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Posts Tagged ‘belong’

We abandon the place

after the flood. When

the alleyway became a river

detouring its natural course

meanders into two directions-

separate

 

until that gap

spans the vast expanse of the land.

Wider than the ocean,

for years now.

 

Long pauses between seasons.

Winter. Spring. Summer.

Fall. A silent  rain

muttering through the night

whispers becoming promises,

dewdrops of tears in the dawn.

 

Time have weathered

this young couple’s portrait

left hanging in the wall.

Silhouette and shadows

in muted remembrance

among traces of dry mud

and moss,

 

mildews

eating up the torn

and brittle edges-

the vows to our union.

The floodwater left

its ugly stains

of pain. Unreconciled

 

between two people

lost in the randomness.

Of things. Searching

to belong in another’s embrace.

 

Which can’t be found

 

even if the storms

have finally subsided.

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We fail to keep promises

just as we are used to

stare like goats. Upfront

confronting strangers.

 

Inside this hallowed cavern

with  a burden of care while  

we share those empty gaze.

Needing to belong.

 

We don’t even dare

to twitch a smile- as a sign.

Filling void spaces to fit.

Caged and restrained

 

our little freedom.

Moving and hurrying

to destinations, crowding

one way streets like ants.

 

Knee to knee. Side by side.

Wanting to repel, burst

into the open, running away

with the world past behind us.

 

We fail to stay as we are.

Outpacing each other.

Chasing the dust cleared

of promises we can’t keep.

 

Finding it hard to believe

it was only inches away,

that we ought to  try

mending this great divide.

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That is when I would want to stop

thinking about numbers. Straining my eyes

glued to the pages of the calendar

pinned on the wall, I marked of days

in and out.  In a work life punching timecard.

 

You never knew how stressful it was,

to run alongside the clock ticking deadline.

And seeing life like a finish line,

guessing as if today  I would be fired,

saying this day would be toast to the last.

 

Number is a finite word.  For me, an illusion

that therein we draw our strength, our definition.

If dying is a painful exercise of keeping track,

and if calendars and clocks are its devices,

then I should shred them all together into pieces.

 

I’ll proceed cutting my fingers straight,

until I only have zero devoiding myself of order.

I would not want to buy the minutes,

and the hours.  And of the days expanding

into months and years wanting to live longer.

 

When I die, so sure that I’ll predictably belong

to some cold stark concrete listed with names.

Informing humankind of milestones in a file

cataloguing folder of the year I was born

and the year that I finally stopped counting.

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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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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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Crossing  the pedestrian lane

whip lashed  by the  breeze.

He came by- unmindful

of the roaring traffic.

Green light blinked

turning yellow-

still he walks, only inches

away to his own shadows.

 

Merged in the crowd

in the heat of the sun

with eyes transfixed-

one solid direction.

He goes without turning.

He goes without swerving.

He talks without sound.

Keeping distance.

 

He exist but can’t be found

in the sea of strangers-

he lives but don’t belong

waiting buses, waiting lines.

To him, the world’s a square.

A face and a name where-

traffic signs blinking red,

life detours to dead-end.

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Always been on a safe side. Preferences would always be the same. The same habit. The same color. The same attitude. Never venturing outside the comfort zone.  Almost made me wonder, if this kind of conservatism and restraint is quite common among my generation?

Or is it some kind of book that has prescribed a norm, a standard to follow through, in almost every aspect of our everyday life.  It is like somebody dictating, that you should wear this; you should try that; you must have this or you should dump that. 

To have or to have not. To be or not to be. Each of the segments of the society, varied as they may be, left something for the mind to contend with. To be confused with. The choices. The prejudices. The biases. The preferences.

Each, whatever it may be, can be debated along with. Dissected with reasons.  Reasons that appeared to be valid. Reasons that are founded according to personal circumstances. 

As we age along, society expects changes.  Society expects diversity. But in the scheme of things, people do follow a set of life patterns quite unique and eventually beneficial to them.  They create a social circle that caters to the needs of their self-esteem.  They conform to belong.

And oftentimes, they are afraid of alienating themselves and to be tagged as uncommon.  To be branded as subversive. They continue to live monotonously.

Change is good. But it has to be something new. Motivating people to become inspiring and become better individuals. And at the same time, cultivate a spirit of dynamism and creativity and infect this into others.  May it be among the established.  May it be something about the way people live.

Well, you would not be just the  same one as ten years as before. Would you? Say, change would do you good.

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