Tarry

They descended slowly, those white mists. The academics claimed that meanings are forged in binaries where one cannot exist without the other; yet that night, there was only silence between us and nothing more.

The absence of the other houses the embodiment of nihility. It fetters and in dry, frightened steps, it paces back and forth. The void tarries in its surroundings and, apart from the clean sheet of white mist, there was nothing it in.

The academics claimed that meanings only thrives in binaries but perhaps they are wrong. You see, it was not that stiff figure of detachment as it recedes and flees; there was more to it than exile.

Meanings, I suppose, reside in multiverse where one reality collides against your endlessness. Because, my love, in this topographical distance between you and I, there exist the hundred attempts I’ve tried to find you and the hundred years I’ve failed.

But, in broken spaces and dimmest worlds, there breathes my defiance to never give up and my unwavering resolve to always, always hope.

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Those frameless heads

“I’m going to tell you something. I don’t know why I want to tell you this but I want to tell you this. C, that guy who was sitting across us, he was apologizing to me a while ago. Thing is, last Tuesday, he confessed to me. I rejected him.”
 
“People have become obsessed with this relationship ideals. I’m not sure if it is indigenous in the Filipino culture but it seems like nowadays it has become impossible for us, females, to be friends with males without them jumping into us like rabid creatures.”
 
“It was revolting. C said he has this thing with me that has been going on for 6 years. I was like, wtf. I was not even informed. He then asked me if he stands a chance. I said nobody has a chance.”
 
“They treat single-hood as if it is a disease that must be cured. What a weak-minded notion of human existence!”
 
“Yaaaaaa. Abominable! Like, they said I’m lonely because I’m single but actually I am not. Not having anyone is liberating.”
 
“I actually find it fascinating, this seeming obsession people have towards human relationships. If their age ranges somewhere between early to mid 20s, I would understand the behavior following the tenets of Eric Ericson’s psychosocial stages. The behavior falls in Intimacy vs Isolation category.”
 
“On my end, I don’t think I need the presence of anyone to validate my existence. You see, I am not emotional as a person. I cannot handle too much emotion. When C confessed, I was like ‘please don’t say that. It’s dangerous for you.’ Haha! But of course I did not. My mind was like wtf dude how in the name of fresh hell should I react properly.”
 
“Saaame! It happened in Zambales. I was there to gather some court documents and was staying in this house in San Narciso. I was genial to people because basically I have no reason to be hostile. Then there was this nephew whom I befriended. We went on road trips, had dinner outside, visit places. I actually expected we were friends. Next thing, he confessed to me. Que ultimo horror!”
 
“Have you been intimate to someone?”
 
“I don’t think I am capable of that. I have an arid heart.”
 
~Tam-awan Village, Baguio City | May 2018

After the afternoon train

You are the indifference of the stars. The dusts in the windows have bloomed into profusion, the curtains bled in your absence, and your laughter melted straight into the wall. The last time we were together you were happy.

A few days after that you were barely returning my affection. Do tell me what transpired in between. I do not understand.

It’s not dawn yet but the night has already coiled into myrtles of meaningless thoughts. You became the speedy train at 4:30 in the afternoon. You ferried the ghost to their comforts and I hobbled after you until there is nothing left in that barren station but unwanted litters and overworn seats.

The railings refused to accept my existence and I have ceased expecting love to rescue me.

You are the indifference of the stars and there is tenderness in reading poetry, in silence, at 2 o’clock in the morning. I am not going to run after you but if you do not find home in strange places, a candle in my window can lead you back to me.

Ensign

Your wife. Misty eyes, she looked at me and asked about souls. I was stunned.

A band of cars and trucks sped past and sadistically mutilated the already mangled city. I watched them as I navigated the network of my reasoning. I bent down, picked, and exhumed the old superstitions I have learned in childhood.

“They say we still have them for 49 days after the internment. Then they depart, forever.”

She lifted the back of her right hand and brushed her eyes. “So he is still with us?”

I looked at the longing on her face. “He is still with you.”

I’m so sorry I lied that day.

When people die they do not truly disappear. Instead, their absence grows robust and demanding day by day. We see them — in the half-eaten plates, in every homecooked meal, in the empty chairs across us at the dinner table.

They are the cold, uninhabited side of the bed all year round. They are the white noise in the radio; the static one at the back of the telly. The loss proliferates and the longing magnifies. Their absence is an excavation in our lives and it hurts everywhere.

When she asked me about souls, this was what I had in mind but I held it back. I do not have the heart to break her further that day so I told her about the superstitions I do not believe in.

“His ears will be on the swells of your breasts and with each heartbeat, he’ll be proud to know that you keep your ground and fight life back,” I assured her.

She pressed her head on my shoulder and willed a smile. I watched a lock of her hair as it fell, slowly, on the sides of my arm.

Your wife. She proudly carries her scars and lets them flap in the wind like a banner of victory.

Sally Wagner’s Animal Liberation

Peta

We as a society don’t see the torture death of lab animals as murder, any more than most whites saw the killings of slaves as murder. Oppression always rests its power on prejudice. Definitions of the oppressed are surprisingly similar. Blacks, children, women, animals: all have been defined as less important, less intelligent, and incapable of taking care of themselves, therefore requiring a master who is the legal, god-given superior for his lesser counterpart.

And if there is indeed one thing that Lenin taught Sally Wagner, it is how you create the new world in the process of dismantling the old.

Said the Really Useful Book

3

In the beginning, she found herself in a new and empty space.

And all was white, and the corners were a bit flaky, and the carpet was a bit manky, but it was a good space. And she sat in the center and saw a clean white sheet of void.

She held the charm to her face.

And reflected in the charm was a city of lost horizons, and tall and towering stories. And just as it had been reflected in the charm, so it appeared in the void.

And when there was no more room, she turned it over and continued on the other side. And so the void was filled from corner to corner on both sides. A city of front and back. A city of light and shadow. Then she rested on her bed and dreamed of her creation, and the lives that inhabited it.

And in the days that followed, there were other voids and other lights and other shadows. The charm, she placed beneath the sign of the queen, to show the city that she knew it would never be finished, because the city was her life and her dream, and it would live forever.