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Wednesday, June 27, 2012


"If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?" -William Shakespeare 


I don’t like being outsmarted. Deception is something innate to me. I didn’t learn it. Manipulating people has always been easy. Their simple minds fit perfectly my long fingered bony hands, like fancy rings, sliding and gliding yet all the same useless. So imagine my rage as I was thwarted, outmaneuvered, despoiled. I called on the thunder, punched the walls, smashed the coffee mug I was holding to everyone’s fear. One mistake. One mistake is all what it took and the lake was mudded once more, the sword wilted, the sky on the verge of falling.

Bleeding moon

I don’t want a heart that beats for love
which dissolves in humility,
dwells in humanity, or
mercy for blessedness.
No more to speak of plea,
only a shell that’s free.

Skin my heart, shred it into pieces
that I no longer have the soul
to feel pity neither grief
a ghoul, death’s dimmed mistress.
Say goodbye to this fool.
Goodbye wept-out tired heart.

King in the North

“My Lord, this travesty, we should not let this passed on. Your people are mad. They are willing to cross the seven seas and go to war with you. We should strike out at once.”

"The time for war is known to a king, this is not it. It was my former mistake to succumb to my rage. Rage is nowhere far to pity or to love. We should not let our feelings reign over us."

“But my Lord…”

"I will exact revenge and claim what’s rightfully ours. Their lands will tremble in fear at the sight of our horde. I will tear their flesh and would wear it like armor. With their blood we shall bathe in triumph. They will pray to the gods that they die but I won’t give them the death they so desire. They will regret the day they defied me. All in the right time. When they are drunk over the false triumph they claim. When they are feasting over their women. When their children are out in the wilderness. They will pay. This I swear upon to seven heavens and seven hells. They will pay." 

Monday, June 25, 2012

In offense of LeBron James

There’s a massive hysteria going on right now as the NBA post season  commences. Miami Heat finally won the championship over a helpless Oklahoma City Thunder and LeBron James finally snatched a ring to underscore his MVP titles and record-beater digits.  Understandably, the bandwagonry is just overwhelming.

With this comes the proclamation by some that the era of hating LeBron James ends, or should end here. I disagree.

I don’t “hate” LeBron in the most literal sense of “hating” but I do hate him in an NBA fan way of hating.

Before 2010 that the self-proclaimed King was reigning over Cleveland Cavaliers, my eyes were already hot for him. And why not, since LeBron was dominating the East during All Star Games plus his bravados were not that any charming at all. At last, when he finally led the Cavaliers to finals and lost, I shared few of his sentiments and the frustration that came with it. I understand that it must be tiring, giving best shots after best shots to no effect. A trade or a transfer is inevitable, I said.

But lo and behold. Instead of playing the hero’s part, LeBron magically turned himself into a huge villainous creature in a sweep of a moment. Not only that the Cavaliers were not courteously informed of his transfer, a massive circus was mounted and with all its spectacle and delays announced LeBron’s new home – the Miami Heat.

There should have been certain honesty in it. Imagine LeBron carrying the entire weight of the team for seven solid years. Drafted straight from high school with all the record smashing performance, it’s natural for him to seek a better court where he could validate his claim of being “The Chosen One.” It could’ve been another normal transfer. It happens all the time. And yet it didn’t.

Instead, he basically told the entire world via live broadcast that he’s done being surrounded with talentless people and he’s better off somewhere where he can be with the bests like he always is. And then they made a huge publicity stunt with the formation of The Big Three and then came the prophetical words of LeBron about winning “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven championships.”

No one wants a bragging hero who hasn’t won a war yet. This is why the volume of hate towards LeBron further propagated last season. He failed and choked over his own conceited words.

Suddenly, we remember that he’s not that much of an ace since he cannot run offensively during the crucial final seconds of the game thus being useless in close-fights (imagine the Lakers-Celtics). That he will always remain prone to leg-cramps and he’s retaliation over the hate campaign against him was rather tasteless.

I have all respect for his undeniable talent and I would agree with him saying those people who hate him, probably like me, have bigger problems, living a more miserable life compare to the mansion where he goes home. I would also be honest that some of the hate rubbed on me because I’m a Kobe Bryant fan. But in case LeBron and his fans haven’t noticed, this is how the world of sports has been going on for the past millennia. Since we root for a certain individual, we tend to go against the other one and by going against doesn’t literally translates to hating. Yes we “hate” LeBron, make jokes about him and laugh at his minutest mistakes and sometimes go even further on personal attacks, but that’s just it.

He won a championship this year but that’s just one of the “seven” he proclaimed. I believe he still has a long way to go to pull together the set back he did during the 2010 stunts. And believing so doesn’t mean I’m a hypocrite or a phony basketball fan the way others are sneering on with the likes of me recently.

We lived in a world where LeBron James is called King. We lived in a world where LeBron James is The Chosen One. Now, we live in a world where The Chosen One becomes The Chosen Won. But I don’t believe it should stop me from having a go against him. For I don’t believe in those who went for the get-championship-quick scheme, yes among the many reasons.  In the words of the great Michael Jordan, he wouldn’t have contacted his rivals from other teams like Magic Johnson or Larry Bird so that they could huddle under one team and conquer universes basket after basket. It’s simply because he wants to kick their asses himself. That'show a real basketball champion should think!

And so in the world I inhabit, hating LeBron James is as perfectly normal as some people out there calling Kobe Bryant "Crocodile Kobe."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

More than one more day (Happy Birthday Désolé Boy)

I'm here. You're safe. 

According to Joan Didion, this is a line from a movie, Richard Loster’s “Robin and Marian.” “I love you more than even one more day,” Audrey Hepburn as Maid Marian says to Sean Connery as Robin Hood after she has given them both the fatal potion. The line has become Joan Didion’s family shorthand.

Today, this is what I’d like to tell myself now that I’m turning twenty five.

I don’t know exactly what turning twenty five means. Simply imagining already scares me. To follow the seasons I’ve weathered, to walk through the same courses where I found myself lost too many a times, I fear of a collapse; of the day I’d triumph no more over life’s punitive scoundrels. That I already lost the necessary resilience. But I realized we wouldn’t pass through again the same way exactly. We could only hope for the best. Or assume the worst so that any improvement will seem better.

When Alice cried and cried before she turned miniscule once more, she thought she had somehow fallen into the sea. Soon she realized she was in the pool of tears she had wept when she was nine feet high. And then she blurted” I wish I hadn’t cried so much. I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears.”

More than one more day. I wished the same as Alice. I wished I hadn’t cried much then. And I wish I wouldn’t cry that much anymore now that I’m twenty five, but looking back, remembering how I swam through those wild courses of my own tears, is like remembering those afternoons of my life watching the golden streams of the mellow sun pass through our capiz windows while I lay down beside my lolo. It’s one of the fondest of my recollections and will forever remind me of my limitations at the same time my strengths.

A friend recently told me, unlike what many perceived me nowadays, that have not really fallen into the casual pit of cynicism. That despite the hard shell I try in might everyday to project, I’m still the same romantic, mischievous and naïve kid that I always am.

I don’t think I’m jaded or a cynic. It’s just that when you’re twenty five and witnessed countless unspeakable evils, you deny the claim that good is something innate to every human. The emperor has no clothes; heads would roll at the command of the Red Queen; and Dante is nowhere near the portal that would transport him to Paradise. But such shouldn't stop us from hoping, for believing.

I believe in small things. I believe in Keanu. I believe he'll live the day he'll become a doctor, free from the binds of sickness. I believe in Lola Tina. I believe she's no fool for deciding to offer her entire life to serve a family who would later abandon her in a house for the elderly. I believe in Tatay Javier. I believe in him despite his daughters telling me he's not good enough of a father.

More than one more day. The borderless grief, the excruciating pains I came to meet spiraled into wisps of smoke with the tales of the likes of these people. I don’t know what life would’ve been without them. I realized their life went on and would continue to go on even without me, but truth is I can no longer live without them.

The twenty five years of my existence is about them more than me. I can profess my faith in the future because of them. These people who reminded me during my darkest hours the need to stand your ground, to continue imagining and bringing life to my own self even when all the reason seem to have escaped. It is my selfish wish to be with them again, to touch them more and to be able to meet more of them. That I am hoping for for another twenty five years of my life.

This is what people can learn from the past twenty five years of my life. More than one more day, allow yourself to live. Life changes drastically and would carry on with or without you onboard. Stay grounded. Believe in small things. The world will never conspire for you and for others like it goes for the lucky. So if not, conspire for yourself and for those whom life was never fair. Not because you’re good. Not because we’re good. But simply because we can.

“I love you more than even one more day.” Now that I am twenty five, allow me to say these repeatedly to myself. “I love you more than even one more day.” More than with or without prince charming. More than with or without the right tenses of verb. Hippie or not. With a 28 inches waistline or the former 32. To the many bastards we are to meet. To dragons we are to slay. And to kingdoms we are to conquer. “I love you more than even one more day.”

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I hate my Father

A portrait of my father from a family painting that hangs in our living room. 

There’s always that discomfort during this time of the year when everyone brags about how their father is the best in the world. I cannot say that I’m envious or anywhere near that, that’s why the use of the word ‘discomfort. ‘I could pretend, imagine, but that would be ridiculous. 

There is no reason that I should celebrate any minute of what the world claims now as “Father’s Day.” If by any chance it becomes something as huge as Christmas, or the fourth of July in America, I could go for my uncles, my cousins and of course my very own mother, who for many years stood at the same ground my father should’ve had. Should my father ask me for any form of greeting, say the day comes when I’d wake up, walk downstairs and would find him sitting on a couch in our living room, I cannot for the love of God, greet him a “Happy Father’s Day.” Why should I? There’s not a minute of happy having him as a father, anyway. 

The thing is if almost the entire twenty five years of your existence were spent without your father, you tend to pose so many questions. I couldn’t understand, even now at my age and learning, why I had to endure all those years without him. I couldn’t understand why he can’t admit to us that he knocked off some chick somewhere within that waterhole that is Middle East and I have some bastard brother or brothers and sisters elsewhere. I couldn’t understand why my mother should endure all the pains of having me as a son while he drinks vodka in some fancy bar or sit in the middle of some rowdy cockpit. 

Those I could never understand. I was always incomplete, something I suspect my mother blames herself for, which is hard to imagine why she should. With this always comes the thought of breaking my father’s neck with my own hands. But somehow, something tells me that whenever I say these things within my mother’s earshot, it’s just breaking her heart even more. 

The more insulting part of this is the money that he sends. To say that I don’t need them would be more insulting. I need them and I had them used for my education, food, clothing, even leisure. Those Boracay trips, this computer I’m using now, even my beloved leather boots, all purchased by those blood money. At some point, I realized he’s not doing it because I am his son and that I deserve some fancy for being so. Truth is he’s buying me off. He’s buying my innocence, my obedience and my silence. 

Whenever I pass that family along Sgt. Esguerra, that family of six who shares a single mattress under a roofless night, I always get a pinch of envy watching them. There’s a blackened casserole with cooked rice in it, standing on three blocks of rock where a fire sure was blazing a while ago. One kid is naked waist down running along the sidewalk while the other swallows a handful of rice beside the open casserole. The mother watches slouching on the mattress in her oversized duster. The father stands in a distance, smoking, gazing aimlessly somewhere far. 

In all honesty, I’d rather live a life like them than the miserable life I lived with an absentee father. I’d swallow “tuyo” with my bear hands even if it means an itching around my mouth after. So long as I can see my father standing there in the midst of our poverty telling me everything is going to be fine despite knowing it will never be. So long as we’re together, so long as I know he’s fighting for me, for us, dreaming for me while being proud of the hurdles I championed. 

I hate my father. But I hate myself even more for hoping, praying that one day he’ll come to me and that I will live a life with a father, something that was denied of me for almost twenty five years already. I hate myself because I still imagine a time when I’d wake up in the morning, walk downstairs and I would find him sitting on our couch in our living room. That we could still watch basketball together, a game we both love, fly to Los Angeles and watch the Lakers together and talk about the game afterwards. 

I know it’s nearing impossible. I cannot change what happened and I know the world would never conspire even if I pray for it nightly. But forgive me, somehow, there’s comfort within such thoughts; a rest while I continue and force myself to hate my father even more. 

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old, but his blood runs through my instrument and the song is in my soul.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Writer's block

"The music lets me see the story but the story doesn't let me write the words."

There are good days and there are bad. This must be one of those worst. 

Writers in their great imagination and world play invented many reasons why they couldn’t write. Some needs to be drugged; others must be naked, freeing themselves from the binds of the earthly truth. Long before, I discovered mine. 

Pain is what drives me to write. Not just any ordinary pain but great pain, so great that it pierces through the soul, damaging enough to course through the many parallel universes of countless present. So that in pain springs depression and by depression comes solitude. I feed on pain to summon the sweetest most delicate words. I feed on pain like a wicked witch would feed on children’s dreams. 

Sometimes I pretend to be in pain just to delude the mind hoping in return it would give words the quiet heart couldn’t muster. I’ll put on the leather boots, the faded vintage jeans and the dark jacket, soaking on the idea of how I’m a victim of this world, pretending to be a badass or hoping to become a real hipster. By the cold streets, evading people’s gaze while the smoke travels from the mouth to the grey skies above. By those warm come coffee shops, staring into nothingness until breathing is the only thing to hear.

You will hate me for saying this, but I’ve been up to using people from the past to gather the illusive thoughts. Remember the fat boy who treated you like dog. Remember the old man who shamed you before throwing you to join the thrash. Remember the liar, remember the priest, remember the bastard, the crook and the beast. I would scratch those wounds hard enough allowing the glaring blood to ooze out once more and then I’ll have my ink. 

This is why I’m more effective as a journalist. I write and tell what is happening with all the intensity of it, the danger and its colliding elements. It is not about me. Yes it is in accordance with my perspective but the words, the emotion, the entire moment, they are not mine. 

I am told that I must be a sad little person for I cannot write happy. It is such a curious notion that I don’t know which words to use to defend myself for it is not entirely true. True that I cannot write you about my state of happiness. True that I cannot provide a happy narrative about this country or the people that lives in it. I can’t because I simply don’t know how. 

I used to snort at those who proudly claim they’re writers for obviously they don’t know what they’re claiming. Being a writer is not a privilege; it is a curse. It is a vocation not meant to pride yourself but rather to humble you. But now I wonder if I’m a real writer, if I’m really meant for this. When the night is almost done and you’ve deleted more words than what was written. When there are too many voices, too many revolutions knocking on your temple and you don’t have the slightest idea where to place them. 

If I have the choice, I’ll go for a different profession. The one where you get to travel abroad and sit on those fancy conferences in a glittering city wearing Dolce for a suit and well-shined Givenchy shoes. Or probably the one where you get to go the office by nine in the morning and go straight home by six. I’d go for the one when I don’t have to juggle 3 jobs just so I can have a few more bucks to get good clothes and go out on a Saturday night for a change. I’d choose the one where I don’t have to rely on past heartaches and peddle myself in parties and other gatherings. 

The thing is when you’re turning twenty five, tired of keeping up with the professional world, single and with a bunch of heartaches and rejections to ponder about, you lose sight of whatever beauty they say lies before you. But in tugs and pull of the ocean in my eyes, those dreams that drag me from my bed to the middle of a howling city, ironically, there I find my worth. Only now, I really can’t write. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tales of the Letters

It's not that easy being green.

“I’m sure the letters are tired monsieur and I know you are as well.”

“I am, but I need them. Call them please.”

“I already did monsieur but no one would answer my summons.”

“Are they mad at me?”

“Please monsieur. ‘Tis not the case.”

“Rouse them from sleep if you must. I need them.”

Seconds later, the letters came. Some in their pajamas, yawning; one eye shut tight, others half-opened in great effort. There are murmurs of annoyance and confusion as to what’s happening. The clock reads 12:15 in the morning.

“Gather here please.”

“So what is it?” S asked in her loud shrill voice.

“Why won’t you come when I asked for all of you? Are you all mad at me? I’ve talked to the maids and they won’t give me an answer. You tell me what it is.”

“Ahhmnn, there’s nothing really going on,” A began telling. M and N behind nodded in unison.

“I don’t know about them. Pfftt. I know things are fine. It’s just that it’s been tiring lately. I’m tired. I’m sure everybody is,” I narrated in his arrogant baritone voice.

“Where’s E, I don’t see him. Is he still in bed?”

Everyone looked around as E is nowhere to be seen.

“Oh, he’s in the bathroom like he always is. Over there,” O said without the slightest attempt to hide his irritation towards his brother as E emerges from the bathroom door.

“Err, what is it? I’m sorry, I’m sorry. What did I miss?”

“Just in time E. Father is looking for you of course. Come here,” J politely said, making a space between him and C to allow E a seat.

“You okay Father? Y asked not minding his brothers and sisters’ usual bickering and self-canoodling.

“I’m fine, thank you Y. But I was right. I’m tired but good. It’s you and your siblings I’m worried. Are you all okay?”

“We are,” said W enthusiastically. “Why don’t we tell Father a story while he rest. I’ll start one.”

“Hmpf! Here we go again,” H snarled at her brother.

“I’ll do it,” I volunteered.

“Of course it should me. Tales always begin with ‘once upon time.’ Idiots.”



“Alright, alright. How about for a change, I'm the one who shall give you a story?”

“Fantastic! What will it be Father?”

“It’s about Snow White.”

“But we all know that,” B couldn’t help but whine.

“It’s a different Snow White, B. You’ll know if you’ll listen well.”

Everybody hushed down, interested of the new story they're not yet aware of.

“This is about Snow White and the 26 Letters of the Alphabet.”

“Once upon a time in an enchanted kingdom there was a beautiful princess with skin as white as snow and hair as black as night…”

The Letters listened intently to a thrilling tale of magical adventure about a beautiful princess and her 26 little friends, how they sought to conquer their differences and unite themselves against the wicked Queen until the princess finds its true love.

“…and they live happily ever after.”

X, Y and Z clapped as the story ended while R let out an audible sigh.

“Question. What happened to the Letters after the prince and the princess got married?” Q quizzically asked.

“They lived, of course, and moved to help build other stories. Thousands, no, countless of them.”

“I think it’s time we all retire. Go back to your bed now. Good night.”

And they all bid him good night and merrily went upstairs still talking about the story they heard.

“I already lit the fire in your room monsieur, it should be comfortable enough.”

“Thank you. Are they all in bed now?”

“Yes my lord.”

“I should spend more time with them, yes?”

“I’m sure they’ll love it.”


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