Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Painted from Memory



Sooner or later you will go
To Araneta Avenue, the row
Of funeral homes and flower stores,
White flowers and baby’s breath
Magically bursting forth from white pots
To gather around someone in a box
Ready for loading, mass cards processed.
It is usually heavy business,
Not like this, half-mocking or
Coolly indifferent when you and the dead
Weren’t particularly close, but in some funerals
I had been to -- really tragic ones --
The sudden demise
Of a child, or someone in his prime, or
A wife of many, many years,
The bereavement is so intense
It is like watching them sift through
The ashes of the house they grew up in.
They cry and beat their chests
Because they want to hold on
And at the same time forget.
You approach the husband who is passing out
The crackers and you want to
Reach inside your wellspring
And offer water to his heart now shrunken
Like a sun-dried tomato and you cannot.
You hear yourself saying condolence,
Not meaning to sound curt or insincere but
No pronouns, the way we say it here,
As if it does not come from you and
Is not directed to anyone in particular
As if it comes from outside of you and
You called it, pointing outside the window
To the ache in the swollen belly of the sky
To the trees letting their branches
Fall to their sides, relenting.

--Israfel Fagela

*for discussion, E-105 classes

photos above taken during the Christmas edition and 42nd installment of the Happy Mondays Poetry Nights last night. salamat po sa lahat ng pumunta. kitakits po ulit next year (January 5)!