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Archive for the ‘Prose’ Category

Since March of 2006, I started writing and chronicling my thoughts on almost any topic I can think of.  Mostly dealing with my perceptions on everyday living, commentaries about society, circumstances, current state of my well-being and personal journeys through days of constant struggles seeking endless quest for meaning and purpose. I‘d rather not talk about it. For I know, there are thoughts that are better written than being said.

We are speck in this universe and everyone is bringing within them their vast universe of searching and trying to find their place in this world. Perhaps, I put those thoughts delicately in every word, in every phrase and in every line of a poem,  of an anecdote, of an essay or of a prose. Painstakingly encapsulated each meaning, each nuance, each silhouette of happiness or sorrow. The bitter reality and its aftertaste, the sweetness of longing and the rising and falling of life and love like water, without redemption nor mercy.

Continuing from the 200 days of my solitude and beginning August of 2010 till date, I have penned a hundred poems of the roller coaster ride of layered complexity of these literary perceptions. Hames: Solitude Amidst the Maddening Crowd is officially a poetry blog. My reason is simple: I express better in poetry. I can better paint the picture with words. I can say something without being confrontational, tempered and deep. I can highlight and drive the point in the economy of words like a Spartan, who understands utility.

For me, poetry is sanity. Poetry is breathing and living the oxygen and constant elixir to appreciate life. When all the world’s a stage, actors that we are, indeed, has to play each part very well. And the part that God has allowed me to do, is to pen poetry.

 

In my poem Opening. Waiting. Closing. Life, the cycle of life and death and rebirth are compressed in a nutshell,

only to find that beginnings

anticipate endings…”

 

An incomprehensible heartbreak in Running Away, a sense of wandering without direction,

“ there are outlines

of the life you wish

you had with me…” and 

 

“ a distance

far too wide to belong…”

 

And the epic and colossal poem Young Blood chronicles the ten episodes of war,

“ these patriot’s sons fading like the last puffs

of smokes from an old man’s cigarette growing

into mushroom clouds eclipsing the day…” and

 

“ the world becomes so small

as the wandering clouds casts

its lingering shadows over

the returning and lucky…” and

 

“ jungle has become our greatest enemy…” and

 

“ the rain became empty bullet shells

mourning at this God-forsaken place…” and

 

“ Don’t look back, soldier.

Don’t retrieve the man behind you.

Keep your stance or get killed…” and

 

“ it’s raining ashes today.

Clearing away the embers

among the crevices of silence.

God’s pencil is being sharpened

and graphite is being pressed down

into the annals of men’s history…”

 

Not all my poems are gloomy, there are some splashes of light, positive air and happy inspirations such as Piece of Sky,

“let the wind carry your spirit-

a dot in the sand completing

this tapestry of life. You belong

to a grand plan, ever since

when the universe is born…”

 

A poem tribute to a mother who had unborn child in The Mother and Her Child,

“when all the lights have faded.

When all the sounds have died.

A choice have been made between a mother

and the life that struggles in her womb.

Tonight will be the darkest hour…”

 

A personal favorite in Decoupage, where it hits me personally and the poem had made a life on its own,

“ there is something.

In the stale morning air that reminds me

of one strange midnight…” and

 

“ there is something-

which I failed to grasp

and took hold of…” and

 

“ there is a memory of a voice fading

like the sheen from this worn-out table.

Among the bread crumbs for the pigeons to share.

And this bronzed cup leaving off a tinge-

a certain warmth I could not forget…”

 

Holiday season sadness was encapsulated in Fresh Fall of Snow, both soft and charming,

“ no one is sitting on that bench anymore,

to watch the seagulls and the moonrise…” and

 

“no one wants to be sitting there

among the leafless trees, alone

abandoned by autumn…’’

 

And a peek to a life of the rich and famous in a prose poem Bright Lights, and understanding that they are humans too,

“there is a luggage she’s tugging down the concourse

hurriedly outpacing the brisk walking of time,

meeting down in the alleys of strangers and guests,

with a  mask of smiles and warmth of handshakes…” and

 

“ as fickle as the world spins around,

she begins another round of playing masquerades again…”

 

A portrait poem of an Arab salt merchant in The Trader,

“ his face is a map of caravan years,

weathering the desert sun…” and

 

“ as the sand windblown and collected

in the seams of his linen turban,

anxiety constantly snake through

the mazes of his troubled mind…”

 

A surprise haiku inspired by an art piece, a sculpture in Hepworth’s Echo,

“ Outside looking in.

Thoughts pierce something unspoken-

silence taking shape…”

 

My second portrait poem in four series, capturing the agony of waiting tables in The Waitress,

“ year after year, she stayed while clearing tables

and washing dishes. Cleaning them spotless

and white again, counting them like days

she will have to wait. Leaving this place

crossing oceans to dream with her man…”

 

The tension of freeing and loosening up from fears and start living in Shoe String,

“ I need to loosen up. Shaking off

from the strappy refuge I am

wearing each day…”

 

My third portrait poem, grapples about the future of the one who sits behind a crystal ball in The Fortune Teller,

“she keep on caressing the old crystal ball,

ignoring the signs of her grey and thinning hair.

She believed she has power to prevail death.

But  time slowly creeps like a thief in the night

when she can no longer be speaking about

the future…”

 

The humble existential poem By The Trail talks about human fragility and his migration to a magnanimous realization that indeed he is just a speck in the scheme of things under God’s all encompassing gaze,

“it made me cry.

Something within me springs

divine and humbly I begin

to wonder-

My smallness

in the scheme of things

pre-occupied with thoughts

of needing only to survive…”and

 

“travelling through journeys

winding as these trails

like the herd of caribou

silently passing by the route

with one life to live…”

 

And the last of my four-part series of portrait poems, shares the inside story of a book lover in The Bibliophile,

“his muffled voice breaks

the long stretches of silence

while his hand guided

young and untrained hands

practicing calligraphy…” and

 

“he believed, it was

here  in his hands lies the fiber, sinew

and muscle of generations of man-

the society is ought to remember…”

 

In You Left Me With Things, the poem is trying to dig a box of sentimental journey of hurt and loss,
“the blue light to my cigarette starts another

round of stinging away this loneliness

floating in loops through the night’s surreal air…” and

 

“ the beads begin forming in my mugs of beer

unknowingly- which of those are my sweat or tears-

blurred in the sad memory that you left me…”

 

It is said that things don’t change- we do, in a sad homecoming poem At The Crossroads,

“like a bird lost in migration

without a nest to lay its wings.

Through the labyrinth of dreams

I am not yet found…”

 

And a confrontational poem Re-surfacing, a plethora of anger burst into the open like a volcano,

“anger is foaming in our mouths like lava

simmering in a cauldron ready to explode…”

 

In Montage of a Stow-away, two lives of wanderers intermingled in a poem and you’ll get clueless of whose life is whom,

“I can feel it now across this table

in the old diner of this no man’s land,

The sound of shuffling deck of cards.

Or is it the leaves in autumn falling

in September- that he will remember?…” and

 

“I sense the mad rhythms and cadences

of cursives and scribbles in melancholy.

The dead poet speaks uneasy like this…”

 

A deeply sad and tragic portrait poem of a postman embroiled in a love triad in Paper Cuts,

“an empty love bleeding sentences

that can never be written…” and

 

“The postman didn’t come today

and the letters were undelivered.

No one has foreseen death’s coming-

such as his knocking on doors

and opening of mailboxes, each morning.

They found a fountain pen in his hand,

motionless and still- in cold blood…”

 

Music and love in all its splendor and grace shines in the poem Counterpoints and Movements,

“imagine yourself playing the part.

The melody in a slow tempo

touching the white bones in mine…” and

 

“the sounds in the pavement,

and the trickling of the rain

drops of minims, crochets,

semibreves and quavers

into unfamiliar serenade…” and

 

“when all love was just a dream

and tonight I hear applause

thundering under my own skin…”

 

There’s a gutsy side of self-defense on the poem Draw The Line, sprawled in a life of a refined and cultured front,

“I won’t show you the bookmarks.

The synopsis of chapters.

The highlighted paragraphs

almost torn to the leaf

where the watermarks

from my tears had faded.

I won’t let you read it…”

 

And an intriguing poem on a bohemian’s severe mental state of depression in Vacuum,

“it feels strange. Someone

speaks in a muffled voice

and you float being chased

around in dreams…”

 

The suitcase and all emotions that is packed within it, ready to go to drift beyond seasonal changes is bitterly written down  in Autumn’s Leaving,

“ there’s a suitcase in the hall.

And emptiness will soon occupy it…” and

 

“ I will try picking up the pieces again and slowly

survive another night without the moon nor the stars…”

 

A closer look on friendship and brotherhood in the poem Brotherhood of Man,

“ you said you got the numbers, the monopoly of muscles

careening into the free struggle, a high tide.

Your fate hangs by a thread slicing your morrow,

all by winning the plum, a brotherhood of man…”

 

An introspection of marriage in the poem Tourists at the Beach, explores its inevitable circumstances leading to separation,

“ we walk like solitary man and woman

glancing sideways, avoiding leisure

as if children were lost running both ways

chasing happiness out of sight. Dreaming

of lost balloons. Of lost kites. Of empty boats

bobbing, floating and drifting away…”

 

A poem about architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright and the portrait of an architect and his feelings of being marginalized in the profession which was bravely chronicled in I’m No Frank,

“But I’m no Frank

and dreams might be

my little fingers clasping

hard and pushing pencils

for somebody else’s utopia…” and

 

“The genius envisions an edifice

in his intellectual acrobatics,

justifying to the world the modern-

reality that build themselves on paper…” and

 

“but I ‘m no Frank.

The hours stretched for miles and miles.

The drafting table becoming wet with fog

until  the first  hours of the morning.

I can hear the mad conversations

of the vellum and the graphite saying,

“deadline nears, it’s almost here”…

 

And here’s a poem Man on The Wheel, an analogy of man’s life with driving and error of his lording ways,

“to these burning palms laid down from commanding-

life directions in the intersection of good and bad.

The right from wrong.  I twist and turn in indecision…” and

 

“ I try to make a path through the grass

and keep the weeds from growing…” and

 

“I surrender for the first time. Watching

someone else’s lording over the brakes

and keep moving the distances away.

Away from  myself.  Trusting…”

 

Then, I wrote a poem about a person struggling with Alzheimer’s syndrome in Sinking Deeper,

“ I misplaced the sign- “don’t disturb”

among the shards of broken plates,

of broken glasses in the kitchen.

Where did I put our picture frame?…”

 

I did have my share of the contemporary and the modern in News of the World, putting in the elements of the ordinary into its larger than life focus,

“ and you will hear the sound of footsteps

becoming heavy. And the noise picks up

like the tractor breaking the clods of soil.

Like the knife speeding the rate of chopping.

But it is not about the tractor. Nor the knife…”

 

And a powerful poem tribute for the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy reads like a prayer in The Reading,

“ I hear the mad stampede roar.

I hear the panic bars unlatch.

Then the cacophony of sirens,

the tolling of alarm bells,

the symphony of shock,

the avalanche of horror,

the carnage of the missing,

and the agony of the trapped…” and

 

“ I hear them all within the sound of the water

trickling down over the polished slabs of stones.

I hear them while I listen in the reading,

of engraved names whose innocent fates

were like the powdery dusts in mid-air

frozen, suspended, undiminished in time…”

 

I took a peek on the blank state of human condition, it’s fragility to be broken and adaptability of starting over in Whiteness of Being,

“ It’s like a white space.

When the horizon of doubt blurs

the line that separate you from immortality.

And all you see is your own lightness

that no shadow would keep you

stalled towards your destiny.

There,  you would know that peace

is the only way to move on…”

 

In Renegade Days, I try to recall my radical moments of youth, idealism and student activism, cherishing the days that I was able to be part of  the  great voice for change,

“ we were among those hundred innocent feet

wheeling through the clouds of dusts.  So close

that someone shouted to stop the angry phalanx

from advancing the gates. We were young bloods then…” and

 

“ we stand like a hundred innocent moths

circling fearlessly around the flame. Ready

to extinguish our fates  for one day of glory…”

 

And most of the best poems I’ve got are the short ones such as Midnight Train, whose description of the night is captured in its brevity,

“ night dresses flowing

pink, plumes of smoke

by the passing train…” and

 

“ no reflection hides your true charm

lonely as a fog, silent as a dove

your ghost would wander…”

 

I love impressionism, and I wrote an impressionistic poem in Clouds and Poppies, where I had a liberty to describe a scene in my memory,

“ I’m wide awake

 

asleep

daydream embracing

splashes of red

soft velvety blossom…”

 

Another confrontation in Having Said Enough, is a frank- tell it to my face poem that deals with arguments and disagreements made clear,

“ you’re definitely upset when I can’t catch you. And you

can’t catch me as we are both lost in translation…” and

 

“ you know, sometimes you do not have to fight

every battles you are invited in. Just choose-

the best one. And argue with me. Fine…”

 

And memories of solo road trips in Skid Marks, analyzing love and life through road detours and road markings,

“ I see the tyre burning marks

like tattoos criss-crossing,

shifts of directions of going

and coming into your life…”

 

An Afternoon with Monet, is where I try to engage the painter into a poetic discussion of his many splendid impressionistic paintings and my love for his art is evident in this poem,

“ I walk dreamily

drank with loveliness,

the wavy enthusiasm

of the blue sea.” and

 

“ I see reflections

of wooden boats

bobbing in a dance

with quiet clouds

rippling soft creating

small shivers

in its feathery face…”

 

Depression hits like an umbrella to a raincloud in the poem  Weather’s to Blame, dissecting the many elements of the rainy day,

“ my eye bags were  like cumulus cloud

hanging low, grey and heavy

moving slow hovering thoughts

you won’t know what I am trying

to get over underneath…” and

 

“ I forgot how to regulate the flow

of the emotional flash flood I contain.

And here I am with my lonely forecasts.

The weather disturbance I blame…”

 

Another favorite  poem of mine, Abandonment deals with feeling of barrenness and loss where elements convey the strongest message,

“ I had a future

of keeping yesterday.

Think of your broken machines

worn-out hands-me-down

wrecked and rusted

and shattered and cracked…” and

 

“ your broken bottles

peeled plaster left

pockmarks on walls

bruised on my skin…” and

 

“ the bible’s missing pages

incomplete like my faith

transfixed on a television

watching silent movies.

Wondering what is it

that Chaplin mouthed?

Isn’t it ‘God, why thou

has forsaken me?’

And the world laughed…”

 

The Story is an experimental poem, two personalities conversing like a soliloquy about the travails of a scriptwriter,

“ unless I end up whoring

at the art house

with rusted springs

at cushioned seat poking

scooped up gossips.

Eavesdropping

some private lives…” and

 

“ I let his copulation of idea

with tried and tested formula

stink like the stench of urine

of those who had chewed

and vomited yesterday’s

mulch of cinematic nostalgia…”

 

Another gritty poem His Past Smells is a retrospection of a man who recalls his share of poverty,

“ as if dreams can be scavenged

out of the hilly mounds

of garbage, dumping its gifts

of someone else’s trash turning

into someone else’s fortune…” and

 

“ he won’t cover the past

with today’s perfume

nor sanitize its images

in suds of detergent…”

 

A portrait poem of a gondolier and his lost love  is well chronicled in Gondolier of Venice,

“ his voice knows the direction

where to bring new lovers

bowled over by the moon

and the stars, sailing

their feelings away…”

 

Specimen, is a poem that deals with the deep social questions of racism and discrimination being experienced as an expatriate,

“ is it about what you’ve been taught?

Is it about how you’ve been raised?

Have I been misplaced by fate?

My skin’s darker, hands dirtied,

swollen by hard labor. A gap

so wide I couldn’t leap forward

a privilege’s bloody to break…”

 

And a wonderful cleansing poem written with a positive outlook, I Am Writing My Pain Away, is a retrospection of a stepson who became introverted and isolated from the world,

“ but she didn’t know that I am writing my pain away.

I came to a point of thinking about those fatherless

children who lost theirs in wars, in car crashes…” and

 

“ I could belong like my ink being absorbed by the paper,

without condition. Just pure distill of my thoughts.

I could somehow say that I found a home to myself

after all…”

 

A short but an allegorical poem about war, Haystacks is a resemblance to those war heroes whom we have lost in World War 2,

“ little mounds

becoming little hill

becoming mountain

becoming volcano

billowing smoke,

the war was won

over.

Black ash

as its aftermath…”

 

And missed chances to find love in She Could’ve Been That Woman, chronicles a shy man’s regrets and fear of commitment,

“ but fear is a great thief.

It plunders you out of years

slipping you by of chances.

Could’ve been. Love.

Should’ve been like that…”

 

In the poem Double-Faced, it examines the narcissistic hypocrisy of self to conform and boost the ego by the will of majority,

“ let’s burn the hours

under the opium of disguise,

it’s good to wax poetic with egos…”

 

I seldom write haiku, but here in Six Days A Week, the poem clearly describes the travails of a working life,

“ it takes a lifetime to sit down

roosting a nest with your eggs

of fortune to hatch golden…”

 

Walking Along, is a poem that  recounts multiple lives stitched by an image of people crowding and walking in the streets burdened with their own circumstances,

“ turning left and right,

brushing past signals

and pedestrian crossings

colliding like busy ants…”

 

More on the second half as I celebrate the goodness of writing poems and blogging  these past eight years. I do hope you enjoy the poetic journey so far. 

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Today, marks my two hundred and one days of solitude.

It gave me a sense of fulfillment to know that I have stayed through all these years writing the many vivid facets of my mind, heart and soul. Writing became my constant companion whom I can share and reflect on the intimate, smallest and minutest detail in life we often take for granted.

For the longest time, I have used poetry as a creative platform to express the richness of my personal experiences and the joy of the inner travels I have had.  I have had prose/essay  pieces before, but I have decided to channel my creative energy to poetry as the less exposed literary medium and thereby avoiding the pitfalls of being confessional.

As I have said before,  it is my intention to utilize this blog for the purpose of personal expression. It was not my intention to commercialize my creative output for monetary gain or seeking personal favors from anyone or any business entity. 

With the creative collaboration with my fellow blog writer friends, I acknowledge the tremendous help I have gained through their constructive feedback that develop me more maturely in tackling explorative writing subjects. I am poised to continue writing without constraint on the boundaries of belief, religion, age, philosophy or political ideology.  I maintained a free but a sober mind discoursing the merits of our humanity without prejudice and without the sacrifice of the value system I uphold.

Nevertheless, may the years ahead prove to be a fruitful creative writing endeavor.  It was my hope, that my creative writing serves as an inspiration, an honest reflection, and an essential guide to the paths of self-discovery, higher level of understanding and this life’s noble existence.

To my readers, I thank you for the valuable friendship, readership and patronage you have given me through all the years. This, I consider as an anchor for me to forge ahead and keep on writing.

I would like to share the prose/ essay / poetry listed in my book of days as follows;

 1)      Country Music

2)      What Motivates Me?

3)      Work

4)      Childhood Friendship (Part 1)

5)      Young At Heart

6)      Amarantine (Enya)

7)      Before Sunrise

8)      Breakout

9)      Happiness Is A Hammock Under A Shady Tree

10)  Farewell To Sunset

11)  My China Connection

12)  If You Never Say Goodbye

13)  Four Corners of Isolation

14)  Man In The Mirror

15)  Ladies in Lavender

16)  Starwars Saga

17)  Capsule Of Perfect Moment

18)  Overwhelmingly Entertained By Poverty

19)  The Kite

20)  Afraid Of The Future

21)  Burning Ladder Into Oblivion

22)  Lucid

23)  Elegy To The Departed

24)  Sunday Music Blues

25)  Commodity Of Choice

26)  Top Ten Picks On The Youth Chart

27)  Voices Of The Walking Merchant

28)  Universe Of Virtual Worlds

29)  White Flag

30)  Autumnal Equinox

31)  Indeed

32)  Liberty From Monotony

33)  Dead Poet’s Society

34)  Singlehood

35)  Hongkong In My Mind

36)  Pay Scales

37)  Antisocial

38)  Rude Awakening

39)  Diary

40)  Outsourced Economy

41)  Great Leaping Forward

42)  Tombstones

43)  City Surrealist

44)  Filtered Through

45)  Paradigm Shift

46)  October Rain

47)  Nocturne

48)  Deja’vu

49)  Hedonistic Survival

50)  Two Women

51)  Anger Scythe

52)  Refusing To Learn

53)  Waiting Room

54)  Quotes From My Fave Movies

55)  Passion For The Arts

56)  A Long Year’s Sabbath

57)  Daylight

58)  United 93

59)  Half-Filled

60)  A Prayer

61)  Ratholes And Bay Reveries

62)  In The Silence Of The Heart

63)  Sorting Out Life

64)  Rock Bottom

65)  Angling For A Kill

66)  Little Wings

67)  Frame Of A Thought

68)  Journey To Neverland

69)  A Nugget Of A Kindness

70)  Dreaming Of Pakistan

71)  No Explanations

72)  In The Foothills Of Fujairah

73)  This Way Up

74)  The Rebel

75)  Long Wait

76)  Promise Of Rain

77)  Whiskey Lullaby

78)  Trip To Quiapo

79)  Anachronism

80)  Conform To Belong

81)  Beautiful Mind

82)  Snapshots From The Edge

83)  Dream Believer

84)  30 Minutes

85)  Happy Kid

86)  Munad

87)  A Teacher’s Worth

88)  Love Letters In The Sand

89)  On A Moonless Night

90)  Quiet Contemplation

91)  Classmates In Grade School

92)  Return To Innocence

93)  Drafter’s Board

94)  Rendezvous

95)  Urban Owl

96)  Slow As The Wind Blows

97)  Chance Passenger

98)  Bottom Dollar

99)  One Foggy Morning

100)    3:100

101)    Winter’s Ode

102)    Soledad

103)    Visions Of Arabia

104)    Last Sixty Seconds

105)    Rocket Idea

106)    Unknown

107)    Dinner For Two

108)    Musings Of A Thirty Something

109)    Words To Live By

110)    Life Uncommon

111)    Canine Memories

112)    Rehearsing Love

113)    Blank Canvas In A Lazy Afternoon

114)    Highway And The Stranger

115)    Paper Trail

116)    The Day I Met The One

117)    While Listening Alison Krauss

118)    Like A Desert Meets The Rain

119)    Some Faded Photographs

120)    Haiku To A Hideaway

121)    Death Of A Little Bird

122)    Solace

123)    Absent Minded

124)    Confessional As Plath

125)    The Wake-up Call

126)    Halfway Through A Page

127)    Black And White

128)    Aurora Borealis

129)    Musically Challenged

130)    Embers

131)    Memories Are Cheap

132)    Pasig River And The Warrior Child

133)    New Leaf On Living

134)    Bicycle Ride

135)    I Left The World As It Is

136)    Paint The Words

137)    Adaptation

138)    Reflections On The Puddles

139)    Tickets

140)    Moonscape

141)    A Moth In The Flame

142)    Clothesline

143)    Sketches

144)    Monochrome

145)    Bedspace

146)    Captive In Babylon

147)    Vignette On Yesterday

148)    Bye Bye, Yellow Butterfly

149)    Chiaroscuro

150)    Prairie Walk

151)    Lost For Words

152)    Sundown Over Umm Ghuwailina

153)    Ryan

154)    Kinesthetic

155)    Counting

156)    Alphabet

157)    Ghost Whisperer

158)    Orion’s Belt

159)    Rhapsody In Blue

160)    Click Shut Down

161)    The Solitary Task Of Writing

162)    Immersion

163)    Stamps And Postmarks

164)    An Everyman’s Tragedy

165)    Paper Boats

166)    Birthday Candle

167)    Second Thought

168)    Nil

169)    Lukewarm

170)    Touchdown

171)    Ink Must Wait

172)    Great Divide

173)    Sugar For Coffee

174)    Half Truth

175)    On The Last Chapter

176)    Quatrain For The Dying Tree

177)    Dapples

178)    Keys To Some Secrets

179)    Wind Swept

180)    Detached

181)    To Pablo Neruda

182)    Opaque

183)    Scribbling

184)    Burned Bridges

185)    Moonquake

186)    She Sings

187)    Parachute

188)    Earth Sounds

189)    Oeuvre

190)    Watermark

191)    Once Solitary Shell

192)    Grandfather’s Clock

193)    Vanishing Point

194)    Nightfall

195)    Tryst

196)    Laundry For The Firstborn

197)    Finding The Light

198)    Bliss

199)    Phantom Of A Dream

200)    Avalanche

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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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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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I skipped my regular routine attending church services in the morning that Friday.  A week ago, I have already informed our pastor that I plan to attend the Industrial Area church service instead in the evening.  I also missed out our church choir practice that night, which I am so sad about. 

We braved the dusty road leading to Industrial Area. When we have arrived at the place, it was a regular accommodation building intended for company workers.  The road leading to the building is quite notorious with potholes and mountain of construction debris on the side.   We reach the worship place after winding up seven staircases worth of our stamina, of climbing the steps. The place of worship is located in the rooftop.  About 24 sq.m. approximately, capable of seating around 20 people, right there along with the clothesline of wet laundry left out to dry.

The truth is, I am not expecting it.  Of all places, to hold a church service.  A rooftop towering over other rooftops of factory buildings in the midst of desert wind and the usual darkness of the evening.  I am used to attending house of worship with the comfort of sheltering oneself against the external elements, such as rain, heat and dry wind.  That night is a wake up call.  Believers are called upon to honor the Sabbath, wherever, whenever and whatever it takes.  Be it under the shade of the tree, or under the canopy of the bridge, or an open field. 

I am deeply humbled by the fact that here in the wide stretch of the desert, away from the comforts of the homeland, people who are disciplined in faith, are braving the routinary grind of their overseas life, partially isolated to the urban centers.   This is mission’s work,  a life dedicated to the cause of bringing the Gospel to the far reaches of places.  Administering the continuous flow of the message and strengthening people’s faith in God.

I admire my pastor, who is a missionary himself, for the kind of passion he have for the lost  souls and bringing them all to Christian faith.   His silent ways are a steady yet constant reminder that complacency has no place in Christian service.  Believers are ought to steer clear of their comfort zones, sacrificing time and effort for building up Christ’s work and taking upon each the individual God’s calling in putting into action all the Christian training they have learned.

I admire my friend Grace, who chose to become a full-time missionary, while administering translation of the gospel to the native tounges of the tribes among the hinterlands of Mindanao and Luzon back home.  She already had the chance to go to India, for some introductory mission’s work as part of her trainings.

Sometimes, it is a pity, when I hear myself, complaining about being so tired to get up early in the morning to begin my morning prayers.  Sometimes, it is a pity, when I see myself, scrambling over reading best-sellers in the night rather than having a bible reading of a chapter or two. Now it occured to me, that what I am doing for the kingdom is not enough.  Christian life calls for able and willing men of faith to stand up and do the work.  Whatever the circumstances may be or a situation they are in. 

The next time, I will go to the Industrial Area to have my Friday church service there.  I need to listen to what God is saying to me, visually.

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Sylvia, you struggled with the night, they don’t see you.  And the madness you have kept along since your youth, stand watch to the agony of your desire, I feel you, even if Ted fades away. They seem to like you and your outbursts of anger, unmindful of the things you are so capable of destroying; your fragility, your womanhood.  They had made you as faceless like girls of Kabul wearing burqa. 

But I must admit, Sylvia, that beyond with your innocence, beyond with the frailty and your true self repressed by layers and layers of hate and uncertainties, you will rise like a phoenix redeeming its immortality.  Like a golden lotus emerging from the fiery flames, and a thousand death might come but it will never win its argument against your indomitable spirit. Yet Sylvia, you left the world with a scar that won’t heal in time, putting a strong voice to silence unheard of, in decades past.

Have you ever met Frida Kahlo? Your fate runs almost parallel to hers and through your gift of art, the pangs of pain are shifted through the bittersweet beauty of your words, though they say it was staid and conventional.  But I don’t believe them.  Yours an endless laughter like the one you made with Ted when you first met him at the party in Cambridge. Yours a happiness since the first time you have published “The Colossus”.

How could you keep as perfectly as it was to squeeze in the time breathing life to a poetry waiting there at the dining table and lay you sleepless in the night?  How could you tear yourself apart open and shed the light withholding nothing and the truthfulness of the turmoil you’re going through?  The days that lingers almost unbearable, in between the soiled dishes in the sink, in the soapy suds of the dirty linen and in the keeping of your children who are innocent of the struggles your dealing with Ted. 

In the night, that you have sealed the doors by wet rags, have you thought of just keeping on, pressing on- to deal with your pervading loneliness and disillusion? When you precisely turned on the ignition of the cooker, as you inhale the gas, Sylvia, did you think of finally  avenging your fractured self against Ted?  Of how your  jealousy could have made you insanely and sweetly surrendering to impending death?  How intense is your longing for Ted to reconcile with you, knowing that he is just a man, and you are so afraid of losing him?

Sylvia, if you only have known that after forty years have past since your death, your son Nicholas might have taken his life, too; maybe because he might be carrying the gravity of questions left unanswered since the day you died.  Would you keep on existing? Would you be strong enough to let go of Ted and spend the rest of your lifetime for your children? And see them of what they have become in the twilight of your years?

But the time has run out.  And you have to choose between life and death.  But you chose the latter. Sylvia, you have chosen to end the sad stories in your life, cutting away Ted and his chains around you.  You have chosen freedom.

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