Photo by Bobby Wong, Jr., Philippines
TWO POEMS: THE OLD COUNTRY
Here come the waves, scrolling their bluegreen pages. The carriage rolls back at each interval: return, return, return.---Luisa A. Igloria, “Rotary”, Via Negativa, 05-01-12
1. The Imperative
Return. To where? An imperative loses its urgency
when challenged by an aimless interrogative. Huh?
Whence come the gumption of a little boy when he
gives his mother “the lip” at the command: Time out!
Why? What did I do? Don’t you love me anymore?
A triptych of a query, but gets shut down: ‘Coz, I said so.
Thus the impenitent lad goes to his corner, sulks
the better part of the threatening stare of the mother,
but wins the day, when he is told to go wash his hands
and get ready for dinner before father comes home.
Much like the waves scrolling wet pages, they roll back
a carriage of flotsam at ebbtide, return to an open sea
and lose what fury they need to deliver an imperative.
Return. To where? Wherever. Whenever. However.
2. A Lingering Ache
He traces the trailing colours of the sundown hiss,
And shrugs at the lingering ache twisting in his gut:
He knows there is no going back, when no one there
would no longer care to ask who you are or from where.
There is no old country for him who had left his corner
sullenly injured for dreams that cannot come true or
questions that will never be answered: Why have you
quickly forgotten me, when all I wish is to return
and be forgiven for wondering if you don’t love me
any more than a prodigal son who still longs for you?
But like the waves, she scrolls worn-out pages forever,
and these do not return; unlike the waves, she’ll never
return to an old shore, nor care if the sun rises again
from distant horizons. She locked her doors. She’s certain.
---Albert B. Casuga