Category Archives: Notes to the Self

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

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

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

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

all i wish is that i could sleep better soon

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

It’s Just Another Sunrise, January 8, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image blurry especially along left edge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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it’s just another sunrise

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

funny how we change constantly. and frequently.

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

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

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

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

all i wish is that i could sleep better soon

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

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

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

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

happy new year, indeed.

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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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