Monday, October 03, 2005

Allan D 'Man (Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand)

From The Philippine Star Column Kriptokin:

"Ang galing nitong si Allan. As-tig!" --
Krip Yuson

Congratulations, bayaw/hipag Allan Pastrana for bagging the Maningning Miclat Poetry Award in the English Division. Congratulations na rin kay Joseph Saguid (Filipino Division) at kina E.J. Galang, Ayer Arguelles, Cathy Candano, at Sonny Sendon (honorable Mention).

Here's a poem from Allan's award-winning collection, Before Talkies:


As far as I know,
the legend happened in a split-second.
God wanted to come out clean, fleeing
the marked spot like a curious riddle. So the first man
was put to sleep: the first real get-away, instant
and painless. Whenever we reach that part of the story
where the rib juts out from his side, you wonder
if it is merely bone. But then you start to believe
it is also keepsake, fine heirloom – a loneliness
finally coming out like a splinter.

Do you get the whole picture? No,
this is neither Michelangelo nor the 1500s; none
of that smoothness in stepping out of a body,
that light walled in and stucco-perfect. These
are difficult times and what we imagine
we have created (out of loam, bamboo splitting in two,
the primordial being) is pure coincidence.

We are always caught in the middle of something, various
emergencies. You only have to name things
to be able to claim them. An event of eyes and hands, meeting,
means that the pedestrian crossing the street
is mine. Also this stranger beside me, rapt in a motel room
at three in the morning, the head resting on my arm, more
like an enjambment than a complete and irreversible thought.
Do you know what the Paradise stands for? It is hunger,
hunger and the pit, deep end of something else
that is a spacious cavity – that which keeps track
and, ever after, holds. Someone eventually
has to step into the clearing; the found other still
as a portrait, as if startled by a wild animal.
The rest of us just clamber up our beds because patience
does not wait on anybody. It is simply stubbornness,
slow yet seeks to get even. It so happened:

Beneath that thick hide of the plot, we came across
the last of the fruit-bearing trees. And we stood there
gaping, the way we wanted to take in everything –
whole lives, this bright field, stars. This
is the only kind of pardon we may have deserved,
to keep the indentions of the natural world inside us
without regret: and that one bite, finally,
that offers no explanation but,
this time around, foolish and alone, we’ll fall in love.