Abr 24, 2004

May bago akong set ng colored pencils at sketch pad. May pantasa pa kamo. Nadala ko pala sa Los Banos lahat ng materyales ko; natripan kong magdala sa Baguio, baka sakaling sumakit ang aking ulo duon.

Matagal na rin akong hindi nakakahawak ng colored pencil. Nagkakasya na ako sa lapis, sign pen, at bolpen na pula. Iyong pulang panda na mabango na nagtatae ang paborito ko. Kapag maluwag ang iskedyul, nakakapagpastel o techpen drowing. Pero hindi ako kagalingan. Napagkamalan ngang Fidel Ramos iyong Sartre ko. Pareho kasing nananabako? Ewan. May Rizal ako na kakaiba kapag tinitigan. Iminodelo ko kasi sa mga unang portrait kay Mao, wehehe.

Diyan talaga ako walang disiplina, sa pagdidibuho. Kapag tinopak ako, gagawin ko. Kapag hindi, kahit pa libo-libong komisyon, hindi ko magagawa. Siguro nakasanayan ko na lang kasi na duon itambak ang lahat ng mga sakit ng ulo ko. Nagdodrowing ako kapag inaatake ako ng migraine. Art therapy. Minsan kasi, kahit sumisirko-sirko na ang demonyo sa loob ng bungo, hindi ko pa rin trip uminom ng gamot. Dati, dinadaan ko sa tulog. Umiinom lang ako ng gamot kapag may dapat akong gawin at dapat madaliin ang migraine. Ngunit kadalasan, binubuno ko talaga ang demonyo kaysa maging dependente sa parmasya. Paborito kong teknik ang pagsakit ng ulo. Isang magandang komplementong nakuha ko nuong may tumitingin sa mga dibuho ko at sinabi ko ang aking kwento: Sana maging mas madalas ang migraine mo. Para magawa kong Mao ang lahat ng Rizal at Ramos ang lahat ng Sartre?

May colored pencil ako, nasabi ko na. Gusto ko ring patulan sana iyong Aquarelle ba iyon? Water-soluble na colored pen. Bale parang watercolor na ginawang solidong lapis. Marami na akong naiisip na posibilidad kasama ang isang basong tubig at yung mga bulak na nirorolyo sa posporo para sa tutuli. Pero balik muna sa mga beysik ang ating drama.

Kadalasan naman sa colored pencil, isa hanggang dalawang kulay lamang ang gamit ko. Mas natutuwa lang ako. Sa pastel ko lang talaga gustong gawin kapag full-color. Dati sa watercolor, pero mahabang istorya.

O ayan, isang walang saysay na post na naman, katulad ng lahat ng nakasanayan na sa akin. Bakit kaya? Ayaw ko pa kasing buksan ang bagong set. Sabi ko, sa Baguio ko na sila bubuksan, sa Linggo, para maseremonya. Kaso heto, naunahan na sila ng sakit ng ulo.

Abr 14, 2004

I talked with M. Salmon about his system concerning women; I urged him to publish it. He said no, but I believe he has made up his mind and the book is possibly already written. He holds that the Italian woman is the primitive woman; by modifying her in various ways, you get the French woman, the German woman, etc. He believes only in the virtues of temperament. He believes that the woman's whole character consists of an insatiable desire to please, and that it's consequently impossible to overpraise them. He's seen miracles wrought by praise. A woman said of a man whose face was almost hideous, 'What a monster! He's an eyesore.' The monster praised her, succeeded in pleasing her and ended by sleeping with her.

Diary entry
April 14, 1804

I've been reading through my books. I oughtn't write any more. I think in this respect, I've done all I could. But I want to, I terribly want to.

Leo Tolstoy
Diary entry
April 14, 1910

Dove's Cry

[Around noon; registration period for summer classes; the two walk on the way to Anthropology library from the Faculty Center, UP Diliman. D- just met a friend and exchanged a few words.]

Gabriela: What was that all about? Why didn't you introduce me?

D: Oh, he's U- he's in some snag. I guess I thought he's in a rush or something bad's happened. See, he's shifting and I don't know, maybe it's just a foul-up--

G: So, why didn't you introduce me?

D: He might not be in a good place right n-- Hmmm. Okay, I'm not used to introducing you anymore.

G: Fair. [smiles mockingly] At least you're used to answering straight again. Where did we leave off? We were on the The Treatise Formerly Known as the Prince.

D:I just finished it; I realized I've only read the abridged version and some excerpts here and there. Found a Penguin copy at Booksale, P45. Happy boy. [grins stupidly] There's this part there you won't like, Machiavellian though you are.

G: That is?

D: Old Nick compares fortune to women, you know, lady luck and all. He says the prince, if forced to choose between being careful or hotheaded, must be hotheaded (I the word used was impetuous) because (I'm freely paraphrasing here) fortune, like a woman, well - if you want it to be of any good to you - you oughtta beat it up.

G: Men.

D: Renaissance men.

G: Geez! Men! Then, now. Should I give you the statistics? The calls we get at the office? The battered wives who return only to call again. Those fucking husbands. And the women: screwed up bodies and brains. Well yeah, progress: at least someone can't just get away with comments like that these days.

D: Now that you mentioned it, how's work?

G: Good, I guess. Not that I care to give you details. I know you've marked me.

D: [grins stupidly] Hehe. Well you marked me first! I remember that class we took, nine of us and you were always sleeping. Right smack in front of Prof. F-. I still wonder how you get away with it. Charm? And I thought you slept during my report when I ran something Bourdieu said about the topography of classes. I said it looked a lot different from Sison's pyramid. Then I got a verbal beating from nowhere. Such eloquence. Were you ever asleep?

G: Sun Tzu said, when awake, feign stupor.

[Enter Anthropology Library, greet the graduate student in charge, R-, and continue speaking loudly because no one's there and R- will be happy to be entertained.].

D: I've been meaning to ask you why you still write - I mean - even after college.

G: That's a trick question! [laughs] Tell me about what you've been doing first. I still don't know if I want to answer that one.

D: Reading, mostly. Finished Les Faits before Il Principe. The first autobiography of Althusser, the one before he strangled his wife. Been reading in long stretches. My phone keeps failing and my brother keeps using it so that's one distraction down. The TV's still a problem, but I've learned to keep off that too. Really, books. Pages and pages of them. What else? Oh, computer.

G: Friendster?

D: More on blogging (the damn unit keeps on crashing!); I'm at the same old page: bopis, dekarabaw. Read lately?

G: Around Christmas, New Year--

D: Valentine's? [grins stupidly]

G: No, field work, [smiles mockingly] didn't I tell you? Sorsogon.

D: So what do you think?

G: About what? Won't tell you squat on Sorsogon; but your journal sucks. Why can't you keep a diary like everyone else? Sometimes your prose is just so artsy.

D: Fartsy?

G: Yeah it stinks. You've written anything new? Anything about me?

D: Well, I'm working on it.

G: What name will you use? (You and your stupid codenames.)

D: You'll like it. Named you after your org. You know, your 'patroness'. [laughs] Well, I still can't get over your Gabriela's Kris STD stand. Crafty. Had anything to do with that?

G: Hell no! I just read about it in the papers myself. That was like a year ago huh? After the mutiny. No Jose Pidal, incredible hunk thing? Geez man! My, to think I've been working at this for three years.

D: That brings me back to my question. [grins stupidly] Writing? It's not part of your work; it's been three years; why do you still write fiction?

G: If it were another person asking, I'd take that as an insult, like: 'Why do you insist?' Well, D-, since you're always so polite and so hesitant to state the obvious - that my subjects and verbs never agree, and none of my stories are worth diddly squat - I'll trust the sincerity of the question. (It won't take Heisenberg to figure out that you're in one of those why-write soul-searching monthly periods.)

D: Okay, so I'm sincere. I know how much time you spend on your pieces; I grow tired just thinking of your daily schedule. So why write? Where's the energy coming from? (Those eyebags of yours.)

G: From her. I insist on writing because I have to write to her.

D: Her? Her who?

G: Her. The product of dialectic. The woman to come. Next wave, next generation. What we've all been dreaming and working for - the better woman.

D: Eh?

G: She who is to come like lightning from the black clouds [laughs]! I am the dark cloud. These things I write may be ugly but they are necessarily (inescapably?) so. See, if this woman-to-come will communicate perfectly, she must be shown what imperfect articulation is, what it costs. The human cost of ecriture.

D: What makes you think this uberfemme will care about the human cost?

G: Well, so what? Maybe she won't. At least she'll get the receipt.

D: That ain't pretty, Gabby--

G: Well, so? Neither am I.

D: Liar. [grins stupidly]

Abr 13, 2004

Yesterday must've been perfect for me to feel like this. Good morning.

Abr 9, 2004

Cormillier called yesterday morning, and I was telling him about a good early picture by Tissot that Ullman bought for 200 francs. He said that a long time ago Tissot had a mistress, with whom he had continued relations for a considerable period. He decided to break the liaison, and he wrote one letter to his mistress, giving her the gentlest possible hint that the affair must ultimately come to an end, and another to an intimate friend, saying brutally that he was sick of the whole thing and wanted to marry. He mixed the letters up, and the mistress received the wrong one. She committed suicide. Tissot was deeply affected, regarded himself as her murderer, and became devot. This was really the origin of his journeys to Palestine, the ruin of his art.

Arnold Bennett
Diary entry
April 9, 1905

Degas Pastels

What's the problem? You guys never really saw the same stuff, did you? I mean, you use the rear-view mirror; he, the side mirror. You look at the whipped cream on your chocolate; he, the smoke from the other table's cigarettes. You check his shoulders for dandruff; he, your rear for stains.

He sees the volcano; you, the lake. He, the sunset; you, his face watching the sunset. He, the medical bills; you, the bloody phlegm from where your rib caved in.

You found Emile Zola; he, Nana. You unearthed your high school time capsule; he, the history of your prom date. You search for his eyes; he, his reflection in yours.

Once you told me to stop texting "i love u" and then send to many. I said that that better not be advice; my phone does not have that function. I don't have that function. you laughed because it wasn't advice; it was a joke. I said that you better not expect me to laugh. I still did.

We never really saw eye to eye on most things. I didn't assume we would that time either. Still, you never me thought I'd hold back did you? So, as usual, I asked my leading question: You guys never really saw the same stuff, did you?

A month or so ago, I chanced upon the two of you - the couple - in that gallery of fine enough copies. You didn't notice me. You looked at the cracks in the pastels of Degas; you almost traced them with your finger, where the viridians met the flesh. He fiddled away on his cellphone. That model had the function you thought mine had. I went home because, well, who really goes to galleries alone?

Last week, you said that you'll tell me something come Friday. I said that it better be good.

Abr 8, 2004

Hope is bad for a happy man and good for an unhappy one. Although I have gained a lot since I began to study myself, I am still very much dissatisfied with myself. The more progress you make in self-improvement, the more you see the faults in yourself, and Socrates rightly said that the highest state of man's perfection is the knowledge that he knows nothing.

Leo Tolstoy
Diary entry
6 am, April 8, 1847

Mrs. Salguero's Proportions

That was some mean talking, wasn't it?

I'll write about you here and do the anthropologically ethical thing of holding back your name. Two reasons. First, I'm teaching community development, and I'm in the habit of hiding names. Second, I've long since resigned myself to the fact that we are never our true names. I understand you have the same understanding; you used to say it with flair though. You said Jesus was never Emanuel and Emanuel was never Jesus. Christ! You weren't ever messiah, girl; not in my book. I hope you've long resigned yourself to that fact.

Let's call you Mrs. Salguero after my grade four math teacher. You'll find that a rather flattering association: she's pretty. You know, cropped hair, the boy's cut thing that everybody thought heightened femininity then (yours fell between your shoulder blades, but my 'then' was a long time ago anyway). Her nose and lips were quite distinctive: I remember Pinky Amador by it, and by Pinky Amador, I remember her. Meanwhile, I recall you by Dawn Zulueta when she had longer hair and a smaller neck.

Why should I need to call you - rose that you are - by another name? For one, I think I still can't call you Ma'am. You didn't approve then and, maybe, you still didn't.

Mrs. Salguero will fit you. She taught me math. You taught me beauty in math. Or the mathematical beauty of nature. The Salguero I name you after taught me none of those things, just plain, boring elementary math. That's all. Well, let's see. So the association was partly because of the appearance. You're pretty of course, but, strictly (okay?) that's beside the point.

Anyway, Mrs. Salguero, you called me up from Australia yesterday. You asked if I remembered Fibonacci numbers and spirals and how these formed the natural logic of shells, flowers, and pine cones. Even, they say, the proportions of the perfect face. Of course, the golden ratio! The elusive Phi. "You know," I said, "some claim that those writers who wrote with unexplainable magic - I mean despite obvious errors - mastered and used the numbers of Fibonacci. According to the rumors the errors were actually compromises to remain faithful to the golden ratio." "Really?" you asked. "Yes, dear, and that explains the Homeric nods and Shakespeare's mixed metaphors." "Really?" you asked.

"No, I made it up. Homer existed long before Fibonacci-" "But," you said "nature existed before us all. He just found the formula but the formula existed before him. It's nature, see? The poets must've found a way to it, intuitively or something. They're different from the stock we have now - you included, you ass - who write with their noses on desks and aseptic keyboards. I mean, they walked the earth! They had their ears to the ground."

"Like Mohicans, you mean?" I asked.

"Or Aragorn," you said.

The conversation drifted to other topics as conversations often do: Legolas, the legalism and Great Wall of Shihuang-Di, my poems, how dilettantes could not be poets, the fate of your other students (if I knew, I told you, if I didn't, we made it up), your crushes, Viggo Mortensen. I said Cate Blanchett at some point, though I didn't mean to say I liked her or something. I asked about Mr. Salguero and you mentioned a nice Venetian river ride and champagne and there was a sigh there somewhere that - for the life of me - I could not understand. Somehow, from the sigh you got to talking about Buddha. I said I recall a year or so ago, when we drank at your place in Bulacan and you thought a bonfire would be nice. You brought out nine Buddhist books by various venerables and masters and committed them to the flames of Hume.

"You remember that?" you asked. "How could I forget? I even asked you why you did that. You said something like: what all those volumes really taught was the false necessity of books." I was laughing. "I remember!" you laughed, quite awkwardly because you knew that I knew you couldn't have forgotten that night. The silence came and that could be quite awkward in a telephone conversation. Between us, I always took it upon myself to disturb such silences. Ah, Mrs. Salguero! How could you leave me that sorry task of breaking silences? You know I always took the cheap route of metaconversation.

"You know how conversations spiral sometimes? I mean, when you come to think about them. What if a truly edifying, meaningful, or - at least - beautiful conversation really just follows the numbers of Fibonacci?" You followed through (and I thank you) and brought me deeper with Julia sets, the graphic mathematical series of Mandelbrot. Another five minutes worth of talk. Or was it an hour?

"Full circle," I said after. "Yes, full circle." "This must cost you," I then asked, "how're cellphone rates there?" "Don't mind, it's my birthday and he's footing the bill." "Generous! So you're making the rounds, huh?" "Yeah, I guess. Batt's failing though." "Oh, I'm sorry. I wished I saved you time! You know how long-winded I am." "Yes," you're smiling, I could hear it in how your voice fell, "but it's never about saving time. Didn't I teach you that? It's never about saving anything." "Of course," I said, smiling too though I don't know if you could hear it. "Happy birthday again," I followed through, quite awkwardly with the last word though. I knew you knew that I didn't greet you a first time.

"Oh thanks," you said (and I thank you for this grace). "Bye, Ma'am" I said, finally.

Abr 6, 2004

Yesterday I spoke to Karlweis about keeping a diary. He said it was good to get into the habit of reckoning up with yourself, but that one never confronts oneself with the truth, there's always an element of coquetry about it. Sadly, i must admit that he's right. In these pages I have often lied and glossed over many of my faults. forgive me, I'm only human...

Alma Mahler-Werfel
Diary entry
April 7, 1899

Don Bosco

Now, this is no reference to the saint or the alma mater. Rather, I wrote this as a code for a Spanish priest I knew back in High School. The saint was never anything more to me than busts, faded tableaux, biographies, and perpetually resurrected sermon character. I found it queer that in life, he was always up and running with the boys. You'd think I'd have him forever playing soccer in my mind or something. Despite the characterizations of able storytellers of pen and tongue, he remains a still statue in my mind. On one hand, he had a boy with a hammer, on the other, one with a book. They are forever locked in undecipherable silence - bronze and Italian.

The flesh and blood priest I came to know as Don Bosco comes to mind now at the junction of several roads. First, Pastor Louis spoke from the earlier entry. Next, old acquaintances from high school (it remains awkward to call them friends yet, no doubt, there was a past path and also that fork that could be traversed) making their web presence felt through Friendster. The Holy Week must be noted or blamed. It's always about pilgrimages. Then, also, old readings on liminality and this new one by Maureen Perkins called The Reform of Time. I also went over annd shelved the Humanities I syllabus that focused on memory and history. Then too, I just developed allergies from the dust of old journals. Other roads meet in this junction of course. Not all can be mentioned. One or two of the paths - I am confident - you walk.

I leafed through college journals and several entries struck chords that I thought never existed. Somewhere among these notes and strings, I wrote down someone as Don Bosco. I remember him: the father. He never did play soccer or basketball. He was too old for that. Nevertheless, this Bosco had an active smile and a small voice. His face was a play of pink and very thin white hair and a brown mottley of freckles. His lips were quite thin and pale. The eyes seem to me very light brown now; I don't remember ever looking at them straight. I seldom look people straight in the eye, then or now.

The voice spoke fragile, sometimes unintelligible English. It was such as small voice. Still, it sounded so active and dynamic, like breath. I feel foolish calling it small. The voice, in many ways, gave me the world in the things I understood. In those mumblings where I thought I made out the whisper of infinity. A voice it was, soft, kind, inviting - and I seldom made out a word. If God spoke to me, I thought then, this would be his voice.

Of course, the lot of us then had at least two faces of God, the wrathful pillar of fire, sea-dividing face of pestilences and angels of death. Yes, the torn curtains and burning bush never actually revealed us that face; we still always believed we'd die if we saw it. The priests also wanted us to believe a merciful God: an omniscient, senile old man with the flowing white hair and beard of ancient patriarchs. Children learn to forget the first, old testament face and the booming voice that came with it. We unfolded severa centerfolds and emptied cases of bottles without hearing the voice. Or maybe we drowned it with our own feeble laughs. Surely though, we were left with the anxiety of its absence.

The other voice remained, the old man that got weaker and weaker as we grew in strength and vice. When we were younger, we imagined it speaking to us in that vertigo between waking and dreaming. Examinations. I remember not having the benefit of cellphones or alarm clocks. Mothers and fathers could not be relied upon to serve the purpose. Dawn - yes - the mornings after the nights when we prayed for the eternal repose of grandfathers and asked them, in return, to wake us up at three in the morning.

Away from the pillows and under the steady sun, this Don Bosco had that voice of God and our grandfathers. I had two grandfathers, one of legend, the other of disease. One taught me, in his absence, how to live. The other, how to die. Likewise, I had two images of the old priest. One was a robust old man who was God except for the flowing white hair. His face was always neatly shaven too. This was the man I'd write down as Don Bosco in my journals. This was the priest none spoke ill off, not even the worst of us. Later in life, when I'd know of other religions and maths (some of deeper violets and others of fainter yellows), I'd write him down as the flower of Catholics. We exchanged stories; he knew several magic tricks too. I poured the anxieties of a grader, and later, a freshman to him. He was the confessor of the lesser Salesian priests. Still, I could never get myself to have him hear my confession. He felt too benign. I'd rather tell him stories.

The other image of him - the later one - had hollow cheeks, deeper eyes, and less of the healthy stomach. The old man's voice faltered now; it grew smaller. I understood it less; it seemed less infinite. Or maybe I wasn't listening closely enough? He spoke of the past still, of Spain and Cebu. However, he spoke of tomorrows more and God's Happy Kingdom. I remembered having faith then, knowing it. Or maybe I clung to it. That is how it usually seemed to me later. Ah, but he didn't run out of surprises! He printed his last book, a thin volume. See, he had extensive knowledge of several languages and had much fun with etymologies. In that book, he worked on the meaning of names. The more resolute of us bought their copies, had them signed, and asked about their names. I say now that I had too much to do then. I borrowed and re-borrowed the then exciting Communist Manifesto along with a volume on backmasking with the face of Anton La Vey somewhere near the Hotel California article. At home, I read Plato. From a distance, I saw the wind blow against the side of his cassock, revealing the outline of his ribs. I took my lunch on the far side of the campus.

I say now that I had much to do then. That wasn't what I told myself that October day when we held the Mass in his honor. He died of some disease I forgot or chose to forget. Save for the Salesians, no one knew until that Mass. They already took his remains to Cebu where he first made contact with the Philippines; he wished to be buried there. Somebody made a blown-up portrait of him - was it the art teacher or the senior who painted better? His face - curiously - took the place at the altar where the old Don Bosco portrait was. His portrait reflected the first image, the healthier one. I recall how that Mass was vertigo. None of the images in the altar made sense, not even the priests or sacristans with their hosts and incense. Neither the book nor the cross revealed anything. Even his acrylic face on the altar felt so foreign. In memory of his second image (the one they chose not to depict), I vowed never to bring myself beneath other oils or crosses.

The priest had much to say to me, I know. He didn't even get to tell me the meaning of my name. Or I failed to ask for it. Even his red book (or was it maroon?) has long been out of print. I sometimes dream that all the copies - signed or not - vanished when he died. In later entries, I wrote conversations that I never did and never will share. Many times, and now more seriously than ever, I contemplate burning them. Some of these dialogues, bless me, may have never happened, or they did happen but entirely differently. They occurred, you see, in that unintelligible voice where I thought (but I could never be sure) I understood him. I petrify him here, now in ecriture, as Don Bosco; I dare not write his true name. Someday, I may forget it.
I went off this morning to St Thomas's Hospital to have my swollen knee drained. My old friend, Dr Mac of Hurst Green, had called it housemaid's knee. The bright young doctor at St Thomas's said that strictly speaking it was clergyman's knee. Housemaids get their knee trouble from leaning forward, clergymen kneel in an upright position, so that their swelling is lower down. While awaiting my turn to be drained, I was accosted by a friendly drug addict with his young wife, admittedly 'stoned'. He sat down beside me and asked, 'What's your trouble, Lord Langford?' I pulled up my trouser leg and showed him my swollen knee. 'Ah!' he commented sagely. 'Myra Hindley has been kicking you! give her my love; she must be a pleasant girl.'

Old labels die hard. The nurses recognised me as Lord Longford. There was a cry for Mr Pakenham; they assured me that it wasn't me. Of course it turned out to be.

Lord Longford
Diary entry
April 6, 1981

Pastor Louis

It seemed proper to entitle the entry on yesterday's events this way. Now that I'm typing it though, I'm thinking of the world of difference between two other possible headings: 'A Pastor' and 'The Pastor'. "Whatever," I tell myself, just make my way through yesterday as soon as possible. "Everything is under erasure anyway." I'll write about a friend of mine now. 'A friend'.

Okay, somebody I know.

Pastor Louis speaks smooth English. If you heard him without knowing him or that gold cross pinned to his collar, you'd think he's a disc jockey. You wouldn't doubt he's a ladies man. He isn't either though, believe you me.

In fact, away from his flock, he's intimate with books and - oddly for some - cartography. He is also a couple of months from marriage. After my annal purchases from a Booksale in Cubao, I thought of visiting him (he was a jeepney ride away) just to show off. From these, he showed interested in Polemicization: The Contingency of the Commonplace by Arditi and Valentine and The Alphabet and the Goddess by Shlain. He feigned interest in my newest Faust translation because he sensed that was what I most valued in the lot. I told him the volume had Urfaust almost with a shriek.

He calmed me down with his usual strong coffee. Then we began telling each other stories. It's been a while. By far, he's the better storyteller. I remember recording some of our past conversations in old journals.

Pastor Louis has his way with words. Now, though I meant that in the pleasant 'he's eloquent and erudite' sense, I also meant that he had peculiar habits with the spoken idiom. For example, thrice I caught him referring to his favorite Nets ball cap as 'the Fez'. Once also, he called my attention to a foreigner he'd been watching (as we shared the hobby of people-watching, the vulgar voyeurism of quotidian performance). There were five in the crowd so I asked him which one. He said "The one with the fez on." I picked out a freckled American teener with a Kings cap.

Sometime after Undas, I showed him a dirty limerick I wrote. He laughed and said "Parfait!" I did not catch what he meant at the time so I just ignored him and wrote another.

Well yesterday, after scanning my books, he let me see the draft of a sermon he composed. I read it with the allied passages from Ecclesiastes and John. (The Bible available was the King James version. So come O ye, hail-thee, thine-thou art and whatever all that dost.) When I finished reading, he didn't even wait for my comment. He saw I already had a smile on. "Eh, non-believer?" he said. "Parfait, no?"

I remebered the curious word; I caught his drift. I faked ignorance and asked if he wanted a scoop or two, the heat on and all. "No, thou art a fool!" he said; so I asked, "Why can't you say perfect like the rest of us?" He shrugged with his engaging, benevolent smile. "Why should I?"

"Is it befitting for a man of God to play with words?" He countered rather voluminously. He was as given to sermons as I was to lectures.

He took me through Wittgenstein and Ayer and said, "This language games, it's the game of God, see? You must know, it all began with the Word." Then, of course, the smile of the raconteur. I smiled back, vaguely detecting where he was about to take me. He asked, "That science of yours, that favorite, that hermeneutics, you know where it all began?"

"Biblical exegesis. That's an impasse! Heidegger left that to that and went on to hermeneutics. Absolute truth, your 'Truth', how can it come through something as dynamic and arbitrary as human language? If God wanted the 'Truth' communicated, he shouldn't have felled Babel and scattered the tongue, should he? Now if the divine idiom's still with us, it must be somewhere just among the many."


"You agree?"


"Are you sure you're a pastor, man?"

"Was a man ever his occupation, Dennis? Hmmm. Pastor, eh? Maybe not in this case. Unless you're a lamb. Are you a lamb?"

"Are you kidding?"

"Then I am not your pastor huh? Unless that word's only some metaphor and the important element would be that I am leading you somewhere."

"So are you? Not sure I see where you're taking me, man."

"I don't know either."

"Well that's sound. 'I don't know' is something nice to believe in. Socratic. Nice."

"Think so, Dennis?"

"Believe so!"


"Don't know, you?"

"Me neither."

"Oh well."

"Perfect, no?"

Abr 5, 2004

Wala, mainit. Gusto ko lang sabihin na masarap sanang maghalo-halo. Oo, alas tres ng madaling araw pero naiinitan ako. Dalawang electric fan na ang nakatutok sa akin. Saan ba masarap maghalo-halo? Ayaw nung iba sa halo-halo ng Chowqueen kasi nasa ibabaw yung halo. E di haluin! Ano ba'ng paborito mong sangkap sa halo-halo?

Ako, yung yelo mismo.

May tinutunaw akong Coke. Hindi yung drugs. Yung coke as in coca-bola. Me makulit ditong nilagay sa freezer. E di syempre patay na fizz nun? Naalala ko tuloy yung mga 4-day old coke sa LB. Meron pa nga ilang linggo ko yata naiwan sa ref ng faculty yun. Ininom ko pa rin. Sarap ng asukal, grabe.

Dapat yata kape ang tinititimpla ko. Ayaw.

Nakapagbasa ako sa e-mail ng kabalastugan ng IRRI. Pangkalahatang background ko sa IRRI ay isang tour at orientation/film showing duon nuong grade three (yata) ako. Tapos duon kami kumakain pag okay si Red Mimi o kung dala ni Sir Pen ang anti-admin mobile. Masarap kasi dun sa canteen. Pang-foreigner ang quality. International ek nga di ba?

Maganda kasi kita mo yung mga sakahan atsaka may view ka ng bundok. O di ba Amorsolo? Pero syempre, kelangan lagpasan ang mga idyll, hindi ba Edel? Kaya naman naalala ko ang pinakamahalagang piyesa ng aking background sa IRRI. (Bukod pa ito sa mga lecture tungkol sa IRRI sa Center kung saan dati, tayo pa ang nagtuturo sa Thai. Oh well, Noel. Not anymore.) Isa iyong sanaysay ni Walden Bello tungkol sa mga kabalustugan ng gubyerno sa bigas.

Naeengganyo tuloy akong isama sa usapan sa klase ang IRRI. Mabalikan nga ang sanaysay at mapag-isipan ang mga posibilidad. Me bago na akong ipasasaliksik sa Critical Writing kapag nagkataon. Kapartner ng militarisasyon. At ang walang kamatayang semiotic reading ng cellular phone ads.

Heto kaya ang ipakritika ko. Tama bang kahapon, ang peting burgis na si ako e nagbasa ng Pedagogy for Liberation nina Paulo Freire at Ira Shor sa Starfucks kasama ang mga atenistang nag-aaral ng Law. Si Ma kasi gusto malamig. Nag-iced choco kami tulad nung nasa short story kong shit. Gumawa sya ng report cards dun. Kasama ang Mae na nakapula. Mano po? Ikaw ba yan Kris?

Tama bang mag-coke? E umaga. Hay naku. Kumpwede nga lang iboycott na'ng lahat ng yan pati kanin. Pati halo ng halo-halo nasa ibabaw.

Dapat dyan baliktarin.

Abr 3, 2004


Magsusulat na naman dapat ako ng pretensyosong kaeklatan dito. Natuwa pa nga ako sa pamagat: 'When Its Alteration Finds'. Hello, the bard? Is that you? Natutuwa rin ako sa premise. May mga nabuo na nga akong linya e, halimbawa:

"I've grown anti-social over the past months, and even now, I find, it's not something I can shake off easily. It's deep, I think. I can't even appreciate the company of people I am anti-social. Thus, self-expunged from anti-society, I'm alone. I think I like it here because I'm not lonely. If people can't take me because I'm not as accommodating as before, well I'm sorry but that's fine, thank you. There is no Self outside of the Other and Others. God or beast, I remember Aristotle. However, with everyone else of the class locked in their private cults of the individual moving circularly in frightful solipsisms and onanisms, I have no one else to really be comfortable with but myself, have I?"

Sure manure. Bilangin ang mga "I" at sabihin sa aking may ibang iniisip yan bukod sa sarili nya. Hindi ko na tinuloy dito yun. Ano ba'ng magagawa kung magandang tanghali bayan ako kahapon? Magaling kasi natapos ko yung pinapaasikasong report sa akin sa RGEP. Syempre lista ako ng mga methods, devices, activities, at problems tapos suggested solutions. Reklamo galore, syempre. Sabay name-drop ala Randy David (Now, isn't that so PoMo? To name-drop the name-dropper?) at makikita mo sa isang coupon bond si Gramsci, Althusser, at Gadamer. Punyemas, Humanities 1 yan no! Oh well, Miss Belle, habang bata pa at pwede pang makalusot na over-eager, di ba? Sayang naipasa ko na. Hihirit pa dapat ako duon ng 'Now, if only the R in RGEP stood for respectable'.

"You are you and I am I. So here we see that maybe we were never friends at all. Else, how could we have dismissed each other so lightly? I will not go so far as to say that a marriage is not a marriage if it divides. It always takes you somewhere else. Liminal, indeed, this thing you're going through. I thought I would be sorry to not go through it with you. Or maybe I am. Wasn't it you who told me that 'man has the endless capacity to deceive himself'? And to deceive himself about deceiving himself. I said 'herself' by way of correction. You knew my pronominal system. I knew yours too. Well, 'knew' could be right, I mean, the past tense."

Tapos, naisipan kong magpula. The Flash pa yung nasa dibdib, akala mo baterya me pakidlat-kidlat pa (still going). Suot ko yun para kapag nagkita kami sa Alabang at pag-uwi ko sa bahay, masasabi kong 'nagmadali ako papunta rito'. Wehehehe butete. Pagdating ko sa UPLB, isa sa kada tatlong tao nakapula. Pagdating ko sa department, pagkapasa ng RGEP shit, sabi ko kay Tita Daisy, 'hay naku Tita Daise, dito talaga sa LB, kung kelan mo maisipang magpula dun ka huwag magpula! Yun din ang iniisip nila!' Ganun din sa itim. May dalawang nakapula na tumawa sa likod ko. Dumiretso ako sa auditorium kung saan sila nagmimiting. Pumirma ako tapos umeskapo. Punyetang mga poseur ang mga faculty. Akala ko, mga writer lang. Wehehe. Iba talaga ang epekto ng ecriture sa isang tao. Oh well, Miss Belle. Kaya isang naka-Flash na kamiseta ang dumiretso sa Alabang.

"No, I would not deny your exalted day or status. I would say rather, marriage indeed, for we saw ourselves, as we truly are in the light of your big day. Marriage indeed. Now at least, separately, we are wedded to the truth about us. I would like to think of hope. Yet hope binds me to pain and future. I cannot have that, not right now. There are things I need to do now which I should do. Or die trying to do. I would like to meditate on keeping faith. Yet faith is a burden of revelations that I have never had the luxury of. Why pretend? So I dismiss Fe, as I did Esperanza, to the confines of some open-ended future. Caridad beckons me though, and I am happy. You told me about her though, partially, though not something I don't yet know of. Siren song, really. I would not have you tie me to some mast matey. I abandon ship. Go set your sails for your open sea. You always were and always will be a better man."

Matagal pala magpuno sa FX. Okay lang kasi hindi naman ako nagmamadali talaga. Medyo dalawang oras akong maaga ngayon. Okay lang kahit isang oras na lang. Wala rin naman akong perang mamili ng libro habang naghihintay. Okay rin kasi maganda yung katabi ko. Ang tutoo, hindi naman siya yung tinitingnan ko, pero yung sinusulat nya. Grabe toxic. Kinokopya nya yung mga mensahe sa cellphone sa isang tickler. At mukhang yun lang ang silbi ng tickler na yun ha! Tapos pati yung mga monosyllabic na 'yap!' at 'kay' sinusulat nya kuntodo oras at date. Walang pangalan. Siguro kasi ang buong tickler na yun ay para lang sa isang tao. Nalungkot naman ako kasi monosyllables lang ang kinokopya nya. Kunsabagay, wala naman sa paramihan yun. E baka naman yung Kay at Yap na yun e mga Ninang at Ninong sa kasal nila. Tsaka, quiet lang ha? Naglilista rin ako ng messages. At hindi lang tickler. Alam nyo yung lagbuk? Yung ginagamit ng mga gwardya para maglista ng mga obserbasyon at para sulatan ng mga kumpisal ng mga shoplifter? Nag-Frantz Fanon muna ako para poseur. Kunwari I'm above eklat tayo sa emotive. Cognitive at conative lang. Teka, nasa RGEP report mode pa rin yata ako sa FX!

"If someone can make it work, it's you. If someone could screw it up for you, that would be me. Maybe we'll change. We never knew who was really right, did we? Parmeneides or Heraclitus? So best wishes all round. I'm off to an embrace where I would be of no ruin to anyone. 'Let me not to the marriage of true minds', I tell you. And also, please, kindly, 'Admit impediments'.

Pagkateriyaki ko, habang naghihintay, syempre booksale muna ako. Mantakin mo ba namang nakatsamba ako ng P85 na Labyrinths! Punyeta, P600 yan sa Fully Booked at P700 pa yata sa Aeon. At sa edisyon na yun, buhay pa si Borges. 'Borges and I' pa lang ang drama niya nun. Kung tama ako, hindi pa nalilimbag yung 'August 25, 1983' na literal suicide niya sa koleksyong Shakespeare's Memory. Maya-maya, dumating na ang maganda. Bungad pa lang tawanan. Tama bang nakapula? At bakit ako pa ang kinurot? Kung hindi siya ang nagpalit, ako ang nagpalit kahit pa labada na yung kamiseta sa bag. Buti nakapagdala siya ng extra-extra kundi mapagkakamalan kaming crew o sumayaw kung saan. Walang hustisya ruon kasi isa lang sa amin ang marunong magluto at isa rin lang ang marunong sumayaw. Pinabasa ko sa kanya ang huling linya sa 'Borges and I'. May baon rin akong xerox ng isang astiging children's book. Oral reading kami. Hay. Maganda talaga ang boses kapag ako ang binabasahan. Kahit pa malat. Nagpa-recopy kami ng mga retrato; nagtawanan; nagpakabundat sa fine dining (bakit, meron bang coarse dining?); nag-Zagu pa pagkatapos (yum kaburgisan, hazelnut cappucino yata yun, halo-halo na sa teriyaki, watermelon shake, mango juice, pescadora, cream of mushroom soup, at tinapay); naghuntahan habang nanunuod ng mga matrona at toddlers nagta-Tae Bo; at naghiwalay para matulog sa kanya-kanyang byahe.

Sabi ko na nga ba, 'good night' e