The electric circuitry paces
An environmental complex even as
The swinging of one’s cradle
Accelerates to and fro
And to and fro:
Finally dislodges me.
Acquiring media as extension
Of my biped humanity,
Transcends uneventfully circles
Of this child’s primitive skin,
I race now with
A throwaway evolution,
My feet rhyming with its
Basic for linkages I must
Establish and culture about
In the order of a mask across
My face and a self
My scientific self takes
A directed stand,
Efficient it seems
Sadly lacks the transience though
Of existing conditions
And of those too that will be.
Circumstances mold my social self
Into a machine: I am
Limited to the twitches and twirls
Of my screws.
Around the clock thus with not
A shoe for the racetrack
To bear me through,
Might as well just stiffen when some
Circuitry inside me
© SSJ 1976
Author’s Note: Celebrating one year of blogging at WordPress.com with a rising crescendo.
What is a poet lost in the tortuous world of electrical engineering going to do with all those wiring, electricity and circuit diagrams he gets entangled with day in and day out? Write a poem about them, of course!
‘Circuitry’ is part of an untitled collection of poems written in the period 1975-1976, when the author was pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. The collection was published in the 21 August 1976 issue of the now-defunct Focus Philippines Magazine, one of the very few national magazines that kept lit the flickering flames of literary publishing in the Philippines during the country’s Marcosian martial law years.
The Focus Philippines Magazine was founded and edited by an intense and prolific writer Kerima Polotan-Tuvera (1925-2011), who was also journalist, teacher, mother and grandmother, not only to kin & family, but more significantly, to many aspiring young Filipino writers of the 70s and 80s.
Ms. Kerima probably took notice of this author’s writings when they were first being posted to her Manila office (via snail mail) from the far-flung southern town of Jolo, Sulu that was her birthplace. This was around the time (1974) when most of Jolo was razed to the ground in the midst of a brutal secessionist war in Southern Mindanao.
Over the course of about 8 years from 1974 to the early 1980s, Ms. Kerima and her editors looked favorably at some of this writer’s poetry and short story submittals to Focus Philippines, and gave them generous space in the magazine. Ms. Kerima probably valued that these writings somehow survived the ferocious flames of Jolo, found their way to the refugee communities of Zamboanga City, and were now coming from the cold dungeons of college dormitory rooms and labyrinthine laboratories of the country’s premier state university. During these years, she and her editors coaxed this writer to overcome his southern feeling of non-belonging and unease in the more cosmopolitan intricacies of northern Metro Manila, and to come out of his dungeon by way of a couple of poetry recognition awards and invitations to writers’ workshops, all of which this harrowed soul could not bring himself to attend. More for fear of failing his electrical engineering courses, he’d like to think of that now in hindsight, than a refusal to belong. Somehow, the world of electrical engineering got the better of this writer’s anguish: instead of emerging to the fanciful world of writing, this writer proceeded to also complete his master’s degree in electrical engineering with a thesis on computer-based optimal distribution substation and primary feeder planning.
All that is now history, so to speak.
One year (by 17 September 2017) into this homesteading and blogging at WordPress.com, this blogger remains part-time writer, and full-time wiring of nerves, and circuits of red & gray matters. There still remains a lot to be gathered here, both old and new writings; more expressions of gratitude for the growing number of fellow bloggers and readers following this blog; and yes, not to forget, a thank you note to WordPress.com for its free plan offerings throughout this period, with a premium plan in the offing hopefully.
This is Said Sadain, Jr., saying thank you to everyone for a year of blogging with me. ‘Might as well just stiffen when some circuitry inside me eventually snaps, but I hope it will all be worthwhile. 🙂
— SSJ, 9 September 2017