06/5/21

The Rich’s Beauty and The Poor’s Envy

No, it’s not that I’m not happy for you.
It’s that I just can’t be happy with you,
And happiness is absent in my reality.
If I can’t feel it in mine, how can I feel it for you?

It’s not that I’m blind to the beauty you’re seeing.
It’s that I despise it because it rarely visits my world.
And whenever it does, it stays just long enough.
Long enough to tease me and amplify my suffering.
Long enough for me to want it, then leaves me wanting.

In my loneliness I spoke to you.
You said, you understand,
Said, loneliness is in your world too.
But I despised you even more.

For the only bridge between your world and mine,
Is accessible only to you.
You can visit my world, but I can’t visit yours.
Your loneliness is a choice, mine is forced on me.
And the people who are with me are busy trying.
Trying to find a way to join you in your world.

You said, stop for once with your whining and hear the beautiful music.
But I can’t hear it over the growling sound of my empty stomach.
You walk in paved roads lined with trees, flowers and butterflies.
While my people and I walk in the desert and the valley of death.

Then, you mock us and called us ignorant.
Because we’re limping and groaning.
You labeled it “bad attitude” and said we’re uneducated.
Told us that’s not the way to walk.
That’s not the way to talk.

Then you romanticized our suffering and oppression.
Said, you sympathize and appreciates our “culture”.
You’ve made our world your personal playground,
Where you can visit at will to play pretend and dress up, Based on your stereotypical view of us.
You played with our primitive tools and said, it’s great to be one with nature and the basics.

When basic is all we have.

Then when you’re tired of playing, you’d run back to your world,
And hang memorabilia that you bought for cheap, when it’s made with the blood and tears of my people.
Then you invite your friends to celebrate and brag about your adventures.
You painted your faces and dressed up with store-bought costumes, mimicking my people.
You called it art, appreciation and whatever makes you feel good.

I don’t know which offends me more,
That you’ve made a mockery of the symbol of our suffering,
OR the cost of your stupid costumes that could have fed my starving family?

Do not mistake my anger, do not mistake my spite.
It’s not that I don’t want you to celebrate.
Nor it’s wrong for you to enjoy what you have.
It’s that you’re flaunting and celebrating,
In front of my suffering family and people.
Couldn’t you tone it down? Or celebrate in private?
Do we really have to see it? Do you really need an audience?

You knew and have seen my people dying of hunger and preventable diseases.
So, you said, aww that’s unfortunate, I’m so sorry.
Then you took a sip of your wine and continued to chew that steak in your mouth.
So, I said go the fuck away, you disgust me!

Then you’ve vilified my emotions, you named it Envy.
You said it was wrong and evil to not be happy for you and appreciate your life’s beauty.
So, I feigned happiness and pretended to see beauty.
I mimicked you’re behavior and spent money so I could look like you.
When I could have used the money to buy food for my family.
I celebrated with you, while my heart grieved for my people.
Then I come home to my reality with an empty stomach and a great deal of hatred for myself.
For deep within me I knew my emotions were neither wrong nor evil.
And yet, you’ve convinced me that they were.

Then alas! The God of misfortune took pity on me and my people.
He brought darkness to your house.
To give you a little taste of what my world is really like.
I rejoiced and celebrated just like how you did,
In the wake of mine and my people’s suffering.

You said it’s sick and called this psychopathy.
And I couldn’t care less what you want to call it.
You can’t guilt me into denying my true emotions anymore.
You’ve been punished for your apathy.
So, excuse me for savoring sweet justice, I just have to.
For in my life, I have only known bitterness and suffering.

You’re feeling down and all your “friends” have left you.
Even the beauty that surrounds you,
Could not fill the hole that the God of misfortune placed in your heart.

Then came a wise Man, He felt your loneliness.
Told you to leave beauty’s comfort behind and follow Him to live in my world.
He promised to show you True Beauty that’s not like anything you’ve seen before.
But you laughed at Him and called Him a fraud.
For you knew my world is filled with ugliness, darkness and suffering.
Then, again you mocked me and my people.
You called us gullible and ignorant.
Because we believed in the wise Man, who gave us hope and ways to cope.

Then the Beauty that you know patted your back. Said, you made the right choice.
Then with a smile on her face, she locked you in your golden cage.

The end.

(Written sometime in the year 2001 before 9/11)

05/15/21

Ang Suwi at ang Binatilyo (The Twig and the Boy)

Hindi ako marunong umawit
Ngunit kung ako ay marunong
Walang tamang salitang makapagbibigkas
At kung may salita, ito ba ay iyong maririnig?

Hindi ako marunong magpinta
Ngunit kung ako’y marunong
Walang kulay na maaaring gamitin
At kung mayroong kulay, ito ba ay iyong makikita?

Kung kaya kong ipahiwatig
Ang damdamin ng taong nakatira sa loob ko
Mararamdaman ba ng taong nasa loob mo?

Paano ba sasabihin
O lalapatan ng musika
O maiguguhit sa papel
Ang ma-detalyeng alaala
Pinaghalong pait at tamis na mula sa iisang panig ng kasaysayan
Gamit ang mga pahayag na hindi makapagsasa-larawan
Mga salitang hindi hustong makapagbu-bunyag
Sa walang kamatayang damdamin, na inasinan ng kasalukuyan
Mula sa panahong matagal nang naglaho

Parang isang puno na nagsasalaysay
Ng pait, mga lihim at ningning ng nakaraan
At ng taong ang naaalala lamang ay ang munting suwi
At ng puno na ang naaalala lamang ay ang munting binatilyo

Ikaw, ay hindi kung sino ka sa nakaraan
Ako, ay hindi kung sino ako sa nakaraan
At silang nakaraan natin ay namumuhay mag-isa
Nakakulong sa loob ng bawat isa sa atin
Nagpupumiglas, nananabik na abutin ang isa’t isa

Ngunit kailan man ay hindi na sila muling magtatagpo

At ang aking handog sa kanilang kasaysayan at siyang pangwakas na pahayag

Na bagamat hiwalay ang ating alaala
At ang naririnig lamang natin ay ang magkabukod na alingawngaw ng ating nakaraan
Kung sino ka at ako ngayon
Magkasama nating gunitain at ipagdiwang ng mataimtim at may katapatan
Ang busilak na alaala ng dati natin

At pagdating ng aking oras
Sa aking huling hininga
Isang panalangin ang tahimik kong sasambitin
Na kung tayo ay parehong wala na
Na sana ay wag makalimot ang langit
At nawa’y pagdugtungin nito, ang mga bagay na hindi natin mapagdugtong

Ang alaala ng puno at ng tao
Ang alaala ng munting suwi at ng binatilyo
Ang alaala natin

05/15/21

The Twig and the Boy (Ang Suwi at ang Binatilyo)

I can’t sing
And even if I can, I don’t have the right words
And if I have the right words
Would you hear it?

I can’t paint
And even if I can, I don’t have the right colors
And if I have the right colors
Would you see it?

If I can express this emotion
That the person inside me feel for you
Would the person inside you feel it?

How can one put in words
Or find the right melody
Or even draw on a paper
The intricacies
Of a bitter-sweet, one sided memory?
Using statements that only serve to misrepresent
Adjectives at best only approximate
Of undying emotions, seasoned by the present
From a time long gone

Like a tree telling a story
Of pains, secrets and splendor of what once was
And a man who only remembers the twig
And the tree who only remembers the boy

You, are not who you were
I, am not who I was
Yet who we were, once was
Now, live in solitude, locked up inside us
And though desperately trying to reach out for one another

They will never meet again

And for their story, let this be my epilogue

That though we remember separately
And only hear the echos of each other’s past
Together, the you and I of today
Let’s celebrate in reverie and camarederie
The sublimity of all that once was

And when the time comes
With my last breath
I would have but one last prayer
That when we are both no more
That the universe remembers for us
And piece together, what we could not

The memory of the tree and the man
The twig and the boy
You and I, who were, once was

06/21/20

My Hidden Mother

Beneath the tough, thorny and cold facade, mired in chaotic, dark mess of regrets, traumas and unresolved issues… is my mother.

Broken as can be, still she tried, with all her might, she tried to be good. But reality can’t be denied, she can’t change her form. She’s beaten and molded to a certain shape, she can’t escape.

Inside her, is my mother, longing to hold me. Inside me is a daughter longing to hold her.

08/26/19
Lapulapu

Lamos

Written: August 26, 2019 @1:46am

Naaalala ko, nung bata pa ako. Sina tiya Puring na aming kapitbahay ay may dalawang Bicolanong pamangkin na nagbakasyon sa Lucena. Nakalimutan ko na yung pangalan ng isa, pero yung isa ay hindi ko makalimutan. Nakilala ko lang siya sa pangalang “Lamos”.

Maitim siyang bata, halatang sunog sa araw at lumaki sa dagat. Ang mukha niya ay tipikal na native na Filipino. Hindi katangusan ang ilong pero maganda at inosente ang kanyang mga matang parating nakangiti. Matangkad siya para sa kanyang edad, mga 12 o 14 siguro siya noon. Bata pa man siya ay kita na malaking bulas siya. Malapad ang balikat at maganda ang pangangatawan. Halatang laki sa hirap, at gusgusin ang pananamit.

Isang gabi inutusan ako ni Mommy na bumili ng kung anuman sa tindahan ni aling Josie, nakasalubong ko si Lamos at ang kanyang pinsan. Nang makita ni Lamos na ako ang kasalubong nila, kitang-kita ko sa liwanag ng buwan kung paanong bigla na lang gumuhit ang mahiyaing ngiti sa kanyang mga labi na nagbunyag sa kaniyang mapuputing ngipin. Kita ko na may itsura siya at hindi ako bulag sa kanyang inosenteng karisma, ngunit imbes na ngumiti ako, inirapan ko siya.

Nung pabalik na ako, nakita ko silang dalawang bata na naghihintay sa may pathway. Nung makita nila ako, sabay silang tumayo. Si Lamos hagikhik ng hagikhik na para bang kinikiliti. Kahit bata pa ako, alam ko na sa hitsura ni Lamos na may crush siya sa akin. Ito ay bagay na ikinainis ko, dahil siya ay probinsyano at gusgusin. Nung panahon na yun ay ayaw na ayaw ko sa maiiitim dahil ako ay maitim rin. Pinagtatawanan ako ng aking mga pinsan dahil si Lamos na maitim at gusgusin ay may crush sa akin.

Tuwing lalabas ako ng bahay nakabuntot siya sa akin, sinusundan ako, pero minsan man ay hindi siya nagtangkang kausapin ako, marahil ay dahil isnabera ako at parating nakairap sa kanya.

Sa tuwing lilingon ako, titigil sya sa paglalakad, ngingiti sa akin, kakamot sa ulo at magkukunwaring hindi niya ako sinusundan. Titingnan ko lang siya ng masama at kakamot lang siya sa ulo.

Napakaraming dahilan kung bakit hindi ko pinansin noon si Lamos. Una, dahil ako ay bata pa, mura pa ang aking pag-iisip.

Mas importante sa akin noon ang sasabihin ng mga pinsan ko. Madalas akong pagtawanan ng aking mga pinsan dahil sa kulay ng aking balat. Mas lalo pa nila akong nilait nung malaman nilang may gusto sa akin si Lamos na maitim din.

Ikalawa, siya ay probinsyano, samantalang ako ay laki sa syudad. Dahil ako ay bata pa, sa isip ko ang isang probinsyano ay primitibo. Pakiramdam ko ay hindi kami bagay at wala kaming maaaring pag-usapan.

Ang isip ko ay nasa malayo, nananabik ako sa mga grandeng bagay at ayaw ko sa mga simpleng bagay at simpleng pamumuhay. Nagnanais akong makita ang mundo na hindi abot ng isang mahirap na tulad ko. Mababa ang aking tingin sa mga simpleng mga bagay at pag-iiisip. Nangangarap at nananabik akong matutunan ang malayo at malalalim na mga pilosopiya. Mga bagay na ukol sa sansinukob, siyensya, mga paraan ng mundo, politika, mga batas, lihim na kasaysayan ng ating planeta, sangkatauhan, sikolohiya at mga kulturang hindi ko abot.

Ikatlo, nung mga panahon na iyon, ayaw ko sa sinumang nagpapakita sa akin ng interes. Hindi ako masaya sa aking sarili at pakiramdam ko ay hindi pa ako buong tao. Isa pa lamang akong maliit na piraso na bahagya pa lamang nagsisimulang mamukadkad.

Pakiramdam ko ay sinumang magkagusto sa akin noon ay walang pangarap sa buhay at simple ang pag-iisip.

Kalaunan bumalik na sila sa Bicol at ako naman ay nagpa-Maynila.

Isang beses, ako ay malaki na, umuwi ako ng Lucena. Nagkataon nandoon uli si Lamos, nagbabakasyon.

Hindi pa rin nagbago ang kanyang mukha at pananamit. Mukha pa rin siyang gusgusin. Naroon pa rin ang maganda at inosente niyang mga mata. Mahiyain pa rin ang kanyang mga ngiti at ganun pa rin siyang tumingin sa akin. Isang bagay lang ang nabago sa kanya, siya ay hindi na bata. Ngayon siya ay binata na, at bagaman gusgusin pa rin ang pananamit, si Lamos ay lumaking matangkad at napaka-gwapo. Bawat pulgada ng kanyang pisikal na imahe ay kanais-nais at lalaking-lalaki. Animo’y mandirigmang dagat gaya ni Lapulapu.

Naulit muli ang senaryo ng aming kabataan, siya’y pasulyap-sulyap sa akin at ako naman ay nagkukunwaring hindi ko siya napapansin. Gaya nung bata pa kami, minsan man ay hindi kami nag-usap. Iyon na ang huli naming pagkikita.

Paminsan-minsan, nakakaramdam ako ng panghihinayang. Crush ko siya kahit nung bata pa kami, kaya nga lamang hindi ko ipinakita sa kanya at kahit kanino dahil mas iniisip ko ang sasabihin ng aking mga pinsan. Ngayon, naiisip ko, ano kaya ang pakiramdam ng mayakap nya, mahalikan niya at makausap siya. Anong pakiramdam na mahalin ng isang tulad niya.

Kung buburahin ang aking memorya, at ibabalik ako sa nakaraan, alam kong ganun pa rin ang magiging mga desisyon ko. Ngayon ito ay aking pinanghihinayangan, subalit kung kami ni Lamos ay nagkatuluyan noon, alam kong mas marami akong panghihinayangan at pagsisisihan. Mga bagay at pagkakataong hindi ko mararanasan kung ako ay nanatili sa Lucena at kung kami ay nagkatuluyan ni Lamos.

Ngayon ay alam ko na, anuman ang maging desisyon ko sa buhay, hindi maiiwasan na mayroon akong panghihinayangan.

Mula sa aking pinagsimulan, masasabing malayo na ang aking narating. At hindi maikakaila na napakaraming bagay na akong natutunan. Mas buong tao na ako kaysa noon at mayroon na akong pananalig sa aking sarili.

Ngunit sa kabila ng lahat ako ay malungkot, ang mga engrandeng bagay na noon ay pinanabikan ko ay nawalan na ng halina at ako ay nananabik sa mga bagay na simple. Nagnanais akong makapahinga sa salimuot ng mundo.

Para sa akin, si Lamos ay simbolo ng kamusmusan at mga simpleng bagay at pamumuhay.

05/18/17
Ships_Ancient_ship_near_the_shore_089084_

The Sea

The Sea is calling for me again and the breeze is tempting me. My feet says stay here and grow your roots for once. My heart says, you do not belong here, don’t get stuck. My brain tells them — shut up, you two, and let me sleep.

12/7/13
image

Unto eternity unmoulded…

Unto eternity unmoulded I would give my hands,
And to untrodden fields assign my feet.
What joy is there in songs oft heard,
Whose tune the remembering ear arrests.
Ere the breath yields it to the wind?
My heart longs for what my heart conceives not,
And unto the unknown where memory dwells not,
I would command my spirit.
Oh, tempt me not with glory possessed,
And seek not to comfort me with your dream or mine,
For all that I am, and all that there is on earth,
And all that shall be, inviteth not my soul.

- The Earth Gods, 2nd Earth God – Kahlil Gibran