A comeback story

Somewhere along the way you’ll get hurt.
Broken promises.
Failed relationships.
Frustrations from all angles.
To face these is inevitable.
But take heart.
What’s life if we get everything we want
and prayed for at the moment we
expected them to greet us?
Where’s excitement in not challenging
our limitations and weaknesses?
We’ve all questioned everything at one
point in our lives – our decisions,
our gifts, our value as a person.
But look at the one gazing at you from
the future – the stronger you.
You’ve gone through this before;
you can do it again.
Meaning breathes from tales of triumphs
and overcoming of odds.
Be a comeback story.

The Protest

It’s perfectly legal to get angry, to raise your clenched fist, to shout and to have your thoughts made known to those holding the highest positions in the government. With everything that’s going on, it is a natural reaction, a civilized attempt to express. But it’s scarier I believe if the voices of those who care have been shut, the doors and windows to understanding closed, and hope gone. I wonder if the Philippines will one day wake up on an atmosphere of pure hate, hurt, and heresy. Yes, I still wonder because at 4 A.M. my mind wanted to believe that we can get over these humps. I hope that fear will never triumph against the truth… I hope.

Madness

Challenge me in ways that I’ve
never been challenged
before

Show me things – grand and minute,
subtle and bold, and let’s get drunk
on each other’s fascinations

Let’s not be mediocre, forever
threading what the men and women
before us built for themselves

Be mad at me, really mad,
to the extreme extent not
brought by hatred but
of love

Love me, show me, tell
me every day, every
hour, every time
the sun’s rays
visit your lips

Stay while the storm
displays its wrath, the
noise around us, all the doubts –
be with me still

For you’re my hiding place,
my refuge, the light in
a world that has gone crazy –
sit next to me.

Mirror

SOMEDAY, YOU’LL forget about him. You’ll forget about how he made you laugh, yes, even how he made you feel special and appreciated; how he encouraged you to reach your dreams; how he dared you to challenge your own standards and principles; how days seemed to pass by faster than how they should be; how each morning greeted you with hope that you’ll wake up next to him. Someday, all that will be left of him in your memory is the hurt he caused, the sadness he inflicted on you for days or weeks or months, and that moment when you looked at the mirror and saw yourself small. You doubted yourself because of him. But choose to forgive for the future – your future.

Time will pass by and you may forget some details. But he never will – both the smile and the sorrow.

The Rain

He’s the rain thundering
your entire
rooftop

The tiny drop gently
sliding down
your window

He escapes from the glow
coming out of
your lamp

A sensation, a warmth as you
press your fingertips on
the glass

He’s clinging into
it, holding on a
little longer

Losing grasp,
he leaves
quietly.

Resistance

Peace will smile at her someday and she’ll try to resist how she feels. But she’ll smile back anyway.

‘Consistency’ not ‘Intensity’

IF YOU know deep within you that you love someone, don’t settle for anybody else. Don’t call or text or entertain those who express their intent to know you, to be with you. Don’t waste time and energy by giving others hope for your affection. Be courageous enough to tell them how you feel. Choose the one that you love despite all the mysteries, the uncertainties. Be loyal, sincere, and faithful even if all that’s in between you is silence. Relationships, the genuine ones, do not exist because of intensity. They don’t happen overnight or by pouring all the emotions in one sitting. They come into being through consistency. To be willing to listen, to give in, and to put the other person first; to be committed all the time. And nothing is more satisfying than being stared at by someone you waited for because you did not settle with all the tempting, enticing, and riveting roadblocks along the way.

Fire and Water

He’s fire.
She’s water.
When she tries to be with him, pieces of her turn into vapors. The wind takes them away; they are nowhere to be found. But she craves to be consumed. To sense his warmth. To forget for a moment the cold feeling inside. To decide on her own. Because only then, she’s reminded on how to be alive. She’s still searching for the missing pieces. Yes, up to this day to feel his touch all over again. And he’s waiting for her.

So you want to be a writer?

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.

if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

– Charles Bukowski, 1920-1994

Epitaph on a Tyrant

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

– W. H. Auden, January 1939

12. Discovering that you are a creator, an artist

“Fail. Stand up. Discover the creator, the artist in you even if sometimes it’s scary.”

IF YOU see yourself as a creative, do not give up. If you believe that you are an artist, embrace and nurture your craft. If you think that every cell of your body directs you to do more, to work on your passion, to reach the farthest limits of your imagination, try. And if an idea pops up in your head out nowhere, while you’re brushing your teeth, while taking a bath, while pouring tomato sauce on your plate to make your special dish, while walking, jogging, or sprinting, while waiting for the one that you love in a cafe, Japanese restaurant, or on a bench somewhere, while reading a book, or while riding a bicycle, a car, or a seesaw in a park, listen.

The world is filled with people who call themselves artists and poets and writers but do not know when to listen and be brave enough to spend their time to give their art its own form, life, and space. They do not want to feed themselves with new perspectives. Everyone is born a creator but not all of us are courageous enough to face its inexplicable faces, its inescapable enigma.

Fail. Stand up. Discover the creator, the artist in you even if sometimes it’s scary. I know because it frightened me to write this.

But we both know that there’s no other way.

Sa ating dalawa

umuulan…
nasaan…?

ilang tula na rin ang naialay at naisulat
habang sa isipan ngiti mo’y nagmumulat
kung anong sunod na sasabihin at
bibigyang-buhay

ilang beses nang pinilas ang mga pahina
ng kuwaderno na minsan mong hinalikan
nang mabasa ang pangalan na, oo, sa
nakalipas na panahon ay walang
sawang binigyang-kulay

ginamit ang mga titik upang malaman
ang umpisa at malirip ang mga kalaliman
ng pagsinta na nagliyab sa pagasa nang
isang beses ay pinigilang umalis sa harapan –
“Nandito ako…”

ang sabi mo noon, ngunit narito hanggang
ngayo’y naaalala ang mga pangako ng pagiisang
dibdib, ang paghamak sa mga yugto ng
nakaraan na itinuring na walang
puwang kahit anino

ng namamagitan sa atin, ngunit hindi…

isang araw sinabi mong babalikan mo siya
at aasa ng magisa sa pagtanggap niya,
sa yakap niya, sa muli niyang paghagkan,
sa tinig na noong una’y kinamuhian mo’t
pilit binura sa isipan, nang
tuluyang kumawala

at heto, muli, ako’y binabati ng mga patak ng
ulan, tinatanong kung nasaan ka, kung
anong nangyari sa ating dalawa
at kung paano wawakasan sa
huling titik ng ‘yong
pangalan

aasa…

Bago pa man

Nahumaling bago pa man nalaman ang pangalan,
Bago nginitian nang magkasalubong sa daan,
Noong wala pang ibang kakilala o kaibigan,
Bago pinisan ang mga bituin sa kalangitan.

Sasamahan kita

sasamahan kita sa unang taglamig sa ibang bayan, sa pagngiti nang sa wakas gapusin ng iyong kamay ang mga unang patak ng niyebe mula sa kalangitan

sasamahan kita sa mga paglalakbay, sa mga bundok, burol, ‘di kilalang daan, mga bagong bagay, tao, at pambihirang karanasan

sasamahan kita sa iyong mga pagtangis, sa mga pangamba, sa pag-abot sa mga bituin, sa paghiling sa mga bulalakaw, at sa bawat pagyapak ng iyong mga paa sa dalampasigan

sasamahan kita sa pagyakap ng ulan sa mga lansangan, sa pagsaksi sa lagablab ng araw sa umaga, at sa dahan-dahang paghalik ng dilim sa pisngi ng dagat

hayaan mong samahan kita.

Dear Boy who’s named after Superman

Dear Boy who’s named after Superman,

From the moment
We laid our eyes on you
We imagined the great things
We’ll do together and we
Knew something was real:

You got us with your smile, Kent.

Every time we held you
Your warmth ruled us with
Pure, unpretentious love
A feeling that God has
Reserved for us.

You travelled with us, talked to us
In a language that at first we
Couldn’t understand
But the joy in between us
Bridged the gap.

We were given two years to enjoy
Each other’s company
It was a short time
We will surely miss you.

We’ll miss how you stare at us
How you tried to mimic how we speak
How you embraced us with
Your soft, tiny arms
How we held hands when
You had your first walk.

We’ll miss how an icing
Covered your face on
Your birthday and your
Dimples made our day.

We’ll miss your sincerity
Your voice, your peace
Your laughter in times of
Chaos and celebration.

We’ll remember you for all these
For the adventures that
We shared together.

And everyday we thank God
For meeting you
For witnessing your
Extraordinary journey.

You will always be our Superman
Our little boy with an imaginary
Cape made from heaven.

Love you always,
Your family

Fallin’

On this day, he gave her a flower as one should,

With a poem unlike no other because he could,

She loved its scent like a lively butterfly in a garden,

And in a sea of strangers, she whispered, “I’m fallin’.”

Ulan, Tren, at Gabi

Naramdaman mo ba ‘yung hangin, tila malamig?

Parang may sinasabi, sa una’y malabo ang himig,

Ngunit habang tumatagal, lumilinaw, nauunawa,

Hindi ko alam kung dahil sa ulan, o dala ng awa.

  

Napansin mo ba na tuwing gabi, madalas,

Naglalakbay ang diwa, hindi mo namamalas,

Gaya ng ibon sa himpapawid, isip mo’y laya,

Nagbabago kang bigla, nagiging makata. 

 

Noo’y iniisip ko, lahat ng tao ganito,

Ngunit nagunita na mali ang akala ko,

Hindi lahat may ganitong pagkakataon,

Ang ila’y nagsasabi na walang kabuluhan, dapat itapon.

  

Pinilit kong itago ang pag-ibig sa letra at salita,

Dahil ang inhinyero, sabi nila, ay marapat na hilig ay agham at matematika,

Hindi ba’t marami pang higit sa numero?

O dahil makitid ang daluyan ng dugo sa kanilang ulo?

 

Magsulat ka hanggang kaya mo,

Gaya ng ginawa ni Rizal para sa’yo,

Hindi siya nagpapigil sa armas ng kalaban,

Dala niya’y may kapangyarihang humiwa, tagos kalamnan.

 

Naramdaman mo ba ‘yung hangin, tila may ibinubulong?

Sa tuwina na lang habang nasa tren, jeep o naghihintay sa kakanlong?

May mga namumuong ideya, pangungusap, kumakatok, naghahanap ng masisilungan,

Mapalad ka, kasapi sa lahing tagapag-ingat ng kanilang pahingahan.