The Old Shepherd’s Chief Mourner

*Wrote this ekphrastic (a poem written describing a piece of art) poem for my poetry class. It’s about Sir Edwin Landseer’s painting of the same name. I’ve said it before, I’m not very good at writing poetry, but it is something that I really want to improve on.

Once in this sparsely decorated room, sat
an old man and his dog. Here they endured
cold summer nights, and golden autumn noons.
Sitting on the same wooden chair.
Watching the wooly sheep walk by.
On the evenings, they would take a walk,
and the old man would let him free
to gambol through the grass and chase
at an unsuspecting frog or bug. He would
smile at him, and his heart would flutter, not
at the feel of the breeze on his wet nose,
but of the very existence of this being
he has loved since he could remember.
Even in his sleep, only the darkness kept
them apart.

Now, in this sparsely decorated space, sits
the old dog, laying his weary head over
his master, patiently waiting
for this wooden box to fling open.
The hollow space he feels, in the veins
of his beastly heart confuses.
Is this how human loss feels like?
How much longer?

It was instinct that told him to love
unconditionally. Now, instinct
whispers, words that even instinct
tells him not to follow
—“Go, let him go.”


Why I Giggle Like A Schoolgirl

Been really busy with work lately. We’ve been receiving a lot of manuscripts, and a lot of manuscripts also means more editing/proofreading work for me. But I’m not complaing. Surprisingly, I’m enjoying the work more than I initially expected.

But here’s what’s really keeping me bouncy, I’ve just been accepted into the Creative Writing graduate program of one of the more, let’s just say prominent, universities in my place. After being denied entry into my alma mater (because I had failing grades in Math… fuck Math! And both Human and Neuro Anatomy. I was supposed to be in Med school you know… :D), I thought I would get the same results in the other schools I applied to. I thought, if my school had such high standards, then surely, the others would have the same, if not higher.
Then I received an email from one of the universities I applied to, telling me that I was scheduled for an interview, then during the interview I was told I got in, mainly because of my writing merits and my boss’s/former professor’s highly commendable recommendation. The interviewer also said that joining writing contests was a sign of dedication, and receiving recognition meant that I had the potential.
I was so happy that I couldn’t stop myself from giggling. I even had to excuse myself from the department head, saying that I really do giggle like a schoolgirl on ecstasy when I was happy. And I was happy. It was at that moment that I realized that yes, it isn’t always about the grades we receive.

Anyway, I can’t wait to train under the tutelage of some of the country’s best fictionists, poets, and playwrights.

Is This What Psychosis Feels Like?

A nagging thought has been bothering me for a few days now. Believe it or not, it’s nothing that I find quite serious, although I think it’s weird. I can’t fully explain it, but I’ll try to describe it: imagine sipping on your favorite fruit shake while simultaneously thinking about poisoning it. Or how about, imagine holding a very sharp knife and having the urge of stabbing yourself. I don’t know, I’m not alarmed or anything, but it’s unnerving to constantly think about dying/killing yourself while looking through a manuscript and checking for errors (yep, I work as a copyeditor). Should I go ahead and see a shrink?

To The Doveglion

I once strove, to write
with commas, the same
way you did, so
eloquently as if
combining salt and pepper to stale
meat – add just enough to
entice. Receive a natural, gustatory
high that would linger for days.

Uplift — like feathers does to a bird. Oh!
I have almost forgotten — wings.
But on some days, when there is
largesse in the shape of crowns
inyour hands, and you sprinkle in
just a little bit too much of salt,
you put in too much taste until it is tasteless.
But nothing a little bit of pepper
could fix.

More Advice For Writing

I’ve often been asked (though I don’t have any idea why some people think I have the authority) about how to differentiate between ‘showing and telling’ when it comes to writing. Now, before I go on, I would like to include the fact that I’ve been working as a copyeditor for a month and a half now, in one of the most reputable publishing houses here in my place (hint: it’s a university press). Also, I have no idea how that even relates to this writing tidbit I’m about to share.

So, ‘showing vs telling’ huh? It’s every budding writer’s worst enemy. And one of the things these younglings — before I forget, May the Fourth be with you! — seem to struggle to understand. But fear no more my friends, for this ‘showing vs telling’ thing is pretty easy to comprehend, because, first of all, that’s basically what it means. ‘Showing’ means showing, and ‘telling’ means telling. When you show, you describe, sometimes, in detail. And when you tell, well, you just tell. Here’s an example of me talking about an old school library:

(Telling):      “The library was old.”
(Showing):  “The paved path leading to the library was missing bricks in places, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of a hundred invisible eyes watching me as I walked by. Once I passed the hardwood doors, I could almost swear my own ears caught the faint echoes of voices that were long gone.”

You have to understand that one isn’t necessarily better than the other. In my case, when I write, I use them both. I tell stuff that I think isn’t really necessary (Her foot hurt, so she went ahead and took an aspirin.) And I show stuff I know will be essential to my story (Her face was like a diamond, with a wide forehead and a delicate chin. Ringlets of what could have been ebony hair fell down to her waist. He could only imagine dark hazel eyes, sensual and imploring as they gazed at him, lifeless like the rest of her. As he stared, he wondered whether those cold, dead lips would feel real, if not close to real, as the statue’s hands.)

Take note, a story that is pure telling will be boring, while a story that is pure showing will be dragging — tiring, even. Right now, I can’t tell you what would work well with your story, or how much of each you should use, but I’m sure you’ll find it out soon. Just keep writing and before you know it, you’ll finally bring balance to the force (your writing. Sorry, I just had to make one last Star Wars related pun.)

Clara’s Song

Clara and the Nutcracker.

The clock strikes
12, and once more,
the room is still. Even the
moon knows that
it is nearly time
to hear the pitter and the patter
of the mouse army
that has come to invade and take
you away from me. But
you should know that
I would never let them,
even if I had had you
for barely a day. For
you hold my heart now. I
have known — since that first
glance, and by the time we danced
around the tree, with your hard–
wood body wrapped in
my hands’ embrace — not even
the evil Mouse King and
his zealous wrath could take you away.

I will follow you, to save you.
Even if it means leaving
behind this world, to enter your
world of eternal snow.

For You

The sky is emptier than the last
time we were together. Sitting
beneath a walkway, You and I
speaking in undertones we didn’t
even understand. Not
because we didn’t try harder,
but because listening was not an option.
at that time. Just staring
into seemingly blank spaces
of whiteness and dark spheres.

At that time. That was enough.

Now, those moments don’t exist
as before. The stillness disturbed by
unspoken undertones remain– still.
Only the staring into blank spaces
continue. But the whiteness
and dark spheres has finally disolved into–