From 'Mostly in Monsoon Weather'

(University of the Philippines Press, 2007)

 

Cover Design by Ed Cabagnot, from a painting by Santiago Bose; Book Design by Donato Alvarez
Cover Design by Ed Cabagnot, from a painting by Santiago Bose; Book Design by Donato Alvarez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This book began in good weather

 

....when I wrote the first poem, in balmy December, but the monsoon always catches up with me. Mode and marker of my writing cycles (of poems, since writing for livelihood cannot allow cycles), the monsoon’s onset coincides with my fertile periods—for mooning, that is, when every crumb of sense or memory becomes a seed that can sprout in the season’s sodden grey. But I wanted a name for the sun in this waterlogged archipelago of ours, as it bounces off all sundry shining things, calling out the name of everything it touches—in its doomed spell of dryness, clear skies and kite fights (their strings steeped in a paste of boiled starch packed with the ground glass of busted fluorescent bulbs, a concoction called bidro, with which to cut the vital cord of the other kite), in windy March and April, that would only be surprised by the downpour of Agua de Mayo. The monsoon always catches up with me. Even the harsh noon sun ends up glowering behind clouds that dim the afternoon siesta imposed by grandmothers on little boys who are left alone in the house after the other siblings had left for school, when the housewife mother had gone for a game of neighborhood entre-cuatro, and the radio in the dead hours before Tia Dely mocks me with Jo Stafford’s lugubrious crooning of “No Other Love.” I was the Count of Monte Cristo of Siesta...”

 

Rod Samonte, 'Rain #4'
Rod Samonte, 'Rain #4'

So begins the rambling self-introduction of Mostly in Monsoon Weather. Again it's almost ten years (nine to be exact) from the last, Poems en Route. Since it's not very old, it's still available maybe at National and some stores that carry UP Press books. And of course at the Press's in-campus store, at the Balai Kalinao. It's a very "now" book (I haven't changed much), affected, like its author, by everything happening around (and within). See if you like the poems. You might want to get the book. I was quite disappointed at how, despite designer Donat Alvarez's making sure the press got the right computer graphic and camera-ready files, the color-separation made a mess out of the late Santi Bose's colors. But it got quite good notices anyway, by the PAL in-flight magazine Mabuhay, where the reviewer thought it was a rather "slim" collection and hinted for more, and the Sundary Inquirer Magazine's Day of Books special: "delicious new poems."


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