Saturday, December 29


Talks of progress hereabouts, as usual. Attempts at assessment, evaluation. It is the year's most precious, pristine break, and so there is something to be said about days spent and not lost to sleep; which is to say, spent. Today finished reading a fat novel (while taking copious notes for a paper), which of late I had alternated with adding to currently woeful word count. Yes: progress, although routine had more or less wrecked body clock, although it made me realize I now write at a pace that approximates the melting of polar ice caps, although it is something that I had come to treasure deeply. In a beloved series I have recently revisited, the slogan of a candidate for councilman is this: Change only brings problems. Character is surely a douche (Tope: and so not Japanese), but really am hard-pressed to say that pronouncement is completely devoid of wisdom. There had been, do I dare say, a beautiful kind of peace that accompanies my days. I now guard it fiercely, with the same vigor and attentiveness that I should've before I misplaced it and some other delightful thing took over. Here I am tempted to say that peace is the assertion of the self, the assertion that it is complete. Will think more about this. Now in this succinct demonstration, a clip from the aforementioned series, Celia (the blonde) is me and Nancy (the brunette) is peace. I'm kidding. Obviously.


Sunday, December 23


There it is: my death on print, immortalized. The arrangement of the letters is so familiar that I recognize it instantly, even if I had been surveying the various robberies and homicides with a cursory glance and the typeface couldn't have been more than a quarter inch. Nevertheless, I see it, all nine letters, and I swallow a nameless dread alongside half-chewed pan de sal. I fold the broadsheet in half and flatten it on the table, so I can read the rightmost column on Page 6.

Police are blaming the dense fog on the intersection of Ayala and Senator Gil Puyat Avenues early Sunday morning for the death of a 29-year-old bank teller who was hit by a bus as he was crossing the street.

Philip Lee, a resident of #7 Albany Street, Cubao, Quezon City, sustained head injuries and was rushed to nearby Ospital ng Makati where he was declared dead on arrival.

According to witness accounts, Lee was last seen walking from the post office to the direction of EDSA before bystanders heard a loud screech from a Newman Goldliner bus (TXJ-710) bound for Leveriza.

Sure, accidents happen, but a namesake’s death sticks in your throat on a chilly Monday morning, with its bag of hot pan de sal and illusion of newness. When I was 12, I opened the phonebook to "L" and there were, I found, 17 Philip Lee’s in Metro Manila alone. Even then, on an intuitive level, I knew that I shared something with these people, something more than writing the same letters on documents and answering to the same name. Some form of solidarity. An affinity. Thinking about this gives me a nice feeling, and God knows I need all the happy thoughts in the world.

Tuesday, December 18


Muscle Memory

All wounds begin with coldness, moments before lacerated skin simmers—affinity with pavement,

rock and mud, soil littered with discarded cutlery, unused electronics, all manner of foreign sharpness. When the chill disappears, the mind considers pain

finally. Instructions for the body part to feel—intense heat, some prickling, a childhood in a silent playground. Chains. You pushed until my feet framed

a sluggish cloud’s tail-end. A dusty kick. Flight was a moment. In the fridge, a pair of wedding souvenirs lay entombed beside a jar of tomato jam, a can of beer.

The days return quickly, as soon as you say

The roast beef is rich and creamy, or The bride’s dress resembles a lavender seashell. Inside the boxes, bright-colored candies—peach, yellow, a strange shade

of blue. When the chill disappears, the feet remember: right food forward, then left. Neither is left behind. Endless walking. Naked footsteps. In a walled city

I trace an ancient lover’s frantic escape. She walked here, too,

barefoot. She may have thought of the same things—a childhood, a nuptial, her days returning vigorously. Muscle memory: the body knowing

ahead and more. Desiring to tire. When habits replace thankless consciousness. When what we know surrenders to any frail thing, even wounds

that begin with coldness. Closer to earth, the heat here assembles.

Sunday, December 16


Last night I dreamt that a doctor spoke of worms somehow finding their way into your brain, and you were not yourself anymore, and as you lay on the hospital bed, you asked for me. I heard it: you said my name.

Thursday, December 6


To an eternal ally, my deep admiration.

Offering the reader an experience both numinous and unsettling, fled, their faces turned subtitles fragments edited from miscellaneous family photos (mostly taken in the 80s and 90s) with lines violently extricated from their context to create a glossary of dissonant if not poignant gestures and spaces that explore what is left and what is left out, the fleeting and the in-between, the nameless and the invisible, always caught in the very act of meaning and becoming, of being named and being known, never fully arriving, and teetering at the brink of insight and form.

"Ang mga puwang sa isipan ang pinupukaw ng unang aklat ni Christian Tablazon. Hinahayaan niya tayong manahan, nang hindi napapalagay, lagi sa pagi-pagitan: pagitan ng imahen at wika, pagitan ng mga basag na pahayag, pagitan ng mga salita, pagitan ng paghinto at pag-usad, pagitan ng pagkakabuo at pagkabasag, pagitan ng mga kategorya. Sa ganitong paraan at pagpaparaan, napaparanas niya ang pagiging nasa bingit ng hindi ganap na maalala ngunit tila pamilyar, laging nasa bingit ng pag-unawa. Mabisa niyang kinakasangkapan ang katahimikan at patlang para maipahiwatig ang kakanyahan at kabuuan ng bawat tipak, may sapat na pwersa ang bawat isa na nagtutulak pasulong upang makahulagpos sa pigil ng pagsasaaklat." —Allan Popa

Christian Tablazon was born in Manila and raised in Tarlac. He is an instructor at the Department of Humanities of the University of the Philippines Los Banos and a graduate student at the UP Film Institute.