Poetry Sunday: Conchitina Cruz

CHANCE MEETING

Blame it on our common distaste
for confrontation — the day we called it
quits, there were no more questions,
even as they hung in the air.

And so we drew the line between ourselves,
and I fished my panty hose out of your hamper,
and you took your blanket
off my bed, packing the rest
of ourselves into separate bags.

Now that it’s done, where was the line
we drew? After all, how divide such things
as books, according to who bought them,
who hasn’t read them,
who needs them for class? How break
a painting, a tub into equal parts?

How dismantle a memory?
Like burglars on the scene of a crime, we took
what we thought was ours, by right,
by excuse, by default.
Cleaned out,
the house returned

a blank stare, saying nothing.
Now this awkwardness of meeting
again this inescapable
intersection, and after a second
of courtesies, we head for separate

doors, leaving a debt we share
unsaid — I’m afraid I still
have something
of yours.

  • Conchitina Cruz, a graduate of the University of the Philippines, is a multi-awarded Filipino poet.

How Iceland Changed the World: Introduction

Self has finished reading the Amanda Lindhout memoir (written with Sara Corbett), A House in the Sky. She decided she would just have to get it over with. She wasn’t even sure she’d have the stomach to read it all the way through, but the writing is amazing. That’s what amazing writing can do: it holds you hostage. Self spent the whole of this beautiful day (sun was shining, and it was NOT HOT) just racing to finish A House in the Sky.

There are some parts that, okay, made self laugh, like the part where Amanda and Nigel are being taken to yet another “safe” house. They were being held in separate rooms and when she sees Nigel, she notices Nigel is shirtless and wonders if . . . okay, never mind. Nigel was unmolested. Lucky for him, he was a man. They sort of respected him. There is a lot about her feelings for Nigel in this book, which adds to the sadness because . . . Amanda was clinging to him so hard, just to make it through, and Nigel was essentially helpless, and made a lot of promises he didn’t mean, because — hey, there were hostages!

Anyhoo, she’s alive, he’s alive, it’s all good.

Onward!

Self’s next book might seem like a strange choice, except that her son has gone there. To Iceland. All by himself. She found out recently.

And also, once, self spent Christmas in Paris, and the only other guests at her tiny hotel in the 17th arrondissement were a Filipino family who were on their way to Iceland for a family vacation, and came with tons of luggage.

Imagine the odds of two different Filipino entities meeting in a Paris hotel on Christmas day! And we didn’t even know each other from Adam! The three kids of the family ranged in age from — if self were to guess — five to 10. WHO GOES TO ICELAND FOR FAMILY VACATION. For that matter, who spends Christmas alone in Paris! But self wasn’t alone! She was with Francine and Francoise, who were so circumspect they never greeted her a Merry Christmas and acted like it was just an ordinary day! All they said to her that day was: “Madame, you must go to the Louvre. NO LINES TODAY.” Which turned out to be very good advice.

This is a very digressive post! Finally, the Iceland book:

Introduction:

The town of Selfoss is a rare find. Nearly all of the sixty-three towns and cities in Iceland were first established out of nautical convenience, in sight of approaching ships, but Selfoss sits inland, away from the stony coast. I grew up there, landlocked.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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