Friday, February 17, 2017



Clairvoyance by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
(University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, Philippines, 2011)

Heeding Otherworldly Voices

Heeding otherworldly voices requires absolute silence. Accompanied by a body devoid of mobility and assertion, this silence enables murmurings of unidentifiable entities, entities the physical world is incapacitated to convey and concretize, to make themselves known and heard. The presence, not to mention peace, of mind is the operative strategy. The gentle percussions of wind chimes hung on the door might stand for a deceased woman's subjunctive hymns for her forbidden lover. The way a spider weaves its territory between two guava leaves might have been, for once in a while, a battlefield for slaves drooling for justice against their oppressors. The afternoon sun's halations might play their alternative role as pavements where God struts as he celebrates every worshipper's conversion. And these speculations were substantiated by Daoana with lightness of structure and clarity of purpose. In this collection of poems, otherwordly voices do not promise of eventual destruction, nor desire to inflict sporadic protests on the physical world. Rather, these voices are put to the test of tranquility and, surprisingly, sophistication.

Dictionaries define a gauze as a thin often transparent fabric used chiefly for clothing or draperies. Daoana, in "Gauze", rendered this surgical dressing with 19 definitions tickling the reader's imagination and examining thought's profundity. Two of the definitions given by the efficacious poet are: "Is the true, shot-through with the threads of the beautiful" and "Is the wind that bandages the trees because leaves are wounds". These renderings are enough to proclaim that Daoana's imagination in his poetry transcends metaphors and hyperboles, for he gives a physical gauze not only a handful of astonishing thoughts but, more importantly, an identity of imagined possibilities. The poem serves as a mosaic drama leading to a realization that the human mind, with its intuition and ability of romancing the void, can overcome the physicality of environs and the expressionism of matter.

A prototype reader of poetry, one who is mesmerized by a verse's breaths and pauses, might not be fully cognizant of Daona's intents on deterritorialization. "We go beyond the frivolity of the ornament." A quick glance on glamorous architecture in a foreign land can lead the poet to moments of introspection, chances of looking into the sorrows of his homeland, the home's calling to "take it as you've taken this / world / time and time again, but first / suffer." However, the poet is still in full grip of his poetics, though the physiological and psychological settings of his narratives and reflections are not explicit. Looking back to the meaning of "clairvoyance", it is fine to adjudicate that the centrality of geography is out of Daoana's attention. He communicates with other worlds, listens to the intangible, and gathers all he has seen and then lathers them on a blank slate promising a shared humanity.

"Dream Sequence", placed on the book's equatorial pages, combines documentation of harsh realities and infusion of surrealism bordering on eschatological themes. Its being the most interesting poem in this opus is rooted in the reader's curiosity of which among the verses happened in real life and which ones are accursed of improbability. This poem is also a proof that in the poet's intentional sarcasm, or one might argue as sacrilege, bliss brought by euphony and vividness shines all the way brighter. You enjoy the dreamlike ride and forget its didactic inclinations.

"Parcels of Time" concludes the collection to signify the author's impetus of communicating to his readers the book's power of transcendence, as well as the summit of the poet's clairvoyance. The past, historical past, yesterday, subjunctive history, now, tomorrow, and unknowable future are the parcels of time Daoana has elaborated without compromise and reservation. This poem provides everything about time's vicissitudes, ranging from yesteryear's knack of haunting a dreamer to the indeterminate time's promise of redemption.
"Meteorites shall rinse the sky / Of our immense dreaming." Now that otherworldly voices are known and heard, it's up to the reader of whether he would proceed with relishing silences or he would reprise from serenity to tamper life's blueprint.


Aloysiusi Lionel Polintan is a Senior High School Coordinator of Divina Pastora College in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. He loves reading and writing poetry, and everything that ranges from Bob Dylan to Hozier, and from Mahalia Jackson to Christina Aguilera. He is doing research on intangible cultural heritage of Southern Novo Ecijanos. He maintains a blog:  /react-text

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