Long Before It Begins

dahlin nick!

The room brimmed with laughter,
caviar, and wine,
and suddenly music wafted by
and a man from the other table
turned around, and with a twinkle
in his eyes and a ghost of a smile,
walked towards me as I stood up
It is Ole St. Nick
Dahling Nick!
who I thought I lost sunsets
and sunsets ago
and we danced…

“When marimba rhythms start to play
Dance with me, make me sway
Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore
Hold me close, sway me more…”

Like old days in Ermita cafes—
such as When It Is Grey November in Your Soul—
where people went to drink
beer and gin, light a joint
and chat as long as the stars blinked
and we would push chairs and tables aside
and unveil a dance floor

“Like a flower bending in the breeze
Bend with me, sway with ease
When we dance you have a way with me
Stay with me, sway with me…”

But the air was so still
as if listening to an impending typhoon
and I, afraid to encounter whatever,
wake up to the noise of an alarm clock
which bursts the dream
rings in myriad mundane chores
bringing me back
to where there are no
dead men walking
to where earthlings
wrack their brains
with what ifs and what fors
twiddling thumbs
on a rocking chair
dreaming dreams
hesitating, hesitating,
hesitating—
until night falls
and I’m ready to dance forever

“I can hear the sound of violins
Long before it begins
Make me thrill as only you know how
Sway me smooth, sway me now…”

By Marra PL. Lanot

This is one of the three poems posted in the Inquirer Sunday Magazine. This, along with the other two poems, are written in remembrance of the late Nick Joaquin, National Artist for Literature, who was born on May 4, 1917.
Nick Joaquin is both a Filipino writer and a journalist who is known with the pen name Quijano de Manila. Among his famous short stories are May Day Eve and Summer Solstice (which was adapted into a movie Tatarin).
Marra PL. Lanot is a prize-winning poet, essayist and journalist.

2 responses to “Long Before It Begins

  1. thank you for sharing a poem in your culture.
    Nice and cool,
    Take good care.
    Happy Weekend!

    • thanks Jingle!

      He (the one on the photo) is one of my favorite writers. ANd he is a National Artist, too.

      How are you?

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