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Posts Tagged ‘street’

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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There was a time in our lives

when we thought of the raincloud

as omen, spoiling the day

for us to play in the open.

 

The rain fills the street canals like rivers.

And if it has stopped, then hurriedly,

we rip pages from our notepads

to make us- paper boats.

 

We were so young then.

 

We are fond of races. We will race to see.

Whose boat comes first crossing the finish line?

 

If our paper boats were like voyages

of our little dreams. Would it be?

I didn’t cross the finish line first.

As mine have wilted wet, moving slow.

 

I have to be content coming in

as number two, a  second placer.

You always come away as the victor

in almost every races we used to play.

 

We are not so young anymore.

 

The tough gets going and it’s me

who have stayed behind, year after year

bobbing at sea. Sailing the ocean because

I didn’t win. Crossing first the finish line.

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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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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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What if I finally embark on a mission to indigenous lands? How can I accept their way of life? Will I accept their culture as superior than I have born with and satisfied with? Will I ever change my way of life and draw some inspiration and become like them-unwary of the stress of the modern life, which to them is unknown?

What if  I am old enough to witness the First Quarter Storm, would I become a community organizer? Would I then be able to stand up for the right of the masses during those dictatorial times or I would rather clam up under the weight of fear and apathy? Would I be willing to be put into prison, or die in a firing squad like a martyr and become one of those missing persons that until now that their whereabouts cannot be found?

What if I become a priest? Can I be able to resist the temptation to marry and forever become celibate?  Would I be able to help others to know God better and make some positive impacts on their spiritual life?

What if I become a social worker? How could I keep the orphans, the old men and women and the widows from seeing life as still beautiful brimming with hope without them thinking of their circumstances? Would I be able to bear not to cry when I am so emotionally attached to their sentiments, their anguish and their fears?

What if I become a nurse or a doctor? How could I be able to be numb on seeing death everyday?  How could I try not to think of pain?  How could I not try to think about the families who lost their loved ones to sickness or a tragic accident? How could I not sleep enduring the hours spent caring and hoping for the  patients would ever live for one more day?

There are just so many individuals whose life are exemplary. Those who are still living or have departed from this world, whose life they have given unselfishly to the best that they can without thinking about personal gain or fame.  They have lived an uncommon life away from their comfort zones. 

The nameless and faceless strangers whom we might meet across the street. Or your neighbor. Or a friend.  We never know, until we came closer seeing their true light. These are the breed of people who dedicated themselves for a cause of uplifting humanity.  The kind of people who is not afraid of being different and dared to be what they are destined to be.

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I watched.

Amazed of the cold faces

Of concrete alighted

Bursting in an orange flame,

as the dust wafted

In the chilled morning air.

 

There in the distance,

the cadence of sleepy

glazed eyes of towers

Sparkles like goblets

Scraping the sky.

 

The narrow street

Came to life, one by one

Bloodstream of people

Slowly lining up the busy

Artery of the city.

 

Soon this numb feet

will drag along

with the cacophony

of footpaths.

Of ghosts wandering

wide open spaces

and succumb to the mid-day

of our existence.

 

 

 

 

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