Tuesday, July 24, 2012

poetry as a lesson in values

We resort to violence each day. For example, thinking.
The hypocrisy of procedures. The construction of convenience stores.

From the beginning we are warned: ayaw pabadlong, please remain silent,
Walk the old lady across the street, bring your plate to the sink.

There is much, much more, and there is no stopping them. Like how halves
Of guavas turn brown, like how lies make a credible story.

There are so many tragedies the night guards when we are asleep
That we often miss morning’s Eden light on our cheeks.

We are all animals, as animal as street dogs and penguins can be.
Only we are intelligenter. But never above the cats because cats are brightest.

This is open for discussion, of course. Except for the carrot and stick.
Sometimes, we forgo our glasses in favor of likelihood.

It is not that ancient learning could only be as precious as lint;
Perhaps we have set foot on the wrong training ground.

But these are no mistakes: the tremble of our lips, the twitch of our eyes.
Something in there wants to speak, something in there wants to see.

Monday, July 23, 2012

'the dark knight rises' is no superhero movie

The Dark Knight Rises is no superhero movie. It is but a movie that easily ranks among the best, well-crafted forms of entertainment. I’ll only sum it up that way at the risk of (major) spoilers. It has none of the senseless bombast, almost every detail crucial to the storys core: the burden of choice, morality, principles confronting the rise of ambiguous evil. The genre is the mask.

Christian Bale here is finally the star. Whereas in “Batman Begins” we are mesmerized by the exhilarating texture and scale of Nolan’s interpretation and in “The Dark Knight” we are suddenly shaken by Heath Ledger’s unforgettable performance as the Joker, Bale’s Bruce Wayne/Batman in this third and final installment is at the forefront, more human than ever. And though Tom Hardy gave Bane credibility as a legitimate adversary to Batman (his introduction is a study of masterful filmmaking), it was Anne Hathaway
s Selina Kyle (yes, shes not mentioned as Catwoman) that slunk and stole many arresting moments in the movie. For a woman in tight suit who never resorted to the three-point landing, she is certainly a welcome surprise.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

coming soon. really soon.

The cover art for Philippine Speculative Fiction 7 is now out, and it is based on Mo Francisco’s story as illustrated by Les Banzuelo with color and art direction by Adam David. Lovely, right?

My story, “The Day Nostalgia Swept Over a Town,” is in this latest volume which is edited by Kate and Alex Osias.

This will be launched on July 28, 2PM, at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Shangri-la Plaza Mall. See you when I see you!

Complete list of contributors here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

pseudo pagudpud

The last week of June had been very consistent with the weather: Bad. Everything seemed to be against this road trip to Pagudpud. The rain had no signs of stopping, some highways to the destination were blocked, and our Plan B’s were all inconceivable no thanks to the proverbial rain.

We could have surfed in San Fernando, tried the empanadas and strolled in the ancient streets of Vigan, dared sandboarding in Paoay, seen the massive windmills in Bangui, dipped in the waters of Saud Beach in Pagudpud, and much, much more. The 12 to 14-hour trip wouldn’t be as bad as you’d think with these stopover delights. But these didn’t happen.

A meeting was called on the very night we were supposed to set off to that municipality of Ilocos Norte. Go or no go? Unanimously, the group of eleven chose the former. After all, someone who had just flown back to the country was paying for this trip (well, most of the trip’s financial needs actually). No one would pass this up. This was a blessing surely not in disguise. But unfortunately, so as the omens who put a frown on our faces.

So it was decided after almost three hours of deliberation over chicken wings at Peri-Peri: We would go to wherever our cars’ gas tanks would take us, to wherever the storm’s opposite was. This foolhardy but nonetheless effective plan brought us to Laguna the following day, to the residence of that someone who would pay for everything, almost. We had lunch at Tagaytay and filled ourselves with mandatory servings of bulalo among many other things artery-blocking and went back to our temporary vacation home. The remaining hours ensued with a bottle of Black Label, the original Apple iPad (one liter of apple iced tea and one Tanduay Rhum lapad), and game of poker.

Sunday morning came, and still without any destination to go to, we called a couple of people for suggestions. Our trimmed choices whittled down to those beaches in Batangas, us finally settling on Playa Calatagan since the other options required prior reservations. Spontaneity does not work for them. We left Laguna at 10 and arrived at the resort around 12 noon. Approximately 96 kilometers, says my officemate's GPS.

The sun was unbearable early in the afternoon, so after lunch break these spacious bungalows with whirlpool bathtubs located at strategic corners of the swimming pool were our respite. Sadly, at 5:30pm, low tide came, and the idea of frolicking at the sea was scrapped off. Save it for tomorrow.

Entire evening was spent in this rest house we rented. It was quaint, spaces thoroughly maximized and filled with pop art posters. We followed dinner with a game of Monopoly Deal, something I have yet to master, until everything went dark all of a sudden. Power outage at its finest moment. It could have just been another night of blackout when the retro refrigerator in the kitchen started to rumble and shake. Everyone went dead silent and dashed off to the front porch.

I hypothesized (vehemently) that the fridge’s jiggy dance move was all due to the sudden loss of electricity. Imagine addicts abruptly deprived of their addiction. That put every nerve at ease, I guess, with a little of help of brandy and a game of Pinoy Henyo (I don’t know its English equivalent; it’s not charades, right?), girls versus boys. Guess who won. Night cap was another long game of poker.

Monday morning came, and I went scouting around the area at seven. I am an early riser. Two hours later, some went for a quick dip at the beach. Then it was time for all of us to get back home. Well, not entirely “home” for one of us, since the moolah-provider will be flying out of the country again. We went back to Tagaytay, had these sumptuous servings of sizzling bulalo among many others for lunch, bought the necessary pasalubongs at Rowena’s, and remained silent in our respective cars as we faced the impending reality of good things coming to an end. Especially good, spontaneous things.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

just another excuse

Not much writing has been done lately. Reading is even shamelessly stalled in the meantime. Blame that to the weather and the television shows, “Community” and “Happy Endings” (especially the former). Comedies in general often fail to tickle me, so when I first reacted to the two the way I should supposedly be reacting to humor upon first viewing, I could not let them go. Please forgive me of my weaknesses. Also, this entry is another form of stalling (when I am supposed to be writing). I must get back to my drafts. But first, I need to see that new episode. Bye.