Example poetry

Poetry in play | Philstar.com

Poems of levity don’t exactly have a reduced level of seriousness. The Rainbow of Verses allows for the import of verities of all colors, tones, and shades.

This is the case with Epithalamion: New and Selected Poems 1990-2020 by Nick Carbo, published by Milflores Publishing, Inc. and available via www.milflorespublishing.com.

Carbo’s poetry has always been fun reading – in exceptionally playful narratives occurring in staged, situational and in situ form, with characters often led by the poet himself with his many forms. They also enlisted literary personalities, entertainment celebrities, mythological characters, and various other popular stars of the imagination. Indeed, it is primarily the imagination that makes Carbo’s poems easily imprint in celebratory appreciation.

I enjoyed his early poems in El Grupo MacDonald’s and Secret Asian Man cycles, where his series of “Ang Tunay na Lalaki” vignettes provided a whimsical hero for our times – one who “…Stalks the Streets of New York” ; “…Meet Barbie at the Shark Bar”; “…is confused by the messages”; “…is addicted to New York”; or “… Receives his first mission.”

This time, in “I Found Orpheus Levitating” (“Because he wanted new friends in a new country…”), the subject is introduced by the character-I, presumably a Filipino, to Kapitan Kidlat who recalls to the poet Zeus, before he is guided to Mount Makiling to meet Malakas and Maganda.

“He was hungry so we went to a Kamayan restaurant/Where Orpheus learned to eat white rice and pork adobo/With his hands. It’s wonderful! They drink Tanduay Rum at Hobbit House, where” I asked him if he understood // The concept of voluntary suspension of disbelief…”

Here are excerpts from “Directions to My Imaginary Childhood”: “If you stand at the corner/ of Mabini Street and Legaspi Avenue,/ wait for an orchid-colored minibus/ with seven oblong doors,/ open the fourth door—/ /an oscillating electric fan/ will drive, tell it to continue/ towards the diamond district of Escolta—/you will pass Maneng Viray’s bar,// La Isla de los Ladrones bookstore,// the sauce factory of fish Frederick Funston,/ and as you turn left into Calle de Recuerdos,/ you will see Breton, Bataille and Camus/ seated around a card table playing/ alphabet dominoes—// roll down your window and ask/ them if Mr. Florante and Miss Laura/ are at home… then go back/ to Calle de Recuerdos until you reach// the part that is lined with tungsten red trees/ Juan Tamad, on the right will be /a house with an acknowledgment page/ and an index, open the door and enter/ this page and look at me oh in the eyes.

“The year I was born, the Merriam-Webster dictionary first introduced these words to the world” has the quoted words appearing in italics at the end of each line that extends a story. Another title is “The number one song the day I was born was ‘Oh Pretty Woman’ by Roy Orbison.”

Fantasy also meets current societal concerns. “The Wuhan Shuffle” pokes fun at PROC’s situation – like dance moves.

There is always something going on in Carbo’s poems. Unlike poems that merely utter a philosophy or sentiment, a story unfolds to fill the reader’s mental screen, where characters move through a particular location. A twisted or tongue-in-cheek ending is another familiar feature.

Here is “Italian Postcard 4” in full: “Emily Dickinson died again today / In a village southeast of Terni. She survived / Three bastards and the death of baby twins / In her second marriage to a man from Norcia/ Named Paolo Francesco Batisti. She was known as Amalia / The quiet butcher’s wife, who became the haberdasher / The woman after the butcher was taken away by the Nazis / During the Second World War. Amalia’s third husband// His name was Giancarlo and he encouraged her to write/ On the pictures she saw as she stared/ The walls. This time his ten manuscripts/ Will only be not found. Look! Look! His granddaughter Anna/ Is shredding the pages of poems for soft bedding/ For the fat white chickens in the garden.

There is a section where Carbo extends its playful side to the digital realm, where certain poems are presented in the form of QR codes, alongside the titles “Marlene Dietrich’s Hair”, “I Swallow Welts”, “Mon Pere”, “Can You Lower Your Trope, Please? “, “Seven past” and “Interactive/kinetic/visual poem”.

Tongue in cheek or brazenly, Carbo explains that these are “links to poems from poem movies that only exist on the internet. These poems have text, music and images that are inextricably fused together as cinematic poems. (Best experience in “full screen” mode. Quality of movies is not optimal as original files were lost due to hurricanes and floods. These links are the only examples that exist.)”

This is followed by a set of pages that feature graphic images such as multi-colored circles containing single unrelated words, under the heading “Lack of Atmosphere”. For its part, “La revue de Saussure” presents three photos in two pages as “the only documentation of this poem” since “The original piece composed of Alka-Seltzer pills, bubble wrap and a painted wooden cigar box was destroyed in the Napa Valley of 2020”. , Saint Helena glass fire…”

Another conceptual graphic poem has several pages showing multi-colored cubes stacked in different ways, each with phrases that begin with “the silence of…”.

Born in Legaspi, Albay, Nick Carbo earned degrees at two American universities and was poet-in-residence at several others. He has also received various scholarships in the United States and benefited from writing scholarships in Spain and Italy – which explains his worldview as a homo ludens, a man who plays, especially with regard to the culture.

Thus, his themes in this sixth book of poetry serve as random examples of capturing a myriad of amusements, including the conceptual, as well as homages to his homeland and father, and to literary and geographical landscapes. And then, too, there are poems of subtle eroticism, apart from its take on the nuptial poem as a general title.

“The Word Delicious” ends like this: “If I was a double negative, I wouldn’t deny that she was naked/ Under her knee-length coat,/ There’s only one word delicious/ for describe it.”

Whatever the poem, it is not frivolity that Carbo defends, but the register of humor that he inevitably identifies as the saving grace in a world betrothed to ancient self-recognition.


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