Sunday, July 10, 2016

191: Letter to Pedro

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/272875698" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]Easily one of my favorite poems, this work by Rene Estella Amper. This annotation is taken from my Art of Poetry assignment:

This is an irreverent poem that speaks of the Filipino character and how we react to changes beyond our control. I actually first encountered this in a reading of its translation. The poem was originally written in English, but I heard it first in Bisaya, which added its own nuance. The poem itself is full of snark ("Your cousin, Julia, has just become a whore. / She liked good clothes, good food, big money") but it belies a certain sadness from nostalgia ("This morning I couldn't find anymore / the grave of Simeona, the cat we buried") and even bitterness ("The farmers come down every Sunday / to sell their agony and their sweat for"). In a way this is who we are: as a people we mask our sadness with jokes, and sometimes we can't really tell which is which.