On June 10, 2013, Philippine Words Expressed – Kultura Arts held their 3rd “Through Our Eyes: Fil Am Art Exhibit” featuring original art and ekphrastic poetry. Featured artists: James Ardent, Fernando Argosino, Elizabeth Bustillo, Jude Clavero, Kimo Liddell, Carmelita Nielson, Armilito Pangilinan and Olivia Zapata. Featured writers: Dr. Third Andresen, Roberto Ascalon, Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor and Michelle Penaloza.
I read my newest pantoums “Postmark” in response to Elizabeth Bustillo’s work and “Suspended in Time” in response to Armilito Pagnilinan’s work.
Bustillo’s art was composed of threads and postage stamps, arranged as maps of the United States and the Philippines. I was struck by the idea of a person sending letters to a family member stricken with a disease that would not allow them to travel. Pagnilinan’s ceramics, on the other hand, were like suspended moments in time that focused on childhood memories. The character in my pantoum is similarly suspended in nostalgia, unable to fully heal the grief of being forgotten by a long-lost lover.
In addition to this new work, I read “Sacrificial Acts,” a prose poem and cautionary tale of an activist who could not keep from overcommitting herself to the community.
I am grateful to organizers Bob Flor and Maria Batayola, as well as sponsors Pagdiriwang and Poets and Writers for their support.