Elsewhere

 

 

“Does pain go away and leave no trace, then?”

“You sometimes even feel sentimental for it.”

— Yasunari Kawabata, A Thousand Cranes

 

 

 

 

Image1071 Image1073

 

So this is what I have been doing for the past few hours, reading (and posing with) Kawabata in midst of awkward conversations I have been trying to dodge — which is pretty stupid, I have been realizing just now, since coming to a conference absolutely called for human interaction. I tagged along with mom today because I wasn’t really looking forward to a gruesome three hour class, and because commuting’s a bitch I don’t want to put up with today, for some reason.

And so, I ended up in Sulu Riviera Hotel in QC, because mother is covering this campaign urging for the representation of children’s rights in Senate. Lounging in a picturesque lobby sounded – and, for the record, actually was – better than being stuck in a GE class half-populated by boisterous freshmen. I sound like a snob, but hey, that leads me to another point I have been meaning to address: honesty. The truth, or at least conversations that would lead to the abolishing of gray areas, is something that I have been trying to avoid over the last few weeks. Also, this blog, if anything and for all its worth, reeks a wee bit of sugarcoated trivialities.

Perhaps it is a grave error to connect this account with Facebook and Twitter in hopes of appeasing my vanity by garnering readers — but then, really, come on now. Who am I writing for here? I am no celebrity-slash-fashion-blogger-slash-epitome-of-perfection, ergo, there is really no point in censoring how slapstick-terrible/funny/both reality usually is. I don’t know what took me so long, but here it is, and perhaps I have always known, (Plato called knowledge nothing but reminiscence, after all), writing for an audience of one’s a shot of sanity we all need as much doses of as possible.

That being said, hopefully done from this point on, I just realized as well that March is about thirty hours away and, for all intents and purposes, I have yet to perform my best. My marks are above-average, I believe so, and I have kept up with most, if not all, of the required reading to finish papers and whatnot. Feels good, I have to say. But still, not enough.

The multitude of things we could be distracted with is just amazing, and I have rightfully indulged, just because Oscar Wilde said that the only way to get rid of a temptation is, well, to yield to it. I have been doing a lot of this lately — not just allowing myself to be swept off/away from the things that truly matter, but concealing my procrastination with lines culled from books. I have deluded myself into doing/thinking/feeling or not doing/thinking/feeling anything if I have some abstract rationalization to convince or save myself with. Is that so bad? I don’t think so.

Work, though, is a beautiful distraction. Aside from the ego-boost fueled by the sense of accomplishment, you get so busy that you seem to just forget things that used to hold your attention captive. How will you be able to overthink a forty-five minute conversation that pretty much made your week, if a position paper is due in four hours and you have yet to differentiate this particular -ism from another, much more synthesize it with a personal philosophy? When we want something so bad that we feel the burning desire in our bloodstream and we imagine our skin chipping off because of how insistent the yearning is, whatever it is that we desire embeds itself into us, fusing its entirety into our flesh. We no longer hold ourselves separate, it is a communion — a body enmeshed with another.

This, however, is not absolute — much to my dismay, because I have always been hyperbolic (not merely hopeless) – romantic and believed that restraint and forgetfulness would never be options; all I want is someone I can’t resist, sings Steven Tyler. But, perhaps, also to my delight: once in a while, we exorcise our demons. They reside inside us only when we have nothing else that enamors us quite like they do. They enter us because we are empty vehicles, our minds frail and wanting. Have your hands full with work, and they leave, in search of a new host.

 

Meanwhile, Dumaguete results will be out in less than a week and I realized I will have nothing to look forward to when the list of fellows is out, which is just, well, sad. I have become too aloof that people probably have just grown tired of inviting me to places. I knew I had to resort to drastic measures, and so I asked one of my friends when the next climb will be, but unfortunately they are all twenty-somethings who for some reason are just so busy with their jobs this month so I would have to wait for about three weeks before I could jet out of the city. That, and they are broke from the weekly hiking trips of January, which I all missed because I was too busy staring at my ceiling on weekends.

I’m seriously not expecting to make it to Silliman this year, and I mean it, not only as a means to prep myself up for the disappointment. It’s a leap of faith, that submission. There are so many things I have yet to learn. I realized that I have an iota of talent, at the very least, and it is because of this moment of epiphany that I have decided to move after graduation to the south in order to pursue a Master’s degree in Creative Writing. Did the math, and realized that if all goes according to plan, I’ll finish grad school by 2016, which coincidentally is the year universities would stop hiring new instructors because of K-12, according to a professor. He says I should probably just head straight to a Ph. D.

“But sir, wala na ‘kong love life lalo nun!”, I replied, half-jokingly. And that was that.

Either way, with this love for Philo-Lit, I probably won’t get a job, master’s degree or not, so the difference is that I get to avoid ‘the real world’ for another two years if I do head straight to grad school. Which leads me to this: I think I want to study Philosophy again. It’s not like Creative Writing boosts my opportunities for employment, but the thing is, I have yet to scour the world for material. Else, what am I to write about? I’m too young. Too sheltered. I’m an eighteen year old with my head in the clouds, yappity yappity yap.

 

So it’s 5:34 PM and I told myself I am going to transfer to Starbucks to deprive myself of wifi, but this empty conference room where I am billeted for the night is just so cozy. I really did not mean to cut class today and tail my mother around the Metro like a five-year-old, but hey, I have been complaining of everyday being too mechanical and so, impulsiveness seemed like the best way to go to break the curse. Unfortunately for me, that meant all I have right now is Kawabata and worn-out readings for another class. I could actually work on a paper since I’m supposedly stuck here for another three hours, and I might as well do. I can feel a ghost about to come back.

 

 

quantum entanglement:

two particles can become entangled if they are close together and their properties become linked. remarkably, quantum mechanics says that even if you separated those particles, they could remain entangled — inextricably connected.

Advertisements

An Inconvenient Truth

Oh god what am I doing with my life.

Someone please, please, please invent a “restart the weekend” button so I could slack off all I want minus the immense self-loathing on Sunday nights.

Talked to my best friend just now. Of course I yapped about some other guy and how I don’t remember dating (?) being this damn confusing but ended up with an angsty monologue re purpose and existence that just happened to be encoded on our chatbox. I can feel people losing patience with me. I’d stop boring them with my anxiety but the moment I decide to distract myself from my woes by doing something as equally unproductive as me indulging in these manic-depressive outbursts, I feel like I am two seconds away from combustion.

Ugh. Combustion. Reminds me that I have this Chemistry exam tomorrow and I still can’t explain cathode rays (electrons? Whahat the fuck) and what the fuss is about. Have always adored Physics and I have a working knowledge of quantum mechanics and the double-slit experiment (quantum entanglement is so damn romantic) but what the fuck is the deal with isotopes.

Getting crass. Must stop. Other than that I have a Philosophy of Teaching paper due tomorrow and the most I’ve done is learn how to spell Perennialism correctly.

What is wrong with me.

I’d say “Must start enforcing better/some study habits” or “must get back on track” but I have done that already, a million times over. I am so exhausted and fed up with myself and all I want to do is cut off all contact from society, hide under my sheets and read, like, for fun.

I’ve had it with the whole work-in-progress stance. I am going to be 19 in three months and my life, for all its worth, lacks imagination, lacks color. I blame all the old movies and literature for this yearning for flair and exuberance in an otherwise drab existence.

Woohoo angst. I am bored and spent. I need a change of place, a change of pace.

coupe de foudre

 

 

Big, brown, deep-set eyes. I’ve read that description before, a thousand times over. A stock phrase in books. People describe their beloved’s eyes with such absurd metaphors, as if peering through another’s pair clued you in to some secret, frenzied world only to be entered by those willing, much more allowed. To me, all eyes are the same. They live off borrowed light and converted photons. On the outside, however, all they do is stare. All you do is stare.

You don’t speak. When you do it’s about nonsensical things, like the weather, or how the clock on your car’s stereo is twenty minutes advanced, ergo, even though it’s twelve past one, we still have eight minutes left.  I look at you and nod even though your eyes are now on the road. Eight minutes. Plenty of time to see where this leads. For one, it does not have to lead anywhere.

You and I have talked about this before –indirectly, of couse, because we would rather be absolutely anything in the world but blunt. Because if you do, you become predictable, you told me once, when I asked you why we need mind-games when the truth is out there, yearning to be picked off the ground and told. The curse of adulthood: the refusal of ingenuity.

Reliability, apparently, is a sign of weakness.

No, it is not, you say. Ah, yes. Only the appearance of it. Make it seem like you are, you become susceptible to the unwanted weight of those eternally in flight. It’s just power play, a question of dominance.

You and me, we are everywhere, all at once. We outgrow places, things, people.  One day, I would come back to this city and chance upon this road or that café and all I would see is how it needs neither you nor me to stand complete. Or perhaps, I won’t even remember. You won’t either, you’ll be halfway around the world, staring into someone else’s eyes.

We do away with words, sometimes. We just look at each other and smile.

I can’t–we must–I mean it is impossible for me to marry Nweke’s daughter.”

“Impossible? Why?” asked his father.

“I don’t love her.”

“Nobody said you did. Why should you?”

 

— Chinua Achebe, Marriage is a Private Affair

Peephole

Nakakapagsulat na ako ulit. Nakaka-, dahil minsan, sa ayaw man natin o sa gusto, ang pagsusulat ay isang abilidad. Malaki ang pinagkaiba ng “I couldn’t write” sa “I wouldn’t write” — ng capability sa choice.

Ilang araw na ako nag-iisip, madalas, walang kamatayang nagrerebisyo ng plano kong umalis ng Maynila pagkakuha ko ng diploma sa susunod na taon. Masaya kasi mag-isip tungkol sa hinaharap, magkaron ng mga inaasam. Nagkakaroon kahit paano ng saysay at direksyon ang mga maliliit na bagay sa pang-araw-araw.

Pero nitong nakaraan lang din, paulit-ulit kong kwinekwestyon ang sarili ko ngayon, hindi yung bersyon ko ng sariling sinabawan na ng ideyalismo’t winisikan na ng optimismo para sa hinaharap. Napagtanto ko kasi kung gaano kababaw at superpisyal ang mga iniisip at kinikilos ko. Napakamapagkunwari. Nakakainis.

Hindi na siguro akmang isulat ko pa dito lahat ng nakita kong tinik, nagawa ko na ‘yun. Sabi ko nga, nakakapagsulat na ako ulit, at naalala ko ang panahong ang intensyon ko lamang sa pagsulat ay ang catharsis na hatid nito. Pagsusulat, para sa sarili. Ibang klase ang pakiramdam, nakakalinis ng utak mong inuuuod na ng kaululan.

Nung isang araw, nahuli ko ang tatay kong nakatitig sa akin na para bang nagdadalawang-isip sa sasabihin. Nang tanungin ko, napailing lang siya’t hindi daw makapaniwala na magdidisi-nuwebe na ako sa Mayo.

Pakiramdam ko tuloy sobrang tanda ko na.

Isa ito sa sinasabi kong kababawan — kung tutuusin ay isa pa rin talaga akong mangmang na nakanganga sa mga pangyayaring nasasaksihan. 19, isang taon lang naman ang nadagdag, e bakit eto’t pakiramdam kong ilang linya na ang naiukit sa mukha?

Siguro dahil nakakatakot naman kasi talagang tumanda. Mabigat atang responsibilidad iyong wala kang takas sa bawat implikasyon ng mga desisyon mo, kasi nga naman ikaw naman ang may gawa ng mga iyon. Pero hindi ba’t nung bata-bata pa tayo, tayo rin naman ang may hawak sa buhay natin? Anong pinagkaiba?

Ngayon kasi, hindi na pepwede yung tatalikod ka na lang bigla kapag nahirapan ka. Hindi pwedeng isisi sa family issues kapag hindi mo magawa ang trabaho mo. Wala kang makukuhang simpatiya. Mas marahas sa kabilang dako ng rehas — walang lusot, dahil ang buong mundo ang kulungan mo.

Hindi na cute yung pagiging iresposable, yung walang pakundangang pagmumukmok at pagsuklob sa langit at lupa ukol sa mga kamalasan mong sa katunayang kasalanang ayaw mo pa rin akuhin. Hindi na cute yung hindi mo alam, o at the very least, hindi ka sigurado kung ano ang gagawin mo sa sarili mo. Pribelehiyo ng mga bata maging isip-bata. Hindi na rin cute yung pag-ilag sa bigat ng sakit na nasanay ka na atang ipapasan sa iba.

Walang safety net. Yung mga pagkakataon, infinite daw, pero aminin natin, nakakasuya din yung paulit-ulit ng panata ng pag-start over. Sa Chemistry nga’y may kayhaba-habang proseso para makuha yung amount ng enerhiyang kailangan upang masira ang bonds, at misan hindi biro ito dahil sobra-sobra ang kailangan mo para matapos na ang kalbaryo. Sa buhay pa kaya?

Malas na lang, hindi tayo lahat pinalad na alam na natin, na para bang nakaimprenta na sa utak pagkasilang, yung gusto natin talaga para sa sarili. O, kung nakatatak man na parang tattoo — writer. propesor. doktor. abogado. pensyonadong beauty queen. — nakatatak din na para bang subtitle ang katotohanang hindi ito magiging madali. Isang malaking sakripisyo, aba’y syempre mas madaling itaya na lang ang prinsipyo’t mangarap na sana’y kapalit nito ang stability.

Sobrang dami ko pang kailangang matutunan, at siguro’y importanteng sabihin, gustong matutunan. Nakakasawa na ang pagmukmok. Napagiiwanan ka na, namumuo na ang alikabok.

Ano naman ang punto ng lahat ng ito? Siguro oras na sanayin ko yung sarili kong humarap sa dapat harapin. Iyon nga lang,kaakibat nito ay ang pagtalikod sa mga bagay, tao, ugali at kaisipan na hindi naman kailangan, hindi strictly necessary o condition for existence, kung hihiramin kay Durkheim. Nakakasawa.

Maraming mas importanteng bagay tayong nakakaligtaan kasi kung saan-saan tayo nakatingin. Kung iisipin, pinakamahalaga pa rin talaga sa lahat ay ang angulo kung saan natin pinapanuod ang mundo, at ang imaheng nakatitig sa atin sa salamin.

Caesuras

I’d write a love poem but I don’t have anyone to write it for.

 

I’d write a love

poem but I don’t have anyone

to write it

for.

 

I’d write

a love poem but I don’t

have anyone

to

write for.

 

I’d write a

love poem but

I don’t have

anyone to write

about.

 

I’d write a love poem but

I don’t have

anyone.

 

I’d write a poem

but I don’t

love you.

 

I love you but

I won’t write

you a poem.

 

I don’t write

poems about people

I don’t love.

 

I can’t right, or write, or love, or loathe you.

 

This is how words fail. This is how love fails. This is how

I make up

for the fact that

I can’t have you I don’t

have anything, much less anyone

to write for.

—-

 

 

I wrote someone a love poem once but

he did not get it. He got mad

and we fought for two hours over a line he misconstrued. Funny

because I said he’d probably mistake it for the longing

he has seen. See, I called his eyes

ugly and he thought I meant it literally. When did I ever

mean things literally, much less actually meant them. But no,

that time, I did. I wanted to write you a poem,

it started, I couldn’t because I couldn’t memorize

the lines on your face. It was the truth I knew

but he didn’t. Two months ago he walked away

from me on a bright day on a busy street. Cruz wrote about that

Morning and I read it whenever I am mourning. I asked for

more, I insisted on hunger. Actually, I am starving. Sometimes,

like now, I am given much more than I asked for

but I couldn’t bring myself to wanting it. He arrived

when he left. Perhaps he was always there. He told me he loved

me last night. He opens the car door for me and all

I could think about is yes, dear, I want to get out. Now.

A pretty blue-eyed girl on screen asks, When you propose to someone

do you want her to just consider it? Ashton Kutcher smiles

at her sadly. Or do you want her to just know? I have the same

delusions about love — hyperbolic, otherwise

no, thank you. None. Empty. Like how I felt when he, and he, and he left. Again

and again and again until I am too tired

to want. But I still do, sometimes

we give in, sometimes when we touch. Water’s knee-deep, clear

but shallow. Like our conversations. We talk about fine dining

and road trips but you and I once argued

about — no, we always argue. A fiery pit. I’m your Beatrice

and that was your Inferno. You should have been Dante

instead you were named after some German (or was he French):

from heaven, through Earth, to hell. To infinity

and beyond! My sister calls her boyfriend Lightyear and I am

still wondering if it is because of Buzz. Funny

how I asked for too much now I am given a little and I would

rather do without. Hey now, hey

Now, I wonder what it would be like

if you knew about the skeletons in my closet. I forgot what

the bone marrow is for but I’m sure it’s there, somewhere,

someone’s. I wonder about your closet and what it contains. You own

a total of three different shirts and rotate them every

week. You usually look stupid but I pretend

not to notice, instead I swoon whenever

you speak. Much more when you don’t. Much has been said,

but we wait for pauses because–uh. I should have

asked you about consciousness and if there is a delay

between a thought and an utterance. You would

have explained and I would have pretended to listen

listening instead for those pauses, your short intakes

of breath. Inhale, exhale, die. Die a slow,

painful death. Like I said, 

you know I’m almost dead, you know 

I’m almost gone. But I am not. A minute

before midnight and I promised myself I would

do things right this time — starting now. Tick tock

goes the clock, they always say. But no, they are wrong:

for time passes without a sound. That is why

we say the moments fly by without us knowing it. It is

because we don’t hear. Aren’t you aware

of how much is lost just because the seconds go

without so much as a so long, suckers? It has gone

on the first /s/. Gone, like the wind. Gone with the wind. Gone,

like all the cynicism remaining in my system when you

arrived. No, actually, I arrived. I was late but you weren’t mad. I said

sorry but I don’t think you have ever really forgiven

me. You make me suffer but you are not aware. Sometimes I am not,

too. I think of others, like the one who just said he loves me — hah, me! Me

who is writing you this love – hate – late poem you would

never read, nor I would want you to read. And so I start again. I start again and

I end it again this way. I wanted to write you a poem,

I’d borrow, from an old piece, but then

I’d say this: I wanted to,

but I don’t have you. 

 

 

This is not a poem but at least it’s for you.

You Better Run

 

Just discovered this indie band. And just because I am about to combust, I have been playing this on loop for the past hour or so because I am one of those crazy writers, or perhaps just another member of the female species, who talk and rant and declare and write about everything that happens to her but prefer to keep her mouth shut on things that infuriate her the most. Burn, baby, burn.

Baby has had enough, dammit.

 

 

“How many are the things I can do without!” — Socrates