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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.


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Monday, September 17, 2007

entry arrow3:38 AM | Secret Poetry and Fantastic Tales

I laughed my head off (out of glee, of course) when I read online Sir Krip Yuson's take on the poetry winners of this year's Palanca. We all know that Mikael Co, Jodie Reyes, and Dinah Roma won -- and for the past two weeks, Sir Krip discussed their winning entries in glorious detail. My glee came from the last part of this week's column (a continuation from last week's), where Sir Krip wrote: "A final note: Other entries which ranked high in our final shortlists included On Whose Heart as a Worm You Trap, How What Was, The Smallness of the Everyday, The Dictionary of Armed Conflict, Antiquities, Beadwoman, A Theory of Light, Threshold, Guernica & Other Poems, Ten Frames of Poetry, the Poet, and Some Angels, 12 Poems, Write of & Other Poems, The Pateros River Procession, and Pepe, Pilita, Nora — in no particular order. The poets behind these collection titles know who they are. Whoever they may be, we also congratulate them for their fine work." One title made me pause. The Smallness of the Everyday. That was my entry. Whoa. Hehehe. For a fictionist dabbling secretly in poetry, and being very insecure about it, it's commendation enough, considering that Sir Krip's fellow judges were Gemino H. Abad and Marne Kilates. Maybe I should write more poetry? Let's see... In the meantime, there are stories to finish... In the meantime, here's the title poem...

The condom will not fit—but nobody
Implies “smallness,” as in a pummeling “size,” nooooh—
Not her, especially. Only that it keeps
Sliding off, like some truant
Rubber, mocking your little brown man sticking
Like a stub, the way your laughter goes
And dangles in a laugh that fades into
Her sighs-and-wants for something more. There’s the word.
Bigger, she dreams: what she, too, must have meant
When she pushed you away for green bucks,
57 of your small ones to the Big One, legal tender over the
Pacific, that great ocean, swallowing the dots
You call a country. After which, leaning back
On your 5’6” frame, you learn
Too easily that pleasure is what
Any hearts seek first—the logic of necessities
As true as your knowledge of how giants
Gorge, the way they also walk tall, big steps
To your piddling two-at-a-time, the way they also swarm
Wholesale for shopping, boxes of tissue
Paper, pounds of ham and bacon, the whole
Enchilada like a feast for gluttons. This is the dream.
“America,” she said, and the way the Word curled around her lips
Like a Big Mac sets you off to a shrinking, your only reply
The nervous smoke from solitary cigarette bought per stick,
the menudo, the pinch of salt,
and e-load for P30, or even less: Pasaload as
light as the two pesos we carry around like sin. I’m cheap. I tell the
Fucking mirror, and I’m small. And I
Go crazy because the condom will not fit.

That one was inspired by Cos, who should win a Palanca soon. (He's already married to a multiple winner.) I have no idea why, but I read a poem by his once, and this one came out of my head just like that.

In the meantime, Ma'am Jing (Pantoja-Hidalgo) just emailed and texted me about the inclusion of my fantasy story, "The Sugilanon of Epefania's Heartbreak," in her new anthology of tales. She helped a lot in the editing of that piece, for which I am eternally grateful. The prospective TOC is quite a list of mostly young writers, including F.H. Batacan, Marivi Soliven Blanco, Vicente Garcia Groyon, Gizela M. Gonzalez, Dean Francis Alfar, Nikki Alfar, Karl R. De Mesa, Andrea L. Peterson, Cyan Abad-Jugo, Ma. Romina M. Gonzalez, Jose Claudio B. Guerrero, Emil M. Flores, Natasha B. Gamalinda, Carljoe Javier, Bj A. Patino, and Daryll Delgado (who has posted her story online). The book, which will be published by Milflores, has no title yet but will come out before the end of the year. Here's to speculative fiction in the Philippines!

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