Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Remembering You

A ghostly flower blooming and withering,
(or blot) blinking with colors that strain to brightness,
to equal those of what were seen before;
fragments, with the music or plain utterances
attempting to be as loud (or as soft)
as what they really were...

But all in vain.

Blurred and ephemeral. Just for a haunting and fleeting...
Many times an unexpected visitor,
an intruder, inside...

What is complete and constant is that depressing spirit:
Void of form and details, yet lingering, encumbering,
dragging. Punctuated, highlighted,
by the thief that intermittently
gives, curses, and leaves

with a piece.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Prose, Poem, Prostitute

Based on her true story.


I.

She was a minor when the raid happened. Videotaped dancing naked onstage. On national TV news with her soon-to-be-lady parts pixelated along with her face. The raid, led by an international-something agency, was conducted to rescue them and arrest the perpetrators of a major offense. 

Brought with the other victims to a facility of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), she was the most defiant and engaged the department secretary in a shouting match. Innocent and ignorant perhaps of her own exploited innocence and underagedness -- and all its criminal implications and liabilities -- she demanded tearfully for her immediate freedom to work for food as she knew how.

II.

Under the government agency's custody, she -- they -- soon found out she was pregnant with her then-lover's child. They advised her to sue him: statutory rape. She refused; he was her lover.

She threatened abortion, giving them more reason to keep and watch over her.

She seriously considered adoption, till she gave birth and saw the face of her firstborn and decided to keep and raise her baby daughter.

III.

They were protected, trained in livelihood skills, and rehabilitated.

Upon her release, she soon found out that he was immigrating somewhere to North America.

Upon her release, she worked at various odd jobs, barely supporting herself and her daughter (whom she sent off to live with her family somewhere in Southern Philippines).

Months after her release, she was back in the oldest profession. Anyway, she would soon be of major age.

IV.

She prefers it here in a provincial city, where the bar owner gives her, them, the option to refuse takeout service. She prefers it here in a provincial city, unlike in Metro Manila where the bar owners compel her, them, to render takeout service. (Who knows what lurking monster or monsters will end up with her, alone in a secret den.)

She worked in one of the classier and higher paying joints in the big city, though. But she wouldn't go back there as it is humiliating: It is always assumed that those who left that high-end brothel "successfully" married their rich customers, or "progressed" into kept women. 

V.

She tried her hand in swine raising, in her home city, but found it difficult to earn only every three months, when the hogs are grown and ready for sale. (She had, and has, full-grown pigs for company every night. One of which was 66 years old, and it just didn't stand a chance.)

VI.

Her breasts and nipples caressed, to check if they've grown numb after all the hands and tongues that have lain on them. Each tip pinched hard, and she whimpered each time. She said she'd kiss only when drunk, but obliged and her kisses were sweet enough pre-drunk. Twenty-four years old and still beautiful. She wants out before she reaches and looks 30, when demand in their industry slows down inevitably, significantly.

Back in Metro Manila, the DSWD gathered homeless street dwellers off the streets; among them where the apartment she rented, stood. And she had opened her gate to a fleeing mother and child, every time, to spare them from measly meals served at the government facility. 

VII.

There are months when she could afford a vacation, and lives in her home city with her mother and now six-year-old daughter. There she mostly stays at home, in plain shirt and pants. There in their poor neighborhood, she knows women who are regularly fetched by the mayor's aides. She refuses to be one of them.

She doesn't want her daughter to think that she's that kind of woman.

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This work is republished at Pacifiqa as a photo essay (with beautiful photos!), and retitled as She doesn't want her daughter to think she's that kind of woman.

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This blog is sponsored by Limitado
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Alternative Father's Day Greeting

It's a fallen world...Happy Father's Day to all fathers who are fathers to ALL their children. (When we don't mind that a supposedly simple trip to the park is perceived as a shameless display of sinfulness.)


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This blog is sponsored by Limitado
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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Going to the First Day of a Comrade's Wake

for Wowie Dizon

Maybe he was my friend, but more of an acquaintance (considering our "considerable distance," 
to be inexact).

Twenty stab wounds all over his body, shards of Red Horse beer bottle punctuate
the head wound, gaping and looking for answers (and, perhaps, justice).

Little Wowie did everything: organizing unions, making placards, flags, bearing them,
dancing with them...

Little Wowie was everywhere: factories, workers' meetings, rallies, press conferences, 
celebrations, wakes...

There are theories on why there is poverty in this country, and in the whole world,
and theories arose on the death of Little Wowie, blood-drenched in the garage
Monday morning.

The movement keeps moving, empowered by its dedicated cadres;
the movement will keep moving sans one dedicated cadre.

(Pretentious of me to call him, "comrade." Having left the movement a long time ago. 
Lacking the dedication and perseverance of the recently departed. At least I'll pay my last respects.)


(Photo courtesy of Jones Guimo.)

Note: To think that I met him on the street parallel ours only about a week ago...In the news (Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 17, 2015): Caretaker killed in NGO office robbery

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wrestling: Fireman's Carry

My major, major mental flub: For our last drills at the end of our wrestling session last Friday morn (at SPRAWL-MMA Cubao, QC), for our carry-your-partner-and-run drill, I eagerly demonstrated to Sir Edwin how to do a fireman's carry...forgetting that he is a veteran fireman -- and an officer at that! (I think I should've been the one to ask him how they do it, haha!) :-) 

For the drill:

...and the throw!:


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Monday, June 8, 2015

Wrestling and My Wedding Ring

As a wrestler, I always take off jewelries prior to training on the mat. And that includes my wedding ring. But lately, I've been having a hard time removing my wedding ring; I practically have to wring it off my finger. I must be getting fat. Or, maybe my wife tightens it around my finger when I sleep. (With...pliers?). 

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

NBA and Wonder Woman

So this 2015 NBA Finals is turning out to be one of the most tightly-contested championships ever! (It's tied at one win apiece. And it's the first time in league history that both first two finals games ran into overtime!)

Having said that, the truth is, when I was in second grade, I hated the NBA, which game replays were shown on Philippine TV at night. My father enjoyed watching it, and would switch the channel to its telecast when I was watching something, or someone, more wonderful: Wonder Woman.

The NBA and Wonder Woman were shown almost exactly the same time. So while I ogled at Lynda Blair's whistle-bait figure (and those eyes!), my killjoy father would change the channel to watch men...

Now, thanks to YouTube, I can watch her again and again anytime I want. And thanks, too, to cable TV; now I get to watch the NBA, especially this year's finals, live! (Things, indeed, come around.)



(So I was in second grade, and our school bus served elementary and high school students of the three Katipunan ave. QC schools: UPIS, Maryknoll (now Miriam), and Ateneo. The elder girls in the bus used to play with me, and passed me around, one lap to the other. And even then, at seven to eight years old, I was already having a good time.)

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Reality TV Realities: "Judges"

With text voting, we should stop calling judges, judges. Call them, ah, facilitators, opinion makers, commentators, front seat ticket holders, etc. -- but not judges! 

Ahahay talaga ang buhay ng ating mga telecommunications companies at television stations! #raket


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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Action Painting

Artists meet at center:
Knuckles, elbows, knees;
Forehead, eyebrows, cheeks;
Draw, drip, sprinkle
Red on canvas.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

My Sad, Early Encounter with Poetry (or Why I Didn't Get That Bike)

I was in third grade in UPIS, school year 1983-'84. For homework, our English teacher had us rewrite, verbatim, a poem* from our textbook on a sheet of paper, and draw around the handwritten text our visual interpretation of it. The following morning, before going to school, my mother saw me put the finishing touches on my project. And we had the following conversation:
Mother: Did you do this?! (What she really meant was, "Did you write this poem?!")
Me: Yes, Ma! (I meant, "I did all this stuff: the verbatim rewriting of the poem and all the drawings.")
Mother: I'm so proud of you! I'm gonna buy you a bike, etc...!
And so my proud mother went to work, and I went to school with the nagging feeling that we meant things differently and I'm not gonna get that bike.
Evening came, and she asked me again (and as I recall, she was more specific), "Did you really write that?" And I replied (and was likewise more specific), "I did the drawings, Ma." And my mother went, "Oh..."
But that was three decades ago, and everything's fine now between me and my mom (and my writing, which I still sometimes ask her to edit -- in lieu of the bike). tongue emoticon
*Forgot exactly what poem it was, except that it had three stanzas: the first began with "Past...," the second "Present...," and the last with "Future..." And it was part of our Man and Technology module. Anyway...

Note: This article, now with small revisions, I posted originally in a thread of the wonderful (and recently-finished) 2015 How Writers Write Poetry MOOC offered by The University of Iowa. 

(The Quezon City Memorial Circle, where my childhood friends used to bike...without me. Photo by Niko Cruz, from Yssabela Cordero's Magagandang Pasyalan blog.)

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