xPlus Ultra and Other Poems

by Gilbert Luis R. Centina

Published by Centiramo Publishing 2019. 194 pp.

Book Review

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Gilbert Centina was one of the víctims of the pandemic Covid 19.. He died last May 1st. Before he died, I received his last bilingual book of poems, Plus Ultra, where he dedicates poems to his friends and colleagues. One of the poems he entitles Edmundo Farolan Romero, aptly dedicated to me:

You're always catching planes, / Nights and days, days and nights, / Specific differences / In the curvature of space./ Your journey starts from your room/And ends up right there./You wake up in the morning/ Feeling renewed, strong and whole,/ Ready to embark/ On another adventure,/ Getting broken on the way,/ Like a childhood toy./ You must entertain yourself /So you stop and so you shop/ At your own peril./ Decisions, indecisions/ Occupy most of your time--/Unforgiving time/ That brings you back to your room/ To restore your broken self/ And be whole again.

I think he was reflecting my existentialist poems when he wrote this.

Another poem dedicated to a common friend, Guillermo Gomez Rivera, goes thus:

You are a Don Quixote/Champion of Hispanistas/Fighting black legends/In the clash of ideas/Versus daring ignorance/And prejudices...

The book  starts off with the poem Plus Ultra:

Remember when you first flew/ Your kite of crepe and bamboo?/ Nobody cheered you./ You wished to play with beings,/ The visitors of your dreams,/ Riding the thick clouds./ From that uneventful launch,/ The kite became a space ship/ You gleefully rode./You finally got your wish/ /To meet invisible forms/ You saw in your dreams./ So real and so compelling,/ They urged you to go beyond/ The earthly domain/ And propel your boyhood kite/ Toward the vivifying sun,/ Source of light and life.

This book was as though he was saying goodbye for the last time to his 79 friends, dead and alive,  to whom he dedicates his poems.

He wrote a total of 10 poetry books. I met him only once in New York when he was a parish priest there. But we were always in touch. I reviewed one of his poetry books, Diptych, three years ago.

© 2020 Ed Farolan