November 11, 2009

Luisa Igloria

HORIZON NOTE

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric;
out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.
—W.B. Yeats

In a magazine review I learn that horizon note
is the name of the hum that drones through some
types of Indian music like a very large bee
or the engine of a car idling in the driveway,

a faint line in the distance that suggests
some destination for lost and wayward notes
when they are tired of cycling from one
variation to another. Today,

the syllable om vibrates a few octaves
lower, so it blurs into the blue
rubber band a boy on his bike pulls back
between the v of a broken-off branch

to aim at something in the trees.
When the stone meets its target,
the feathered body only a little larger than
a tamarind pod plummets out of the leaves

to land on the ground, where its short life
will begin to decompose in the heat and rain.
The moment could be almost cinematic
except there is no epiphany: just a boy

turning the small casualty over
with his shoe before pedaling away
into the ennui of his own life.
Perhaps I am mistaken and the boy

has feelings, so this act of indiscriminate
animal cruelty is nothing but youthful folly,
nothing he brooded on darkly for days. Perhaps
I am merely feeling unkind and full of remorse,

remembering another time years ago
when I turned at the garden gate to face
the man bent on marrying me. I was
sixteen. The sun, nearly gone

at the horizon, marked everything
with copper. I could almost believe I was
meant for something greater than this.
Two years later, I married him.

from Rattle #24, Winter 2005
Tribute to Filipino Poets

__________

Luisa Igloria: “I’d never been in a creative writing workshop until I was thirty and in the first year of the doctoral program at University of Illinois at Chicago. Before that I pretty much worked on my own, sharing and reading work with a handful of friends who also wrote, and reading as much poetry as I could get my hands on. Now I make my permanent residence in America, and facilitate poetry workshops (I’m on the faculty of the Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia). What I want to tell my students is that poetry is the line we need to keep open because it connects us to what’s not yet completely broken in or domesticated. I like how it keeps a restlessness alive in me.” (website)