September Dream Series, 4 of 7

3:22am,  22 September 2017

Rooftop, sunset, your city. I had just woken up, it felt like the beginning of a day but the orange and purple stains on the horizon hinted a different hour. I started to feel confused. Gradually and then all at once. I turned around, one full circle pivot and just like that I was inside a room. The color of my walls but your bed, slept in and unmade. Books everywhere – shelves, bedside, tabletop, kitchen sink, floor.  It started to get dark. The TV was on. Sports. Water ran in the bathroom but I could tell no one was inside. I stood there for a few moments waiting for the room to shift, for other things to change, for sounds to leap at me. Nothing. Then you walk toward the bed. From out of nowhere. Still chewing the last of dinner and scratching your stomach. You didn’t see me. You couldn’t see me. But I hid anyway. Not behind anything or under anywhere. I just stepped into the shadow and willed myself to blend in. Laughter. But from where? Under the sheets and the TV and the hallway. Giggling. I started to feel my chest tighten. I was inside a closet now, watching bodies on the bed from the crevice of the closet doors. Now, the light was yellow. Whispers and murmurs and more giggling. Your voice. Music, jazz. I put a hand to my mouth. I felt nauseated. I closed my eyes and tried to hold whatever was inside me struggling to escape my mouth. Somebody opened the closet door and now I am in the front seat of a car. An immeasurable distance seemed to stretch between my seat and the driver’s seat. I couldn’t make out who was behind the steering wheel. The car sped forward. Again, nausea. The drive was rough with sudden stops and sharp turns, clicking of tongues and hands slapping the dashboard. A hand reached out. I felt a brief wave of comfort until the hand passed right in front of me, past my hands, past my body, and reached to open the door on my side. Panic. I slipped out of my seat and into the hot asphalt. I lay there, curled and crying, as cars kept speeding by, drivers shouting at me repeatedly Why do you hate me?! Why do you hate me?! WHY?

And I started asking my own questions. Why are you shouting at me? Why are you still screaming? Why couldn’t you choose me? Why did you break your promise? Why did you say you love me when you couldn’t choose me? Over and over again. Over and over.

Over and over again. And then I was back on a bed, under a yellow comforter, surrounded by pillows, and in your arms. You held me and kept sighing. All I could do was cry. Again and again. Over and over and over again.

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September Dream Series, 3 of 7

5:26am, 21 September 2017

It was in a bar we knew. The one that was an old house with wooden floors and dusty artworks hanging everywhere. The tops of the tables were dark wood and the legs of the chairs were loops of old steel. Cold and hard. I look at the details and dread the feeling on my skin.  The lights were dim and air was still. I knew there were other people there, not because I could hear them talk but because I could feel their eyes study me from the shadows. They didn’t move but they blinked and let their cigarettes burn. It was a scene we knew – the scene before Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung had their duel in the movie we watched on our first day as lovers. This time we star in this dream. Our own duel is about to begin. I walked to the table at the center of the room knowing in my heart that is exactly where I will meet you. But there was no you there. Suddenly, all the surrounding tables, round with four chairs, fixed themselves symmetrically around me. And like the hands of a clock, I moved my eyes from one table to the next looking for you. But there was nobody. I could feel the shadows breathe pity on me. And my chest heaved. I looked again without moving. Suddenly all these things: on one table lay one folded blue shirt, on the next one a black cap, on another a plate of chicken wings, a pack of cigarettes beside a bottle of wine on another, and on the last one a bouquet of dead flowers. Dead blue flowers. My heart sank. All signs of you and yet still no sign of you. I walked to the table with the blue shirt and as I neared, piles and piles of plain colored shirts rose from the floor to my heels. And I began to breathe in the scent of you. And suddenly I could feel the emptiness of the room, the aching longing of my skin. I fell there and wept. And wept and wept and wept. And the dream went on with me there weeping on a pile of empty shirts, in the dim light of an old bar, under the eyes of shadows who couldn’t touch me. I wept. And wept and wept. And I woke up weeping, under the dim light of dawn, holding the only thing I have to remember you, a black shirt now wet with the quiet sobs that called only your name.

September Dream Series, 2 of 7

4:34am, 20 September 2017 

It started with an awareness of the darkness that one tries to envelop himself with in an attempt to drift off. I could feel how cold the air was through the fabric of my socks. It lingered outside for a bit and, sooner than I hoped, the chill began traveling from the soles of my feet to the skin of my legs, backs of my knees, shooting through my thighs. Suddenly, pain. It was a thick hollow feeling that bore through the center of my body, now an unrecognizable piece of flesh curled and trembling on some flat surface which was earlier still a bed. A streetlamp began to flicker a few meters away. An alley started to reveal itself, one spill of an old streetlight at a time. It stretched on to an end only possible in dreams. In an instant, I was up and tracing the pools of light that melted down sewers where another version of darkness took form. As I walked further, a chatter of voices began to build and my ears started feeling tingly. I knew I wanted to make out words and conversations, take out stories from the whispers which I can own and retell to someone. Then I realized there was no one for me to echo whatever conversation I could peel off the walls of chatter that lined the street. I walked on, pace steady and head hung low. I remember telling myself: keep the stride steady and don’t pause, don’t break. No matter how tempting the tone or the cackle of laughter, do not take a single moment to listen eagerly. Let it pass through you. You should also just pass through. And I did. Voices started to become more distinct at every flood of light that fell from a street lamp. The louder the light, the brighter the voices. One voice was from a wedding host, another from some close kin at the peak of a speech. And as I stepped into the dim in-betweens, faint murmurs from party tables and the sound of cutlery and pacified hunger. My ears started to hurt and my mouth began to feel dry from the chest to the throat and tongue and lips. I started walking faster. Spoons tinkled against wine glasses. The alley stretched on. Laughter. Now, shadows. Silhouettes that took form under the light and disappeared as I neared them. I remember yearning for faces to look at. I walked on and started talking at any figure of a body I could get close to. But they all fade past me. I began sentences that died in mid-air, my arms stretching out at the last second, hoping to catch whatever of my stories I gave away to the endless dark street. I could hear myself drown in the chatter. My lips moved but there was nothing there. Murmurs from tables and measured laughter. The alley stretched on. I walked and walked and walked, enveloped in the darkness. Chill in my limbs, hollowness in heart.

September Dream Series, 1 of 7

 

5:20am, 19 September 2017

There is a stool at the corner of the room with cream walls and a low ceiling. I sit there unmoved and upset, feeling the warm air move through the space and bend where the walls meet, exactly where I sit. It is humid and I am frowning. My hair is much longer than how I want it to be, and sticky and damp and straw blonde. Then I realize the girl in the stool is not me because I am watching her from this distance of my dream and because her hair is a style I will never wear for myself. She is not me but I feel the same furrowing of brows and the heaviness of lips weighed down by a pout and the burning heat of eyes that can barely keep themselves open. I also know there is a party in the distance and I understand how this girl – I feel is me but I know is not – have excluded herself from the merriment. A blue balloon drifts towards her corner of the room and suddenly she is donning a party hat. A cone of chocolate ice cream is melting from her hands, creating a web of dark brown trails on her arms. Then her legs and all over her clothes. The sweetness dries on her skin, the chocolate stains her clothes. Laughter rises and fades. She is alone, still.  Her face hasn’t moved but her sighs are long and drawn out, full of weight she wishes she didn’t bear. I am walking closer to her, I think. Or my eyes are the lens of a camera zooming in closer but not necessarily approaching her. The cone of ice cream melts completely, settling as a puddle of thick cream at her feet. Her limbs are stained with chocolate and she holds out her hands to look at the mess she’s created. They are starting another parlor game. She recognizes the voice leading the crowd and her lips move in tune to a spiel that comes to her by instinct. She licks the chocolate from her palm and wipes her face with the back of her hand. Her face and hair now stained, she is an artwork made of humid sweat and ordinary dessert. I am a camera lens, I am now sure. My sight, the viewfinder. I can see how the skin of her cheeks heaves at the weight of her breath and I breathe her in. I breathe with her. I breathe within. And the corners of my mouth point to the earth, my chest caves, and it is me again in this corner in this ending of this dream.

 

2017 for 2017, 201-211: O Tore Ng Liwanag

Salin ng ‘O Tower of Light’ ni Pablo Neruda

O tore ng liwanag, kariktang namamanglaw
na inaninagan ang mga kuwintas at estatwa sa dagat,
mata ng tisa, palatandaan ng malawak na tubig, pumalahaw
ng pagluluksa ng ibong-dagat, ngipin ng laot, asawa
ng hanging baybayin, o hiwalay na rosas
mula sa mahabang tangkay ng nayurakang palumpon
na sa kailaliman ay nag-anyong kapuluan,
O likas na tala, luntiang korona,
Nag-iisa sa nakalulumbay na pamumuno,
Hindi pa rin maabot, mailap, naalila
Gaya ng isang patak, isang ubas, gaya ng dagat. 

Inialay kay Queng. 

2017 for 2017, 194-200:

Cusp between days
Threshold of hours
meeting point of
yesterday and tomorrow

 

where today
can possibly
disappear


Tagged

2017 for 2017, 122-193: For The Absent Father

​A good number of weeks of my life as a five year old
Were spent standing in front of you
Reciting lines from Invictus:
Out of the night that covers me
Black as pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul

Whatever grasp I had of speaking, as a child
just a little older than a toddler,
Couldn’t conquer where to put the accent on
Unconquerable
And you told me that was fine.

You told me my loud shameless laughter was fine,
Getting scratches all over my knees 
From running and falling on the street was fine,
Trying your beer and inhaling your cigarette was fine
Not getting along with my older sister was fine – 
We would love each other beyond comprehensible reason
And it will make everything fine
— you didn’t tell me this but I discovered it soon enough

And it’s fine.

There were many things you didn’t tell me,
You just made me read a lot of books and rhyming poetry
And maybe what I knew then and needed to know
Was all that was necessary at that time. 

When I was seven and sickly,
You worked away in the big city.
I had to be taken to where you were 
To see big city doctors and hoped for healing.
We spent a few mornings frying frozen squares of cheap ham 
And singing to The Four Non-Blondes
Twenty five years of my life and still
I’m trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination

I’m almost thirty now, and I’m still trying.

I didn’t realize then how far you were from us
And how much farther you’ll become

And I’ll scream from the top of my lungs
What’s going on

You missed too many of the things
Fathers shouldn’t miss in a daughter’s life
And it was fine
Because the first time I had my heart broken by a man
I ran to you first
And you offered me beer and some advice:
There will be more of this heartbreak business
And I had to teach myself to be fine.
I snickered and felt better.

Many men will come and go
And you will remain my first and the worst heartbreak of all

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed

A good number of years of my life
Were lived in your absence
And I must confess I have succumbed to the thought 
that ultimately not having you around would be fine

and this is where the conversations 
about absent parents and broken families
take a turn,
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade

Because there would be
Innumerable would haves, could haves, and should haves
That will never cease to haunt us
For a good number of years

There will be only so much we can turn to poetry 
Only enough to forgive ourselves for;

And every time I’ll have to face your grave
The hollowness will remain
Unconquerable. 
—–

With apologies to William Ernest Henley

And The Four Non-Blondes

2017 for 2017, 89-121: Looking Down From A Window 

​They’ve talked about this before:
a heavy, sinking feeling,
canonball to the chest
and cold, cold water,
skin pierced and parched at the same time
clothing limbs you no longer recognize.

This is no different.
It’s all you are
and all you hate,
all that’s left
of you in the next breath.

Shallow, sharp gasps,
stifled cries,
Broken lullabies,
songs to put yourself to sleep.

Throw it to the wind, they say,
all your worries to the wind.

And you will.

Your legs shake in the thrill
Of the rushing air ready to cradle you,
weightless against the wind,
subject to the laws that move
and make the world, one step
towards gravity, the rest follows.

The world spins, will continue to spin.

Everything looks so small
from where you are, tinier,
shrinking further, and
you are as small, shrinking smaller.

There is no bottom for this now.
It only comes after the jump.
After you fall, only then
will you be able to truly fly.

2017 for 2017, 44-88: Lovers By The Weekend

A fortune-teller told me
It’s alright to ask for a miracle
until Friday. And said nothing more
about wishes being granted
whether on Friday or afterwards.
Not a disclaimer, I suppose, just
a mere statement to manage
expectations and grander than usual
hopes bound by schedule and deadlines.

So I thought hard

and came up with, as one would expect,
Images of you and me, gray-haired
and failing memories. Picking out scenes
to be included in the moving reel
Death will play to welcome us into the Afterlife.

I thought of other things I wanted:
Bathtubs full of money tax-free,
or better yet, a world without the need for currency;
A congress void of politicians;
Reforested forests and plastic-free oceans;
Neighborhoods everywhere, lawns open
teeming with Bob Marley’s herb of choice.

So I assigned one wish for every day of the week,
and hoped for more chances of a miracle
coming true. When Friday came,
I offered my miracle for yours.
A fitting finale, a fairytale happy ending:
My wish is for your wish to come true.

This is why the lovers always win
even if they never join the lottery.
The strongest ones will stay together
even if death parts their physical bodies.

Because stronger than any other fanatic’s religion
is a true lover’s affectionate devotion
founded in the temple of a body and the altar of a gaze,
in the divinity of a heart and the sanctity of desire.

No deadline for a miracle
could render impossible or merely whimsical,
always exceeding expectations
and never bound by the hour.

I don’t need to think hard
About wishing for the miracle of you.
Because no magic is needed here,
it shouldn’t be too grand to be hoped,
it shouldn’t be that unthinkable
for me to belong with you.

2017 for 2017, 19-43: Playmate

Playmate

Let’s try this again:
I’ll hold my hands over my eyes
and count to ten.
Then set off seeking, never finding
and most probably thinking out loud,
how well you’ve made yourself
impossible to be found.

Take me by surprise again.
I know it but never see it coming
exactly when I’m mindlessly
looking about,
put your hands over my eyes
until the whole world turns dark.

Let’s try this again,
again a tap on the shoulder
and then we begin
running to each other
then away, faster,
losing our breaths, arms outstretched.
Never really getting caught
or ever catching the other.

Let’s fall to the ground,
breaths heavy and hearts full,
ready to play another round.
Another game, again and again.

(C) Anj Heruela, January 6 2017

2017 for 2017, 1-18: Instructions for a Fairytale 

Instructions for a Fairytale 

Once upon a time
A chapter was written
And another chapter awaited writing
While other written chapters
Were torn and crumpled,
Excluded from an ending
constantly altered.

Long, long ago we started
In a world which now feels
so far, far away.
We’ve journeyed far and wide
To catch some semblance of an ever after
And we’ll just have to write on,
whatever the weather,
One chapter after another, until

The end.


(C) Anj Heruela, January 3 2017

En Route to 2017

On the road, en route to 2017 in a staring contest with 2016’s last sunset. 
Cosmic bodies will keep moving in circles, defining our days and nights, leaving skyscapes to lose our breaths over, and then all too soon gone. 
Cosmic, to be on the road as the sun sets on this year, the daylight disappearing on the horizon; 
and just like that, you breathe all the bumps of the road away and all you remember are the streaks of light burning the sky into dusk, into night, and for a brief moment everything is beautiful again, 
You believe everything will be right by daybreak again,
You feel ready to stare into a new dawn again. 
Happy new year, folks.

​Dearest Tito Ernie

Dearest Tito Ernie,

This is how we know a legend has truly left a legacy — this is proof of how well you’ve taught us to do what we do:
That our timelines teem with stories of you teaching us how to tell stories;

Stories of how we learned to teach by watching you touch people’s minds and hearts through telling stories;

Stories of how we’ve sworn our lives to the craft of storytelling and devoted ourselves to teaching so we may touch minds and hearts in ways you have, in ways you’ve touched ours, forever changing the way we look at learning, living, and loving;
Stories of how you taught us to leave not one grain of rice uneaten to honor every Filipino farmer’ sweat and blood;
Stories of how you taught us to clean up after ourselves, every space we walk into and use – especially the theater and the classroom – because the spaces we are allowed to dwell in, these spaces we share with others are sacred;
Stories of genuine faith in people’s capacities – how the blind can tell the most colorful of stories and those who walk in crutches dance with the most heartfelt grace – in truly believing in the fullness of every soul;
Stories of how we have been humbled – shame on us if we had to complain about sleeping on a teachers desk in the very same classroom where we will hold a workshop the next day or about needing to walk through forest thickets to be able to perform toilet duties during our community outreaches, our tiny bubbles of self-indulgence burst, so that instead of becoming so absorbed in our personal comforts we begin to see the value of what others have to endure so that, in turn, we learn to value the gift of life much, much more;
Stories of love, of clay pots finding their rightful pot covers, of faith in the way the universe works ❤
This is how we cope — by sharing a piece of our own memories with you, every single story a life lesson in itself. We say our pieces, burst into tears in each others words, we tell and retell and heed each other’s telling; we create and recreate pieces of you from our memories to hold on to some semblance of strength, something to keep us upright in this world you’ve taught us to feel thankful for and still strive to make better every day. 
Mumsie, you are our master teacher, our mentor, and we will tell and retell your stories to the young and old, until they can tell their own stories to others who have to tell their own. 
My fondest memory of you is your variety of claps, all sorts of applause imaginable, many of which invented at a moment’s notice: fireworks clap, rain clap, barbershop clap, Coke clap, silent clap. The simplest gesture of appreciation often taken for granted but you’ve made it so special. 
It’s our turn to applaud you and the life you’ve lived. It’s an applause that will echo in every story beyond this lifetime. 
We love you Tito Ernie. A love that, through you, we’ve learned to deepen in every way.

Alliances on Chico St.

For Maricres who moved to Chico St. and stayed to hold the fort 

Our street was named after a small sweet brown round fruit. It was seven houses long and innumerable friendships in depth. At both ends where the street bends, basketball rings stood and every square meter was a space to dance and sing and cherish childhood.

In the beginning, the lot across our house was empty. Until, one day, hills of gravel and sand began to sprout from the sidewalk and a dainty bungalow with a green roof that matched a green gate grew out of our makeshift jungle of banana trees and flowering weeds.

I was just beginning to discover the pain of knee wounds and elbow scrapes when you came to town.

It was also a time when I began to learn how important it was to create alliances with other human beings outside of one’s own home. You came at the perfect time.

You stood there in your fancy red dress with your quiet brother and your parents. I was looking outside the living room window while my mind tried to find different names to match with your face. Your name sounded like it deserved to be written in cursive and pink ink.

I called you by the last syllable of your name, enjoying how such a male nickname got redefined by such a pretty, dainty playmate. And how you owned that masculine strength with your graceful femininity so well. You biked like my brothers and danced like my sister. You held high scores in family computer games and crocheted the finest tabletop decor. You commanded an army in pretend street battles where, after the game was through, every ‘soldier’ of our street wanted to court you. You sang, and laughed, and played ball, and baked goodies, and took care of dogs, and comforted crying girls, and challenged older bullies, and created friendships that you intended to keep.

 

More than two decades pass and we are here. My family’s old house stands empty across your dainty bungalow with the colors of the gate and the roof now changed. There are more houses in the street and a lot more stranger faces. A new generation of rowdy children of the afternoon sun now run from one end of the street to the other, discovering their own alliances they can create outside of their parents’ homes. Their parents sit at the porch and watch their children with the allies they used to rule the streets with. You are among them and you still lead the pack.

I am not there anymore but I am with you. Because this alliance between us created outside of my family’s home has taught me that every friendship made and kept in whatever part of the world we choose creates a home we can go to. The bond remains strong even when memories begin to fade and the names of streets begin to change.

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Ibig Kong Ika’y Payapa (Salin ng Me Gustas Cuando Callas / I Like For You To Be Still ni Pablo Neruda)

Ibig kong ika’y payapa, na parang halos isang puwang,
At nauulinigan mo lang ako sa kalayuan at hindi ka makalabit ng aking tinig,
At tila ang iyong mga mata’y pumailanlang,
At pawang sinelyahan ng halik ang iyong mga labi.

Kung paanong ang lahat ng bagay ay puspos ng aking diwa
Umuusbong ka mula sa lahat ng ito, puspos ng diwa ko.
Panaginip na paru-paro, kagayak ka ng aking kaluluwa
At kahawig ng salitang panglaw.

Ibig kong ika’y walang imik, na para bang kay layo mo,
Parang nananaghoy, mariposang tumatangis.
At nabobosesan mo ako mula sa kalayuan at hindi ka naaabot ng aking tinig:
Papasukin mo ako’t patuluyin sa iyong katahimikan

Dinggin mo ko sa iyong pagtahimik, mangusap tayong walang imik
Singlinaw ng sinag, singpayak ng singsing.
Tulad ka ng gabi, tahimik at binalangkas ng mga tala.
Ang hinahon mo’y buhat sa mga bituin, humahayo’t maaliwalas.

Ibig kong ika’y walang imik, na para bang hindi kita kapiling.
Malayo’t may kirot, na para bang ika’y namayapa.
Mangusap ka, kahit isang ngiti ay sasapat
At ako’y liligaya, maliligayahan sapagkat ito’y hindi ganap.

 

Isinalin ni Anj Heruela, Abril 2016

 

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Unfinished

Unfinished

 

The seasons dance their way through the Earth’s cycles

And we are caught in-between changing winters and summers

Hoping for promises of autumn and spring:

The fall and the bloom,

A blanket of leaves and flowers,

The tops of trees on our feet,

A definite beginning from a calculated end.

 

But this is not what we have.

 

What we have are grains of sands in our hair

And the burn of an overpresent sun.

We dust off the memories of the Earth from freshly ironed fabrics

and the heat cools in carefully measured room temperatures.

Outside, the wind tells us the truth.

 

The scent from the scarf will fade in a few degrees,

And the comfort of home will take over the thrill

Of unknown lands and the unfamiliar tropical breeze.

 

We let it sink in.

 

Outside, the sun sets invisibly

In a darkness so certain,

We no longer need to see.  

We let the night rest on our dreams.

The death of daylight is done, almost,

But unfinished – we chase the dream of auburn sunsets and turquoise seas.

 

To the east, it will rise

In the absence of autumn, pure

Blue skies and scorching truths,

Unclouded and brave,

The taste of exotic kisses and

Promises to be fulfilled.

 

In the west, a shadow rises to a different direction

But sways to the tug of a persistent heartbeat,

Mimicking the pulse of lips waiting

For the business to be finished,

For the heat of desire to be eagerly fulfilled.

 

The cycles of the Earth have changed

Teaching us what is too much and too little,

Too cold or too hot,

Dry and damp and altogether,

What we have done and what we should not.

 

Doused with a love so timeless,

So eager beyond distance and time

We are and we are not

Yet. But we will become,

What the voice of your eyes desires,

What the next season ushers in,

Another change of weather,

Another movement of the sun

Unpredictable, but exactly

Where our nights and days ought to be.

 

In the east, the sun rises,

In the west, the light fades,

The days and the nights move after each other

In a seemingly endless, eternal chase. 

 

She of the Sun (2016)

She of the Sun

For all the sons and daughters whose sources have made way for the sun.

 

She leaves the doors open

to let the light through,

make way for a breeze,

let the house breathe.

 

It was as if she knew exactly how the wind blew

so she could summon the scent of home into the rooms.

 

 She draws the curtains to the movements of the sun.

 

She, daughter of sweet siestas,

sister of Sundays

set to songs of sepia,

immortalized in hums,

merging with the rising

trail of smoke, scent

of finely crafted suppers.

 

Mother, feeder of my hunger

Reason I am full and always wanting more

Wanting to be more, for her, 

from the first step and every step further.

 

She whispers that I can fly.

 

She, lap for my naps,

fingers through my pigtails

and braided birthdays.

Fluffing the ruffles of party skirts,

source of rippling laughter.

The one at the end of an afternoon’s run,

arms outstretched, my destination.

Cure to splinters and scratches,

that touch, tender.  Kiss on the forehead,

tuck of the blanket  after the lullaby. She

stands by. Mother, maker of futures,

guardian of dreams.

 

She, lady who flips the flaps

of schoolday lunch bags,

quick with ease, sealing for me

a special taste, firm

certainty. Like an embrace

after a heartbreak. She knows,

she whispers: It will all be better.

 

Like the way a dark hallway is lit by the afternoon,

through the windows, the heavens flood in.

Bringer of light, she draws the curtains.

 

The doors are open. Still.

The wind blows a cool breeze.

The rooms are as she would please.

She lives.

Light falls, it rests.

She rests.

Everything is at ease.

 

————————

Originally written around four years ago for another friend’s mother’s passing. Revisited and tweaked the verses for another friend’s mother who has made way for the sun. 

Hopefully, I will also be able to complete the verses about my own father’s journeys soon. Or whenever the heart and soul would please. 

 

Isda at Dagat

Kapag iniisip ko kung paano tayo naging isda sa paningin mo, ang naiisip ko,

 

Hindi ako isda.

 

Ako ay dagat

Ang kandungan ko ay pampang kung saan

Paulit-ulit na humahalik ang mga alon, dumadating at nang-iiwan

Binabalik-balikan.

Parang kalawakan na sinasabi nilang patuloy na lumalawak,

Wala pang taong nakasisisid sa tunay na lalim ng dagat.

 

Wala tayong alam.

 

Anumang kapalaran ang naisin nating makamtan

Ay makakamit. Nang maaaring hindi natin nababatid.

Kung ikaw at ako ay mga isdang binabaybay ang mga alon,

Walang daan,

Ano ang katiyakan ng pagtatagpo,

may dapat bang katakutang paghihiwalay?

 

Kung mababatid natin ang kaligayahan sa maikli nating buhay

Kung hindi tayo magpapakulong sa mga palagay

Kung ikaw ay isda at ang hangin ay alon

Kung ang pag-ibig ang tagapagtulak sa ating makaahon

Kung ang pagdama ay paglangoy, ang pagpapaanod ay pagpapalaya

Anong katiyakang hindi ito dadating sa wala?

 

Wala.

 

At kung ganoon man,

Anumang meron at wala ang ating kahinatnan

Kung may dagat na lalanguyan

At dalampasigang matatagpuan

May kailangan bang katakutan?

 

Wala. Kahit saan, kailanman

Maisasakatuparan ang kapalaran.

Walang takot na dapat maramdaman.

 

Lahat tayo, isda

Lumalangoy hanggang sa dulo.

Lahat tayo, dalampasigan:

Ang simula na sumasalubong

sa nilalangoy na dulo.

 

 

Profiles: Her Royal Sweetness

How could crimson even lay itself over an entire summer’s tan? But there it was, crawling proudly from the slope of her cheeks where her smile begins.

Her feelings could not be kept secret. Love spread itself light pink across her skin, from the edges of her soul to her lips. She blinked in flutters that sent eyelashes dancing on its tips, to an orchestra of bees buzzing beneath the flesh of her left breast. Love glistened like honey from her eyes and dripped thick and sweet from her core.

She filled the air with the scent of sweetcakes and wildflowers that trailed from the hive of her exhales, hung upon his every inhale, swinging with his every breath.

Profiles: The Bystander

He was knee-deep into the morning, following the spill of sunrise from one empty shed to the next busted stoplight. The night has buried itself on his skin, deep into the bones of his cheeks, throbbing around his eyes, slipping into the cave of his throat, settling in the hollow den of his chest where myths and legends rest with the rest of the city’s dust and grit.  

He gathered the evenings and hid them there, plucking out stories that lapped back and forth from the streets to his lips. His voice broke over alleyways and street corners in surges of whispered secrets and gushes of revelations: adventures of infidels and hushed preys, giggling schoolgirls and the thumps of fists. He told them again and again until the waves of daylight have washed it clean. The stories floated from his veins, drowned in the high noon, rippled in the sunset, and, in the moonrise, murmured true.

Profiles: The Lady At Half Past Three in the Mourning

She longed for the time when a story or two of fairytales still worked.

Now, she keeps a bottle of Russian Standard right under her neck pillow and sets alarms that go off six times in an hour. It allows her to ease into the next morning and gives her a sufficient knock on the head on some nights.

It must be the tough edges and the thick glass.It bruises but will break eventually.

She still hasn’t lost faith in counting sheep. Or computing tax returns to put her out.

Numbers grow on you, just as foie gras or wine age and its accompanying price tags would.

Except that at some point it all just won’t add up: the age, the alcohol content, the remaining balance, the outstanding credit, the insignificant exes, the quantitative assessments, the waistlines, the Facebook notifications, the retweets, the Instagram likes, the nutrition information, and the numbers on the digital clock.

We all count on it but none of it actually would. 

Pour yourself another glass, read another fairytale,

rewrite the ending just as you know you should. 

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Routine

The morning is humid with the subtle patter
Of undisclosed necessities and rain.
The same headlines sit at the kitchen counter
Beside stale crumbs, old bread, and anticipated coffee stains.

The walk to the corner is quick, immediately over,
There and gone again, another fix of caffeine
Too early we clock in, too late we stay
Too many other minutes spent
Too many thoughts away.

There is nothing new except another morning,
Another second gone cold
And the first one whiled away.

Fever

The memory of last night spreads itself on my bed,
Thinly: a sheet between the pillow and my head
Crumpling itself beneath the weight of thoughts.
Curling up into a lump of discarded moments, scratches of scribbles of empty words.
The creases crawl from the hours long gone
to trace a map that slices and cuts the skin on my nape.
The memory of your blank eyes claws a path that trickles from my spine
to the small of my back to the ends of my thighs to the soles of my feet.
I do not bleed.

Only, I am drained
Bit by bit by bit by bit

By blood, by skin,
by love, by soul.

Haiku: Say It Again?

All the words you say:

Quick, hurried scribbles lined up

Up, up, and away.

for the bookends of this Monday 

Iyong Ngiti (Salin ng ‘Tu Risa’ ni Pablo Neruda)

Iyong Ngiti

Salin ng Tu Risa ni Pablo Neruda

Pagkaitan mo na ako ng pagkain, kung nais mo
Pigilan ang aking paghinga pero
huwag mo naman sana akong pagdamutan ng iyong ngiti.

Huwag mong alisin ang rosas,
ang sibat na iyong kinakalbit,
ang bulwak ng tubig
na umaagos sa iyong tuwa,
daluyong ng pilak na iyong isinisilang.

Nagbabalik ako mula sa sagarang pagdurusa,
Tumatangging tumanaw pa
Sa nagbibitak-bitak na lupang inaamag na’t nabubulok,
Pero sa tuwing umuusbong ang iyong halakhak
Upang tawagin ako saanmang alapaap mapadpad,
Ang lahat ng pintuan ng buhay
Ay isa-isang nabubuksan.

Ikaw ang silay ng liwanag
sa mga pinakamadilim na oras, irog.
At kung sakali mang makasalubong mo sa lansangan
ang bakas ng aking dugo,
Tumawa ka,
Sapagkat ang iyong tawa
Ay tatangan sa aking mga kamay
Na parang bagong espada.

Sa dalampasigan sa taglagas,
Kailangang pumailanlang ang lagaslas
ng iyong halakhak.
Sa tagsibol naman, irog,
Asam ko ang iyong ngiti
Tulad ng pinakahinihintay na pamumukadkad
Ng mga asul na talulot,
rosas ng bayang umaalingawngaw.

Tawanan mo ang gabi,
Ang araw, ang buwan,
Tawanan ang pulu-pulupot
Na mga daanan ng kapuluan
Tawanan itong malamyang
Nilalang na iniibig ka
ngunit kapag ako’y dumilat
at muling pumikit,
kapag pumaroon ang mga yapak ko,
kapag nanumbalik,
ikaila mo na sa akin ang pagkain, hangin
liwanag, at tagsibol
pero huwag na huwag ang iyong ngiti
dahil ito ang aking ikamamatay.

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Dress Codes

Sleeping in your clothes feels like a familiar song after the fourth glass of wine: a recognizable comfort, a precise memory lost in surges of warm tingles in the veins of the body.

I slip into your old jacket dirtied by the months that have passed and acquaint myself with the feeling that you wear everyday. The scent of your daily adventures slips from your sleeve onto my pillow and makes its way to my dreams. I hide my face in your familiar smell, in the stains of memories I know nothing of, and stay there until the sky changes its color and the alarm clock meets me halfway into morning.

My scent meets yours in the slew of thread and fabric, and I make sure to envelope each stitch with my own scent so that when you wear this feeling again, you will find yourself lost in my own world, sown neatly into every loop of every dream of mine you’ve unknowingly visited.

I wear your clothes to clothe you eventually; scent, sense, and sleep.

Slipping into your clothes feels like a warm bath on an uneventful December dawn: comforting and necessary. I welcome you with open pores and stand still as you rush from the tips of my hairs to the ends of my toes. I let you drip into my every inch, bare naked, until I am clean and new, until my body feels ready for another cold holiday. And when I think it is all over, I slip into another bath of you and you wash all over me until a puddle of you grows steadily at my feet.

I wear you like this, soaped and rinsed, clean.

I slip into you through your clothes, one sleeve after another, resting my thoughts into your folded collar, buttoning myself into the closest I could get to your embrace. This is how I wrap myself in your arms. This is how I sleep with you at night. This is how I keep you close, a version of you that will never go away. I slip into you one evening after another until the scent wears out and the sleeve begins to know more of me than most of you. I slip into you until there’s nothing left of you to slip into. I slip into myself and into the dreams that wait after midnight where I make my way to you while you try to find your way among rows and rows of piles and piles of folded clothes. I slip into this dream again and again, in the fold of your jacket and the curve of your neckline, unbuttoned and open, shivering in the imagined warmth of your skin. I sleep inside your sleeve again and again until your scent is tattooed on my skin.

I fall asleep like this night after night, with the traces of you under my pillow and in my closet. I collect you limb after limb through a checkered shirt, a hat, a scarf, an old jacket. I build you into my life piece by piece in thieving slow certainty. This will do for now until I no longer need to take your clothes from you, when one day you decide to leave a piece of you with me in the morning after we slip out of our own shirts and under the sheets, into each other’s dreams and each other’s lips. Your limbs will be entangled with mine, and your scent will be my own exhale as I am in the whiff of your every breath. We will be puddles in each other’s feet, swimming in a sea of you and me, travelling in a common subconscious, escaping evenings and evading dawns, forgetting afternoons and cheating time. We will clothe each other in our own skin, bare and fully clothed of you and I, we are cool and warm at the same time.

And so tonight, I slide into the ritual of dressing up in your clothes again, pushing every button into its rightful hole just as you would. Good old fashion; good, old-fashioned; good, old, fashioned. Good. I run my fingers along the edge of the checkered cloth and imagine the tip of your finger there, tracing the lines with me until drowse sets in, until I have scrubbed myself clean, until I have hung you deep inside my closet, until I have found you finding your way around the maze of my dreams. I will stay here, inside this piece of you, oh this peace of you, until I feel your breath on my nape, your caress on my skin, your eyes on me – steady, while the sky changes its color for another morning.

I will wear myself inside your sleeve, again and again, until the taste of your soul slips under my skin.

Once Upon Another Murder

She saw it in her sleep,

how they were tore him from the gut and unmasked his skull with claws that grew itself from anger and cleaved at souls it did not recognize
His blood, thick with legends, rich as moist earth, refused to drip away from his flesh and stopped at the edge of his wounds
His body burned burgundy as she stood there, the seven oceans foaming from her eyes,
The last of his kiss flaking away from her nape, her heart drowning in the cage of her hollow chest

Was there nothing she could do from that end? Probably

Wake up

In another tragedy, the poet still sits motionless
except for the eyes that dart from the keyboard to the screen, like a lover accused of infidelity, guilty of losing love

Like a crook hiding something, like a sinner who couldn’t look up.

A witness moved but not moving, unacceptably still.

No euphemism is offered here, only
another thought for the fallen
for the ones whose land is pulled away from their feet

for the generation of legends forgotten

for our people’s grave: a history we aimlessly repeat

365 for 2015: Smells of Sunday

There it goes:
Coffee gone cold,
Traces of burned tobacco,
The stain of extended conversations
Catching up with the dews
Fading from the the first ray
Peeking at the tips of leaves.
The last vehicle speeds away
From Saturday past. Midnight
plus one bottle equals new days
handed over, mist and steam and
Enlightenments amidst reunited laughter
And fog. Cool dawns chased away
By sunny-side ups served
After eight. The orange juice trickles
Unnoticed between the sleepy shuffle
Of foosteps moving toward
The end of the weekend’s first moments,
Awake and bright-tinged,
Settling to begin.

Of Drip Paintings and A Year That Did Not Go According To Plan

“I am learning to love myself more and live with the choice I made no matter how unfounded it could have been at the moment that it crept up on me. and i will get into grips with the realities that i will face, now and tomorrow and in distant futures…there will inevitably be continuous weeks of drinking the self to sleep and wishing and hoping and praying that whatever is now is otherwise

it’s a new year and everybody, or most of everyone at least, aspire for new beginnings to make better continuations of their lives

a turn of the year could be both as profound and as meaningless as the next sunrise. so another minute passed, so the calendar changed dates. so maybe we are older by another planet’s revolution or maybe we aren’t

all i wish is that i could sleep better soon

that things will make sense. that these feelings and choices and deeds will matter more than the time that i seem to lose every other second”

It’s Just Another Sunrise, January 8, 2014

And now, hey-ho, here comes 2015’s imperative New Year post.

And, as usual, my entry’s a tad bit too late for the annual jumpstart-the-year-with-this essay writing contest. And I’m saying that just to point it out already before anyone else calls it out on me. Done deal, whooped my own behind for it, and i’m fine anyway, still writing, so either you judge me because of writing the year’s first entry halfway into January or you just go on and read whatever follows this sentence and send me a virtual high five.

If you’re still reading this, *high five*.

Two thousand and fifteen. This year feels different, says everyone every time the year changes. Maybe pointing it out might increase the possibility of the actualization of aspired change. Might give some push, might instill a stronger sense of optimism and faith, might finally actually convince the self to make things happen.

For me, it’s different because this year came without that profound feeling worth a word and hundreds more. What it came with was an itch that crept from the center of my palms to the crook of my elbows, and badgered at my neck so that when I craned and stretched and shook off the crumbs of 2014 from dreams and memories stuck to my hair, I am left champing at the bit to manufacture moments that will incite desired profundity rather than wait for it to be shed from some speeding meteorite one fateful evening or so.

The above-mentioned continuous weeks of drinking anticipated for 2014 did materialize and resulted to a majority of the year’s nights, or dawns more precisely, of falling into bed too intoxicated to remember anything (more so write about) and waking up too late to do anything else but rush to work. Entire days were either spent fulfilling whatever waits at my desk or figuring out how to even achieve fulfilling whatever task is at hand. The days and nights endured. I turned to one frivolous evening after the other in a frantic search for joy that only seemed to elude me more as I craved it. Until I allowed the torture of isolation to wash over me. I took to the cliche and on one night I sat alone in a bar, dim and smoky and bleeding with soul-gripping music that too few people listened to, one hand grasping a glass of whisky for dear life while gripping emptiness with the other. The night aged and changed and gave birth to the kind of bliss brought forth by the virtue of choice. It was deep and real and unbreakable exactly because it was how it ought to be, it was what it was though unexpected, though unplanned. At the oddest of circumstances, in quiet solitude, I had finally chosen to be happy and I knew I was. Still am.

The past year failed to live up to plans and realize illusions I conjured in blind hopes of keeping my life together. Instead, it painted a picture that though seemed unlikely was definitely a deliberate stroke of the one who paints things greater than this little dot inside this tiny little frame. Autumn Rhythm feels like the best appropriation, certainly: drip painting, Pollock, autumn, rhythm, the number 30, and the great immense enlightenment culled out of a certain feeling of meaninglessness.

Image blurry especially along left edge

The past year saw a lot of things planned but unrealized. Long lists of wants and should-haves and could-haves crumpled and tossed away. I would have been so utterly disappointed, endlessly scolding myself for failing to living up to a set of to-dos and habits and traditions and expectations I certainly should not deviate from. But then it was also a year of realizing that plans? Pssshh, they’re not all that. Really.

In the past year, what I learned is that the things that will happen by virtue of being the other scenario that fate had intended for you at that moment will be as important as every other thing you had planned or intended or even mildly hoped for. But you must allow it to become that. You must live in that moment as it is and open yourself to its impact rather than getting hung up on what was replaced and failing to even notice what has taken its place instead.

Only if we allow these moments its being will we truly enjoy our every waking breath. Only then will we understand what it means to live life fully – to allow it to happen as it would by letting it happen as it does and not necessarily always according to how we had hoped for or planned.

I have still made plans for this year, more detailed than that of the past year in fact. The difference now is that I know I no longer have to kill myself over boxes left without check marks or standards that may be unmet. Simply put, I am going to rediscover the wonder of being surprised again. And I will learn to surrender myself to the thrill of it.

Last year I yearned for things to make sense. Indeed, it is starting to make much more sense in ways I have not realized before. And, yes, finally the feelings and choices and even non-choices have begun to matter so much more. It all will once you think of the moments you’ve lived rather than the time you’ve lost.

And sleep? Though there is so much delight in being wide-eyed and fully awake for as long as you can muster to be in a day, I am glad to have begun reacquainting myself with the dreams under my pillow once again.

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THIS IS A COLLECTION OF VIRTUAL REFLECTIONS AND A REFLECTION OF VIRTUAL COLLECTIONS

THIS IS A COLLECTION OF VIRTUAL REFLECTIONS

AND A REFLECTION OF VIRTUAL COLLECTIONS

Seen. Today at 9:47AM

 

 Wake up kids, we’ve got the dreamer’s disease, aged or teens—

Snooze.

Awake and not quite,

three icons blink blue, unread

a line of 248 tweets wait, unseen

and the refresh button screams–

Wake up kids!

What’s on your mind?

(Arrow Pointing Upwards) New Stories. Click.

Attention: Did you know that

Bernadette Villanueva changed her profile picture.

Like.

Catch Fernandez with Den Jalbuena. “Last night…”

Comment: Ahem.

Humphrey Bowguard added a new life event: Traveled to Sri Lanka.

Ignore. For envious reasons. I mean, obviously.

I mean obvious reasons. Not envy.

Refresh, new news? Something important perhaps–

CLICK AND GET THE BEST DEALS AND PROMOTIONS:

35 of your friends like this.

So maybe you should, too. Like.

No clicking, no reading, just

Like.

Suggested App: Music Messenger. Finally You Can Send Music.

Like.

Tara Let’s Go Asia: ATTENTION WORKING PROFESSIONALS,

Time to take a break.

Like. Share. Like Again.

See? #overworked #underpaid #discontent

The Dawning of A New Age: Occupy The World Wide Web

How Netizens Are Forming The Future With Just A Click

Refresh.

Lady Ann Sho invited you to like Manila Today.

Share. What about Manila Tomorrow? #witty

Refresh.

25 Ultimate Summer Destinations

13 Long Weekends of 2015

12 Movies That Will Teach You the Secret To Living On The Edge

21 Life Hacks for People On The Go

StuffYouShouldKnow dot—

Completely irrelevant.

Like why women shave, shouldn’t shave,

are against shaving, are against those are against shaving.

Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leakage Because of UN Speech

Facebook To Begin Charging Users $2.99 per month.

Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.

PLEASE SHARE:

“Go ahead and add this response to Scotland’s argument for why they don’t need independence

it can be helpful like that.”

From the Guardian.

#papolitical

#icareacrosstheoceans

Rallying Nun Remember What It Was Like Under Marcos

Anticipated Power Crisis Worse Than During Ramos Administration

Whatever Happened to GMA?

Aquino remembers a pretty woman in Boston neighborhood.

#WeRemember

#NeverAgain

“As you walk and eat and travel,

Be where you are. Otherwise

You will miss out most of your life.”

-Gautama Buddha

#TodaysMantra

3484 Likes. 906 shares. 2343 comments.

Wake up kids, we’ve got the dreamer’s disease.

Snooze.

#selfie

Snooze.

#anotherselfie

Snooze.

#sorrynotsorry

You have been logged out due to inactivity.

#YOLO

This was posted 25 revolutions ago.

Revisited Reflections: Paris 2013

This was a year ago. Some thoughts are due now, I suppose. 

——————————-

July 28, 2013

Due to certain trivialities that my weaknesses fall prey to, I sometimes forget how wonderful being alive could really be. The little details we often fail to pay attention to are usually what truly matter: the water that sparkles as it emerges and then splashes back upon itself creating ripples of wave and sound, the ink slithering from the pen onto the page, the statue smiling from a building’s elaborate stonework reflected on the stained glass of one of the world’s most famous landmarks — and then the self, in its most realized element, pen and paper in hand under a bright Parisian sky. I am not saying anything new here. Only pointing out that there are things we ought to really notice sometimes. Then everything else that don’t matter will cease to clutter the big picture.

 

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Intimamente

For all the eleven hours between us,

and all of the moments shared in between.

 

 

At breakfast, you tell me about dinner,

then you watch me make my way to work

while you wait for sleep to come.

Past midnight here and midday there

are our everyday hours: short,

too quickly greeted,  too soon ended,

but constant —

like birds that chirp all around us during humid Amazonian mornings

or the smell of bread that follows us from the boulangeries in the streets of Paris

or the tickle of the third glass of wine on the lips, in whatever continent we taste it.

The sound, the smell, the taste – it lingers, leaves a trace, constant, it remains.

 

Like an image of you in my mind—

Ever smiling, ever moving, ever vibrant,

Ever there and never quite.

 

I keep your memory there,

Where the seconds lose meaning

And the hours need no counting.

Because at midday here or past midnight there,

we are nowhere there yet everywhere we wish to be:

a good morning greeting

almost as if you were breathing

within the reach of my fingertips—

 

soon enough, buena onda, indeed,

soon enough, it will be.

 

 

 

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Leaving July Too Soon

Some kind of eulogy. For the things that will never be the same.

 

I was still sorting out the mess of the last two weeks as Sunday crawled away, taking with it July’s early rainshowers. I gathered dust on my fingertips and three memories — stapled, splattered, and smudged — on the page of my palm. None of it fit in the neat lines and steady piles of clutter that littered every mile of every thought that leapt to the next mark and rearranged itself on the next page.

One memory stuck stained on the torn pages of a planner that crossed out one hour after another. It ticked off one fulfilled appointment to the next and wrote off disappointments and canceled casual lunch dates and regrets;

the next slid itself inside the mailbox, one stamp for every destination set for, one address for every departure that you will never come home to anymore;

the last etched itself on the lines of my hand. A mark left by ash fresh from the fire of burnt bones and cancelled birthdays. I wanted to hold on to you, only it was too soon, too late for me to pull myself out of the flames. We were counting years ahead, but you burned quickly and left a puddle of wax on top of the cake, right after ‘Happy’. Nothing follows next.

 I wanted to wash it off, to wipe it clean, to erase and forget. I tried every cleansing ritual and every magic trick but Houdini didn’t leave us any instructions and we know we couldn’t hide everything inside one little hat. It’s there and it’s gone, sketchy prints left behind traveled paths.

I reach for a sense of sanity and a bottle of whisky. I grip the glass, wet with the sweat of cold scotch gone stale, and feel it push against my palm. I could feel the cracks come slowly, so easily if I held on tighter, longer.

It is Monday too soon and July too early. I leave the mess as it is. I turn from where I sit and find that yesterday has left the table. It slithered out the window, greeted by the cackle of crickets as heaven crashed onto the dead leaves that lay fallen from the ever-departing tops of trees.

 

IMG_2536

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A Kind of Nightmare

Intrepid, the ceiling stared back
fully aware of slumber’s abandon
While I lay there wrenched in the gut,
eyes peeking out of a blanket of black.

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Birthday Candle Wishes

We’ll call it Spark
That electric buzz that rubs off some magic
When the wires have been tinkered and messed with
That glow that brings in the party, that dresses up the dark,
That makes peace with grey clouds and plays with prisms
Let’s call it Spark, shall we
Let’s top off a bucketfull of wishes with it
And let it light up the next alley
where the next adventure of this lifetime begins.

To the one girl I’ve spent dawns and dusks and high noons with, happy birthday Gold 🙂

20140613-190539-68739726.jpg</a

Proximity

Across where you are, you’ll see,
We’ll meet where the sun meets the sea.

Like thread through a spread
of cloth coloured deep blue,
our fingers will weave through
the fabric of the Pacific, riding
the rise and fall and roll and
crash of waves that slip
into the palm of the shore.
Where changing sands mark the distance
between here and where you are–
nearness begins
where the ocean ends and expands.

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Never Out Of Time

It will come to a point when the seasons no longer define our timelines

We will gather in vases the bloom of fallen leaves in autumn

We will wade through the waves with snowflakes whispering in our ears

We will come to know moments instead of counting hours

And splitsecond kisses will sustain us year after year after year

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On this Ocean of Linen

The creases that stem from this valley of temptations slink into the raft of fingers that float from the branches where your forest crumbles. The sighs stretch themselves out in currents that roll with the ocean floor and each inch settles into the silt of voyages that only horizons and seagulls know.

This is the corner of the sea where the wayward disappears.

It flows and finds the island of my thighs, settling at the edge of my beach where the tongues of your ocean lap and dissolve. The ripples freeze into a map of movement paths that trickle towards the spot hidden by the blanket of your tricks.

On the other edge, another ship sails.

The sea levels rise as the trees that line the shore sweat into the night. While this island sinks, little by little, then slowly, disappears.

 

Paglilista

kapag ako’y naguguluhan, naglalabas ako ng papel at bumubuo ng listahan

ng lahat ng mga bagay na bumabagabag sa akin.

halimbawa: ang hilera ng mga sapatos na iniwan ng mga paang nagmamadaling unahan ang hatinggabi sa kama, ang balumbon ng mga damit na bitbit ang amoy ng mga usapang sinawsaw sa kape at binalot ng usok, mga salansan ng librong nagkalat sa bawat sulok at lilim ng kuwarto – bakas ng mga bagay na hindi kayang tapusin, ayaw tapusin, at hindi na siguro matatapos

tulad ng listahang ito

hindi na nalayo sa listahan noong nakaraang buwan, umulit noong nakaraang linggo, at malamang ay mabubuo ulit sa darating na mga araw

ang mga bumabagabag sa akin ay lulubog, lilitaw, lilisan, madaragdagan, makakalimutan, hahawakan, bibitawan, hahanapin, aalalahanin, at tatandaan–

para may listahang bubuuing muli at ipapakita sa iyo, puno’t dulo ng lahat ng gulo, ikaw na una at huling babagabag sa akin.

ikaw, tagabusisi ng mga bagay na naiwang nakatiwangwang sa iyong pagdating: ikaw,  tagapulot ng sapatos, tagatupi ng damit, tagabuklat ng libro. tagapunit ng mga listahang pinakatago-tago ko.

at kapag hindi ko na maisip ang mga bagay na bumabagabag sa akin, kapag hindi ko na maintindihan kung ako ba’y panatag na o lalong naguguluhan, ibinabaling ko ang mga tanong sa mga mata mong ayaw gumanti ng sagot. sa mga mata mong nakaukit ang ‘okay lang.’ sa titig na ayaw kumilala ng gusot. pagbaling na walang katuturan dahil may sagot ka na kahit wala namang katanungan

at kapag muli akong naguluhan, bubuo na lang ako ng listahan ng mga bagay na natatandaan ko na lang at hindi na nakikita, dahil naglakad na ang mga sapatos para salubungin ang papaalis na umaga, dahil ang mga damit ay binanlawan na ng beer at pinatutuyo ng bagong kuwento ng huli mong dalaw, dahil ang mga libro’y nakapila’t nakaayos at naghihintay na lang na mataunan ng pumipiling mata, daliring naghahanap ng hahaplusing pahina, dahil  isa-isa mo nang itinuwid ang mga baluktot para hindi na ako makapaglista.

Ng mga bagay na bumabagabag sa akin.

Dahil ikaw, puno’t dulo ng gulo, ang tuldok sa huling pangungusap, ang bakas ng huling patak ng tintang nagmamantsa mula sa listahan hanggang sa punda ng unang dinuduyan ang mga panaginip ko’t bangungot, ikaw ang taga-istorbo’t taga-ayos, ikaw ang pasimuno’t ang tagasunod, ikaw ang una, ang huli, ang paulit-ulit na lumilitaw sa mga linyang nakasulat sa papel, nakatago sa mga titik, nagbabadya ng pagdating at paglisan, ikaw ang dahilan at ang solusyon sa lahat ng kaguluhan;

ikaw ang laman  at pag-aalayan ng lahat ng aking listahan.

Wine and Wait

Another glass past the soundless hour before sunrise, I sit and listen to my Cabernet exhale

and catch my breath caught in a draft dragging the night away

from a dream fermenting inside another pillow misshapen

on a bed, empty, in a corner of a room: door unlocked, windows ajar

 

There goes another minute, drifting beneath streetlamps washing pavements warm yellow.

 

I think that was where time stood still.

After the point was made and the last sentence ended.

It walked away: hands inside pockets, hunger inside heart

 

I swirl the wine on my palm and inhale an old summer harvest forgotten inside oak barrels,

stored deep and dark to age and change into another summer to be poured from a bottle

on a night in another room, foreign and unfamiliar, door unlocked, windows ajar.

 

 

In Transit

February 12, 2013 9:25am DFA Passport Division

She sprays on some alcohol to cleanse the dirt of the city from her fingers. Strangers riding trains have stained her skin, travelling from their sweaty palms to the steel rod she holds onto to stay upright. She feels a slight sting and notices a red spot on the knuckle of her left middle finger. Another wound. The pain doesn’t last and it doesn’t bother her. There are things we get used to as we get older.

***

Another phone beeps in the room and though she knows it is not hers, she reaches for her phone inside her bag and browses through the messages she’s already seen. She gets distracted easily these days, never able to keep focus and finish one thing in one sitting, not even a meal. Lists are slipped in between every other page, teeming with tasks due before the current date. She rolls the gum in her mouth. It has gone stale. Another man chews loudly along the row where she is seated. She glances at him then plucks out one of her lists to roll around the gum she just spit out.

***

She wants to write about the train ride. Today, people lined up anticipating where the train doors would open for them, unlike before when everybody bunched up in an entropy of hurry, commuters have finally found a method to their comings and goings. But that didn’t mean that they stopped pushing the other while being pushed by another. It’s all a study in physics – the motion, lack of motion, the friction, the force.

it’s just another sunrise

When one begins to ignore universally accepted celebrations and rituals of mankind to comfort itself, we get to the core of what we truly think and feel. We begin to pay attention and learn that the word ‘essence’ actually means something. Another turn of the year, is it? Cheers.

 

I was reading myself to sleep (an unfortunately pointless activity when one’s reading through a page-turner) when a turn of the song from my sister’s playlist prompted me to put the book down and proceed to write these thoughts down immediately

I am gripped with that feeling again, a feeling that hasn’t visited me lately – for quite a few months already, alarmingly – that feeling that cannot be disregarded – the urge to just go ahead and write

it started three songs before the beginning of this entry. when i recalled how, a year and a half ago, i would leave my laptop on all night playing unfamiliar songs from foreign independent artists so that i could put myself to sleep or survive the night without succumbing to paralysis-inducing loneliness. those nights i stayed up talking to The Lawyer, and we would wait for sunrise and it was then when I got over my feelings of brokenheartedness caused by That Guy

tonight, the sensation is reincarnated in this quiet evening of music in moderate volume, filling up the dimly lit room. it was like just as it was before but now all the songs are familiar by virtue of Billboard-Hit-popularity. so there is a difference but still not quite.  the memory finds new life and the difference in this playlist’s dress is in the annoying reminder that listening to this kind of music actually falls starkly in line with the effort to keep buried a persistent sorrow shoved deep down beneath book chapters, to-do lists, and constantly rearranged activities of my everyday hours

the music that accompanied my waning nights and creeping dawns have faded, and now – the approach, though i did not intently try it – no longer works. it doesn’t. it won’t. maybe never. ever.

funny how we change constantly. and frequently.

am i sad? i guess. i miss him like shit. not as much as before, i guess. i am making progress, snail-pace peace with myself and with my issues, i guess. uncertain, definitely. but better than being in denial. at least now i don’t go into constant fits of breaking down in tears. without just relentlessly bawling out to the universe, whether in my howling screams of pain or silent breathless exclamations, truly understanding why why why. they are occasional bouts of crying instead. that occur to me in sudden pangs of memory and which i can now control relatively well

i guess i love him that much, yes, but i am learning to love myself more and live with the choice i made no matter how unfounded it could have been the moment that it crept up on me. and i will get into grips with the realities that i will face, now and tomorrow and in distant futures. more will be revealed and though i wish all will be out as soon as possible, there will inevitably be continuous weeks of drinking the self to sleep and wishing and hoping and praying that whatever is now is otherwise

it’s a new year and everybody, or most of everyone at least, aspire for new beginnings to make better continuations of their lives

a turn of the year could be both as profound and as meaningless as the next sunrise. so another minute passed, so the calendar changed dates. so maybe we are older by another planet’s revolution or maybe we didn’t

all i wish is that i could sleep better soon

that things will make sense. that these feelings and choices and deeds will matter more than the time that i seem to lose every other second

where does it go? why does it pass? why should it matter?

like another song played, forgotten too soon, echoed too late

tonight i realize i am learning to dance better in the silences that remind me how i am alone completely, that i am alone. and complete.

happy new year, indeed.

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How To Love A Girl Who Writes

she will make you immortal
in her heart and mind, in not very few pages
you will stay even if you leave

Thought Catalog

Much has been made of dating a girl who reads, but what of the other side of that coin?

For a girl who writes is a double-threat: she is well read, yet creates worlds of her own as well. If you find a girl who writes—find her charming, wish to court her—there are a few things you should know.

Be prepared for her to leave you.

Not for long, but there will be those moments where she’s mumbling and she gets that look in her eyes and you know you’ve lost her. An idea, a character, a song has caught hold and she must capture it; she’ll be back. Even better, she’ll come back and tell you all about it.

If you love a girl who writes, please be patient. She can walk into the library and remember exactly which shelf Neil Gaiman is tucked away on, but more…

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ang mga di ko natutunan

North Fort

Unang beses ko ito.

Nakakatawang alalahanin yung pakiramdam habang sumusulat sa’yo. Nakangisi akong mag-isa. Bawat matatapos na sentence, may tawa ako. At mas nakakatawa kung malalaman mong ilang araw kong pinag-isipan kung paano ko sasabihin ang mga nasabi ko sa sulat. Tina-type ko sa cellphone yung mga naiisip kong magandang segue para dumulo ang sulat ko sa napakalalim na — “ang cute mo”. Kapag may naaalala pa nga akong gusto kong sabihin, inuulit-ulit ko sa isip para hindi makalimutan. Ilang byahe rin sa bus na puro yung sulat na yun lang ang minumuni-muni ko.

Ayokong isulat agad hanggat pakiramdam ko hindi pa tapos, at hanggat may parte pa akong hindi nasasabi o isang bagay na naguguluhan pa ako. Ayokong isulat agad kasi baka hindi ako makapagpigil at ipadala na agad sayo kahit malata pa. Pero napagod na rin ako kakadraft. Dumating ang araw ng paghuhukom, binitay ko na ang paghihintay…

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Pasasalamat sa Pamamaalam: Mahal Naming Lola Juana “Aning” Jose, 1927-2013

Lola Aning

 

There is nothing easy about letting a loved one go.

We could fill our days with prayer and hope that the passage of time will slowly close that gap that has been left in us. We could also gather and recount all the best memories, including not only the joyful ones but also those with such intensity that gave us a life-changing kind of wisdom. Or we could look around, look at each other, and remind ourselves what our dearly departed left us with — these dear relationships, these precious ties of kin and friendship, and our braver selves now more in touch with being alive through this profoundly  enriching though difficult experience of death.

In these past days that we’ve laid our dear Lola Aning to rest, we draw our strength from all of you who stood by us. You who came to visit, you who prayed with us, you who wept with us, you who waited for morning with us, you who helped us cook and serve the food, you who ate and finished the food, you who cleaned the tables and washed the dishes, you who brought more food — yes, we have to mention this because our dear Lola is quite known for asking everyone she meets, whatever time of the day it is “Kumain ka na ba?” —  you who recalled her stories to us, you who listened to our stories about her, you who shared her memory with us, you who keep her memory alive in our minds and in our hearts. Thank you. Thank you to our dear family and friends, our neighbors, people we know well, people we may have never met but who keeps a special place for Lola Aning in their lives, thank you for being with us.

But most of all, thank you for being there with our Lola when she was alive. For sharing her days, all the good times and the hard times; for giving her reasons to live, to look forward to another day to get up; to those who never got tired of looking after her, to those who stayed with her until her final moments on earth, thank you. Thank you for being part of a life well-lived and worth every breath; because of all of you we know that our Lola is well-loved and that these all make up her wonderful life.

Now that we are about to take our Lola to the end of her mortal journey, though it will take time before our grief will pass over, let us now celebrate the beginning of her journey into eternity. She deserves nothing less than the glory of a life in paradise, and the memory of her life on Earth happily instilled and kept alive in all of us.

 We love you very very much Lola Aning. Thank you.

 

——————————–

Paanong ang ningning mong dati’y kayliwanag

Ngayo’y habangbuhay nang di masisilayan

At  bagamat hindi na maibabalik ang panahon

Ng rangya ng parang, ng rikit ng kasibulan

Hindi kami magdadalamhati,

Pagkat ang aming matatanto

Ay ang lalim at tatag

Ng pananalig na sa amin ay iniwan.

Pasintabi kay William Wordsworth,

                Salin ng bahagi ng tulang Ode: Intimations of Immortality (Lines 180-185)

 

Walang madali sa pamamaalam sa yumaong mahal sa buhay.

Maaari nating punan ang ating mga araw ng mga panalangin at hangaring sa paglipas ng panahon ay kusang mapupunan ang puwang na naiwan sa atin. Maaari din nating ipunin ang pinakamagagandang alaala – hindi lang ang masasaya kundi pati na rin yungmga tipong nagdulot ng masidhing pangaral sa ating mga buhay. Maaari rin tayong tumingin sa palibot, lingunin ang isa’t-isa, at alalahanin kung ano talaga ang siyang iniwan sa atin ng mahal na Lola Aning — higit sa anupaman ay ang ating mga ugnayan, kapamilya man o kaibigan, at ang ating mga sariling pinatatag ng bagong pagtingin sa buhay dulot nitong mapagyaman bagamat mahirap na karanasan ng kamatayan.

 Nitong mga huling araw ng pagkakahimlay ni Lola Aning, kaming kanyang mga kaanak at pamilya ay humuhugot ng lakas sa inyong nakiramay sa amin. Sa inyong lahat na bumisita, nag-alay ng dasal, umiyak at nakiiyak, naglamay at nanatili umaraw man o umulan, sa gitna ng bagyo’t malakas na hangin; sa mga tumulong na ibsan ang pasanin ng mga araw, sa mga tumulong mula sa pamamalengke, pagluluto, at pag-uurong, sa mga bumusog at nagpakabusog — at kailangan naming siguraduhing ang bawat isa’y nabusog sap agkat isa sa mga pinakamasayang alaala namin kay Lola Aning ay ang lagi niyang pagtatanong sa makakasalubong niya ng “O, kumain ka na ba?” — sa inyong sinamahan kami, sa mga nakinig sa aming kuwento, sa mga nagbahagi rin ng kanilang mga kuwento, sa mga nakibahagi sa paggunita sa aming Lola –kayo ang bumubuhay ng kanyang alaala sa isip at sa puso ng bawat isa. Taos puso ang aming pasasalamat.

 Higit sa lahat,higit sa pakikiramay sa kanyang pagyao, nais naming magpasalamat sa inyong pagiging bahagi ng buhay ni Lola Aning. Sa pagsama sa kanya noong siya’y nabubuhay pa, sa hirap ma’t sa ginhawa; sa pagbibigay sa kanya ng dahilan upang magpatuloy at bumangon sa bawat umaga; sa mga hindi nagsawang alagaan siya at bantayan, at naging kapiling nya hanggang sa kanyang pamamayapa. salamat at kayo ay naging bahagi ng mahaba at masagana niyang buhay. Dahil sa inyo alam naming minamahal ng husto ang aming Lola, na walang nasayang sa bawat niyang hininga.

At ngayong ihahatid na po natin siya sa dulo ng kanyang paglalakbay bilang isang mortal, bagamat mahabang panahon pa ang lilipas bago tuluyang matapos ang ating pagdadalamhati, kung maaari sana’y atin ring ipagdiwang ang simula ng kanyang paglalakbay sa buhay na walang hanggan. Wala nang mas nararapat pa para sa kanya kundi ang luwalhati ng buhay sa piling ng Maykapal habang ang alaala ng kanyang pagkabuhay ay nananatiling nag-aalab sa ating mga puso’t isipan.

Mahal na mahal ka namin Lola Aning. Maraming maraming maraming salamat.

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365 for 2013: (11) Mirrors and Walls

The light hits the glass
and meets the eyes.
Fractions of the room are drawn
together, framed, illuminated.
A new painting, the image conceived
beckons truth
and lies.

20130927-234400.jpg

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365 for 2012: (10) An Exercise in Writing Letters No. 1

20130927-131007.jpg
The thoughts ran faster than the words could
arrange themselves neatly in line. Properly
waiting to nod their heads
at the end of the sentences.

So I rearrange them again.

And in carefully placed punctuations
and calculated silences between syllables,
I fold myself silently. Breaking
into shards and splinters
so that in the gaps where the thoughts are unsaid
pieces of me could slip in quietly,
almost unseen.
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365 for 2013: (9) Captured, Stolen, Framed

Quickly captured, a smudge,
a trick, a splitsecond stolen
then framed, then thrown 
onto the wall, this memory —
a shade less bashful,
a brushstroke braver,
a degree warmer than midnight’s fever.

Here, a wasted glance.
Here, the corner you refuse to 
sign your name on to.

 

(Or whatever, later, maybe a verse longer, maybe titled better)

 

Captured, Stolen, Framed

 

 

RIP Seamus Heaney

The strange thing about the death of people whose  names you read on covers of books and under the titles of your youth’s defining texts (so you swore), is that the tug to the dirge of irreconcilable sadness comes from feeling of being so attached to them yet never having known them. And then the pain doubles. 

It is one my more dreary weekend mornings, when I wake facing the wall to the sound of a faint alert tone of one of the many seemingly unimportant notifications. ‘What exciting news is it, this time?’ I asked myself, honestly hoping for some mundane chat from one boy or another. And there it was, New York times broke the news to me. I find myself suddenly upright, searching among stacks of books and papers and even through folders in my computer, then flipping through the pages and remembering, remembering, remembering.

We all have that one  poem (or two or three, whatever) we’ll always go back to. Here’s mine.

Thank you Mr. Heaney. You will live forever in these pages, corners folded, marked, and annotated — your words rewritten in secret journals, repeated among friends.

-------------------------------------------- 

Casualty

BY SEAMUS HEANEY 1939–2013

I   
He would drink by himself   
And raise a weathered thumb   
Towards the high shelf,   
Calling another rum   
And blackcurrant, without   
Having to raise his voice,   
Or order a quick stout   
By a lifting of the eyes   
And a discreet dumb-show   
Of pulling off the top;   
At closing time would go   
In waders and peaked cap   
Into the showery dark,   
A dole-kept breadwinner   
But a natural for work.   
I loved his whole manner,   
Sure-footed but too sly,   
His deadpan sidling tact,   
His fisherman’s quick eye   
And turned observant back.   
Incomprehensible   
To him, my other life.   
Sometimes, on the high stool,   
Too busy with his knife   
At a tobacco plug   
And not meeting my eye,   
In the pause after a slug   
He mentioned poetry.   
We would be on our own   
And, always politic   
And shy of condescension,   
I would manage by some trick   
To switch the talk to eels   
Or lore of the horse and cart   
Or the Provisionals.   
But my tentative art   
His turned back watches too:   
He was blown to bits   
Out drinking in a curfew   
Others obeyed, three nights   
After they shot dead   
The thirteen men in Derry.   
PARAS THIRTEEN, the walls said,   
BOGSIDE NIL. That Wednesday   
Everyone held   
His breath and trembled.   
                   II   
It was a day of cold   
Raw silence, wind-blown   
surplice and soutane:   
Rained-on, flower-laden   
Coffin after coffin   
Seemed to float from the door   
Of the packed cathedral   
Like blossoms on slow water.   
The common funeral   
Unrolled its swaddling band,   
Lapping, tightening   
Till we were braced and bound   
Like brothers in a ring.   
But he would not be held   
At home by his own crowd   
Whatever threats were phoned,   
Whatever black flags waved.   
I see him as he turned   
In that bombed offending place,   
Remorse fused with terror   
In his still knowable face,   
His cornered outfaced stare   
Blinding in the flash.   
He had gone miles away   
For he drank like a fish   
Nightly, naturally   
Swimming towards the lure   
Of warm lit-up places,   
The blurred mesh and murmur   
Drifting among glasses   
In the gregarious smoke.   
How culpable was he   
That last night when he broke   
Our tribe’s complicity?   
‘Now, you’re supposed to be   
An educated man,’   
I hear him say. ‘Puzzle me   
The right answer to that one.’
                   III   
I missed his funeral,   
Those quiet walkers   
And sideways talkers   
Shoaling out of his lane   
To the respectable   
Purring of the hearse…   
They move in equal pace   
With the habitual   
Slow consolation   
Of a dawdling engine,   
The line lifted, hand   
Over fist, cold sunshine   
On the water, the land   
Banked under fog: that morning   
I was taken in his boat,   
The Screw purling, turning   
Indolent fathoms white,   
I tasted freedom with him.   
To get out early, haul   
Steadily off the bottom,   
Dispraise the catch, and smile   
As you find a rhythm   
Working you, slow mile by mile,   
Into your proper haunt   
Somewhere, well out, beyond…   
Dawn-sniffing revenant,   
Plodder through midnight rain,   
Question me again.

365 for 2013: (8) finally, the calm after the storm

Has it been two months already? I was just about to make coffee.

And I’m right there all over again.
Listening to guitar strings and a dying storm,
Waiting for morning winds to clear
the streets, these leaves, torn from home.

 

365 for 2013: (7) when the loss is one you refuse to own

when the doors of the elevator open

my eyes will make its way through

dressed in amber and rose

looking back at the space 

of secrets only mirrors inside the box know 

you dont reach out

because i am no longer with you

i am no longer with you

 because i am within

i will be in the space you breathe

in the same rhythm you beat

in the same paths through doors that close

and open again

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Breaking Habits

I turn on the TV to keep me company in your leave. Slumber comes and goes and I am left alone with the sound of a woman’s thick French accent drowned out by the hiss of a lush body of butter melting in the heat of a sleek steel pan. For an hour after noon, the room is dim. Even with all the lights on, there is a void punctuated by all things suddenly starkly visible: wrinkles on the bedspread, strands of hair, stacks of clutter, unsorted business gathering dust. Only the curtain shifts to the draft of a cold artificial breeze.

The air swells with your absence and I breathe.

In another morning after, the room will be aflush with the simmer of our exhales. Stillness tickled briskly, light will slip in through the tangle of limbs beneath crumpled sheets.


365 for 2013: (6) Mama


They speak of you as light,
Ray of cosmic brilliance
My own creator, goddess:
Mother.
Stardust scatters beautiful
on the universe of your face,
charting paths that glimmer of passageways
that curve to your cradling–
fingers, arms, shoulders, laps, belly—
and then the bank of the river of your hair
where, despite decades, I stumble to
find promised solace.
The strands stretch out and mark trails
Of moonpaths and sunbeams
On childhood scars you covered
With whispered comfort then band-aids.
My fingers follow these memories, finding myself
teetering on the center of your palm where I trace,
the pulse that beats
the blood of your love
In my veins.Mama

Because this poem deserved to be born today more than on Mother’s Day. What we celebrate today is your being born to this world. That’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me, otherwise nothing else would have happened 🙂 Happy birthday Mama.
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21 Dating Truths We Need To Realize

Thought Catalog

1. 95% of the time, they didn’t lose their phone. They didn’t drop in the toilet or the bathtub. It wasn’t shut off. They just didn’t want to text you. If not, why aren’t they Facebooking or tweeting you right now?

2. If you’re looking at someone’s online dating profile and there are multiple people in their photo and you say, “Who is that guy? He’s hot!”, the person will never be that guy. He will always be the person standing next to that guy.

3. No one’s ever “too busy” to hang out with you. Lots of busy people still date. Taylor Swift makes time for a new boyfriend every other day.

4. Everyone is allowed to make the first move. We put so much emphasis on seeming detached and unavailable until the last possible moment, worried we might scare them off by actually seeming interested. What if, heaven…

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365 for 2013: (5) Before Gravity

Naive

would be the first word

an apple, fallen, breathes

to the ground. It rolls, sullen. 

While sunlight, air, mist,

dabs its bruises

with a kiss. 

April 24, 2013

——————————-

 

This summer, I lost in a game I played with my students in class. The  consequence for anyone who lost was to show the class something special that you can do. So I stood there with a pen and the whiteboard and asked them to throw at me random words at random moments. I just let the words work their magic. 

 

Now, the class is almost over. I almost couldn’t believe it.

I can still hear the apple breathe. 

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Cutting On The Need to Brew Things In The Morning

It is an ugly truth, the necessity of overpriced coffee and the need to be away from the house that you keep wanting to change but are never able to. There are too many details about the rooms that call your attention that, instead of ticking off items from the list, they keep adding up to things that need to be done. The plans are all listed down in pieces of paper you keep under your pillow. You rewrite them in your dreams only to realize that dreams are meant to escape you when the alarm clock sets off. So, to get started, you take all your things and step out.  In this city, there is nowhere to escape to and everywhere to be. You walk into a place that serves coffee in fancy cups, hoping to find what you couldn’t keep under your pillow.  You will eventually learn that the value of being able to sit at a café’s corner by the window is the same as being able to walk from one point to another without just thinking of beating the minute hand to your destination. They keep talking about motion and stillness and inside and outside and finding the silence in all the noise. Everywhere, something needs to be changed but you don’t need to write them all down in your list. That was the first piece of paper you found at the turn of the light at the intersection. It is the beginning of the trail that the city has left for you. It includes an inconvenient detour to where the ocean laps at the edges of this island. The trail ends at the space between your bed and your pillow. If you had paid attention and strained to remember before putting the coffee pot on this morning, then you would know that the map was scrawled on your bedspread all along. But you could only think of washing the curtains and adding shelves to the wall while your morning coffee steeps silently in the mug on the table. You are always awake before you let it wake you up. The coffee was just part of a routine that, you now realize, maybe you no longer need. 

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365 for 2013: (4) treasure hunting

i know where you should be but you refused to be found so i dipped the tips of my fingers in gold and settled for a version of treasure that your chest would not offer up; the sentences still go different ways and i try to chase them but you’ve put the commas in so many random places i’m forced to dot the end of my phrases and  each time another one of  your commas show up, a swoop beneath the dot, almost as if it says we should go back. but that messes up the map and then X is no longer the point to pursue but a footnote to the treasure that should now be dug up. not all that glitters is good for the soul, we offered a toast to that. we know where the shiny things are and we could have been led to that but the holes we fall into are much more interesting. and in the interstice between where we’ve fallen and where we’ll land, all your words come rushing through and i’m rushing just as fast. this is another terrain we’re traversing, another target we’re hunting. my compass points me to a direction which i reckon now defines forward, though it be pointing away from the pot of gold they’ve laid out for you and me, it is exactly where you didn’t tell me we have to be.  i will find you there. i have nothing else to seek.  the stardust from my fingertips have seeped into my veins, it has made my blood rich. while all these chests and troves, heavy as they may be, will never have enough to hold.

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365 for 2013: (3) As I Stand With You

In reference to the poem ‘The Flag’ from Pablo Neruda’s The Captain’s Verses. Here is my pledge.

————————————————-

 

The truth is I would run with you.

 

These nights when no bed can hold us

down, these blankets uncover us,

bare, shivering

in our desires, quivering

as our hearts beat out our souls

ascending out of our skins.

The satellite of your gaze keeps me

locked in the orbit of your heat,

your passion. And I am in place,

surrounding  you. Moving. Still.

 

By you, without doubt,

no fear; with you, certain,

standing, constant as you

have taught me, faithful

as I have known. Steadfast.

 

We own the truths we know.

We will fight the battles that need to be won.

 

And if your fingers speak

Of fear, let them tremble

against my palm, with my own.

And if your body exhales

exhaustion, fall upon me

your back to my chest.

And I  will keep us upright;

our grasp, firm, our breath

steady, our eyes burn.

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365 for 2013: (2) From the Leaf to the Lover

Meant as a gift. 

—————————–

In the fiercest of winds

and the most glaring of summers,

I may tremble, even wither;

but in the passing of seasons

and the changing weathers,

I will bloom in the dusk,

feed on stardust

and you will find me there.

In the scent of moonlight

and warmth of sunrise,

You will find me there. 

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365 for 2013: (1) When The Sun Sets

Yes, I just changed the year. Let’s see if I can go beyond 67 this time 🙂

———-

Utterly fascinating, universe. This is my 113th entry on 1/13/2013 exactly a year after my first entry in 1/13/2012.

The first one was called When The Sun Sets.

This is the image of how my fantasy should be processed by my brain.

There’s a thick cloud covering a great portion of the sky, drawing a straight line that defines where the stars appear and disappear. The horizon should stretch as far as the eyes could see, but heaven sets its limits on mine.

Fair enough. The divide between the starry and starless sky evens out as the night deepens anyway. And the stars do shine bright. They pop out in the dark. Twinkling and dancing, too.

Now, let’s take the same title, but let’s see where movements of heaven will take us this time.

———-

On the road, they follow the path

set for home, they trudge on

the streets that lose and take

up space. Crowded, they flow. Smears

of sunset on tinted windows

 

there it goes—

 

then gone, then there again, a flash

so soon missed by eyes

that blink, and clouds that trick

sight about light, celestial bandits.

On the road up in space,

they make their way home:

into each other, crowding

together before falling

back home.

 

A shard of sunset disappears

In the glare of a streetlight.

 

Dusk has pulled out its carpet

on the road. Above us,

a map of needle-tip lights appears:

our way back

home.

               

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The Accidental Anniversary Post: The Dip In The Ink Before the Blot

I find that I could not work on publishing a new poem here without first acknowledging all the work that went into this blog from the last year. I still find myself quite overwhelmed by how much shiz I’ve actually shamelessly put out here and how much this has helped me write. Ah yes, this post is going to be one of those typed-out-musings kind. If you wish to spare yourself, you can skip the paragraphs and go straight to the year’s first poem.

But, please, allow me to indulge. After all, because of all the stalling I’ve done ever since the year started, I realize, as I write this entry now, that today actually marks the anniversary of my  first ever post in this blog. Fascinating. Even my apparent laziness when it comes to writing seems to have a reason. And the reason is to kind of underscore, at least for me, the value of what I’m doing here. That sounded a little twisted, but, well, the universe works in twisted ways. And so, here we go.

The original intent was to keep this 100% literary (meaning, no notes to self such as what you are reading now), no acknowledgement of addressees (but, see, I now freely refer to you reader) and just fill it up with entry after entry after entry (based on the statistics, the average would be two entries per week which, really, isn’t bad at all). While I wasn’t able to fulfill my 365 for 2012 Project, having been able to publish only 67 poems, I’ve sparked several other writing projects through this and have come up with quite some material. One would be The Kingdom of Concrete, a category I’ve created for my writing to push me to write about the city, the urban landscapes and the urban life. To be quite honest, I just had to find a way to steer my writing away from all the cheesy mush I’ve been churning out. Gotta constantly remind the self about the breadth of material out there that one can tap into without the need to nurse a broken heart. *insert gagging sound here* And then after being inspired by the blog Fifty Items Or Less , I started my own -50 for the 25th Project: I have to come up with at least fifty entries with just 50 words or less while I’m still 25. I still have 46 to go and  10 months to work on that. Let’s see how I’ll fare with that one.

So do I feel bad that my 365 for 2012 project lack 298 entries? Not at all. 

Why? Because I continue to write even if  I do not publish it in this blog. What else have I been writing? Other than the prose and poetry you see here, I’ve written several other poems-turned-songs for shows and productions which I never really took time to post here. Maybe even a little embarrassed to do so but, who knows? When we’ve finished recording the songs, this blog will see the verses set to music  published. 

I checked my dashboard and discovered  23 unpublished, unfinished drafts of stuff I started to work on and then abandoned. That already sparks an  exercise for this year:  to get back to these stubborn spurts and whip them into shape. More as an exercise for editing than anything else. While I do recognize that there may be things that just sputter and die despite all the attempts to let it run, I won’t be letting these drafts remain unpublished without a fight.

I could do something really out of fashion and publish executive summaries and terminal reports that I write for work here, just for laughs.  But I don’t think my boss would be too happy about that and that would require a total makeover of the blog. 

So now we get to the ‘what’s-the-point’ question. It’s easy to just say that there’s never enough time to just keep writing and posting and writing and posting. But that’s not entirely true. At the end of the day it’s really an exercise of how you push yourself to come up with material and what you’re willing to put out there for the world to either marvel at or spit on. When I came up with the category Blurtouts, it was a deliberate baring of the self to this cyber universe – letting the world in on my random and often most personal musings. There’s a human being behind all these carefully titled entries and she wants to allow herself to let out some raw no-nonsense unadulterated typewritten thoughts sometimes. Also, she wants to be allowed to refer to herself in the third person. She’s going to stop doing that now. Or maybe later.

What she will do now is wrap this up and proceed to the year’s first poem. She will end this paragraph in maybe two to three more sentences and then re-read what she’s written so far. She will nod, satisfied, and quite excited at starting on another year – maybe to continue on old projects, rename some categories or come up with new ones. These words are what make her/me,  the hardest and most vulnerable selves enveloped in a syllable, a page, a universe. 

011313

At the back of a pick-up truck snaking through the mountains of the North, the words whipped through my hair, touched my face, left traces on my fingertips.

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The Necessary Year-End/New-Year Post

And then the inevitable question is raised: where do I begin?

It’s quite tempting to do an assessment of my 2012 Must-Accomplish list  (yes, it’s a must-accomplish list and not quite a list of resolutions so that the move forward  is not solely based on improving what could have been done better in the past but actually includes setting new never-even-imagined-i-could-do goals for the self) and then write my way towards my 2013 Must-Accomplish list but that’s an easy route to take. Apparently, I tend to look for more complicated paths.

Or not. Yeah. Let’s just get started whichever way and get this over and done with.

So maybe I should begin by saying that I’m still as fickle minded and as insanely self-conscious as I have always been. There’s nothing to change about that since there isn’t really any harm being done, except that the writing tends to extend itself and maybe I should save some space and stop arresting myself in every sentence that follows. (Aaand here I go again. And again.)

Don’t we all want to just make sure we’re doing everything the way it should be done while at the same time giving ourselves the liberty to plunge into the next spontaneous adventure, eyes closed and breaths held? Yes, that may have sounded kind of contradictory at some point and while maybe a fraction of the population are just on either ends of the spectrum, the majority would be working for a healthy mix of the certain and uncertain in their lives. Yes, you can schedule when you’re going to  jump off the cliff but on the splitsecond that your feet leave solid ground, time and space may cease to exist. There’s only you, the jump, and the fall. The next thing you know, you’ve landed somewhere far more awesome than where you came from.

I look at the list which I wrote at the back of my first journal from last year and realize that if I use it as the sole measure of the past year’s fulfillment, then I would emerge as an utter failure. I was only able to achieve a third of the list, 15 out of 45 things I set out to accomplish for myself. One would consider it a total booboo especially if I say that I don’t even remember having written more than half of it. But, see, that was the actual game plan. To list, forget, live, then reflect.

A friend shared with me before that he would write his list of goals for the year and hide it away only to look at it after 365 days and see what he’s been able to achieve. If there were things he could tick off the list, he was extremely happy to be able to do so. As for the rest of the items that remain to be accomplished, then they are just that, carry-overs to the new year’s list. There’s no room for regret or should-have-could-haves because the list was merely a push to pump up the start of the year. The rest of the 365 days, you live life as you should, present in every moment and not just  tied down to lists and schedules.  We already have so many tasks that take up space in our planners every day, we don’t have to use a row of boxes wanting check marks to live each day by.

Up until Christmas eve, I still couldn’t feel the spirit of the holidays. Not because I was nursing an inner Grinch but because I just could not believe that it was December already. I was telling a  friend two days before the new year  that I feel like there should be two more weeks to the month just to allow myself to wrap up everything that have taken  place. So many things have happened in 2012 and so much more could have happened. But nothing that happened or didn’t happen makes me feel bad that it did or didn’t. Every single day I would have as it was lived.

There are things that take place without any planning it. These things could even bear more value than even the biggest goal you set out to conquer for the year. In the 45 items in my list, not even half of it could compare to the best moments of my 2012. All the surprises of  random opportunities to move into new directions, befriend strangers, get your hands into work you think you will never do, and even the plummet to bottoms you didn’t think would be dug up for you, proved to be the awesome and highly necessary rollercoaster ride that is 2012. I look back and think that it just couldn’t have ended so soon.

This is my twenty-fifth year. When I thought I would set out to do one thing, I find myself in action at so many other things that I could do and that need to be done. It doesn’t mean an overhaul of my passions or the abandon of a predisposed purpose. It is merely embracing the true essence of the possible. “Who would have thought…” would be my favorite reflective phrase for the moment. Certainly, not I, and gladly so. Honestly, I’m still grappling with every experience from the last twelve months, writing and rewriting every tale, hoping to archive each memory. I don’t know if I ever really could or if I even should, but then this entry, and every past entry I have, published here or otherwise, is evidence to the tremendous year that was.

So for this year I still made a list. I actually even have a timeline for this year, carefully cutting up the twelve months into four quarters and assigning major goals in each time frame. But that’s that. An attempt to imagine my 2013. In every shot to grab life by the neck, another head will just pop up. Then it’s an entirely new geste altogether.  And then there’s another aspect of yourself you will discover, another chance for you to extend your capacity as a being of the universe, to live bigger, live fuller and measure the year beyond its 365 days.

And as Fiona Apple put it,

Be kind to me or treat me mean,

I’ll make the most of it

I’m an extraordinary machine.

THEFUTUREJUSTHAPPENED

365 for 2012: (67) Resolute

It is not that one has not tried again and again to alter the course of the lines or the sound of the waves that bounce off the page. It is that there are stubborn thoughts that will not yield. It is that it already is what it should be as it was first conceived: as if  without beginning but with a definite end. 

——————————————–

And if my fingers find themselves

lost through your hair again,

if i take a whiff of you again

own you for one brief moment again

Then let go. And lose all these

that I’ve known. Will they say

it’s so wrong? Then set fire

to my soul. Nothing changes.

At the thought of your eyes alone

I burn. Again and again.

And from the ashes at your feet

I rise, again and again.

 

From the beginnings of the last quarter

October 16, 2012

 

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HAHAHAHA. –> “It’s not all bad,” she says, sitting across from me outside on a wooden bench while we drink our light beers. “At least, you’ll definitely be writing more.”
Read more at http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/i-want-you/#yczwwtBl3kFb4JqG.99

Overtaken, Underrun

Self-proclaimed casualties on a street

with no signs, one way

or another: the other can’t

go on, the other gets left behind.

 

 

**not filed under 365 for 2012 because this one is from the year past:

December 30, 2011 while making my way up North

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channeling Bukowski

so you want to be a writer

charles bukowski

 

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

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365 for 2012: (66) She of the Sun

For all the sons and daughters whose sources have made way for the sun.

She leaves the doors open

to let the light through,

make way for a breeze,

let the house breathe.

 

It was as if she knew exactly how the wind blew

so she could summon the scent of summer into the rooms.

 

She draws the curtains to the movements of the sun.

 

She, daughter of sweet siestas,

sister of Sundays

set to songs of sepia,

immortalized in hums,

merging with the rising

trail of smoke, scent

of finely crafted suppers.

 

She, lap for my naps,

fingers through my pigtails

and braided birthdays.

Fluffing the ruffles of party skirts,

source of rippling laughter.

The one at the end of an afternoon’s run,

arms outstretched, my destination.

Cure to splinters and scratches,

that touch, tender.  Kiss on the forehead,

tuck of the blanket  after the lullaby. She

stands by. She, guardian of dreams.

 

She, lady who flips the flaps

of schoolday lunch bags,

quick with ease, firm

certainty. Like an embrace

after a heartbreak. She knows,

she whispers: It will all be better.

 

Like dark hallways being lit by the afternoon,

through the windows, the heavens flood in.

Bringer of light, she draws the curtains.

 

The doors are open. Still.

The wind blows a warm breeze.

The rooms are as she would please.

Light falls, it rests.

Everything is at ease.

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365 for 2012: (65) A Note The Postman Lost

The same night whitening the same trees.

We, of that time, are no longer the same.

Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines, Pablo Neruda

Dear lover, there is no need

for you to tell me, again and

again that the night is

shattered . There are pieces

of it on the floor, the crumbs

of your leave heading for

the slam of the door. Shaking

the house, gently. Echoes, only 

a broken record: the voice

breaks, at that crack 

 

before the revelation: I no longer

love her, so suddenly, but maybe

I love her and again no longer — 

gibberish. There is dirt on the surface.

I could not wipe it off.

The poem could not end itself.

 

Dear lover, what nights we have

known: all the truths we have

thrown away to make way

for the ones we could own. 

Nothing about shivering

stars, pale moons, imagined

heavens , endless skies —  none

of those, only versions of hell. 

Where wars are lost

when heroes leave,

the white flag raised

then torn to bits. Oh, it is

 

all so simple: sometimes 

I loved, and then

sometimes I did not. 

When the rest of the world refuse to.

We held each other in our arms,

 blue stars shiver in the distance.

 

They lie when they say, dear

lover, I cannot have you.

 

The night is shattered.

Souls are not satisfied.

We are lost to this world, too.

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365 for 2012: (64) Bandits

Out of place, like invitations

for the anticipated absentee.

Misplaced, is it, an absent-minded

unintended misfit? Half-hearted guarantee.

 

Not where it belongs,

that should be returned,

Or lost . To be found again.

These belongings, owned at once,

then used, then worn out, then thrown.

So is the cycle of what we wanted,

what we took, what we had, what we stole.

 

We couldn’t place our names on it,

Harder to get rid of things we wish we owned.

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we flipped my quarter

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/45360365″>That Fresh Feeling – EELS</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user12442079″>zondagzanger</a&gt; on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

words can’t be that strong, my heart is reeling

this is that fresh , that fresh feeling

this is a love song. and this is dedicated to life.

because celebrating life does not end when the last party song is played or when daybreak signals the end of a birthday. not even when the late greetings stop coming at the end of the birthweek or birthmonth even.

you celebrate life  every single morning you wake up, acknowledging the mood of the sky for the day; you celebrate life with every sound you take in from the city and every sigh you breathe back; you celebrate life with every smile you accept and pass on,  every new flavor you discover, every scent you whiff, every sneeze that makes your heart skip a beat, every drip of sweat, every drop of blood, every dribble of drool, and every single blink and breath. you celebrate life with every ounce of love the universe allows you and you allow for the universe.

with every bit of yourself at every second that you can feel, then there is reason to live —  that is what you celebrate

i can only try so much to put the enormity of this joy into words, yet it will never be enough. (meron na ngang kanta, mamaya lalagyan ko pa ng image yan. medyo OA na pero di pa rin sasapat, i’m sure.) one more thing too bad is that i did not even bother to take pictures of that night myself. i was too caught up in the moment of being there with everyone that i failed to capture snapshots that  i could keep in a box to look back on whenever i feel the universe is playing some nasty game on me. but no matter. i can still feel, and will forever feel, with every pore of my body, that electric sensation of being superbly alive in each moment of that night. 

so. 25th birthday huh? and the best i could do is ramble, embed a music video into this delayed birthday-post (which can get me sued, by the way hahaha. but not really very funny.) and attempt (very lamely) to illustrate how much love i feel for life in this petty little corner of mine in cyberspace. 

but you know what? so what?

sometimes we forget how much love the universe actually allows us, showers us, drowns us in. yes, guilty as charged, more often than you could imagine. but now, it’s no longer just about accepting the love we think we deserve, it is knowing there is so much love to go around.  and if only every single person at every single minute is made to feel that love as well as is able to GIVE that love, then it will be a better world. 

in the last week, the people around me have successfully reminded me that it could indeed be a better world. and, yes, that i am loved. and i love you all back.

 so, therefore, let us all resolve to

i have faith that we will succeed. because we know how to actually live.

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365 for 2012: (63) Pagpupunla

Kung paano hinahagod ng patak

ng bagong-panganak na hamog

ang tuktok upang tuntunin ang dulo;

mariin, ninanamnam ang bawat

damping nag-iiwan ng bakas;

bago tuluyang maubos

pagdating sa ugat,

 

mamarkahan ko ang daraanan

ng mga halik na kasingnipis ng silahis

ng unang sikat ng araw

sa pagbuka ng langit.

 

Saka ako sasanib sa putik.

Makikiisa sa pinagmumulan, kaibuturan

ng mga lihim ng pamumulaklak, pagbunga,

pagkalanta. Doon ako magtatago.

Yayakap ang katawan ko, basang-basa,

sa bukal ng iyong pag-usbong.

         Punong-puno ng pangako,

         kumakayat sa pananatili. Naghihintay. 
 

Hanggang sa muling sunduin ng bukang-liwayway.

 

Lalapat sa kalupkop, sasalubong sa umaga.

Hinog at buo, muli tayong magtatagpo.

Pagbitak ng araw, doon tayo magkikita.

                                                Doon tayo magkikita.

                                                                  Doon tayo magkikita.

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365 for 2012: (62) Pag-inog ng Mundo

While listening to Ada Tayao‘s blues-y melody for ‘Lambat at Sagwan’ a song we wrote about fishermen, fishing, and sun movements, these verses came to me, sort of forcing itself into the music.

Such cheesy cerebral flatulence. It’s actually not even cerebral, but oh well. Carry on. 

 

Sumisikat na ang araw, dahan-dahan

Gumagapang ang liwanag sa ating paanan

Sa lilim ng kumot, oras ay ating tinakasan

Sa bisig ng isa’t-isa’y hinanap ang kalawakan

 

Humiram tayo ng kaunting sandali

sa mga bulalakaw na nagmamadali

At bago tuluyang bumagsak at maglaho

Dito sa bagong-tuklas nating langit tayo magtago

 

Tamnan mo ng mga halik ang buo kong katawan

At aani tayo ng tamis na kailanma’y ‘di tatabang

Sa kuyom ng palad ko, ang puso mo ay ipinid

Pag-ibig natin ang susi sa pag-inog ng daigdig

 

Paano bang natangay ako ng mga titig mo

At heto na tayo, bumabaybay ng bagong uniberso

Matutunton ba nila kung saan tayo papunta?

Hangga’t hindi pa, ipanatag muna ang pangamba

 

Ngunit  sa pagtirik ng araw sa tuktok ng kanyang trono,

Tanghaling tapat ang huhudyat sa ating prumeno

Saka mo tutuntunin ang daangtalang sinumpaan

Saka ko titiyaking hindi ako nakaharang sa inyong daan

 

Tamnan mo ng mga halik ang mga pisnging binasa ng luha

Mangarap na lang na may uusbong pang bulaklak

Sa kuyom ng mga palad natin ay ating ikukubli

Bakas ng pag-ibig na hindi maaaring manatili

 

Nagtanim ako ng mga halik sa lupang hindi ko maangkin

Sa bawat dampi ay inilibing ko ang mga lihim natin

Ang ating langit ay kinanlong ng walang-katiyakan

Alikabok na lang ng mga bulalakaw na naglaho ang naiwan

 

September 5, 2012, Pagadian  

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can i call you darling–

–and tell you how i am moved by the way your eyes caress me from that distance, two bottles of dark roast brew between us and a universe with seeming infinite possibilities in our hands on this table where the rest of the world is lost on us and the only people who know us are the waiters ever so loyal to bring us our elixir, make the night possible, permit us to prolong, stay

can i say, darling, lean closer, let the roll of the r elide into the curl of the l, the way tongues move – oh you know that well – and plant another kiss on your cheek, and another, and another. easy, it comes naturally. acquainted properly, our lips know where to go, what mark it will leave on the skin that anticipates, the body that craves, every inch that aches. we have imagined this so well. waited, so eagerly. darling, i whisper, and on your ear you will hear the blooming of a flower.

darling, darling daredevil slip your hands where it belongs, if you will. under the seat, behind the wheel and hold on, hold tight as we speed through the night. have we not always longed for dawn? to be bathed in the rays of a rising sun? finally, together, our morning no longer another typewritten daydream. there it is, don’t you see, at the turn of the highway, away from this city. or maybe, just maybe, under these sheets in a universe that knows only you, only me.

 

 

**a replica of this somewhere, lost in stealth

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i was writing a poem about waiting, about delusions of anticipated arrivals and denied certainties of absence. i was hoping to finish it before August ended, for more reasons than one, more as a sort of remembrance than a random deadline.

i could not finish the poem. something was lacking. something was still bound to come and complete the emotion, synthesize the thought. i thought at that time that i would never be able to  finish it.

and then that’s how i found the ending i needed.

———————-

 

You have a key to the door. And if you call, you know I will answer. 

 

 

 

 

365 for 2012: (61) Sky, Blue

there is something amiss,

 

 you notice the colors of my nails twice

and reckon, ‘that’s a piece of heaven

right there at the tips of your toes

and where your touch begins.’ the sky, 

painted on the edges of my body. something

i stole from when i took the fall. now,

reaching for that piece of paradise 

across the table, your hand gets stuck–

 

between anticipated temptations and bad luck.

 

remember, keep in synchronous rotation 

with the body that keeps you in place 

yet in constant motion. these things can be

as bright as the sun, dark as your doubt,

round as your woe. we know how

these things work. if we remember at all.  

 

it only seems random. but the distance 

between this body and that is deliberate.

calculated with precision. we move

according to rules of the universe, irrelevant

whether understood, implied, or imposed. 

 

how do we approximate matter and space?

what occupies us? what is missing?

where do burning bodies go?

 

and the color of our skies, on surfaces 

we think we own. may not be

how heaven appears to be at all.

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Note To Self: Jorge Luis Borges’ You Learn

You Learn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…
With every good-bye you learn.

and of course, in it’s original Spanish form…

Uno Aprende

Después de un tiempo, uno aprende la sutil diferencia 
entre sostener una mano y encadenar un alma;
Y uno aprende que el amor no significa acostarse 
y que la compañía no significa seguridad;
Y uno empieza a aprender que los besos no son contratos 
y los regalos no son promesas;
Y uno empieza a aceptar sus derrotas con la cabeza alta y los ojos abiertos;
Y uno aprende a construir todos sus caminos en el hoy, 
porque el terreno de mañana es demasiado incierto para planes 
y los futuros tienen una forma de caerse en la mitad.
Y después de un tiempo uno aprende que si es demasiado 
hasta el calorcito del sol quema.
Así que uno planta su propio jardín y decora su propia alma, 
en lugar de esperar a que alguien le traiga flores.
Y uno aprende que realmente uno puede aguantar, 
que uno realmente es fuerte, 
que uno realmente vale, 
y uno aprende y aprende…
y con cada día uno aprende.

 

Happy birthday Jorge Luis Borges. Oh the things I learn from you 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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365 for 2012: (60) Torn and Folded

at the back of a receipt, a scribble:

you held me as if knowing exactly

fading against creases: to find

torn edges, some parts– missing.

 

like a response to a song

heard on the car heading home,

roll the words around your head

over and over. burst of genius,

cloud of smoke. fireworks.

 

the view outside complements

a stirring within. it is the road’s

usual, flash of yellow lights, blurring

facades, the faceless rush. fleeting,

every inch you know and then don’t.

 

in the corner of your back pocket, another secret:

 

your breath travels to corners

your lips refuse to touch

your eyes, my salvation

my kiss, our sin

 

the adventure you seek

is the risk you couldn’t take.

moving further, we accelerate.

the other foot already on the brakes.

 

her letters are neatly piled inside

your heart. waiting to be opened.

 

my words are crumpled

in the clutch of your fist.

the night moves away from us,

we move away from us.

Typhoon Helen Consolidated Emergency Contact Information for Rescue and Relief Operations

Put this together from a Stumbleupon website and from my friend Jecel Censoro’s blog.  Feel free to share and repost for everyone’s inofrmation.

The list is constantly updated (gathered all over the net). 
If you want to add to the list, kindly add to the comments section. Thanks!

 

FOR REPORTS FOR RESCUE OPERATIONS:

Submit a report on E-Ugnay
http://e-ugnay.slb.ph/index.php/reports

RESCUE5PH
Hotline – (02)922-5155
For Makati Rescue hotline: 168 / 899-8928 / 896-2828 / 895-8243
https://twitter.com/RESCUE5PH
https://twitter.com/GlobeBridgeCom
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rescue-5/106739812770860

Sagip Kapamilya
Trunkline – +632-415-2272 loc 3765
Direct line – +632-411-4995
http://www.sagipkapamilya.com/
ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. Building Mother Ignacia Ave., corner Eugenio Lopez St., Quezon City

Red Cross
http://www.redcross.org.ph/
https://www.facebook.com/phredcross
“If you need to be rescued, call 143 and 527-0000. Put a white blanket outside your house so rescuers can locate where you are.” (RED CROSS)

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)
Hotline – (02)911-1406
https://www.facebook.com/ndrrmc

City of Bacoor Disaster Risk Reduction & Mgt Office
Hotline – 0464710727 or 0464171100.

Emergency numbers:
Red Cross – 143, (02)911-9875; (02)912-2665;
PNP – 117

Evacuation / Temporary Shelter:

From ADMU https://www.facebook.com/ateneodemanila

From Mr. Rene Salvador San Andres/ADSA:
To all members of the Ateneo community:
If you need a dry and safe place where your household members could stay to wait out the rains, we have designated some classrooms for this purpose.
If your vehicles have Ateneo gate pass stickers and you wish to secure them in a safe place, you may park them at the P-1 parking area of the Ateneo Loyola campus.
Kindly notify the gate guards upon entry.

For traffic & flood updates:

https://twitter.com/MMDA
https://twitter.com/MakatiTraffic
https://twitter.com/SkywaySOMCO

MMDA Flooding control: 882-4177, 882-0925

For Relief Operations / Donations / Volunteers:

Drop-off areas for relief goods:

 

MANILA

B1G South Ministry is fixing a “B1G Love for Flood Victims Drive”. Need the following; USABLE clothes, canned goods, rice, sugar, medicines (paracetamol, vitamins, cough meds etc.) and cash if you can. For volunteers, pls text 09189267392 or 09178866645.
————————————————————————————————————————–
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MANDALUYONG
From GERALD MATTHEW ESTEVES EUSTAQUIO:
 
For those in the Mandaluyong area who want to help: Keys Grade School and Via High School will be operating a drop off center for relief goods tomorrow.Address: 951 Luna Mencías Street corner Araullo Street, Addition Hills, Manadaluyong.Needed are ready to eat canned goods, water, blankets and rain coats. Thank you!

————————————————————————————————————–

LASALLIAN RELIEF OPERATIONS:

LA SALLE GREEN HILLS

343 Ortigas Avenue, Mandaluyong City

Kindly drop your donations at Gate 2 along Ortigas Avenue
Volunteers and Cash Donations: Look for Marlo Castillo of the Lasallian Mission OfficeDE LA SALLE ZOBEL
University Avenue, Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City
Kindly drop your donations at Gate 7
Inquiries: Please contact Mr. Jayjay Jacinto of the Social Action Office at 09178597602WHAT TO DONATE:
Ready to eat food (does not require cooking, and preferably in easy to open cans or pouches)
Bottled Water
Usable Clothes
Rice
Canned Goods
Noodles
Blankets
Mats

————————————————————————————————————–

MAKATI
ANGEL BRIGADE accepts relief goods
 
You may bring ito to Frank Provost Bldg, 120 Jupiter St., BelAir Makati. Tel: 8970383 / 8970307.

————————————————————————————————————–

PASAY

DWSD NATIONAL RELIEF OPERATIONS

Volunteers needed to help repack relief goods.

For volunteers, pls call DSWD Nat’l Relief Operation Cent’r: 09189302356 or call 852-8081. (chapel road, near air transportation office in NAIA 2)

—————————————————————————————————————–

QUEZON CITY

PILIPINAS NATIN OPERATION WALANG IWANAN OPERATION

We are in need of volunteers for repacking of relief goods in DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) Gate 1, Quezon City Circle.

For more information, please contact us at 0916.320.0809.

—————————————————————————————————————
OPERATION WALANG IWANAN NOW ACTIVATED!
 
GK Command Center for relief operations for North NCR is at HRD Training Center, Department of Agrarian Reform Compound, Quezon City (take Gate 1). We are ready to accept relief goods.
 
Initial target is 1000 food packs. We need rice, instant noodles, canned goods, bread, coffee and sugar. 

 
For more details, updates, and ways to donate, please click link:http://gk1world.com/ncr-monsoon-flooding
———————————————————————————————————————
ATENEO RELIEF OPERATIONS
 
Official announcement from Associate Dean for Student Affairs of the Ateneo Rene Salvador San Andres:
 
To all members of the Ateneo community:
If you need a dry and safe place where your household members could stay to wait out the rains, we have designated some classrooms for this purpose. 

If your vehicles have Ateneo gate pass stickers and you wish to secure them in a safe place, you may park them at the P-1 parking area of the Ateneo Loyola campus.

Kindly notify the gate guards upon entry.

——————————————————————————————————————-

ISKO OPERATION

Isko Operation is now accepting donations for those who are badly affected by the weather.

Donations for relief goods can be brought or sent to USC Office, Vinzons Hall or to your respective college councils.

VOLUNTEERS will also be needed for packing and distribution.

(We will start the relief operations as soon as possible, we will keep everyone posted)

For inquiries, kindly contact your USC or college councils thru 09277571005 or 09065701029

—————————————————————————————————————–

PTV4

PTV Broadcast Complex, Visayas Avenue, Diliman QC.

Hotline 09215283325

——————————————————————————————————————-

SIMBAHANG LINGKOD BAYAN

Cash donations are now accepted by SLB.

CASH/CHECK DONATIONS

Direct deposits may be made to:

SIMBAHANG LINGKOD NG BAYAN (Account Name/Payee)
Bank of the Philippine Islands, Loyola Katipunan Branch
BPI PESO Checking Account Number 3081-1111-61
BPI Dollar Savings Account Number 3084-0420-12
SWIFT CODE: BOPIPHMM
ROUTING NO: 021 – 0000 – 21 or channel to:

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan
Loyola House of Studies
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights 1108, Quezon City

DONATE VIA GCASH

1. REGISTER (one time only)
Text REG<space>4-digit PIN/Mother’s Maiden Name/First Name/Last Name/Address and send to 2882

Example: REG<space> 1928/Sanchez/Michael/Borromeo/187 Naval St. , Novaliches, QC

2. DONATE

To send your donations:

DONATE AMOUNT MPIN SLB or slb and send to 2882
Example: DONATE 100 1928 slb

———————————————————————————————————————

From Fr. Bong Tupino, PARISH PRIEST OF CHRIST THE KING, GREEN MEADOWS:

The priests of the Diocese of Cubao have been texting asking for food and water for the evacuees in their respective parishes. Meds such as paracetamol and cough and cold medicines would also be of great help.

Diocese of Cubao:

41 Lantana Street, Cubao, 1109 Quezon City
Tel. No.: (02)723-5114, 723-4514, 723-9725, 721-6225
Fax: (02)723-5114, 723-7847
——————————————————————————————————————-
AKBAYAN RELIEF CENTER is now accepting donations for relief drive.
 
Kindly send/bring food items, water, blanket at Akbayan HQ
36B Madasalin St. Sikatuna Village QC
or contact us at (02) 4336933 / 09175381816 / 09064304315
for those who want to volunteer. Thank you!
——————————————————————————————————————-
PANAWAGAN MULA SA GMA KAPUSO FOUNDATION
 
Ang GMA Kapuso Foundation ay nagsasagawa ng Operation Bayanihan: Relief Operations upang damayan ang mga kasalukuyang sinasalanta ng baha at walang tigil na ulan sa Metro Manila at iba pang panig ng Luzon.Para sa mga nais magbigay ng material na donasyon gaya ng ready to eat food, bigas, pagkaing de-lata, bottled water, damit, banig, kumot, gamut, maaari itong dalhin sa tanggapan ng GMA Kapuso Foundation, 2nd Floor, Kapuso Center, GMA Network Drive cor. Samar St., Diliman, Quezon City; o kaya ay tumawag sa mga telepono bilang 9284299 at 9289351.Para sa cash donation, maaari rin po kayong mag-deposito sa numang branch ng Metrobank, UCPB at Cebuana Lhuillier. Wala pong service fee na ibabawas sa inyong donasyon patungo sa GMA Kapuso Foundation.METROBANK

Peso Savings
Account Name: GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Number: 3-098-51034-7Dollar Savings
Account Name:GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Number:2-098-00244-2
Code: MBTC PH MMUNITED COCONUT PLANTERS BANK (UCPB)
Peso Savings
Account Name: GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Number:115-184777-2 or 160-111277-7Dollar Savings
Account Name: GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Number: 01-115-301177-9 or 01-160-300427-6
CEBUANA LHUILLIER
 
Maraming salamat, mga Kapuso!
————————————————————————————————
ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY
 
Hi everyone! The Ateneo DReaM team is now accepting donations at the Cervini Lobby in ADMU.Please donate food (canned goods, those we can cook), water, and blankets. No clothes for now please. Thank you very much!
—————————————————————————————————-
——————————————————————————————————–
UP STUDENT CATHOLIC ACTION
 
UPSCA is calling everyone to give donations. Sa mga hindi possible na makadaan ng tambayan namin, just contact me and ako na lang kukuha ng inyong mga donations.Salamat ng marami! I hope makapagbigay kayo.Francesca Magcaleng
National and University Affairs Bureau Head
09267621366/09228182184
cmagcaleng@gmail.com
—————————————————————————————————————————-
DAKILA PH
We will be collecting relief goods.drop them at Unit 3A VS1 Building #34 Kalayaan Ave. Quezon City. (Near corner V. Luna)
—————————————————————————————————————————-
NATIONAL AND OUTSIDE MANILA
DONATE TO RED CROSS
 
For those who are staying home and want to help, they can donate to Red Cross:
Text RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart), or thru 7-11 and Cebuana Lhuillier.
———————————————————————————————————————

BIG SOUTH MINISTRY IS FIXING A “BIG LOVE FOR FLOOD VICTIMS DRIVE”

Need the following; USABLE clothes, canned goods, rice, sugar, medicines (paracetamol, vitamins, cough meds etc.) and cash if you can.

For volunteers, pls text 09189267392 or 09178866645.

——————————————————————————————————————

ANYLA Batangas, SERVE THE PEOPLE BRIGADE SOUTHERN LUZON AT KALIKASAN GROUP RELIEF OPERATION
 
Kasalukuyan po kaming nangangalap ng TULONG at DONASYON (pagkain, pinansya, mga lumang damit, bigas, toiletries, kumot, malinis na tubig etc.) para sa relief operations sa mga nasalanta ng bagyong Gener sa Southern Tagalog.
 
Maaring dalhin o sadyain ang mga sumusunod na donasyon sa No.3 Reyes Apartment 681 Barangay 7, Sinagtala, Lipa City
 
Maaaring makipagugnayan po kay Ellaine Dimayuga sa numerong 09276365663 / 09091363607
—————————————————————————————————————–
GIVE-BACK-CEBU
 
Friends in Cebu who want to help out the flood victims in Manila, please check out this organization to coordinate pick-ups of your donations or simply volunteer to assist in their efforts: https://www.facebook.com/pages/GIVE-BACK-CEBU/455102557845174
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DE LA SALLE HEALTH SCIENCES INSTITUTE, DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER (DLSUMC)
Dasmariñas, Cavite(Repost from Ces Tirona)

For those in Cavite area, please bring your donations at
DLSUMC Bldg 1 & 3 lobbyRelief operations started last August 3,2012
—————————————————————————————————

LASALLIAN RELIEF OPERATIONS
(as of 11:30 AM, August 7, 2012)

LA SALLE GREEN HILLS
343 Ortigas Avenue, Mandaluyong City
Kindly drop your donations at Gate 2 along Ortigas Avenue
Volunteers and Cash Donations: Look for Marlo Castillo of the Lasallian Mission Office
 
DE LA SALLE ZOBEL
University Avenue, Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City
Kindly drop your donations at Gate 7
Inquiries: Please contact Mr. Jayjay Jacinto of the Social Action Office at 09178597602
WHAT TO DONATE:
Ready to eat food (does not require cooking, and preferably in easy to open cans or pouches)
Bottled Water
Usable Clothes
Rice
Canned Goods
Noodles
Blankets
Mats
————————————————————————-
SCAP RELIEF
 
The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines and its member schools will be conducting relief operations for severely affected areas such as Quezon City, Marikina City, Caloocan and Pasig.

NCR and GMA Member Schools:
Ateneo de Manila University
De La Salle University-Manila
University of the Philippines-Diliman
University of the Philippines-Manila
University of the Philippines-Los Banos
University of the East-Manila
Colegio de San Juan de Letran
San Beda College-Manila
Polytechnic University of the Philippines-College of Communications
University of Asia and the Pacific
De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde
——————————————————————————————————————

DWSD National Relief Operations

Volunteers needed to help repack relief goods.

For volunteers, pls call DSWD Nat’l Relief Operation Cent’r: 09189302356 (chapel road, near air transportation office in NAIA 2)

—————————————————————————————————————–

 

GUYS. Feel free to add any information that can be useful for this event.

Jecel Censoro

MANILA
————————————————————————————————————————–
**************************************************************************************
MANDALUYONG
From GERALD MATTHEW ESTEVES EUSTAQUIO:
For those in the Mandaluyong area who want to help: Keys Grade School and Via High School will be operating a drop off center for relief goods tomorrow.Address: 951 Luna Mencías Street corner Araullo Street, Addition Hills, Manadaluyong.Needed are ready to eat canned goods, water, blankets and rain coats. Thank you!
————————————————————————————————————–
ANGEL BRIGADE accepts relief goods
You may bring ito to Frank Provost Bldg, 120 Jupiter St., BelAir Makati. Tel: 8970383 / 8970307.

***************************************************************************************

PASAY

DWSD NATIONAL RELIEF OPERATIONS

Volunteers needed to help repack relief goods.

For volunteers, pls call DSWD Nat’l Relief Operation Cent’r: 09189302356 or call 852-8081. (chapel road, near air transportation office in NAIA 2)

—————————————————————————————————————–

QUEZON CITY

PILIPINAS NATIN OPERATION WALANG IWANAN OPERATION

We are in need of volunteers for repacking of relief goods in DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) Gate 1, Quezon City Circle.

For more…

View original post 1,738 more words

washed over

i thought i could put myself to sleep but there you go rushing through side streets, rising from the sewers, catching the rest of the sky and taking it with you into the gaps between the doors and the walls. slowly you reach for the first flight of stairs, inching your way to the top of the fridge and the cabinets. scaring them away, pushing them towards the ceiling, higher if they could find a place to stay, to hold their weight, to keep them from you. restless you seep into every nook, every surface of the city. from the walls of the sea and the floors of the rivers, to the palms of hands that wait behind lit windows, and even cheeks hide under pillows to muffle the sounds you running across the roofs. the city is being cleansed, is it right? what else will be wiped off at the end of the night?

Cosmic and Magical, Movies and La Lune

Earlier this year I wrote an entry about my fixation for the moon. Okay, maybe I have had some other entries about the moon because I do go crazy about it every month. But just to distinguish from other entries it’s the one that talks about AIR’s album and George Melies’s films La Voyage Dans La Lune.

That was in February.

Today I just watched Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.

And I am no less than delighted in the superlative sense.

I don’t know why it took so long for me to actually see this film. I deserve a whack on the head for that. It brings together a lot of the things I love: Scorsese of course, the strange mix of superb actors (Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen,  Chloe Grace Moretz, Asa Butterfield,  Helen McCrory, and Jude Law), Brian Selznick being the author of the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret – also a wonderful read – which the movie is based on, and then the most touching story about George Melies as a filmmaker. It is historical fiction, yes, almost a sort of fantastical one and that’s what’s so charming about it.

I don’t know why I’m pushed to write about this. I don’t usually do this – write reviews or gather my thoughts about a specific film in a narrative sense, except for those very particularly moving ones.

And Bob’s your uncle.

I’ve always been fascinated about Melies and his work technically because he is a pioneer in the use of special effects in moviemaking. But I think I am drawn to him more because of the idea that he sort of employed magic in the way he made his films during the time that it was made. The way cinema has evolved and continues to evolve in this day and age pushing the boundaries of delight for all of the senses of those who watch we owe to the man who started to tell the story about rockets landing on celestial bodies. And Scorsese just sort of pulled another bunny out of the hat. It’s an old trick but, really, tell me who is never delighted by it?

It’s a sort of cosmic charm that makes me fall in love with this every time. The movies, I mean. Sometimes the universe gives you the perfect story to let the moment elide itself into. It leaves you wondering how the hell the perfect story lands on your lap exactly when you need it to.

I have to thank a friend who told me I should watch this film. He knew I would be delighted. Superlatively so.

 

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365 for 2012: (59) Para Sa Aming Mga Anak At Susunod Pa

Aba ginoong Mariya

nauubusan na kami ng grasya.

Bukod kaming pinahihirapan:

babae, lalake, tomboy, bakla.

Anong pagpapala pa ang aasahan ng aming mga anak?

Santa Mariya ina ka rin naman.

Kung para sa aming kapakanan

Paano nagiging makasalanan?

Hihintayin niyo pa ba kaming magkamatay-matay?

 

Amen? Inyo na lang.

 

——————————————————-

While I am seriously bordering on hair-pulling-head-banging-on-the-wall frustration, these are the times when I have to tap on my own faith and implore my muses of patience. There are just some people you cannot reason with. As for the rest of the more supposedly comprehending populace, how about taking a read at this and finally actually gaining a sense of understanding about what we’re fighting for? It’s easy. Ten items, really. Bite-size, if you may.

 

TEN FACTS ABOUT THE RH BILL.

 

 

I have no other comprehensive or pa-profound take on the issue. It’s supposed to be crystal clear, no need for frills.

My only prayer now is that people actually truly understand what valuing human life really means and how we show that in this generation reflects on how the next generation will view life as it is.

Amen.

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I’ll Write You In Until I Could Sleep

I write you into the night like this:

if Joni was singing beside me she would have already hurled on my bed, the case being constantly revisited. and the blinking cursor awarded the medal of honor for always giving in to my unwillingness to blink back. the line-cuts are non-existent where they should be because the spill of thoughts refuse to let them in. and when the foot couldn’t reach for the brakes, we speed forward farther. it’s getting harder to go back. 

it could have gone into the style of Neruda channeling the moonbeam on the windowsill or tears that turn into oceans the way hearts are ripped apart by continental differences. But all I have is a love song gathering mold on my iPod and an online journal where I gather shame writing you into the night like this.

Others have absolutely less. And we have been so lucky to have found each other in the city. Your car neatly parked below the balcony I lean over to reach for some sense of the scenery. They have made us drunk and so unsatisfied. We walk past them who live off another breath if they be allowed. You don’t even hold my hand.

If you make me feel small it is not because you do not talk to me at the mark of the green light. It is because I realize I could not cut through you the way caged animals could. Although if you start believing in the cause of freeing Beluga whales then maybe there would be hope for you and me. And maybe we can skip fast food on our morning-after delivery. 

We can cook and wash dishes and segregate our junk and leave our shoes under the couch and know the way in is through the door but not the way out. Look, outside on the next street they’re building another part of the city. There will be another window there, another girl held, another heart staring out. This is what feeling has cost me, nobody gets anything for free. So I write, and I don’t let the pen breathe. The next time the city knocks into my walls and tells me there is so much more to turn into that road for, I’ll write you in. I’ll write you in deep.

365 for 2012: (58 – Random**) Confessions

This is their method of extracting 

our stories. First, the isolation.

 

 Where it is still and quiet, questions are

asked. The process is done 

and repeated: a tip of the chin, a click

of the tongue, a slick

look from the side, sweeps past

your eyes. Twice over, if

you fail to deliver

the truth. Then, here, still

us, quiet, the way words unspoken are loud.

We all know that by now.

 

What are you afraid of? If this is

the way our bodies emerge from underneath

blankets and dim lights. The will

of the flesh, our breath, our mouths;

our travels down south. The paradise

we know destroyed by fear?

 

The narrative of the consequence,

is yet to be made. Still, there will be 

you and me. Our stories known or not.

 

Take my hand under the table, they’ll ask

you again. This time, keep

the secret pressed between our palms.

Slip it beneath our skins, we will

                                                                                     never let them in. 

**Again, without much thought.

patterns beyond sleep

i have stopped waiting for sunrise. but morning after morning, it creeps in. it makes its way through the thicket of rainfall, slithering through disappearing stars, spilling onto my bedroom floor. it enters my room, finds a spot at the crevice between the wall and where my body crumbles. it has no voice but it speaks the truth: morning has come and i am still waiting. in twenty-four hours it will happen again. and again. and again. but maybe on a different morning the pillow will be somewhere else, the wall would look back sooner, my body will not be on the bed. not this bed, maybe another. morning is certain to arrive everyday. to subject one’s self to wait is borne out of an illusion that there is something special about the arrival. maybe because the return is as certain as the departure. this is how we know things should be. as children, we were taught that morning light comes to take the place of a dark night. growing up, they tell us that the night is darkest before the dawn. some of us were convinced the moon and the stars are just as, if not even more, beautiful. our lives revolve around the movement of nights and days. we are bound by the habit of the universe. we are made to believe that this is how things should be. what celestial bodies do not shed light on is this: how are we able to feel the absence of something that is always there anyway?

sometimes an  arrival does not signify the return from a departure. sunrise will come again tomorrow.

 

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365 for 2012: (57 – Random**) Switch On

All the lights are bright, each corner

of my periphery is lit. there is nowhere to go, look

 

gaze, stare

 

long enough it might get a little dark

has it been that long?

             the whole time. been staring

waiting, when i catch your eyes

wandering off to this side of the room

 

this signal of a smile

this beckoning of a breath.

 

has it been that long?

the whole room, it’s bright

in here, no way out.

 

staring the whole time.

 

time to turn down the lights,

dim, a little yellow.

the way we used to,

the only thing to see.

 

gaze, beckon, stare. stare. stare.

 

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*Random, meaning without much thought. But with fond, sincere memory.

On PETA’s William: Redefining Nosebleeds

We are lucky to have gotten out alive. See, the final number always threatened to drain the oxygen out of our bodies, not to mention the rap songs that could tangle a tongue out of one’s throat. And don’t get me started on the monologues in Old English and iambic pentameter. Shakespeare is dead. But we tried, dared, to raise him from the grave. Now, we live to tell the tale of a play so dynamic in its being we’d actually perform it instead.

In the beginning, we were quite overwhelmed by the thought of William Shakespeare himself. Really, who wouldn’t be? Any ordinary citizen of the world we call the stage would concur that Shakespeare is one tough nut to crack. But we got our chompers on, scripts in one hand, English literature references in the other, pencils behind our ears and coffee in our veins. Trust us to lock ourselves in a pressure cooker with just a 20-day period for cooking, operated by the desire to shed some new light on THE Bard. This, hopefully, fingers and toes crossed, would convince some Marky, Bhe, Jowhie or Jezza and the rest of their high school barkada to take interest in him and his works. All this in rap, hip-hop and regional accents, mind you.

By the time we’ve put it together, we were still so scared. We didn’t know if it would work, if anybody would buy the rapping of pentameters, the stage of stools, the bits of monologue, the onstage romances, and using Shakespeare’s text to speak of high school students’ issues. On critics’ night, our nerves were so racked on edge we couldn’t stop hugging each other backstage and assuring each other that we’ll pull through. The preview wasn’t perfect, but we pulled through. Oh yes, we effin’ pulled through.

We chipped a tooth here and there but we did not dislocate our jaws biting on this nut. We nibbled on it, little by little, until we found out that everybody, anybody can crack the nut. (Okay, the nut referring to Shakespeare and not just one nut we’re going to chew as community. I’m mixing up my metaphors but you get it.) We just had to make sure that the people watching would get it, too. We had to make sure that the young audience would actually walk out of the theater and think “Yeah, I guess Shakespeare’s not that bad. In fact he’s kind of awesome. Oh, and yeah, my life ain’t that bad either. If those color-coded students onstage can deal, I’ll deal, too!”

This was the thought that pushed us, what kept us going. Our fuel, if I be allowed a cliché. So what if we’ve read our Shakespeare bits in the script and analyzed it in conjunction with the characters of the play? Not enough. The audience, they too, should be able to see and feel the magic of Shakespeare at work. Not just as pieces of literature one studies but also as pieces of art that reflect life and help you face it head on, the way that the same passages we read as characters touched us actors and helped us with our messy lives. We needed to make sure we did justice to the characters in the script. That the lines we spoke went beyond just plain storytelling. Life had to be breathed into it. We knew it wasn’t going to be enough for just one actor to take charge of the breathing-life-into-the-character business. Everyone had to work for and with everyone, not just the actors, but every single one of the artistic and production staff.

And that’s what we did. Every single show we hugged each other and told ourselves we’ll pull that show through. Every single show we stood in a circle backstage and reminded ourselves why we were doing this, who we’re doing it for, and prayed, universe help us, that each and every single one of us be there for the other once the lights came on. Every single show was like that. The entire run felt like a drive through a single-lane rough road on a mountain’s edge, one wrong swerve meant sudden death. We were thankful for the applause but it never put us at ease. We just couldn’t relax. We owed it to our audience to keep pushing ourselves, to keep the ball rolling, never let it drop.

We knew things were going well not just because BBC picked up on the buzz the show was able to create. We knew we were getting through because of the rise in the sales of books of and on Shakespeare being sold at the lobby during our shows. We knew we were getting through to our audience because they started creating fan pages, convincing their friends and classmates to watch William, maintaining a thread of discussion on the topic among themselves, and, this one I should say would be the most flattering thing for a thespian – inspire some of them to actually get into theater themselves. We knew things were going well but we never imagined it would be this good.

Now, we have trophies we can actually boast of, the prestige of being awarded the best play despite being up against ‘em theater biggies. We got our share of pat-on-the-back but that’s it. What happens now? What happens is that we wait for the house to open, music to come on, and then we stand in our circle and remind ourselves of the very same thing we held on to since our opening: we do this for the love of our company, for the love of each other, for the love of our audience, and for the love of theater.

Whip your hankies out Williamates, tilt your chins up, and breathe. We’ll get through another nosebleed and be better because of it.

365 for 2012: (56) Rush Hour

There, where you should have been

standing five minutes ago, all at once occupied

and emptied by commuters chasing  buses  

that approach and leave. I place myself

precisely in-between distances

of come and go and constant transit.

 

Across the street, a waiting

shed: dilapidated. Waiting 

to be torn down. Will it be

replaced by another, a new

improved nook for passing time,

anticipating comings and goings.

 

Here, nobody wants to wait

too long. Nobody stays.

Yet hurrying away, they wonder

if somewhere, anywhere, somebody

takes note of their arrival. Hoping,

if they get there fast enough

they wouldn’t leave.

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Smoky Room, Yellow Light, Persistent Desires

This one. Ash on my fingertips, dribble of scotch from the corner of my lips. My sin, my soul. Sole. One step ahead of the fall. Him, honey? Tip of the tongue, flick of desire, taste of sugar traced behind the pucker of your lips. A world of delight inside your mouth. This, baby, baby? A tiptoe, a tuck of the  nose under your chin. You, upright, top of your head seven inches away. Me, at dawn, in the crevice of your arms, we lie down, nose to nose. At sunrise, asleep, the length of a sigh separates our cheeks.  A nest of limbs, the length of our reach stretch on to trap the other.  This one, a name known only from backlit screens. This one, under the sheets a body I can own. Mine. What I can reach for. Exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged imagined. Look, this one: entangled, torn.

**Referencing Nabokov’s Lolita for my own delusions. 

A Roadblock of Sorts

The poems, they come and go.

Or they stay just an inch away from the gutter waiting to be picked up. One poses beneath the broken streetlight. Another melts inside an unplugged fridge. One more gathers molds among a row of old shoes. The other hides under a blanket of fallen leaves.

Poke at it till your pen bleeds. It pokes you back so you can’t sleep.

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The Things That The City Tells Us

Inside the train, the bodies are still. Everyone is rushing home, hoping to catch what everybody else will be watching on TV. Strangers avoid each other’s stares, thinking the same thoughts. Outside the tinted windows, large squares of imposed ideals are lit brightly. The same brand of age-defying cream sits inside an old woman’s plastic bag. The girl beside her wears the very pair of shoes that overlook the highway. She is thinking of the man in the picture. He smiles at her through the camera lens and poses for the rest of the world.

The train speeds past. Nobody takes note yet they all remember. The brand names go on the shopping lists, usually never tried nor tested. They believe the ladies that smile and the hunks that stare. They hold the truths, the ones who can afford the size and height over everyone else. These are the things that the city tells us, we take it all in and believe.

In a moment, everyone is exactly where they should be, thinking exactly what they should, knowing just about enough of the rest of the world. Their thoughts are to themselves, like everybody else. The doors slide open to give way for people to move in and out. The train moves through the city. One path, back and forth, never-changing. The same view blurs past empty stares. Inside, everyone is still. 

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i am not inspired. i am just going to force myself to churn out some words so as not to waste some empty minutes online.

 

apparently moments like this really exist. there is nothing that needs to be expressed yet you want so badly to make up something just to feel that you’re in touch with the craft. even my journal entries these past few days have become empty chronological accounts of daily activities. i make the pen meet the paper out of habit. nothing else. there is a bland air to the self these days. almost a kind of numbing. it is just that i am so afraid of losing the habit of writing again. although i shouldn’t be afraid because i should not lose that habit. but i guess it is a good thing to be afraid at times. shakes up the balance. keeps things in check. kinda drives you nuts too. makes you ask questions. makes you wanna read books. makes you wanna engage in conversations. never mind that most of the sane world would remark that these are things you need not say, need not ask, need not think, need not feel. but screw the rest of the planet. the need-nots need not be entertained.

i am not inspired. but the wonderful discovery here is that you can imagine being inspired. and then you will be.

 

lovely.

 

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a few times before, i have stood over the edge of a building’s rooftop and stared at the ground several floors away from me. i would imagine myself taking one more step towards that fall. in a breath i would turn my back to the street and face the sky. i would be smiling, i’m sure, guessing at what precise moment my body would hit the pavement. the clouds would stare back at me and shift shapes. the light would be blinding, perhaps. i would be falling to make my way to that sky. and when my body shatters on hard earth, that’s when true flight begins. i imagine it now, it makes my insides turn and my hairs stand on end. the rush of the air is real.

there is no particular reason for this. no, i have no broken heart nor a stagnant career. i have quite a fulfilling life, i would say. it is not the end result that is death that i seek. it would be counter-productive. it is just the rush, the jump, the turn, the drop. it is  just utter curiosity for what it feels like to step over the edge and fall with utmost uncertainty. and fall without knowing when it will actually end. it must be quite a thrill. surely quite a thrill.

 

 

Emphasis on Recurrence

One right through the target. Bang.

Matchbox Maladies

the grayness of the morning and the cool drizzle conjures in me an excruciating desire to reach for that patch of your back hidden beneath your hair and run my fingers down to trace the line of your spine and find that crevice of your waist where my palm will rest and wait for your fingers to come and converge with mine

but you do not rest under these sheets with me

i have to be the one to go to you and place myself precisely at the curve of embrace your body opens for me on your bed

inside where you are, we exist to each other like comforts we cannot let go of, in this distance we are waiting for the other to express their longing hoping that one is not rejected, hoping for another night we chase to the break of dawn

we wake up in a…

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It Only Takes That One Precise Second You’ve Already Seen Before

I was watching a video about New York and on the 18th second I felt that inexplicable pang of a moment’s recurrence, so precise it hits you right at the center of your gut. The other day, the same blow struck me while our car turned from a church’s parking lot onto a street where the double-parked cars are covered with dust and fallen leaves. Shortly before the car made that turn, there was an encounter that I’ve been trying to wrap my head on. The universe plays funny games. The universe often changes the rules of the game just when you’ve wrapped your head around it.

There is no music to accompany this entry because my sister is asleep at the foot of my bed. No sentiment of an empty Saturday morning because it is a Tuesday and it will not be quite as empty as I hope the day would be since we are supposed to celebrate freedom of national proportions, no matter how fallacious it actually is. They say moments that recur, AKA de ja vu, are memories of a future one has already witnessed. Again, fallacious because how can one have memories of a future? Imagined futures, maybe. But then those shouldn’t be called memories, they are like streaks of clairvoyance. Some people believe that experiencing deja vu means that one is on the right track in life. One gets a glimpse of the future precisely because it is the path one must tread. I think there is no one right track. Moreover, I think one can actually define and make a track right if desired. Isn’t it strange how human beings associate the accuracy of a life’s course with a splitsecond of certainty yet the circumstances around it without due clarity? Uncanny, Freud would label it.

I mull over this because it has obstructed my original intention for blogging which is to talk about excruciating longing. Because now I am fixated with the idea that I may be experiencing the right kind of desire because the recent experience of a recurring moment is supposed to justify the predicament I find myself in. When the car turned from the church gates to the street, certainty hits me like an arrow to a bullseye. And yet, in as quick as the moment hits me, uncertainty washes over me like an Indian monsoon. Whatever. I’ll leave it to the wind and the drizzle of this gray morning. I’ll keep to my sheets and clench my fist under the pillow. Because when I turn to my side you will not be there. In another morning, maybe, you will be. But until then, I have nothing but arrows from the universe, hitting me in precise target points I never knew existed.

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a friend was telling me this morning that the sense of longing is often brought about by  change in a routine that the person follows — weekend picnics, phone calls in the evening, waking up to a person holding your hand, a constant comfort throughout the day. so, to prevent one’s self from being thrown into a pit of nauseating longing, one must steer clear of routines that the self can grow too familiar with. do not slink into the safety of seemingly secure habits. find comfort in the uncertain.

365 for 2012: (52) Fluid

beyond surface marks,

a ripple embeds itself.

the presence persists

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May 23, 17:50 pm. Revisiting the thought.

touching the   beyond surface marks,

a ripple embeds itself.

the presence persists

persisting presence.

And  this gives birth to another thought.


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Under Dim Streetlights

Here is something I copied and pasted from the notes section of my iTouch. Even during a cab ride from Makati to Quezon City, the city tries to get through past the tinted car window. You just have to catch it before it gets lost at the next corner. The journey provides the process, the thoughts become the story to tell. 

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May 14, 2012 9:32pm

I’m inside a cab snaking through Manila, from a different city towards another city. The rain taps on the window I stare out from. I stare out far, thinking of what deep thoughts to occupy myself, internalizing the moment like a sequence from a film. Maybe something about families and the struggle with distance. Or how to get the kids off the streets. Or the problem of garbage. And water. And hunger. Or maybe just him. Maybe just hoping to hear from him before I sleep. Then the light will fall the way it does in the movies while in my head the soundtrack of the moment plays. Fundamental loneliness might fit it. Or that’s more like a song that will play while I’m biking to meet my lover at sunrise. The thing is I don’t know how to bike. Haha. And that’s the needle that pops the bubble. Im back in my cab. Now a lady sings in Spanish and the driver rants about men looking more and more like women. What’s the world come to, he asks. I think of all the men I did not choose and then all the men who didn’t choose me. Manong driver takes a sudden turn, a detour. It will be easier this way, he says. He chooses the way, I do not complain. The street we are on is called Sobriedad and the children play in the rain. It is past their bedtime. And I haven’t had dinner. Actually, no decent meal the entire day. I think of why I made my choices. The woman sitting under a dilapidated waiting shed reminds me of why I chose to leave a man who wanted to take me away. I do not know where we are anymore. The street names are unfamiliar. But we are moving fast. I think we’ll be there soon. I do not know the way but I’ll get to where I have to be. I am after all in a city that owns me. There is no running away. There is no need to run away. The driver steers clear of roads that can get us stuck. I let myself be taken away. Somewhere, the cameras are rolling. Another song, still  in Spanish: quizas, quizas, quizas.

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Monday Morning Prayer

Universe teach me to keep my faith in your workings.

Ignite in me again the fascination for watching things fall the way they should, to have the will to open my palms and let the raindrops slide through my fingers. 

Remind me again the story of the rainbow. 

Put my heart at ease, let my soul know strength. Help me believe.

 

Throw me a bone, universe. While I can still catch it. 

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