This is Poem #13 in my Poem-a-day project to celebrate National Poetry Month (NaPoMo, April 2013) in response to life's Big Questions posed by philosophers like Simon Blackburn in his essay "How Can I Lie to Myself? (Self deception and Motivation)", and such related questions like
Photo by Bobby Wong
What do I want, what do I need? Later, I tell myself, later. There’s plenty of work, the hours full of obligation. But I know I am not virtuous: I am always my hunger. ---From “Hunger” by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa
What if this place were made only for the other?
You are yourself, but you are also others’ other.
Were you conceived for yourself, or for a specie?
Someone must extend the process of evolution.
Your first act out of the womb was to let out a cry.
Was it not to alert the birthing other you’re here?
And you will bring joy to a union forged in dreams,
but you could always be the unwanted obligation.
What if you were the inevitable happenstance
come from the aches of groin and gravid reasons?
Are you an issue of love or lust? An afterthought?
When did you start to even aspire to be yourself?
Dare you grow then to even ask: What do I want?
What do I need? Selfish angst? No. Must-ask ones.
One cannot give what one does not have, operatio
sequitur esse. Find and feed your hunger to know
what you are here for. Are you a brother’s keeper?
Or does a lover keep you? Either way, a hunger.
If you were for the other, you must be provident;
but fill your tills first before giving a ruddy cent.
Is your neighbour the village thief? Love him.
Clothe the naked, as you would with a fig leaf.
Before long, you would have guessed how little
you are without the other, and learn to whistle
in the dark, and wait, and build, and gather
behind walls, until, one on top of the other,
you begin to climb beyond your pauper space
to occupy a lost garden, a haven, as your place.
---ALBERT B. CASUGA