Thursday, February 18, 2016

There was a girl...

Ahh...this is my English translation of a Tagalog translation of a text originally written in English. (Get it?) Well, this morn I was reading this book and was profoundly touched by this certain passage of a text written in Tagalog, and ended up rereading and translating the words into English in my mind. I was so impassioned that I decided to write down my translation, as my preoccupation this first half of my day. So I finished my arguably-best effort in translating this gem, only to find out later, upon reading the editors' introduction, that my source text, a brief Tagalog -- yes, I'll declare it -- masterpiece, was originally written in English after all! The text is the last literary piece of the book. So next time, I'll read everything from first page to last. 

The passage, a childhood recollection during China's Cultural Revolution, is from the late poet and painter Maningning Miclat's brief memoir, "Pampinid na Salita," pages 89 - 99 of Beauty for Ashes: Remembering Maningning, from Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2001. ("Pampinid..." is the Tagalog translation, by her father Mario Miclat, of "Postscript," from Voice from the Underworld, also from Anvil, 2000.) 

It would be wonderful to read "Pampinid..." and its original text "Postscript," to contextualize and further appreciate the late artist's words (so please check out the links above). As for me, I have yet to read the latter, but I will. And I'm certain it's more beautiful than my humble translation.

And now, my tribute to Maningning: my rather impulsive yet very inspired labor of love this morning of February 19, 2016:

There was one young girl who was older than us and whom we treated as our elder sister. She was neat and clean in her appearance, she was beautiful, with round eyes. She was already studying, and this fact she boasted to us as we had not yet learned to read and write. At night, she would cry herself to sleep; she whined in a low and soft voice, and walked back and forth across our lodging rooms. After a few hours, she'd be sleeping on the floor. Her aunt would pick her up and carry her to her room. When she awoke and remembered that she had been crying, she would resume her weeping. But, sometimes, she forgot; she'd eat, wash her face, and when she suddenly remembered, would cry again and walk.
We younger children were amused to witness her endurance. But the adults told us not to be like her who was always sad, blaming her parents who left her to organize a movement and write political analyses and guerilla poems. She was like a conductor of her own orchestra, beating to the symphony of her sadness. Her crying was like a song. I would doze to sleep listening to her; in my mind, I'd start crying if she stopped crying. But I remained free as every child should be.

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Note: I only have one memory of Maningning, it was (I believe) midmorning of 1993 at the lobby of the College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines - Diliman. She was standing still, brown, beautiful, looking at something, or someone...  

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

It's all relative

It need not be malevolent hands upon your neck
or the confines of a barrel: 

This dawn, I witnessed dew on leaf
gasping, trembling in its newness.

Then, the winding river slackened its current
and moaned, pleaded, to overcast sky
for more clearings, more hues of blue,
to breathe, to sigh... 

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Perfect Night

One night, I'll run out of this house "starving hysterical naked,"
screaming into the middle of the street,
oblivious of the fast-approaching headlights,
get bumped by a speeding car,

but will survive
                       
                          but will suffer amnesia,

and get hospitalized without a memory
of everything that hit the fan.

And everything will be alright, until remembrance.

(You watch enough TV, them shows that matter,
and you know this happens and could --
every time.)

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Metro Manila Miasma

"I am here to propose a legend that says the city was once / a tribe of children / humming around in a circle / with embers at the center and cold hunger / for a story." - Ned Parfan

I, we, thrive within the Petri dish defined by your jagged boundaries, binding sixteen cities and a developing duck embryo, officially, squared by three suspended railroads plus the most ancient on soil, you are defined and simplified by two to three words and not much else, and undefined and unraveled by a million spectacles and cuss word puzzles. Tabloid fodder factory you are, and we line up for news about ourselves and the more suffering, or dead, victims among us. And I, we, your weary children: indifferent, passive, as our lungs fill up with your pneumatic smog, with barely a sniff, plow like the diminishing, extinct-bound carabaos (and trivia: sprawled inside Krus na Ligas, is the only functional rice field within you, which your steeled and cemented self may have forgotten.) 

Your redemption lies buried in one of your landfills, perhaps among the one hundred and fifty buried in Payatas, or underneath a garbage pile on one of your feces-strewn sidewalks. Your chalice of salvation dumped in a junkyard somewhere or sunk on a bed of your polluted rivers. In futile search of your desaparecidos, there are uncanny moments when incense mingles with the unified cry of your orphans, add to that those of the casualties of the recent Kentex conflagration (among others).

May all your churches, temples, buildings of worship, of whatever religion, serve as your thumbtacks, iron nails, staples, keeping you stuck to this earth, in place, that you wouldn't tremble too much in case of a violent tremor. We got, gathered, guts grinding from your gutters. And the (arguably) richest of your fiefdoms dreams of a tower that will be third tallest in the world (and soon fourth, fifth, sixth, and ad nauseam, as vanity of edifice complex goes). Indeed, you host these parasitic turfs that are no different from you: cabal of fools making fools of what they really are: 

fools. 


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Happy New Year, everyone! 

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Plath and Bukowski

I have Sylvia Plath's "Collected Poems" and Charles Bukowski's "You Get So Alone..."

The former borrowed from my sister a year ago, and since I've no plan of returning it, it's mine.
(Anyway she just lives in the next building and may borrow it anytime.)

The latter I bought from National Bookstore a month or two ago --
with money my wife thought better (and more humanely) spent for our little daughter's milk.

(One afternoon I found them lying on top of the other on top of our plastic bedroom drawer.)

I believe reading them both is good for my, ah, "poetic education"

and mental health. 

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Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, everyone! 

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Friday, December 25, 2015

Ham

Mother got pissed when she caught me
slicing ham with butter knife.

I said, It got it done. Just let me eat.
And quit the utensil profiling.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Gi Gold!

Quotation from T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock":
"I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled."
But I'm still good enough for gold. wink emoticon
(...and one bronze medal in the white-blue belt 85 kg. and absolute divisions, respectively, of the 1st Philippine Brazilian Jiu-jitsu open, held earlier today at the SM Mall of Asia.)
I'm practically a no gi grappling guy: Last time I competed wearing a gi was way back in 2005, in the first ever Pan-Asian International BJJ Competition, where I also won gold in the white belt division. And after 10 years, and with barely a total of two months of training with a gi in-between (including the very few times I trained with the UP Judo Team around 2005), I'm definitely very happy with today's results -- first time competing as a blue belt. smile emoticon
Thanks to all my teammates and athletes in SPRAWL and Kamphuis-Fabricio BJJ, also to Maestro Afonso Cego for the luta livre lessons. 


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