Help! Leave Me Alone | A Poem

Help_AloneHelp! Leave me alone.
I need you, let me be.
Leave me in peace, help me
I am alone, just leave me be.

26 March 2017

My poem dramatizing the tension between our undeniable need for dependence and our desire for freedom and autonomy. 


Al héroe olvidado: a response to ‘Mi Ultimo Adios’

rizal_execution_fb_sharingWhat if we see “patria adorada” not as an abstract Mother Land, but as a concrete, flesh-and-blood creature that is you and me? What if it is we Filipinos whom Rizal is talking to? Would it change the way we read the poem?  Continue reading

I Love You Not Forever, But Everyday

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How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
I love you when I stop the things I do
To hear you out when you are down and blue
And lend a hand whate’r the time and place.
I love you when I wash the glasses, plates
And do my share of our daily chores
I love you simply when I open doors
And plainly too as we hold hands on dates.

I love you with little fuss and fanfare
Less pomp and gesture that is grand will come
I love you with simplicity that’s bare
Which does not need the sweetest words to say,
In little things I tell you that I care
I love you not fore’r, but everyday.

Below is the model for the poem above, “How Do I Love Thee,” to which mine is my riposte, my call for an earthier, everyday kind of love, that Alain de Botton echoes in his article, How Fiction Ruined Love. Mine is not as sublime and elegantly written as Elizabeth Barrett Brownings, but that is partly and precisely the point. Love is less about the grand gestures than about daily routines. Though truth be told, my disclaimer also an excuse that masks my inabilty to write something as elevated and masterly.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

A Reading from the Second Book of Lamentations

I saw the eagle, the bird of prey, circling above the land of Israel. Perched upon Zion, it  beat its triumphant wings; Yahweh’s people swept across the valley; they conquered the cities and laid waste to the land.

The blood of brave men ran down the rivers. The cries of the orphans filled the air. And the wails of widowed women rang through the night. Upon the land of milk and honey, they starve in their cages, driven from their lands, while we be fruitful and multiply.

I weep for them who suffer, for they are my brothers too. Are not they, the vanquished, kin, blood of our blood, the sons of Ishmael, whom Yahweh sent to the desert with Hagar? Did they, like us, not come from Abraham, to whom Yahweh promised offspring that would number like stars of the night?

Is not this Promised Land theirs too?

I weep for my people, for they were once slaves, and now they are the tyrants. Did they not face oppression in the land of Egypt? Did they not bear the Pharoah’s yoke and cry out to Yahweh for their deliverer? They, like pharaoh, have hardened their hearts. And they, like Pharoah, won’t let the people go.

Yahweh, are not the vanquished your people too? You sent their father Ishmael to the desert, but did not abandon him. To a well you led Hagar, so that Ishmael may drink, live, and produce offspring as abundant as the desert sands that would conquer the world.

And if you sent Moses to deliver my fathers from the Pharoah’s yoke, if in six days you delivered them from their enemies, if you had them return to Zion, won’t you send the vanquished, my brothers, their deliverer too? My people have hardened their hearts, but where are the plagues that swept through the land of Egypt? Where is their liberation from their yoke, the parting of the sea, where is their inheritance, and where is the peace in the Promised Land?