Thursday, August 27, 2015

Outside looking in

Maybe Disgust was on board that day. Well, on most days it’s Anger and then Disgust or Sadness but rarely Joy. Yeah, maybe Disgust was on that afternoon because I sat in the theatre watching Inside Out and not exactly paying much attention. I just wanted to sit inside a cold space, watch bright colours, eat my popcorn and drink soda. Alone. And no, I wasn’t high if that’s what you are thinking. I decided to watch Inside Out because Bing Bong kept popping in my FB feed. Who the fuck is Bing Bong? Maybe I wasn’t into it because Joy was the one telling the story and I hated her from the get-go. Or maybe because I read somewhere that if the kid lived in some Third World country the story will be a hell lot different. Oo naman. Or maybe I kept thinking of Studio Ghibli movies and how co-director Ronnie del Carmen used to rave about Spirited Away. In fact, there is a shot in the movie that was a direct homage to Totoro. Remember the sleeping clown? I loved Totoro because I thought it was pure joy. I loved the sequence where the kids wait for their father on a particularly rainy night and the appearance of Totoro was preceded by drops of water on the umbrella. Or the scene where the kids wake up and see Totoro dancing before the bed of plants. It was strange and happy and kind of sad. The sadness was just bubbling underneath and Totoro was like this Earth mother who seems to cradle the kids as they go through difficult times. And one thing I sure didn’t like about Inside Out was how the story was told through the dialogue. Everything happening on screen was constantly being explained. Parang manual. Which is a bummer because the human mind --- as any expert will tell you--- still remains a big mystery. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

First time

Robert said: When I was just a kid, there was a girl that I used to hang out with, our neighbour’s daughter, Denden. She was a steady fixture in our house having been entrusted by her own yaya to us every time she went out to get something at the market. I was too young to be self-conscious around girls. I was seven and Den-den a year younger. But I always thought that she had more courage, wilder than I could ever be at that time. We had just seen Superman III on Betamax and were playing in the bedroom alone. I don’t remember where my yaya was but I do remember the static on the TV, the hissing noise it makes when nothing is coming out of it.  She had put a deflated salbabida on her shoulders, acting like the sassy villainess in the movie. I had tied a blanket on my neck as a cape. I was asking her about something when she turned to me with these wild eyes. “Do you want to know my secret?” she asked me. “What?” I said. She told me that her secret is hidden beneath her clothes and this she followed with a dare. Would I dare to search for it? Thinking of it now I think she already knew about the difference between the two of us, the thing that made us a boy and a girl.

Are you familiar with Alice Munro’s works? Robert asked me. Not much, I said. There is a passage from one of her stories that I couldn’t get out of my mind, he told me. Every time I would come across it, I would remember Den-den. Robert took out his Tablet and we both searched through its contents until he had found the aforementioned passage. It was about a girl’s refusal to acknowledge the sexual tension between her and her friend. “There was none of that bothered search for hiding places, none of that twiddling pleasure and frustration and immediate, raw shame,” Munro wrote.

Robert told me that he was struck with the words “search for hiding places” for it was what he and Den-den had done that afternoon. He lifted up his shirt for him so Den-den could compare the size of their nipples. She raised her skirt for Robert so he could get a better glimpse of what is hidden behind her panties. He in return pulled his pants down so she could see what he has been hiding all along.

How did it feel when she reached out and touched it? I asked him.

Robert was silent for a moment and came up with nothing. He couldn’t recall what he felt that afternoon but he remembers the shame that he felt as soon as he was exposed. Suddenly, he said, he became self-conscious around her.

I was 17, I told Robert. I had seen a fair share of porn and I spent most of my afternoons jerking off at the dorm when my roommate was still in class. But I was a virgin and like any other virgins at that age I was anxious to have real sex. There was this girl, Sandy, a year older than me. She wasn’t exactly a friend but we regularly exchanged messages on some online chat room. It was like a dance with her. There were times when she would drop hints and there were times when I would invite her over. But nothing came out of it. She would be okay one minute and then she would back out. There was a time when I, myself, backed out because I wasn’t sure. To be honest I was scared. There were so many things to think about. But one afternoon, we both agreed to meet. I asked her over for some drinks and the moment she came to the dorm I knew we were ready. After a few bottles I made a move. My heart was about to ricochet out of my chest. I was scared shitless. I leaned over and kissed her. When she kissed back, I pushed her down and pressed my hips on her. I already had a hard-on. I started unbuttoning her blouse but naturally I had trouble taking off her bra as I had never unhooked a bra in my life. In my haste to touch her breasts I pulled the padding down hurting her in the process. I stopped for a second and let her untangle the hooks at the back. And then I was squeezing the supple left breast with my left hand, grazing her nipple with my thumb. Hurriedly I tried to unbutton her pants because I wanted to touch her pussy. I had not seen a cunt in real life and I badly wanted to see one. I watched carefully as she pulled down her pants along with her panties. I could still see her now. I could still see her black pubic hair and the tender, small slit beneath it. Slowly, I put my middle finger through it and I remember my finger being smothered with her juice. My dick was already protruding from my shorts and she unbuttoned mine while she was still in my hand. She was also exploring then. She held the length of my cock and touched my balls with her manicured fingers. I almost came when she did that. We were so aroused by something that is so unfamiliar to each of us.

It was a balmy night and Robert and I decided to walk to the highway from the cafe. I was a bit tipsy and was just glad to be with this man that I had liked for a very long time. I hailed a cab and we both sat at the back. Neither of us spoke. I could feel my skin humming and I tried desperately not to reach out and touch even the tip of his fingers. Quietly, we climbed up to my room and as soon as we got in, he turned to me and smiled. I smiled back and leaned over. I kissed him full on the mouth. There is roughness, I discovered, when you kiss a man. There is a different texture, coarser compared to when with a woman. He took off his clothes, I took off mine. We knew what we were both going to see. We knew what we were going to get. There was no mystery of course. Whatever his clothes hid I had already seen in my own body. But still there was this aching need to explore, this desire to intimately know the slopes and creases. It wasn’t the physical differences between us that felt new. It was the different sensations that I felt beneath the bodies we already know so very well. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Paalam Chichi

2010 - 2015

“In the course of the experiment, that chimp had a baby. Imagine how her trainers must have thrilled when the mother, without prompting, began to sign to her newborn.

Baby, drink milk.

Baby, play ball.

And when the baby died, the mother stood over the body, her wrinkled hands moving with animal grace, forming again and again the words: Baby, come hug, Baby, come hug, fluent now in the language of grief.” 

Amy Hempel, In the Cemetery Where Al Johnson is Buried

But Chichi, I’m still not fluent in the language of grief. And I miss you. And we all feel so alone without you. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

On Becoming

“I remember: becoming.”

That’s how writer Thomas Glave puts it in his book “Words to Our Now” when he revisited the time when he was still a young black gay man. He was then slowly realizing that his gender, sexuality and race could basically serve as invitations to danger, exclusions, and cruelty.


Not evolving. Not learning. But becoming. As if he is slowly being shaped by what he sees, by what he experiences in his world.

“... as in those lonely discovering days I sought so many beyond the infuriating sheen of cold blue eyes that were so sure they had the power to make me disappear they even had me convinced. Vanish, that coldness said, “Vanish” – and I did, partly unmindful of injustice; always preferring life among the invisible, particularly if they’re my own. I remember: becoming.”

The word struck me hard because I remember becoming, too. When I was younger and didn’t know well, I didn’t just yield to what my surroundings were instructing me to do. I became what, in my mind, the people around me wanted me to be (which is not to say that I became a strapping heterosexual, by the way). Much worse than that, I became fearful, someone who knows how to hide, how to act, someone who knows his place. Someone “straight-acting” as your regular Planet Romeo/ Grindr moron would say. I became that person.

But Glave also became someone better as he learned from other writers, as he learned from his travels, as he learned his own truths. “I hope that I’ll neither fail along the way nor be killed for aiming to live my own truth, as I --- we --- refuse to be silenced.”

Reading him I realized that we live in an age of validation. We are validating each of our choices. The ever expanding societal norms are telling us that each experience and more importantly each life is valid. Caitlyn’s choices are ever more so valid, if we are to delve into today’s headlines.

“Today, sixteen years ago or right now in the present, our we still exists in our acknowledged differences and strengths woven into the dream of a shared continuing history, the dream of so many still-silent and silenced voices throughout the world that are part of this We, inseparable from it. We can never let it be erased. It will never be erased... I close my eyes and breathe in, deeply: the new long season breathes out its beginning. Deep in the blood, beating. Discovering. Becoming. Yes.”

Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


I've got three heavy bags and one large plastic container. That's where all my books are stored until I find an apartment tomorrow morning. Yes, we're moving once again. After spending three Christmases and three New Year's Eves we're, well, not exactly moving up, but moving on. I can't say that I am not excited about moving to another apartment. I just have too much bad memories in this one. What's amazing though is how much stuff we have accumulated after three years. I remember moving to this apartment with a bag of clothes and a few things stuffed inside my mother's van. Now, it would probably take us a truck before we could finally haul everything out. I'm not sure if it's a literal metaphor of how my boyfriend and I had grown through the years but something tells me it's a positive thing. Well, positive in a metaphorical sense but certainly not literally as I can't seem to figure how I'll have enough energy to carry these things down the building. I haven't even started on our clothes and other stuff. I was only able to take down the shelf and collected the magazines. God good, I never realized how much back issues of Vogue and W Magazines I have collected. I mean, how many Vogue issues does a gay man need? I took down the books first because that's what I am most excited about. When we finally find our new place, I plan to create my own study corner where I could place my books and look at them whenever I am in desperate need of inspiration. Maybe I'll have a cute table where I could keep my notebook and a plant underneath to filter the smoky air when I am writing and chain smoking.

To be fair, my brother has really been divine recently. He not only offered to lend me some money so we could find our own apartment, he has also given us his portable stove, which is kind of nice since the boyfriend is a good cook. I guess, that's how desperate he is to cut us loose. Every time he catches me home, he always ask me about our new place and I kept lying that I have already found one. I'm not sure really why I have this urge to lie when I could tell him the truth. He is, after all, my brother. I think I just don't need another person telling me what I am doing wrong. What is even more ridiculous is that I have already taken out some of our things in our sala when I still don't have an idea where we will move. I'll probably look for an apartment tomorrow after my trip to the gym. I just hope that the new place doesn't have 1. ghosts, 2. catty neighbors, and 3. thugs and thieves. What I am hoping though is that it would have a nice toilet where I could take long leisurely baths without thinking how icky the floors are.

- sometime in the past decade

2am panic

alas-dos na ng umaga. wala pa rin akong maisip na ipi-pitch at deadline na mamaya. gusto ko naman talaga mag-pitch eh kaso i've been so damn depressed these past few days (weeks, years...). i feel like i'm swimming in this sea of negativity. daming kuwento actually pero hindi lang talaga for public consumption. gusto ko nga i-post ito sa facebook kaso nahihiya ako. i've long stopped posting personal things on facebook where most of my acquaintances are. yes, acquaintances even the closest friends are now just acquaintances because they have ceased to know what's going on with me these past few years. nagpapa-pitch pa naman ng romcom. romcom? eh anti-love nga ako eh. anti-hugot lines and i hated that thing called shitty movie because i think, i think romance is opium for the filipino masses. kapag na-in love ka nga naman sa gitna ng kahirapan para ka na ring nag-win sa wowowin. so i'm drinking now in the hopes of punching out something from my atrophied brain. nothing is coming out. may etiquette for mistresses ang isang production company maybe i could think of a story line na comedy pero mistress ang bida? may idea na ako tungkol sa isang barista pero ugh i want to turn the genre upside down. kung nagre-reklamo ako sa mga pelikula hindi ba dapat mag-isip isip ako ng something na para sa akin ay worthwhile? ive asked myself: what do i talk about when i talk about love? no, that's not a birdman reference, that's a raymond carver reference, excusssse me. what do i know about love? i have two massively failed relationships that shook me to the core. and since one was four years long and the other almost three i think you could already consider it marriages no? so i'm a divorcee. at sabi pa naman ni lola nora ephron "the most important thing about me, for quite a long chunk of my life, was that i was divorced." well, to be honest, i liked her essay on nyc apartments more. and i guess i don't know anything about love. but, and this is a big but, i've learned about psychological maladies in the process.

so now it's 2.25 on my clock i dont have anything except that i've seen lea salonga sing reflections on youtube. just when will my goddamn reflection show who i am inside? but then i don't even know what's inside me these days. i definitely don't know.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

oh god, i think i just fell in love

this is Koharu Sugawara. don't know anything else about her but i did try to google "Koharu Sugawara lesbian." the results were inconclusive. however i did see another video of hers and if she is a lesbian oh man ang ganda ng subtext ng video na ito -

about myself

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quezon city, Philippines

i survived this