Poems I?D Read over on Any Rainy Day

Topics: Manila, Philippines, Family Pages: 4 (1092 words) Published: July 20, 2010
COMMENTARY: Poems I?d read over on any rainy day
by Nikki Rivera Gomez / MindaNews
Monday, 02 July 2007 23:01
It was the 1950s—the decade when a pompous West, emerging victorious from a world war that killed over 57 million people, was beginning to prance and preen like a peacock. Almost overnight, the US economy boomed with those big-finned Chryslers, Fords, and Buicks. Holiday Inn began its worldwide chain, as did the now ubiquitous McDonalds. I was barely a year old when Elvis, James Dean, and Marilyn Monroe had begun to electrify the silver screen. Back home? Old pictures retain a homegrown charm about them: a tiny me sprawled on the grass, my mom seated beside, a gleaming black Buick parked nearby. Everything seemed picture-perfect—with the world, despite America’s revulsion of black people and her manic campaign to exterminate North Koreans; and with the country, despite its ecstatic absorption of all things “stateside.” The decade was also the time my parents were hacking their way through Compostela’s jungles in a bid to stake whatever modest claim they could. Back in Paco, Manila, my maternal grandfather, Godofredo Rivera, was putting together his “Little Things,” a potpourri of vignettes about life, living, and loving halfway through the Twentieth Century. Love is sipping wine drop by drop

Each libation a delicate ritual
Of deep affection
Elevated by the subtle touch
Of eternal desire

He probably didn’t intend his prose to be treated like poetry, but many of the entries in his book were quite lyrical they tugged at the heart. And they weren’t just about some pax de deux in Old Manila: We win freedom by courage but lose it by default

We go to Church but insult God
We recite the Constitution but spit on the Flag
We fight foreign domination but surrender to native degradation We feed the dead but starve the living
We build monuments to the hero but let the weeds grow under his feet As we are in 1950, we perhaps misrepresent the...
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