Wednesday, October 31

Pagsakay sa bus.

May dumapong bigat kanina sa akin habang nakasakay sa isang bus na puno at siksikan. Nakadungaw ako sa bintana, habang nakadantay sa braso ang kamay ng katabing babae. Mayroon siyang ikinu-kwento sa kasamang lalaki, na bigla na lamang inilingkis ang kamay sa balikat ng babae sa kalagitnaan ng byahe. Malamig ang kamay ng lalaki. Sa pagbaba, pinili kong maglakad pansamantala sa halip na sumakay sa jeep. May nadaanan akong isang lalaking lasing sa ilalim ng tulay; nakahiga sa semento at waring ninanakawan ng dalawa pang lalaki. Walang nagawa ang paglingon ng mga dumaraan. May kantang nagpabuka sa aking bibig. Mabilis ang byahe kung tutuusin.

Tuesday, October 23


Everything, a metaphor

you don’t believe. When I tell you the days
are sun-baked hills until you came along, you refuse
to drop again, precipitation-wise. When I say
I am a desolate gasoline station in the middle
of nowhere, you inquire about the true-to-life possibility
of cab drivers sipping coffee in a roadside eatery,
downing bowls of hot arroz caldo, comparing stories
about the time when rain didn’t stop for weeks
and floodwater was a putrid blanket
that covered the cold city from head to leanest side street.
It is raining now.
We are in an abandoned gas station.
Do you feel the tug between symbols and the vanishing
pavement? The fence swathed in vine and the surrender. This body
      and the endless shivering.

Tuesday, October 16


Today, an unexpected wonder. From a hotel in Malate, a scenic route to Quiapo Church. Old buildings, marketplaces, the sea. Melane was there to get a camera for a three-week sojourn to Indonesia. I asked her not to inconvenience any monks along the way. I am going somewhere not as far, to endlessly walk, look at eroding terraces, and sweat. Philline says she will be waiting at the bus station.  What are we doing? Mel and I asked each other. Andy quoted from Gina Apostol's Gun Dealer's Daughter: "Is forgetting all you need if rest is all you want?" This is Mel: "Pwede lamang tayo paguhuin ng mga bagay na sila ring nagtayo sa atin, tinuntungan natin. Hala." Last time was in Quiapo Church, was with Alaysa, from China Town, and we crossed the overpass of the dildo sellers. I have forgotten this.

Wednesday, October 10


Leaving for Cagayan de Oro in a few hours. Have long detested stress of early morning flights, but disaster of missing a late night one months ago (due to, among others, grave naivete re: military time) had rendered whole thing utterly scary: unpredictable traffic, scary-antiseptic airport environs, thought of documents jumping off bag to stay in bed, etc. So will be in CDO for a grand total of 22 hours, owing to (most likely) sadistic assistant who made travel arrangements and deemed it too much for lowly writer (moi) to have at least a few hours to, I don't know, sleep at the hotel? Funny when you recall that also flew to Cagayan in October last year, a lovely sojourn that included, among others, staying in Philline's durian-smelling solar-powered house and driving to Bukidnon to live with Lina Sagaral-Reyes for a few days. Think there shall be no solar energy or poetry in this trip; only cooperatives and credit bureaus (don't ask). Now, germane (and criminally emo) conversation with Andy, spread over a few days since we're so subhumanly busy:

A (Mon AM): Let's leave, G. I want to live somewhere else. I want a new life.
G (Mon PM): Hi, A. I want to disappear. Now.
A (Wed AM): Why the choice of the word 'disappear'? Why not 'go away'? Or is that my mind on overdrive.
G (Wed PM): Because I've been feeling that I'm ready to implode at any moment. Location can't change that. Hence, disappear.
A (Wed PM): Yes, because we bring ourselves wherever we go.

I think, I think, you never know when it's that bad until, well, it's that bad. What I'm doing now (in school, and career, and relationship, and life) is essentially trying to avoid all manner of regret once things are over, prevent any Revolutionary Road- or Incendies-type breakdowns later when one realizes things are lost and irreparable and like a 6 AM flight to the south: stressful, seemingly important but really just something that deprived you of sleep.

Monday, October 1


I welcome October with arms aching because they're so outstretched. With the yearning of an upside down umbrella. The smile of an open manhole. The one-two punch of August and September now hopefully over, and so today: errands (drop off letter at Chancellor's office, look for lost library book), acads (start with Gemino paper, revise Charlson story, think of topic for Tope paper), love life (re-watch/blog about Hable Con Ella, download prescribed films, think about him), work (say yes to a raket in Cagayan de Oro next week, transcribe two interviews, write one press release), writing (send Charlson story, plus one more, to bunch of magazines), and self (think about point of everything, text random people about how writing and literature no longer, at this point, bring happiness).

Lately have questioned soundness of long-running thesis re: Awful Months (arbitrary, illogical, convenient), but how do you knock it when the first day of October brought such astounding bounty, in producitivity and prospects alike. (Of course, can be self-fulfilling prophecy, and Mobius strip-type tautology is useless argument). That said, kind of relish the celebratory mood October brings, if only to pick self up from proverbial rubble in the aftermath of August and September. Someday might find real reason for the invisible weight, i.e, other than retrogrades and ghost months. And if it really is bogus, what of it? We all tell ourselves such lies to survive. In this light, have obviously lost ability to be straightforward. Yey.