Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

Some say love is never about speed but a slow

unfurling of beauty- gentle and unhurried.

That makes the difference between the passing

of time and the crafting of masterpiece-

not everyone is interested reading about angst.


And you fail to notice that everyone’s engaged

to their own brand of narcissism- they maintain

to survive and keep up one’s reputation.


And if you think that poets spend their lives

holed up in their four cornered walls and a window

looking in from the world changing night and day.

Self-absorbed about  feelings or digging of the past

and wanting for love that they never have.


Or won’t have.


Some say about exiles to another country

or to another time or another space would

make people stalk on your mysticism.

Or the lyricism of recording things-

one have chosen to leave behind.


You can be exiled even without a room.

That is easy- while you walk around nonchalant

and pretend you didn’t carry anything.

You must know how heavy it is to bring

one line of a poem and to bravely express it.


Who says poetry is a dying art? I say otherwise.

For centuries, poets mined gold, toiling the minds

of men and keep them going on despite travails.

Ranting about their lost loves, lost paradise

or lost keys of their hearts.

Or lost childhood. Or lost future.


Art that was losing chances and losing hope.

That made poems became songs sung out loud.

It became pieces of conversation. In the streets.

And in the way people speak. To sell. To buy

affection and things people would want

and impress people whom they would want

to belong with. But this will never be.

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If songs would be puzzle pieces

to a childhood I thought was lost,

then I turn on the radio to hear

the steady stream of memories

flashing back. The lyrics would

tell you how I cling to the rhythms

getting through the rough days

veering deeper into a hiding place

I sought against tough times.

And a tear I shed reminiscing

it’s only yesterday when I tried

to erase the footprints of the past.

Never to remember the episode

of those sad melodies that I strum

on my guitar. Weeping.

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His past smells of a ditch

drying up its putrid stink

as stale as the street air.

It belongs to a smoggy neighborhood.

In the memory of tattered rags

flapping like flags on the clothesline.

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.


No one cared about armpits

getting wet and sour for hours,

as long as the bad odors

can promise him little money

to buy fish sauce for rice.

Sniffing heaven on earth-

little angel never complaining

about life, about the linger-

of those occasional whiffs

from the broken sewer.

Nor the rising sting of steam

emanating from his broken skin

pierced by the cruel sun.


Nor inhaling the dry cough of cars

and buses farted poison.

The way he exhaled yesterday

walking on a pavement slow,

feeling the throbbing locomotion

churn on his empty stomach.

A street urchin squeezing the crowd

like a fly hopping on a hope

above the grease and grime

that smeared a childhood.


He won’t cover the past

with today’s perfume

nor sanitize its images

in suds of detergent.

He’s not ashamed

of the scent of his past-

the smell of poverty

that swarmed his innocence

and have walked

the muddy line across

the nook and cranny

of his every bones.

He survived them all.

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I am a bit choosy with the music I used to play in my playlist. Bluegrass and country  genre is a daily staple of my waking music life.  I have fallen in love with the soothing voice of Alison Krauss since day one, when I heard “Now That I Found You” and her own rendition of “When You Say Nothing At All”, all chart toppers in the late 90’s.  Like food, country music and bluegrass are organic and ear-friendly  tunes without  the toxicity of blaring and  shouting trend of modern-day rock gurus.

I like contemplative mood of country and bluegrass sound. Its melodic and heartwarming themes of simplicity of rural lifestyle of the typical Americana. I am being transported to the good olden days I used to have in our small town Gerona.  I remember the Sundays’ hustle and bustle at the coliseum in the middle of the sugar cane field, during the heydays of cockfighting.  I was a grade schooler then.

My grandmother used to help in the coliseum canteen, where she would allow me to roam around the tiered seats of wooden planks. Sun bleached as I was and waiting for the creaking sounds of the hurried footsteps of excited expectators eager to occupy their sacred spaces.

I will wait there fielding my gaze to the green sea of dancing sugarcane leaf breezing through the wind. It was such a pure sight. My unadulterated joy, a moment of bliss and happiness. My solitude amidst the maddening crowd. An honest time without thinking the polluting cares of this world.  I break away.

They say music is a therapy to the soul. A beautiful escape away from confusion and disillusionment.  And like Ally McBeal in a famous series on TV of the same title, every song has a journey of moments, significantly intertwined to the times of our lives.  And I must say, our souls never grow old with time like wine, these bodies are rotten away and growing old like those barrel containers but our souls just evolved into something profound and noble within.

Oh, how my mind travelled so far again to the time that was.  A time where the memory of how simple life it was back then, has left me longing to linger for a little while.  While listening to Alison Krauss, songs like “Simple Love”, “The Scarlet Tide”, “Restless”, “I’ll Fly Away”, “Whiskey Lullaby”, “You’ll Be My Ain True Love”, “I Will”, “But You Know I Love You”, “If I Didn’t Know Any Better”,  and many others, had me again facing back to where I was before.  Right there, at the colliseum with one of my treasured childhood dream of laying down to the green sea of pure joy touching its fragile earth.

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At young age, I was severely smacked down by our pet dog.  When my father learned about it, he brought down his gun and pulled the trigger. The dog instantly died. But I was hospitalized, sending my parents into panic if I had contracted the dreaded rabies.  But thank God, there is no indication of infection.

Through the years, the wounds got healed. But the mark of that dog’s bite has deeply sliced through my heart.  Everytime, I see through their eyes are thousand words that connects me to their world. No matter how ferocious they can be, my heart will melt at the sight of those angelic beings wagging their tails when they meet you.

I had never been hateful of dogs, even if I had that bad  incident. And I am just into thinking, if that one incident has something to do with this affinity to the canine creatures. I guess so. There are just so many dogs who came in and out of my life.  And I can feel the pain whenever the time of separation ensues. I can’t bear the thought of leaving them there when I have to be somewhere.

I remember Cotton. A fluffy haired white dog who lived long enough with us since childhood and became part of our family. Everybody just adored her though she never had any puppies. But she became a loyal and faithful dog who never tires to come to you when she is called.  I remember as a child, I would join in whenever my aunt will bathe her by the garden hose. Oh, I would just love chasing her running away whisking out the water away from its body.

When I was in gradeschool, my father and my mother have left us to the care of our grandparents  to return to Manila for work.  I felt the loss of connection.  I am in limbo. I felt emptiness. But a dog has saved the day and made me assured of company from then on.  But like the others, the dog died and I was in deep sadness. I can still recall how I invited my playmates to come with me under the guava tree , to have a funeral for the dog.  I made some wooden cross, some santan flowers plucked from a neighbor’s garden  and put in on top of the mound.  When my grandmother have found out, she was so angry with me and shouted to stop the ridiculous thing or I would got spanked.

I have forgotten some of the names of my dogs. But most of them, I remember them giving birth underneath my bed.  Then in the morning, I will hear some little cute noises from its newly born puppies.  There is a dog who still remembered me even after three years of separation. When I held her to my arms, she gave out a heartfelt cry like a long lost child.  There is a dog that looks like a tiger who have gone missing after a New Year’s celebration. There is also a dog who  one day came home before dying. We later discovered that he got a huge knife cut in his stomach by some heartless bystanders in the street.

I remember Vladimir, the  dog who is sleeping during the day but a guardian through the night.  I remember Ella, my aunt’s dog in Cavite, who walks like a polio victim due to some birth defects, but she managed to have two beautiful puppies Jack and Ace. I remember Fubu, An-an’s dog in Fujeirah who loves Filipinos that much.

But for now, I try not to have a dog.  I don’t want to have the same feeling of loss anymore when something happens to them.  And the  pain of losing them just lingers so long.  I can’t help it. But the fondness I would remember, is when those innocent eyes of the dog would  search you through and start wagging their tails as a sign that they trust you enough. That you can be their dearest friend for life.

A dog is indeed a man’s bestfriend.

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Watching a Peter Pan movie evokes the illusory  and wonders of childish fantasies we learn to symphatize with.  We miss the adventures and the circumstances surrounding with this little boy who refused to grow up. We will be forever haunted by the craving of how we wish that we can be so much younger but not powerless.  Instead, it is a bold statement that even then, we as a child assert our own independence and freedom to experience this child in us.

But things have changed.  The idea that we can fly like Peter Pan is but a distant childhood wonder that has faded through the years.  We cannot deny the fact, that soon we will be fathers and mothers of those fragile beings waiting to explore this vague realities of this world.  And it is amazing to note that we become another mouthpiece of a Peter Pan story.

The problem with Peter Pan is that he is forever trapped into that surrealistic world, only to live in a web of manufactured dreams.  He stopped to be challenged and criss-crossed by the reality.  He failed to see the beauty and the blessing of maturity by being contented to remain as a child.

We cannot remain to be child. Let us accept that our life shifts into a newer and braver perspective of adulthood, where the responsibility is of heavier weight.  We cannot play as long as we wanted because our life is only short.  Therefore, we need to make up. To catch up.

And it is meaningless to say that the world is our playground.  There are nobler things that is needed to be done in the hope of making a more enriched life.  A life that is worth a breather.

Neverland is just fitting to be remembered as a place where childhood stops a clock.  Presently, to learn that our journey to Neverland must stop somewhere.  It has come into a saturation point wherein, you and I needs to grow up to assume a bigger responsibility.  It is in the knowing that our childhood past doesn’t define our future.

We cannot remain wallowing in the past.  We must come into terms with what will bring us into fruition of the things that we have hoped for.  Such as what we find would make us a defined and purposeful individual.  Treating the world like one big workshop to work on. To make us better.  To make us stronger.

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It started during the last year of my high school, when father has decided that I would be going home to our province with my mother.  He had decided that I will be studying there, for the reason that he cannot afford to sustain me through college if I will be bent on pursuing medicine. Besides, my brother and sister will be forced to stop their schooling just to give way for me.

You must know how my world crashed like a domino at that time.  It has been my life-long dream to pursue medicine since I was a kid.  I have prepared for this for such a long time. And I am in utter disbelief that even if I had to avail a scholarship, my father imperiously zeroed all my options.  I was so distraught.  I am in complete shambles.

Before, I have made myself to believe that becoming a doctor is so near to becoming a reality.  That no amount of circumstances and obstacles can stop me from making it happen. But no, I never had the chance. If only if father is a little braver to let me pursue it. But father didn’t take his chance on me, and I think he didn’t gamble enough for my destiny. Because of this, the cycle of blame is cast. 

I would always blame him for my depression. For this shrinking self-esteem. For this sickening moral degeneration.  For this career stagnation. Whatever case of bad luck that had befallen on me, the blame would surely go to him. And a zillion of regrets would suddenly shoot up like splayed bullets on my head.

After all these years,  I have tried to abide all his rules.  Like a sheep. Who cannot shout in retaliation.  Who cannot raise a fist in objection.  Instead, I internalize this as something of a sacrifice and a demonstration of unselfishness.  An understanding of our family’s situation and circumstances of poverty.

I have endured the pain of not pursuing medicine.  And I have come to many battles I have continuously pitted silently against father. For controlling my life as if he is a demi-God.  I have used the weapon of silence to kill my compassion and concern towards him.  I have build a fortress of reclusivity around me to shield me from further hurt.  And I have created a moat of indifference to keep him away from manipulating me.

I don’t want this feeling.  But what can I do? (pause) For now I should stop pointing fingers to him. I don’t want to wallow in this pain forever.

Maybe he had some valid reasons for not letting me pursue my passion of becoming a doctor.  Maybe I don’t know how hard he lived during his adulthood.  Maybe he too, is learning the way and I cannot expect him to know the future. Maybe it is much harder than mine, how in his married life, did he manage to feed us and make us to live decent.  Besides,  no one said it would be easy to be a father anyway.  After all,  he have tried his best to give us what he can truly afford. Oh, how limited is my grasp on his circumstances.  Father must have been overridden too by fear because of poverty.  His fear of not being able to cope from pressures of keeping us through college. Can I blame him all that much? I need to accept that in this lifetime, battles will have to be fought hard.  And the ultimate surrender is not yet called for.

I guess, I need to move on.  I have felt that I am so immature, now that I have breezed through Architecture and made a good outcome out of it.  I should be thanking father enough that even though I didn’t like my course of study,  I was able to survive it somehow.  Thankful of the way things have turned out to be. For that, I will be raising another white flag as a sign of my complete surrender.  And I am crying my hearts out.

Father is growing old, and is about to retire.  Father must have silently ask forgiveness for this lapse in judgement.  I know, he must have accorded to me his pride and joy when I triumph after all, though not in words.  His life is no different with mine. 

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