Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Ode to Mango Seed and Mouth

Joey Ayala is a multi-awarded singer-songwriter and poet who is popularly associated with the Davao-based group Joey Ayala at ang Bagong Lumad. That group launched what is now termed "altered-native" sensibility, plus a strongly messaged pro-environment agenda.

The author used the mango seed and the mouth as symbols. The mango seed represents the youth who are determined to be successful in the future. They are looked up to as the ones who will continue what the present elders are doing. Yet the mango seed can’t be transformed into a mango tree unless it undergoes a lot of challenges (symbolized by the mouth.)

Leslie Mae Rivero

Ode to mango seed and mouth
Joey Ayala

hairy gold, sweet even
after sucking, promise
remains even after flesh has turned
to flesh
voracious lover.

how to contain
that which bears
bark and all?
leaves to be,
capillary systems,
destiny within?
growth, taste,
itch down throat
written in subterranean
stars – soon to snag
in forks, boughs, along with sun
and climbing child.

pressed in upon,
alone with gravity and
all else, with rain and clouds
eternal universe

inscribed yet, mouth, unsatisfied,
unspent, seeks another,
and another, beneath
the bottom of hunger
for flesh – what can
grow from this?

self-consuming seed,
hairy mouth, in search
of golden bargains
to drapein salad robes
to dust
with dry seaweed
to ravage with deceptive lips
and scraping teeth,
tongue chasing nectar
down unshaven chin

where mango ends,
does mouth begin?



Ralph said...

I've always esteemed Joey Ayala and the rest of the folk-music minority. The guy's a prolific genius... For me, the kulintangs + the fine "hmmmm-ing" bass line will always rock!! Anyway, this poem can be quite complex since it kind of does not tell the whole point. But I guess that is the beauty of the poem. It is astute and can take various interpretations. Basically, it centers on a very Filipino fruit and that is the mango, which can stand for the youth. I guess I just like the poem for its lyrical and ethnic vibes.

---> Ralph Mendoza

Anonymous said...

I like this poem because it speaks of how much challenges the Filipino youth (mango: national fruit) will go through in order for them to mature and to be ready to face the endeavors they will be facing as Filipinos. Also, i like it because it speaks of learning and seeking wisdom. It can be related to one of the issues here in the Philippines which is poor education. It can be a reminder that everyone has the right to education.

*Kristine Valenzuela*

Anonymous said...

It is true that the Filipino youth will face challenges such as school and life itself. When they go through these things, the will reach their full potential as people. It pains me to see that there are kids nowadays just slacking off and bumming around. I feel angry for them because they definitely won't help our country progress. At the same time, I feel sorry for them because they would never find out how good they can be.

-Joseph Padilla