Coffee Grounds Fertilizer

I am homesick for the reek of carabao* dung drying under the sun.

unripe green mangoesI have come to the point where I now know how it is for paralytics when

                they get to feel flashes of heat and cold at the sight

                of icicles or kettle merrily singing in singeing heat

                because

green unripe Philippine mangoesI now get flashes of the taste and smell

                of damnably sour crunchy unripened mangoes that only my home islands can grow.

I am homesick for the reek of carabao dung drying under the sun,

                the one that we non-farmers harvest from the ground to take home to our

                little plots of tomatoes and eggplants, to make the soil fat,

old nipa hut near coconutsto make the fruits fat, to make us kids fat…

I feel homesick for the reek of caked mud cracking under the sun,

                gray mud turned powdery white plastered on the burnt brown that is

young rice plants, a watery rice paddy                my grandfather’s merrily laughing toothless friend’s skin, who

                couldn’t hear very well the guffaws my Lolo would bring

                whenever we take time from our little garden of okras and cotton and

                come visit him in his tiny tiny

a cogon shack amidst a rice fieldnipa hut stuck in the middle of the flatness of the land he tills

                that is not his. On weekends and on school vacations.

rice stalks almost with grains                When it was a clear day with a slight cooling wind.

                When the rice fields were swaying green, anticipating grains,

or, already stalk-brown, a silent witness to muted gain…

rice straw, after harvestHis name was Lolo Cente, if I remember it right, and mine is Lolo Jose,

                the Jose of Jose Rizal, but who is simply “Lolo” to me,

                and who, unlike that Jose who is Rizal, this Lolo-to-me quit school when he was 7

                because he’d rather ride the back of his carabaos and

                play with them, out of the mud, through the streams, far far away from the school yard,

away from where his teacher and mom could catch and drag him back.

children riding a carabao                A bit of a truant. A bit like Juan Tamad, who wanted to take it easy all day,

,though, my Lolo-to-me was no slacker, no stranger to the singe of the burning sun,

                and he, like Lolo Cente, was toothless, too, by only 2 teeth, but unlike

farmer & friend                Lolo Cente, Lolo could hear even a whisper until

Death peacefully whispered to him at 102. What a life he had.

                That was about 3 times of the Jose’s who is Rizal…

I am so so homesick of the smell of parched soil reeking under a

a well tended rice field                sudden sprinkling of serious rain, of the kind that will soak your hanging laundry in a

                matter of seconds, the kind that will create little oceans and lakes on

                imperceptible indentations here and there along the earth road,

 almost ripe rice grains               the kind of rain that will wedge minute waterfalls and waterways against the edge

                of miniature hills and mountains at the sides of the banked ground that is the

foundation of our wooden house, the one where I spent my infancy in,

                the one where I first realized that adults aren’t so wise after all

rice, almost ready to harvest                when I was only less than 2 and they had me holding my baby brother so that

they could get a picture of us together,

back when Kodak means kodak, means photograph, means to photograph.

                That photograph of me intensely holding on to my reclining position,

                at one end of the, then-popular, plain hardwood sofa, so as

                not to drop my body and my baby brother, tight in my arms, still exists, back home.

mangoes for sale…ah…good old days…

…these words here are just memory lane gone cruising…

                …the less-of-a-second-long flash of the taste of one’s home’s dishes and fruits at

                the back of one’s nostrils that is somewhere inside one’s skull

                does funny things, indeed, to the rest of the brain…

very sweet ripe Philippine mango, cut for easy biteI have used-coffee grounds strewn over my indoor pots’ soil, the ones where I had

                grass-like houseplants stuck onto, my oxygen providers, here, inside,

                where no slight wind sways them from side to side.

[4March2014, 8pm, in about 30 minutes]

*Glossary:

carabao = water buffalo, nicknamed the farmer’s best friend because it’s the muscle in traditional farming

nipa hut = traditional house generally of bamboo and where the roof is of thatched leaves of the nipa palm (Nypa fruticans)bahay_kubo nipa_hut

Lolo = grandfather; the general address for the elderly male

Cente = short and informal for the name Vicente

Jose Rizal = the Philippines’ National Hero; author and medical doctor in late 19th century; studied in Manila, Paris, Madrid, and Heidelberg; martyred at 35

Juan Tamad = in folklore, he was a lazy lad who couldn’t be trusted to get things done; Juan is Spanish for John; tamad is Tagalog/Filipino for lazy

!muchas gracias to the owners of the photos I have here

4 thoughts on “Coffee Grounds Fertilizer

  1. Hi! Nice post. Introspective, nostalgic, and poetic in an odd-meter kind of way.

    I’m actually rather interested in the photo of mangoes you used here. Is it a photo you own? Or is it someone else’s? And if it is someone else’s, can I ask you who it is?

    I ask because I want to use the photo (non-commercial purpose), and I’d rather not have someone chasing my ass for irresponsible copy-pasting.

    Like

    • 🙂 Thanks, for the comment, for dropping by, and for the questions. That, actually, is irresponsible copy-pasting 🙂 I’m sorry I can’t anymore trace where that photo came from, because it was picked up during a mood when I felt like I wanted some “newspaper clip” to put up on a scrapbook, to go with a dawdle. I’m thankful to the owner, for sure, and I hope that I get a message to have it taken down before my ass is chased for it. Still, I hope that the owner will excuse my apologetic thankfulness, seeing that it’s a non-malicious act, and just let it deliciously be there. Ah, I’m sorry I can’t be of help to you in there…and thanks a million for reminding me about copyrights, and of the possibility that someone might say [they’re] mine 🙂

      Like

      • Well, thanks anyway. Looks like I’m going to use that photo, consequences be damned. In my case, the output is a campus magazine, so the owner is very unlikely to see it.

        Besides, after searching using the image on Google Images (https://www.google.com/imghp), it seems like you are not the only one using the image, and none of the others have attributed ownership either. 😀

        Like

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