Bare Eye

Commercial break (for a napkin poet)

/ 12:09 AM October 24, 2013

The poet Cesar Ruiz Aquino left Dumaguete City on Tuesday to attend a Manila book launching, a milestone in his rich writing life. Yesterday, after settling in a borrowed nest in Ermita, he sent me a haiku which, he said, he composed in flight:

“If I shut off all


The sounds in the whole world, will

I hear your footsteps?”

* * *


This serves as an invitation to the launch of an anthology of poetry today.

From the premier poet Alfred Yuson: “We must urge book lovers, especially those who appreciate and abide by Philippine poetry, to attend an important book launch (this Thursday) Oct. 24, starting at 6 p.m. on the 33rd Floor of Malayan Plaza on ADB Ave., Ortigas Center.”

The anthology, it was noted, “is evidently significant since it brings together a band of brothers whose camaraderie, loyalty, love and support for one another date back to the 1960s, spanning (various) arenas of faith and combat…”

* * *

To be launched is Companionable Voices: Five Filipino Poets, featuring “Poetry from a Lost Generation,” a collection of 76 poems by Juan Jose Jolico Cuadra, Cesar Ruiz Aquino, Recah Trinidad, Erwin Castillo and Wilfredo Pascua Sanchez.


Thank you, again. But kindly allow me an urgent correction.

Krip Yuson, idol and dear friend,  said the five poets in the anthology “have nurtured and nourished one another” blessed by their initial bond and a common source of strength.

I must clarify that I had not, in any way, contributed to the growth of my brothers in the so-called Gang of Five. They were already established, extolled in the rich writing field, while I struggled and groped, a penny-pinching napkin poet, as Jose Garcia Villa would’ve put it.

* * *

How they had doted on me, all the way to instant inclusion and elevation into their anthology, is a tearjerker. They pushed me on, their kid brother, through those lost, lonely, overcast days when it had seemed the rain would fall forever in my life.

* * *

Special thanks to the master, Erwin Castillo, who practically led me by the hand, mainly on the road to completing the small novel, Tales from My Lost River.

Of course,  before Erwin, there was my first coach, Bobby Chan (Robert A. Chan), writer and philosopher, a mainstay in the Ayala Land Corporate Communication department until his untimely departure earlier in the month.

Bobby, debonaire son of Mr. Sam, a Chinatown don, was our acknowledged dean in that other writing school, the University of Aling Mameng, a dark, damp backroom off V. Concepcion, not too many steps from the UST Faculty of Philosophy and Letters.

If Erwin and Willyboy had their Listening Center at Diliman where Virgie Moreno held court, we had Donya Mameng’s, where the ageless Batanguena muse, Carmen Borbon, made sure iced Ginebra flowed everyday of the year  down our only alma mater with a heart.

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