Peb 17, 2007


Nanaginip ako ng sanlaksang bata. Takbo sila nang takbo kahit matindi ang buhos ng confetti(2). Delikado ang hangin at natakot ako na mapigtas at manghagupit ang mga banderitas(3). Tawa lang nang tawa ang mga bata. Sa ikalawang panaginip(5), may isang magulang na baboy(7) sa kural at may halong confetti(8) ang putik. Nasa loob ng kural ang ilang bata. Sinuotan nila ng sinturon(10) ang baboy. May isang batang babaeng nakaunipormeng St. Joseph’s(12). Dumapa siya sa lupa na madamo na at isa nang football field. Marumi ang field, maraming kalat na plastik na baso at paper plate (15).

Mga sipi:
2—Maaaring piyesta dahil sabay-sabay ang mga school fair pati ang alaala ng mga fair.
3—Wala akong maalala ni isang kulay ng banderitas.
5—O sumunod na eksena nitong tinatalakay na panaginip. Depende sa dami ng REM stage, maaaring may apat hanggang limang panaginip ang tao sa isang regular na tulog. May mga taong tumututok sa kanilang panaginip na kayang paghiwahiwalayin ang mga ito. Ang iba, napagsusunod-sunod pa.
7—Higit sa interpretasyon, mas mahalaga para sa akin ang mga pinagkuhanang eksena o teksto ng panaginip. Maraming maaaring pagkuhanan ng baboy. Maaaring ang matagal ko nang namalas na paggilit at pagkatay ng baboy. O ang trak ng mga baboy sa SLEX. O ang Valentine sisig. Puwedeng ang lektyur ko hinggil sa “Babycakes” ni Gaiman ang nakaimpluwensya. O ang tulang “El otro tigre” ni Borges. Puwede rin na noong pinaglaruan ni Nicolas Cage ang kanyang ilong sa pelikulang “Ghost Rider,” ang pumasok talaga sa isip ko ay ‘baboy’ sa halip na ‘bungo’. Pero ang una kong naisip pagkagising ay baka dahil Year of the Fire Pig ngayon. Ikalawa, baka dahil sa muling pagtalakay ng pork barrel. Maaaring wala ni isa sa mga ito. O lahat, pinagsama-sama. (Habang nagtitipa, tumugtog ang Radioactive Sago Project sa isip ko. Ngunit malamang naisip ko lamang iyon dahil sa ginagawa kong pagsasaayos ng tema. Malayo man, baka may naimpluwensya rin.)
8—Hindi ko matanggal sa isip ko ang bird flu habang kinokonsidera ang imahe ng confetti. Hindi ko naman naisip o naramdaman ang anumang pahiwatig ng sakit o ibon habang nananaginip.
10—Itim ang sinturon. Tiyak ako pagkagising ko. Nang isipin ko kung tiyak ako habang nananaginip, hindi ko maalala. Kaya ngayong nagtitipa na, hindi na ako sigurado. (Sa katunayan, nang maisip ko ang pork barrel, dumami ang bilang ng sinturon, naging tatlo. Hindi na rin ako sigurado kung ilang sinturon ang isinuot sa baboy. Ang alam ko lang, suot ito ng bata na hinila mula sa shorts bago isinuot sa baboy.)
12—Hindi ko maintindihan ang imaheng ito. Bagamat nakita ko noong elementarya ang unipormeng St. Joseph’s, hindi ko na maalala ang eksaktong hitsura.
15— Walang katiyakan kung may confetti pa sa hinihigaan ng bata. Wala akong maalala kahit isang kulay ng confetti. Hindi ko maalala ang hitsura ng isang partikular na confetti. Papel ba iyon o plastik o yero?

Peb 16, 2007

This Godfriday

No es un viernes,el dia regido por la divinidad que en las selvasentreteje los cuerpos de los amantes.

—from “Cambridge”, Jorge Luis Borges

This invulnerable day with the knowledge that I will not die. Although somebody lies dead and somewhere certainly somebody is dying as much as I am, I decide to draw none from my last breath. Today my word feels binding. Therefore, it is. Having chosen life, I decide further: I shall become a something. Something, while the druidic school feasts and plays; while my students and friends tease out a spiny vine of drama from rock ruins; while she mourns. I shall become this something which is all I could become to be of some use: a worker. Not a craftsman, no. Let the others climb such an illusory hierarchy of skills. Not an artist, definitely. Let others feed on the concrete self-importance that they can never imagine as dream. Surely not – today – a godcreator. I shall not presume to toil under so a grand an assumption. A laborer is all I am, all I shall be in this indestructible moment. I am this employee of the universe. I am the drafting of the lesson plan, checking of the tests, breathing and all its corrections. I am the tossing of the square-holed coins. I am the work, the sheer telling of a story. Somewhere under this sun, within my pages, and among the wilting carnations, I will write: “Allow her rest. Allpeace upon her.”

Peb 15, 2007

Fire Pants

Found him appalling. Hated the fact that I did, but I did. I mean, I wanted to find as much value as I could in a person. But he thinks that he controls his lies, that his lies are some sort of subversion – political and literary – and we of lesser intellect (and commensurate faith) could not presume to judge his most minute fib. Took me all my energy to keep myself from telling him that he was a compulsive liar, that his lies controlled him, and his lies had little political value because he – despite claims about the military lusting after his cellphone – had as much political value as a singular farmer. And what literary value? I discovered no truth in his claim that he won both fiction and poetry fellowships. Funny how a phone call’s worth of research can annihilate his illusory struggle and move me to view his tearful production of one amber lie. There, I wrote it, and having written my disgust, ceased to hate him. There must be a way to stroke his head as if it were a kitten’s.

About the Ides of February

This comes to me, this old thing. A smile I have forgotten to wear. Do not look too surprised. See, I tried to shake it off with anger. Tears would have proved useless, so I abstained from squeezing them from my eyes. Then the choice of laughter, the only improbability that still made some sense. Yet there was no denying such an impervious pleasure. Acknowledge: my students have gotten themselves enemies. Hurrah for them. There remain things a friend could never teach them. No matter how perky, how depressed, how hostile.

Peb 9, 2007


Started too many things, continued enough. Troubling that I look forward, always forward. Possibly, I am not looking at my most intricate piece so far, my best student, my dearest organization. So far. Possibly I am looking at my last group, friend, and story. All our human grasping entails this. We never see the tip of our fingers.

Peb 5, 2007

Now and at the Hour

Today at the Brebant dinner, we talked about the crushing of the minds of children and young men under the huge volume of things taught them. We agreed that an experiment was being carried out on the present generation of which it was impossible to predict the consequences. And in the course of the discussion somebody advanced the ironical idea that our present-day system of universal education might well deprive society of the educated man and endow it with the educated woman: not a reassuring prospect for the husbands of the future.

The Brothers Goncourt
Diary entry
February 5, 1884

Still here in Makati where I sit in this moment an hour after fiesta and ten hours before of my first class. Guadalupe! One of those nights when I locate myself within a prayer. You see, it was a Sunday of checking a chockfull of essays and poems. Two sets belonged to my two Humanities 160 classes. I usually resort to comparing the classes. But I just finished computing their partial grades and found no cause for contrast. At least, not according to the numbers. The two bore identical ratio of passing to failing students, 14:7 and 20:10. Exactly one damned third of each class failed the first half of my course. Now, if I fail to attract sleep within the next pair of hours – Guadalupe! – give me a bus where I won’t have to stand for the rest of my hundred-minute ride.

Peb 4, 2007


Home by 2am with very aching feet. Who’d be a courier?

Peter Hall
Diary entry
February 11, 1975

A person I knew loved lying as much as he or she hated being lied to. Another person I knew could not express her or his self from a spirit of gratitude. Another person I knew wanted people – people: let’s not call them children encouraged to read her or his blog and write her or him their heartfelt testimonies – to think she or he was against US Capital-I Imperialism. But this she or he was as much a President Arroyo to another Smith. She or he will never even give Nicole an oh so sorry. One of all the people I will ever know was touted a peace lover and would make love with the outrage that would rise from the pit of her or his stomach. Another person I knew would assure him or her, “It is not fear. You are righteous. It was a liar who said Dennis forgave you, you who were loved. Not yet such a thing as quits.” Another person I knew lost a phone and wanted everyone to make the intuitive leap and believe camouflaged fingers took it. Another person I knew would ask this person with kidnapped or hostaged phone, “have you read his blog?” One way or another. One day or another. God knows it is possible she or he would have the mind to do even this. Another person I knew would think I was – all along – writing about her or him.


Thinking so much these days about what it is to be a woman, I wonder whether an ingrained sense of guilt is not a feminine characteristic. A man who has no children may feel personally deprived but he does not feel guilty, I suspect. A woman who has no children is always on the defensive.

May Sarton
Diary entry
February 4, 1975

Endeavored to write versus the cold. Typed: “You go against a good thing and sometimes the good thing fights back.” Nice to have little need for fury. Just type away, generate heat between the bone of your finger and the plastic key. Type and type until that spark of faith: somewhere there must be fire. Scrolling along the pages I wrote and rewrote, I found something of value. I stroked the letters on the monitor as if they were strands. I traced the font and imagined depressions of an old lost pen. Saw the ink feather out to the white of the screen. I called the file "daughter.rtf" but felt need for a more specific name. Cold usurped my lungs the moment I understood that when I successfully renamed her, I would amount to deletion.

Peb 1, 2007


Wish you a better day, my friend. Better than the ones you have been having lately. Cold wind out, and we both know how these things of weather can get abused in literary circling. Like a vulture. Don't let it get to you.