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Archive for May, 2009

I left the world as it is

Not a tear has been shed,

Only the mist forming

faint breath of dying-

wisps of memory

of the world when

I first found it.

The womb of the earth

gave birth, a wound won’t heal.

A fading montage

I watched. I witnessed.

A cycle of suffering.

A continuous decay.

People lying lifeless

of hunger, alienation,

war and hate.

Dog eats dog, surviving 

like savages

inflicting pain.  Aimless

generation killing

one another.

Of bombs and guns.

I left the world as it is.

No heroes funeral.

I exited, unnoticed

in blood and death. 

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Father, I remember-

waiting for you

on my birthday

And they say,

you’ll bring home

a present like

what other boys have.

I wish of a little toy

I will ride along

in the neighborhood.

And try to belong.

 

Father, I forgot

how long-

I have chased

the speed of days,

counting roosters

that have crowed

at dawn break.

All the hope

that have died

and buried inside. I forgot

the tears that have dried.

 

Father, quite still-

there are images

of trees I forgot to climb.

Of kites I did not flown.

Of baseball gloves

I did not put on.

Of the nursery rhymes,

left unsung. I slept-

as the world turns

of bedtime stories

unheard. I have grown.

 

Father, see me now-

how everyday, I wake up.

And struggle to balance

like a weighing scale.

The drudgery

of riding big toys

through the alleyway

of this wild world.

As I left skid marks,

deeply scarred

the innocence of this boy.

 

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Two nights ago, I tossed left and right in my bed , restless and not knowing what I have been missing these past few days.  Isolation takes a toll and there are days that I can’t bear  the reclusivity.  Those were the days when I felt that I don’t differ to the things you can find in my room. A regular fixture, as if I am resembling to some  breathing machine with a pair of eyes traveling the whiteness of the ceiling.  I imagine the freedom of my mortal being mixing in the crowd around the city.  A stranger with an imaginary wall, like the others.

A study says that there is a silent epidemic  affecting millions of people, slowly killing and obliterates their very existence.  A persistent loneliness, that leads to severe depression due to non-interaction as a result of a person’s self-imposed isolation.  

People need inter-personal relationship with others.  In the world with the advancement of science and technology and the quick fix of web-based communication, people are making way to get connected, through multiple virtual identities impersonally.  Social networking groups in the Internet replaces actual person to person interaction and thus making the present generation  accustomed to getting glued to their computer screens, 24/7.

I admit that if I will not take steps to get out and mingle with others, I might succumb to the ill effects of my being passive and recluse.  That is why, it was a blessing that I have brought home something new in my life.  A living thing, but not a pet, since the landlord would not approve of any pets in the house.  It was a plant given to me by a friend, which has a life, and could share my space and can introduce me to first steps of rejuvenation.

If I can be able to take care for the plant and make it grow through constant watering, nourishment and exposure to sun and wind,  it can become a litmus test.  Wherein each new leaf that might sprang out of it signifies the measure of the heart ready to forge new meaningful relationship with people. A confidence that I can be able to nurture worthy life connection with them, in love and compassion.

The plant, will ever be a constant reminder, that people are not just things. People are people, who is capable of loving and be loved in return.

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I once had the chance to swim the Pasig River when I was just about five or six, I guess.  An uncle, who was a robust teenager that time, invited by his friends, tagged me along with him one afternoon.  We walked across J.P Rizal street and descended some flight of steps going to the not-so-murky water.

Uncle led my hand and told me not to be afraid. And when we dipped ourselves into the water, I felt the river current slowly pushing its force against my fragile frame. Suddenly uncle let go of his hand, and I was left wading by myself. He just laughed and laughed, along with his friends to see me panicking and gasping for breath. When I was just about to submerge into the water, he just snatched my hand in time and landed me safely back to the steps.

I was panting heavily as I watched amazingly to uncle and his friends vigorously swimming against the river current. Hoping that I could grow instantly  and have the strength to swim as long as I wish. 

But when aunt, uncle’s big sister, learned of our little river escapade, she scolded uncle for taking me down to the river, saying that the polluted water could make me more sick.  And aunt blares her disappointment at the two of us and told  me that it is too dangerous to swim in Pasig River, and I could get myself drowned.  My mother has allowed me to stay at aunt’s home for the summer to have my routinary medical EENT checkups. 

I just kept on listening to my aunt’s endless rant to uncle and heard her say that she was really disappointed with me and could send me right away back home. But I just  smiled  and throw a toothy grin to uncle, silently thanking him for taking me down the river.

I am thanking him for expanding the fragiled radius of my being. A new-found freedom, to allay fear of not sizing up to what other boys of my age can do. I don’t want my being sickly hamper the extent of what I can do. To belong and be accepted to a fraternal brotherhood like uncle’s.  And it is a feat that begins my tearing down of the walls of my sheltered existence.  A youthful independence. 

I am thanking him, because that’s when I have learned to stand up and defend myself when I am being wronged. To keep up heading on even when the circumstances are getting against me like a fierce river current drowning all the strength I could muster.  To exceed the limitations of what my mind tells me that I can only achieve that much.

As a child then, I believe, most of us, have become warriors against our own. When we have learned how to be brave even when we were afraid and often get discouraged.  When we  are walking out there in the world,  somewhere, winning our inner battles and living uncertainly day by day, and never giving up. 

Pasig River is my Rubicon,  where a warrior child in me has been borne out of the mighty rush of the river current while bailing myself out for survival. An invisible force pushing me to edge out and discover frontiers I have never been to before, now possible and within reach.    

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Fish crackers, salted

peanuts, chicharon

and Coke in can.

Five peso and fifty cent

fare to a jeepney ride.

I  inhale the pungent

breeze of the balmy bay.

As I watch the murky water

when the sun walks away,

its face hiding down.

 

The lamp post aglow

to your face, a pale moonlight.

Do you remember-

when I cuddle you

on this lonely bench? Together,

neophytes to tender love

leaning into each other, teeth

cracking watermelon seeds,

choc-nut, lukewarm Zesto

in tetra pack.

 

Do you remember-

Zagu and popsicles,

banana chips and chiz curls.

Love seems a butter

and salt to a popcorn.

A pink sugary cocoon

to a cotton candy. Sweet

melting, artificially

flavoring our infatuation.

Intertwined as alchemy.

 

The image of your smile,

glossed in tutti-frutti glitters

and sparkles like stars.

My tongue rolling

Halls mint, holding mild

mannered gasps of breath.

And there I was, restless

at your side, wondering.

How this kismet, a make-believe,

our promises, shall we keep?

 

Fish crackers, salted peanuts,

choc-nut and chicharon,

lukewarm Zesto in tetra pack.

Seven peso and fifty cent

worth of jeepney ride, I came.

Back  here in the bench

our memories of love

littered as wrappers.

Such is our promises we left

bobbing and drifting by the bay.

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I am smoldering in the night.

But you’ll see no passion, only sober

semblance to a gargoyle, seating.

And towering over the city lights.

 

Ah, the fahrenheit must have drop

below sub-zero. My steely psyche

a block of ice emitting smoke,

numb in whiteness. I froze.

 

Ignite me a matchstick. Tell me

what you see when melancholy

lurks slowly in my bones. Splintered

cinders, then into ebony parchness.

 

Ah, am I a comet zooming, as it hits

your universe then dissipate like a frizzle?

Imagine  me as a flame of a dying star-

morose. Traversing your love’s black hole.

 

You didn’t know how hard to contain

my tamed affection. You just didn’t know.

I am smoldering in the night, but

you’ll see no passion. I am sober.

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Musically Challenged

I have always wanted to learn how to play the piano.  It is one of the things in my bucket list that I am compelled to do, fulfilling the goals I have set several years ago, but so elusive that I never found the proper time and place to learn it.  Even if I tried planning to pursue a piano class, it was set aside due to my regular work schedules.  A couple of musician and keyboardist friends tried to convince me to study piano and even told me that they can pitch in to teach me, but I was left waiting and wondering when will be the time they had the energy to do so.

It is a good thing that out of their kindness, they promised.  But that is enough already, and it has led me to nothing.  I have progressed to nothing when it comes to learning piano.  And for now, the eagerness and my determination to learn how to play the piano grew stronger and stronger everyday.  I am so excited imagining how many piano pieces I could be able to play, leisurely at ease.  Of symphonies, orchestra pieces, musical pieces, overtures, preludes and many more waiting there for me to explore.  A daunting challenge for me to know musicology.  I am not contented of merely being purely vocal.  I have an inner need to express more my musicality even further, realizing the inner melodies I have kept humming throughout all these years.

Some maybe surprised to know that I have the ability to compose songs of my own, while riding a cab or a bus.  I am getting inspirations straight from the vibratory rhythms of the car wheels and infusion of surrounding background noises from the street.  The melodies are still fresh on my mind, even if it was long, long time ago, since its very inception. A germination of the musical idea derived through the exploration of our senses.

They say, when a song has been born out from you through your everyday experiences and you still remember them, they are meant to be revealed, creatively shared and exposed for public enjoyment.  Artists had their unique lifestyle – a life of producing and honing their art for expression.  They have also a need for expressing their sublime thoughts, may it be in the form of music, visual art or creative writing.

I don’t believe, when somebody says that a person has a gift for so and so.  In my personal opinion, art can be learned. Talents can be  nurtured gradually through the influences in the environment, or  an individual’s ingrained perceptiveness to their environment and a by-product, or a consequence of an individual’s current life situations, circumstances and past influences. 

I also don’t believe in the notion that one has to spend a considerable amount of time in actually learning an art. Although it might have some merits. The length of time is not a measure how one can evolve eligibly to be called an artist.  Everyone, no matter what their ages may be, have the chance to become artists of their own right, for as long as they have the determination to decode their abilities to express themselves through art. There is no doubt that they will eventually succeed.

Artists are governed by the inner satisfaction they get while genuinely expressing their thoughts through their art.  Artists are governed by the truthfulness of their artistic expression sans the dictates of the prevailing trends,  norm or standards.  Having said that,  most of the celebrated pseudo-artists are merely egotistically bloated and widely publicized musical figures, just for the sake of personal advertisement and cheap breed of entertainment for profit.

True artists of our time are the ones who are hiding away from the spotlight and have chosen to disassociate themselves from the commercialization of the art. True artists, therefore, are the ones who are sticking their hands to the originality and authenticity of their artistic output. In one way or the other, they  might find themselves in the future, being hailed as originators of a new art movement,  a paradigm shift to the art scene.

So, don’t be surprised. I actually mapped it out, this time. I have listed down the things that I will do when I  have learned how to play the piano. Possibilities are endless.  I might have a new song for the choir to sing.  I might have a new song that I can play when celebrating an occasion, and the need for some light music arises.  I might have a recital to be witnessed in a concert hall by a selected few.  The grandest of these plans, might be penning an opera or a musical play to the likes of Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Chess etc.

These lingering thoughts, get me so excited as I imagine my fingers traversing piano keys and weaving some beautiful melodies.  It is a fulfillment that I think, would go beyond compare and can possibly exceed my limitations. It is a lifelong dream, bordering reality.  Soon,  and positively achievable.

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