Saturday, December 31, 2005


The god of the back
must be a lonely god,
god in the shape of man-headed hawk.

Long ago
a man had been sailing the river
and the hawk had been flying beside him
for days. Mornings,

the man would wake and look,
yes, there it was, dark tip-to-tip, the hawk.
His hawk, he began to think of it.
And after a time

he forgot the point of the journey,
he only woke each morning to see
if the hawk was there, to move if the hawk
moved with him, to not rest

if the hawk did not rest. And all of this love
was done in silence, between animal
and animal. There

beside him in the air and there
beside him in the water, the yoke
of the hawk. Once he had a family. Once
he had a city to go to and something

to bring back. More and more
he began to see his life
as a story the hawk was telling

holding the rat of the field in its claw, meaning
There is another world
and I will take you in it.

is when he became the god,
god of the back, the beautiful
brow of leaving.

-- Beckian Fritz Goldberg
Lie Wide Awake, 2005

Friday, December 30, 2005


Hehe. I was googling photos of Ray Bradbury for the previous entry when I stumbled upon this site: .


Kaya n'yo bang hulaan king sinu-sino ang mga manunulat sa baba nang 'di tumitingin sa website? May libreng QUESO DE BOLA sa susunod na pasko 'yung makakakuha ng lahat. AT may libreng isa pang pagkasarap-sarap na QUESO DE BOLA 'yung makakita ng one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others bonus question!!!! Sino 'yung naiiba?
Sige nga, sige nga!

Harpy New Year

"The newspapers says, says
Says it's true, it's true
And we can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one

I, I will begin again..."

--- U2, New Year's Day

Prends, plugging lang. Firstly, bili naman kayo ng Philippine Star this Sunday, New Year's Day. I've been told an essay I wrote on Ray Bradbury will come out in the lifestyle section.

Ikalawa, bili na rin kayo ng Men's Health Magazine, January issue. I've an essay on poetry plus a few nagpapaka writer, ultra poser-looking photos in borrowed Armani polo. Ahehe.

Tre, baka naman meron kayong kilala na nagtuturo o kaya'y may aklat tungkol sa pag-aaral ng salitang Italian. I really need to study it so I can defend my thesis this semester. Ilang buwan na lang ang nalalabi sa semestre eh.

Ciao! Kitakitchie!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Father's Lullabye

In the true idea
There is no dying
Because the world is imaginary.

If a flash of green
Foresees our sun as a splash
At least you lived among colors.

Adapt to the night
And since the world has already ended,
No need to fear each night’s sleep.

Fanny Howe
American Letters & Commentary
Issue 16

Friday, December 23, 2005

Boomtown Rat Redux

This week, I'm starting a retro tribute of sorts on seminal bands/artists of the past two or three decades. Mostly because I find many existing music columns incredibly self-indulgent. I think we need less of these collaged, cut-and-paste, namedrop-this-and-that band sort of thing. Let's go back to the music.

Secondly, and honestly, because I simply miss doing music reviews. Back in the mid '90s, I maintained a column called "Boomtown Rat" in the pages of the then Gokongwei-backed Manila Times. It was good while it lasted. Hay...(the faraway look, the audible sigh).

Ehem...Anyway, I'm not saying that the write-ups here will be critical reviews, really. More of "tribute" reviews just to share the poetry and music of certain bands.

So there.

Boomtown Rat

"Philosophy is a walk on slippery rocks,
Religion is a lie in the fog..."
What I Am

Artist: Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians
Album: Ghost of a Dog

Ghost of a Dog is Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians' follow-up to the critically-acclaimed (and much loved) first album, Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars.

While most second albums have a high suck ratio and often plays up on the pop allures and ditties of the first, this one is immediately redeemed by the intelligent lyrics and stripped-down melody. Ghost of a Dog is easily more melancholic, subdued, and poetic.

Brickell's future hubby Paul Simon and Johhny Lydon (Sex Pistols, P.I.L.) make vocal contributions to certain songs in this album. I'll leave it to you guys to find out which ones.

Choice cuts from the album are the short, folksy ones "Oak Cliff Bra" and the title track "Ghost of a Dog" and the angry "Stwisted".

My fave track is the ballad:

Me by the Sea

I'm glad no one's here just me by the sea
I'm glad no one's here to mess it up for me
I'm glad no one's here just me by the sea
But man, I wish I had a hand to hold

I saw an orange starfish on the side of a rock
I poked on his back & tried to pull him off
A crab scared me away he ran close to my toes
And man, I wish I had a hand to hold

The moon is nowhere almost time for the sun
The voice of the waves sound anciently young
I'm a prisoner of freedom ten toes in the sand
And man, I wish I had a hand to hold

I'm in the habit of being alone
I try hard to break it I can't on my own

I'm glad no one's here just me by the sea
I'm glad no one's here to mess it up for me
I'm glad no one's here just me by the sea

Monday, December 19, 2005

NCCA Writers Prize

Mga friends, bayaw, at hipag, ang saya. I read in the Philippine Star issue today (Monday) that I got the NCCA Writers Prize For Poetry! It's a grant of P250,000 (taxable pa) to write my first poetry book, "What Little I Know of Luminosity". This is slated for publication by the end of next year (hopefully).

Other awardees are Egay Samar for Fiction, Vim Yapan for Short Story, Danton Remoto for Translation, and Rebekah Marahombsar Alawi for Essay.

The money will be given in tranches (i.e., installments) quarterly within 2006. Formal awarding is on Feb. 24, 2006 at the NCCA's Bulwagang Leandro Locsin, in conjunction with the National Arts Month Celebration.

Congrats to the other awardees. I know you all are as excited about this as I am. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

More Bayaw Pics

These ones from Kit's buzznet account.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Precaucion! Precaucion!

Some shots of the band from the recent Writers' Night in UP Dil.
Guess who's the most wasak Chupacabra of the night.

via Eating the Sun

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Rest Of U2 Perfectly Fine With Africans Starving

December 7, 2005 | Issue 41•49 /

SAN FRANCISCO—Rock band U2, currently on tour in North America, is well-known for its human-rights advocacy, particularly its ongoing campaign to eradicate poverty in Africa. Less known to fans of the Irish supergroup, however, is that the lion's share of these efforts are made by lead singer Bono. The three other U2 members are perfectly okay with the dismal plight of Africa's poor.

The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton.

"Yeah, that Africa stuff is Bono's thing," The Edge said. "I don't mind if he pursues other interests, but I really try to focus on the guitar riffs that give U2 its characteristic sound."

Bassist Adam Clayton, while "not opposed" to Bono's tireless efforts to improve the quality of life for impoverished Third World citizens, is apparently too busy to spearhead an anti-poverty initiative of his own.

"I was happy to help out with the Live 8 thing," said Clayton, referring to the July mega-concert benefit. "But ever since I discovered rock 'n' roll in the mid-'70s, music has been my passion, and I'd be lying if I said it was something different, like helping people."

Clayton added: "I don't have a problem with [Bono] trying to save Africa. Who knows, it might inspire some decent songs. But just as long as it doesn't interfere with the band."

In 2002, Bono started an organization called Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa to raise awareness of the deep health and economic crises that cripple much of the continent. His fellow bandmates, however, do not lose any sleep over the debt crisis facing many African nations.

"If I could wave a magic wand and cure Africa's problems, I would do that," drummer Larry Mullen Jr. said. "But someone has to take care of the more practical, day-to-day stuff that Bono doesn't really bother with. Like, for example, how's the next album going to sound? How're we going to keep our live act fresh? I can't tell you how many millions of decisions go into making one Elevation tour."

Mullen added: "You don't win 14 Grammys feeding Africans."

In the rare moment they have free, Clayton, Mullen, and The Edge said they choose to relax and rejuvenate, without letting the plight of Africa's starving and disease-afflicted millions weigh too heavily on their minds.

"I have a garden to tend to when we're not on the road," The Edge said. "There's nothing wrong with taking care of your own little corner of the world. I work very hard in my garden."

When asked their opinion about Bono's prospects of being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize within the next year, the music-playing part of U2 could not stifle their groans.

"We had a big scare last year when [Bono's] name was put forward as the new president of the World Bank," Clayton said. "I mean, I have nothing against it, but it would just be more work for us, because we'd be left with the very challenging task of finding a new lead singer."

During live concerts, U2 audiences are treated to a stunning audiovisual experience, with Bono periodically giving his opinion on social and world events between songs. During these interludes, the rest of U2 is often conspicuously silent.

"When Bono starts telling the audience how messed up the world can be and how we should work together to make things better, I usually just zone out," Mullen said.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Bayaw Renga II

Sorry, mga bayaw, ngayon ko lang na-post. Isa-isa muna. :)

Horses nod when they neigh.
I witness this countlessly in the night.
They prance around in the darkness,
restless and affirmative, though
the lights are dimmed and my questions
are far-flung.

A yes returns at these odd times, silent
complicity and radiant noise. I cast
away my shadow: it's agreement
is too imperceptible.

The horse looks at me
and I agree.

For Billy Collins

Javie, Joel, Waps

Monday, December 05, 2005

New Wave Revisited

Wala lang, pero nakakabwiset na. I just have to write this down as reaction of sorts to what I think is a crazy trend in the local music scene. I'm talking about the rise of the OPB (Original Pilipino Brit) sound.

There is a growing and obvious discredit to the '80s new wave scene here. And obviously, it's primarily due to the annoyingly fake Brit accent. Baket pa? Kung cover, baka maintindihan ko pa na tribute kung baga. But if the songs are claimed to be original--and especially if the song is in Filipino--it's outright hilarious to hear the bloody English accents and twangs.

Riff Off

Of course, that's just one aspect of my thirty-something gripe. In the last few months alone, I've seen and heard quite a number of up and coming bands stealing riffs from new wave songs. Again, these are not self-confessed tribute bands like Dead Pop Stars (and believe me, they're ranked among the world's top ten Smiths cover band, according to Spin Magazine) and The Late Isabel (whose repertoire is unabashedly Siouxsie-inspired). Most of these bands won't even claim that their influences are from the New Wave era, hiding instead under the cloak of the "underground" or "indie" scene.

Meron dyang nagnanakaw sa Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Railway Children, The Fall.

Of course this is not at all helped by the whole shebang surrounding Orange and Lemons' (this year's NU Rock Awards Artists of the Year) alleged stealing of the melody and arrangement of the song, "Chandeliers" by The Care. Kuhang-kuha talaga. Yet I hear the band vehemently denies this, which makes it doubly sad.

If you want to have '80s influences, fine. Be proud of it. It's not like people will fault you for that. Oks pa nga 'yun. But plagiarizing riffs is another thing.

In fairness, even the Eraserheads once copied the riffs of another New Wave song called "Reach" by the Pale Fountains for their hit, "Alapaap". But I think they openly admitted it afterwards.

Pero 'yun na nga. The Eheads had already proven themselves by that time. Unlike these other bands whose main claim-to-fame are stolen shit.

Once a certain band in Mayric's (before they became the juiciest band in the country), did a cover of Morrissey's "Suedehead". When they got to the best part, the singers gibberishly chanted, "It was a dubi-ley, dubi-ley, It was dubi-le-hehey..." Ano raw? (Read: It was a good lay).


And It's Not the Synths

Secondly, what defines the New Wave genre is even not the overindulgence in synths and other electronic devices, but a back-to-basic musicality and lyrical sensibility. Coined by The Cars frontman Rik Ocasek, the term "New Wave" specifically referred to the "second wave" of the Britsound invasion that saw its rise in the early '80s. Ironically, though, it reached its peak at the advent of MTV, tainting the rise of the so-called "new romantics" with the pop calling of music videos and the much-maligned (ugh) fashion sense of the era. It was a new thing to be pop. And, indeed, video killed the radio stars.

The main effect? Simple: Most new wave songs are danceable, or at least had groovy remix versions. Some examples of dance tracks with poetic and philosophical lyrics are Bronski Beat's "Small town Boy," Seona Dancing's "More to Lose," or The Petshop Boys' "West End Girls".

Consider these other "common" new wave anthems:

"I made a pilgrimage to save this human race/
Never comprehending the race has long gone by..."
-- "I Melt With You", Modern English

"Angels fall like rain/
And love, is only heaven away..."
-- "Ghost in You", Psychedelic Furs

"Welcome to your life/
There's no turning back/
Even while we sleep/
We will find you/
Acting on your best behavior/
Turn your back on mother nature/
Everybody wants to rule the world..."
-- "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", Tears for Fears

The term became an umbrella word for all music coming out of the punk era or to bands reinventing themselves for the '80s. (Even the Clash and The Police were considered New Wave in the local scene). New Wave became a generic term for everything from Tears for Fears and Duran Duran to Talking Heads and Wang Chung-- which is almost everything outside Lionel Ritchie and Billy Ocean and Menudo. Heck, even Toad The Wet Sprocket's first single "All I Want" can be found in New Wave compilations.

It was a great era under the dimming Martial Law beacons, with the faint signal of XB 102 coloring our vocabularies of music and alternatives.

Lastly, a song from the American new wave band, Translator (which Los Chupacabras is planning to cover). And, obviously, we don't need OPB accents for this. Ayuz!


In your life there’s someone waiting,
lost on streets that no one travels
In my dream I see this meeting,
we’re a knot that fate unravels

But beyond our shameless sorrow,
catch me if I’m with the wind
We may be the sky tomorrow,
we’re a branch that will not bend

The world is spinning through my head
Your gravity won’t let me go,
You’re holding me together,
No one ever has to know

I’m a dream and you’re fading away,
I’m a dream and you’re fading away

In your face there’s someone sleeping,
lost in years that no one’s counting
The only way to hear the weeping,
suffering is like a fountain

Everything is far away now,
held beyond our nameless sorrow
Shifting streets that no one wanders,
lose the days, we only borrow

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Long December

and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin’
Now the days go by so fast
And it’s one more day up in the canyons
And it’s one more night in hollywood
If you think that I could be forgiven...i wish you would
The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl
And it’s one more day up in the canyons
And it’s one more night in hollywood
If you think you might come to california...i think you should
Drove up to hillside manor sometime after two a.m.
And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower,
Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her
And it’s been a long december and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass
And it’s one more day up in the canyon
And it’s one more night in hollywood
It’s been so long since I’ve seen the ocean...i guess I should


i can't believe my little girl's almost two years old
now. ayaw na ngang magpakarga sa kin. naku.
ilang taon na lang, mag memeyk-up na to.