Category Archives: Prose

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.

Tagged , , , , ,

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. 

Tagged , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , ,

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.

 

IMG_2536

Tagged , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , ,

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.


Cutting On The Need to Brew Things In The Morning

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. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

can i call you darling–

–and tell you how i am moved by the way your eyes caress me from that distance, two bottles of dark roast brew between us and a universe with seeming infinite possibilities in our hands on this table where the rest of the world is lost on us and the only people who know us are the waiters ever so loyal to bring us our elixir, make the night possible, permit us to prolong, stay

can i say, darling, lean closer, let the roll of the r elide into the curl of the l, the way tongues move – oh you know that well – and plant another kiss on your cheek, and another, and another. easy, it comes naturally. acquainted properly, our lips know where to go, what mark it will leave on the skin that anticipates, the body that craves, every inch that aches. we have imagined this so well. waited, so eagerly. darling, i whisper, and on your ear you will hear the blooming of a flower.

darling, darling daredevil slip your hands where it belongs, if you will. under the seat, behind the wheel and hold on, hold tight as we speed through the night. have we not always longed for dawn? to be bathed in the rays of a rising sun? finally, together, our morning no longer another typewritten daydream. there it is, don’t you see, at the turn of the highway, away from this city. or maybe, just maybe, under these sheets in a universe that knows only you, only me.

 

 

**a replica of this somewhere, lost in stealth

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

washed over

i thought i could put myself to sleep but there you go rushing through side streets, rising from the sewers, catching the rest of the sky and taking it with you into the gaps between the doors and the walls. slowly you reach for the first flight of stairs, inching your way to the top of the fridge and the cabinets. scaring them away, pushing them towards the ceiling, higher if they could find a place to stay, to hold their weight, to keep them from you. restless you seep into every nook, every surface of the city. from the walls of the sea and the floors of the rivers, to the palms of hands that wait behind lit windows, and even cheeks hide under pillows to muffle the sounds you running across the roofs. the city is being cleansed, is it right? what else will be wiped off at the end of the night?

I’ll Write You In Until I Could Sleep

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.

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. 

Emphasis on Recurrence

One right through the target. Bang.

Matchbox Maladies

the grayness of the morning and the cool drizzle conjures in me an excruciating desire to reach for that patch of your back hidden beneath your hair and run my fingers down to trace the line of your spine and find that crevice of your waist where my palm will rest and wait for your fingers to come and converge with mine

but you do not rest under these sheets with me

i have to be the one to go to you and place myself precisely at the curve of embrace your body opens for me on your bed

inside where you are, we exist to each other like comforts we cannot let go of, in this distance we are waiting for the other to express their longing hoping that one is not rejected, hoping for another night we chase to the break of dawn

we wake up in a…

View original post 122 more words

Tagged ,

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. 

————

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.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Kingdom of Concrete: Born from the Gutters

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

———————-

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

Tagged , , , , , , ,

50 for the 25th: A Kind of Disconnect

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

i wish i could.

Tagged , , , ,

Triggering the Rain

In the middle of a hot afternoon at the end of April, I am taking down notes about telling stories. The people inside the room begin to lose themselves in details of objects that hold the secrets of the character in the story. The story is about leaving.

The atmosphere around me changes. I begin to lose myself in a memory. 

—————–

I remember the rain. Drops fall from the gray sky and shatter themselves on the hotel window. Shards of water pass in front me and get lost in the puddles below. I press my palm against the glass. I feel the city shudder. I pull the blanket tighter around me. The cloth is soft against my skin but offers little warmth. I trace a line from my lips to my neck, and lower, to where his kisses lead and end. My fingers feel like ice. I shiver and the city shivers with me.

Inside the room, music plays faintly. The soft melody is drowned out by the patter of rain running after each other on the surface of the city. There are all these sounds and yet it is as if he breathes into my ear. The air in the room is still. Cold. Below, people hidden beneath their umbrellas rush through the streets. They do not look up. They keep on running, running away from or running to something. They all have to be somewhere else other than where they already are.

I feel him asleep on the bed behind me, in a room I do not own. I look out the window at a view I will never see again. I turn around and look at the man sleeping on the bed. The sun rises in the rain. I turn around and continue to stare out the window, waiting for when the rain will end.

—————-

Yeah. So I did get lost. But that’s just that. I’m back taking down notes from the workshop now. 

Maybe waiting for when the rain will come again.

Tagged , , , , ,

50 for the 25th: Missent

The door is shut.

(andhereigoagainwithonesentenceparagraphssupposedlymindfulofdeliberatesilence)

A note, halfway through, distorts the spill of sunset on the floor. The message, unread, is absolutely clear. The addressed has no other response. The words remain in the dark, in-between. The meaning slips through, silently, unseen.

Tagged , , ,

50 for 25th: Gray Area

Nothing stands between you and the city except for the glass walls. The rooftops of rust  pop out against the city’s gray, hiding between skyscrapers, dodging our eyes. They wait to be found beneath those crumbling roofs. The wall is easy to break, but are you ready to jump?

——–

March 24, 2012.

It was a building with a view. We had the luxury of the metro’s skyline punctuated by free-flowing coffee, cookies and leftover fancy lunch. To be able to see what the world looks like from that height, we’ll have to choose between the actual bigger picture or the dominant view. The details need attention, but they need first to be seen. Are our eyes open? Are we really looking?

Tagged , , , , , ,

-50 for 25th: Good Morning

 The stars have left us.

But we continue to speak of galaxies and universes we converse with, prayers we whisper inside pillowcases or wide open rooftops. Inside my pocket, a piece of paper remains neatly folded. Inside your mug, steam rises. The scent of coffee wakes up my senses.

————

Well. I was just musing about the first day of March and then I realized my word count was below 50 and so I decided to edit the ramble accordingly. What a useful exercise. Hahaha. Oh these thoughts of fifty words or fewer . Such motivating inspiration 🙂

So now, instead of including this entry in my 365 for 2012 Verses Project, I’m just going to start a new project but this time for prose:  Fifty or Fewer  for the 25th.

Yeah, yeah. You get what that means.

Tagged , , , ,

That Red But Not Red Letter Day

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.

Tagged , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , ,