Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Day 19 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2017


Let's get right to the poeming, shall we?

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: "write a poem that recounts a creation myth. It doesn’t have to be an existing creation myth, or even recount how all of creation came to be. It could be, for example, your own take on the creation of ball-point pens, or the discovery of knitting. Your myth can be as big or small as you would like, as serious or silly as you make it."

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: "write a memory poem. Pick a memory, any memory. It can be a significant event, but sometimes there are beautiful insignificant moments (that ironically are very significant — quite the paradox). Mine your memories to come up with something good today."


Today, the prompts allow me the chance to work some more on my novella-in-stories about two aswang lovers. The aswang are Philippine monsters; in my story, Clara, a vampire, and Santiago, a weredog, fall in love, despite their monsterly natures. My poem today, a curtal sonnet, provides backstory, a personal history, for Clara.

Creation of an Aswang

Clara tossed and turned one night, dreaming.
An old woman dying in a large white bed,
her Tita Lucia, her mother's sister. Clara,

five years old, was alone with her, cleaning
her aunt's face with a wet cloth, wiping blood
from her lips. Tita Lucia turned toward Clara

and kissed her mouth. A black bird, wet, left the aunt's
mouth and slipped into the girl's throat. The bed
shook. The aunt died, gurgling. The girl swallowed. Clara
woke: a memory, not a dream. The maiden aunt's
                legacy for Clara.


—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Here's an image from an article titled "Maria Labo: The Creepy Tale Of The Legendary Aswang" which shows the black bird issuing from an aswang's mouth. The black bird lives within an aswang's body and, when that aswang dies, moves to a new host. Fun, huh? All aswang, as I understand the myth, have that black bird within them. Like a heart. Or a soul.

Any Star Trek fans reading this right now? This is just like Jadzia Dax. The black bird is a Trill symbiont. Okay, okay, I'm probably pissing somebody off right now. No, people, it's not. Trill symbionts are good. They are nice. They are our friends.  (#sorrynotsorry)

I'll tell you who I'm probably pissing off here: Alan. 'Cause he's got to follow that horrific image. I'm gonna write a bunch here in an effort to put some blog space between that picture and his poem. So sorry, Alan.

Well, gentle readers, here's an interesting coincidence in aswang lore, which I noticed just now . . . the name Maria Labo, an (in)famous "historical" aswang, as noted in the article from which I lifted that lovely aswang+bird image above, sounds an awful lot like Marie Laveau, the famous (actually historical) Creole practitioner of Voodoo from New Orleans in the 1800s. Fascinating. I wonder if there's some sort of connection.

Okay, that might be enough white space. On with the show.

How “Hava Nagila” Became
My High School Halftime Finale


Our band director in the early ’70s
received direction from the local board
the Monday following a football game
at Etowah, where students broke
some band bus windows as we left,
that “Dixie” would no longer be
the song we played as we marched off the field.
He knew full well what he had done;
George Corley Wallace was
the governor, and Etowah
was integrated far, far more
than my high school has ever been;
back then, the only real minority
at Cullman High was Catholics.

I’d name him, but I’d run the risk
that his devotees, after forty years,
would take it hard that I’d besmirch
his name, but why “Hava Nagila”
in place of “Dixie”? Other high school bands
were playing fight songs from Notre Dame
or Michigan, even military marches
so soon after Viet Nam. We played “Live
and Let Die” and part of the Jaws soundtrack.
We even played the theme song from SWAT,
lots of songs associated with violence.

I looked the lyrics up: “Let us rejoice”
and “Have a happy heart,” calls
for brotherhood and peace,
and us standing in tall black
busby shakos, gold tuxedo
jackets over baggy black trousers,
crammed so close the flag girls
had to elbow their way through.

—Draft by Thomas Alan Holmes    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Friends, won’t you comment, please? Love to know what you’re thinking. To comment, look for a red line below that starts Posted by, then click once on the word comments in that line. If you don’t find the word “comments” in that line, then look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


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