I thought about Goya’s The Giant last night. I imagined him wandering into the desert alone seeking solitude. It is not because he is inherently detached from the people he left. Quite the opposite, I think maybe it is because he has become too attached to them. Perhaps these attachments carry a great burden even for him who is a giant. And so there he is, in the desert, surrounded by emptiness, just the moon and the stars above and the infinite sky that lets him breathe more deeply. I could see him sitting with his mind slowly spilling thoughts like sand spilling in the wind. There is a sense of unburdening, a sense of bleeding. Perhaps after his mind has been emptied he would be left with nothing but sadness that is ultimately comforting. And though he has turned his back, he is compelled to steal a melancholic glance from where he has been. He does this not in anticipation of anything and definitely not out of regret. He is simply looking back before he finally looks away.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Imagine yourself in an island, alone, with thoughts of a life blooming inside your head. It is dusk or midnight or high noon and you feel unsheathed with no shade or blanket for comfort. You’ve been on the island for a very long time but you refuse to make it your home. Every cell in your body refuses to acclimate and you want, above anything else, to live in another place where you think you can breathe. You believe the island has become inhabitable. You are dying in this island, you think, you are bleeding. But as thoughts blossom inside your head, as they take a life of their own, you feel more and more marooned, chained in a place of no escape.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I was at the mall killing time and waiting for this guy to send a reply to my text message. I was asking him if I already should go to the motel and get us a room. We’ve hooked up before and he has become a regular. In fact, I’m this close to falling in love with him and yes I have decided to tell him what I feel that same afternoon.
Monday, July 28, 2014
At exactly three in the morning, his alarm clock started shrieking. He quickly bolted out of the bed thinking it was something else but when he realized it was just the damn clock, he let himself fall into the sheets again. But the clock continued screaming, as if it has just realized it was alive and was petrified of its own existence. He tried to roll towards it but he found that he couldn’t. His bulging mid-section, not to mention his increasingly brittle bones, was preventing him to do so. He had no choice but to sit up and walk to the other side of his empty king size bed. He wanted to put the clock out of its misery.
Even as a kid, he hated waking early in the morning. He remembered once going full-throttle on his Kapampangan nanny after she yanked him off the bed. He was always a brat, and still is, and he knew that. He always had it his way until, well, until his sister came along. That made things interesting in their household. His sister, though a few years younger, is a world-class bully. And now, he regretted being bullied for this three o' clock appointment that he thought he didn't need at all.
Before he could even get out of his bed, his private phone began ringing. He didn't even have to take a peek at the caller ID to know who it was. With great trepidation, he pushed the speaker on.
"Noynoy! Ayan ha, I made an effort na! I woke you up at three am!" his sister screamed at the receiver. For some reason, she is always screaming.
"O sige na sige na. Gising na ako."
"Noynoy, aren't you going to thank me? It's your big day and I’m making big tulong kaya."
"Oo na... oo na. Kagigising ko lang! Nasaan ka ba?"
"Shooting, ano ka ba? Hindi mo alam? I'm doing Sukob part 4 na for the MMFF! Hay naku Noy, how can you be an effective president if you are not up to date with the current events?"
"O sige na, sige na..."
"Ay wait, your morning schedule are okay na ha! I cleared it na sa secretary mo. O di ba Noy, parang personal secretary mo lang ako? Bongga! Suwerte ka Noy, ako ang naging sister mo!"
"Oo na, oo na. Sige na. Magkita na lang tayo sa breakfast."
"Kris, ang aga-aga sumisigaw ka! Masakit sa tenga!"
"I haven’t heard it pa! Mag-thank you ka muna! At tsaka kay Bimby kasi nag-text siya sa’yo. Talagang love na love ka niya."
His hands immediately curled into a fist. He wanted to hurl the phone through the window. He wanted to put the pillow into the receiver until the voice has been muffled like an extinguished breath due to strangulation.
"Noy! Hoy Noy, ano ba naka-tulog ka na naman ba? Noy!"
He took a deep breath and stared at the phone.
"Thank you Kris at pakisabi kay Bimby, thank you na rin. O sige na, marami pa akong gagawin."
"You don't sound so happy Noy."
"Thank you na nga eh."
"Hay naku Noy, you are such a brat talaga. Anyway, gotta go! I'm doing a death scene this morning. Hay, showbiz talaga, its killing me."
"But it's so much fun!"
"Kris! Bye na nga eh!"
"Ano ba I’m still making kuwen----"
In an instant nothing could be heard but the dial tone.
Okay, he thought, I'm going to pay for that at breakfast. He proceeds to the bathroom and before he could even lift his toothbrush he looked at himself in the mirror. He is 54 years old and he already looks like a grandfather. His hair has been receding since he has stepped into office and his jowls are already drooping but, he concludes, his eyes still have mischief in them. They still rove for pretty young things. And if only, he thought, if only he finds the one he is looking for in the soonest possible time. For now though, he sighs, he has this speech to think about and the whole extravaganza that his sister has bullied him into.
When he got out of his room, his secretary and his assistant were already waiting for him, up and about.
“Good morning Mr. President!” said both his secretary and his assistant in unison. Chirpily, if he may say so.
“Good morning,” he grumbled.
“Have you read the speech sir?” asked his assistant.
“Iha, ano sa tingin mo?”
“Oh, but have you seen the revisions sir?”
He stopped in his steps.
“The one about Yolanda.”
He frowned. He didn't like last minute revisions. As per his instructions, he wanted everything prepared days in advance. He snatched the paper from his assistant's hands.
“Hindi ba sinabi ko sa inyo...”
Cowering, the assistant trailed behind while his boss pored over the revised material. This enabled his secretary to pipe in.
“Sir, Madam Kris has scheduled a facial, a haircut and a fitting for you this morning. At saka massage raw po, para ma-relax kayo.”
“Paano ako mare-relax eh tingnan mo ito? Punyeta!”
While the barber was putting shampoo in what was left of his hair, he thought about his life. Is this what he really wants? Was he ever as ambitious as his father? No, he concluded, he wasn't. He was very much his mother's son. Only son, dotted to bits. And what he really wanted to do ---instead of this! ---- was to be a race car driver, be one of those formula one superstars. He imagined himself wearing onesies tattooed with various high profile corporations, stepping on the gas and letting the buzz of the speed get to him while, of course, in the bleachers, his blonde girlfriend awaits in fear. But he will get to the finish line all in one piece and he will get there before anyone else and he will be a hero. A big celebrated hero. Just like his father. It would be ----
“Excuse me Mr. President.”
He opened his eyes and before him loomed his secretary’s pimpled face.
“What,” he said snapping out of his reverie.
“Sec. Roxas is on the phone.”
What does that bastard want?
“Hello Mr. President. How’s the pampering?”
“So you know about this?”
“It’s all over the news! Chinika na ni Kris sa buong bansa!”
God, that woman should be gagged!
“Ah eh... eto inaantok.”
“Don’t because I have a reminder for you. In the revised speech, obviously, I highlighted the progress we have made in Tacloban. Inalis ko na yung iba kasi parang makakasama lang sa imahe ng palasyo.”
Eh ikaw ang may kagagawan niyan eh, he thought to himself but decided to keep mum. Not at this hour. Not when there's a big speech coming along.
“You had a hand in editing my speech,” he asked Sec. Mar.
“Uh yes? And make sure you read the revised speech I sent just now.”
“Yes, just now. Oh sige, magpa-pamper ka na muna. Enjoy the gold-leaf facial. It's the best! Remember, a healthy-looking president is a good president.”
Gago! He thought as he handed the phone to his secretary. God, there's another alpha male with big father issues!
But yes, Mar was right! The facial was a relaxing one. And as the famed duktora to the stars dug through his face and applied gold appliqué on his skin, he started thinking of his failures as a president. Now, he couldn’t be blamed, could he? After all, it was Mar who wanted to be president. It was Mar who was dying to live in Malacanang. As for him, he always hated the gated mansion. He would've preferred to be in Tarlac or in his condo in Makati and still be working for Nike. He was happy being a yuppie, left alone with his bourgeoisie lifestyle. Kay Kris na lang ang spotlight. After all that brat wanted attention from the moment she came out of their mother's womb.
He was about to doze off when he heard once again the clack-clack-clack of his assistant's high heels. Those Manolos would to have go, he thought as he sat up to meet her.
“Ano na naman?”
“It's Mr. Abad, sir. Do you want to take it?
“Do I have a choice?”
He took the phone from his secretary and with rich annoyance dripping from his voice said:
“Yes, Butch. Ano na namang kalokohan ang gusto ninyong sabihin ko?”
“Mr. President, cranky ka talaga in the morning! Well, relax. This is just about the DAP of course. I know, I know it's something that we still have to micromanage ---“
“Micromanage?! Well some people are calling for my impeachment!”
“Mr. President, don't worry. We're already working on it. Basta focus on your speech later today. I've added my two cents worth and even edited a few things...”
“What? You had a hand in my speech?”
“Mr. President, I already sent you the revised speech just now.”
“Just now?!!!! Ano ba naman kayo?! Ala-singko na!”
“Now... Now... Mr. President, just enjoy your fitting. It's by one of the best tailors in Manila. Siguradong swabeng-swabe ka mamaya sa podium.”
“Alam mo rin ang tungkol dito?”
“It's all over the news Mr. President. Unang Hirit is even doing the same makeover on a jeepney driver as we speak! See you at lunch time!”
When he stepped into the bedroom, the stylist and his team were already there. And Boy, of course, was also present to coach him on the nuances of his speech.
“Good morning Mr. President!” screamed Boy. “Our wonderboy is looking good today! That's a good sign!”
“Thank you Boy! Now, anong gagawin natin?”
“Sandali lang ito, Mr. President. But first, have you received the latest copy of the speech? I've added a few lines to make it more relatable, more emotional... more...”
“Showbiz? Pati ikaw pinakikialaman ang speech ko! At ginawa ninyo pa akong makeover subject. O ano na namang revision 'yan?”
“Tinanggal ko na ‘yung mga metaphor-metaphor na sinulat ninyo Mr. President! What the public want are forceful words, words that they can understand at face value. Hindi na bangkang papel na literal na namang iisipin ng mga manonood. Remember Mr. President, this speech isn't for the senate or the congress. This speech...”
Boy turns the president towards the mirror where he could see himself entirely.
“This speech is for them... and more importantly for you... if you believe every word you say, if every pore in your body is screaming honesty and if your cute puppy eyes exude above anything else sincerity--- never mind intelligence ---- then they, the public, and you, yourself will believe them.”
“Bakit? Sa tingin mo mag-sisinungaling ako?”
“Ikaw naman Mr. President, mapag-biro ka talaga. Alam mo, dapat ikaw ang nag-showbiz dahil mas magaling kang umarte kesa kay Kris! Ooops, don't tell that to friendship!”
“Puwede bang pang-matinee idol?”
“Piolo and John Lloyd have nothing on you!”
He looked at himself in the mirror and even though he knew it was all lies he couldn’t help but smile at himself. He does look good.
“Pero teka, naka-incorporate na ba d'yan ang revisions nila Mar at Butch?”
“Ano po ‘yun, Mr. President?”
His smile quickly vanished.
As he tried on the designer Barong Tagalog, he once again thought about his life. This is one of his final State of the Nation Address speeches and if he had it his way, well, uh, he will never have it his way. The weight of his family’s legacy still rests on his delicate shoulders and he should be proud, really, proud that they have given him this opportunity. Soon the family will be discussing his sister's bid for political office and if and when she wins he knows that that is the time to leave the country. Maybe hide in Timbuktu perhaps? For now though there is the speech. He reached out for his lucky charm which he always keeps in his pocket, reserved for special occasions such as this one. It’s a moldy paper, almost tattered, a letter from his father. Carefully, he unfolded the paper and read the words.
"The only advice I can give you: Live with honor and follow your conscience," his father wrote. "There is no greater nation on earth than our Motherland. No greater people than our own. Serve them with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength."
"Son," he read to himself, "the ball is now in your hands."
He folded the letter again and put it away. He looked at himself in the mirror and started practicing his speech with the help of an IPad and wondered if Boy was right. Maybe he should’ve been the movie star.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
I woke up with a terrible toothache. It all started from there. From this rotting tooth, which has been bugging me on and off for several months now. Of course I couldn’t help but think of Raskolnikov. I wasn’t only psychologically and emotionally in pain, I was, damn it, also disintegrating physically. This has been my thinking ever since the year kicked in: My life as I know it is over. Over!
And so I woke up with this toothache and the physical pain soon turned into an emotional one when I saw that the guy I’m currently infatuated with hasn’t sent a text message. I knew then I was off to a rocky start. But first, of course, something has to be done with the toothache. My plan was to have the tooth extracted. I wanted it out of my fucking life. Ganun lang naman dib a? If something is causing us pain then we should simply take it out. But the dentist, after seeing how swollen my gums were, said: Nope, no can do. Apparently I have to live with it until the swelling subsides. On the upside, I get to snack on painkillers for the entire week. What really bothered me, however, was the diagnosis. The swelling, it turns out, was caused by my waning immune system. And my god, my immune system hasn’t been so hot lately. In fact, ever since the year started I’ve been sick several times and have grown considerably thin. Although there are legit factors as to why I’ve gotten scary thin. For one, I run every day, and two, until recently I was on a strict diet. But then, yes, given my improprieties in the past several months I’ll have to be stupid not to worry. I was panicking internally. Have I finally gotten it?
Several people have told me to get tested. I knew I had to. For the last three months I had this suspicion that I’ve finally had it. There was even a moment early one morning when I woke up totally convinced that I’m sick. I was sweating and I kept lighting one cig after the other and pacing around the apartment muttering incomprehensible words while thinking of my imminent doom. Finally I sat down and admitted to myself that at 36 I still needed to be parented. Even at my age I needed adult supervision. Yes, I lost my marbles that morning.
But I can’t get tested, I would always argue to myself. I have begun to be emotionally invested with someone and the mere thought of telling the guy that I am infected scared me no end. I wouldn’t be able to do it without breaking down. I’m not even sure if I could handle the result if things didn’t go well. I might kill myself. I might just finally go berserk for real. I definitely wouldn’t be able to handle it, not with this kind of year, not when I’m having a terrible day. But the trip to the dentist had already set off a series of paranoid thoughts and as luck would have it I had an entire afternoon free. Alam kong masisiraan ako ng ulo sa kaka-isip so fuck it, I thought, let’s do it!
But I wasn’t prepared, not by a long shot. I was scared shitless. Even before I had stepped into the clinic, I was already breaking down. I walked around the mall vacillating if I really should do it or not. I kept thinking: What if? What if? What if I’ve been infected? What will I do? Could I even handle it? What about the people I’ve been with? Should I tell them? What on earth should I tell them? That sorry I fucked up and you’re one of my casualties?
I paced around the mall with my mind running in several directions when --- Bam! --- I bumped into, well, Bam, who is a very dear friend. He doesn’t visit this particular mall but on this faithful afternoon, just as when I was so lost, we found each other in its decrepit corridors. And his presence brought me relief, sort of. Apparently, I needed a friend that afternoon. I dragged Bam to the nearest cafe and with my frayed nerves told him my plans. He had this serious look on him and he said: “Do it. Do it now.” I don’t know why but knowing that there was one soul on this miserable earth who knew my predicament made me braver. And I just knew the moment I saw him that I had to do it. I had to get tested, now.
The afternoon was already over and the clinic was almost empty except for the nurses and this cute guy who I assumed was also getting tested. After taking my blood pressure I was made to wait and so I started reading a book. While reading though I kept my eyes on my surroundings and I kept seeing this gay nurse. I sort of wished that he wouldn’t be the one to counsel me because I needed eye candy for this situation. I wanted a cute counsellor to divert my growing fear. But faith, apparently, wasn’t on my side that afternoon because I eventually found myself sharing a cubicle with him, with me telling the gay nurse the nitty-gritty details of my sexual history. It was at that moment when I realized that despite having an open mind I still had a few prejudices. And my prejudice was directed at him. He wasn’t straight-acting. He had make-up on and the uniform he wore had a woman’s silhouette. I have nothing against transguys but I thought that he wouldn’t be able to relate to my story. The counselling wouldn’t be effective because I thought we lead totally different sexual lives. But eventually though I would realize how stupid and wrong I was.
As usual I tuned out during the lecture. Instead, in my mind’s eye, I was framing the nurse in a shot. He was discussing about repercussions while I, imagining him in the middle of the frame, was seeing a man with a huge window behind him and beyond the window a noisy train running across the tracks. Perhaps the train could mean a transition? A literal visualization of how I am moving from point A to point B. I only found myself focusing on the guy (the camera zooming in) when he said that the results might be inconclusive. I thought that in the event that the result turn out positive I could hold on to that piece of information for hope. Though I was generally nice to the nurse, deep inside I knew I was being a pompous ass.
And then they had to get a blood sample. Usually, I’m scared shitless of needles. The only time when I’m not frightened of it is when... well, never mind. But of course I survived the ordeal without fainting and of course I was made to wait again. Having to wait for tests like these is excruciating. This small pocket of time is mostly wasted on anxious thoughts and grand declarations of sins and desperate prayers of absolutions from one’s god. I, for one, ditched Sartre for a bit and talked to my personal god, who I’ve known to have a terrible sense of humor. I felt that I was at a crossroad and curiously enough I haughtily thought that somehow I had a choice in the outcome. I really did. If only I could be really sure that I wanted to have my life as it is then I would have it. But if, in a fit of rebellion, I decided to fuck it let me know how this story ends then my personal god would give me the ending that I wanted. Out of fear though, I begged to be spared. Even if, as Saint Teresa once said, more tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones I pleaded my god to give it to me this time. Just this time, let me have a lucky moment. The cute guy was finally called in and in a few seconds came out with this big cute smile. Fuck! If I came out of that door with a reactive slip I would definitely do a Dolzura Cortez on them (“Diyos ka ba? Ikaw ban a nagbigay ng buhay sa akin? Sino ka ba? ... Ayoko pang mamatay!”).
When I started walking towards the room I still wasn’t sure of the outcome. Normally, I’d have this instinct, this feeling that somehow everything will be okay but at that moment I had nothing. I felt that it was up in the air. Parang Russian Roulette lang! My heart began doing summersaults. My limbs were almost non-existent. Outside the train continued to cross the line. Inside, I was a fucking mess. The gay nurse started talking about precautions in the event that I am, indeed positive. Yada, yada, yada... I wasn’t paying attention until he said are you ready? Yes, just like a game show host but this time I know I’m not to win big bucks but if things turn out well I do get to have my life back. And it was...
Fuck it, non-reactive!
The gay nurse leaned towards me and sheepishly asked: “Are you happy?” He himself looked relieved. Yes, I was fucking wrong. It didn’t matter if we led different lives or didn’t date the same set of guys. In fact, it was a bonus that he was a gay guy like me because at that moment I knew that he understood me all along. We were one and the same and I was just lucky that he was as compassionate and as patient as he was.
I looked at the piece of paper and I started to grin. And the grin turned into this big fucking smile. I was relieved. I was fucking relieved big time. And I started searching for the nurse’s name on the paper because I wanted to thank him. I wanted him to know that I appreciate his help and his kindness. And so I said:
“Thank you Deville.”
“Ay,” he said, totally surprised. “Hindi Devile ang name ko!”
Ahhhh... no wonder his name sounded weird. His name, apparently, was Divine. Talk about signs heh? And Divine, thank you so, so much for the help. I apologize for being such a pompous ass.
Divine ushered me out and asked if I wanted condoms. Man, I grabbed as many as I could but of course I wouldn’t be using them anytime soon. I think my libido just committed suicide.
When I got out of the clinic I had the sudden urge to smoke an entire pack (so para next time, lung cancer naman ‘di ba?). I went inside a 7-11 outlet and saw this cute guy. When I got out I saw another cute one. Suddenly the entire Quezon City was filled with beautiful, desirable men! But sorry guys, I think I’ll enjoy my new life first. And yes, I sort of consider this as another shot at life. I’ve been unbelievably careless before but now baby I’ll live by Freud’s Reality Principle. My id will now have to take a back seat because damn it I still have a movie to make.
Note: And yes, after writing this kumanta ako ng “Dahil Mahal Kita.”
Monday, July 21, 2014
Sounds like a Haruki Murakami novel, no? The title I mean, parang After the Quake lang, only I haven’t read that book and the storm in this case has been, well, less catastrophic compared to Yolanda and Milenyo, which is good. I have just finished Baby Cakes though, Armistead Maupin’s continuing saga of the residents of Barbary Lane. I remember liking Tales of the City and so I signed up for this one as well. It’s actually light and a little bit predictable, perfect for those long rides to Ortigas and back. Last night, I was on a bus trying to read its last few pages. Traffic was surprisingly breezy despite the incoming storm. I was feeling shitty and defeated because we had to wait for our salary to be released until 6pm and because, well, I’m currently into this guy who’s being ambivalent about my not-so-subtle declarations of love. To be honest, it’s more of the latter rather than the former. And so I felt like a big loser. I am 36 years old, barely making ends meet, I haven’t done anything of significance and to top it all off I’m chasing after this young man to be my --- what? --- source of happiness? I looked outside where streaks of rain have violently started coming down. Inside, the harsh white light fell cold on our faces and on the radio Peter Frampton was singing that song that I’ve always secretly liked. My heart was sinking and I was staring at people’s faces, poor, ragged faces just like mine, and felt like a total loser. But then I thought how can I feel defeated when I’m still breathing. I’m still alive, aren’t I? (To which, my suicidal other self quipped: Not for long, old man!)
Today I woke up at seven and sat with the dogs to watch Glenda surge through the city. Water came in torrents --- sheet upon sheet of blurry whiteness came down as the trees swayed ferociously. Maybe I could find meaning in all of these, I thought. A metaphor perhaps that could help me realize something which will lead to an Aha! Moment. I recently read an article about the difference between being sad and being depressed. Sad people find meaning in the face of tragedy. Depressed people, on the other hand, can’t see any meaning in anything. To them, everything is meaningless and hopeless. I stare once again at the rain and I felt nothing. I felt dead inside. I sent a text message to the guy but received nothing in return (which is understandable, the city has been without electricity for almost 24 hours. Bumabagyo na nga bakla, ume-emote ka pa!)
Later as I was walking around Cubao I ran into a former officemate, a gay guy who traded the gay lifestyle for a wife and a kid. In fact he was with the wife and son when I bumped into him. Lately I’ve been bumping into people from my past. Two weeks ago, I was talking to a former boyfriend (who I’m glad have found new love!) via Facebook. I bumped into my other former boyfriend on Saturday when I went out to get load. That same day I was at the mall when I received a text from someone I once slept with. He saw me at the mall daw but was surprised that I didn’t bother to say hi. Of course, I didn’t even know who he was. Sunday, I saw a guy I used to hook up with in a cafe with his former wife and daughters. Wednesday, I was having my daily morning jog when this guy suddenly called my name. Again, I don’t have the faintest idea who the guy was. And yes, again, I struggled to find meaning in all of these. Maybe I am just waking up after a very long sleep. Sabihin na nating binaklang Sleeping Beauty ang peg. Only I’m hardly a beauty because the booze and cigarettes and all that (funky) jazz had permanently “monsterized” my fez. That or it’s time to get another HIV test.
Now I feel old but hardly enlightened. My heart has already been kicked around more often than a soccer ball at the World Cup and, damn it, I haven’t even made a goal. On some days I wake up and go for a jog and I head to the office with sunshine beaming out of my heart. On most days however especially at dusk it’s Glenda all over again. But, as the guy I’m currently infatuated with constantly tells me, I have to keep on looking at the bright side of life. Alam ko naman ‘yan eh but coming from him it seems to mean something. Maybe we are meant to be no? Or maybe I just need a good psychiatrist who is also tall, dusky, and cute?
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Kalokohan at kalandian on a cold, lonely Wednesday night (haha!).
The thought of a seven-inch cock is making me very, very lonely
Because honey, oh dear! I haven’t been getting laid lately!
But I haven’t forgotten, mind you girls
How I used to make guys’ toes curl
Oh what a sight to behold
When those little turnips go hard to hold
The bulb-like head that gets almost red when they cum
And how quickly it deflates when they’re done
Blame it on the weather, I guess
Your ate has just been awfully depressed
And honestly all this talk of cock is making me gag
Is this what we’re supposed to do because we’re a fag?
Really honey, I’d rather be a hag
And yes, I confess a certain boy is making me feel like a rag
Hay, who am I fooling?
When it is the man and not the cock that I am missing
The hell with fucking!
Once I’ve tasted the sweet cum of lovingTragically, he becomes my everything!
labels & shit
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