LITERATURE

POETRY: The Last Normal Day

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Do you still remember what you did on your last “normal” day? Earlier this year, in the middle of the lockdown, BBC’s “The last 'normal' photo on your phone” had many of us scroll through our camera rolls to see what our pre-pandemic normal was like: there were parties, weddings, vacations, concerts, piano lessons, or just simple walks in the park.

Below, Gian Lao reads his poem, "The Last Normal Day" where he remembers our previous lives and looks ahead to show what it means to move forward from a bitter year. — Don Jaucian

The Last Normal Day
By Gian Lao

Loving is not gone.
Only a way of loving, which is sadder.
What was normal is now a room

full of strangers searching the darkness
for someone who kisses
right. What was normal is now embracing

a grandmother who has never gone
this long without embrace. Weren’t we
always afraid that saying you love someone

was a means of killing them slowly?
Oh, the answers we thought we wanted.
We remember the last normal day,

which sounds like a story in the Bible.
Verses containing how we loved
“in the time of Corona”

and in the time of everything else.
Some of us remember better
and some of us see the world

The heart does not always keep
the answers. The nose and the mouth
must break the habit of always taking.

If there is a new world, we will make it
with our hands and build it with memory.
We were never meant to inherit this world.

Only a way of being in it:
finding ways to love and losing them
and inventing new ones.

***

Video by
Samantha Lee


With contributions from:
Fold Canela
Elijah Canlas
Jeline Catacutan
Regine David
Mito Fabie
Kerwin King
Wiji Lacsamana
Marco Limjap
Jo Malinis
King Puentespina
Jel Suarez
Mikko Tung
Petersen Vargas