Thursday, December 29, 2005

Travel advisory

1.
Horoscope for week of December 29, 2005 from Rob Brezsny:
In his book The Disappearance of the Universe, Gary Renard quotes the counsel of his teacher: "A jet airliner is always going off course, but through constant correction it arrives at its destination. So will you arrive at yours." Remember that advice throughout 2006... My analysis of the astrological omens suggests that you will be frequently straying from the path of your highest destiny, and yet that's exactly what needs to happen in order for you to reach your highest destiny. Forced to keep making regular adjustments, you will tone and strengthen your willpower, which is essential to you achieving the goals that really matter.
But how to distinguish the highest destiny and therefore notice if one has strayed?

2.
Travel
Edna St Vincent Millay

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn't a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with friends I make,
And better friends I'll not be knowing;
Yet there isn't a train I'd rather take,
No matter where it's going.
Oh the friends I make and the better friends I'll not be knowing!

And them who will never know me.

3.
From the introduction of my current reading, The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois:
There are two kinds of travel. The usual way is to take the fastest imaginable conveyance along the shortest road. The other way is not to care particularly where you are going or how long it will take you, or whether you will get there or not. These two methods of travel are perhaps easiest to be seen by watching hunting hounds. One hound will follow his nose directly to his prey. Another will follow his nose in a roundabout way to molehills, empty rabbit holes, garbage cans, and trees; and perhaps not pay any attention to his prey even when he happens upon it. This second way of getting around has always been pointed out as the nicest for, as you can see in the case of the slower hunting hound, you are able to see more of what is going on in the world and also how nature is getting along.
4.
'I shot an error into the air,' said Irene Warsaw.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Dressed in light

I just received my 13th month pay yesterday. I love money, because it is so concrete, so useful and manageable. I know exactly what to do with it.

I bought the gifts for people whom I feel like giving something to. (I like the bows, nightglitters and untying. I like opening, ripping, finding. And despite dedication and signature, a trace of anonymity. That piece of self ungiven—because unresolved—in the present, beyond touch and thought.)

Since late Obtober, when I come home from work, I pass by the line of trees dressed in light along Ayala Avenue. And every time, I keep hearing Yourcenar's words about stars whose brilliance dazzle but keep you cold. Like knowledge, like gold.

And so my wish for everyone is the same wish I've constantly been wishing for people I care about. That we may be blessed with light that both clarifies and warms.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I Try To Say--But Words Get In The Way*

I.
It is not that surprises are sudden. It is that the more important it is, the more belated it comes.


II.
Yesterday, I had one of the most overwhelming days of my life. It was too striking, you cannot expect me to be exact.

I started it a 6:30 in the morning. I promised my brother breakfast at Figaro and then I'd watch his recital. Being too early, I almost dismissed my promise. I still wanted to sleep. "Gumising ka na, ihahatid ko kayo... Gustong-gusto kang makasama ng kaptid mo, tapos" the aposiopesis voiced by my mother was enough to wake me up.

I'd been promising my brother breakfast at this place and that, but kept on cancelling, because I was too lazy to wake up. I knew he gets frustrated every time and I also knew that that frustration thaws at the end of the day. But the point was I promised, and I had him hope in excitement every time.

Yes, yes, I cherish breakfasts. I guess the reason why I value it so much is because I rarely have it.

¤

Russel Sherman: "No grammar, no drama!"

¤

The afternoon was spent watching "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros," which conflicts, story and characters I loved. (I don't know about the other elements that make a good film good.)

Besides, it had a happy, intelligent ending. (If art were to improve--on--life,) I knew that Maxi would just walk on.

¤

And the night, oh, the night! We had a Christmas party at Heidi's house. I realized I missed that crowd. Those friends whom when they kiss in greeting or goodbye, they kiss with their lips resting seconds on your cheek. Whom when they hug, they squeeze. Their weight and warmth tarry.

The food was delicious and overflowing, to say the least. The rooftop was blessed by Mama Mary, because she was there! Her statue, I mean.

And because all of us carried fresh problems, defeats and disappointments with us, we didn't talk through the morning. We sang, thanks to Heidi's Magic Singalong Microphone.

We danced too. Dancing, something I should do more often.


III.
It is most amazing for me when I find people articulate ideas that have been figuring in my mind for so long. They say it and then there it is: formed. Even final. And then comes the poem that strips its own finality.

¤

I was talking to an 8 year old Korean girl three days ago and I asked her what she thought a good teacher should be. Her consideration took long, till she said, "friendly." She was still catching her breath when she mouthed, "and a little angry."


IV.
What's in a "thank you"?

In everyday life, or at least in mine, the import of how words are meant becomes more important than what is said or how, even when, especially when you cannot see clearly the cause of its utterance. As in the conditions of a "thank you" without warning.

It's 4 days before Christmas and how nice it would feel hearing and saying that "thank you" and "thanks for you." Nicer, of course, when unexpected, in contexts of who and when it's said.


* Gloria Estefan, "Words Get In The Way"

Thursday, December 1, 2005

December Discontent

Harsh

Shuttle service from BF McDo to Landmark. The song "Born in the USA" playing.

The driver turns the stereo off. Silence tells me a bad song has been played. A horrible tune's entered me without my permission.


Harsher
A Mandarin fell in love with a courtesan. She told him, "if you spend a hundred nights waiting for me, sitting on a stool, in the garden by my window, I will be yours." And the Mandarin placed a stool outside her window. Waited, sat for 99 days, whereupon he got up, picked up the stool, and left.
In the ideal, when I'm faced with the chance of rape of my beloved, I'd turn away. (Respect a requisite of love.)

But as in the real, I could never have my beloved, I'd take the rape, if the chance, presented. (Fortune knocking and never returning.)

Having some and having none.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

An Other Self (Nothing Further)

It's one of those moments when you thought, "Why have I gone this way?"

I was supposed to ride a bus from EDSA after watching "Prime" (a movie which ending I truly appreciated) in Rockwell. Instead I rode a bus to Ayala and decided to take the shuttle from Landmark to Sucat. But that was not yet the deadly instead. Instead, I went to Greenbelt, despite my distaste for its crowd--both size and--

And there they were. At Starbucks, where else? Three of my former high schoolmates. They shouted my name. I heard the excitement in their voices.

What was I worried about? I was even frustrated. Why?

Because I didn't want to chat with them. Fake enthusiasm. You all know how a hoax smile hurt the jaw. Imagine the horror when it was a Saturday and you were expected to hang out till the early morn.

Why don't I want to chat with them? Because I don't like them. I don't hate them, I just don't like them.

We were not close buddies in high school and so what was there for us to talk about? That was exactly the anti-thesis they had in mind: we were not close buddies in high school, and so there was so much to talk about, know about.

What the--

"So sino ba yung mga naging cruch mo nung high school?" S. asked me with a straight face. Asked me like a grown up. The question with a tone no different with a question that goes like "May yosi ka ba diyan?" It was all casual. It was all in the distant past. Crushes were treated just as that: a crush.

Why was I hesitant to answer? In my mind, I was remembering my high school self, both in act and speech. Not in thought--I think I've always thought the same. Then I remember I was the quiet one whom everybody know has something spectacular about her. No kidding. (Sometimes, there would be a friend, or an acquaintance or two who'd say, I'd like to demystify you. As if! I always explain: you'll be disappointed, you'll find nothing further. What mystifies you is just that--the mystery.)

And so I took the easy way out, I lied. "Wala." (It's not right and wrong that are opposites, right? It's right and easy.)

As I eased myself into the site, I started to enjoy a bit. Names were digged out of oblivion, recolored. How could I have forgotten I had a friend called Hinkeyloo?

There is a number of people whom I truly love from my high school. Some of them I've envied, misesteemed, but later on I look at them with wonder and admiration. I am not yet ready for them to look at me. I would really rather do the seeing.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Time Is Always For The Wishing

Beatles CoppycattersWe'd been planning to go to U.P. since we learned how make gimik together, but only consummated the desire yesterday.

It took Louie and Althea's birthday and sheer spontaneity (or as Althea mentioned, not planning) for it to happen.

We also celebrated Cherie's return from her Harry Potter gig from the U.S. We missed her for three weeks and thank god, Cherie came home safely, prettier and pinker than ever.

I felt so spent yesterday. Spent much money, time, energy, laughter, words and silence in exchange for genuine enjoyment.

By the way, the picture on the left was birthday girl, Althea's, idea. She wanted a Beatles on Abbey Road pose. Only we're walking towards the other direction and it was nighttime (so the sun won't come till about 8 hours later) and we're not on Abbey Road and we're definitely not the Beatles. It's my favorite picture, though, so far. I always thought that Beauty is a math movement.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"The Academic Aim Is To See What The Subject Means, Not To Accept Or Reject It" *

Before The Show Coolchured Peeps

You will eventually have to accept or reject the subject. But this is not about that. This is about this bunch of people who make my academic life stir in the many figures of play.

I don't want the year to end yet.
I can go to school forever.
But no.


* Northrop Frye

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Another Anne, another Canadian, not just any other poet

Phantom Limbs
Anne Michaels

'The face of the city changes more quickly, alas! than the mortal heart.'
—Charles Baudelaire

So much of the city
is our bodies. Places in us
old light still slants through to.
Places that no longer exist but are full of feeling,
like phantom limbs.
Even the city carries ruins in its heart.
Longs to be touched in places
only it remembers.

Through the yellow hooves
of the ginkgo, parchment light;
in that apartment where I first
touched your shoulders under your sweater,
that October afternoon you left keys
in the fridge, milk on the table.
The yard--our moonlight motel--
where we slept summer's hottest nights,
on grass so cold it felt wet.
Behind us, freight trains crossed the city,
a steel banner, a noisy wall.
Now the hollow diad!
floats behind glass
in office towers also haunted
by our voices.

Few buildings, few lives
are built so well
even their ruins are beautiful.
But we loved the abandoned distillery:
stone floors cracking under empty vats,
wooden floors half rotted into dirt;
stairs leading nowhere; high rooms
run through with swords of dusty light.
A place the rain still loved, its silver paint
on rusted things that had stopped moving it seemed, for us.
Closed rooms open only to weather,
pungent with soot and molasses,
scent-stung. A place
where everything too big to take apart
had been left behind.
I've been quoting Anne Michaels for how many times already (as in here and here), yet I haven't posted a complete poem of hers. This is her due space.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Lousiness

Rode a bus from Buendia to Ayala. A sound of something hard and heavy that fell. A couple grunts of dismay. Then silence. All was clear again--meaning back to normal. Then some talks.

A woman in shades, seated at the other side: "May nakuha ba sa inyo?"

A man, in shades, green polo shirt and jeans, standing up, groping through his pocket: "Nakuha yung 10,000 ko." He took from his left pocket a crumpled 1,000 peso bill, looked at it.

I looked at it.

The woman in shades: "Sundan niyo, naglalakad pa 'yan."

He went out.

The man sitting beside me felt his pocket.


¤


From Heidi via SMS:
If today is the last day of the earth, what would you be doing?

I'm not asking for a reply, but for you to ponder if truly you're living the way you want to [be] right now, at this given moment.
Sleeping. Last-lining everything in dream. My nows have been mostly pipe dream, and that's how I like it most of the time.

What mythological conditioning I've undergone.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Certain Strength, Some Certainty

PISCES: "Belief is the end of intelligence," says philosopher Robert Anton Wilson. The moment you become attached to an opinion or theory, no matter how good or true or beautiful it might seem, you're no longer fully open to the mysteries that life brings you. Your perceptiveness wanes and your understanding shrinks. This is always important to keep in mind, of course, but especially so this week. A wave of raw truth is headed your way, and yet you will miss it completely unless you take a vacation from your beliefs about the way the world works.
--Rob Brezsny
They say as you grow older, your stands become firmer. I am afraid of that time.

Some say we always change our minds, but not the fact that we are right.

If there is something I'd like to be proven wrong about, that is the death of the ideal. While I see, and by stream of logic figure, that something is incessantly building then gets destroyed, I wait still for that one wholeness that sustains and not merely survives.

If I fantasize, it is both because I understand something's distance from reality and I am creating a blueprint of something that is palpable in time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Report On Today's Weather

1. How do you tell someone you want to eat alone, be alone sometimes, if not most of the time?
2. That question, that anyaya, is really a courtesy invitation anyway.
3. What if they really like your company? It's not that you don't enjoy or appreciate theirs, you simply prefer being solitary.

4. September may well be my month. I may well be like a pomegranate blistering at its core. Hahaha.

5. You're pulled in so many ways, truly. Or that different parts of your body go toward their own desired directions.
6. How you never wanted to be common. Never the okay.
7. But all along fitting your self into those easy identifications--graduated from this university, works here, goes home to this city, does not smoke, drinks sometimes--to be easily identified, of course.

8. Suddenly all food at Mini Stop taste great.

Monday, September 5, 2005

The Happy Cynic: "Happy Happy Joy Joy"

When many people talk about their childhoods, they emphasize the alienating, traumatic experiences they had. It has become fashionable to avoid reporting memories of the good times in one's past. This seems dishonest--a testament to the popularity of cynicism rather than a reflection of objective truth.

I don't mean to downplay the way your early encounters with pain demoralized your spirit. But as you reconnoiter the promise of pronoia, it's crucial for you to extol the gifts you were given in your early years: all the helpful encounters, kind teachings, and simple acts of grace that helped you bloom. Remember them now, please.

--Rob Brezsny, "PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings"
photo sent via email, its creator is unknown to meHmmm, I've done that before.

I'll do it again now as advised:
1. Ate's late night stories (about her.)
2. Bon Jovi concert (I talked a little about it here.)
3. Cheering competitions.
4. Sabayang pagbigkas.
5. Biking with Ate.
6. "Most cheerful" award in Grade 1.
7. Going to the dentist then eating outside with the family every Saturday.

Is seven good enough or am I not digging deeper?

* The image has just been sent to me via email and its creator, until now, is unknown to me.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Ghost Hunter, Human Fighter

This Dance of Distance
Looking for the ghost in your closet makes it go away.
Although it's more on facing your fear, it's not that simple right now--these fears and phantoms.

That lesson on why we should remain distant from each other: when too close, we break each other's myths of each other.

¤

A Lead Role In A Cage
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Pink Floyd

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

And did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found? The same old fears,
Wish you were here.
That lesson in categorization: "we stereotype people so as to make them manageable to us." And that is not entirely bad, for it is not necessary for us to delve into each other. It is a means of knowing how to treat someone for the immediate now.

There is this person, in the file cabinet of his mind, he seems to place every thing in "unfiled."

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Oh how we manage

This day marks the second anniversary of this little online journal.

What I've figured? That despite my efforts in going against it, this—just like any other blog—is no more than a mere chronicling of angsts and quirks.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Focus In Digression

I finally visited my friend's cafe along Xavierville, Katipunan yesterday. It was one of those rare times when I had gone too far commuting. Quezon City's altogether another planet for me.


First the joyride

It was my first time to ride the LRT2 and shallow as it may sound, I was thrilled. The Katipunan station was like a subway. What a train and train ride. I could only hope the LRT from Baclaran to Monumento would be as neat and big and helpful. LRT2's one of those functional places that helps you help your self. It treats you as the intelligent human being that you are.


The hunger from a long journey filled by one of those necessary verses
Asking the Kitchen

for work is like bartering with any
lover: cut and be cut; warm
to be warm. Whisper, toil; tables will
breathe, fill, sharpening the palate,
your style.

--Cindra Halm

Then the lunch

There were so many things going on in my head while I was having lunch with my friends.

1. There are so many nice clothes, accessories, gadgets and furniture I want to buy, but can't.
2. This friend of mine, who owns the cafe, is not that close to me. Yet she is the one who constantly keeps in touch. Yet she is the one who has every effort and concern to find out how am I doing, telling me my company is missed.
3. So many filthy things around. Not that I lose my idealism, my romanticism, but given this garden of bullshit for a social world, I'd take evil anytime over ignorance. More on that thought soon.
4. Who's this person who said "only permanence change?"
5. There's a surplus of food at home. Too many food at home and I'm afraid there'll be 30 days and nights of drought.
6. The pesto's very good and cheap, but when will this lunch be finished?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Back in those times, it was all about philosophers having coffee at Starbucks discussing how many angels could fit in a needle's eye

1

When Starbucks opened along Taft Avenue near La Salle, I never imagined myself going there, but not because I didn't like the place. I think I was a sophomore when it opened (shit, the time should be clear in my memory as it wasn't so long ago). First, I knew I didn't have enough money to have a snack there—well that's the first and only reason.

I eventually learned to go there—eventually habitually—when I started hanging out with new friends from Malate.

My allowance then was P100 a day (or P150?—stupid memory!) Because I was the one doing it, I wasn't surprised with myself. My parents, on the other hand, were baffled. I'd be out all night and when they thought I had already gone to Tagaytay or Baguio, they'd find out I was just there at Starbucks—there for about half a day. And they'd ask, How do you manage to hang out at Starbucks, where do you get the money? I didn't know exactly.

My staple Starbucks snack consisted of maple oat scone and coffee frap. This I know clearly: the maple oat scone was just 40 pesos. The coffee frap was around 80 p—I'm certain it didn't go over a hundred pesos.

There was a term when I had Saturday classes from 8am to 12 noon. After class, I'd immediately go home, but I'd stop by Starbucks first to get food and then eat it on the bus.

Those bus rides were some of the best moments of my life: noontime—I just attended something meaningful in the morning and there was still the rest of the day to complete, to look forward to—I was alone with food I enjoyed, seated yet moving still.

2

'The broken hearts club' (indirect quote):
We try to know another and we have coffee with them and talk and eventually have sex with them if we like them, but we can also have sex first and see if we like to eventually take this person out for coffee and talk.
Anne Carson, 'Autobiography of Red':
Sex is a way of getting to know someone.

3
'...My hands are better.'
—Amanda Paige (context: sex)

(I'm having neither sex nor long hours of 'coffee and conversation' with someone, in the meantime. In this world of fiction, meantime stretches to years.)

Whenever I hear about people who cannot eat alone, I become perplexed.

Maybe I was too young when I learned solitude's magnificence. Not that I didn't have friends. In fact I kept telling stories on how easy it was for me to make friends when I was in grade school. I barely had to try.

I gained from Althea (or to construe her statement) that perhaps a person couldn't take being alone because he couldn't take the company that is himself, he couldn't take the conversationalist that is him.

4

There are no more maple oat scones. I've asked Starbucks again and again about it and it's funny, because I actually thought my obstinacy would bring it back. But, hey, Starbucks, if you, by some chance, is reading this, please bring back the maple oat scone.

5

There are fewer and fewer people who have the time to stop. Everyone has to go and do and get something fast.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

If I Were A Planet

This question hasn't been asked to me or by me before. Now that I'm thinking of it, I have not a clue as to an answer.

But by some mysterious forces of the universe, in its usual machinations and elusiveness, an answer. I am Saturn.

According to Wikipedia, "Saturn is a popular setting for science fiction novels and films, although the planet tends to be used as a pretty backdrop rather than as an important part of the plot."

For a few more facts:
In Roman mythology, Saturn is the god of agriculture....Saturn is the least dense of the planets; its specific gravity (0.7) is less than that of water.

Saturn rotates very fast on its axis, but not at a uniform rate.

What makes Saturn one of the most beautiful objects in the solar system is its ring system....The origin of the rings is obscure. It is thought that the rings may have been formed from larger moons that were shattered by impacts of comets and meteoroids. The ring composition is not known for certain, but the rings do show a significant amount of water. They may be composed of icebergs and/or snowballs from a few centimeters to a few meters in size. Much of the elaborate structure of some of the rings is due to the gravitational effects of nearby satellites. This phenomenon is demonstrated by the relationship between the F-ring and two small moons that shepherd the ring material.

The whole system is very complex and as yet poorly understood....Like the other jovian planets, Saturn has a significant magnetic field....When it is in the nighttime sky, Saturn is easily visible to the unaided eye. Though it is not nearly as bright as Jupiter, it is easy to identify as a planet because it doesn't "twinkle" like the stars do.

[Read more here and here.]
What I fall towards to? That question I've tried asking before and still have no answer. Or because I have so many answers. But to make things easier, to generalize: that the fictive becomes palpable.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Nothing in particular

If I could marry this weather. I can't stress it enough; too bad I don't know how to write it.

Amazingly, though, it's not the cold that has made me want to snuggle in bed, but the temperature that has pushed me to work. I've accomplished so many things today and I'm not talking about a mere sense of having done something, but a heightening of your sense of self.
Therefore this night tonight....can never be a subject of this specific conversation.
—Pattiann Rogers, 'In General'
And then the time to snuggle in bed.

Monday, August 8, 2005

I Know Now How It Feels When The Dead Lives

The tragedy of this world is that no one is happy, whether stuck in a time of pain or of joy. The tragedy of this world is that everyone is alone. For a life in the past cannot be shared with the present. Each person who gets stuck in time gets stuck alone.*
By accident--call it adverse serendipity--I read my name in one of the journals of an old friend. The anecdote involving me was appended as a footnote on a more recent entry.

That friendship had been one of those that bursted with so much color and delight, that then gave in to fading. That you couldn't figure why and you tried reviving the liveliness only to end up with disappointment. And you know now nothing about it will be the same. You know now there's no more chance of making it any better.

Reading my name, I shivered, imagining the distance not just of time, but of emotions and the way we see each other. I was there, under heap of new friends, circumstances, extremely radiant joys and darker tragedies. That act of him remembering me, what I used to be, even for a mere moment, what we used to be, what was then--what was then doesn't exist now. Memory's a completely new planet.

I want to believe now that most good friendships are meant for the breaking. And that is not a fact to be sad about. I want to believe these are people that make your story move forward--sure they are a part of you, but you must not cling onto them. They have their own stories to continue.

And thus till now the theory remains relevant, what this world requires of us is just attention. The best laughs I've had are with that person. He did his part: he made me feel like I had something important to say, that I had a funny a joke; he introduced me to Anne Carson and David Mack.

The force of the written word. Seeing my name inscribed, bringing to mind all that sign carries with it. Conscious of how he was seeing it. And now this feeling of needing the proper expletive to express (or in truth, to hide) this strange furious sensation of knowing what was then doesn't exist anymore, but can't find it.


_________________________
* Alan Lightman, Einstein's Dreams. In a chapter where the texture of time in this particular world "happens to be sticky.... Individual people become stuck in some point of their lives and do not get free."

Sunday, August 7, 2005

'Saktong-sakto

Rolando Tinio
AKALA KO

Akala ko, para nang piyanong
Nasusian ang iyong kalooban
At naihagis ang susi kung saan,
Hindi na matitipa ng sino at alinman
Ang mga tekladong tuklap, naninilaw.

Dahil dumating ka isang gabi:
Naupo sa may pintuan,
Tahimik na naninimbang
Sa mga bagong pangyayaring
Nagaganap sa iyong harapan.

Sa manaka-nakang sindi ng mata mo,
Parang puno sa lihim ang dibdib mong
Ayaw siyempreng ipaglantaran
Sa mga nakilala noon lamang.

Hanggang ngayon (linggo na ang nakaraan),
Nakabalabal ka pa ng sariling panginorin,
Lumulutang sa sarili mong ulap,
Parang kakahuyang pinid ang sanga at dahon
Nang huwag mapasok ng liwanag
Buhat sa kung-anong daigdig o pintuan
Na hindi mo kilala at ayaw pang subukan.
Para sa akin ang líriká na ito.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hildegarde Flanner

MOON AND MOTOR

The glide of moon along my fenders flowing
Is like a motion milking upon light,
So rapt and pallid does it lap and draw
From silver sources crescent with the night.
The earth is pouring off her liquid miles
Whose waterless water is the way I feel
Coursing on the desert, every sense
Collected and yet fluid at the wheel,
While cylinder and floating cylinder
So perfectly receive the plunge of power
That night, and rumors of capricious night,
Time’s own, the frictionless anointed hour
Wait on the motor mystical that drives,
Lean to the fury lovely and repose
That are the piston’s plunder and the sum
Of tranquil labor that an engine knows.


¤


POEM

At least and still at lingering last we can
Console ourselves because this earth is ours,
Though we could never hurl the hurricane,
Nor weld a hill, nor soft unlock the showers,
Nor rivet the diamond under the abyss,
Nor add the desert up, nor crumble the frost
Over the flower’s face. Remembering this
The warm security of pride is lost,
For we are dull mismasters of a huge event
And cannot think who tutored us to fail,
We ruin so quick, and hope is nearly spent;
But faint at intervals, benign and frail
A courage whispers, just this side of fate,
Cling earthward, inward, do not abdicate!

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Third Who Lay In Our Embrace

Woman to Man
Judith Wright

The eyeless labourer in the night,
the selfless, shapeless seed I hold,
builds for its resurrection day --
silent and swift and deep from sight
foresees the unimagined light.

This is no child with a child's face;
this has no name to name it by:
yet you and I have known it well.
This is our hunter and our chase,
the third who lay in our embrace.

This is the strength that your arm knows,
the arc of flesh that is my breast,
the precise crystals of our eyes.
This is the blood's wild tree that grows
the intricate and folded rose.

This is the maker and the made;
this is the question and reply;
the blind head butting at the dark,
the blaze of light upon the blade.
Oh hold me, for I am afraid.
Dearest Marie, this is for you. I hope you read it well. I wish you well.

Friday, July 22, 2005

A Silence Precise

In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
--Eric Hoffer
When I say, kumusta?, I do not mean it as a greeting, acknowledging your presence, informing you of mine.

When I say, kumusta?, I stop and wait for an answer. I have decided to make a fragment of your life my concern. I will not ask if I do not care, even if I know you.

Thus trust is never about another. Trust is always a trust in your self, that no matter how the world will respond to your behavior, you know in your gut that you are prepared to regard it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Accidentals, Essentials

1.
In the last Monday of June 2005, a pretentious machowoman on television said, I am sorry, it was a lapse in judgment, in such a dead voice.

2.
It is okay to pretend to have read the newspapers when you were still in high school, but the truth is it is just rightful not to have a care about the world at all when you're just 16.

3.
And then you start to care. And then you know that all of it--the wardrobe, the setting--it's all a ploy, the apology--it's directed, still a pretend, an artifice.

*

1.
That is when it is finally confirmed: there was never such a thing as natural beauty, but an effect of the natural, which is beautiful. That hard-work and diligence are not formulas for achieving your desires.

2.
But it's only half of what you know.

3.
Robert H. March: "It is possible to understand nature in terms of approximation to an ideal state even if that state cannot possibly exist in nature."

You yourself can only understand nature in terms of approximation to an ideal state, a state which cannot possibly exist in nature.

4.
The sweetness of possibility. But not too much sweets, please.

*

In the box you build, you finish with an open lid. Ready to meet someone, there in flesh and clothes: an ideal audience.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Fullunabridgedverbatim Transcript Of My Conversation With Neil Gaiman


ME: Thank you very much.
NEIL GAIMAN: You're very welcome.
Good job, girl. Good job.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Tekkie Me

I am not one to believe the best things are for free. But I'd take what's free any time.

Nokia 3210It was in my senior year in high school when cellular phones became so fashionably necessary, and in the blink of an eye, the cell phone had been as ordinary as a pen and a hanky. Everyone had them. I didn't have one then. Until my sophomore year in college. I had my first authentic gimik. I hung out with new-found friends at the Remedios Circle in Malate till 4 AM. Going home, I expected a full hour or two of reprimand from my parents, but I received the silent treatment instead. The next night, I became the new owner of a Nokia 3210.

I'm not crazy about cell phones. Nokia features such as games are wasted on me. My average text messages sent per day is roughly 1. I have never—ever!—consumed my P300 load in two months. I hardly make calls. If I need to call someone, I look for the nearest pay phone. For 5 years, my Nokia 3210 has stayed with me—till its backlight's dysfunctional, till it can already be considered vintage, Jurassic. I would still hold on to it, if not for my Ate.

Handspring TreoFrom out of the blue, she gave me a very old model of a Handspring Treo. The display's still in black and white, but it doesn't matter; a part of me can endure without color. It's a nice toy and it's once again for free. I appreciate it because it functions as a palmtop and cell phone and you can access the internet through it.

With this new gadget comes one of my most favorite activities in the world: organizing, personalizing.

My phone book's a bit of a revelation, there's so much space. My date book's no surprise, there are no dates. The only game I enjoy from the 5 games available is Hardball (which is really a version of Arkanoid, which reminds me of yesteryears with Nintendo).

Now this is the part where I'm supposed to be wrapping up this entry and express some sort of epiphany. There is none. I don't know. Call me. Gift me with a laptop.

Friday, June 24, 2005

This Is How A Heart Breaks

Image courtesy of Pistons.comOh well, what a sad night for me and the rest of the Pistons fans.

A (poor, poor) consolation for me is that I kind of like the Spurs (one team that I honestly admire from the West--my favorite's the Timberwolves, though).

Michelle Tafoya asks Manu Ginobili how he feels winning a gold medal from the Athens Olympics and winning this NBA championship in the same year. Manu says there is so much unbelievable joy that he needs another body to contain it all.

Kainggit. And even though there's so much love going on between Gregg Popovich and Larry Brown, I'm still sort of bitter. A back to back would've really been swell and it would've erased all the questions against Detroit. Next year, next year.

I love you, Ben!

(Phil J. will be back with the Lakers next season. It must be an interesting/exciting season. I wonder what new song/s would be added to my LSS list courtesy of the NBA.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

1 Week Off(line)


Will be gone for a while. I have to hunt and kill someone.

When I return, I'll tell you about Ruel de Vera's "Faulty Electric Wiring."

Thursday, June 9, 2005

The Other Side Of Surrender1

What sustains. I was cleaning my room a couple of weeks ago.

It is impossible to clean an entire room. It must be impossible to clean an entire life. First the furniture. Then the drawers. Then sorting. It takes half a day to sort, but it is especially difficult for those, like me, who finds it hard to throw away things.

I was looking at 3 long rows of encoded, photocopied and printed out materials from prose, poetry, criticism to pinoyexchange threads. What I used to laugh at before weren't funny any more. A turn of phrase that astonished me once had grown stale.

But those which aged with me:
the moon not less in its halfness2

you seemed a sort of mirage, until I drank you3
Cringe-worthy as it may sound, I'm drowning in a sea of me. With all this continual cleaning, I later on incurred negative intoxication (my personal poetic term for cough and cold.) So much dust from the past!

My friend, Morx, told me that if ever his book collection caught fire, he would want every pulp gone, because if there was a piece left, there'd be something tangible to remind you of the loss.

Being the selfish materialistic person that I am, I would like to be burned as well. But then again I never get too far in proving that I am as selfish and materialistic as I think.
what you have is not yours, what you give is yours4
Notes:
1. David Deida: 'Give yourself to love itself, without a shred of you remaining. Die completely into loving. When you return, when your sense of self is recollected, you will be refreshed through and through, washed awake by the innocence lying wide on the other side of surrender.'
2. Anne Michaels
3. Paul Monette
4. Committed (the comic strip)

Friday, June 3, 2005

Better Articulation Of Things Learned Earlier

Jamie James (22):
We shall never know exactly to what extent the historical Pythagoras corresponds to the Master of humanist tradition, any more than we shall ever know who actually wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, or whether all those spiritual utterances in the Gospels were really said by the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Yet the doubts themselves are anachronistic: the point is that through the vast span of history in which Pythagorean humanism (and the study of Homer, and Christianity) were vibrant intellectual forces, there was never a shadow of doubt as to the authenticity and veracity of the tradition. You can put quotation marks around "Pythagoras" if that will make you feel more up-to-date, but it will not alter the meaning; the people who pursued Pythagoreanism over the course of thousands of years did believe, implicitly, in the historicity of the Master. The real Jesus may have been a charlatan, but the Jesus worshipped by millions of people changed the course of history; and it would be wrong, regardless of what a thousand copiously annotated doctoral dissertations may say, to attribute the Iliad to Anonymous.
James (18):
In this century the classics have slipped to the periphery of the curriculum, and in the place of enquiring humanism we now have condescending nihilism: the modern intelligentsia smiles at Christian fundamentalists, at credulous followers of absurd schools of psychotherapy, at adherents of what is called the New Age. Yet if people are driven to feel a connection with the Absolute by wearing crystal jewelry and listening to voice from beyond grave, as naïve as those beliefs may be perhaps we ought not castigate them for abandoning science--for has not science abandoned them? Is it reasonable to expect that the man in the street will be content with being told, "Your life is pointless, and you are destined to be a sterile, meaningless speck of stardust, but be of good cheer: science will tell you how to power your automobile with pig droppings"?

_________________________
James, Jamie. The Music of the Spheres. New York: Copernicus, 1993.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Self-Ward And Other Marginal Notes

Reflection on self is your contribution to society. This is one of some of the marginal notes found in my notebook along with, because all poetry is a riddle, all poetry is generous.

Sometimes I become victim of my own codes. I can't understand my (literal, writing) self when I know I'm up to something beneficial to me. And with all this reviewing, or what I love to call revaluation, I remember acquaintances, officemates, relatives and I having been engaged in small talk, or what I call courtesy talk:
THEM: You study what in college?

I: Literature.

THEM: Exactly what do you learn?

I: How to read well.

THEM: But you must already know that from high school.

I: I mean, critically.

THEM: Critical thinking, literary criticism? That seems interesting, but not very useful. So that's it, reading? Then?

I: Then I guess that's it, I go on from there.
Are we really expecting nowadays for schools to teach something useful?

¤

Photo Courtesy: Jay Patao (Malaya)She's pretty nga. Gionna Stacy Cabrera.

Via SMS:
ME: I just heard we lost again in the Miss Universe pageant. So it's now 33 years since we last wore the crown? But is it really such a big deal?

THE QUEEN: Yes and no. It's the national pastime and we can't even excel in it anymore.
That last sentence was followed by 3 ü's.

¤

By the way, I do think our schools teach something useful--provide tools and proper knowledge on how to manipulate these tools when we plunge into the "real world." üüü

And if I may be so coy, I suggest that we add Financial Management or Budgeting 101 to our basic curricula. I swear it will save lives.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Undergraduate, Not Student

Marianne Moore:
THE STUDENT

"In America," began
the lecturer, "everyone must have a
degree. The French do not think that
all can have it, they don't say everyone
     must go to college." We
incline to feel
     that although it may be unnecessary

to know fifteen languages,
one degree is not too much. With us, a
school--like the singing tree of which
the leaves were mouths singing in concert--
     is both a tree of knowledge
and of liberty--
     seen in the unanimity of college

mottoes, Lux et veritas,
Christo et ecclesiae, Sapient
felici
. It may be that we
have not knowledge, just opinions, that we
     are undergraduates,
not students; we know
     we have been told with smiles, by expatriates

of whom we had asked "When will
your experiment be finished?" "Science
is never finished." Secluded
from domestic strife, Jack Bookworm led a
     college life, says Goldsmith;
and here also as
     in France or Oxford, study is beset with
dangers,--with bookworms, mildews,
and complaisancies. But someone in New
England has known enough to say
the student is patience personified,
     is a variety
of hero, "patient
of neglect and of reproach"--who can "hold by

himself." You can't beat hens to
make them lay. Wolf's wool is the best of wool,
but it cannot be sheared because
the wolf will not comply. With knowledge as
     with the wolf's surliness,
the student studies
     voluntarily, refusing to be less

than individual. He
"gives his opinion and then rests on it";
he renders service when there is
no reward, and is too reclusive for
     some things to seem to touch
him, not because he
     has no feeling but because he has so much.
Now I've got to find the perfect teacher poem.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Honesty: From Fact To Feeling

"It's the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have time."

- Tallulah Bankhead
Though my family would write Roman Catholic in our documents, we didn't practice going to church every Sunday. My parents didn't teach us to pray and fear God.

In grade 4, I transferred from a public school to a private Catholic school. My new school held mandatory confession every first Friday of the month (usually after the first Friday mass.) Our teachers instructed us to write down our sins so that we won't forget them and so as to make the process fast.

I was sort of excited with confessing, as it would be my first time. I simply saw it then as another new concept to learn.

But as I got used to doing it, listing sins became just another task. There were times when I could only think of lying and being lazy to do homework as my only wrongdoings for the month. I would then invent sins as I thought it couldn't be possible for a human being to commit only 2 offenses against God in a span of 4 weeks. I was afraid the priest might perceive me lying.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Speaking Of Idols, Here's Mine

Piano Forte News: Many amateurs get terribly nervous about playing in public. What would you suggest to them to overcome their fear?

Gloria Cheng: One needs to keep things in perspective: a recital is not a life or death situation! Try to keep in mind that the audience is there because they like you and they've come out to share in a wonderful musical experience; so the nice thing to do is to just give them a good time. The other thing to keep in mind is that you are not important, the music is what is important. When I can forget myself and inhabit the piece and just become one with it, then my own problems, hang-ups and ego disappear, which is as it should be.
I think the musician is important, but what Cheng is saying is that the goal's not to show off.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

My treasure, adversely speaking

After the lapse
Of a year or two,
The books your neighbor
Borrowed from you
Are his, according to his lights,
by the principle of squatter's rights.

—Anonymous
I have tons of books which I borrowed and haven't returned yet. Most of them from friends I don't see any longer and some from those I no longer wish to see.

I will return them, if the owners ask for them. Returning these books would be a nice way of seeing old friends. But if they let me keep their books, then these shall serve as good remembrances, gifts.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Magnificent Obsession: Wearing My Heart On My Sleeve

I ask my brother why novelty songs get easily stuck in your head even if you don't want them to.

I, being a commuter, think that the PUV drivers who seem to be in mutual agreement to tune their radios to the same station that plays novelty songs have something to do with this.

But my brother simply answers that the reason why these songs replay in your head after listening to them for a couple of times--or even just once is because they use only 3 chords at a maximum. And most of them major chords. Well that's his theory (feel free to rebut it any time.)

With that statement, though, I figure that if all it takes to write a song are 3 major chords, then maybe I could write a song as well. (In this part of writing I hope I am not offending every decent songwriter there is.)

He says what's commonly used are C, D, G and A. So in my song, maybe I could use F, B and E (I say to him with much naïveté.) I still am not familiar with chord progression, but I have time to learn and I shall learn it well. Right now, I'm in love with the sound of F minor and I'm trying to learn its inversions.

It's always been my dream to write songs. Mass hymns in particular.

Someday I hope I could pull off something as passionate as "Magnificent Obsession."

Friday, May 13, 2005

Relearning

ARTIST
by Robert Francis

He cuts each log in lengths exact
As truly as truth cuts a fact.

When he sawed an honest pile
Of wood, he stops and chops awhile.

Each section is twice split in two
As truly as a fact is true.

Then having split all to be split,
He sets to work at stacking it.

No comb constructed by a bee
Is more a work of symmetry

Than is this woodstack whose strict grace
Is having each piece in its place.
¤

When the class gets too noisy, my Math teacher in grade school begins speaking softly, quietly, then we pay attention.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I Take The Weather Personally, Teddy

"Do you feel as useful as the letter g in the word laughter?"
- from a local radio station

"The lighthouse has made me a better person."
- Mang Ruben, Lighthouse keeper at Burgos, Ilocos Norte
PAGASA says this is not the hottest climate the Philippines has experienced. But this is the hottest I have experienced.

A fragment of "Owning the Maze":

My sister took the window seat. She always did. I strained to see the view outside. There were buildings, the highway, billboards. We were still in Manila. As the view changed into trees, mountains, streams, and the sky became wider, I knew we were near to something to what now I would call, digression.

In childhood, that digression was clearly a place: Baguio and its horses, Vigan and its pink sand. Until I grew and figured that all I had been wanting, all I was waiting for at that long trip, straining, looking at the window, was a moment of amazement.

A bit older, I thought that the place had little to do with that feeling of magnificence, but whom was I fooling?

The place itself shapes the very episodes important to my stories, although it doesn't have to be as far as I used to imagine.

Precisely because of its noise, mess, crime and indulgences, I have learned to love Manila. I walk along Roxas Boulevard with all consciousness that I am the next target for a pickpocket. I feel the same whenever my mother and I would go to Divisoria and Baclaran to shop for Christmas gifts, bargain clothes and chocolates.

Perhaps it is because I was born and raised in the city that I feel this fondness for this crowded, polluted and often pretentious place.


And then there's the heat.

Of all the problems we already have, there's the heat to boot.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

Betrayal

What I have learned today:

1. Although story is staple, there are memories and desires that musn't be expressed at once (some times at all.) I had been in a dazzling place with a lovely person. I had a camera with me, but never thought of taking any picture. Because

2. An impulse to take a photograph is a surrender to forgetting. Furthermore, it's an insult to the subject, not seeing it with your naked eyes.

3. It is one of the most magnificent feelings walking away from an admired person without anxiety to meet again, knowing you will be remembered well.

4. But today is not a perfect day. The worst inappropriate song that could be stuck in your head has just stuck in my head. Here are some of the lyrics:
I took the hand of a preacher man
and we made love in the sun
. . . .
I've been undressed by kings
and I've seen some things
that a woman ain't supposed to see...
Still don't know it? Here's a dead give away:
I've spent my life exploring
the subtle whoring
that costs too much to be free...
But I must admit, the song's my guilty pleasure.

Friday, April 29, 2005

It wasn't the observation of a smart aleck
but that of a truth-lover or a statistics-lover*

Home alone, for some reasons.

First stop, kitchen. There must be bread, there must be bread. There is. It's my lucky day, for there's a dozen of eggs, and there's ham, still sealed. I said lucky, therefore there's Ovaltine, and milk, instant coffee.

The eggs must be fried, a bit toasted. Its edges must be crisp. The ham will be fried as well. On the bread will be mayonnaise. Bread ham egg bread into the oven. Four minutes. The time it takes to heat the water and prepare my drink. Five teaspoons of Ovaltine, half a teaspoon of milk and a quarter teaspoon of instant coffee. Every time I concoct this, the taste is different.

Done.

Two DVD's for me to watch: "The Notebook" (adaptation of Nicholas Sparks's novel) and "Closer" (adaptation of Patrick Marber's play.)

The Notebook. Who's that girl? She's sickly sweet, but charming. Well, she has a very pretty face that becomes prettier the longer you look. Great smile. I like this young lady. She's the only thing I like about this film. She is the character. Is that what you call "good casting?"

Closer. I'm an actor bigot. There are instances when I decide whether to watch a film or not depending on the actors in it. Don't like Julia Roberts. Not excited about Natalie Portman. There's no harm in trying, I can always press the stop button. In two scenes, the conflict's built. Good. There seems to be a promise of a sex scene. Good. (What am I talking about, there's always promise of sex in Hollywood films, and there's always Penthouse's Caligula upstairs if I want porn.) Do I like this film? Do I find it unable to reach its potential? How do I say something intelligent about this? I wish I could see, or read the original play.

My mother must be home by lunch time, or I'll have to order something and I hate spending money on things I could've not spent on.

A whole afternoon at home. There's the piano. After a year of practicing, I still can't play Fur Elise perfectly. And that should be an easy piece. I may not even be worth being called a hobbyist.

A helicopter crash. Mother's not yet home. What a shame. I should learn how to cook rice.

What a desperate day. I'm happy about my sandwich and hot chocolate. The films I've watched are entertaining. At least my fingers are complete and I can read notes. I have something to look forward to.

* J.D. Salinger, For Esmé--with Love and Squalor

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Theeling

For the third time, my family's personal computer has been reformatted. What does that mean? I've lost yet again a gajillion mp3 files. I haven't learned. I should've saved them in a CD. But as how I would usually console myself, I have listened to these, ok those, songs for how many times until I tire of them. I shouldn't be this sad.

How about my other files? They're fine. My Word documents (CV, theses, papers, creative writing) are saved in my Gmail account. (On a side note, I don't know about you other Gmail users, but that "2000 megabytes (and counting) of storage" is starting to get scary. It's like they're up for world domination. Oh well, that's tomorrow's problem.) My jpeg files and other pictures are stored in Flickr and PhotoBucket.

I always brag about how I can live without a cell phone. But my gulay, I have become slave to the internet instead of the other way around.

By the way, Merriam-Webster Asks: What's Your Favorite Word (That's Not in the Dictionary)? Here are some of the responses:
accordionated (adj): being able to drive and refold a road map at the same time

elbonics (n): the actions of two people maneuvering for one armrest in a movie theater

fendicle (n): junk that hangs from fenders in winter

helixophile (n): corkscrew collector

petrophobic (adj): one who is embarrassed to undress in front of a household pet

theeling (n) thinking and feeling blended state
That's one of the reasons why I love the internet. Oh, I still can't get over those music.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I'm Ready, Depression

This is not to say I'm depressed, or will soon be. It is just that.

If only this world is cartoon. One-dimensional, but of course, the discord. Adventure and fun's a given. You face trouble, but then just like that, there's the solution. You get swallowed by a sea monster and suddenly you get out by the door at its tail. Your entire community's been manipulated by a selfish plankton, so you become a rockstar wielding a powerful laser guitar and save the day. (Yes, I've recently seen The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. This is not to say I'm a fan.)

A friend of mine just graduated from college. She was very excited about what's next. I didn't tell her this: Are you sure you have enjoyed every moment of your life as a student?

There we stood: the twenty-something idealist who was eager to ride the real world, join the Palanca, hunt for scholarships and the other idealist who did not believe in such reality and grants with conviction.

Whenever someone younger begins to dream out loud, especially in front of me, I want to turn away. I see the student debaters, speaking with confidence, flair and a sense of urgency, and I want to say, in all plainness, No.

In keeping quiet, I betray friends who solicit an honest response from me and not a generic encouragement. In defense, who am I to tell? They can always surprise themselves and the world with their well-earned and carefully understood happiness.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Still, Spontaneity

I never fantasize about having my own family. Don't like getting married. Don't like children. But of course I've thought about these things.

Batibot ChairSee, you have this space, or I have this space I've grown so accustomed to for how many years. I cannot imagine having this space shared, compromised--for all eternity, that is. In the simplest sense, I don't want to bother about somebody else who might not like a curtain I intend to put on the window.

But I like sharing, I like relationships. I like them so much I want a lot of them. It is just that I love solitude. And I want to spare myself the worry. I worry too much about myself already. If I have a child, I will go crazy thinking how s/he fits in her/his environment, that s/he might get into an accident, and the list goes on.

Great GrandmotherBatangas will always be my favorite place. Lolo and Lola Lipa will always be my favorite couple. Theirs is the energy I desire.

Every time we have a reunion, I appreciate what a family is (supposed to be.) You know it's not about the reunion itself, but what it elicits from you. Curiosity, care. You catch up, not just on each other's lives, but on how each other look like. Of course the stories. Tita Ning cries to Lola while talking about being cheated in her business.

Lolo Lipa, at 94, is a bit quiet. He can no longer walk on his own. He can't hear well, he can't see well. He can't see me. If he sees me, he doesn't remember who I was.

I feel lucky enough to have had a great grandmother in Lola Abe. She had reached more than a century. I want to reach more than that age.

Whenever we're at my grandparents' house at Lipa, we'd always eat mangoes fresh from the tree at their backyard. That Mango tree is older than me or any of my cousins. The new park just across the house is getting better and better every time we visit and my brother and I loves having coffee there. We've yet to try flying a kite in that well-contrived nature. And then there's Tito Joel's motorbike, well, him and his motorbike. My father used to have one, but I was so young then, I didn't have the chance to ride it. Now I can and I always do when I go to Lipa.

Mango TreeA Contrived Nature
Wild RideLittle Temple

My parents say that when my grandparents die, their home will be turned into a rest house. There was once a tree house in the backyard and a small bahay kubo. The bahay kubo was meant for us, the young ones, when we were still children. It was destroyed a couple of years ago. This time the two houses in the lot will be completely destroyed. I don't know if that means they'll also demolish the little village fixture in the backyard, which used to amuse me as a child. I would imagine a whole story set in it.

Lolo speaks up. He wants to go to their old house at San Juan where my father was born. Lola tells us that Lolo loves that place so much, because he loves the people in it. Without hesitation, Lola calls her brother at San Juan. A few more minutes, my father tells us to get ready and get in the car.

The house at San Juan is small, but tidy. The furnishings are color coordinated, the tablewares match.

San JuanAt the dining table, while having merienda, Lolo animatedly recalls the time he went to Mindoro in search for anting (of all the things he can remember...) He says he found it. The story must be cut short. It's almost four o'clock, which is the hour for the last mass. If we don't hurry, we might suffer the heavy traffic.

Lolo takes the front seat of the revo van, all to himself. He needs that space. Lola sits at the back with my mother. My brother and I are in the middle. Lola tells my mother that she recently brought a monoblock chair with armrests for Lolo.

"Para mas madali kapag pinapaliguan ko siya. 330 ang bili ko. Mabuti iyong matibay," Lola explains to my mother. "Daddy, okay ka lang diyan?" Lola shouts to Lolo. Traffic's getting bad. "Masaya ka ba?"

"Ay hindi pa 'ko natatawa," he answers.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

For _____

WHAT I LIKE
by Alice Fulton

Friend--the face I wallow toward
through a scrimmage of shut faces.
Arms like towropes to haul me home, aide-
memoire, my lost childhood docks, a bottled ark
in harbor. Friend--I can't forget
how even the word contains an end.
We circle each other in a scared bolero,
imagining stratagems: postures and imposters.
Cold convictions keep us solo. I ahem
and hedge my affections. Who'll blow the first kiss,
land it like the lifeforces we feel
tickling at each wrist? It should be easy
easy to take your hand, whisper down this distance
labeled hers or his: what I like about you is
I am reminded of this poem after watching "Kung Ako Na Lang Sana," starring Sharon Cuneta and Aga Muhlach.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Collage Of The Day

MY COMPUTER, MY EXECUTIONER

Via Larawan:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com


THE BLAH IN "BLAH BLAH BLAH"

From a phone conversation with my high school friend, Marie:
MARIE: Sa August ako due--second week.
ME: Alam mo na kung girl o boy?
MARIE: Hindi pa. Huli kasing nagfoform ang genitals.
ME: Talaga? Hindi ko alam yun, ah.
MARIE: Miss na kita, sobra. Kita tayo bukas, sa Festival.
ME: Oo naman, malapit lang naman ako dun.
MARIE: Ay, hindi, 'wag na lang. Makikita kita, ang sexy mo,
maiinsecure lang ako.
ME: Haha.
. . . .
MARIE: Buti na lang inisip kong ituloy 'to.
ME IN MY HEAD: I knew it. It's unwanted.
MARIE: Pero sabi nila kapag nakita mo na raw yung anak mo, it's all worth it.
ME IN MY HEAD: Naniwala ka naman.
MARIE: Besides, after college, labas ako nang labas--I've had my fun. Tsaka papalakihin lang naman namin 'to ni M, tapos puwede na kami bumalik sa dati.
ME IN MY HEAD: As if ganun kadali yun.
. . . .
MARIE: Matino na si M ngayon, hindi gaya nung magsyota pa lang kami, laging nangangaliwa. Dalawang beses ko siya nahuli. Buti na lang yung isa inamin niya.
ME: So... paano ka niya napapayag magpakasal?
MARIE: Alam mo, wala ka nang magagawa e...
Sad.


PISCES

From Rob Brezsny:
"What I give form to in daylight is only one percent of what I have seen in darkness," wrote the artist M.C. Escher. Though he wasn't a Pisces, he could have been speaking for you and your tribe when he said that....Now here's some really good news: In the coming weeks, you could raise that to a whopping 10 percent.

CONFESSION

I like Coelho's "By the River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept."

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Act

Sohee was the first Korean I formally tutored. She was 9 years old. She had this rule: on Mondays, I had to call her Sandy; on Tuesdays, Candy; Wednesdays, Winny; Thursdays, Annie; then she'd be back to being Sandy (her English name) on Fridays. That's how cute she was.

Imagine the horror I felt when I was assigned to tutor her for 3 hours every day, from 8 to 11 am. I had to teach her 2 books. She was naughty, playful, proud, smart. After a week, we learned to fall in love with each other. But this is about the first time we met, and something else.

We drew and played games for an hour and a half, as she didn't like to study. When I started feeling too irresponsible for not doing my job, I thought of being strict and forced her to read with me. After a few minutes, she acted as if she was choking. I just looked at her, thinking, What do I do with this kid... Since she got no response from me, she stopped her act, sat on her chair, then read with me.

It came to my mind all those times I acted myself, cheated my way with things. I first remembered my parents, when I would tell them about fictive school projects, so as to get some money to buy cassette tapes. Then there was high school when I would fake headaches and sleep in the clinic so as to skip unwanted classes.

And then now. Somehow I am amazed at our ability--or our choice--to let people we care about act like fools around us. I know now that my parents all along knew about those lies. It's embarrassing.

I recently found this Robert Walser statement: "No one has the right to act as though he knows me." Ouch. The very thing I love and fear most about people is their intelligence.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

What Is There, The "For"

I don't go to school to learn, I go to school to be amazed. It follows: when I open a book, I anticipate the same feeling. When I talk to classmates, I search for that as well.

And I am getting (at) what I want. The incredible cannot happen regularly, thus every day I am faced with such regularness. I take all this mediocrity that highlights that one amazing idea, person, moment.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Prose's Power

From Natasha Bedingfield (my current favorite):
These words are my own

Threw some chords together, the combination D-E-F
It's who I am, it's what I do, and I was gonna lay it down for you
I tried to focus my attention, but I feel so A-D-D
I need some help, some inspiration, but it's not coming easily

Trying to find the magic
Trying to write a classic
Don't you know, don't you know, don't you know?
Waste-bin, full of paper
Clever rhymes- see you later

These words are my own, from my heart flow
I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you
There's no other way to better say
I love you, I love you

Read some Byron, Shelley and Keats
Recited it over a hip-hop beat
I'm having trouble saying what I mean
With dead poets and a drum machine

You know I had some studio time booked
But I couldn't find the killer hook
Now you're gonna raise the bar right up
Nothing I write is ever good enough

I'm getting off my stage
The curtains pull away
No hyperboles to hide behind
My naked soul exposes

I love you, I love you, that's all I got to say
Can't think of a better way, and that's all I got to say
I love you, is that ok?
I love that part where she says: "These words are my own... I love you." It reminds of the first few sentences of Jeanette Winterson's "Written on the Body."
You said 'I love you.' Why is it that the most unoriginal thing we can say to one another is still the thing we long to hear? 'I love you' is always a quotation. You did not say it first and neither did I, yet when you say it and when I say it we speak like savages who have found three words and worship them.
I've always believed in prose's characteristic power.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I've Always Believed In This, Horoscope

From Free Will Astrology:
The hero of Haruki Murakami's surrealistic novel, Kafka on the Shore, can cause schools of fish to fall like rain from the sky. I suspect that you might be able to do that yourself, Pisces. At least temporarily, you have uncanny abilities; I'm tempted to say that you actually possess magical powers. Be careful how you use your wizardry, please. Use it exclusively to perform good works. There's no need to turn your adversaries into jack-in-the-boxes if you can simply make them less adversarial. You shouldn't waste your talent on materializing $20 bills on the sidewalk when you can just as easily manifest an improvement in your working conditions.
I actually possess magical powers. I don't know about adversaries. I don't hate. I envy, I lust, am selfish, materialistic and wish minor misfortune to others, but I never hate. Perhaps that's a problem, sometimes. I must hate, sometimes. But adversaries don't necessarily mean people you hate, or people who hate you, or both.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Forever 21

There is a store I usually pass by, Forever 21, as I go home from work. It's located at Festival Mall, Alabang. I always say I'm a very ordinary girl. I like clothes, shoes, I wish for better hair days, et cetera. The store has clothes that I really like--from fabric to design.

The point of this writing is: what's so special about 21? I'm sure the store would like to promote the idea that youth is a state of mind, an attitude. But why 21?

Every time I pass by that store, I feel good, because I am 21. I think, so this is the coveted female age... mamatay kayo sa inggit! Now that I'm a few days away from 22, I don't want to go near that place. I believe that that store is not meant for 21-year-old girls. First, do they have enough money to buy one of their cute skirts? Maybe yes, and maybe they'd buy on a whim.

Since that store's making a big deal about being 21, and some girls make a big deal out of being 18, I guess I should start finding reasons why 22 is the best of all them ages! But that's the task ahead. In the meantime, I should enjoy the rest of the day.

Buy me a skirt. Haha. My waist line's 28 and my hips, 40 something. Hahaha.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

When Awe Is Overrated

The book on my bedside table is Robert H. March's "Physics for Poets." I borrowed it from the library when I wrote an essay about my former Physics teacher. It was a Brother who recommended to me this book. I was browsing through this big astronomy book and he seemed pleased that someone was interested in the sciences. He then told me about March's book and how good and comprehensive it was.

Indeed it is. What is good about the book is that while it is an introductory text to Physics, the author, Robert H. March, approaches the subject in a way that he tells a story. The story of Physics.

Here are some of the things that I find enlightening that I wish to share with you, dear reader/s:
An idea must be more than right--it must also be pretty...

. . . .

...It has become a cliche to call a scientific research a great adventure. Well it may be; but the student approaching his first hard science course with this maxim in mind is in for a rude shock. Rarely does much of the sense of adventure manage to come through the hard work, for the subject matter often seems both difficult and dull. The student headed for a scientific career is usually told that he must face years of diligent drill before he can understand anything really profound.

But one wonders how many peope would love music if they were required to master a good deal of piano technique before they were allowed to listen to, for example, the Beethoven sonatas. True, a concert pianist probably enjoys the sonatas on some levels denied to others, but a reasonably sensitive person with totally untrained fingers can appreciate their becauty.

. . . .

It is possible to understand nature in terms of approximation to an ideal state even if that state cannot possibly exist in nature.
Finally, I love it when he said, "The worst possible attitude with which to approach the study of physics is one of awe."

There's more, but that's it for now. Take care.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Burden Of Requirement

In Creative Non-Fiction class, we've been asked to write 30 journal entries. Why is it that after having that requirement, all things that are happening to me suddenly seem trivial and uninteresting?

The truth is, all things that are happening to me are trivial and uninteresting. The difference is, I make a big deal out of them. I am a master of sensationalizing my life.

Now that a journal is required, the word and act of contemplation becomes icky.

You see, last Saturday, I went home as I usually do, I rode an FX. In that particular night in that particular FX, there was this huge cockroach. I sat at the middle part of the vehicle, beside the right window. The cockroach was walking at the back of the front seat. It was very near me. It was the first time I've seen such ugly and big cockroach that it made the cockroaches in our house cute. Here is an illustration:


I was terrified and disgusted to death. But since God is good, that particular cockroach, unlike the cockroaches in our house, doesn't fly. The second person at my left tried killing it using her Johnson's baby powder. Calmly, she crushed the pest. It wasn't one quick thump, no, it was one long grueling squishing (as she was trying to crush it against a soft surface.) Like all roaches, that one was still alive after you thought you've killed it. It walked towards the passenger's seat. The man beside me grabbed the girl's Johnson's baby powder and did his own squishing and in one huge effort, there was that sound--the cockroach's innards oozed out. The driver grabbed a plastic bag and the passenger beside him took it, wrapped it in her hand and then took the remains of the cockroach. She finally threw it outside the window. I definitely froze while all that was happening and the hair at the back of my neck stood. I almost opened the door to go out, but my senses caught up with me. I didn't want to be that maarte girl.

Would I tell this story for my journal requirement? Well, if I am in my normal mode, I would've easily turned this event into something profound, political, poetic, significantly comic, or all of the above. But since there is a consciousness of writing for a grade, I lose my appetite for sensationalizing. For now, that event is just icky.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Some Words

An afterword from R.H.M.'s well-loved Physics book:
To be human is to wonder. Children wonder for a while, before we teach them to be smug about the obvious and to stop asking silly questions. It is easier to pay someone to retain a little of the child and do our wondering for us. We then take comfort in the assumption that anyone devoted to such esoteric pursuits must be insensitive, perhaps even inhuman. With our artists, we perform the equal disservice of regarding them as too sensitive.

Occasionally we are given a glimpse of the finished product. the baby is displayed beind glass, well-scrubbed, and one need not know about the delivery room (it is soundproofed). Thus we are spared the agony of wonder, which is not unlike love and makes as little (or as much) sense as love. But wonder is just too human to fully repress, and it does turn up elsewhere. Some of us turn to fads for the occult, which, interpreted by our twentieth-century minds, becomes a "pop-art" science. More often, we find ourselves left with nothing to wonder about (or to love) but what remains of ourselves after the loss of yet another portion of our humanity.

I, for one, refuse to believe that nothing can be done about this empty place, or about the more general disease of which it is but a minor symptom. But as long as we are sundered so, let me remain one of the children and wonder.
—Robert H. March
From Ervin, my friend, who wonders:
ang tanong: paano mo babasahin ang isang
tula kung naglalakad ito?
Words make the world. Go round.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Story So Far

I want to write something better than this
(I strive to be in a better state of mind):

Am about to finish my first year of graduate studies and time has never run faster than this. I'm still sort of--floating. Not that wind association. Meaning directionless. The wind has direction, I don't.

I completely appreciate Carla's job hunting accounts. She's able to articulate some things (feelings) that'll take me years more to talk about, simply because I got so frustrated. Therefore her mere act of telling such stories is something I envy. One thing we have in common is that we both finished with a BA degree in Literature. Now, no matter what the professors in the Lit Dept. say about how wonderful Literature is (yes it is truly wonderful and I believe that with conviction), they will never convince me that it is something you take up as a major if you envision yourself working in a corporate environment.

Ah, the corporate world...

It's true (this is the part where I talk strictly to myself and indirectly to you, my gorgeous reader): even for a job that requires you to be creative, the people and environment makes you soulless. You'd become a yaya to your boss; you'd be accused of having an attitude problem; everyone around you is stupid and those very stupid people are the ones with the C.E.O. and G.M. title; they gossip maliciously... And they're paying you how much?

I'm a pressure cooker incarnate. And this is one of those moments (merely) when I just have to let the heat out.

By the way, everyone I know seems to be resigning from work. Why? (Because they can afford to.)

So there are those who want to get in and those who want out.

Me? I'm beginning to really consider marrying Richard Gutierrez. He's rich and handsome and he can work all he could, party all he could while I take care of the money. But of course you know that being the person that I am, I cannot simply settle on rich and handsome. And Richard Gutierrez is really too neat for me.

So how about school? Um, well, er...

...after 5 hours...

Lord, I just want another fiction teacher in the next school year for the second fiction class. (And I'm not being unfair here to my previous teacher, as I've already reported her to the Department Chair and Graduate Studies Coordinator. Meaning I have followed proper grievance proceedings.) They say it's her birthday today. Happy birthday to her.

That's the story so far. No story. Sorry.

Saturday, February 5, 2005

This Center
(primarily titled 'Lessons On Life And The Like, After Mr. Delfin Angeles')

1. Notes on Distance and Displacement
"I took the one less traveled by." - Robert Frost
distance - length of a travelled path; without direction
displacement - how far an object is from its starting point; a quantity with definite direction

scalar quantity - has magnitude only
vector quantity - has both magnitude and direction


2. Law of Interaction

- There is no single force;
- forces act in pairs;
- 2 forces are equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction;
- they don't act on the same body.


3. Law of Momentum

In any collision, the sum of all the momenta before collision is equal to the sum of all the momenta after collision.


4. Notes on Universal Gravitation

- Any two masses in the universe attract each other with force.
- The force of gravitation between any two masses is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers.


5. Notes on Relative Motion

Every thing moves. Even things at rest are moving relative to something else--the sun and the stars. For example, a book that is at rest relative to the table it rests upon moves at about 30 km/s relative to the sun and it moves even faster relative to the center of our galaxy.

GRASS
Carl Sandburg

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work--
               I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:
               What place is this?
               Where are we now?

               I am the grass.
               Let me work.
When we discuss the motion of things, we describe motion relative to some reference point. For example, when we say a train travels at 200 km/h, we mean relative to the track. Unless stated otherwise, an object's speed is taken to be relative to the surface of the earth.

All this is theory.

(After Delfin Angeles and his notes.)

Monday, January 31, 2005

Paralyzed By Fact

EPILOGUE
Robert Lowell

Those blessed structures, plot and rhyme--
why are they no help to me now
I want to make
something imagined, not recalled?
I hear the noise of my own voice:
The painter's vision is not a lens,
it trembles to caress the light.
But sometimes everything I write
with dim eyes and threadbare art
seems a snapshot
lurid, rapid, garish, grouped,
heightened from life,
yet paralyzed by fact.
All's misalliance.
Yet why not say what happened?
Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun's illumination
stealing like the tide across a map
to his girl solid with yearning.
We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.
Those blessed structures, plot and rhyme--

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Mistake, Or What Is Painful

Is when you look ahead too much and too soon. Or somehow it is all a matter of timing. Time and tardiness. Either you're early or late, and always, always you'll find no one to blame (maybe your self, if you're humble or in great need of closure.) It is not simply a matter of waiting, but presuming. No, not wishful thinking, but presuming--something more real and practical.

You meet someone so easy to get along with. Not just easy to get along with, but someone you immediately trust and admire as any long-time friend. You meet, become friends, and feel no need, no urgency of asking each other's telephone number, mobile number, e-mail address. Weird, but right. Because it becomes easier to part. What is new with what I'm about to say?: It is better (but only sometimes--some times) to be disconnected, solitary. Away.

But suddenly?

(For Sandy and Alyssa; for Chie, Cecile and Kathy. But mostly for Alyssa.)

Thursday, January 6, 2005

The Real Wonderland (Or Paradise, If You Want)

I.
I understand something.
The person next to me cannot understand what I understand.

I feel happy about an event.
The person next to me ignores that event.

You are beautiful.
The person next to me thinks otherwise.

III.
Before, when I'm asked the questions: "What supernatural power would you like to have?" and "If you could do any thing for a moment, what would you do?", I would answer, "be invisible." Now, I would like to get into the consciousness, (unconsciousness), psychology etc. of another person. Both of the person whose mind I admire and the one whom I perceive as a simpleton.

How and what does Mother Teresa actually thinks? Bin Laden? Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? The security guard at the bank?

Maybe it would be like knowing the poet's intention behind the poem.

I want to enter and experience a person's thoughtscape / mindscape.