Category Archives: Notes From the Road

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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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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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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365 for 2012: (28)

**I know, I know. It feels incomplete. It’s not supposed to be whole yet. It will get there. 

 

I am on my way 

Up north. The highway stretches

on. Another sign.  

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In The City In February

—this is what it’s like, being out in the city, in the frenzy of the anticipation for the 14th of February. All around me are couples of all breeds and buds. They either rush ahead or trail behind. Others stay still. I strain to see their faces, decipher the codes in their looks, find a message there somewhere. In the distance, I listen to the movement of their lips and wait to hear the truth bounce from their skins towards me. I could make out some affection, some real love, some pure desires, and occasional lies. I look at the way their skins touch. My mind magnifies the movement of their pores, breathing each other’s scent. I try to see which ones are ready to take on forever. I shake my head at those I see who couldn’t. I pity them. I shrug. I permit myself these moments of judgement.

Today, I gain a sincere understanding for the cynicism of those who used to put a countdown timer beside the label of my own romantic undertakings. I’d do it myself right now but I’d really rather not engage in anything pretty stupid at the moment. Kidding.

There will be couples that will fail the meaning of the word the next time February comes. Some will be strong enough to withstand a few more years. And there are those, gifted by the universe with such honorable values and magnificent timing in every circumstance (the minute he walked into the room, the moment she dropped her phone, when the train doors closed, when the lights finally came on), who will persist. For the meantime, let them all cling to each other and litter the streets.

It’s a tricky thing, the way people commit themselves and lose portions of the self to that commitment eventually. Eventually, they will be left alone figuring out where everything else went during the times they were so immersed in the fever and frenzy of it all. And they will have their days of non-belief, too. They will have their questions, doubts, fears, anxieties, apprehensions, spite, disgust — they will nurse the inner cynic, even for just a while. There is no definite measure of how long it lasts or how short it should be. Or of how brutal the truth becomes, albeit sometimes unnecessarily so.

Don’t worry, the phase ends. It doesn’t last forever. Cause you know why? Nothing does.

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