Cusp between days
Threshold of hours
meeting point of
yesterday and tomorrow
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
There’s no certainty.
I’m waiting with my senses.
Breathing in the dark.
There’s always something about being the one at the waiting end. Oh these things we subject ourselves to. I did write about this before.
Don’t say anything.
We’ll let the universe speak.
It knows our heartbeat.
What should be put here? An apology for an entry three days overdue? An enumeration of the weekend’s significance or lack thereof? Another haiku? How about a justification for a lousy ramble to begin an entry three days overdue containing accounts of what transpired since Friday leading to a poorly edited 3-line poem?
And the tentativeness strikes again. Like a Monday possessed by the laziness of Saturdays bringing forth the sensation of being in-between the attempt to fulfill duties and giving in to rest.
Somewhere in this virtual universe I’ve already mentioned my lack of commonly placed bias for weekends. Any day can suck as well as any day can rock, that’s the principle of everyday living I stick to. So did anything significant happen last Friday? Saturday? Sunday?
Life kept happening, that’s the truth and that’s all there is.
My body yearns exhaustion, really, it does. It does not want to just lie in bed because it does not yet feel tired the way it wants to. My hours are beginning to be filled in by performances and dance classes and opportunities to break 8-hour work habits and come home feeling a little overjoyed, slightly overused. I’m bruised, I have slight burns, I have cuts but not wounds, I have energy, and, I hope, I am still of good use.
Is there a proper translation for the Filipino word ‘gigil‘? Dahil lalo lang akong nanggigigil na hindi ko maisip kung paano sasabihin sa Ingles nanggigigil ako.
The week has begun but I haven’t drawn the curtains, haven’t set off the alarm.
Don’t we all dwell on things serendipitous, paradoxical, ironic? We interpret signs, try to read between the lines, sometimes over-analyze. We hope to satisfy our most banal instincts and our impossible delusions. We dream. We make-believe. We also laugh and mock ourselves for it.
I could hear the laughter, you know. These backlit displays and protected profiles are not enough to temper the energy. It goes on and on and on.
Oh, and did you hear that? Could-have-been, should-have-done, probably-would, maybe-if, guess-so, guess-not, guess-what, will-you-ever, I-would-never, someday-perhaps, perhaps-perhaps. Here is a list we should avoid.
Do you know what ‘uncanny’ means?
Yeah? Strange. I thought so too.
anticipate bad endings.
Woo with certainty.
The song sounds so delightfully painful, it makes me want to dance and do headstands. But for who? 😛
Something significant is expected to take place here. And, actually, there is an attempt to live up to that expectation. I don’t know whether to smirk or shrug at that. Even I could surprise myself sometimes.
Is it because we are now adhering to the frenzy of the ever so ridiculously hyped day of hearts for which I’ve already offered a piece of my mind to, weeks beforehand? It is, after all, that day when the little chubby winged being is forgiven if not celebrated for all the arrows he let loose, often towards unwilling targets, and for the other arrows that, insert-pessimist-remark-here, he didn’t throw. The temptation to let out some dirge on the L word (oh wait, even I have my own archived dirt on that) is too scrumptious to resist.
Or maybe I just want to make up for the entire weekend that didn’t see a post from me. The established consistency renders me guilty for the sudden break. Not even a haiku, another blurtout, a catchy new tune, a video too good to miss, an awesome illustration. Nothing? Too sleepy or too tired or uninspired. Or just the changing tide? Whatever. Excuses, excuses.
What is expected to happen here? In a rambling post written at 3am, the universe is waiting for the side to be chosen: to shit and fart rainbows and butterflies or to puke at the thought. The choice between bitter and sweet. To pick up the broken pieces (ugh, gimme a better clause please) and attempt at putting it all back together or to inflict bitter revenge on someone else’s heart with the shards.
We all go through phases of bad judgement. Choosing to believe in everlasting forever is one of those. See, being born knowing that we’re going to die eventually should precede that assumption. The majority of us all seem to skip the logic and learn the practical wisdom of time only after we’ve been stood up, the rug pulled beneath our feet, and left listening to time tick away.
But resigning to the thought that forever indeed is non-existent is worse. Forever may be equivalent to Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy but these are the very reasons we grapple with reality the way we do. Doesn’t mean we can’t go on inventing new fantastical creatures to believe in either. In fact our creatures of choice actually customizes itself to our comforts. All you have to do, like when you could justify how St. Nick fit down that chimney and got through the blades of the exhaust fan unscathed, is believe.
If you allow yourself, you will actually be converted from being brokenhearted to wholeheartedly brave. Now the world and the rest of the brokenhearted-brink-of-giving-up population is in bad need of more of those. All you have to do is choose.
While Nat King Cole coos to me a waltz about delusional impulses, I myself battle with my own convictions.
And now it’s four in the morning. Easier said than done when you’re still nursing the pain of anticipating an arrow that will never come.
because it could really help define your evenings. Or rather your midnights and daybreaks.
It is 12:20 according to the PC. And Fitzsimmons is once again putting a mist-and-pale-yellow-light cloud over my mood. But the white energy-saving bulb above me ruins it all. And I know that if there was a clock up on my wall, the tick-tock of its average-sized standard wall clock hands would seep through the music cooing from my earpiece. I long for the feeling. I continue to ramble and tippity-type on the keyboard trying to transcend this present reality and cross over to that place in my mind where the lamp that lights the room is yellow and the clock ticks to the beat of the song. When I close my eyes, I am transported. And also, I am unable to type. So I open my eyes and imagine it, look beyond the harsh white light.
And despite the absence of the mood lighting and ambient sounds, I manage to sift through the words I’ve caught in my net and make sense of it —
The song plays, the bed beckons. The dream is waiting for me, its doors are open. The yellow light slips through the cracks. There, it’s calling me: tick-tock, tick-tock.
I should be asleep.
And I am actually sleepy. Really sleepy. But a portion of my mind refuses to rest.
The reasons of unrest stem from: the inability to comprehend occurrences that influence daily thought too much, the unavailability of answers to questions poorly formulated and ridiculously considered, the unnecessary recollections the mind randomly taps into, the undisclosed truths that cannot be confronted, the accidental heartbreaker, the uninvited lover, the lacks, the hoped-fors, the ands and the sotheres.
I am hoping that by drawing them out and labeling it one by one, rest would actually come. That the mind would calm down and let me sleep. I hope, all the time. I am a hopeful person. And I usually will the hopes to actualization, too. Tonight, or in this dark morning rather, I supplement the hoping-for-peace-of-mind-to-let-me-sleep-already-at-2-am with a lullaby.
My lullaby is a song meant for the day’s beginning. Oh but 2am is indeed morning. Fantastic.
It repeats to me the inevitable revelation of love. I will find it, the song tries to convince me. I know, maybe, perhaps, hopefully. Really? Oh I can be a little skeptical, too.
And now while I listen, I get fixated with the meaning of harvest instead — that the long wait, the patient investment on Earth and its natural processes, will bear fruit. The song repeats a prayer for me. Finally, a sense of peace.