Issue of April 15, 2018

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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“Come back”

Can memories shared with people be a panacea over grief or loss? Can the Lenten experience be a comparable situation?

Exactly three years ago today, a beloved, confidant, and a friend emigrated from his earthly domicile to the great heavens.

Jolo was on a short vacation in February. He paid his godfather a visit in Quezon City. Coming home, he held a book entitled “In Many Ways Poems – 2012.” I browsed over the pages of the book and on page 141, the poem with a short handwritten dedication caught my attention. The persona immortalizes friendship beyond the bounds of space and time. He speaks with nostalgia to his bosom friend.

“Come Back” by Cirilo F. Bautista, national artist for Literature attempts at a “face time” with Nap Javier, poetry lover and media icon:

“I lie in bed nursing my skeleton; I can hear my bones creak as I turn to my side.

I can also hear you walk up the sky where the clouds of Benguet slice the tops of pine trees.

It’s where you’re going that I don’t know. You never told me since the time they rushed you to the ICU.

Yet there’s no need to know.

From my head at first bat I can count a thousand reasons – Because what’s the use?

The sunflowers have covered the mountains with yellow carpets from Hindustan, or Istanbul, or Yugoslavia. Because I can’t write any more, because time slips through your busted heart.

“Ten years we never got together, each unable to walk on his own, each year I lost parts of your face, parts of your body, parts of your soul to the fractured cauldron of memory, and now what’s the use?

Bring me back a rose from wherever you’re going, drop it where my legs stick out of the bed. I’ll follow the scent back to you and then we will talk, perhaps.”

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