Thursday, June 16, 2005

Pilit na Sagot sa Mga Tanong ni Kael

1. Nagalap ko, sa aking pagsasaliksik, na dati'y nagsusulat ka ng tula sa Tagalog. Ba't naging exclusive na sa Ingles ka na nagsusulat?

Long story. But principally because I don't think I can express myself as well in Filipino. Then again, maybe that's just a convenient excuse. I think it's an irrepairable consequence of taking Filipino for granted. I wasn't as fascinated with Filipino (I guess given that I grew up in a Tagalog-speaking province {Cavite}) as I was with English. When I went to U.P. for college, I spoke in halting English that made me really insecure. All this business of trying to lose one's thick provincial accent contaminated my speaking and, well, writing.

You might as well ask, "Why write poetry in English?" Of course, I'd be a hypocrite if I say I (didn't then and) don't have a choice now, to go back into writing fiction and writing it in Filipino. But there is no exclusivity clause here; it's more of a preference. I think the act of reading and writing is, as Harold Bloom puts it, "a solitary praxis". It is a selfish business, a sabbatical into a certain Sublime. I am not one to put labels on things and I will not invent an excuse for not writing in Filipino other than to address someone who reads for him/herself. I am paraphrasing Bloom here: The intention and pleasure of writing per se, can be terribly personal.

There is a political canopy above these (all?) things, yes, but I will not name theories than attempt to pigeonhole what's literary and what's not. The authentic writer, I think, is one who writes in a language that he feels most comfortable with--not in one that is dictated by matters, issues, and politics outside of the self. How people react to your work in a personal--or even primal--sense is what's important, I think. The politics of "representation" and "marginalization" come with the processing, the labelling.

2. Kung papipiliin, ano ang gusto mong maging propesyon/pasyon ng anak mong si Moira paglaki niya?

Kung papipiliin. I'd rather that she develops a passion for reading and, hopefully, an interest (at least) in writing. I want her (like all fathers, I guess) to be proud of my being a writer. It won't hurt if she likewise decides to pursue a career in writing. Of course, the more logical part of me would want her to choose a more financially-rewarding career (medicine, law, etc). Anyway, passion is not necessarily attached to a profession. I'd rather she gets to live out both "sions" without compromising the former.

3. Nagising ka ng isang umaga nang nakalimutan ang mukha at pangalan at lahat ng alaala ng kabataan mo (sa Cavite, say, hanggang high school), maliban sa pamilya at 3 pang tao. Sino ang 3 taong 'yun? Nagkikita pa ba kayo? Kailan mo sila huling nakausap.

Siguro si "Ime" (Elmer Javier), si "Jopri Snakeman" (Jeoffrey Matibag), at si "Val" (Valerie Javier). Lahat sila kaklase ko 'nung high school. Si Ime barkada ko na mula pa sa Silang Central School, isang public elementary school sa amin kung saan nagkalat ang masarap na tae at uod sa mga ihian at may malawak at madamong playground sa likuran para sa takbuhan, ninja-han, suntukan, tayaan-tulungan, at beysbol.

Parang magkapatid na kami ni Ime. Tawa lang kami ng tawa 'nun sa mga kaklase. May bansag kami sa lahat. Tulad ni Wilmer na tinawag naming "Baka" dahil may gusto sa kanya si Rebecca na bukod sa tunog-baka ang pangalan, mukhang baka pa. Si Bedo naman, tinagurian naming "Funeraria Bedo" dahil may kahawig na funeraria sa Silang, 'yung Funeraria Vedar. Si Royski Drikulangotski, si Bj Kalesa, si Rory Rokrakes, Si Lu-Jay-ga (si Jay, matabang kalaseng may luga). Lahat may bansag. "Saging" bansag sa kin 'nun. 'Di ko na papaliwanag.

Basta kagaguhan at pagtatawanan, kami ni Ime magkasundo. Pag naman robot, music, at komiks, kami ni Jopri ang bestprends. Unahan kami n'un sa Funny komiks tuwing huwebes. Ingat na ingat kami sa mga kopya. Sayang, ipinamigay ko na. Siguro mahal na 'yun ngayon...
Lahat ng transformers episodes pinapanood namin at pinag-uusapan kinabukasan. may listahan kami ng mga pangalan ng mga robots. may ginawa pa nga kaming alternatibong listahan ng mga bastos na transformers. Sina Percentor-tite, Si Sideswipekpek, atbp.

"Snakeman" bansag n'ya buong hayskul dahil minsan nang-ahas s'ya sa aming Chalk Basketball Association (CBA) at lumipat ng ibang koponan. Galit na galit sa kanya si Pinoy (na anak ng hapon).

Minsan, si Jopri ang takdang magwalis ng yero sa classroom namin. mezzanine s'ya kaya puwede kang lumusot ng bintana at walisin ang mga dahon at ipot sa yero. Kaso, pinagtripan s'ya ni Bj Kalesa. Sinara bigla bintana. Takot na takot si Joprey. Kinalabog ang bintana habang sumisigaw ng, "Buksan n'yo bintana! Hindi ako makahinga!!!" Sus.

Si Val, labs of my high school life. Grade two pa lang ako (pagkatapos mawala crush ko kay Jeng-jeng), si Val na mahal ko. Kaklase ko s'ya hanggang gumradweyt ako, mahal ko s'ya hanggang umalis ako papuntang maynila. Naaalala ko, umiiyak ako sa awiting "Here I Am" ng Air Supply nang malaman kong sinagot na n'ya si Butch, 'yung Adjutant namin sa CAT.

"Just when I thought I was over you
Just when I thought I could stand on my own,
Oh baby, those memories come crashing through..."

Nasan na kaya si Val?


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Only Begin

Only begin, and the rest will follow.
--- David Wagoner, “The Source”

I’ve been meaning to tell you, for some time now,
How afraid I am of this age, of its dormant bodies.
Somewhere, an old window is opened and the charged air
Begins its steady reclaiming of spaces,
Whispering its many names to the furniture,
Nudging them into small motions. All around,
The cobwebs are dancing to wind music.
A spider, sensing the sudden change,
Scurries back into the shadows.

Someone has arrived. He takes off his hat,
Looks around, considers the architecture.
He runs his fingers on each object, names them.
He is walking to the window, his footsteps leaving good,
Clear prints on the floor, making good, clear sounds.

You may see this yet. Notice how the hours
Become the only constant, how the birds outside
Make only strange noises. The once familiar
Has given way to the private dark. Get up.
The ordinary days are slipping by.
Step to the window. So that one day

I may wake to the sound of footsteps, like a homecoming.
“Let me in,” I will say. “Let me share your long sorrow.”

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Shannon Hoon 1967-1995

No Rain

All I can say is that my life is pretty plain

I like watchin' the puddles gather rain

And all I can do is just pour some tea for two

and speak my point of view

But it's not sane, It's not sane

I just want some oneto say to me

I'll always be there when you wake

You know I'd like to keep my cheeks dry today

So stay with me and I'll have it made

And I don't understand why I sleep all day

And I start to complain that there's no rain

And all I can do is read a book to stay awake

And it rips my life away, but it's a great escape


Friday, June 03, 2005

Purple Haze Rengga (June 2)

The truth is that everything begins
with sadness. The street lights are lambent,
loose, as if heavy with longing.

It's like holding music, or trying to,
the notes breaking into imagined fragments.
Yet it's there. Sad, shadow-filled.

LIke the spaces between rain,
with which we excuse this inarticulate thirst.

Remember when the sidewalks curled
like tongues, tingling with delusion?

Eyeball to eyeball light leaps like a wet dog
thru whose ears pass the puttering of small feet,
slender as a knife in the lung.

The quiet puncture.
The gentle loss of blood.

--kael, joel, naya, marie, gelo, c.j.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Night, The Porch

To stare at nothing is to know by heart
What all of us will be swept into, and baring oneself
To the wind is feeling the ungraspable somewhere close by.
Trees can sway or be still. Day or night can be what they wish.
What we desire, more than a season or weather, is the comfort
Of being strangers, at least to ourselves. This is the crux
Of the matter, which is why even now we seem to be waiting
For something whose appearance would be its vanishing--
The sound, say, of a few leaves falling, or just one leaf,
Or less. There is no end to what we can learn. The book out there
Tells us as much, and was never written with us in mind.

-- Mark Strand