Thursday, May 24, 2012

how to scrub the kitchen floor

They say things come easier in pairs:
Body parts, marriages, games.

Even those that do not require
Symmetry. But when it comes to

Cleaning the kitchen floor,
I prefer one hand, particularly

The right. Some distractions
Are worth tending to.

And there is no use
Ignoring any of them.

We only have this moment
To imprison the freedom

Of our migrant knowledge.
The left has just to be

As preoccupied as the other.
Like every young, troubled lovers

Solution: Cut him some slack.
Cut her some flowers.

But despite the scattering of salt,
Pepper, onion skin and oil,

The floor is a guarded wisdom:
Love becomes stranger

To those who think
They know it too well.

I may have no dialect, no gift
As enduring as marble or linoleum

But I know of the hundred peso bill
Underneath the stove. Its worth,

Its apparent, minuscule loss
In a purse or leather wallet.

I will keep mum about it.
And this Saturday, when I scrub

The kitchen floor with a dirtied
Sponge, I will reach for the money,

My body an inch from the floor,
Getting closer, almost like in worship,

In surrender or in perverted delight,
My other hand void of anything

So as to clutch my chest with
And feel my heart beating fast.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

what follows will always be necessary

It is the month of May. Aside from sand, sea, and sun (and nowadays, a little bit of rain), it is the season of writers workshops. You know, those little groupings that allow little men to discuss and rant off intents, objective correlatives, punctuation marks, caesuras, etc. for a couple of days with big men as their necessary acoustics

Dumaguete (2008)

And since the Millennials are said to be harbingers of glorifying nostalgia, even if my belonging to it remains to be debatable, I would not ignore this opportunity to skip a few years back with these mandatory snapshots and, well, notice what has transpired from this to this.

Iligan (2008)

 The memories that cling to them are eerie, but I think that is the point of recollection. To know which to hold on to, which to steer clear of. They may be still recognizable but they could be unusual now. Things do change.

Bacolod (2010)
Well, I believe there will never be a path that leads to an absolute destination, there will never be sameness (there could be a hint), there will never be symmetry of the sort that would make Wes Anderson blush. There is only incongruence, there is only difference, and maybe even chaos, the kind that completely distorts, if not erases, the trajectory of Point A to Point B, making you ask, “Where is he now? What happened to her? or “Why?

But it seems they do not really matter that much. What follows is what is important, what will always be necessary. The practice of writing, after all, is a self-imposed struggle of looking back while plunging headfirst into possibilities, good or bad. Now, I could only glance at the photos with a wry smile. I am going to Dumaguete in a few hours. 

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

with the wild things now

The news of the death of children’s writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak rings all over the internet like fire bell last night. And that news still pains me this morning, deeply. The image above has been my computers wallpaper for almost two years, a screenshot taken from Spike Jonze’s movie adaptation of Sendak’s children’s book Where the Wild Things Are (the movie, bearing the same title, is the most heart-wrenching film I’ve seen in 2009). It shows Max, the child protagonist, and a Wild Thing, cleverly named as Carol, leisurely walking in a vast desert.

I was never quite sure why I stuck to this picture for a long time until I re-read the book last night. I think I get it. I think it tells me that there’s a lifelong link between us, young ones and old ones, and a Wild Thing, that no matter how far we go, a Wild Thing will be forever with us, in us, bursting with outsized life, animated, daring, maybe even terrifying, and that we need a little bit of nightmares to get through the petty hardships, the requisite trials in life, the vast desert, to “let the wild rumpus start!” when a situation calls for it.

For that thought alone, I feel better. Even if Sendak has gone, his Wild Things are still with me,  along with the rest of the Maxs in the world. And wherever he is going, I am sure that somewhere he will find his supper waiting for him “still warm. 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

the storm is in the papers

Edited by Khavn de la Cruz and Joel M. Toledo, Under The Storm: An Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry is a collection of a hundred or so poems released last year, around September, that is why I am surprised to learn that a review has surfaced in the pages of The Philippine Star just last Monday. 

What is more surprising is for columnist Mr. Juaniyo Arcellana to notice my contribution, Stones, and circle his thoughts on one of the seven parts of the piece. Flattery. Now I can appreciate that axiom better late than never more than the usual. Next mission: get a clipping of that news article.