An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Location: Philippines

Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

25 September 2008


As I was retrieving some of my old UP files (recorded into cds from 2002 onwards) and copying them back into my larger hard drive, I browsed through the folders and found a poem I wrote for a Poetry Workshop Course I've enrolled in during the second semester of Academic Year 2004, under Professor Paolo Manalo of Jolography fame.

Our assignment was to write a nonsense poem, and I thought of creating one made up entirely of single-syllable words. Here's what I came up with:

By Maryanne Moll

In the gut of a pig lived a leaf,
when it turned eight,
Called its own ear and told it to make lunch.

'Tis this leaf that turned to a pen when it was twelve,
And then to stone.

The pig,
Poor thing,
Kept its own gut right on track by the words of its king.
“All hail the green thing that can turn itself into one thing and then some,
For it knows the life of gnats.”

The sty stank of pears,
And of airs,
And of hay,
And of clay.
The mind of the gut of the pig roiled
In mad ayes
To the words of its king.

And then,
One day,
This pig,
Just like the leaf that lived in its gut,
Turned eight,
With a mind to call its own ear to make lunch.
And then it was twelve,
And then it was a pen.

And then,
It was stone.

As I was reading the poem aloud in class, I noticed that, line by line, the poem began to make some kind of sense to me, and at the very end, it seemed to be telling me something of grave importance. Everyone else in the class felt the same way. I also felt the same way about the poems of my classmates. It was rather surreal, but I suppose you had to be there to understand the feeling. And now I wonder, are we just making our lives too difficult by always trying to make sense? Does every single detail in life always have to work together neatly and precisely, like a clock that never needs winding? Can we, even for just a few days a year, just let go of our standards and our labels and our Derridas and our Althussers and our Nietzches and our Kants and our de Saussures and our Spivaks and our Foucaults? Or are we, being humans and thus cursed, forever doomed to be constantly mired in the search for order?

Sometimes it tires me, I admit, to always have to know why and how things work. These days, I'm just not in that mood. I watch vampire movies and find them funny. I watch ghost movies and find them comforting. I watch documentaries about conspiracy theories and then close my eyes and try to merge them all together inside my mind to create a large, icky mass, somewhat like a hairball, and find relief that I still know what time to get up in the morning. I eat ice cream for breakfast, five peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, and finish off an entire 1.5 liter bottle of C2 iced tea after siesta. And then I write new stories. And I notice that my new stories are getting quite better. I don't write like I used to anymore, but now I also have the gumption to own up to the things that I didn't have the gumption to even face before. Chaos is good. Nonsense is good. Zoloft is good.


Blogger josemari said...

I was just browsing when suddenly I remember you! My roommate during the 3rd UST Natl Writers Workshop! that was 2002. I knew you enrolled at UP because that was the last time we had contact. I am now taking my MA in Women and development also in UP. Im no longer writing fiction, all advocacy: women issues etc. Na-inspire ulit ako when I learned that you are Palanca winner already. This is not actually my email add, but my husband. My email add is same old email. If you have time for old acquiantance, please do email me.

Eunice C. Novio

2:11 PM  
Blogger Maryanne Moll said...

Euniiiiiiiice! I remembered when you asked Aissa me not to leave the room while you were in the bathroom beaause you are afraid of being alone. Of course Aissa and I simply had to play a prank on you so we left the room and went to the sala, and then you came out running along the hallway with just a "tapis" around you, screaming.

I miss those days. I assume you're in UP Manila. Let's meet up some time. I'll email you my cellphone number.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Witness Street said...

Zoloft. That's two-syllables, but a post like this and a poem like that are beyond rules. Now, I am really looking forward to future posts.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Marne L. Kilates said...

Maryaaaannnne! (Am just echoing your excitement for meeting an old co-workshopper--they inherit all the workshop's insanity, apologies to Zoloft!)

Before I send you the Launch pics, I've almost forgotten about this (only?) poem of yours, which I read while browsing. I going to steal this, Maryanne, it deserves a place in the anniv issue (Dec.) of poet'sPicturebook. (I can publish siguro short-shorts of fiction, but this poem comes first).

Huwag ka nang tumutol,


11:00 AM  
Blogger Maryanne Moll said...

Hahaha! I cannot even begin to think of questioning your reasons for wanting this poem to be associated with you and your wonderful Picturebook, but I'll just leave it to the cause of insanity that this insane poem has taken a life of its own and decided to make its own lunch.

Go ahead, please. The pig, I'm sure, shall feel honored, notwithstanding the fact that it has become stone.

11:26 AM  

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