[Poetry Friday] Hunger by Nerisa Guevara

poetry friday

Myra here.

Friday is my favourite day of the week. Not only does it signal the end of the work week, it is also a great time to be with our Poetry Friday friends. Our host this week is the effervescent and absolutely ravishing Robyn Hood Black, Queen of Haiku and Wolf Maiden.

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We are privileged once more to share another original creation by immensely talented poet, Nerisa Guevara. This time she has a prose poetry offering for us all. Do take the time to savor this one, dear friends. It makes us reflect on a bright and chilly December morning.

Hunger

It would have gone on forever if it didn’t end. In some basement food center, sitting on cold steel benches facing each other, hands on the white table not touching, eyes on the food warming under fluorescent lights, the girl always asking, are you hungry, the boy always saying no.

Maybe a hundred untouched plastic plates of food between them to measure the time they had been together. And if you measured the distance between their hands, it would make a long narrow white table stretching from one end of the food center to another.

And if time was indeed something like the strategic mirrors lining the food center, reflecting a thousand reflections of each other, then they had seen it, since the time they had first laid eyes on each other, they would not last forever.

Beginning or end?

As surely as the girl was in front of him, he had his Past behind him, a soul of a girl with hair that grew as long as the months he had thought of her. (The boy had stepped on her shadow and pulled out her soul. Out there is a girl walking without a soul. Beware.)

The girl saw her from across the table. From the very first day. The boy had always smiled at the girl with some strain. His Past’s fingers were like steel around his throat. But he smiled anyway. Then it became harder and harder for him to speak of love that he almost died when he said it for the last time before he said goodbye. And when he said goodbye, the Past loosened her grip and smiled.

As surely as the boy was in front of her, her Past was on the boy’s plate: a pair of brown eyes that sat on his food that looked sadly first at him, then at her. (The girl had driven a boy to anguish that he ran away without his eyes. Out there is a man walking without his eyes. Beware.)

The eyes looked at her, widening every time she took a spoonful of anything she ordered, shedding tears as she ate. The boy at first tried to eat around them, picking a piece of meat or two near the eyelids, but they would make the pieces quiver on the fork with their lashes.

But there was a time when they looked at each other and saw only themselves. The boy saw himself in her eyes. The girl saw herself in his eyes. And when they were close, their reflections curved towards each other in the concave film of their eyes. 

If you wish to know more about Nerisa, click here to be taken to her blog.

About the Poet: Nerisa del Carmen Guevara finished her M.A. in English Studies Creative Writing at University of the Philippines (U.P.), Diliman. She has attended the Dumaguete, Iligan, U.P. Writing Workshops and has been a panelist for UST CCWS and UST CCWLS Creative Writing Workshops in her capacity as Junior Associate (UST CCWS 2003-2006) and Resident Fellow for Poetry (UST CCWLS 2010-2013). She has received A Palanca Award for Poetry in 1999 and a Silver Cup Award for Dance Solo in the 2004 April Spring Festival in Pyongyang, North Korea. She teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters where she has been running the Poetry Workshop called The Baguio Soul Project: Journey into the Self Through Words these past eleven years.

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  1. So powerful, Myra! I am speechless. I’ll head over to her blog. (Robyn is our PF host today — I shared your link over there 🙂 )

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  2. Oh, Myra. This is so beautiful, so poignant, so…heartmelting! I’ve read it now three times, and each reading has given me chills. Thanks so much for featuring this amazing poet.

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  3. Great selection, Myra. One can almost feel they are in the food line. WOW! Amzing poet. Thank you for this post.

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  4. Oh my, it is something to read and re-read, Myra. I feel the steps they took, the journey from the past to each other. How lovely to have captured this small glimpse of life.

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  5. That last stanza is one to read and reread, Myra. What an amazing poet!

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  6. Poignant. Beautiful.

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  7. This is fascinating. I love how the metaphorical shoulders its way into the natural, e.g. part: “His Past’s fingers were like steel around his throat. But he smiled anyway. Then it became harder and harder for him to speak of love that he almost died when he said it for the last time before he said goodbye. And when he said goodbye, the Past loosened her grip and smiled.”

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