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Posts Tagged ‘work’

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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I came from the east

And you from the west.

The space between us

is an empty canvas.

 

Our footsteps were

unsure scribbling of lines.

 

Our lives were

charcoal grey sketches.

 

Our beings were

liquid pigments, pressed

out of  tube-like existence.

 

Paint the words

written by fate.

Our union pre-destined.

 

Our spirits would soon

penetrate this world,

transforming our bond

from this obscure surface.

 

Like criss-crossing layers

of texture and dimension.

 

Your blood. And my blood.

A  miscegeny of colors

gradually  revealing

order and balance,

forms and figures,

sizes and shapes.

 

Blending fragiled fibers

of our soul, framed into

a work of art.

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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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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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Somebody asked me if it is true, that my age is way past 30’s.  I just told them the truth, nothing less. Maybe it’s just a way to amuse me further, when they thought I am just 26 or something.  But really, inside me is just so younger than what my real age is. I believe that even if we age, one must try to keep a youthful attitude towards an inspiring life.

But folks, I am also into thinking sometimes. It is only roughly eight more years before I reach the 40’s. Don’t misconstrue that I am experiencing some mid-life crisis.  I am just trying to think ahead and be wise about the decisions I have to take in the future. 

Things now are uncertain, but I would like to push myself into realizing the artistic pursuits which I am  always aspiring to do.  I would pursue more frequently my writing. I would pursue more frequently my painting.  I would pursue learning music most especially playing piano. Or maybe, I would get myself involved into the academic work or consultancy work. Or on a more grander scale, I would do missions work  or to be with an NGO group.

Some may think that the things I hope for the future are too ideal.  Unprofitable and would not generate any substantial monetary investment for me.  Which partly is true, but I have learned not to trust too much on these things.  I still abide to put my trust in God, who knows much more than I am, and the One who knows about the future that I have to take.

I am optimistic that eight years before the 40’s is much a life ahead.  There’s just so much more things that can happen. I would only strive to pick or select the things which matters and inspiring me to be thankful of the years passing.  But on the other hand, I too myself, is being realistic, in the sense that I do not know until when will I have to live more.  Nobody knows.  So I try not to attach myself on things.  Because things are just passing. It can be lost. It can fade to obscurity.

What matters most, is that I have lived a life that is fulfilling and enriching.  That I have given myself selflessly to a worthy cause which imparts love, compassion  and commitment to others.  That I have inspired others to live life on simple terms and have faith to the One who is omniscient of all.  

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Traffic. The car stops. This one will be longer, I guess. So I just fielded my gaze travelling into the vastness of the Arabian soil.  My mind just wander. And wander still. Back. Five years ago.

It’s early morning, I am walking along the streets of Mabini glossing over overseas employment prospects in the Middle East.  I can’t remember how many copies of CV’s did I send to those recruiters.  I sweat it out and inching my way towards the front desk, hoping and wishing that I can score an interview that day.  Nervous as I was, I would wait  and rehearse the words that I have to say.  Like a salesman trading myself for a price.

I can’t remember how many recruitment agencies I have tried my luck with.  Most often than not, a thumbs-down sign.  I don’t know, what drives me to go Middle East.  Though, I am filled with worries about the inconveniences of being away from home.  I just wonder how others have survived the heat, the barrenness and the loneliness of the Arab lands.

Those were the days.  Here from where I was, a palm tree struck a memory.  Yeah, I remember that too, when I was waiting in the hallway of a recruitment agency back in Manila.  The posters of the Arab boom cities lined up with palm trees. 

I remember my uncles who had the chance to work in Saudi Arabia. Year after year, they come home bedraggled from the harsh climate of the desert. I remember them talking about the expatriate’s life in an Arabian land.  It is not an easy life. 

But now, I am here as one of another generation of  Filipino expatriates trying to make a living. Accustomed to a unique culture of restraint and unimaginable patience.  Accustomed to the extreme hot weather and the abstinence to pork meat.  

I know why thousands and thousands of Filipinos are flocking there at the recruitment agencies back home. I know that most of them have the same visions I had before.  And the persistence that  they have to keep going and make their lives better.  

For me it will always be a risky bargain. You may win some or you may lose some.  It is a choice that one has to make but if things go rightly, it is worth an adventure.

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