One summer we hiked to my grandfather’s farm. Ninety degrees in the shade, sandaled
feet stumbling in carabao dung. I did my best to look as if I knew how to live.
Five days a week I used to teach in the capital, six hours from home. Riding the midnight
bus, I saw families huddled in sleep by the underpass; how was this a way to live?
Every now and then I’ll remember something with a start, like fruit I had in childhood.
Bell-shaped macopa: red skin, cool, spongy hearts. Their taste, hard to re-live.
A cross between indigo and purple— this is the star apple’s signature. A five-
fingered flower, pulp thick and sweet, encasing the seed that might live.
The waiter brings my usual bowl of noodles in clear broth, a pair of battered shrimp.
For the umpteenth time I tell him: soup spoon, not ladle— the mouth’s hinges would give!
I love the way light moves across surfaces: the floor beneath the bay becoming
honey, water rippling itself and what holds it in. A window’s essential, to live.
In a darkened room I stretch out and practice: slow down my breathing, arrange arms
straight by my sides. Imagine how cells quit movement, the compulsion to live.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- Bel Canto
- In the Summer Capital
- The Hourglass
- Frost has silvered the grass
- Fragment of a Poem Disguised as SPAM
- Clear bulb of coral inside a paper shade,
- Private: Translucent in the sun, the laurel is a blaze of gloss—
- Kissing the Wound
- Fire Report
- Dear animal of my deepest need, you want to linger
- Ghazal, a la Cucaracha
- Heartache Ghazal
- Ghazal: Some ways to live
- What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
- A single falling note above
- La Caminata
- Dear nearly weightless day,
- Ghazal of the 1 o’clock caller looking for Pomona
- Breaking the Curse
- Milflores, Milflores
- Bad Script
- Ghazal of the Eternal Return
- Letter to the Underneath
- Tall Ships
- Beneath one layer, another and
- Landscape, with Summer Bonfires
- Dear language, most thick
2 Replies to “Ghazal: Some ways to live”
I guess from your locale that carabaos have nothing in common with the arctic reindeer. What are they? Lovely sensory detail, as usual. It makes me hungry for those fruits.
Robbi, carabaos are water buffalo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carabao – and I found images for the macopa (or Malay apple, or rose apple) http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Asia/Philippines/Southern_Tagalog/Rizal/Antipolo/photo1058592.htm and the star apple http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/images/Plate58.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/star_apple.html&h=307&w=300&sz=70&tbnid=ihKiHWTItjP79M:&tbnh=90&tbnw=88&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dstar%2Bapple%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=star+apple&docid=_6IDc1stZpjAZM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=8kSbT7bcC-ag2gXmuM3cDg&ved=0CDQQ9QEwAQ&dur=737