31 March 2023

To care and not

So ryokans. Trainee explained to me that in this traditional Japanese hotel, guests are taken care of from arrival to departure, and every minute in between.

The bed will be rolled out at the proper time, he said.

Very different from my experiences and expectations at hotels, where I would simply show up and do whatever I want. Starting with throwing myself in the bed.

It's an eyebrow-raising way of caring, and yet it totally makes sense. Some strange days I crave that kind of caging. Let others think for me so I can shut my brain off — at least the part of it that worries too much, even about things like how to really have fun.

Somehow I already do it in the smallest of chunks, when I go to the hairdresser's and the nail salon to tell the beauty technicians, Ikaw na bahala (I trust you). Then I disappear in the moment without forcing myself to.

Maybe I should extend the practice. Submit all control and allow things to happen to me. Trust is a special kind of high.

30 March 2023

Poem 16


Long ago a child of five
walked towards me.
She didn't look hungry.
Rather her eyes
betrayed an appetite
for something that the over-priced
café had failed to offer:

a chance to ask
how vast a world
divides the two of us,
she in her innocence,
me in my negligence to want
what I earned;

or to make a playground
where we assign new roles
to dining objects over-used.

The encounter was real, though
details were subject to change.
She could've been wearing white
while I might've been lying
about being alone.

My habits live on,
like going out mid-morning
to relish a dry town.
Deep into the sky silence,
she visits
as she were — always five,
taking a seat
without permission
at a table inside my mind.

I wish I was the same ghost to her,
alive in a whisper and fits
into crannies none can feel
nor understand, not at all
a filler but a fullness
briefly possessed.

—Razel Estrella

Top Shelf