Wednesday, March 23, 2011


From the collector's notebook of substitutions
by Conchitina Cruz

Say grief: things that wander with the intention to return

Say maybe: things that entertain the possibility of always

Say afterthought: things that haunt rather than invade

Say souvenir: not erasure, but palimpsests

Say disappear: letter, sans serif, white, umlaut

Say collateral: not risk, mere substitution

Say document: proof and signpost

Say never: things that breathe easy elsewhere


Look for her poetry collection "Elsewhere held and lingered." One heavy reading. Poem after poem, napa-"shit, grabe ang galing" yata ako. Harrows you with its intense revelations and examinations of a self that survives?/perils?/fragments? itself due to an illicit affair.
The author surely ranks among the best of poets in the country today.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One Thousand and One Nights

It may have been just a dream but I remember I woke up once in the middle of the night so haunted by those first two lines that I cried.

What is it about darkness that's so exquisite? Sometimes I feel it's partly conceit. That we're special and the universe somehow makes an effort, no matter how little, to make sure we suffer beautifully and to our satisfaction.

Maybe it's related to what Carl Sagan said in Contact that we feel so alone. Our solitude makes us aware of this imbalance, the improbability of our existence. It's either we invent a companion god (was it Nietzsche who said something like: there isn't enough love in this world to assign it to other beings), or we humble ourselves with the thought that it would be an awful waste of space if it were just us. And then there's this, we take small hidden pleasures in hardship. We anticipate. Like every civilization must have come up with its own version of apocalypse. Not for that light at the end of the tunnel, not for the lessons to be learned, just that basic reassurance that our position in the cosmos is that of frailty.

In the book One Thousand and One Nights (popularly, Arabian Nights), the primary story is that of a Persian king who weds a wife every day and beheads the one from the night before. That is before Scheherazade. She would tell him stories each night that would be cut short by dawn and this way the King was forced to spare her life. In the book, after one thousand and one nights, there are no more stories to be told, but the King has fallen in love with his storyteller and thus it ends happily.

Yet, I suspect,"one thousand and one" refers at the same time to infinity.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dahil Maulan (tama sisihin ang ulan!)

Sabi nga nila kung ayaw, maraming dahilan.
Kung tinatamad, mas maraming paraan.

Teka mali yata yun. Mga procrastination tactics ko talaga, I surprise even myself.
Anyway, pag maulan nga naman at may makakasalubong kang pogi sa daan. Haha. Joke lang. Sana lang may nakasalubong talaga akong pogi.


Sa Aawitan

Ilang beses bang bumagsak ang ulan nitong huling mga gabi
na nahuli ko ang aking sarili na nilalakad
ang daan mo pauwing bahay sa aking pagkakatanda?
At gaano ba katagal bago mawala o maging mali ang mga salita
sa kantang narinig natin sa inayos na lumang radyo?
Maiiwasan pa ba ito, nahihinto ako sa gitna
paakyat ng matatarik na kalsada dahil darating ang sandali
ng minsang nagtagpo ang mga labi, mabilis na saglit
at agad mawawala, mapapatanong bigla sa sarili
dahil inakalang ligtas ang panlasa sa guni-guni.
Kung naroon pa ang poste ng ilaw sa kalye bago ang huli
mong liko pa-inyo na pupundi-pundi sa ating pagdaan
at nasabi ko noon nabigyan ko ito ng kahulugan,
pwede ba akong maging hindi makakatotohanan at gaano,
maari bang nananatili pa ang awit para sa iyo.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Date A Guy Who Reads

Saw this cute post Date A Girl Who Reads by Rosemarie Urquico on tumblr.

There are some stuff here and there that's gonna sound arrogant but the original author intended it as a reply to another article: You Should Date an Illiterate Girl.

Her original post is here.

If you feel lazy going through the post and actively substituting the word "girl" and related words as you read along, below's the edited version for us gays, hehe.


Date a guy who reads. Date a guy who spends his money on books instead of clothes. He has problems with closet space because he has too many books. Date a guy who has a list of books he wants to read, who has had a library card since he was twelve.

Find a guy who reads. You’ll know that he does because he will always have an unread book in his bag. He’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when he finds the book he wants. You see the weird guy sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

He’s the guy reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at his mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because he’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. He might give you a glare, as most guys who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask him if he likes the book.

Buy him another cup of coffee.

Let him know what you really think of Murakami. See if he got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if he says he understood James Joyce’s Ulysses he’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask him if he loves Alice or he would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a guy who reads. Give him books for his birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give him the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give him Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let him know that you understand that words are love. Understand that he knows the difference between books and reality but by god, he’s going to try to make his life a little like his favorite book. It will never be your fault if he does.

He has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to him. If he understands syntax, he will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail him. Because a guy who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because guys who read understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Guys who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a guy who reads, keep him close. When you find him up at 2 AM clutching a book to his chest and weeping, make him a cup of tea and hold him. You may lose him for a couple of hours but he will always come back to you. He’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time he’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. He will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and he will recite Keats under his breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a guy who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a guy who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give him monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a guy who reads.

Or better yet, date a guy who writes.