English Poetry

Birthplace

What remains of my childhood are the fragmented images
of fields extending to nearby towns that were once part of
where I grew up. Then, the sound crickets make would forge
in the air, their deep music of centuries and the fragrances
of lilacs and lilies grandmother always would welcome us upon our return
home.

The hammock fluttering in the breeze like the trembling voice of light at dusk,
the unforeseeable future that would never exist without mother,
the interminable stories that filled with their most engaging emotional weight
—all those immutable things—were the morning constellations
that we would perceive and verify daily without sorrow.

In the days of summer, we had no intuition of the rain nor of cold, that often
returns with pain in the shadows of a new place—like the cold moving through
our trembling hands—that I have learned to accept in the same manner, you welcome
the uncertainty of indifference and compassion.

Those were the days and nights of the solstice when the wind pushed
the smoke from the brick ovens through the kitchens and the ancient stoves
clearly spoke of the secrets of our barefooted and foresighted ancestors.

The beautiful, shapeless rocks in our hands that served as toys
seemed to present us the illusions of implausible events that breached
and deceived our rapturous songs with immeasurable colors.

It was a life without occasional affliction, a life without irredeemable time,
a life without the sepulchral shadows that have intently translated who I am
—slowly passing and shifting today through my life—


Gari Vinluan is an advertising professional with a degree in Creative Writing and Sociology at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He is a recipient of Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio Awards and is the author of Miserabile Visu, a short collection of poems. He is a writer in both English and Filipino languages. His favorite subject matters are pop culture, diaspora, semiotics, the decline of civilization, and counter literature.

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