Saturday, September 24, 2016

the kill list chronicles

I’ve always made a point to recount my day’s activities and musings on a journal before I go to sleep. Sometimes I’d skip an evening or two, but I would return to these missed journaling assignments and remember as much as I can how things have gone by, no matter how mundane they are. Lately, though, the blank spaces are creeping up and crowding the pages.

There are several reasons why: laziness, procrastination, too tired to even lift a pen, too many distractions and temptations, there is nothing new to say. Of course, everyone has something new to say. Filipinos are born to always have something to say, even to the point of being pointless. But living in this life right now, in the middle of a political climate that is downright suffocating, any interest to continue pushing through can easily be pronounced dead. Or killed, by default.

To make my point clear, let’s consider the latest man in highest office in our country, a man whose ego is as fragile as Chinaware (no pun intended), who also seems to be an enabler of hate and prejudice, and a champion for lack of empathy and common sense. Because of his irreverent methods on getting things done, there is no hiding the fact that the Philippines has become a bloodied den of vigilantes, injustices, and foul brazen language.

Years ago journal writing has been my refuge, my way of assessing my sanity each day. It’s like an anchor that keeps me put. But today, I do not even know where my sanity begins and where its opposite lies. All the time I track myself if I am functioning properly. Recounting my day that is preoccupied with so much hate and horror again and again can take its toll. That is why for the most part of a week I would try hard as hell to ignore the news like a former paramour who just left you without explanation but returned several years later to get your attention. You know how evil can get under your skin. There is no understating that each week leaves me sore and beat. It doesn’t also help that there is this barrage of noise from social media that could render me—or anyone, rather—emotionally and spiritually mangled.

And there is still six more years to go. I hope I could still muster the energy needed to recount what is needed to be recounted. If only it could bring back the dead.


My work “Poetry as a Lesson in Dwelling” is featured in The Kill List Chronicles, an online repository of the continuing protest literature in the Philippines. I’ve read to a small audience in a café an early version of this poem during the International Day of Peace last September 21. It was a celebration across the globe to commemorate the peace we have right now and the peace we want to achieve for the next generation. Coincidentally, it was also the very same day that former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared the bloody Martial Law in the Philippines 44 years ago.

The contradictions, at least for me, were just hard to wrap around my head. 44 years have passed and yet here we are still trying to value and teach the meaning of freedom, respect, and decency. When people are supposed to keep in heart to never forget and to never repeat the history that once broke us, many backtrack instead to the primitive desire to kill without the slightest thought of implications.

This piece took me countless shots of struggling hours to get through. The poetry is personal, and the personal apparently is political. And that is hard. I always consider my works as drafts, and it has always been that way even if they are released to the open for any possible reader to stumble upon. But for this particular work I’ve had the feeling I ought to let it go, that it needs to be separated from my being. Thankfully, it found a place. I do hope we’ll find each other’s peace soon. I hope we will all learn how to dwell to get the dwelling we deserve in this country and in this world. I hope.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

the anniversary

I was about to post something on my blog, when I thought of checking out my archives. Lo and behold, I just discovered last August 26 was the 10th year anniversary of this personal blog. I mean, who would’ve thought that a simple challenge and hobby among college friends back in 2006—which became an online repository of early attempts at literature, rants and opinions, humor and melodrama, and all things sundry—will last this long? 10 years. Imagine that. In this little corner on the internet, I see how my writing has evolved, and it gives me goosebumps stumbling upon old entries. Yucks. Because of this realization, I began checking out the blogs of my college friends too. Unfortunately, all of them have tended other distractions and priorities, and most of their last posts have been published in the mid-2000s. I don’t know what to whip up for this milestone. Perhaps Top 10 of this and that? Maybe. For now, I will have to settle with sprucing it up a bit, give the banner picture a new look.