
flowers printed on a curtain

Written by thedoe

December 16, 2013 at 11:26 pm


leave a comment »

In childhood I saw the ash of disaster. Many years later, I would trek these canyons as a vacationing college student. I would walk on the ash canyons of lahar as a tourist of what was once disaster.These gray-white canyons were once called lahar that overran the plains of Pampanga, households, cities, and flooded mostly the television at hometucked safely away from the eruption of a long dormant volcano by miles and miles of sea. For a brief moment in history, Pampanga was the Philippines.

The tons of ash Mt. Pinatubo spewed into the air were said to have scattered across the globe riding on the back of trade winds, and stayed suspended in the sky for months, blocking sunlight. If the flecks of dirty-white ash, the only snow I’ve ever known since they fell gingerly on the dark asphalt streets of my hometown, had stayed there with the clouds for a year, how much vegetation would have died? Had it stayed there long enough and made us, too, victims of disaster, then perhaps even the world would remember 1991. Lahar might even make its way into the dictionary, and we’d put it up on our collective national shelf next to boondocks as proud evidence of our growing contribution to the internationalization of the English language.

The ash fall lasted only about three days in the town where I grew up, far away down south as we were, but strangely the memory of it lingers even now, and when you mention it people nod as if they have remembered something sad. Was it the eeriness of it that stamped the Mt. Pinatubo eruption into collective memory? The surreal sight of ash falling by the heaps on our roads, telling us that somewhere far something was burning, being devoured by the licking flames of the earth. Or was it the news report, of the star-spangled banner retreating down fast from the pulley on the pole, and the hey-Joe’s scampering into their jeeps, abandoning their military bases instead of shooting our people for game, that etched this into memory. Not disaster after all but finally deux ex machina in our people’s history. Who can say? I only know that year we gave away many white gifts, as we did for other tragedies, none of which I can name, or even faintly remember.


An earlier version, not much different, was first submitted as a creative non-fiction writing assignment on 17 Feb 2009. This is part of Triggers, a collection of writing born from images.

Written by thedoe

October 30, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Russ: A Reading Proposal for Set A

leave a comment »

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

Set A

leave a comment »


Your honor,
Have a heart!

a. appeal to force
b. nobody can disagree
c. No,
d. this, to pity


From whom did we learn for lavish?

a. the Americans
b. the Spaniards
c. the Japanese
d. the Malays


The Taoist way

a. let people be
b. nature
c. do not
d. do nothing


Cock as a Filipino sport

a. the Jap
b. Span
c. Brit
d. Chin


peace and harmony

a. love
b. do nothing
c. do not do, do to
d. know


It did not rain,

a. because rain makes
b. if there was rain
c. Yes, rain with wet ground
d. other than rain


What is the one –

a. relations with
b. mainland
c. mainland governed
d. peoples

Written by thedoe

October 16, 2013 at 9:55 am

Milk Tea

with one comment

Tea and milk in a paper tumbler
melting ice and regular sugar
dark Assam tempered by creme

Sealed atop with plastic
but soon enough pierced
by swift, violent stab
only this, no other

Down goes the straw
and up goes flavored water
through the mouth
and course down throat
into the blood
and up the brain
of suckling writer

Written by thedoe

October 3, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Posted in Where the image is central

Tagged with

Look what light can do

leave a comment »

It’s a Sunday afternoon, barely an hour or so before dusk, before night claimed the day for its own habits, its own forays. But already it is dark in my room because I am that sort of person who spends Sunday sitting without the lights on, in front of screens, in front of books, always reading. But I look away for a moment from the other world, to take stock of my surroundings, just to see how things are on this side of being.

I look and I see what light can do on the hour before dusk. Look at the light, golden yellow and streaming through the open window. But not glaring or powerful, soft in fact, grazing the curtain upon its entry into my room, falling finally on the floor where it casts the longest shadows. Look at what light can do, bringing the sense of what is past, the faded color of childhood pictures. Look at what light can do, teasing a smile from my lips, kindling a certain warmth for its unannounced visit.

Then it is gone. Night comes so quickly soon after.

Written by thedoe

September 29, 2013 at 5:59 pm