Ene 26, 2015

Mapapadpad ba tayo—o hindi

sa kintab ng mga kamuning sa hanginan,
sa arawan . . .

uling na ang punong tatanggap sa ihi.
Hindi na para isa-isahin pa ang sineremonya,

ang kinahinatnan ng catheter, atbp.
Dati, kanilang inaasnan

ang ugat ng kamansi, wala kasing bunga;
nag-aabot ng mainit na mangkok sa uhugin.

Styro na samantala, at mga patse ng liwanag na malasapot,
magpatulay man ako ng pisi

mula sa gilid ng aking labi
hanggang sa bakaw ng iyong hikaw.

Angkinin mo man / Saan ka man naroroon

pinatitikom ng amihan ang dalawang
pahiwatig na magkayapos sa duyan.

Ang Kalsada

ni Octavio Paz
aking salin

Isang mahaba at tahimik na kalsada.
Naglakad ako sa kaitiman at nadapa ako at bumagsak
at tumindig, at bulag akong naglakad, ang aking mga paa’y
umaapak sa mga tahimik na bato at tuyot na dahon.
May kung sino sa likuran ang umaapak din sa mga bato, dahon:
kapag binabagalan ko, binabagalan din niya;
kapag tumatakbo ako, tumatakbo rin siya. Paglingon ko: walang tao.
Karimlan ang lahat, at kawalan ng pinto.
Paikot-ikot sa mga sulok na ito
na walang patumanggang nanunumbalik sa kalsada
kung saan walang naghihintay, walang sumusunod sa akin,
kung saan hinahabol ko ang isang taong nadadapa
at tumitindig at nagwiwika tuwing ako’y nakikita: walang tao.

Ene 19, 2015

scaffold

may I do it?
first of all, a sad piece of
a piece of
she was 27 years old, young like
are you among women / your will be done
the willingness to use other people

there’s only a very small
but women can see things
rejection, the risk of being taken
a question for which there is no answer

there is a worldly compassion which is useless
those who are discarded are crying
museums of young people who have everything but not knowing
—the architects of a renewed and 
silence: you lack only one thing
see caravaggio’s picture of him
beg

do I think I need nothing?
there is a phrase that consoles me

Ene 16, 2015

Rue

Say of Paris that one day you grew tired of walking.
The meters calling up the bags to visit, not to come

over as friends. A Cesar whistled to be stoned
there, was forgiven for sentiment, re

marked, membered. Minded a pat
square between the blades. As if you’d have flicked my

Marcelo a cigarette, spitting as you do at your gutters

to groom the mice.
Surrender the most obstinate of our traits.

Ene 14, 2015

Minutes



—Malaking bagay na mailagay sa minutes ito. Happy Sunday!

—available eight thirty to eleven

—Awaiting the prudence of the group. I thought it had already been explained. If there's to be a meeting, I hope it'll be official and definitive.

—Baka masama ang loob kaso pinaghintay.
—*kasi







—Andito na siya . . . hinihintay ang 10 minutes, prep, ganyan. Pwede nating i-live tweet ang okasyong ito.


—ok po. after lunch



—Grades aren't defensible in my view.


—Late bloomer, maybe. I don't think even the post-grade grades will cut it (TOR 2 of 3).


—Good AM. Are we still considering the CHED-type super-GE proposals active? (Ex. Ethics, Critical Perspectives in Communication, Filipino GE, etc.)?




—Are these proposals still working on the assumption that we'll teach in the interdisciplinary mode, each course taught by teachers from different colleges? Can't we entertain the possibility of keeping the non-super non-champion GE framework? I can imagine courses like "Critical Perspectives in Communication" and "Workplace Communication" taught (perhaps more effectively) by our faculty. We to ours, they to theirs.

—tomorrow am pls, thanks

—Trying to look for possible candidates . . .


—Parang okay naman po ang lineup na yan. Available pa sana, kahit isa.






—ok w 1pm
—Have been thinking about yesterday. The prof makes the right point, and not merely the anti-large class sort of lip service we get from admin (and other closet proponents). However, this method is extreme, and I find nothing admirable in compromising so many just to make a point. It's playing with lives. Proponents of indiscriminate application of large class take the blame for putting us in positions like this, making a culture out of it, playing with many more lives in the process.

Ene 12, 2015

Huntahang Monico Atienza: “KAIBIGAN XIV”

Bawat salita’t panalita
ay may teorya, maiteteorya;
maipaliliwanag, malilinaw,
ibig sabihin.
Pagtulang biseral o serebral,
meron din; di nakakaiwas
pati paglulubid ng buhangin.
Pagkapayaso ko’t tangkang tulain
sa silong teorya’y salikop din;
kundi nga, di na ta konsistent.
Salita’t panalitang nakararami,
di dapat pigilin dapat alamin;
mapaglimi, usisain.
Sila ma’y may sasabihin,
sinabi na nga—maging
ang pinakamunti, pinakamangmang.

Pigilin ang teorya’t pinatay mo sila.

*

HANI— Natuwa akong basahin ito dahil may sort of urgency na magpahayag ng abstrakto ("serebral" daw) sa pamamagitan ng raw, authentic at second nature na paraan. Ang fluid ng paglilipat ng diction mula sa "teorya" to "paglulubid ng buhangin" to "di na ta konsistent" pero patok.

Lalakihan ko na rin agad. Dahil pantao ang pamagat na "KAIBIGAN XIV," sino ang sini-sila dito?

"Sila ma'y may sasabihin"
"pinatay mo sila"

DNS— Palagay ko ang sila rito ay " pinakamunti" at "pinakamangmang," alingawngaw mula sa "Desiderata" na tahasang aaminin ni Atienza sa "KAIBIGAN XV": "May salita ang maliit at mangmang, / di lamang sa DESIDERATA— / sa totoo at lipunan man, / maniwala ka Kaibigan". Sino ang kaibigan? Maaari bang i-profile ang kaibigang ito, kung nasaan sa lipunan, ano ang pinag-aralan, atbp?

HANI— Hindi ko na mahintay na sumagot si Tilde ng "milktea crowd" at mag-aagree ako sa kanya. Argumento ang tula pero impormal. Parang isang FB status o comment nga e. KAIBIGAN = your favorite Facebook friend. Kabataang petiburges, maaaring nasa kolehiyo o natapos na, isang intelektwal na articulate, marahil. Hindi mangmang o maliit, panigurado. Or at least may ganitong self-aware na pagtangi sa sarili.

Tanong: Hindi na naabutan ng may-akda ang FB, tama? O nauna nang naisulat ang tulang/mga tulang ito. Astig kung ganun!

DNS— Pre-FB. Pre-Friendster pa nga. 29.VII.93 ang datestamp ng tula ayon sa pinaghanguan. 

HANI— 90s... Kung ganun, salimbayan nga ng mga biseral (paglulubid ng buhangin) at eksistensyal (pagkapayaso ko) na feels, mga pasalitang irony on so many lvls (di na ta konsistent), at big ideas, at aakalaing walang sinasabi ang mga ika nga ay "pastiche" c/o MTV. Pero ang paalala dito, kaibigan, "sila ma'y may sasabihin / sinabi na nga" Nagresonate yung "social being determines consciousness" ni Marx sa sinasabi ng tula hinggil sa teorya. Parang, hindi kawalan ng teorya ang problema mo sa kanila, kaibigan, kundi ang hindi mo pagkilala na may teorya "maging / ang pinakamunti", "may sasabihin" lagi, dapat lamang "mapaglimi, usisain." Nag-stem ang di pagkilala, sa tingin ko, sa chicken-and-egg na mauuna ang teorya sa praktika. Ang sinabi dito, no, existence mismo, maging "pinakamangmang" singilin mo ng teorya, meron yan.

DNS— Kahit nga sa antas ng salita, magkaibang uri ng pera ang "salita" at ang "teorya". Barya lang ang "salita" pero sino lang ang afford ang mga salitang gaya ng "teorya"? Gayumpaman, hindi porke wala silang salita para rito ay awtomatiko nang wala na sila nito. Na isa na sa pinakamahahalagang liksyon ng tula. Sorpresa rin ang salitang payaso. Ibig bang sabihi'y holy fool o court jester na tipong nag-iisang makapagsasabi (nga lan'y pabalang, patawa, patula) ng mga bagay na hindi maaaring marinig ng mga bosing? Insidental na may pagkapayaso rin talaga si Atienza, palangiti, magaang kausap. Isang clip bilang patunay.

HANI— "magkaibang uri ng pera ang 'salita' at 'teorya.'" Which brings into question: sino/ano ang nagdidikta ng value sa wika. Hindi ba madudulas ang persona dito, kung sa pag-assert na maglimi, usisain ang teorya ay naiaangat ang value ng ganitong diskurso (na mas type ng kausap na kaibigan, I assume) over the barya-baryang panalita ng nakararami (na wala mang diskurso, nagsasabuhay ng teorya)?

"Pigilin ang teorya't pinatay mo sila." ang sagot ng tula. The irony: buhay mismo ng munti at mangmang ang teorya. Sa kanilang salat sa salita, ang tanging yaman na lang ay ang sinasabi.
____________

Kung hindi ang bosing, ang audience ng payaso ay ang Kaibigan pa rin. Kailangan ang pabalang, patawa at patula maski may preference ang Kaibigan sa mas serebral, pero ba't hindi rin pawang antas ng baryang salita ang ginamit sa tula? Mukhang ibang pera rin. Ano'ng value ng pagpapakapayaso nito at ano ang tangkang tulain?
____________

Nasilip ko ang clip! At nakita rin nga ang sinasabi sa tula. Sa pormang kwentuhan w/ your favorite tito over bottles of Pilsen, idikit ba ang salitang "militante" at "imperyalismo" sa "kaming magbabarkada noong high school." ICWYDT, Prof. Nick!

DNS— "Which brings into question: sino/ano ang nagdidikta ng value sa wika."

Palagay ko natumbok mo ang problema ng persona, at maaaring ang motibo mismo ng tula. Ano mang uri ng language engineering ay social engineering din, may pinapaborang iskema. Yang sa CHED, anong iskema ang pinapaboran niyan? Itong sa UPLB na token/barya lang pagpapahalaga sa Filipino: sino ang pinapaboran niyan?

Isa pang pagbasa sa huling linya: Lahat ng panimbang sa mga pananalita, pag-uusisa, at paglilimi ay nangyayari sa aktibidad ng teorya. Dito napauusbong ang mga nakatagong patibong ng wika. Bago ka pa pumasok sa pag-usisa sa pork, sa paglatag ng bargaining agreement, sa pagbuo ng posisyon sa paligid ng kay Laude, ay maaaring talo ka na dahil ang larangan mismo (at ang premyo), wika, ay pabor na sa kalaban, patriyarkal na halimbawa, o pabor sa market.

Halimbawa, ituturo sa iyo na asset mo ang mukha mo, ang balakang mo, ganyan. Ibinubugaw ka na pala ng wika.
____________

Mukhang si Kaibigan kasi, mas masaya sa antas ng teorya, at siguro hindi nakikita ang papel at/o dirkesyon ng teorya: ang pagpapalaya. Makikita si "Kaibigan" palagay ko, tuwing may mga komento kung saan sinisisi ang "munti" at "mangmang" sa pagboto sa ganito o sa ganyang tao. Parang wow, sige, talagang ginusto nilang iboto yan para nakawan sila ano?

Kailangan pa ring busisiin ang mga terminong "munti" at "mangmang". Kapag sa showbiz naririnig natin lagi: "para ito sa maliliit". Parehas lang ba kapag galing sa ganitong mga "pilantropo" at kapag galing sa ganitong makata/propesor?

Siguro'y dinagdagan ko lang (nang hindi pa nasasagot) ang mahalaga mong tanong: "Ano'ng value ng pagpapakapayaso nito at ano ang tangkang tulain?"
____________

Ganyan talaga siya sa tunay na buhay, Hani. Swabe lang e.

HANI— Sa teorya "napauusbong ang mga nakatagong patibong ng wika."

Si Kaibigan "siguro hindi nakikita ang papel at/o direksyon ng teorya: ang pagpapalaya."

Di kaya napiling solusyon ang pagpapakapayaso at pagtula sa paglalantad ng patibong at gayundin, sa paglalatag ng direksyon ng teorya habang heto't nagsisilbi sa court ng bosing? Hindi dahil safe na maskara ang pagpapatawa kundi dahil ang paraang ito, kung successful, ay pagsuway at pagbasag sa anumang value na nilalagay sa salita at sa kung paano dapat gamitin, sino lamang ang dapat gumagamit, etc. Mockery ito di nga lang ng sinasabi, kundi ng value na inaatas sa salita at paggamit, sa pambubugaw, y'know: eto ba teorya, serebral, up yer arse poetica? Let's talk econ, "wala nang mura kundi putang ina." I mean, I know bad words, pero mas bad pa ba sa deception ng oil cartel? May shock factor ang mga ganito kay Kaibigan, guguho ang tore at madi-disorient sya, at from the rubbles/rabbles, dadamputin ang mga piraso ng teorya, at bulgar na ilalantad ng mga grotesque na kawirduhan nang may laya sa mga patibong ng value-laden na wika. Uncomfortable at masama man ang loob, mapapausisa at limi si Kaibigan mula sa pagkawasak ng nakagisnang retorika, tact, etiquette, form. Kung hindi pa rin sa kabila ng paglalantad, unfriend. Chos

DNS— How is this friend constructed in relation to the persona? Is the poet extending a sincere hand of friendship? Or friend in the sense of "bos" / "tol" / "manang" that we label passing acquaintances to make small talk or little requests?

Or could they already be friends, colleagues or students who live in theory but don't know any better? And why reiterate friendship? Could the poet be worried that his words would fall flat without displaying claims to solidarity?

TILDE— hmmm... tatangkain ko lang isuma yung mga nakuha ko sa diskusyon, isuma yung mga bahaging nagrasp ko at, at da same time, gagamitin ko rin sa mga idadagdag (sana may maidaragdag pa!) na punto. una, yung binanggit ni Hani (sana hindi ko malift outta context), implying na existence > theory and practice. hindi chicken and egg ang theory and practice dahil the stuff both are made of ay existence. ikunek ko abruptly ke Dennis, wika = existence, theory and practice na ang the rest ng mga panlipunang isyu.

ngayon itong mga bits of info na ito, kung ikukunek ko sa KAIBIGAN, hm..., requisite ang pananalita/wika/existence para magkaroon ng teorya at mas nagiging tunay ang teorya kung nakabatay ito sa existence, ie hand-to-mouth existence, ng nakararami—na ironically sila ring pinakamunti (hindi kaunti) at pinakamangmang. ang naalala ko rito, yung tendency ng pagiging anti-theory/anti-intellectual na para bang walang maidudulot na anuman ang intelektwalisasyon.

at ang magkaibigan (eto na Hani!) e tila naguusap lang sa milkteahan, pero ang isa sa kanila e involved sa nakararami/pinakamunti/mangmang, kahit na hindi yun ang kinagisnang buhay, samantalang ang isa (ang Kaibigan ng persona), ay tila nagrarant lang sa facebook ng anti-anything. ngayon, hindi ko na maarticulate kaya irerekomenda ko na lang na panoorin ninyo ang "The Waldo Moment" Episode ng seryeng "Black Mirror," si waldo ay isang cartoon na anti-everything, na kung tutuusin anti rin sa sarili niya, kung galit sya sa lahat. ganoon si Kaibigan, batay sa aba kong pagbasa: ayaw ng teo-teorya shit—high theory man ito o tabloid.

ayun muna, mga Kaibigan haha. sana may naimabag. (also, minsan sa social media ginagamit din ang "kaibigang [name ng commentor here]" kapag kausap ng isang tao ang hindi niya kilala PERO tinutunggali niya sa thread, pero syempre social media ito, so, hindi naman maipipinal na unibersal ang anumang gamit ng term of endearment tulad ng "kaibigan")

DNS— Iniisip ko nga rin ang ganyang moda, "hinahon, kaibigan," kahit hindi naman talaga kakosa, pero yung nga, wala kasing magaganap na diskurso (o tula) kung up masyado si hostility at down sobra si common ground. Mahinahong bagong taon, mga kaibigang Hani at Tilde, hwehehe.

HANI— Nahirapan ako mag-assume from the language of the poem kasi parang unconscious decision naman yung tono ni persona, parang second nature. He could be talking to anyone and I couldn't imagine him interacting sa ibang paraan. Ganun din sa flow ng kwentuhan, whether sya nagsimula o hindi, pwede nyang dalhin ang tema at tono towards this end. But clearly, it's a craft, yung pagkapayaso. May method at proseso that won't work unless you completely forget about it and let it into your system. Swabe lang dapat, hindi hostile at hindi rin patronizing.

Huli na ito para sa 2014! Happy New Year, Sir Dennis and Tilde! More teorya and praktika till kingdom come!

DNS— Siguro magandang ikasa natin yung dalawa pang tula sa link para makita kung "ta konsistent" o consistently inconsistent ang "kaibigan" at persona. Pero sa ngayon, oo, magandang ikwalipika pa ang pagkapayasong ito, kung nasaaan ang halakhak (kung matutukoy), ano ang direksyon.

HANI— Onward sa dalawa pang tula!

May huling hirit lang ako sa anti-intellectualism na binanggit ni Tilde: ito ba ay isang ideolohiya o phase lamang sa pagkatuto ni Kaibigan? Marahil masasagot nito ang pagturing sa kanya ni persona: sya ba ay hinahamig o antagonistikong (pero subtle at clever) nilalantad ng payaso?

DNS— Maaari ngang phase, at baka kaya "kaibigan" ay dahil kaunting kabig na lang ay magkasama/magkaantas na sila. Kung gayon, maaaring dumaan din si persona/payaso sa phase ni friend. Maaari rin namang general statement din itong " Pigilin ang teorya’t pinatay mo sila." Paraan lamang ng paglatag ng kongklusyon at walang ispesipikong "you" sa isip, malasalawikaing pagsabi kung saan maging ang kaibigan o ang mambabasa ay hindi talaga pinagsasabihan.

TILDE— teka hindi ko sure kung ako lang to or wat: yung "Pagkapayaso ko (...)" may dalawang dating: 1) yung present phase na sinasabi ni Hani, current phase, clown-ness, being payaso; at/o 2) yung phase na tapos na, where "pagkapayaso" e contraction ng pagkatapos+word, parang "pagkagraduate." posible yung latter dahil naglalaro na rin naman sa salita yung persona. ngayon kung uubra ang parehong pagkapayaso, parang mas nagiging hamig mode yung persona ke kaibigan? ata.

DNS— Kung #2 ang uubra, e di maaaring nasa payaso-phase na si friend (ang dating phase ni persona) kung saan dismiss-this dismiss-that. Or, police-this police-that. Kung matutukoy rin bilang grammar nazi si (supposed) anti-theorist.

Pwede na bang humingi ng tig-isang huling komento mula sa mga mambabasa, Hani, Tilde? Talakayin ang mga hindi pa natalakay, isulong ang hindi pa naisusulong. Maigsi o mahaba, pwede ring cryptic, pa-obscure, ganyan.

TILDE— yes, nasa payaso phase, i guess? ang naalala ko rito e nihilismo ni The Comedian, e. na, ewan ko, bordering na sa Kanan. "since joke naman ang lahat, pak ol dis shet," sabi ni Kaibigan. sabi ni Persona, "kung pak ol dis shet, dinamay mo yung mayoryang nagtatangkang maging better place ang mundo para sa uri nila." sa ganitong pag-rephrase, tila pinarerekonsider ni Persona kay Kaibigan ang pakyu-all attitude. samting na relevant sa panahon natin ngayon. salamat sa huntahang ito. magandang simula ng taon.

HANI— Sa tingin ko rin mapanghamig ang istilo at tangka, at ang magaling, at the same time ay clever at careful din ang persona sa mga bitaw dito kay kaibigan. Imbis na direktang lumilinya, parang tesla coil ang control, naglalaro. May danger din dito na maka-antagonize ng kausap pero makabuluhan dahil kung di man makumbinsi, ito na rin siguro ang pag-uunfriend, paglalantad ng kabalintunaan ng nihilismo at anti-intellectualism. Sa huli, kumakapit ka rin sa isang teorya na pinaglalaban mo mata sa mata, wika sa wika. May sinasasabi ka at sinabi mo na nga, so your argument is invalid. Hehe

DNS— Sa aking palagay, mahalagang dibdibin ang lihim ng 'payaso': kung paano naging usapin ng buhay at kamatayan ang teorya—at wika na rin—at maging pagtula.

*

dibuho ni tilde, carcosite.blogspot.com


Ene 7, 2015

Payo 2015

Enero 6, Elisha— “O, daddy, huwag kang mag-panic.”
Enero 7, Noam— “Daddy, maligo ka na no.”


Addendum:
Sabi ni Noam kay Elisha: “I think you have a father.”

Ene 4, 2015

Annotation 3: Angeles’s “Mga Tala ukol sa Sakit ni Mama ayon sa Kanyang mga Sintomas”

This will be the longest of the annotations[1-3], and its goal is to abstract a chronological sequence of events from the story, opening it up for further reading.

As had already been noted, Jestine's posts usually begin with introductory paragraphs more or less closer to her present situation (October). Then these jump to a points in the same year where she makes important discoveries that would lead, eventually, to the confirmation of her mother's disease (January, April, July, August, September). The outline below shall reconstruct chronology by reverting the present-past order of the posts to past-present.

1) Ang Karamdaman: Frontotemporal Dementia (Pick's Disease)
October: Jestine recalls her initial inability to distinguish between her mother's symptoms and her mother's "imbalance" or "stress" about the father's decision to leave them for a new family. Perhaps the disease could have been detected earlier in the absence of this smoke screen. 

2) Unang Sintomas: Apathy
—January: Her mother begins to display forgetfulness or neglect of her PTA duties. She seems to be paying greater attention to the supposed feelings of her pet spider. 
—October: Jestine juggles (with little success) the demands of the household, the maintenance of the blog, and the care of her mother. 

3) Ika-2 Sintomas: Loss of empathy and other interpersonal skills
—April: Once a crybaby, her mother does not tear up while reporting the father's decision to her children. Jestine pries into the online conversation of her parents and begins to fear for their financial stability. Meanwhile, the mother drops a banana piece into the spider's house (a converted aquarium) and tears a hole into the screen. 
—October: Watching "I am Sam" again causes Jestine to cry.

4) Ika-3 Sintomas: Lack of judgment and inhibition
—July: While out grocery shopping with Jestine, the mother behaves very strangely, brusquely, and with little awareness of her actions. She seems more composed when dealing with the spider. It now feeds on the insects that have come through the hole, attracted  by the rotting banana.
—October: Jestine reaffirms her choice of the blog as a venue for release. She doesn't seem to care for the presence of any reader at this point.

5) Ika-4 Sintomas: Repetitive compulsive behavior
—August: Jestine marks her mother's glaring absent-mindedness in house cleaning. Expensive pots and curtains, old, treasured gifts from her father, suddenly go missing and unaccounted for. Argument ensues.  
As her mother shrugs off her attempts at intervention, Jestine thinks that it's time for the pet spider to disappear.
—October: Jestine remembers the time when she could go out drink a bit with her friends. She admits that she had been arguing with her mother during the past week. Alone, she drinks beer. 

6) Ika-5 Sintomas: Speech and Language Problems
—September: Trisha and Ten-ten turn experience mounting difficulty with their mother and to their sister for help and mediation. Their mother has relinquished all but the most minimal engagement with her family, devoting herself entirely to the pet spider.
—October: Jestine remarks on her emotional distance from her younger sisters. She recalls how she had anticipated her growing responsibility earlier, how she chose to turn a blind eye to it.

7) The Turning Point :((((
—September: Jestine spends the whole night in front of the computer, escaping (as she puts it) to cyberspace. She hears the sound of her mother's alarm clock, something she has not heard for months. She dives back into bed, hoping that this is the signal of her mother's return to reality, to taking charge. She falls asleep waking for her mother to wake her. 
When she wakes she realizes that her mother has not stirred from her room. She calls repeatedly at her door and, fearing the worst, breaks it down. She and her sisters find her the missing curtains swirled on the floor around the bed, various things littered on it but arranged so that the most important objects are closer to the center, and in that center, their mother, slumped and so unresponsive that they had to call for an ambulance.
The aquarium's on the floor too, filled with little garbage and webbing, but there's no sign of the spider itself.
—October: Jestine writes a calm and lucid open letter to her father expressing her anger, her fear as she takes on her parents' responsibilities, and her wish for him to read the entirety of her blog.

8) Diagnosis, Implications, at Pagbabalik ni Mama
—October: Jestine recounts the slow recovery of her mother, how she will now have to take care of her as well as younger sisters, how her father and relatives send money for their tuition and daily needs, and how she opted to put her schooling on hold.
She admits that she slips every so often, that even after cleaning up her mother's room, she still sometimes "sees" the spider and its aquarium. She expresses greater understanding of her mother's role and disposition (as she assumes these) along with fear of the genetic nature of dementia (even as she resolves to avoid it).

Let's take another step toward chronology by abstracting the October entries and lining these up behind the earlier months:

January— Her mother begins to display forgetfulness or neglect of her PTA duties. She seems to be paying greater attention to the supposed feelings of her pet spider. 
April— Once a crybaby, her mother does not tear up while reporting the father's decision to her children. Jestine pries into the online conversation of her parents and begins to fear for their financial stability. Meanwhile, the mother drops a banana piece into the spider's house (a converted aquarium) and tears a hole into the screen. 
July 11— While out grocery shopping with Jestine, the mother behaves very strangely, brusquely, and with little awareness of her actions. She seems more composed when dealing with the spider. It now feeds on the insects that have come through the hole, attracted  by the rotting banana.
August 7— Jestine marks her mother's glaring absent-mindedness in house cleaning. Expensive pots and curtains, old, treasured gifts from her father, suddenly go missing and unaccounted for. Argument ensues.  
September 19— Trisha and Ten-ten turn experience mounting difficulty with their mother and to their sister for help and mediation. Their mother has relinquished all but the most minimal engagement with her family, devoting herself entirely to the pet spider.
September 27— Jestine spends the whole night in front of the computer, escaping (as she puts it) to cyberspace. She hears the sound of her mother's alarm clock, something she has not heard for months. She dives back into bed, hoping that this is the signal of her mother's return to reality, to taking charge. She falls asleep waking for her mother to wake her. 
When she wakes she realizes that her mother has not stirred from her room. She calls repeatedly at her door and, fearing the worst, breaks it down. She and her sisters find her the missing curtains swirled on the floor around the bed, various things littered on it but arranged so that the most important objects are closer to the center, and in that center, their mother, slumped and so unresponsive that they had to call for an ambulance.
The aquarium's on the floor too, filled with little garbage and webbing, but there's no sign of the spider itself.
October 2— Diagnosis. The mother returns home a day or two later
October 14— Jestine begins to blog, recalling her initial inability to distinguish between her mother's symptoms and her mother's "imbalance" or "stress" about the father's decision to leave them for a new family. This smoke screen could have led to a late detection of the disease. 
October 15— She juggles (with little success) the demands of the household, the maintenance of the blog, and the care of her mother. 
October 16— Watching "I am Sam" again causes Jestine to cry. Also, she reaffirms her choice of the blog as a venue for release. She doesn't seem to care for the presence of any reader at this point.
October 17— She remembers the time when she could go out drink a bit with her friends. She admits that she had been arguing with her mother during the past week. Alone, she drinks beer. 
October 18— Jestine remarks on her emotional distance from her younger sisters. She recalls how she had anticipated her growing responsibility earlier, how she chose to turn a blind eye to it.
October 24— She writes a calm and lucid open letter to her father expressing her anger, her fear as she takes on her parents' responsibilities, and her wish for him to read the entirety of her blog.
October 26— Jestine recounts the slow recovery of her mother, how she will now have to take care of her as well as younger sisters, how her father and relatives send money for their tuition and daily needs, and how she opted to put her schooling on hold. 

She admits that she slips every so often, that even after cleaning up her mother's room, she still sometimes "sees" the spider and its aquarium. She expresses greater understanding of her mother's role and disposition (as she assumes these) along with fear of the genetic nature of dementia (even as she resolves to avoid it).

If we shift our attention to escape (the concept of the thesis as well as the yearning of the protagonist), we find this thematic if not causal trajectory. First, the father leaves the family for another. As read by Jestine, he attempts to engage his wife in a Skype chat.
Mga ilang buwan na rin palang ganito ang sitwasyon nila bago pa sabihin sa amin ni Mama ang tungkol kay Papa. Tahimik at malamig na ang relasyon nila pero tuloy lang palagi ang pangungumusta sa amin ni Papa na parang walang nangyayari sa kanila.
Sa pinakahuling bahagi ng thread nila, ang sinabi lang ni Mama ay 'Magsama-sama kayo sa impyerno ng kabit mo basta wag mong kalimutan ang sustento sa amin ng mga anak mo.'
The mother retreats from the family by way of disease, driven to redirect her affections to a spider. The spider itself goes missing, but there's the possibility that it was released by either mother or daughter.

Burdened with responsibility, Jestine is locked off from some means of escape (eg, friends) but not from others (eg, alcohol, Internet). One of these means, the blog, become a manner of engagement. In her open the letter to her father, the one instance where she directly addresses a post, she places the blame on him. However, this is not the most direct means to him. She has his contact details (eg, Skype, presumably others) and could send a direct message. She would not commit to this.
Pa, naiisip mo pa ba kami? Bakit hindi ka nagpaparamdam? Ganoon lang ba kadaling kalimutan ang dating pamilya basta may kapalit? Hindi ba kayo makatiis masyado diyan, hindi ninyo napaglabanan ang pangungulila kaya kayo bumuo ng ibang pamilya? Ang dami ko pong tanong 'no. Kasi wala man lang kayong paliwanag sa amin. Wala kaming lakas ng loob na tanungin kayo mismo habang unti-unti namang kinakain ng sakit niya si Mama.
The whole time, she had been expecting her father to account for himself. She had been waiting in vain, receiving from him only money for tuition and upkeep. The blogged letter is an utterance that might or might not reach his father, depending on whether his father "searches" for her. It is a web in itself, woven hoping only (perhaps) for the enticement of nostalgia or love to ensnare the father. Something more than blame and need, however, is to be found in this letter.
Nasisiguro kong kumpara sa pinagdadaanan namin ngayon, okay na okay ang lagay ninyo.
The father's escape is the most complete among the characters, rivaled only by the irrecoverable spider (one who has escaped the narrative itself). The father is Jestine's hidden model, even as she gravitates toward the destiny of her mother.

       ______________________________
[1] Angeles, Kathleen Siena A. “Mga Tala ukol sa Sakit ni Mama ayon sa Kanyang mga Sintomas.” In Eskapasismo. Unpublished thesis. March 2012: 59-87.
[2] Annotation 1.
[3] Annotation 2.

Laruan ako ng mga sugatang libay

       Ikaw ang asawa mula sa estante
            ang ibang hininga, sa akin

at nagsusubo sa akin ng kaktus

     Ikaw ang bunga ng matinik na babae
                     at paliit nang paliit. Luntian at marahas
                  ang dagsa na nagpapamaga / dedeng plastik
       
       na nagpapalutang sa kulay-
                                                     lupang bibig

Notes on Mark Strand's "My Life"

The huge doll of my body
refuses to rise.
I am the toy of women.
My mother

would prop me up for her friends.
"Talk, talk," she would beg.
I moved my mouth
but words did not come.

My wife took me down from the shelf.
I lay in her arms. "We suffer
the sickness of self," she would whisper.
And I lay there dumb.

Now my daughter
gives me a plastic nurser
filled with water.
"You are my real baby," she says.

Poor child!
I look into the brown
mirrors of her eyes
and see myself

diminishing, sinking down
to a depth she does not know is there.
Out of breath,
I will not rise again.

I grow into my death.
My life is small
and getting smaller. The world is green.
Nothing is all.

*







A— would love to read your take, as well as those of our fellows. this doll/man regresses in at least three ways. first, bodily position: from being propped up to lying down and finally, sinking. muteness differs too, in the first instance, there's an attempt to speak (active, but futile), in the second, no attempt at all, perhaps silencing the self, and in the last, shut up by the daughter, plugged with a nurser. his language regresses as well, his sentences simplest at the last stanza. in the third to the last stanza, it sounds like "Poor child!" could refer either to himself or to his daughter. in the penultimate, that "to a depth she does not know is there" is particularly striking. is it a depth not yet known to her? because of age? maybe never to be known to her, because of gender, because she is not her father (or this man in particular), or because she is not a poet, or because of other reasons? and what seems to me, at the outset, both off-tangent and the most depressing line on the page: "The world is green."



A— have been wondering about that "sickness of the self" and at first glance, it seems to me that the woman's so intensely inward-looking (struggling, or finding herself in a "depth" she knows all-too well) that her husband is oblivious to her. possibly beyond her as well: the daughter. maybe that's why the daughter resorts to calling her father her real doll, as opposed to her mother (which could be something else, something even less maybe)



D— Thanks for these notes. Some of these directly correspond to the man's lines as well (and not just his wife's "sickness of self"). We find despair of defiance in the lips attempting to move, that deep sense of futility in the  line "I grow into my death."





D— Norman Fairclough called that kind of "we" by a special phrase: spurious solidarity. And I fully agree that this "we" could be as you described it, adding only that her reassurance was futile, falling flat in terms of her intention (which yet contains some mystery to me) and the husband's situation.





A— hi! checked out the history and found no connection between bookstore and poet. the founder "named his bookstore after the London street where avant-garde writers like Thackeray, Dickens and Mill once gathered and interesting book publishers thrived."



D— This article gets me to thinking about the activity of the verbs in Strand's poem. The first are the women's transitives: mother / wife / daughter +  props him up / takes him / gives him a nurser. These are reinforced by their speech: beg, whisper, say.

In terms of level of activity, agency or external effect, some of the I's verbs would have match these: refuses, moves, grows. But the rest of the situation reduce the power of these "acts": the body only betrays its self. Yes it refuses, but that refusal is against rising; when it moves its lips, that proves futile (unable to answer or question those who beg, whisper, and speak to him); and when it grows, it only ever approaches diminishment.

And then there's the inherent static quality of of linking verbs he uses when referring to himself and to the world. Those, plus the passivity of lying down, looking at those who act upon his person.



D— If indeed passive aggressive, I'm very interested with a nice accounting of the "aggressive" part as (I believe) it's the part from which the poem itself "grows".



A— been wondering about his "acts" and also about the parts where he sort of takes things lying down. thinking of the poem as a whole as an act, w/c we are free to qualify if affirmative or not, if pessimistic or not, (or, as I think you're doing,) if passive-aggressive or not





D— This kind of attention is instructive, so I thought to look for a line that could use such focus.
"You are my real baby," she says.
The "my" and "real" jump out. As if there was another (mother maybe) who was less hers (the daughter's). As if there were other babies available to her, but less real. Candidates: dolls, other people, mother again, or a child that's all grown up and less needy of attention?



D— Playing out a possibility where the daughter is old enough to "mother" her father. A scenario would be a now-adult daughter taking care of a father too old to look after himself.



D— I agree. And that's still my main take. Just poking around, as there seems to be something fascinatingly unnatural with: "You are my real baby," she says. Can't put my finger on it. What is it about him? Why's it so easy to make an object (or baby) of him?





A— how apt

Ene 3, 2015

Fireworks, contraband

and why two nights late. Heard
as the plane flying past remembering, thus far

the engine array a wonder in a spiral of wax

microphone pores, dust of

a month you unlocked your hair.

Annotation 2: Angeles’s “Mga Tala ukol sa Sakit ni Mama ayon sa Kanyang mga Sintomas”

Jestine is the eldest of three, taking up college while her sisters are in high school. In the span of a year, she deals with learning that her father—an OFW in New Zealand—has abandoned them for another family and that her mother has begun exhibiting symptoms of dementia. These growing absences force her to take greater responsibility of the household, lose touch with her friends, take leave from school, and pay closer attention to the needs of her sisters.

This 27-page story is divided cleanly into eight blog posts [1]. The first post orients the reader regarding Jestine's situation:
Hindi madali ang magkaroon ng magulang na may sakit. Hindi madaling magkaroon ng magulang na parehong malayo. Hindi madaling umasa lang sa mga kamag-anak. Pero ang lahat ng ito ay pinagdadaanan namin ngayon. 
Posts #2 to #7 issues an introductory narrative and/or reflection before jumping back to a given day of 2011. At this point, Jestine narrates the speech and actions of her mother, a slice of her life that yields insight on the progress of the disease, the regress of her mother, and the state of household. Below is an outline of the posts (note that the introductory narrative in #7 shifts away from the general reader of the previous posts in order to directly address the father in an open letter):
1) Ang Karamdaman: Frontotemporal Dementia (Pick's Disease)Posted Oct. 14, 2011 | 12:38AM
Includes cuts from a website featuring Frontotempral Dementia
2) Unang Sintomas: ApathyPosted Oct. 15, 2011 | 12:10AM
Recollection of Jan. 2011
3) Ika-2 Sintomas: Loss of empathy and other interpersonal skillsPosted Oct. 16, 2011 | 1:28AM
Recollection of April 2011
Includes a link to the trailer of the movie I am Sam
4) Ika-3 Sintomas: Lack of judgment and inhibitionPosted Oct. 16, 2011 | 2:18PM
Recollection of July 11, 2011
5) Ika-4 Sintomas: Repetitive compulsive behaviorPosted Oct. 17, 2011 | 12:52AM
Recollection of Aug. 7, 2011
6) Ika-5 Sintomas: Speech and Language ProblemsPosted Oct. 18, 2011 | 11:28PM
Recollection of Sep. 19, 2011
Includes a picture of the sisters
7) The Turning Point :((((Posted Oct. 24, 2011 | 02:13AM
Recollection of Sep. 27, 2011
Begins with an open letter to the Jestine's father
8) Diagnosis, Implications, at Pagbabalik ni MamaPosted Oct. 26, 2011 | 01:49AM
The last post functions as the narrative's resolution. As with all the endings of the previous posts, this last also features a reflection about the mother's pet. Tomorrow's annotation will develop this outline by overlaying parallel developments regarding Jestine and the domestic situation, news of her father, the mother's dementia, and the spider [2].

       ______________________________
[1] Angeles, Kathleen Siena A. “Mga Tala ukol sa Sakit ni Mama ayon sa Kanyang mga Sintomas.” In Eskapasismo. Unpublished thesis. March 2012: 59-87.
[2] Thanks to the author for answering key questions regarding the chronology.
[3] Annotation 1.

Ene 1, 2015

Coming Around

slender
By the pubescent viper in the back of your cinemas
there is no alphabet for you

But segments of night the mosquitoes
glued to the temple
is light in there and prostitues

knotted
By the off-putting curiosity of cities

you turn your islands, and sink
That the longest vault is the most efficient Music,

Smiling to / The beggar’s ear 

grant that we may keep kisses to ourselves
open like an orange.

Notes on Richard Howard's "Infirmities"

No use having an executor, Horace Traubel,
                literary or the other kind
        unless I can show you what to execute.
Losing every damn thing all over again, Horace.
                I need you: this floor's become a flood
        dive in! See if you can't come up with something
letters—tied in green ribbon—from an "Abraham Stoker."
                Wrote me from Dublin, years ago . . .
        Now he's coming to see me, or to let me
have a look at him. Either way, I must lay hands on
                those letters . . . I know they're here somewhere.
        Mary Davis is no help at all. Once a week
she comes to clean house, that's what she calls it, forages
                through my mail as if it was haystacks—
        only thing she could find down there's a needle!
No, in that pile, Horace . . . Letters from the Seventies:
                I recall the first one as if
        for my birthday—fifty . . . long past now. Some things
you don't forget. Keep looking, Horace: a young man's hand,
                twenty, he said . . . Middle-aged by now
         (I thought so at forty, know better today.)
That's it! the green ribbon—green never fades. I chose it
                for Ireland. Just read out the top one,
        then you'll understand why I kept the others.

        Put this letter in the fire, if you like,
        but so you do, you'll miss the pleasure of
        this next sentence, which ought to be that you
        have defeated an unworthy impulse:
        You are a true man, Walt, as I would be
        myself, & therefore I would be to you
        as an apprentice is to his master.
        You have shaken off the shackles, therefore
        your wings are free. I wear the shackles still
        on my shoulders, tight—hence I have no wings.
        I write to you today because you are
        different from other men. If you were
        the same as they, I would not dare to write.
        As it is, I must either call you Walt
        or not name you at all—I have chosen
        the better course. I thank you for the love
        & sympathy you've given in common
        with my kind . . . I have read your poems, Walt,
        aloud to myself with my door locked
        late at night, & read them on the seashore
        where I could look around me & see no more
        sign of human life than ships out at sea,
        & there I often found myself waking
        from a dream with the book lying open
        beside me . . .

". . . on the grass . . ." Stop, Horace. I remember what comes next,
                and I need to hear it, too. But first
        what you need: this Stoker fellow's here! Coming
today to Mickle Street. Now when he rings, you let him
                in, Horace, then leave us two alone.
        Stoker thought he was writing to me, of course,
but it was really to himself. I answered—warmly,
                I always do, to the personal.
        I wrote with my whole heart. Now read me some more.

        . . . If I lie out on the grass,
        those days come back to me with undying
        freshness. I look among the stalks or blades
        & wonder where the energy comes from—
        that fond hum of Nature, never ceasing,
        for ears that can hear. I guess at what is
        below the brown uneven earth that seems
        so level at a distance, so rugged
        in reality. At such moments comes
        the wisdom of those half-forgotten thoughts,
        the rudiments of all philosophy . . .

That boy was my reader, no doubt about it. We need
                our readers, every one. Now we'll see
        what this man's done with that boy. Today's letter—
oh, I can manage to find a letter that comes today,
                Horace: today is easy to find;
        it's yesterday I tend to lose . . . Stoker writes
different from the way he used to. Guess we all do that.
                Sorry to have lost what was in his
        early messages. Lord, what I've lost in mine!
He sounds polite enough now, of course, but determined
                to settle the business of the day.
        Explains he's come over here with Sir Henry
Irving, Irving the actor—they knight them over there—
                manages the Lyceum theater
        for him in London, brings the whole troupe
here on tour. Says "Sir Henry" has contracted to play
                New York, Philadelphia, Washington . . .
        I played Washington, in a manner of speaking,
before Washington played me—played me out! . . . Stoker has
                his reasons for coming today, he says
        he needs me—needs me again is what he says.
Maybe so. You let him in, Horace, send him up here
                to me, and if he don't come back down
        in half an hour, you collect him. Half an hour's
all I can stand of any man's "needing"—even mine!
                Now read some more young Stoker, till
        the old one gets here.

        I know about the grass because for years
        I could not walk, though no one ever put
        defining names to the disease I had.
        Certainly till I was about seven
        I never knew what it was to stand upright.
        But I was naturally thoughtful, &
        the leisure of long illness gave the chance
        for fruitful thoughts later on: healthy ones.
        All my early recollections are of
        being carried about in people's arms
        & of being set somewhere or other—
        on a bed or sofa, if in the house,
        or if the weather was fine, on a rug
        outdoors, or even right out on the grass . . .

        . . . There's the bell! Stop right there—
"on the grass", of course. I know the sound of my own bell:
                One thing I still recognize. All right,
        let that be your signal, Horace. Go downstairs,
let him in, send him up. We may have something to say
                to one another . . .
                                            Welcome, Stoker—
        welcome, Abraham! Let's greet one another
as old friends, as indeed we are . . .

        Sir, I cherish your friendship, but the name
        a friend must know me by is changed: it's Bram,
        Bram Stoker I call myself, sign myself
        now that I endeavor to write . . . fiction.

                                            I overlook the change
                of name—dislike it, actually.
        Stoker was born Abraham, and he should be
Abraham still—has the breath of humanity in it,
                and Lincoln too, Can't "Abraham" write
        fiction as well?

        Surely you'll sanction the change, Sir: you too
        must have known a like need for a new name.
        Were you not called "Walter" before the Leaves?

                You show an old man his place . . .
Glad to be there. The years might have blurred that need. The man
                Stoker repeats, no—fulfills the boy!
        You took a shine to me over in Ireland,
when you were at Trinity. I value your good will:
                maybe you've remained of the same mind,
        in substance, as at first . . . You see, I prepared
myself for your visit by reading those old letters
                of yours. Appears from what you wrote me,
        if I understood you rightly, that we share
infirmities. Most men do, of course. Sometimes I think
                it's all they share. All they can share. But
        our weaknesses, yours and mind, set in
at opposite ends of life: old age has withered me,
                nowadays they put me out to grass
        on a blanket, just as you lay there in your
own childhood. The grass is the same—for you in your first,
                for me in my second, most likely.
        Still and all, I get up, get dressed, get outside
most days. Live here lonesome enough, but in good spirits . . .
                You find me . . . Well, how do you find me?

        I'm honored, sir, by your welcome, and
        happy you still recall the impetuous
        and perhaps importunate outpourings
        of a faltering youth to Walt Whitman
        many years ago. That makes it easier
        to come to you with my questions again.
        I would not tax your strength for all the world,
        and my own duties—surely I explained
        that my obligations to Sir Henry
        will not permit me to trouble you long
        —there was, in fact, some difficulty
        finding my way to Camden and to you—
        but I'm gratified to be here at last.
        How do I find you, sir? I find you just
        as I hoped you would be: that wonderful
        mane of white hair over your collar, that
        munificent moustache over your mouth,
        to mingle with the mass of flowing beard—
        you know, you are rather like Tennyson.
        You quite remind me of him as he was
        at the Lyceum—you don't mind that, do you?

        Mind! I like it! Why, I'm proud to be told so.
I like being tickled! Irish flattery is best—
                found that out when Mr. Wilde was here,
        had all the sauce an old stomach could swallow.
Still, what a broth of a boy he was! Younger than you,
                I guess—you ever know him, back home?

        I knew his mother, Lady Wilde. She kept
        a sort of salon in the Merrion Square—
        in fact it was there I first met my wife,
        one of those Saturday at-homes. Florence
        —that's my wife—was a friend of Oscar's too . . .

        Hah! You're married, and respectable,
and an author of "fiction" into the bargain . . . not
                often such a man comes to me with
        questions. Young Wilde asked some—a salon, you say?
That explains a lot. all about art they were, art with
                a big A. I spell it small, myself . . .
        If you haven't much time, put your questions, son,
but let me get mine in first. What sort of fiction is it
                that you must "endeavor" to write?

        Well, usually I dash things off, not
        much more that typed-up drafts, to pay debts,
        you know, or to earn some extra cash. but
        lately I seem to have come once again
        under your spell, sir: I too have a sort
        of poem I must write—oh, it's in prose,
        of course, but you understand that—and
        there are characters to speak the lines, and
        in a sense they revolve around one man
        who rather resembles you, sir. He too
        has long white hair and a heavy moustache,
        powerful bearing, something . . . leonine.
        He too longs to pass through the crowded streets
        of mighty cities, to be in the rush
        of humanity, to share life, change, death—
        all that makes us what we are. Is this not
        Walt Whitman's "call in the midst of the crowd"?

        I don't know that it is. Tell me some more, "Bram",
let me hear what you want to do with me . . . Leonine?

        Yes, masterful. You know: the king of beasts.
        I've written quite a lot about the man
        modeled on you. In my narrative,
        all others serve him, or come to do so . . .
        I can even recite for you the way
        Count Dracula (that is my hero's name)
        is addressed by one of his followers
        when the count is introduced: "I am here
        to do your bidding, Master, I am yours,
        and you will reward me, for I shall be
        faithful. I have worshipped you long and far.
        Now that you are near, I await commands,
        and you will not pass over me, will you,
        dear Master, in your distribution of
        all the good things that are within your gift? . . ."

                I don't much like this talk of Masters
        and Counts. What is it he's done, this Dracula,
that everyone is so eager to serve him? Does he serve
                others in return?

        It was you, sir, who gave me the clue, you
        who spoke of adhesiveness, that union
        beyond any binding together of bodies,
        a universal solvent in the blood . . .
        I found it in Leaves of Grass long ago,
        and to what I found have tried to be true.
        It was your own poem, your own words
        which guided me, and which will guide me still.
        Surely you will remember "Trickle Drops" . . . ?

                Make it a rule
        that if I wrote it, I don't remember it.
The Leaves is not a sacred book, but a growing thing.
                The text is in a state of constant
        transformation. To see what I've changed from what
to what, Horace keeps the old book here—you find the poem,
                Abraham, read it to me yourself,
        then maybe I can link my lines to your Count . . .

        The privilege of reading Whitman's words
        to Whitman's ears is beyond presumption . . .
        Here it is, in "Calamus", the teaching
        I have tried to make into a tale . . .

Oh, in "Calamus" is it? Then I don't wonder. That
                was what they wanted me to cut out.
        all the English critics urged me to it: "Your book",
they said, "will go into every house in America.
                Surely that is worth the sacrifice"?
        It would not be any sacrifice. So far
as I care, they might cut a thousand. It is not that—
                it is quite another matter. When
        I wrote as I did, I thought I was doing
right, and right makes for good. I think that all God made is for
                good, that the work of His Hands is clean
        in all ways, as if used as He intended. No,
I shall never cut a line so long as I live. Read
                me the news from naught "Calamus".

        "Trickle drops! my blue veins leaving!
        O drops of me! trickle, slow drops,
        Candid from me falling, drip, bleeding drops,
        From my face, from my forehead and lips,
        From my breast, from within where I was conceal'd
        press forth, red drops, confession drops,
        Stain every page, stain every song I sing, every word
        I say, bloody drops,
        Let them know your scarlet heat, let them glisten,
        Saturate them with yourself all ashamed and wet,
        Glow upon all I have written or shall write, bleeding drops,
        Let it all be seen in your light, blushing drops".

        Yes, that's right: we put that in ahead of
"City of Orgies". I mind that well—the same fool English
                said it was "a pity not to cut
        certain passages", and I knew just the ones:
"Trickle Drops", then the lines that come at the end of
                "City of Orgies": ". . . These repay me,
        lovers, continual lovers, only repay me".

        Then follow me, sir, as I do you . . .
        to the point where the Count dismisses
        the Vampire Women to claim the bleeding
        youth for his own: "This man belongs to me".
       
                "Vampire Women"? No such thing.
        And is your Count a vampire too? Inspired
by Walt Whitman and a bloodsucker?

        I want to make the voluptuousness
        of death equal to the deathlike nature
        of love. Like you, sir, I dare my readers
        to acknowledge that the mystery of
        sexual love is worth dying for . . .

                                            . . . Not "like me", Stoker!
        Only worth living for, that's my mystery,
if you can call it such. Take your Count back home with you,
                let Sir Henry have him. I've heard of
        his ways. Heard how they're going to settle
the Bacon-Shakespeare dispute . . . Going to dig up
                Shakespeare and dig up Bacon, then let
        Sir Henry recite Hamlet to them. And the one
who turns over in his grave will be the author! Heard
                that one, have you, Abraham Stoker?

        Frequently, sir. And many others too,
        in all the years of my service. You see,
        I am indentured to Henry Irving
        in the same way I once tethered myself
        to you. By doing so, perhaps in both
        servitudes, I've learned that close relations
        between two people, any two, always
        afford vampiric exploitation. Sir,
        I fear you find my expressions . . . misplaced:
        no one, I now perceive, may pluck the heart
        out of Walt Whitman's mystery, who lives
        according to the Eleventh Commandment
        of Modern Times . . .

        As if ten weren't enough. I don't hold much with
commandments, Abraham. What in Hell's the eleventh?

                "Thou Shalt Not Be Found Out".

                That's one I'll obey . . . Abraham, here's
        Horace, he'll take you to the Mickle Street car:
you're sure to find your way with him . . .
Goodbye, son, there's no
                bad blood between us now, am I right?
        Please to give my best regards to Mr. Wilde,
when you see him next . . . Another fine Irish (whisper this)
                man of art. Endeavor to write your
own fiction, young fellow. Good fortune with it.
Nothing to do with me . . .
                                    Good-night, Horace. Leave a lamp.

*

D— I began looking for this poem after T— showed us a link to some correspondence between Walt Whitman and Bram Stoker. Among many wonderful things, this poem recasts a meeting that courses along the grooves set by each man's poetics regarding time and relations.

I loved how the poem so easily reminded me of certain lines from Leaves. For example, Stoker puts Whitman's "what I assume you shall assume" to the test. It seems that what Stoker assumes, Whitman will not assume. And there's a line in "Infirmities" where Whitman asks Stoker, "You find me . . . Well, how do you find me?" which takes us back to "Song of Myself, LII" where Whitman tells the reader to look for him "under your boot-soles."

T—

D—Okay! First stanza then.

letters—tied in green ribbon—from an "Abraham Stoker."


I see how that ribbon could very well be a blade of grass. "letters—tied in green" immediately takes us to Whitman's poetic project and maybe also how it flowered, over time, into a relationship with Stoker. A visual contrast is being set here, Whitman's green "flooding" us before the "trickle-drops" of Stoker's red, Whitman's "life" against Stoker's "death".

We could also follow what you said about green as youth and passion, because that makes for a telling image, a man in search not only of a certain youth but also of his own youth, that young man's letters, yes, but also his own work, the Leaves of a younger man.

have a look at him. Either way, I must lay hands on

The progression of seeing to touching here reminds me of something Whitman says about his Leaves: "This is no book; Who touches this, touches a man". There's a spiritual mystery at work: as Christ is bread, so is Whitman book. Howard echoes this in how "I must lay hands on" is cut, as if Whitman was a baptist in search of a disciple, a spiritual heir.

K—

D— I agree to all three. I had been concentrating on the first that I have only obliquely sensed the second and I think I completely neglected the third. But now that you mentioned it, yes, there's that and it's there, and all three really pour into each other.

Likewise, the Leaves take into account the paths of influence. The "I" there so self-assuredly contradicts itself and assumes that we assume what it will assume, the Whitman "I" that posits his "myself" as cosmos does so at times by figuring itself as "atom", and during those times, I think Whitman unravels for us the mysteries of solitude, much like the infinity in Blake's grain of sand and Emily's narrow hands.

Perhaps Howard's poem is most strong whenever it dwells in what you call "easily missed opportunities for communication" because that's what's his and not Whitman's, cannot be Whitman's as the premise of Leaves would not allow it, for there absorption is instantaneous, expression generous. But those aborted "opportunities"—misreadings?—indeed remain, and that's why Stoker missed Whitman's point (at least in Whitman's eyes) so completely when he summoned a Dracula from the poet's open, fertile ground.

K—

D Happy new year! You said that Dickinson "seems more modern than Whitman (in her best poems, anyway)." I've been thinking about that point. For some reason, "My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun" comes to mind. Though if I keep reading the Beats and the Goldsmiths, it'll be difficult to place Dickinson as "more modern". But I suppose I'd think so given other sensibilities: Armantrout, Stevens.

Thanks for pointing out "A Noiseless Patient Spider" because it's true that solitude was entirely within Whitman's sense of "Self".

"Growing among black folks as among white, Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same" says Whitman, but within one man he found both an Abraham and a Bram and did not (could not?) "receive them the same." Maybe this was also an infirmity he perceived, how a Walter could not possibly live up to the poetic inclusiveness of the "uniform hieroglyphic" that is the Leaves of Grass.

K—