Friday, October 19, 2012

Finally an honest to goodness piece

I have not been writing in good impression lately and I know that. I was so full of emotion which usually stands a requirement for me to write well, but I guess there are too many of them I'm being drowned by my own words. I don't know anymore which to summon - the proper, the rhymed, the beautiful, the romantic - I would pick the nearest, too tired to search for the right one. But I needed it. I needed to write and spit out the few words I can or I would get burned by my own fire. 

The attempt to hide behind the towering political write-ups and the grandeur of literature failed dismally. Although nowhere in my attempts did I honestly expect to succeed. They were just escapes even then. But I consider it a sin which I know I must pay despite the grave sentence of Fate I am already serving now. 

But the biggest sin I guess is not writing truthfully. No, I'm not referring to my job as a journalist (so you can rest assure that my reports are factual and are written in greatest tune of objectivity). I meant that I am not writing truthfully about myself. 

To be honest, I am ashamed of my recent failure. I am ashamed because of the repetitious cycle of my journey to romance. The people I've met are now happy enough with their respective partners. Yes, they found love in this hopeless place. It was great and all and believe me when I say that I am very happy for them especially for this person which I think most of you here know. But as I watch them from afar, I cannot help but feel humiliated. There were no more delights on my pretenses. I am becoming the very same character I adore, Erik the Phantom of the Opera, pretending to be an Angel of Music, trying to deceive the world he's Don Juan behind the cloak of deceit, though even himself he could not convince. Alas I could no longer pretend. 

So I present myself in front of you now, down on my knees, collecting the pieces of what’s left that are good trying to rebuild. You can throw stones. You can laugh at the silly young boy, bastardize his frail body and pleasure yourself with it. But you see, one day I will rise. I may have yearned for him, but I don’t need him or anyone of you to pick myself up. That I can do alone. 

Lately, I was finally blessed with the opportunity to play a carillon. In case of those who didn’t know, a carillon is technically a musical instrument consisting of at least 23 bells (two octaves) housed in a bell tower and are played serially or simultaneously to produce a chord. From Wikipedia, it explains that it is played by "striking a keyboard - the keys of which are sometimes called batons - with the fists, and by pressing the keys of a pedal keyboard with the feet." Unlike any other instrument, the artist who plays the carillon is not seen, that only the captivating music emanating from it reaches its spectators. In UP, they say this is a show of the perfect surrender of artist to the music. That what was important was "for the bells to be heard, for the listeners to be reassured that there was order in their universe." 

For now I think that's what I need to do: surrender and just let the sweet music of my grief be carried by the vagrant wind. That’s why I’m writing this down. Let it be heard to reassure others ravaged by the same fate befallen unto me that they're not alone. And for friends and dear ones I've been avoiding, let this serve as a reminder that no matter how the vicious pain of failure binds me, it can never imprison my music, my hope that someday the right one will step forward. I cannot promise that Life will be kinder next time, but this I swear: I will be just fine no matter what. 

Once in my humble job as a journalist, I met a man that said this: Move on. It’s just another chapter of your life. But don’t close the book. Just turn the page. In music, just when you thought the final chord is about to fly by, a note is carried half place higher and you’ll know it isn’t the end yet. Now I understand it better. Maybe that’s why they call the move “sustain.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm just here

Oscar Wilde said all art is useless. I think it's only useless when I don't see your face in it anymore. Self portrait, 2011.

For even in your lukewarm words
there I found comfort,
hope, maybe for a tomorrow
that you'll cease not caring,
ignoring my doting

I would look up to the heavens
and there pray for the day,
that one day I'll be good enough
and then I'll close my eyes
imagining you
and I'll plead: love me, love me.

But you don't seem to see
how I hold dear
the slightest heed
the tiniest lead
I embrace myself and make them all big
an inch of nothing
making my soul bleed

In greatest contempt I deny this
for I don't know how long I can stand
the writhing pain of your unfeeling
this neverending duress
this overwhelming sadness
is it madness
to offer myself like this?

I don't mean to scare
I'm not asking why tomorrow? And why not now?
A little ray of light
is all I need in sight
Content, I'll wait
Until your heart allows my love. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Free Paco now!

I am no law expert, but this I learned and I can say with conviction that from the beginning of his arrest, a string of justice protocols were violated by the very same persons who swore to uphold them. I admit I am a journalist of this country yet honestly and lamentably, I know that his case was a glaring proof of the existing irresponsible and shameful shadow of the very same industry I live in. Lastly, I am a Filipino and until such time before seeing the film, I was one among the many who didn't care.

He fits the criteria of a hoodlum-in-the-making. Paco Larrañaga, a half Filipino, half Spanish teenage boy at that time, hailing from a popular clan in the Philippines, was the prime accused of the rape and murder of Chiong sisters, Jacqueline and Marijoy, in Cebu City. This was in 1997 and Paco was only 19. Fifteen years later, after being condemned to death by the Philippine Supreme Court, after spending years inside the hellish prison of the same country, Paco is now spending the rest of a seemingly unending sentence in some lonely Spanish cell.

The judge and justices, even the mob during then, didn't mind that Paco was 350 miles away from Cebu at the time the crime was said to have occurred. With at least 40 eyewitnesses plus supporting documents and photographs to prove it, nobody cared. This is what they saw and what the media that time portrayed: a privileged mestizo burly looking guy backed by a powerful political family and a record of petty offenses. Of course, he must be the criminal. No, they concluded instantly: he is the criminal.

Death! People shouted. Curses echoed making its way in every corner of Cebu's disturbed streets. Justice triumphed, they said. People celebrated, feasting at the thought if incarcerating the bad guy. Police was hailed for doing their job. David Rusia, the star witness who, based on his own testimony, raped and conspired to the murder of the Chiong sisters, was declared a hero.

The case is a web of inconsistencies, a disgusting mirror of a rotten criminal justice system always attached to the dingy politics. It did not matter that there was a system. It did not matter that there should be a hearing of the case. It did not matter that Paco had witnesses and that he himself wanted to testify but was denied because the judge was too sleepy to hear the defense. It did not matter that Paco is also protected by the very same laws they said they are trying to uphold. It did not matter that he should be presumed innocent. People wanted blood, and they game them that. From the moment Paco appeared before the public's eyes, he was already sentenced to death.

I understand that people should be angry, enraged of the thought of two innocent young ladies murdered in cold blood. But shouldn't we be angry at the thought of dragging a boy in the center of the arena of death just to satisfy our thirst for justice?

The government is at fault, the justice system and the media. Somehow I understand that because we are living in such harsh reality every waking day. But what I find appalling is our sick perversion to quickly judge. I couldn't fathom how people at that time missed the crucial points or did they really chose to ignore them? Blindly turned their backs to reason?

We wish not to belittle the suffering of the Chiong family, but I wish they did not conspire to the grand scheme of antagonizing an innocent man, coddling a questionable witness, just to have a bite of justice. And a fake one at that.

And so we march now and with conviction call for the release of Paco. I thank Marty and Michael because if not for their film, I would be one of those who didn't care. Free Paco. Now. Not only because Paco is innocent, not only because Paco could be anyone of us, but because Paco's story is happening as we speak now.

For feedback e-mail to desoleboy@yahoo.com

Catch "Give Up Tomorrow" in its extended local screening: 

-SM Cebu and Greenbelt 3 until October 16
-Gateway Cineplex October 17-23

For more details visit paco.docu.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/giveuptomorrow
Twitter: http://twitter.com/GiveUpTomorrow  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Nobody said it was easy

Tonight is when I'll go back to the star
from where I'm from
distant and afar
I'm going back now
away from where you all are
there beyond your foul
far from such spitting war.

But first I must die
for I cannot bring there these vile
I must be light and take the flight high
carry myself, my spirit anew
kiss the sun in the bursting sky
for no more I'm afraid of the blinding pain
I'm ready to depart, fly high, fly.

Alas, let my cold body stand proof
of my blissful heydays
let my scars be map
to a journey of weigh.

It is as they say:
second star to the right, straight on 'til morning
feel the blows of goodbye
of the phantomly air
no more looking back
no more heaving sigh
from here on it's easy.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Like a storm in the desert

(Would you mind playing this first? I apologized, I don't know how to make mixtapes. But this is one of my favorites.)

September 30, 2012

Dear Charlie,

I’ll be really honest.

First, I don’t really intend to write you a letter, answer those bunch you’ve sent, but please know that I am very honored of the faith you gave to a stranger as myself entrusting your story. It’s just that I thought I should be silent about it. But I listened, believe me, and I think I understand and I know where you’re coming from. So I write to you now because I know you of all people would understand. I think I need to bring things out of my system and that you’re the perfect person for it.

Things had been tough. And by tough, I mean hell tough. But it’s mostly me. I just can’t control the images anymore and they keep on coming during unguarded moments, plaguing. It was so dark and all I could hear is the sound of my own tears trickling down, but not on my face, but down to my insides. I’m fighting it. Honest. But I’m losing.

One time, I went home late night very tired from work and all. Down there at our street, Diego, my aunt’s dog is waiting. I guess he’s always delighted to see me for he’s always there waiting, wagging his tail in anticipation. I would give him food in return so I wasn’t sure if he cares genuinely or he’s only interested with the food he gets. Nevertheless, his company wards off unnecessary fears on my nighttime prowling.

So we were walking in this stretch of a driveway leading to our house. The neighbor’s dog barked at us and Diego angrily retaliated. I ignored the two dogs’ alpha male posturing and proceeded instead. Once in our terrace, instead of getting inside like the usual, I sat at one of those two wooden chairs outside, settled my bag in a table nearby and looked above at the heavens.

Dark clouds enveloped its entirety and the cool night breeze smelled a coming rain. At that point I realized it’s been so long since that last time I took the time to look above the night sky. And what bad luck, I wanted to see the stars and be amazed like I used to when I was a kid swinging my scrawny legs beyond the rusty gutter of our roof, but no, they weren’t there.

“It’s been so long” – those are the words that came up out of nowhere. I didn’t know what it fully meant, but it came like a sound of a yovel reverberating from all direction taunting me to meltdown, forcing those sad images. It’s one of those moments of weakness when you question when will it finally gets better. Because that’s what they would normally say, right? That things will be better. I’m just wondering why it never did for me.

So I cried and cried sitting on that chair until a weird noise came and I just noticed Diego was already sitting in front of me with a weird expression on his face. Like he’s trying to fathom what’s happening to me. I don’t really like pets, but at that point I felt the urge to stroke him. I reached for him, but instead, he stood up and placed his head on my lap.

Days after that, I was ready to sink once again into the oblivion of my depression. Then came flashbacks of those two instances when I tried committing suicide. I just want to be with my Lolo Martin again. Because you know, when I was a kid and my lolo was still alive, there was never a moment when I felt alone. I feel so alone Charlie. And I feel very tired.

But then I remember this boy I know. His name is Keanu. This boy, who despite Science telling him he’s not going to live long and that his days are numbered because of some stupid illness in his blood, fights his way to live. He smiles and dreams of becoming a doctor someday, not minding those purple blotches in his arms and back and a machine pinched through his skin to monitor the amount of iron in his blood. He stood there and I hugged him. Although to be honest, at that point, I don’t know anymore who’s comforting who. It just felt precious to me.

I really want to help him, and those sick children who, thank God, finally found a new home after almost getting evicted from their last shelter. It might sound arrogant and assuming, but I think they need me. And I need them. Also my lolos and lolas in this mountainous area in Rizal . Also my sister. Also my mother – my family, they need me. And then I saw myself and here I thought: I need me.

I thought of how much I love them and how much I want to give them so many things (whatever those things are). I remember how you said we accept the love we thought we deserve. To add to that, I think we could only give love that we have for ourselves. And I also think that I want to give as much love as I can especially to those people who need me, those who want it and those who are willing enough to take it. 

I can’t just be a sad story forever, right? I’m alive!

So it’s decided. I’m gonna love myself so I can love more those people who need me. And I’m not waiting anymore for things to get better. I’m just going to live.

I’m afraid this will be my last letter here and I guess I owe it to you and perhaps, let’s say someone might be accidentally reading this letter as well, I owe it to him/her/them for simply listening. But please know that I’m not turning my back. It’s just that I think, from here on, I’m going to be too busy “participating.”

I will be fine and I believe the same goes for you. I just know. I have so much faith in you.

Love always,

Désolé Boy

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