25 March 2004


The city does not call for exclusivity. You move in it and you have to keep going. It doesn't care a bit for you--doesn't even know you exist--no matter how much you need it.

"I want you to grow," Rose told me as we went to an ad agency. "I told you, you should always have a resume with you. Why don't you email it to me and then I'll be the one to send it to them." Just eight days in my new job and Rose was encouraging me to submit resumes to different companies.

The truth of her trust is nurturing and energizing. Her kindness, which I first thought to be unsought for, is what I've been needing after all. A workmate to look behind my back. A friend.

I desire to stick with my job. I am not sticking it out. The company I am working for is still in the stage of conception; it hasn't had its real birth yet. I want to be part of its growth, as I grow. I have dreams for this company as much as I have dreams for my self. I remember my previous boss who told me, "The corporate world is unfair, if you rise above it, you're a notch higher than anybody else." I don't know why that sounds so attractive to me. Attractive, but not true. She's fifty years old and has already been through so much. This time I have to simmer down my pride and give the benifit of the doubt with what she said--maybe believe her. See for myself. Consider the corporate world.

Rose and I were at Ortigas this afternoon for a meeting with a client. Buildings, billboards, traffic, pollution, noise, crowd, violence. Amidst these things, at least I have a good spirit with me. I love the city. I cannot imagine living in any other place. It's not that I am used to chaos, it's just that I appreciate what I am able to build from it.

I always tell friends I want to settle here in the Philippines. I will live in this place and for it. I know it doesn't require me to do that, since it hasn't been my choice to be born here. I just have this high tendency to love what precedes me.

Maybe I am too idealistic. And a martyr for my own good.

Rose has this goal: have a family--settle down. Me, I want to build my own garden patch and maintain it; play the piano for someone; be an inspiration, a source of genuine light. I have yet to share these dreams with Rose, I'm still gauging her capacity for sappiness.

24 March 2004

The Embassy

I've been mistaken for so many things. My English professor in college kept asking me if I were Chinese when I told him time and again, no sir, I'm not. People are shocked whenever I tell them I don't have a boyfriend nor am I dating. When I was 16, I was thought of being older--an FX driver even commented once, "Ma'am, mukhang pagod tayo sa trabaho, ah." Now that I'm 21, they still wouldn't let me in an R-18 movie. When I was a college freshman, another freshman sought my help in finding her way around the campus, since she thought I was already in my junior year. When I was feeling wild, I was labeled conservative and low-profile. When I was feeling polite, I was found deviant, intrusive or aloof. Last week, I came from the main office of Equitable PCI Bank. I rode an FX on the way home and the driver told me, Kumusta bisita natin sa embassy? I said I didn't go there, my business was different. Maybe I don't look like the type who'd have something to do with the embassy, but maybe times are really hard that everyone's needing to go some place else. Life is elsewhere. My good self is elsewhere.

I may have many selves--as we all definitely do--but why is it that I seem to have a problem in using the appropriate self in facing certain situations and people?

15 March 2004


Formal Logic class. That was where I first saw her. That was almost two years ago. She'd always come in on time and I'd find her dressed down. Her short hair, cinnamon skin and well-toned body still come clear to my memory. She must be into sports, I thought, as she'd walk in most of the time with her duffel bag, wearing shorts, a shirt and rubber shoes. There was a softness in her that contrasts her athletic bearing, giving her a mystifying air. More than that, she was a smart one. Formal logic was no joke, but it almost seemed elementary to her. She was quiet and she perpetually sat in the first row, near the door. To me, she was perfect. I loved her body. I loved the character that might be in it.

February, another day at work. I was walking around the country club to take some pictures when a familiar figure climbed up the stairs I was climbing. Her hair grew and she tied it in a pony tail. She was in shorts and a baby tee. It was just like another week-end for her. Holding hands with her was a little boy, which I assumed to be her brother. I made sure it was her; double-checked the skin, soft chin, nose and eyes. After ample gawking, I mumbled, "Excuse me, are you from La Salle?"
     She smiled and said "Yes."
     I didn't want it to end there, I tried to stretch the conversation by saying "I think we're classmates before... logic..." It was both a declarative and interrogative sentence. But how can she remember me when all those times, I was sitting at the back and didn't even have the chance to be acquainted with her.
     "Oh yeah," she replied in a faint voice. I'm sure the recognition was about remembering the class and not me.
     "What's your name again?" I had to know, I'd like to attach a name to the body and the face.
     She didn't ask for my name. I said it anyway. "So you're a dependent here?" I further inquired.
     "Yeah... how about you?" I thought she'd be one of those anwer-only people.
     "I work here..." I wanted to have her surname, so I could search for her address, but I realized that might be quite intrusive. I was never a stalker. I was only interested.
     She'd already been very polite with me. She definitely wasn't one of those sige-chickahan-pa-tayo type of girl.
     When we reached the second floor, we parted ways. I watched her walk away--her perfect figure, color and skin, still holding hands with the little boy. I didn't want to work, I wanted to chat with her, get to know her, let her know I'd die to have her legs and shoulders.

With nothing better to do, I surfed the net last night and visited a La Salle site. The home page featured two players of the football team. It was her. One of them. I read her full name and then some. In an interview, I found out she really was the laid-back kind of person. The calm one with the killer instinct. And she loves reading. She loves reading.

I never really looked for her, but she kept showing up in times I didn't expect, as with many people that matters. I am excited for our next meeting, as I am excited in meeting (again) some poeple who truly matters to me.

12 March 2004


How do you love first times? It was my first time to step foot and drink coffee at Starbucks a while go. That is, Starbucks 6750. I hadn't really been to many places, but that, so far had been the best Starbucks I went into. Why was I there, away from home?

I met someone to discuss my new job. Of course in every new endeavor comes excitement and anxiousness, and of course the hunger for learning. In all truth, I am amazed at how doors suddenly open for me without me even having to knock. I left my previous job by impulse (I now admit my impishness) without a clear path ahead, and then the signs present themselves, all directing me to where I am now. Sometimes I am convinced that if I willed to become an astronaut, or a rocket scientist, I would become one.

I may be repeating myself when I say my fear of failure is actually a fear of being big, a fear of being a maverick. As much as we love kudos and attention, I'm not good at handling too much of both.

The avenue was posh, makes you wish you've got tons of money. The rows of tall buildings block the sky. Suddenly the world I was walking on was narrow. I passed by the same designer stores, fine dining restaurants, arrogant books and people purchasing escape over the counter.

First times for me happen all the time. I went home after the meeting. No more gimiks. I didn't buy anything for myself, the way I'd normally do whenever I go out; rather, I took home with me a question: "How can I know what I think till I see what I say?" (--Graham Wallas) Silly question.

10 March 2004

Little Verses, Major Earthquakes

I have an anthology of poetry that I didn't touch for long, until these past few days. One reason I haven't been reading it is as I browsed through the pages, the first time I bought it, some of the poems did not immediately fit my taste. Frederick Nims is right in explaining "when we say we 'love' poetry, it doesn't mean we love the same poetry." I gave it another read and came across little gems of lines.

I was never a fan of Robert Frost. I only respected him for what he had achieved and given to the literate world. My favorite from him was Fire and Ice. Until I read this:

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of the day I rued.
There was a quote preceding the poem in the anthology, from one reader which said, "I think this is a love poem. I feel it is the true story of love." I think I fell in love with Frost after reading this. I could clearly see the color of crow contrasted with snow (and how it made a perfect rime.) How a little and mundane matter as dust can be poetic. How there can never be a day without a saving grace, or simply grace.

Another poem that convinced me Robert Frost is a genius is this one:

Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air

That crossed me from sweet things,
The flow of--was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Downhill at dusk?

I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they're gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.

I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.

Now no joy but lacks salt,
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain

Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.

When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,

The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.
I have read much about what is skyward, seaward, heavenward, but never to earthward. I read this aloud and as I read, I felt like I was back to grade one re-learning what cadence, imagery and tension are all about.

The petal of the rose/ It was that stung. Exactly what poetry is.

Finally, simple and mediocre are not synonymous. There are simple poems that are exceptional, while there are mediocre poems that cannot be anything else, but mediocre. This one is the former:
Dionisio Martinez

To the one who sets a second place at the table anyway.

To the one at the back of the empty bus.

To the ones who name each piece of stained glass projected on a white wall.

To anyone convinced that a monologue is a conversation with the past.

To the one who loses with the deck he marked.

To those who are destined to inherit the meek.

To us.
To us.

Happy reading, happy writing, happy being.

08 March 2004


I never thought I'd speak of daybreak as how it had been spoken of for so many times. I woke up at 3:00 in the morning and had a three-hour reading. A quarter before six a.m., the Maya birds started to make sounds. They were not singing, or at least what they were making were short of a melody. I didn't know what those sounds meant, what they were all about, all I knew was I always hear those during dawn, in the afternoon and before twilight; and that I was thankful there was a tree adjacent my bedroom. I turned off the lights as I could see the sun's rising from my window. My room's situated at the corner of the house's second floor and I've built a habit of locking my door. I was much amazed and amused at how the scent of food finds its way up to my room from the kitchen. I knew it. Fried rice. And then, that smell of salt distinctly from my favorite victual--fish. Danggit, in particular. Before the aroma faded, I was quick to fantasize taking a bite of that crispy paper-thin Danggit, dipped in vinegar with chilies--and the rice, fried with garlic, egg, with shaves of tocino, chorizo and ham. I didn't go down to eat. I wasn't hungry. My radio was turned on, the music was Toxic. I was thinking of lingering in the moment some more until I finally dove again into sleep. By eight a.m., I dozed off. Until I heard the door opened, un-gently by my mother, waking me with a sharp pound of a declarative sentence, about an urgent phone call. I rose and went downstairs to finish some business over the phone. After a few minutes, I went back to my room, locked my door and had my sleep.

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