Insomnia

I close my eyes. I see you. Your body laced with virgin white Italian silk. Or ragged tatters of pajamas two sizes smaller – does it matter? In this state you are one and the same.

The blanket of night embraces you. Its cool and disinterested arms swallow your body whole. As you toss and turn on your bed, the paper moon hangs above – all seeing. An impartial observer, a silent sentinel watching over its dominion.

Currently, its eye shines upon you. Your body drenched with moonlight as it continues to turn and topple, like an abandoned buoy that is excommunicated to go out to sea, sentenced to a life of isolation, amidst a sea of faces and dizzying streams of names and places.

You lay on your bed. Restless. Tired. Sore. Hair tousled and heartbroken. Your left arm has fallen asleep before you did. Slumped and numb, you adjust your body and allow blood to flow through.

A million needles stab you simultaneously. You let out a blood curdling scream.

I open my eyes. The moon stares at me.

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Memento Mori

“I shall go on seeking out / lost faces, and faiths in the / cold, collecting, calculating / crowd, sadly aware that later / but an unbreath away / I shall lose them all again”
- Dean Ophelia A. Dimalanta, Finder Loser

 

I have just finished rummaging my library. A sudden urge to dust paperback books, letters that reek of mold and yesterday’s headlines, academic papers stained with dregs of sleepless coffee nights and half a dozen highlight pens, and a surprisingly well-kept bunch of [love] letters. As I pour myself into this disheveled array of tokens and keepsakes, I stumbled upon a 2.5 by 1.5 inch vintage photograph, its four sides haphazardly folded, and neatly tucked within a thick, musty and dust-covered leather bound book.

photo

It is fascinating how memory can flood your head with nostalgic joy before breaking your heart because of incurable longing. My lolo and lola. Grandpa and grandma. Ester and Ramon. Young lovers smiling cautiously at the command of the faceless photographer. It was prom night. I can only imagine how they sheepishly made small talk, while throwing timid but sincere glances and laughing at each other’s attempt at humor or the lack thereof. Or how they nervously swayed into each other’s arms to the tune of Nat King Cole, or Ella Fitzgerald – or probably they were shuffling their feet to the tune of the King Elvis Presley or some local musical band? Who can know?

In the end, their dance sired a family that continues to strive and flourish up to this day. The same dance, but different participants moving to an updated and sometimes unlikely tune.

I look at the photograph. Among others, the idea of death bubbles from underneath all the memory and sensation. Death. The ultimate equalizer. We are not born equal but we are irretrievably bound for death and decay. I look at lolo Ramon and lola Ester’s faces, made forever young by the lens of the camera and the fleeting memory it evokes. I become more aware of this idea. Like a love letter slowly being enveloped and finally sealed, to be mailed to God-knows-where and be read by God-knows-who.

I look at the photograph. I smile at myself as an idea envelops me. The goal is not to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.

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Reflections

There are nights when I lie on my back and look at the moon. With the palm on each hand as rest, my head tilts at an angle that is both comfortable for the neck and convenient for the eyes. The strip of hair on my forehead is softly caressed by the  moonlit breeze and is sent fluttering, which brings a tickling sensation to both eyebrows and eyelids. It also brings a faint, but crisp and fresh, smell of clear misty dew so cool that it promised rain and thunderbolts.

My eyes are fixed upon the luminous whitish crescent pinned upon the night sky. Its perfect crescent shape that mimics Death’s scythe hangs lopsided; like a miswritten ‘C’ that is angled a bit to the left.

The enigmatic glow it emits is partially sapped of its strength by the smog that has quietly but noticeably plagued the metropolitan night sky. Sometimes I think this is the price of development. To move forward, one must consistently struggle with the present; change the status quo, overthrow the past and let the future run its course. But sometimes the struggle carries collateral damage in its wake, like a clogged metropolitan waterway that is stagnant and on its way to putrefaction, or a dense build up of dust and smoke that has polluted the city skyline.

Nevertheless, the stream of moonlight flows uninterrupted as the night progresses. My eyes have adjusted to the dim world that I have laid myself tonight, and the stream of moonlight comes like a quiet river flowing incessantly, without a living soul within a thousand miles. I fix my gaze upon the endless stream and wonder why the running waters seemed to have forgotten to make a sound. Some say a river that runs deep runs quietly. And that a shallow river runs noisily and conspicuously. A quipped implication that silence or being reserved means deepness, while having a raucous disposition often displays shallowness.

But if you will ask me, the serenity or chaos brought by the steady streams or raging rapids cannot be made basis for the ‘deepness’ or ‘shallowness’ of a person. Rivers are not made to be perpetually deep nor shallow. The uneven geological plates and land forms dictate water flow from the mountains down the lakes, seas, and oceans.

People bend like rushing water depending on the riverbed they are traversing; a kind of formlessness that is both collective and individual; an unpredictable switch from flexibility to inelasticity and back.

This is not the case with moonlight. A rapid, unconscious, and consistent ray of cool luminous energy flowing in precise rhythm of the hands of a clock; it is not bothered by trivialities of human conduct, nor is it eaten up by a disinterested and soulless bureaucracy and its red tape.

Moonlight is merely the reflection of a raging sun. Every day, as the sun burns itself towards collapse, it releases a sliver of itself towards the moon. It builds itself up. It takes the shape of whatever container that holds it; memory, relationship, work, ideals, and belief. Merely a sliver of a humongous star, it still however contains the unstable, immutable starlight in its most raw and primal form.

I would like to think that thoughts are streams of moonlight rather than liquid rapids. That our thoughts are the reflection of our daily life or the lack thereof. It is the intangible self capable of perpetuating the cognition of the perpetual as well as the trivial.

“’Things can be seen better in the darkness’, he said, as if he had just seen into her mind. ‘But the longer you spend in the dark, the harder it becomes to return to the world aboveground where the light is.’”
-Haruki Murakami ,1Q84

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Maria

Come closer. Her name is Maria. Ma-ri-a.

Ma. As my chapped lips shape itself into a parched oval. Desolate and forgetful, with teeth that have outlive the prerogative to smile. Ma. With the whole spectrum of Technicolor, her skirt dances upon the dunes of scorched earth. Billowing in time with her white ankles, white calves and white thighs. The raging sun burns green with envy, the cracked earth glows red with surreptitious desire, hungry for the crevices of her deep wells where eternal thirst resides.

Ma-ri. My mouth blooms with petals of ivory. The tip of my tongue flutters across every syllable. Ma-ri-a. Ma-ri. Ri-a. As it suckles rosewater from her ample bosom, the thirst within my soul subsides. The anguish that harbors the spirit. Anguish borne by the void, pulsating a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for.

Ma-ri-a. My mouth curves huge and pure and perfect. As the moon comes full of its cycle. Her eyes enraptured and bedazzled and magnetized into the heart of whiteness. The serene luminosity bubbling underneath the hovering moon upon her face. With gravity, our celestial bodies spiral (how I wish a collision) because of restlessness, because of yearning, because of vague desire for somebody of something specific.

Coming closer still. With her hand, drawn to its circumference, she reaches out.

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6/14/2014

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche

A rough attempt at Bishop’s It Might be You on an old, beat up guitar. (that I really like)

Credit given where credit is due.

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Clockwatching

“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”
- Franz Kafka

 

The start of an almost 3 month vacation from law school has ushered in a fairly huge amount of time to devout myself into nothingness. And as a person who is not well endowed monetarily, the idea of a getaway vacation to far-flung lands and waters is out of the window. Furthermore, I am probably that type of (douche bag) person that prefers solitude in his hierarchy of demands (which is probably two notches lower; below internet and sleep). No, I have not felt lonely, or emo, or suicidal over it, nor do find this societal lapse welcoming. Bukowski sums up my thoughts with lyrical grace: “Being alone never felt right. It felt good, but it never felt right.”

Incidentally, Bukowski was my first read for the summer. ‘More Notes of a Dirty Old Man: The Uncollected Columns’. In a nutshell, it is a collection of clippings of Charles Bukowski’s prose from the newspaper where he writes about the most mundane of things (isolation, appearances, labor, drinking, love, fucking etc.) by using his signature style, to wit:

“It’s a world, it’s a world of potential suicides, well, I speak mostly of the United States, I don’t know the rest, but it’s a place of potential and actual suicides and hundreds and thousands of lonely women, women just aching for companionship, and then there are the men, going mad, masturbating, dreaming, hundreds and thousands of men going mad for sex or love or anything, meanwhile, all these people, the love-lost, the sex-lost, the suicide-driven, they’re all working these dull soul-sucking jobs that twist their face like rotten lemons and pinch their spirits, out, out, out…
Somewhere in the structure of our society it is impossible for these people to contact each other.” (Bukowski, 2011)

Classic transgressive literature pulp action hero and probably one of the most proverbial poets from the gutters. This dude knew loneliness from the individual ticks of a clock. He also knew love by looking through every bottom of a bottle.

Jump to Filpiniana literature. Nick Joaquin with ‘The Woman who had Two Navels’. After rigorous chewing and endless digestion of it’s plot, lyric, style and overall thingamajig, the whole endeavor can be summed up by my friend jzhunagev from Goodreads.com (yep, I have no idea who the dude is) “The Woman Who Had Two Navels is a many-layered, chaotic and less-than-perfect novel that taunts out universal paradoxes of truth and falsehood blah blah blah blah blah…”

A passage, however, from Joaquin’s work caught my eye with respect to how ideals and rules interact with human nature, namely:

“’And the rules,’ said Father Tony ‘are more important than people. Truth and freedom are more important than people. Everyone must keep his eyes open; everyone must stay awake – even if it kills them. We know what’s good for them; truth and freedom are good for them and must be rammed down their throats.
And so we forced that girl to choose, we forced her to open her eyes – and it was more than she could bear. Now she’s dead (Spoiler alert: she didn’t, bitch eloped with another guy). But we – oh we feel perfectly justified. Because what we believe in is far bigger than that poor girl’s mess of a life (Spoiler alert: bitching intensifies), isn’t it?
And we’d rather have her dead than have our rules placed in question, wouldn’t we?’” (Joaquin, 2010)

At the risk of sounding like a self-conceited know-it-all, I am that guy who invests a great deal of faith and trust in the bureaucracy and government, I believe that there should be a central authority which imposes specific rules of conduct to ensure a peaceful, secure and relatively longer life for its constituents. (Case at point: Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan)

Jump back to foreign literature.

“Give me release.
I’m tired of this world of appearances. Pigs that only look fat. Families that look happy.
Give me deliverance.
From what only looks like generosity. What only looks like love.” (Palahniuk, 2012)

Picking a favorite quote or passage from this book was very, very difficult. The whole book was a huge quotation in itself. Ask me again while thumb-screwing my junk after getting OD’d on Viagra, and I would probably still say that picking a favorite quote or passage from this book was very, very difficult. (On a different but somehow related note: Did you know that the song ‘Clockwatching’ [which incidentally is the title of this post] by Jason Mraz talks about jerking off? You didn’t, didn’t you? MIND = BLOWN)

 

Enough with the prologue.

 

This is my Do-It-Yourself (mutherfucker) bookshelf recently installed inside my room.

photo

In my defense, the projected color we asked from our neighborhood hardware store was a Spanish shade of red (Please kindly see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shades_of_red#Spanish_red it really does exist) but ended up with something of a pinkish, fuchsia color. While doing the paint job, we were under the pretense that we had to coat the wood multiple times to acquire the desired results. But as it turned out, it was rather all in vain.

Nevertheless, we carried on. We continued coating the wood with mutherfucking fuchsia pink, evened out the paint from the mutherfucking shelves, let out to mutherfucking dry, cover it when it mutherfucking rains, then carry the heavy mutherfucker inside my room to nail and install.

My whole room reeks of mutherfucking pink fuchsia up to now.

But I look at it every now and then. I look at it before I sleep. I check on it before I pee in the morning. I caress its smooth pink fuchsia spine as if checking whether its back can handle the weight of the books it carries on a daily basis. And every time I pull out a book for perusal, my fingertips straddle over an individual shelf, each individual nerve ending giving off a pulse to my brain. A past memory. This sounds absurd since fingertips and nerve endings are not capable of recall, let alone the ability to snap and store little photographs. But here it is, calloused fingertips that have found comfort in the pink fuchsia bookshelf’s strangeness.

Sometimes the things we create, before we even begin to create them, we set high standards to hurdle. We have this conceited inkling to give off a noticeable nudge to a light push to set our creation onto the right course. We bathe them in the shadows of our past; we feed them the same broken glass promises that we have once chewed and spit. We glorify them with the prejudices that our eyes have mirrored upon to see and focus, and condemn their whole person when they try to create their own path – their own destiny.

But sometimes we compromise. Out of love. Out of compassion. Out of the realization that the mirrors we’ve used to see how righteous we are, only shows backwards anyway.

 

Works Cited:

Bukowski, C. (2011). More Notes of a Dirty Old Man: The Uncollected Columns.
Joaquin, N. (2010). The Woman who had Two Navels.
Palahniuk, C. (2012). Invisible Monsters Remix.

 

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She Way Out

She looked at me with eyes that stirred air so cool
It promised lightning bolts
And thunder in rhythmic strikes of a heartbeat
And the rising of ribcages and falling of sledgehammers
Upon bone and marrow that glows
Red then orange then yellow and white

She looked at me through eyes rising from the ashes
The inferno that engulfs the earth pressed upon her
A falling rib cage seared by scorched earth
Our bones ache only while the flesh is on them

A sudden rush to the head with bones
Borne helplessly flowing in a magnetic flood
I must fight the currents
I must not be dragged to her – but she to I
Like thunder strikes chasing lightning bolts
And the way I don’t see the flashes
but hear the echoes
She looked at me

I drown

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