I’ve read more books than I can possibly remember. Not because I’m smart, but because reading is like TV to me. Or, more accurately, like crack. I think I flunked several subjects in high school because I was too busy reading. I have no idea who won the Civil War of 19whothehellcares, and I had to go to summer school for failing freshman Algebra, but I can quote bits out of Richard II.
“No matter where; of comfort no man speak:
Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.”
|For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings.”
Talk about useless talents.
Those last two lines though. Dayum son. Right in the motherloving feels.
I started reading a lot when I was a little snot-nosed brat with four older sisters who had much better things to do than watch me torture my Barbies. My mom was busy with our resto, my dad was busy with his friends, and my yayas were… I don’t know where they were. Probably hiding from me, little shit that I was.
Anyway, I had no one to talk to, play with, or hang out with growing up so I ended up reading all the time just to have something to do.
Writing followed, naturally. I remember one of my first poems. It went a little like this.
Poverty by Meggy Vaflor
Poverty’s claws are strangling me
Squeezing the air out of me
I gasp for help but no one hears me
Something like that. The odd thing is at the time we were staunchly, embarrassingly middle class. I think I wrote this after my mom played a prank on me, in which she pretended the reason why the lights were off was because we were so poor we couldn’t afford to pay the Meralco man. Thanks, Mom. You owe me in shrink bills.
I showed the poem to my teacher, suggesting that she hang it up on the poetry wall for all the other first graders to read. She refused, quite understandably.
A follow-up poem, Mr. Joe’s Night, was about a girl who spies on her ex-dude at his wedding to someone else. I was seven or eight when I wrote it. I remember my sister reading it aloud to her boyfriend over the telephone and giggling like mad over this bit “I cried under the night sky, black velvet covered in diamonds.”
I wasn’t a very good poet. Apparently, though, I was a pretty good comedian.
When I got a little older, my poems became progressively cheesier. I blame hormones. Also, all teenagers write crap poetry, don’t they? It’s like a rite of passage.
Except maybe for Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. Their teenage poetry was probably brilliant.
…To be continued (if i ever muster up enough energy)