Rhodora Penaranda Oct 10, 2008 15:57:53 GMT 2
Post by thepoetslizard on Oct 10, 2008 15:57:53 GMT 2
Rhodora V. Penaranda is the author of two poetry volumes, Touchstone (Menagerie Arts, Copyright 2006) and Unmasking Medusa (Menagerie Arts, Copyright 2008). She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children. Of her poetry, she says: “The art of integrating one's personal and cultural past into one's art is not just political; for me it is of spiritual significance. The surrendered state—that sense of trying to hold something together in your spirit, and articulating it in a state of flow—is the ideal. Sometimes attained, sometimes not, but always a challenge. The aspiration itself is a driving force.”
Penaranda's work appears in the anthology Field of Mirrors, ed. Edwin Lozada (Carayan Press, 2008)
"The Place Inside"
The literal word in English for Lo-ob
is Inside*. Edge in a prefix and Inside
is Character, wedded to Will. Collapse
the literal, the ordinary, by splitting,
affixing letters to the root, Inside
metamorphoses to spirit, or space—
a place inside. Or trade in a syllable,
Inside is a verb “to place a thing inside”.
By the simple act of focus—or its arrest,
the subterfuges of Inside settle into
their trajectories. At one moment,
Inside gives, in the next, steals.
Inside may intercept to split the self
to great indebtedness. Upon the weight
of a phrase, peace disintegrates
to a state of war.
Inside is a blind point, an island
where my gaze fades from myself
at the instance of looking. It is where
I live, camouflaged in this scrap of skin.
Inside me is the shallows, resistant to halting
sea voyages. In here lives a shipwrecked
ghost, still wooing the swell-shock
from somewhere, bone-deep.
*Linguistic studies have identified 700 affixes used in Pilipino. Derived from the root word Lo-ob (Inside/ or Kalo-oban for Will) are such words as Nilo-ob (inner state), salo-obin (sentiment), ipagkalo-ob (to give), manglo-ob (to steal), sukal ng lo-ob (inner turmoil), kusang lo-ob (initiative), utang na lo-ob(indebtedness), ipalo-ob (to put something inside).
God save her, the legend had her mother
praying before the bandits’ hands came upon her.
And the Light shot up, and hid her in the ground,
a shrinking prickle among weeds.
But eyes still seek her out in the grass, steal
into her wakefulness, watch her fold
beneath their touch, prodding in and out of the false death.
Cochineals impetuously invade her.
Eyes fiddle with her mimic shrinking grace—mimosa
pudica—the books call her, retiring, pinnate leaves withdrawing,
drooping under the curious glare. This queer receding
in terror as though the beasts are again upon her,
breathing down on the closed theater
of her slow becoming.
Trembling into featurelessness,
and dissolving in this state of waiting,
not for impatient hands that would save her,
nor for your praises-- but for the long hot nights
when the bristles appear, growth’s passion rising
to stain her green shafts, burgeon sore
before the opening of the blowball—the firecracker
purple bloom of a single day. Locked
in love's embrace, and withering
under the infinitesimal weight
of our obstinate watch.
Our Own Voice, February 2008