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Years of Again and Again by Hezron G. Pios | art by Seth V. Pullona

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arning: this piece contains one to many repetitions more than necessary. However, repetitions, as some experts would argue, are also a method of assertion—which means to say, illustration or proof. Exhibition Notes, a 1058word prose poem by Filipino poet Conchitina Cruz in her poetry collection There Is No Emergency, does just as that, and displays how attentiveness in a person’s reclusive universe can be sporadic, and attain stasis at the same time. The poem begins with the persona’s staccato remembrance of pre-puberty until adolescence: At six I lost my first watch and gave up on biking. At eight I wanted a cow and a fridge to put the cow’s food in, and also a music box. At thirteen I broke a tooth in a dream and for days tapped each tooth in my mouth with my tongue, searching for cracks. At seventeen I lived with three strangers and at twenty-one I got chicken pox exactly two weeks before graduation. Look at the word ‘at’ penned four times at 28

CR I T I C I S M

each beginning of sentences. That is an emphasized indication on the use of repetition. Beer to wine. Couch to a chaise longue. Landmarks to street signs. The word ‘perhaps’ rather than ‘maybe’ as the latter can make the persona ‘officious’, Cruz itemizes preferences in a straightforward manner by saying ‘I prefer’ then annexing the contrasting metaphors; a poet possessing sovereignty over the persona. Although the issue of the persona’s language proficiency is not put on a hot seat, this could be excused by poetic license or suspension of disbelief. I would rather rent for life than be responsible for a house. // I would rather spend a weekend up in the mountains than in the city, but this was not always so. // I would rather not have a conversation begin with “We need to talk,” although experience has taught me that what follows is not necessarily terrible news. I think photographs of shadows are inevitably elegant. // I think it is better to walk in the middle of the street and get hit by a car than to walk on a dark sidewalk and get mugged.

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