Monday, October 15, 2007

the usual price

so that was how they found him, sitting inside a room in one of those cheap hotels, hands stained with ink from a bleeding pen that smeared the scattered pages of the crumpled manuscript strewn all over the floor. loud rock music was making the room vibrate. it couldn't have been long; the drooping cigarette in the ashtray was still alight.

he was a cornered animal, and he knew it. of course he has to; he was the one who vividly described to them what cornered animals do. it is either they are consumed by desperation and lunge indiscriminately at anyone, or simply falter and crumple in utter resignation. reading his face that afternoon, they saw neither; instead there was only mockery.

and it seemed that the whole place was vibrating with derision, even after the music was turned down. it seemed that a part of his hate was absorbed the walls of the room. "noise and music does that" he once said. "so does silence and words."

they thought it was crazy how his means of escape doesn't really make him do so but instead magnifies everything a thousand fold. much like translating his emotions into a language closer to him. to prevent himself from feeling the pain of skin too near a flame, he burns himself completely.

and it was this reckless attitude that they had a love-hate relationship with. of course, he was defined by it, and it was the gravity that made everything revolve around him. but it was a matter of time when one of those things that he drew in would shatter him.

so in an act that can be described either as self-immolation, or as nurturing hate, he exiled himself from them in order to write down a piece of his being inside that room, the very same one that witnessed the torturous and agonizing exorcism that gave birth to the precious papers strewn all over the room.

and like in many exorcisms, the price to be paid has always been a life.

they could still remember how he opened his hand in front of them and shown them the ways a cornered thinking animal can try and escape. he ticked off his fingers one by one without saying anything. and when there was only his fist, he stared at them in the eye, smiled, and walked away.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


the news was like a bombshell ripping through the heart of a city.

it had exactly the same effect on me just like it would to the people devastated by such a tragedy. first there is disorientation, panic and fear. and then there is anger and helplessness. the overwhelming need for comfort and sympathy comes next. and then the rationalizations in an attempt to ease the pain that comes as the shock slowly wears off...

but what's unusual is that the news that came was not something that was unexpected. at the back of my mind i knew it had to come sooner or later. it is, after all, in line with the natural course of how things go. the surprise was that i grossly underestimated how it would affect me when it did happen. it seems that the defenses that i have painstakingly put up in preparation for that particular event were uselessly blasted into smithereens.

i do not know but perhaps it was because i was waiting for a miracle to happen; those sort off miracles that people expect for the most desperate of cases.

because in the final days, my hopes were buoyed by signs of a miracle, and each sign i treated with ecstatic reverence. each sign reinforced the hope and that fierce desire that things will turn out well in the end. i banked on the signs, i allowed myself to hope in such a way that they both fed into each other causing me to feel hope where there was none, to see signs of a miracle where there was just the last dying gasps for air.

to know hope is a wonderful thing. but for one's hope to be bashed is something that might be too much for someone to bear. yet the worst is when you know that you were the one responsible for setting your hopes too high up. out of desperation and despair.

i still need to recover, yet again, what is left of that city that was blown to bits. and as i pass by the wreckage that was left behind, looking for any that might be still of some use, i kept on thinking why i allowed myself to hope...
"Oh, by the way, i saw him last Sunday at this fast food joint round 4 a.m."
"Uh... was he with someone?"
"Yeah. It was just the two of them..."
and then suddenly it dawned to me. i know the reason why i hoped for a miracle. i knew, as it shone through a lie i forced myself to believe all this time; a lie i myself made as a means to forget.

now i know the reason behind this tragedy. now i know why a bomb was dropped in the city.

Monday, June 11, 2007


standing naked in the shower, i once again let my fingers run over my skin, hoping not to find any new growths of this yet unnamed disease.

the shower has always been a place of contemplation, where new and novel ideas take form, where new ways of saying old truths are devised. but lately, it has become a place for dark revelations.

it started late one summer evening when my soapy hand stumbled across a lump on the nape of my neck. two days later, i found another one behind both ears. and then near the clavicle, and then at the crotch.

a few weeks ago i decided to stop checking for new growths. it's not that i was afraid, i just had better things to think about. like a death in the family, for example.

yes, the family. the family that is always on its toes every time something bad happens to one of its own. the family from whom i inherited a slice of recklessness topped with a generous dash of moodiness and eccentricity. not to mention susceptibilities to heart disease, various lung ailments, kidney infection, high blood pressure, diabetes, and oh yes, cancer.

my grandfather was recently operated to remove a malignant mass in his gut, and has since refused chemotherapy. my grandmother's brother, the one who just died, refused the doctor's advice to come back and examine the fleshy growth in his bowels. he had heart disease and diabetes; something that the family never knew until a few days before his death.

as much as i do not like him, i am still my grandfather's own. between ourselves, we have a lot in common than we would dare to admit. that includes a short temper and an annoying inability to bend with the breeze.

so i got out of the shower, put on some nice clothes and spend the night with friends. i have already accepted that this life will be a short one, with or without this inherited disdain for doctors.

i also got one more thing; i carry, and carry well, a backpack full of secrets, the contents some of which are my own.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


its raison d'etre is suppose to be to ease the tension of whatever one is doing; a short and oftentimes insufficient amount of rest in the midst of the rat race that is suppose to be 'modern-day living'. it is the time to do all the laying back and relaxing you can cram in a few minutes, and then you are off.

and then one day, while raising your hands in surrender at the garish, high pitched sounds of people screaming things you cannot understand, the steaming mug of coffee screamed its own version of sizzling esophagus as you dunked it in, in one gulp.

of course you wanted to pass out. but caffeine kept you awake.

then you realize you cannot take a break.

you intentionally stuffed you ears with the screaming voices of people on the phone to muffle other screaming voices on your head. you keep your hands moving, your eyes darting, your mind racing to match the velocities of 'modern-day living' approaching the speed of light, in order not to get stuck on memories that you cannot leave behind.

you realize you cannot take a break. because taking a moment to breathe makes you think about a face, and the other definition of the word 'break'; too painful and violent, it causes you to dunk a steaming-hot mug of coffee down your throat in one gulp.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


perhaps it was the way you tied up your brown, wavy hair all the way back. nothing exquisite; just a piece of rubber band or a humble hair clip. the nape of your neck peers from between the collar of your white blouse and your wildly beautiful hair.

i have worshiped those strands of hair that evade your tiny hands, those that gracefully fall on the side of your face unnoticed. somehow your eyes grow wider with those silent strands framing your face.

and when they finally dance around too much, too much that you finally notice their play, a discreet pair of fingers gathers them and tuck them behind your pink ears...

but where do they really belong? where do those precious brown, unruly strands really find home? free, wild and careless, carried by the wind wherever it pleases? or bundled up in neat braids behind your head?

i have always thought that somehow, sometime when we grow older, i will wake up everyday smelling the scent of your hair.

until i saw you holding her hand; hers gently caressing your hair, lips whispering something that can only be "You're mine."


you smelled of sweet, freshly laundered clothes; clean and innocent.

i saw you standing there near the glass panels waiting for me. your hair was the usual unkempt, pointing-to-ten-different-directions style that you usually had. that was the first time i saw you then. you had a ready smile. your puppy eyes too darn beautiful to resist. then we went inside.

imagine a family size pizza that's good for two. yeah, we ate it all. drawing silent and secret deep breaths to calm the excitement, i was able to get a whiff of your scent.

you smelled of sweet, freshly laundered clothes; clean and innocent.

a few nights later, i was able to slowly undress you; peeling away at the pieces of cloth that frame your brown body. with your muffled moans, my pale fingers traced fine lines on your shivering skin.

suddenly there was wild fire on your once innocent eyes. sweat and musk, your body was aflame. and the heat was contagious. i made furious and tender love to you.

you, lying there languorously recovering from post-ejaculatory triste, with the smell of sex emanating from the sweet secret places of your body...

while your sweet, freshly laundered clothes, clean and innocent, were everywhere on the floor.