Monday, September 24, 2012

familiar portrait

“Jo detaches herself. When she’s very stressed, she’ll detach herself and only trust one person, and that’s herself. So everyone gets blocked out and she becomes more and more stressed and less and less able to accept any help.”

- Neil Murray on Joanne Kathleen Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series

[ read more here ]

Thursday, September 20, 2012

original desire

It is said that we learn
Not by what we are taught
But by what we have caught.
As if faith, love, and hope
Are pigeons in the air
We could slingshot
From a good distance:
Here’s a bird for you,
Reveal its splendid grace.
Truth be told, I ache
For your guidance:
Take these hands with you,
Take them to wherever
You want, on you, with me,
Where fractures of morning slip
Through canopies of mangoes.
Or green jacquard curtains.
On your birthday, I wish you
Flashes of wisdom, silver
In coming, cyan in vibrance.
I also wish for rain
Of shooting stars, for there
Couldn’t be more grand
Than a spectacle
Born to give birth
To desires. Now feel this, feel
Our longings shake the eaves
Of our sanity. Let us come
And go, let us make this
Happen like sunrise.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

a recollection borne out of a weekend at the beach and other instances

September 14, 05:21pm
Grey clouds in the sky seemed to burst anytime soon, traffic on all major roads building up. But there was no stopping this. I finally arrived at point of destination, with a packed bag, with anticipation to see you and all. Messages and calls were unanswered. Anticipation waned with every passing minute that moved like turtle. I waited a little bit more.

September 14, 09:40pm
Our glasses were half-empty, the buckets of ice and beer perspiring as if human, as if tense under the faint yellow lights that illumined our faces. We were both good at hesitation. You had histories better left unheard but you spilled a few anyway, spilled some words. I listened, gathered them, embraced them. Accidents do happen, but they won’t be as frequent as we fear them to be if we know where to go, how all of this will go. And then you sang a Coldplay song.

September 15, 06:30am
The clouds relieved itself all over the metro since yesterday. Despite the rains that flooded once again the streets of Manila, as if this country couldn’t get enough of rain, there was no stopping this. This day was a promise of good things to come. The 22nd birthday of Mars must be held at the beach. Matabungkay, Batangas was our last resort, and I wished it wouldn’t be our last trip together.

September 15, 08:30am
We remember a lot. Old jokes, old stories, old friends with common quirks, common pratfalls of uncommon men. We were in for a long ride, approximately three hours on the road, 120 kilometers or so. We downed two or three bottles of liquor inside the van. Except for the excessive drinks and drugs, we were like characters in a Jack Kerouac novel, like we were having the time of our lives.

September 15, 10:10am
You spilled some words. And I listened, gathered them. But this time I couldn’t embrace them. They felt loaded, and there was an echo in them I was not ready to hear, especially in the company of other people. These words were jagged, hard as nails, potent as poison to the mind of a cynic. And I am one of those raised with the mind of one. I have always been good at jumping to conclusions. For instance: I believe the shell of a turtle is a lonely place.

September 15, 02:50pm
Silence had always been my default weapon of choice. And you mimicked me, and it worked for you so well. My heart did a slow clap not out of admiration but in fear of an encore.

September 15, 07:30pm
It was a day of good things to come, but like practicing poetry, like organizing major events, like copywriting, like gracing the television screen with charm, like being there for each other, blowing things out of proportion must be one of our hidden talents. It shouldn’t have started that way, more so ended that way, but things became uncontrollable. Accidents do happen. Above the din of karaoke music, I continued breaking every pack of ice on the wall as if it was therapy.

September 15, 10:35pm
When push comes to shove, we know the right words to say. It has always been that easy. We could have a whole arsenal of reasons why we do what we do, but that night they were not enough. “[E]asy is not always right./ Not even enough. To ignore complexity/ is to question the generosity of the sky.//”

September 16, 02:40am
The winds and rain were howling with us, crying at the night as long and convoluted as the events taking place: emptying a bottle of whiskey, repeating a Coldplay song, breaking an umbrella, scarring and bruising our skin. A few feet away from this picture, there was a rain-drenched person by the gate, there was a person tear-drenched in bed. And then there was silence.

September 16, 10:15am
An apology was dropped and a grunt was its response. It could have a multitude of meanings, and I prefer the bright, positive ones. Outside, chips were strewn all over the place, bottles crowded on a table, glasses tipped on their sides like fishes out of water, gasping for air. This must be the aftermath of a storm we were not prepared of. And for a rest house close to the beach, we ironically ran out of water.

September 16, 03:40pm
We remember a lot. And like masters of theater breaking the fourth wall, we laughed at the disasters both natural and unnatural. We always tend to believe or show no storm could weather our spirits, but deep inside I think otherwise. This is one of the many errors I’ve grown accustomed to: Don’t believe it, think otherwise. I thought it was the best moment to think otherwise.

September 16, 08:25pm
We finally reached the city. I have always been good at jumping to conclusions: Manila was not spared with a minute of dryness the other day. I was right. Some parts of Makati were waist-deep in flood water, and possibly neck-high in frustration. We changed routes to avoid sinking deeper into unnecessary anxieties.

September 17, 01:30am
“There is no such thing as friends; we’re just together.” You heard this already, I told you a few days ago, but I had the feeling it made you all the more fretful after hearing it yourself from a friend. You just smiled like you always do. It had always been your default weapon of choice. And I mimicked you, but it didn’t work that well. Somewhere in the last remaining spots of green in the city, a turtle slipped back in its shell, the hard rain pounding on its back.

September 17, 08:45pm
We were both good at hesitation. We never really say what we truly want to say. And this is one way of learning poetry: Listen.

September 17, 10:20pm
“You’re lucky to have them,” you said, “as your friends.” I said yes. It’s true. But in my head I thought I am more than that. I am blessed. But I remain unsure if they do, too. We have fears and questions becoming stranger by the minute. This is one of the errors I’ve grown accustomed to.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

original doubt

You’re neither the devil I would fear
Nor quite the angel I would praise
With songs cosmic and booming.
But during days when the sun
Prides its teeth too much, I envy
The natural order of chance.
Not like grocery lists, not like
Chips on the finest China.

But something in the league
Of nautilus shells or the promise
Of zygotes. Especially, I envy
The perfect mirage of you
In a picture frame. All smiles,
All in rich disaccord to the times:
In a faraway country, maybe famine.
Maybe the crumbling of a wall.

These couldn’t be chance. So
How come when you say it’s real,
When you say you believe me,
I hear instead the tired music
Of lost harps, feel the spindly legs
Of a kid tremble with its first shot
At judgment? I am a practitioner
Of questions eluded by answers.

True, it remains a wonder to me
How all of this starts with these:
Your message on my phone, your voice
In my ear, the textures and shapes
Of things I come to yearn clasped
In my hands. But you see, doubt
Is delirium undistilled, adoration
At its peak. Hear me until it’s gone.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

stranger in the rain

Yesterday evening, on my way home along the lengthy stretch of Frontera Drive in Pasig City, I chanced upon a man in his late 20s. His Gap sweater, cargo shorts, sneakers, everything of him were all drenched under the heavy downpour. He asked for a favor; he found out he had lost his iPhone and wallet upon stepping off a jeepney. He needed money. “My name’s Mark,” he said, stuttering a bit. He repeated his name a second or third time as if I did not hear him. He must be cold. “I’m Jordan,” I said, as I handed to him a twenty peso bill. I was not sure if it was a tear in his eye or rain. He just walked away with shoulders hunched.

Monday, September 10, 2012

62nd carlos palanca memorial awards for literature winners

Here’s that list again. And in it a sprinkling of exceptional people I’m lucky to have met with at Dumaguete, Iligan, and Bacolod: Joshua “Tokwa” Lim So, Erick Aguilar, Charmaine “Shane” Carreon, Ian Rosales Casocot, and Jesus Insilada. Congratulations, bullfrogs.

Following the pleasantries and formalities of the awarding ceremonies at The Rigodon Ballroom of The Peninsula Manila last September 1, Ian and his former students (or rabid supporters) went out to have some drinks at the Buddha Bar and (a little bit more) at Republiq. Because, apparently, someone felt “jaded.”


Dulang Pampelikula
1st – Rodolfo Vera (Death March)
2nd – Richard S. Legaspi (Primera Bella)
3rd – Mia A. Buenaventura (Ang Bulag na Musikero)

Dulang Ganap ang Haba
1st – Vincent M. Tañada (Ang Bangkay)
2nd – Luciano Sonny O. Valencia (Ang Penitensiya ni Tiyo Renato)
3rd – Allan B. Lopez (Melodrama Negra)

Tokwa and his Golden Medalyon

Dulang May Isang Yugto
1st – Joshua Lim So (Joe Cool: Aplikante)
2nd – Renerio R. Concepcion (Kumandong Nakaiswat)
3rd – Erick D. Aguilar (Terminal)

Ang Sasambahing Hipon, Erick

1st – Enrique S. Villasis (Crocopedia)
2nd – Kristian Sendon Cordero (Pagsalat sa Pilat)
3rd – Alvin C. Ursua (Kumpuni)

Tulang Pambata
1st – John Enrico C. Torralba (Gusto Ko Nang Lumaki)
2nd – Peter Solis Nery (Sa Mundo ng mga Kulisap)
3rd – Nely T. Azada (Sampung Tula Para sa mga Bata)

Maikling Kuwento
1st – Mark Benedict F. Lim (Banaag)
2nd – Honorio Bartolome de Dios (Ang Tawo sa Puso ni Teresa)
3rd – Mar Anthony Simon dela Cruz (Darleng)

Maikling Kuwentong Pambata
1st – Will P. Ortiz (Ang Tatlong Bubwit at Bangkang Marikit)
2nd – Bernadette V. Neri (Atang sa Kaluluwa nina Apong Salawal at Apong Saya)
3rd – Luz B. Maranan (Ang Pangat, ang Lupang Ninuno, at ang Ilog)

1st – Niles Jordan Breis (Go-See, Kraw Gen, Intro: Sa Daigdig ng Promo)
2nd – Elyrah L. Salanga-Torralba (Utang Ina)
3rd – Jing Panganiban Mendoza (Redempsiyon)

Kabataan Sanaysay
1st – Jan Francis B. Asis (Sa Ingit ng Pinto)
2nd – Gerome E. De Villa (Sa Aking Pagbuklat sa mga Makabagong Pahina)
3rd – Jueliand Peter A. Perez (Madyik Bisikleta)


Full-length Play
1st – Robert Arlo B. De Guzman (Practical Aim)
2nd – Jorshinelle Taleon-Sonza (The Passion of Andres)
3rd – Jose Ma. D. Manalo (Manilatown)

One-act Play
1st – No winner
2nd – Joachim Emilio B. Antonio (The Dust in Your Place)
3rd – Patrick John R. Valencia (In Bed with My Mother)

Fellow Bisaya, Shane

1st – Carlomar Arcangel Daoana (The Elegant Ghost)
2nd – Charmaine L. Carreon (The Yonic Lover)
3rd – Jason Leo G. Asistores (Waiting and Other Poems)

Poetry for Children
1st – Peter Solis Nery (Punctuation)
2nd – Anca Bautista (Magic Is and Nine Other Magical Poems)
3rd – Raymundo T.Pandan, Jr. (The Ocelot and Other Poems)

With teacher and nth time winner, Ian

Short Story
1st – Rebecca E. Khan (In Transit)
2nd – Ian Rosales Casocot (It Always Breaks My Heart a Little to See You Go)
3rd – Lystra Aranal (Bright Lights)

Short Story for Children
1st – Grace D. Chong (The White Shoes)
2nd – Raymund M. Garlitos (Lauan, The Seed that Wanted to Fly)
3rd – Aleli Dew B. Ayroso (Mister World and His Magical Box)

1st – Hammed Q. Bolotaolo (Of Legends)
2nd – Martin V. Villanueva (Dao)
3rd – Irwin Allen B. Rivera (Patterns)

Kabataan Essay
1st – Katrina Bonillo (Chapter One: DOWNLOADING)
2nd – Sari Katharyn Molintas (Being Bookish)
3rd – Jhesset Thrina O. Enano (What We Are Losing)


Short Story – Cebuano
1st – Noel P. Tuazon (Duhiraw)
2nd – Richel G. Dorotan (Ang Tulo Ka Mayor sa Hinablayan)
3rd – Rev. Fr. Rey B. Araneta, CM (Abog sa Flyover)

Mr. Two in a Row, Jes

Short Story – Hiligaynon
1st – Alice Tan Gonzales (Lanton)
2nd – Dr. Jesus C. Insilada (Panubok sa Pula Nga Pulos)
3rd – Alain Russ Dimzon (Binukot)

Short Story – Iluko
1st – Danilo B Antalan (Dagiti Sala Ti Panawen)
2nd – Fernando Sanchez (Babato)
3rd – Sherma E. Benosa (Dagiti “No La Koma“ ni Monika)

Peter Solis Nery

First Prize Winning Works
1998 – “Lirio,” Short Story – Hiligaynon
2007 – “Candido,” Short Story – Hiligaynon
2008 – “The Passion of Jovita Fuentes,” Full-length Play
2011 – “Donato Bugtot,” Short Story – Hiligaynon
2012 – “Punctuation,” Poetry for Children

[ list lifted from this site ]

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

ain't strong enough

At 1:40 this morning, I think I felt some kind of heart attack. I woke up suddenly with my left chest throbbing, the little fist of a muscle within tight as if gripped by a mighty, calloused hand. A slight movement would bring an excruciating wave of pain all over me, so I remained still in bed like a paraplegic. It lasted for a few minutes, three or four or longer, as I breathed in and out deeply. The sharp ache, the pain eventually passed away. Then I wished all pain would pass away that easily, that quickly.

I think it is time to visit the doctor again who, last year, said to me, “Your heart is strong.” I knew I was right. This heart never had been, never was.