I am juggling a lot of things in my life right now. But amazingly enough, I've never felt more invigorated. I'm sure it has something to do with the sun and the gorgeous weather that we had this weekend. And oh, the news that I'm already an aunt! Yes, my sister-in-law gave birth to a baby girl last Saturday and I can't wait to see her although I have to wait for 3 months to do that since the rest of my family are in the Philippines. But no matter, I am still excited. I am a tita! *cue the silly grin*

Yesterday, I went out for a morning walk and forgot to wear my glasses. I am very nearsighted so everything was a blur from afar. Funny thing is, it forced me to look at things more closely and it made me feel like I was walking inside this poem by e.e. cummings:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

I guess we all need to walk around in a blur sometimes in order to really see.

here's to friendship...

and getting together for the first time, 7 years after our college graduation!

trading poetry

What if someone asks you to write a poem in exchange of a book from this publishing company, will you say yes? You can have one of their books for free PLUS a chance to be published on their next poetry anthology. Easy enough decision, right? Except of course, I forgot one little thing. I have this terrible stage fright and that includes writing on-the-spot poetry.

This happened at the Lit Crawl last night, a 3-hour literary crawl along the Mission District as a culminating event of San Francisco's annual literary festival called Litquake. Just like last year, I felt like a kid in a candy store, too excited to even think straight. Let alone write a poem.

But I did try and came up with 2 short stanzas that refused to go anywhere. It was frustrating but at the same time there was nothing I could do about it. The lady at the poetry trading post was so nice, she let me pick a book even though I had turned in an unfinished poem. This in turn made me feel guilty afterwards and I promised myself that I should write a poem and post it in my blog. So here it is.

* * *

At the Poetry Reading

A crowded room. Someone is reading
but I could not understand a word
that he said, even the accompanying
fiddle spoke in a very foreign tongue.
Though I nodded just like everyone else
went through the motions of one who knew
exactly what she's doing, turning pages
of the program I picked up at the door
closed my eyes, pretended I saw the gritty
subway he painted, hear in his howling words
a familiar story of human pain, touch an inch
of broken skin, anything, anything - nothing.

Later they gave me a pad of yellow paper
and pen. I watched in fascination as page
after page, everything I have ever written -
from those first big letters of the alphabet
to those flowing river-lines of cursive,
the stories I pounded away on computer keys
in the middle of the night - all of them
scattered before me, a confetti of words
and syllables skimming air, so close
I thought I heard them call my name
but their voices were gone long before
I could catch them with the pen.

* * *
I know I had just said on my previous entry that I wanted to take a blogging hiatus. But a girl can always change her mind, right? Especially if its about something exciting like
this new poetry site. And special thanks to Clare for sending me over to this blog. Now I can look forward to my Thursdays again!

yes, i'm still here

Two days ago I received this e-mail:
"Dear Ode, What is up with you? I have called several times and left an email. Are you still in the country? Much love, L. "

And then I got this text message from one of my closest friends:
"hey, just wanted to make sure ur ok. haven't heard from u."

Truth is, this past week was one of those times when I really just wanted to keep quiet. I've been so busy (oh, how I hate using this word) and I realized that I need to step back and think about things for awhile. And as always, I sought comfort in words, and I found these lines from Rilke's poem called Lament which helped me understand how I felt:

I would like to step out of my heart
and go walking beneath the enormous sky.

I too walked a lot. And I found that with every step that I took, it became easier to go out of my heart and walk back towards it at the same time. One cold evening, at the end of my walk, I wrote this in my journal: I walk to find myself again/the wind shaking trees knows/exactly what I meant.

I have no idea where those words came from. But there they were, written on a page. I'm glad that we had our first pouring rain this week for it gave me the opportunity to slow down, enjoy the little pleasures of reading a good book and sipping hot cocoa, and just BE. I'm not sure where exactly this quiet time will take me. Just know that I'm still here, thinking of all of you.

* * *
Here is a postcard taken along one of the stairway walks in my neighborhood:

After the Rain

ah, poetry...

Eversince I saw these words inscribed on one of the plaques at the newly restored Jack Kerouac Alley, I have been looking for its original text. Finally, I found it today and was blown away by the beauty and honesty of Ferlinghetti's words. It is quiet long, but I picked some of these lines which speaks to me right now.

* * *

What is poetry?
Love lie with me, and I will tell.

Poetry is a lawless enterprise.
Poetry is the truth that reveals all lies.
All the world is one poem, all poetry the world, give or take a bomb or two.
Poetry is what we would cry out upon coming to ourselves in a dark wood in the middle of the journey of our life.
It is the light at the end of the tunnel and the darkness within it.
It is the morning dove mourning love, and nothing cries out like the cry of the heart.
Every great poem fulfills a longing and puts life back together.
A poem can be made of common household ingredients: it fits on a single page
yet it can fill a world, and fits in the pocket of a heart.
It is a pulsing fragment of inner life, an untethered music.
It is the sound of gaiety while weeping.
It is the sound of summer in the rain and of people laughing behind closed shutters down an alley at night.
It must be more than want ads for broken hearts.
It is worth nothing and therefore invaluable.
It is a high house echoing with all the voices that ever said anything crazy or wonderful.
It is a humming, a keening, a laughing, a sighing at dawn, a wild soft laughter.
It is the existential dance of the self and the other.
Poetry is at once sacred and pagan play at its most utopian.
Each poem a momentary madness, and the unreal is realist.
It gives voice to all who see and sing and cry and laugh.
The poet must decide if bird cries are cries of ecstasy or cries of despair.
What is the use of poetry? If you have to ask, you need it.

Taken from "What is Poetry? A Rough Draft of an ARS POETICA" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. You can read the entire text

* * *
Update 10/4: Today could very well be the end of the Travelling Poetry Show and Poetry Thursday and I won't lie, I am really sad. But such is life, I can only thank my lucky stars that I was a part of this community even if it was only for a short period of time. Thank you Liz and Dana and everyone for helping me find my way back to poetry again. I will still continue to post poems here, especially on Thursdays, and hope to "see" all of you around the blogosphere!