Category Archives: Dedications

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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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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Revisited Reflections: Paris 2013

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

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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.

 

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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 🙂

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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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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.

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.

 

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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: (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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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

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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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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.

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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. 

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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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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. 

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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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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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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: (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.

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.

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. 

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.

 

—————–

**"No se cuentan los segundos
Se cuentan historias"
from Calle 13's Preparame La Cena
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365 for 2012: (38) Left Unsaid

Don’t say anything.

We’ll let the universe speak.

It knows our heartbeat.

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365 for 2012: (23) Dealing with Departures

Before you leave, don’t

forget your return ticket.

Reconsider? Stay.

**This haiku deserves a follow-up ramble on how — bam.

I just can’t deal. It’s so unfair universe. I just can’t deal.

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365 for 2012: (Nineteen) And?

Send me another

witty remark. Don’t forget

to sign: ampersand.

http://keepinginmind.tumblr.com/post/6273509062/for-my-kitty-ampersand

*Sweet sixteen, indeed. One of those things that only matter to me, I guess. Harharhar.

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365 for 2012: (Sixteen) Starry, Starry Scarf

A patch of heaven,

this stellar fabric offers

galactic comforts.

*A note I tucked in a scarf I gave to a friend on her twenty-fourth year on earth. Because we got some serious sh** to shake. 

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