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I APPRECIATE POETRY CRITIQUE > The Children with Plastic Bags and Small Bottles

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim Agustin (Jim_Pascual_Agustin) | 1414 comments 31agosto2012

The Children with Plastic Bags and Small Bottles
for Karla

I don't remember their names.
I won't be surprised if you still do.
Saturday nights in Cubao
you brought them nothing
but company and time to play.

Lamp posts threw harsh
white lights down that parking lot.
The guards let the kids gather
because you were there.

Patintero, habulan-taya, taguan.
In between the fits of laughter
they would sneak to the shadows
and sniff. Eyes returning with a sad
dullness. You were Ate Karla.

I was Kuya Jim
for a few nights
until I disappeared.


some words:
Ate = older sister
Kuya = older brother
Patintero, habulan-taya, taguan = various Philippine games, the last two are roughly similar to playing tag and hide and seek; the first one is a bit more complicated to explain but it involves drawing lines on the ground where one team acts as a guard and the other has to get past them and back to the starting line again.


message 2: by Tad (new)

Tad Richards | 99 comments I like this very much. I'm not sure it needs to be a poem. What's wonderful about it -- the setting, the detail, the fleeting but real characterization -- is not really enhanced by breaking it into lines. I wonder what it would be like if you wrote it as a short story or flash fiction.
But I could be wrong. The deep sadness of the last stanza, the narrator's mourning for the person he might have been, feels right as a poem.
You have the soul here. Now just to find the body...

message 3: by epat (new)

epat (patriciablake) | 1 comments I think it is a poem! I know it is, actually. It is a snapshot that tells a story, yes, distilled...poetry is the essence, the heart, and not every detail. I like it!

message 4: by Robbi (new)

Robbi Nester (Rknester) | 59 comments Perhaps it is just the unfamiliar Tagalog words (even though they are footnoted) that puts off Tad. I must agree that this is a poem. But it doesn't seem finished to me.

message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim Agustin (Jim_Pascual_Agustin) | 1414 comments Thanks folks.

message 6: by Tad (new)

Tad Richards | 99 comments No, I liked the Tagalog words.

message 7: by epat (new)

epat (patriciablake) | 1 comments Tad wrote: "No, I liked the Tagalog words."

Me, too.

message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim Agustin (Jim_Pascual_Agustin) | 1414 comments Me, three.

message 9: by epat (new)

epat (patriciablake) | 1 comments Me a hundred. :) I'll stop now.

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