Dis 21, 2002

Mapagpapasensyahan kaya ako sa pagiging matanong? Kumusta ang panahon ng Kapaskuhan ninyo? Ano ang pinagkakaabalahan ninyo ngayon? Marami bang lakad o pipirmi lamang sa bahay? Magiging masaya kaya? E manigo?

Mawalang-galang na ha? Nangungumusta lang.

Dis 16, 2002


I will not make sense today. I really won't. I will just take a few minutes off this night and hope I can wake up early enough for Simbang Gabi. Early enough or not, I will definitely not keep the kids waiting for their prelims.

I used to do this a lot. I just list down everything I'm thinking of at the moment, related or not. Here it goes then.

No further ado.

Carol. Prof. Dadufalza. Birthdays. Beginnings. Ends. Jol and his mysterious problem. Nathan. Arlyn and Thursday. Angas. Monica will join us on Thursday. Asian Center. Jurgen Habermas. Kantianism. Dr. Serafin Talisayon. Christmas Monitos: Ronnie at the NGO, Norberto at the PTC. Kids. Parents. Blue and his awareness of his own pettiness. Alish and the question of happiness. Pauline and her secret problem. Omar Khayyam and his two classmates: Mulk and Hasan. Mulk became vizier to the sultan while Hasan is the man after whom "assassin" was named after. I wonder how Monica will fare? How is everybody doing right at this moment, 11:20 pm? Will the kids be the better for my classes? Critique of Knowledge. Mystic solution to the problem of evil.

Fitzgerald. Translators. Hasan, Mulk, and Omar made this youthful pact: whoever made his fortune will share it equally with the other two. I wonder if Jol and Nathan would agree to such a vow? Mulk got the fortune. Hasan asked for his share and an office under the sultan. He got both. Later, he would strike back at his benefactors. Mulk would suffer assassination from the progenitor of the word. Omar didn't take his half, only a small pension so that he could concentrate on learning. He would achieve eminence in the sciences. He would also create a unique Persian voice in world poetry.

In the Rubaiyat, we have his conclusion: there is nothing on this world to stand on, only here and now, in this moment we know as today. Tomorrow is unborn and Yesterday is dead, he says. I wonder. Tomorrow is the birthday of two people I know. And earlier today...

I wonder what my own conclusion will be?

Lantern parades. Naked oblations. Must go drinking with an Aussie for funds. Else, no clinic. Must check the kids' journals. And hear their English one more time before I retire for the holidays. Holidays.

Ends. Beginnings. Sense? I promised I won't make any. Will I make it early tomorrow? It's just a few minutes before tomorrow. Happy birthday, to whom it may concern! I wonder how everyone is doing. I look up at everything I wrote. I feel distant. Yet I am no different. Here, for example, I edited some things from this line of thought. So I have my own secret and mysterious things. I look up at my list, so much like the frayed ends of some hideous tapestry made from so many different pieces of cloth. Some pieces have more color, more significance. Others are hidden beneath stitches. Others aren't hidden although they aren't important either.

Nevertheless, they are there. They just are. I look up at the list, from a distance now so that I can see the whole. Maybe I'm hoping to put some unifying sense where there is none.

Oh I see. I am distant but no different. I am now also aware of my own pettiness.

(It will not matter much to you my dear celebrant - yes it's almost your birthday - but my tomorrow's Mass is for you and her. For whatever it's worth. Despite or because of everything, please have the best of the holidays.)

Dis 3, 2002

Morning Jog

"It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul."

From Invictus
William Ernest Henley

I now meet Jol, Monica and Nathan on a more or less weekly basis. I must insert a note before anything else. Notwithstanding seemingly contrary indices in the following entry, I am happy with this situation.

We begin the day with the ritual jog around the UP acad oval. We go round and round, numeric rhythm interspersed with a sweaty exchange of ideology. We had no trumpets, only the vocal instruments we shaped in the heat of this academic forge. One would think we were in Jerico's business of breaking down some wall. There being no such barrier enclosing the acad oval, it may be more logically speculated that we were trying to summon one.

Here we stretch and walk and run, the viridian blades of grass always within the mobile purview. Trees attend us, sentries marking our passage with hidden eyes and deacades-old silence. Their artificial relievers, the lamp posts, seem superfluous. Anyway, the sun is high and they're supposed to be redundant in the morning. Meanwhile, the buildings never seem to change, either in appearance or significance.

The people, with their respective businesses (classes, meetings, trysts, and the like), also seem essentially the same. It's as if nobody left the university though there's not a single familiar face. I see them, still with my mobile line-of-sight, as different bodies inhabiting the same spirits.

The morning birds chirp, almost entirely ignored. I wonder what makes these halting, bursting songs more beautiful than our panting, counting, and verbal abstracting. None of our ideologies ever seem to approximate such expressive abandon and grace. Maybe it's because they are in flight and they know no walls. Maybe because they are taken cared of or they have that feeling.

Here we run, around all greens until we are sure the grass is never really greener anywhere. What I'd give for those birds' point of view! Again and always, the birds. Maybe their song is lovelier because it's not ours.

Here we run. Here at the acad oval, the hollow center of our vanities. I feel renewed everytime I pound my feet on these sidewalks. I don't know why exactly. I wonder if the other students or alumni walking and running in the campus feel as I do. Are we all thus recharged as some Antaeus upon his alma mater Terra?

I must ask too if they run here with some hidden misery. Something - some pain or general exhaustion - from which renewal and recovery is necessary. What makes us go around in circles like this? Maybe we're trying to gain something, some strength, some state. I may never know. It would be telling, really, if we're somehow looking for something. Is this something we lost along the way? It is different when you're trying to get something and when you're trying to get something back. Maybe some of us here are in that search for the left-behind.

What is it? What was left behind? Some strength? Some idea or ideal? Some spirit maybe?

Before we went our separate ways, Jol and Nathan discussed metaphysics. They threw around the "problem of evil" like some ball. Or hardfruit from some Tree. They went on to ethics, fate, free will, responsibility, and such; angels and beasts; man and eternity. At one point, the idea of the five or six-dimensional God arose.

Meanwhile, by either chance or fate, a woolly caterpillar, what we know as the nasty higad, went a-wandering on the back of my neck. Not knowing what was crawling there, I instinctively crushed it. The minute corpse, now enveloped with its yellowish blood, stuck to my hand. Too late. I now freely sport an ugly, livid, four-inch long rash, half-bracing my neck.

All told, I hope we'll all meet again next weekend.

"This whole act's immutably decreed. 'Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled. Fool! I am the Fates' lieutenant; I act under orders."

Captain Ahab unto Starbuck, the First Mate
From Moby-Dick
Herman Melville