Set 27, 2017

Ikadalawampu’t isang sipi mula sa “Tugon sa Lubos na Kapita-pitagang Sor Filotea”

ni Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
aking salin

Sapagkat may mga paksaing nakikipagpaligsahan sa iba. Sadyang totoo ito para sa mga disiplinang nangangailangan ng ensayo. Maliwanag na habang kumikilos ang panulat ay nagpapahinga ang bruhula, at habang tinutugtog ang arpa, tahimik ang organo, et sic de caeteris. Dahil ito sa matinding gamit sa katawan na kinakailangan upang makamit ang kasanayan, at walang sino man sa mga sumusubok sa mga kasanayang ganito ang nakakakamit ng rurok ng kaalaman sa higit sa isa. Ngunit pagdating sa mga paksang pormal at spekulatibo, kabaligtaran ang umiiral. Nais kong himukin ang lahat ng tao, batay sa aking karanasan, na bukod sa hindi nila hinahadlangan ang isa’t isa, sa katunaya’y nagtutulungan pa sila, nagbibigay-liwanag at nagbubukas ng mga landas tungo sa isa’t isa, sa pamamagitan ng mga pagkakaiba-iba at mga kubling kaugnayan.

Set 16, 2017

Perimeter Bark

Top: Marsh might begin with close observation 
(1972, photo courtesy of the HR archives); 

Middle: Collection of Plaster, Hay...
1x with Design Interns, and wherever 

the company gets a discount of Bataan 
March kilometers (fax, 2017); 

Bottom: Between 
the graphite of Mercy and the paper of Grace,

not an earlier site-specific 3D mapping. 
Loops our scaled ribbon of the north.

Notes on John Ashbery’s “Variant”

Sometimes a word will start it, like
Hands and feet, sun and gloves. The way
Is fraught with danger, you say, and I
Notice the word “fraught” as you are telling
Me about huge secret valleys some distance from
The mired fighting—“but always, lightly wooded
As they are, more deeply involved with the outcome
That will someday paste a black, bleeding label
In the sky, but until then
The echo, flowering freely in corridors, alleys,
And tame, surprised places far from anywhere,
Will be automatically locked out – vox
Clamans – do you see? End of tomorrow.
Don’t try to start the car or look deeper
Into the eternal wimpling of the sky: luster
On luster, transparency floated onto the topmost layer
Until the whole thing overflows like a silver
Wedding cake or Christmas tree, in a cascade of tears.”


[ Sweatshirt Poesy ]


Really missing the old platform. It’s really as simple as NOT imposing paragraph spacing (which we can do by ourselves, thank you very much). Was trying to replace these s and
s with
s too, but was unsuccessful.

Hello to you both. I’ve been thinking of "wimpling" and how it seemed to me an Oulipian V+7 variant of what would’ve been a trite "eternal weeping of the sky." Took a longer at the wimple and it took me to church, and then to something earlier, Magdalene before the empty cave where Jesus had been sneakily buried. A lot of poem now echoes the Bible for me, from the first line where the beginning is the word, and all the way to Christmas. Hands and feet, sun and gloves (and that enjambment at "wooded") carry shades of Golgotha with its armed Romans and the final rite.

Not sure why he’s not "laying down the law," but maybe he is, you know, precisely by not doing so, because you can’t lay the law that way any more.

Finding this true. And there are contrasts between lightness and weight (maybe also, light and darkness) if the lines are suspended from each other. On the one hand, the hands and feet, sun and gloves line, the "lightly wooded" line, luster on luster, cake, while on the other we have your bleeding line (smoke? ink?) and the mired fighting.

I hesitate to include cascade of tears and the flowering echo in either "camp" as they seem to me images where the values are blended.

It seems very light at the outset for me, first couple of lines, a word, hands and feet, it’s going, it’s going. Then yes, as had been mentioned above (many times, many ways), that syllable heavy (fraught) with history and meaning and cargo and consonants. Then it becomes a sort of dance between light stuff and heavy stuff.

The "it" in the first line seems light, not carrying any noun or what, not yet anyway. What could "it" be? We’re not sure yet, we’re just getting started. Is it the car? An argument? The marriage itself? The poem or poetry as a way of life? The cosmos? Interiority (as an echo flowering freely in corridors...)

Soon it’s clear (or not) that it might carry all of the above and more, it’s fraught, and every meaning we put into it is imperiled or itself a peril. So perhaps, don’t try to start it! Don’t carry it across (see metaphor’s etymology).

My favorite part here’s the sixth line, because that’s where I kind of lets it out, staccato, pitching back to you everything you said.

How did it come to this? Thus far, fraught has been said by you (original), but not directly quoted so this word came to us via I (first variant), who also returns the word to you, highlighted and quote-marked (second variant).

Even in a simple conversation, without paraphrasing anything, just an exchange of one word, we get a terrifying weight of possible meaning and misinterpretation. There’s possible accusation, a correction might be made in a while (excuse me, did I just hear you say fraught?), and then come the repercussions, cascading, cascading.

And the form, wow. So there’s that quoted "fraught" up there, the star up the tree, followed by an overflow of other things you said "but always, lightly wooded... cascade of tears."

I suddenly decides to return a chunk of what's been said by you, including not-starting. They are indeed mired in all this: looking deeper at (closely reading?) everything including not-looking-deeper.

Drawn to this image of the ruined cake, cascading as tears. Story of a failed marriage (or are those tears of joy), or someone’s watching home videos year after "home" has collapsed from the frame.

Set 9, 2017

Notes on Lydia Davis’s “Suddenly Afraid”

     because she couldn’t write the name of what she was: a wa wam owm owamn womn


Biblically, it was the dual authority of God and Adam that caused “Woman” to come into being and name. In Genesis we have: “The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’”

In Davis, was takes on significance. In plain view, childbearing and birth looks like woman “composing” another human being. This had to be inverted by patriarchal systems through language and myth-making, enforced by laws at politics. So in Corinthians we have: “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man.” God and Adam (and God’s “birthing” of Adam) came first, neither of them born of woman.

Our present speaker seems to be uttering herself, composing herself, a new alphabet, beginning from her own a and all of her language now to come fully informed (burdened? liberated?) by her being woman.

And we so loved Lilith we named our eldest after her. When our gynecologist asked about the name, I told her about the legend. (She seemed a bit troubled by it). I suppose my wife and I wanted our daughter to have Lilith’s courage, to go even against your creator in a bid to preserve what’s in you and strong and and fair and worthy. Myths and legends don’t always give us character interior, but I suppose Lilith was naturally (or preternaturally!) self-defining. She didn’t need a bite of Knowledge to know what’s what.

Eve’s children would have to define themselves after a line of Adams, after a long history of seeing what men would do with the service of women. This isn’t so easy now, as maybe Davis also suggests, because as you well know even our terms of “definition” (grammar, agon, “make sense,” “be reasonable,” “know your place”) have been tainted, loaded in favor of male mastery.

Panic might be unavoidable. It could signal regression in the face of such a torrent of unknowns and what-nows. It could mean a fresh start.

Printing this to be framed. How “Suddenly Afraid” can carry both these senses of fear. More, besides.

Each word carries such weight. The first, because, suggests causality and rationality, claimed by male intellectuals as their province and dominion. Naming was (is?) Adam’s hobby. Om marks the spiritual “other” of rationality, a path to transcendence by and enclave of men repeatedly attempting to short out (and encompass) language by moving from its first vowel (from down the throat) to its last consonant (at the closing of the lips). Davis’s own owm captures this capturing and claims it, but not via the usual routes of history and tradition, but through a form that reminds me of what’s been called Dickinsonian stuttering.

Handwriting, typing with a typewriter (as in Eliot’s time), and with our present computers. It’s been said that each brings its own beat and breath to literature. Maybe these affect us in deeper ways, down to our “wiring,” the way we think and talk about things. For one thing, our screens are flexible as texts (and identities), easy to correct and redefine (and with connectivity, to jump forward to associations, change minds, retrace, recant, redo) as opposed to the finality of a struck typewriter key (bring down the hammer) and the commitment of ribbon centimeters to a measure of thought.

Maybe “man” was what the speaker was? And that sudden fear might have been a sort of gasp after liberation? Your post brings me back to the time when the word womyn was brought in as an alternative, a way to disown the claims of men on women.

The blankness that attends the piece seems supportive of any reading such as memory loss or dementia. We might also consider more active methods of diminishing the sense of self: drugs, meditative practice, etc.

Even law-breaking is “imposed,” yes! And perhaps the fear is epiphanic, recalling the angel’s “Be not afraid” message to Mary which moves the narrative right along to birth and the passion of Christ. But we may pause and consider the woman in transition, that fear before it was discouraged. We may dwell in “Mary was greatly troubled at his words...” In our poem, the woman is greatly troubled at her loss of words.

a wa wam owm owamn womn

Sounds like an incantation, a summoning or its opposite: a release. The unit owm stands out for me, owamn seemed to spring right from it, complete but deranged from our usual reference: woman. The last word (might not be the last, as it is unchecked by a period) is a contraction (based on our reference), maybe akin to can’t, won’t, and couldn’t.

Ikadalawampung sipi mula sa “Tugon sa Lubos na Kapita-pitagang Sor Filotea”

ni Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
aking salin

At sapagkat walang partikular na interes ang humihila sa akin, at walang hangganan ng panahon ang nagtatali sa akin sa patuloy na pag-aaral ng isang bagay bilang paghahanda sa pagsusulit, sabay-sabay kong pinag-aaralan ang magkakaibang paksain, o nagpapalipat-lipat mula sa isa tungo sa isa pa. Ngunit sa lahat ng ito’y nagpapatuloy ako ayon sa isang pagkakasunod-sunod, dahil may ilang paksaing nakalaan sa pagkatuto, at may ilang para sa katuwaan. Itong huli ang nagsisilbing pahinga mula sa una. Ang kinalabasan, marami akong inaral at wala akong alam.

Set 8, 2017


Maybe there’s no sending this, but there’s writing it. You don’t know about the others, but it’s not that I can’t talk to them for the same reason I can’t talk to you. They’re oppressive. You’re the opposite of. You in fact know what’s up because I went and asked. Those of them who know know because someone else went ahead and told them (that custom pride they take in leak-me-downs). So, hi. What I’ve got to say is I see King’s doing Miracle and I’m claiming rights to excitement because it’s King, he’s got Vision under his belt (and Kite, even if maybe you don’t agree with the ballad parts, but see how that tied in with Swamp?) and now he’s pulling off something I’ve seen in Templesmith, but guess what, that preview and with Miracle, there’s a point being made. I’m sure just following the panels of the arc will tell a story. Just the panels; I’m giddy. Sure of it. Even if you say, are you sure you’re okay. I’m telling you this, aren’t I. And it’s neither despite this nor because of. It’s something that can be done: a letting out. It’s what I’ve got at the moment. Moments are what I’ve got at the moment. Do catch Miracle and feel free to keep it to yourself. By any chance have more? Ask to stay with letting out with no thought of letting. Not like I can go on, saying I’m here.


Kanselado ang ilang mabilis na heart beat. 

Maaari raw na nakahiga para maiwasan ang heat smudging na nakita sa mga mas pataas ang direksyon. Maituturing na refund ng  kaliwang parte ng dibdib o rebooking ng isa sa tiyan. 

Lahat aniya sa mga ito ay sa harap ng pataas na trajectory maliban sa mahabang advisory ng puso at kidneys. Pinapayuhan ang mga apektadong pasahero na lalong dagdagan ang pag inom ng tubig. 

Kapag hindi finishing.

Set 7, 2017

CF Lite Senior (P799)

99 Miles From L.A.
A Certain Smile
All I Ask Of You
All Night Long
Almost Like Being In Love
Annie’s Song
Autumn Leaves

Ballerina Girl
Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Carolina In My Mind
Chances Are

Come To Me
Country Road
Dancing In The Street
Dancing Queen
Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup
Does Your Mother Know

Don’t Cry Joni
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
Don’t Worry Baby
Dream A Little Dream Of Me
Easy Like Sunday Morning

Easy To Love
Fire And Rain
Fly Me To The Moon
Friends In Love
For Sentimental Reasons
For You

Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan
Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)
God Bless
God Only Knows
Goodbye To Love
Hanggan Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan

Honey I Miss You
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)
I Get Around
I Have A Dream
I Heard It Through The Grapevine
I Just Called To Say I Love You

I Need To Be In Love
I Will
I Won’t Last A Day Without You
Iduyan Mo
If I Had A Hammer
It’s Going To Take Some Time
It’s Not For Me To Say

It’s Only A Paper Moon
Jambalaya (On The Bayou)
Kastilyong Buhangin
Lay All Your Love On Me
Lemon Tree
L-O-V-E (Nat)
L-O-V-E (Natalie)

Leaving On A Jet Plane
Let The Pain Remain
Listen To The Rhythm Of The Falling Rain
Love Is Here To Stay
Love Theme From Romeo And Juliet (A Time For Us)
Lush Life
Mamma Mia

Mona Lisa
Money Money Money
My One And Only Love

My Way
Ngayon At Kailanman
Non Dimenticar
One Of Us
Only Yesterday
Orange Colored Sky
Perhaps Love

Please Mr Postman
Prelude To A Kiss
Puff The Magic Dragon
Rags To Riches
Rainy Days And Mondays
Route 66

Sad Movies
Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga
Say That You Love Me

Smile (with Barbra)
Something In The Way She Moves
Sometimes When We Touch
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Stardust (Nat)
Stardust (Natalie)

Straighten Up And Fly Right
Stranger In Paradise
Stuck On You
Super Trouper
Sweet Baby James

Take A Chance On Me
Tell Laura I Love Her
Thank You For The Music
That Sunday That Summer
The Boxer
The Name Of The Game

The Only One
The Sweetheart Tree
The Twelfth Of Never
The Very Thought Of You
The Way You Look Tonight
The Winner Takes It All
This Can’t Be Love

This Land Is Your Land
This Masquerade
Thou Swell
Three Times A Lady
Ticket To Ride
Tom Dooley
Too Close For Comfort

Too Much Too Little Too Late
Too Young (Nat)
Too Young (Natalie)
Top Of The World
Touch Me When We’re Dancing
True Colors
Tuwing Umuulan At Kapiling Ka

Walking Man
We’ve Only Just Begun
When Sunny Gets Blue

Where Have All The Flowers Gone
Wild Is The Wind
Windmills Of Your Mind
Wonderful Wonderful
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
Yesterday Once More
Yesterday When I Was Young

You Keep Me Hanging On
You’ve Got A Friend

Set 4, 2017

Notes on John Ashbery’s “The Template”

was always there, its existence seldom
questioned or suspected. The poets of the future
would avoid it, as we had. An imaginary railing
disappeared into the forest. It was here that the old gang
used to gather and swap stories. It
was like the Amazon, but on a much smaller scale.

Afterwards, when some of us swept out into the world
and could make comparisons, the fuss seemed justified.
No two poets ever agreed on anything, and that amused us.
It seemed good, the clogged darkness that came every day.


[ The Times Literary Supplement ]


These are often “greeted” with derision, most interestingly I think by those in search of something new, something else. Ashbery’s closing here strikes the same set of notes as Rumi’s line, at least for me, both seem to embrace what we customarily fear: darkness, pain.

In philosophy they ask, “What is the color of an orange in the dark?” In linguistics there was some curious play when Chomsky said “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously” but in physics, Schrödinger had us thinking of a cat inside the box with some trap or radioactive bit, then asked us if the cat was alive or dead. When it was asked, it was suddenly us who were “in the dark” (definitely not in the same darkness that the cat was, and I’m now considering the Reinhardt variants as proposed). Was the cat dead or alive? The answers yes and no come, but neither and both also become thinkable, and so this cat plus darkness plus our multiplying answers (also, inadequacies) result in a state called superposition.

I think that’s what we’re embracing here, what’s clotting: the multiplication of possibility that only happens when we engage (as opposed to flee, or fight—as in your encouraging regard of fear) the darkness. And the magic of it is, we do something like it all the time, when we read and think, when we speak to each other: forming opinions about things we don’t fully comprehend, answering half-baked questions, finishing each other’s sentences.

His school seems to come alive in the amusement in the second stanza. Would love to see that explored. I remain partial to the clotting wound reading (nursing one at the moment, minor gardening mishap, and because of “The wound is the place where the Light enters you”), but your post remains a favorite spot on this thread. Light enters it.

Based on your edit, are we looking at catharsis here? I’ve been wondering about the source, where’s the conflict that got us to the wound and to the clotting? Did trying to fit into the template harm us? No two poets agreeing, that sounds like a whole forest of debaters, so much agon and agony: are each of the issued arguments in fact wounding? (If so, then there might as well be a hint of desperation, and this is maybe why I’m drawn to your use of lifeline).

Add to those, his pantoums.

Looking now at how he cut the first line at “its existence seldom” and it seems as if the these “templates and railings” flicker in and out of the world. As if they’re really only there when we question and suspect them, and maybe only as communities, conventions in the truest sense of the word.

“No two poets ever agreed” okay, but the amusement is shared. That’s the (new?) template begotten by the all the fuss over traditional forms and custom styles.

This portion of the thread takes me to the root of template, a temple, as it is an open, consecrated place, associated with what is solemn, calm, in search of order and a force.

That imaginary railing seems to come out of that tennis court without a net. That it leads to a forest, wow. It’s like the template preceded us, was ancient, or an ancient need. We’re in that discourse where the world is a jungle and the poem is something of a preserve or a garden, but if the form came before anything else, then it seems to me that poetry takes us to the wilds, is the closest thing we have to it, and that our everyday lives merely derive from this. Clot signals a wound, perhaps day is that wound. Or light, or reason, or civilization. It inverts Genesis where Yahweh also found that “it was good” but referred to what ensues after light.

Now that you mentioned it, that sort of railing lines up right between questions and stories. I remember that thought experiment about a tree falling in the forest without anyone hearing it.

What there might be some sort of template for is the “storytelling” in the clearing. Someone tells the story one way, say Petrarch. Then others follow suit, so it’s a Petrarchan series. Someone says it another way, keeping some of the oldspeak, putting in some novel spins and turns. Let’s call them Elizabethans. Soon others follow, after many nights of this, we have people like Dickinson and Williams and Stevens giving it a go, often refusing to tell it any way other than theirs, but they’re still taking a place among the others, in the wilds, dead of night.

I would love to see how that that plays out. Will it be like milieu but on a cellular (bodies, antibodies, templates, anti-templates), evolutionary level?

I’ve been thinking about your sense of railing. That invisible railing as a structure seems like an internalized restraint, akin to the missing tennis court net. Railing as complaint or set of charges seem to me unrestrained, an spilling out of anger into outrage. Kept in only by the domain of speech, but almost always a mere breath away from physical violence.

      There it was, word for word, 
      was always there, its existence seldom

      Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged, 
      would avoid it, as we had. An imaginary railing

      Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds, 
      used to gather and swap stories

      Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion: 
      was like the Amazon, but on a smaller scale

      Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea, 
      and could make comparisons, the fuss seemed justified

      The exact rock where his inexactnesses 
      seemed good, the clotted darkness that came every day.

Yes it is! And thank you for bringing this mountain here, it fits. Actually, it supplants, it overwhelms, it might yield if we ask nicely, but I do think that these two (as with all of us here) might be brought to speak to each other. Though Ashbery in this case would seem the more sociable guy, but I’m sure they would soon be lost in each other’s landscapes.

Ikalabing-siyam na sipi mula sa “Tugon sa Lubos na Kapita-pitagang Sor Filotea”

ni Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
aking salin

Kaya’t paanong ako, na kay layo sa pagkatuto at kagandahang-asal, magkakaroon ng lakas ng loob na magsulat? Upang makabuo ng sandigan, patuloy akong nag-aral ng magkakaiba’t magkakalayong mga paksain nang hindi nahihilig sa iisa kundi sa lahat. Ang kinalabasan nito, tuwing nangyayaring mas pinag-aralan ko ang isang paksain nang higit sa iba, ito’y hindi bunga ng kagustuhan kundi sadyang mas maraming aklat sa naturang paksain ang inabot sa akin ng pagkakaton, at hindi naman talaga ako nahahayaang pumili.