Monthly Archives: May 2012

365 for 2012: (52) Fluid

beyond surface marks,

a ripple embeds itself.

the presence persists

———————

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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Kingdom of Concrete: Born from the Gutters

The rains have stopped but the city continues to sweat itself out onto the gutters. It flows down the drains. Down there beneath the paved streets where  the secrets pile up to give birth to the creatures of mud that appear at each street corner, arms outstretched, feeding on pity, living off chance. We see them everyday. And they see us. Their stares, awfully real and yet dismissively ordinary, pierce deep. They touch us with their frail fingers that always seem to be about to break. So unlike us yet parcels of our soul is what gives them life. They have no parents, no homes, no ancestry. They are the city’s children, belonging to no one but to the concrete kingdom alone. They form in the ditches and return to dust. We know them well yet everyday we forget. They are everywhere we look,  faceless in our memories. They wait to be born from the gutters.  They wait to fill our streets. 

———————-

The city has all these stories waiting to be told. Every now and then I hear one from the fire escape, or it comes to me as I walk through a dimly lit alley. I’ve told a few before. So here it is, words coming together to create the world of the Kingdom of Concrete

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Conversations with the City

I wonder what tonight will bring.

Polished nails, a decent dinner, another bottle of beer (or more), a cold breeze? Today there is no orange sky. What will I long for then, after the gray heavens stop rumbling, when Wednesday has sneaked up on me?  

The cars crawl through the city while the children smelling of afternoon sweat rush through the dimly lit streets. My hours of work are finished, the reports pile up on my desk. Outside the window, a horde of problems wait to be solved. There is no rest. I walk through the alleys wondering what  needs to be done. A motorcycle speeds by and I catch myself  swept off to the side, clutching a sense of reality that almost escaped me.

The sun is down. The ones in uniforms are on their way home, worn out books inside bags weighing down on their backs. The soles of their shoes crumble with every step on the concrete. The day’s heat rises from the ground, stinging tired feet. At the end of the street a mother waits, forgets about the rice boiling over the stove.  Her child cries in her arms. I hear these things from an opposite corner. The sounds bounce off other bodies, dragging with it another banter, squeal, whine, scream.

Tonight, the city brings me a new story. She whispers something in my ear. 

But I am still behind this window. Still staring at the lampposts light up one by one, illuminating the metropolis inch by inch. The sun has set. Another day ends. What am I waiting for?

Why am I waiting?

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365 for 2012: (51)

Hear my body sigh:

I miss you like you were mine.

Always never here.

**This time, without title.

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Five Hours Since The Last Call

It’s almost eight. Today I woke up with an anticipated sense of calm. Like, coming from my dreams, there was no other way to feel upon facing the morning in this realm.

I am gaining a sense of bravery here. Talking about the  way I feel in such exposure. But believe me when I say that this time I really didn’t know what the song meant. I just liked how it sounded and paid no attention to the words. I didn’t understand it. But after this morning, I wish I still didn’t.

This is deliberate, the act of stepping out from that shadow of a pseudonym nobody knows about. You will find these words duplicated in another backlit sheet. If you do find that, you must have probably deserved the privilege of access. Right now, not yet.

Right now, we maintain this distance. Let’s try to catch ourselves from stepping beyond the lines. While it is somewhere we’d like to be, it may not be something we need to destroy ourselves for.

Right now, I’ll write my stuff and listen to these songs. You, stay.

And if you no longer can, tiptoe quietly away. Because if I catch you drifting away, I might never let you go.

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Monday Morning Blurtout / 365 for 2012: (44-50) Estimated Arrivals, Definite Departures

there is nothing to prompt this note. it is half past ten and yet it feels like the hour hasn’t moved past three AM. only the fan moves in the living room, whirring steadily. while i listen to a hipster playlist made for mornings like this by a stranger somewhere i’d like to meet someday. there are options to get up and eat or clean up the room or — just get the fuck up. but i’m still in bed, stuck.

somebody, please remind me how do i pick up myself from this. or, no, yeah, leave me alone.

—————-

another strange dream

i would like to revisit,

lost under the sheets.

 –   

under the blanket

there is a body missing,

another concealed.

 –   

under the pillow

fingers search for another,

that cannot be there.

 –

the bed, a landscape

of plains, crevices, cliffs: vast.

 we travel this way.

 –

there’s a map somewhere,

find yourself searching for years

when you go to sleep.

 –   

the return ticket,

the cost of a memory,

brings you back: awake.

 –

strange dream, you again,

always there. where will you be?

gone in the morning.

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Heaven Is One Badass Better Now: RIP Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch aka MCA

The thing about childhood heroes is that because they’re made of such awesome badassery, one is led to believe they’d actually live forever.

Death can be such a bitch.

But I get that now. That it’s such a hoot to live, and to die even more so. It’s a good thing you Beasties have taught me that I should chase after all the sick fun and ill adventures available to mankind. You’ve taught me to delight in danger and revel in ridicule. And how to be cool with a cause. Especially you, Adam Yauch.

 

Farewell MCA, your voice lingers on. You’re a testament to the kind of  badass that the world can surely learn from. It’s time to shake things up at the pearly white gates, make some noise from above the clouds. We hear you. 

 

Pass me the scalpel / I’ll make an incision / I’ll cut off the part of your brain that does the bitchin’ / Put it in formaldehyde and put it in the shelf / And you can show it to your friends and say, ‘That’s my old self.'”

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365 for 2012: (40, 41, 42, 43) Ever Here, Ever Now

Yesterday’s minutes

Move into tomorrow’s hours.

We remain here, now.

 

Numbers bind our days.

But we don’t count the seconds,

We count the stories.**

 

Always everywhere,

Temporarily displaced.

Home is not one place.

 

Nothing definite,

Our once and for all, every-

time is infinite.

————–

Wrote this one for one of the people who have helped me understand the nature of the here and the now in relation to what was there, what is, and what could be. It is all about vision and faith. And failure and strength. And good music, a good drink and good friends.

Happy birthday Tita Maribel. Always beyond age, never finite.

 

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**"No se cuentan los segundos
Se cuentan historias"
from Calle 13's Preparame La Cena
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Appealing at Daybreak

Half past seven and I’m not supposed to be awake.

Half past seven and I could only be awake. I was waiting when I fell asleep at half past one, listening to a song that hauntingly speaks of the kind of mess I now seemingly find myself  in. The song is repetitive, persistent: Stay, don’t close your eyes. Stay open. Apparently, it seems to have manipulated my own patterns of sleep.

These recent nights, I kept toggling between what I needed to do and what I wanted to do: write a poem or write a report, keep talking or wait for a response, sleep before sunrise or wait for it. I couldn’t let it rest. The thing about absence is that it makes us crave for something that could not be there. There are things that we could have and things we could only allow ourselves to hope for. Like a few more minutes to stay awake. Or another hour. Or the rest of the dawn, maybe until daybreak. Could you afford a day?

Maybe not. At least not today.

So, stay. Don’t close your eyes. Please. Stay. Stay open.

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50 for the 25th: A Kind of Disconnect

my hands are cold. my fingers, stiff, tap on the keyboard. i try to get to you. each letter becomes more difficult. my voice fades into a series of clicking sounds. can you hear me? i press both palms against the keys. warm. do you feel it?

i wish i could.

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