heights vol. 61 no. 2 Copyright 2014 heights is the official literary and artistic publication and organization of the Ateneo de Manila University. Copyright reverts to the respective authors and a rtists whose works appear in this issue. No part of this book may be r eprinted or reproduced in any means whatsoever without the written permission of the copyright holder. This publication is not for sale. Correspondence may be addressed to: heights, Publications Room, mvp 202 Ateneo de Manila University po Box 154, 1099 Manila, Philippines Tel. no. (632) 426-6001 loc. 5448 heights - ateneo.org Creative Direction by Eugene Tuazon Layout by Cheska Mallillin Cover and Dividers by Cheska Mallillin, Troy Ong, and Eugene Tuazon Typeset in mvb Verdigris
Contents Allan Popa 3 Ang Kamatayan ni Bella Flores 7 Tulad ng Tula 40 Isla Kapung-awan Nicko Reginio Caluya 4 Alinlangan 16 Umuulan sa Lupang Arenda Christian Benitez 5 Epitapyo sa Kutsilyo 6 Sa Hangin at sa Pagkalumbay Alexander Genesis C. Dungca 9 RESPEK Paolo Tiausas 14 Araw-araw 15 Laberinto Julz E. Riddle 18 Insidente Abner E. Dormiendo 21 Inibig Kita Tulad ng Ulan 38 Paghahanap ng Talinghaga sa LRT Papuntang Legarda Marc Lopez 22 Bula Chise Alcantara 24 Over-The-Bakod Regine Cabato 41 The Clocks Stop Dionne Co 43 Andromeda
Lara Antonio 45 Tall Story Jam Pascual 52 Tidal Keisha Kibanoff 54 London Carissa Pobre 55 Label for a Lost Object 56 from Blue Sonata Brylle Tabora 61 In Cebu while waiting for the thanksgiving mass for San Pedro Calungsod 63 How the water falls in the Kaufmann House on Bear Run in Pennsylvania Luis Wilfrido Atienza 65 [wheniwasyoungmyteacher…] Deirdre Camba 66 Song to Orpheus 67 Widow Ayana Tolentino 68 Robin A. A. Aris Amor 72 Interfaces
Art Pamela O. Celeridad 87 Swarm 102 Odalisque Therese Nicole Reyes 88 Deconstructing Lines 98 Convolution Trisha Katipunan 90 Identity is Self-contained 1 / 2 / 3 Nikki Vocalan 93 Subliminal Santi Lacuna Martinez 94 l(a Justine Anne S. Joson 95 Predator and Prey Regina Ira Antonette M. Geli 96 Animate Bryon Raymundo 97 Kahit Saan
Tim Lopez 100 Bad Karma Rae Cruz 101 Endemic RJ Dimla 103 Sa Kapatiran Todd Lazaro 104 Transverse JV Calanoc 105 Looming Series: Fringe, Tapestry, Patchwork Krysten Alarice Tan 108 Travel Light Mick Quito 109 Daylight from Lights (series)
Editorial The state of art is still alive in this community. Many have been pessimistic about its survival in this day and age. They say that this generation—the Millenials—has regressed into mere individuals who can only read headlines and not articles, and that this generation has an attention span that can only think and speak in 140 characters or less. In other words, the criticism against us is that we have neither the patience nor the focus to immerse ourselves in challenging material like literature and art because it takes too much time to read and understand. If it is difficult for the Millenials to comprehend in long-form, does this also suggest that they can’t create such things? Fortunately, this isn’t the case at all. Judging by the countless people who still submit their works to heights, the editors and members of the publication who go through submitted works, and the reception to the past events in the community like the recent School of Humanities’ art exhibits and Fine Arts Festival that featured masterpieces of many Ateneans, many people are still capable of consuming and creating more than just headlines. In the previous issue, we talked about how there has been a shift in the way the community has been writing for some time now and yet the publication has not been able to address this change; it has maintained the aesthetics it has relied on for so many years. I would like to reiterate that to this day, heights is still set on its goal of expanding this aesthetic by adjusting to the blurring lines of forms and genres in literature. One of the kinds of works we are specifically opening up to are those that attempt to innovate in its technique. These usually go beyond what is considered formal, which presents a slight difficulty to the community given that formalism is the foundation of the manner in which people read in the university. Some may call these experimental works.
While heights as a publication continues to verse itself in this new way of reading and appreciating art, we encourage the community to continue to go beyond the set rules of certain aesthetics and genres. The goal is to make room for experimentation with the elements in order to create works that are not confined by current systems of thought. Experimentation is a good goal to aim for, but the question that follows this is the way these kinds of works should be approached. If there is no framework to be followed, how then should we begin to understand and appreciate these works? A critical tool that must be looked into is discourse. It would entail engagement with the text, through the posing of questions, that deviates from interpretation and definition, elements that are usually common in literary criticism. In discourse, the focus would be the subject of the work itself to avoid creating a prejudice against the piece since judgements backed by current institutionalized forms of criticism would be detrimental to the appreciation of a work that is experimented by the artist. What must be done is the practice of letting people talk and confess, as Foucault would put it. It encourages a form of positive production, not regression nor critical negation, of queries that are oppositional, skeptical, and sustentative. For discourse to function, there must be systems in place that would allow people to converse with the text. An understanding of the development of ways of reading is also a factor to be considered as it would help readers situate themselves alongside the text. It is through this practice that maybe an institutionalized form of approaching these works can be established. Discourse, after all, is the beginning of the creation of a knowledge system. To achieve these would require the collective effort of all bodies and individuals who have a stake in the literary and artistic scene of the university as it requires a massive change of thought.
Encouragement and facilitation of discourse can’t be done by the publication alone. Thus, we invite everyone—the community, most especially—to keep art and literature alive through the continuous immersion and creation of works of art that allow for expression and, ultimately, transcendence. Audrey Mae Ferriol February 2014
Ang Kamatayan ni Bella Flores
alinsunod kay Michael Fried
Ngayong pagtatakipsilim, katulad ng mga nagdaang huling mga araw ng tag-init, naglalabasan mula sa mga bitak at guwang sa kasuluk-sulukan ng bahay ang hindi mabilang na gamugamo. Walang nakaaalam sa dahilan ng kanilang pagmamadali. Binubulabog at pinalalabog nila ang mga ilaw, paikot-ikot, tila hibang sa daloy ng liwanag. Nauubos ang ating pasensiya, tila hindi sila nauubos. Nararamdaman natin ang kanilang mumunting paa, nanunulay sa kiliti, nanunuot sa mga butas ng katawan, nasusumpungan sa kanin at sabaw. Napipilitan tayong isara ang ilaw. Wala silang naiiwang bakas sa muling pagliwanag kundi ang kanilang mga pakpak. Tila bigat na kinailangang malagas, kay hirap walisin dahil sa kagaanan. Saan nga ba sila tumutungo? Kailangan ng rahan, kailangan ng sapat na layo, upang matipon sa mga palad ang mumunting kariktan na alay nila sa mundong ibabaw.
nicko reginio caluya
Alinlangan Tanaw tayo sa gitna ng maaliwalas na umaga tangan ang manghang dala ng hangaring hindi matinag tumingala ang bawat mukhang humanga, hindi inaalintana ang tindi ng sikat ng araw. Humingang malalim, tayo na naghahabilin ng pagkulimlim. Sapagkat isang iglap: paghagilap, paghagilap. Kita nila tayo na tuluyang gumuho patungo sa pagluhod, pagtungo, paghahabol sa ating nag-iisang anyo. Nauwi tayo na yari sa abo at alikabok. Kumakalat. matapos ang ika-11 ng Setyembre 2001
Epitapyo sa Kutsilyo Ang kutsilyong matalim kinakalawang din. Nawawala ang talas. Lubhang marahas, hindi ang panghihiwa at pananaksak hanggang sa tuluyang mapurol, kundi ang panahong nakasuksok lamang ang kutsilyo sa kalsonsilyo. 3:00 a.m., 3 January 2014
Sa Hangin at sa Pagkalumbay Sa pagbitaw mo sa akin ng tanongâ€”Bakit ako ang kinahulugan moâ€”hindi maunawaan saan natagpuan ang hindi pagkaunawa sa mga bagay na tunay at mahiwaga, tulad ng paglalakbay ng hangin sa pagitan ng ating mga daliriâ€”hindi nakikita ngunit nararamdaman ang lahat at bawat pagsalat sa ating balat. Bakit hindi tayo maging tulad ng amihang malaya sa pag-indak at pagbagtas sa lahat ng nawawari at hindi nitong ating harayaâ€™t salamisim? Sapagkat ganito rapat ang tinatawag mong pag-ibig: hagayhay na bumabayo sa paroroonang sa huli at huli lamang matatanto, tumatangay sa atin mula sa alapap mo tungo sa totoong alapaap na ang makakaalam lamang ay tayo. Ngunit pinili mong hindi sumabay at hindi sumayaw. Narito ako, naiwan nang ganap, inuusal ang pagkalumbay nang dahil sa lahat ng mga maaaring hindi natin sabay tatahakin. At sa pagsabi ko sa iyo rito na marami na ang aking kalungkutan kaysa sa aking alam hawakan, sinasabi ko na sa iyo: patawad, narito na ang hanging banayad na paroroon sa aking pagkadala.
Tulad ng Tula
Tulad ng tula inaaral nila ang iyong bawat galaw. Sa oras na ito pinagpupuyatan ang iyong mga hakbang. Binabakas ang posibilidad ng pagbaling o pagpapatuloy. Dahil iisa ang sukat ng larangan, dahil iisa ang layon ng laro. Ngunit walang hanggan ang paraan ng paglapit sa buslo. Paulit-ulit na binibigo ng bilis ang isip ng ibig makasunod. Balang araw may makatutuos. Balang araw may makasasabay. May hanggahan ang katawan. Ngunit ang landas ng tula landas tungo sa hindi inaasahan. Sa iyong pagpailanlang maiiwan kaming nakatingala, dama ang bigat na iyong iniiwan.
Natitiyak kong may kaluluwa dahil may bahagi kaming nararating ang ginhawang hinahawan mo sa hangin.
alexander genesis c. dungca
RESPEK Dulot ng pagkainip, kinalikot ni Pablo ang files sa cellphone niya. Nagtaka siya sa pagtambad ng isang recording sa isa sa mga folder. Tinignan niya ang petsa at “yesterday” ang nakalagay. Bigla siyang kinabahan. Alam niya ang mga nangyari kagabi pero hindi siya sigurado sa maaari niyang marinig. ... [play] ‘Ala nakang balunggawan kung ali magbasketbol!’ ‘yan ang palaging sigaw ni mader na akala mo’y nasa kabilang bundok ang kausap. Nakakainis. Para bang gusto niyang ipaalam sa naglalako ng kakanin na dahil bobo’t ‘di ako makakuha ng trabaho, basketbol lang ang kaya kong gawin. Magaling din naman ako sa ibang bagay ah. Namaster ko na kung paano magluto ng kaning tutong, magaling din akong umiwas sa iba-ibang kulay ng tae ng aso sa daan, at natatahimik lahat kapag kinakanta ko ang “Peytpuli” sa bidyoke tuwing may okasyon. Kahit ganun pare, sadyang sa basketbol lang sila bilib sa’kin. Asintado ko raw kasi ‘yung butas ng kinakalawang na rim sa court kaya ang dating “Tadong Tarantado” na pang-inis sa akin ay napalitan ng “Tadong Asintado.” Tuloy, kahit ‘di malaki ang katawan ko, unahan lahat sa paghatak sa akin kapag bubuo na ng team para sa paliga ng basketbol sa barangay. ... [pause] Nagsitalunan ang mga daga sa dibdib ni Pablo. Napagtanto niyang posibleng na-record niya ang pakikipag-inuman niya kay Tado nang hindi sinasadya kagabi. Mga pahayag ni Tado na hindi niya 9
pinakinggan dahil may bagay na gumugulo sa isip niya noon. Ngayon ang pagkakataon niyang makinig. ... [play] Nakikinig ka pa ba? Tang-ina ‘wag mo akong pinagloloko-loko. Ba’t ba kasi ayaw mong magkuwento? O siya, manahimik ka na lang diyan at sagot ko bawat toma mo. Nasaan na ulit ako? Ah, sa paliga nga pala ako tumigil. Kahit na mahilig akong maglaro, wala akong hilig sa mga ganoong pagpapagod para lang sa isang trowpi na lagi namang japeyk. Mas ginaganahan pa ‘ko sa mga mabilisang pustahan. Tiba-tiba ako. Para yatang ang bagal mong lumagok. Haha. ‘Di bale, masasanay ka rin sa murang alak. Mukhang sa may halong pleybor ka nasanay eh. Iba ‘yung magiging paliga bukas kasi may espesyal na manonood. Darating daw ‘yung anak na babae nung may-ari ng bagong grocery store tatlong kanto mula sa bahay namin. Nakisali kasi ‘yung kuya sa paliga. Hindi ko pa nakita ‘yung kuya pero lagi kong nakikita ‘yung babae sa panaginip ko. ‘Wag mo naman ako tawanan. Perstaym kong magkuwento ng ganito kaya pagbigyan mo na ako. Bumili kasi ako ng yosi sa kanila nung minsan at nung nanghiram ako ng layter para sindihan, anghel ang nag-abot. Mukha talaga siyang anghel. Walang biro. Noon lang ako nakakita ng babaeng ganoon kaputi. Bumalik ako nang bumalik sa tindahan at lagi niya akong nginingitian. Halos magtatambling ako sa tuwa. Maraming inuutos si mader kaya matagal na ‘kong hindi nakakapunta. ‘Yan ang dahilan kung bakit eksayted ako sa paliga bukas. Ayos ‘yang sapatos mo ah. Nayki. Puwedeng pahiram mo sa akin bukas? Para naman magmukha akong barsiti kahit minsan. Tsinelas lang kasi ang kaya ng badyet. Pagbigyan mo na ako. Aalagaan ko naman eh. Baka kasi bukas lang manood si Marianita. Ang ganda ng pangalan ‘di ba?
... [pause] Napasuntok sa pader si Pablo.Tila nagkamali siya ng pagkakakilala kay Tado. Napaisip din siya kung tama ba ang ginawa niya sa nakainuman. Naguguluhan man, ninais niyang tapusin ang recording. ... [pause] Salamat nga pala’t sinamahan mo ako. Pasensya ka na’t sa iyo ko ibinuhos ‘yung mga gusto kong ikuwento sana sa mga kabarkada ko. Nagdeliber kasi sila ng bigas kaya wala akong kasama ngayon. Buti na lang napadaan ka. Saan ka ba banda nakatira dito? Mukhang napalayo ka pa ng pinagbilhan ng yosi. Halatang bagong salta ka rito sa H. Cruz. Pasalamat ka’t nakasabay kita sa dyip dati. Parehas pa nga tayong hindi nagbayad. Nakalimutan mo siguro. Mabibigyan kita ng mga payo, pare. Una, kunin mo ang loob ng mga kapitbahay mo. Madalas ang bigayan ng ulam kaya kung ayaw mo ng mala-kaning baboy na tira-tira, makipagkaibigan ka. Baka sakaling bigyan ka pa ng panghimagas at platitong makakalimutan mong ibalik. Pangalawa, wala ka dapat pandirian. Bakla man o puta, kanal man o bituka ng pusang nasagasaan ng motor, matuto kang maging matigas at may respeto. Pag-iinitan ka kapag hindi maganda ang ipapakita mo. Pangatlo, magbayad ka ng utang. Malakas mamalo ‘yung naniningil! Bababa rin ang tingin sa iyo kapag hindi ka marunong magbalik. Gib and teyk, tol. Gayahin mo ako. Uutangin ko ‘yang pambayad ng tinoma mo at alam mo kung kelan ako magbabayad? Saka na dahil kaibigan ko naman ‘yung nagtitinda. Mahalaga rin ang mga kaibigan, pare. Huling payo ko, huwag kang magyayabang kung wala kang masel. Nung nanalo kami sa paliga dati, sinubukan kong magsiga-
sigaan. Nakalimutan kong payatot lang ako. Tuloy, makailang beses akong sinikmura ng mga tunay na siga at ilang araw ring nagsuka ng dugo. May tikas ka naman pero mukhang wala kang alam sa manomanong sakitan. Mas mabuting ‘wag ka na lang magyayabang. ‘Yun lang ‘tsaka kung babae ang hanap mo, tambay ka lang sa harap nung eskuwelahan sa may pangatlong kanto. May itsura ‘yung mga nagtitinda at sigurado ako mag-eenjoy ka sa kanila. Pero, ‘wag mo kakalimutan, respek. R-E-S-PEK, ‘yun ang pinakamahalaga. Walang halong biro. O, saan ka pupunta? Samahan mo ‘ko sandali. Saan naman? Wala nang katao-tao dito oh. O sige na nga. *Mahaba-habang tunog ng mga yapak*
Dito na ba? Andilim naman. Inaantok na ‘ko. Uy, ano ‘yan? Bakit ka may ganyan?! Aaaah! Aaaah! Tama na!
*Tunog ng pagkatumba* Bakit Pablo?! Bakit? * Mahabang tunog ng pagkaladkad* *Malakas na tilamsik ng tubig* *Mga ilang mahihinang ingay* ... [stop]
Nabitawan ni Pablo ang cellphone nang may biglang kumatok sa kuwarto niya. Nagpanggap siyang nagtatali ng sapatos.
â€œKuya, bilisan mo. Malapit nang magsimula â€˜yung paliga. Galingan mo,â€? sambit ng kapatid niyang si Marianita. Pinulot niya ang cellphone at muling ibinaling ang tingin sa recording. ... [delete]
Araw-araw Binuksan ko ang baul at ang puso kong luoyâ€” alaala ka lamang na lumalangoy-langoy.
Laberinto Sa daang ito may mga bulaklak. Nakatunghay sila mula sa hardin ng sementadong bahay. Pauwi na naman ako. Hindi ba nagagawang bumitaw ng panahon? Kasabay ng mga talulot ang tubig sa pagbagtas nitong alulod.
nicko reginio caluya
Umuulan sa Lupang Arenda kapit lahat sa lumulubog na mga paa ng mga unang pa(la)pag na hindi na madaraanan ng pananalasa ng murahan sa pautangan kaya buwiskatawan sa sugal ng paguran sa pagawaan uuwing luhaan pawisan duguan hanggang humalo sa semento at alikabok maglulusak sa palad na hindi pinalad makahanap ng bakal
na nangangalawang upang ipatakal sa timbangang hindi patas tulad ng kanilang balikat na papasan ng tambaktambak na alalahanin sa mga kalsadang hindi pumapa(na)tag ang hinaharap at patutunguhan ng walang humpay na paghampas ng mga ulan sa mukha ng kahirapang kapit lahat
julz e. riddle
Insidente * Ang akala ko kasi, alam na namin ang galaw ng lungsod na ‘to. Akala ko, alam na namin pareho lahat ng modus na naimbento. Alam namin kung paanong matulog sa tren nang nakatayo, kung aling pinto ang magbubukas sa bawat estasyon, kaliwa ba o kanan. Naobserbahan na namin kung aling mga pilay ang nagpipilaypilayan lang sa kung aling kalye, kung aling bulag ang nagbubulagbulagan lang. Kaya akala ko, noong isang beses na nakasakay kami sa jeep, alam na ni Noah ang gagawin nang may sumampang lalaki at tutukan ng paltik ‘yong katabi naming babae. Nagulat na lang ako noong matapos naming mailagay ‘yong mga cellphone at relo namin sa isang itim na backpack, pagtingin ko kay Noah, nakatitig siya sa mukha n’ong holdaper. Unang beses ko rin namang maholdap, pero matagal ko nang alam, matagal ko nang natutuhan sa mga balita at kuwento ng mga kaibigan ko: Huwag na huwag titingin sa mukha ng masasamangloob. Kapag nakita nilang nakatingin ka at posibleng maalala mo ang mukha nila, hindi ka na nila hahayaang makaabot pa nang buhay sa presinto para magsumbong. Nakakatukso ang ideya ng hustisya, ‘yong eksenang magsusumbong ka sa pulis at maituturo mo ang kriminal, siya, siya nga ho ‘yon, at makakaganti ka para sa lahat ng mga kinuha niya sa ‘yo—cellphone mo, wallet mo, kakayahan mong matulog o lumabas ng bahay nang walang inaalala. Pero gaano man kahalaga, delikado rin minsan sa lungsod ang mga alaala. May mga taong handang patayin ka para sa mga naalaala mo. Kaya hinawakan ko sa braso si Noah, hinila ko ang kamay niya. Mukhang tuliro pa rin, nagtatakang napalingon siya sa ‘kin. * Sipi mula sa isang nobelang binubuo pa.
Tiningnan ko siya nang masama, tipong ‘wag mo siyang tingnan sa mukha, tanga. Maya-maya lang, bumaba na rin ang holdaper at kumaripas ng takbo papasok sa isang eskinita. Nang unti-unting makalayo kami, nang nabuhay na ang usapan ng mga pasahero nang para bang matagal na silang magkakakilala, saka ko lang naramdamang ang bilis na pala ng tibok ng puso ko. Hindi ko na napansin kanina. Haharap na sana ‘ko kay Noah, saka bigla kong naalalang nakakapit pa rin pala ako sa kamay niya. Niluwagan ko ang kapit, inaasahang makakaramdam na siya, pero nakadagan pa rin ang kamay niya sa kamay ko. Hahatakin ko sana nang bigla, pero mas alanganin pa yatang gawin ‘yon, mas mapapansin. Naipit na ang braso ko sa pagitan ng braso niya at tagiliran, hindi naman puwedeng hindi niya maramdaman kung bigla kong hihilahin. Leche, ano naman kung maramdaman niya, si Noah lang naman ‘to. Pero wala na, hindi ko na lang basta mahila ang kamay ko, na-build up na eh, pinatagal ko pa kasi. Ni hindi ko alam kung malay si Noah na magkahawak pa rin kami ng kamay. Kinakausap pa nga niya ‘yong mga katabi niya sa kanan, pati ‘yong babaeng tinutukan ng baril kanina. Mukha namang okey na siya, at masigla nang nagdadaldalan lahat. Ako lang yata ang tahimik doon, pinag-iisipan kung paano ko babawiin ang kamay ko. Pucha naman, Alab, sabi ko sa sarili ko, ang arte mo, ang babaw ng problema mo, muntikan ka na ngang mamatay kanina. Basta, basta hilahin mo na lang, sabi ko sa sarili ko habang yumuyugyog ang jeepney at nagkakaltukan ang mga siko namin, habang ‘di ko na sigurado kung ‘yong jeep ba ‘yong gumagalaw, o si Noah, o ako.
Nakakabanas, naisip ko habang dumadaan kami sa maraming lubak, nakakainis na hindi ko alam kung ano’ng iniisip ni Noah ngayon. Ni hindi ko alam kung ano’ng dapat kong isipin. Hindi ko alam ang gagawin, sobrang alanganin ng sitwasyon namin, mas mahirap pang intindihin kaysa sa pasikot-sikot ng sala-salabid na mga eskinita, mas nakakalito pa kaysa sa lungsod na ‘to kung saan ang mga backpack, sa harap isinusuot. Kung saan nagtatrapik kapag may pulis-trapiko. Kung saan iyong pinakamahabang daan ang tinatawag na shortcut. Kung saan kakabahan ka ‘pag naiwan mo ‘yong cellphone mo dahil baka wala kang ibigay sa holdaper mamaya. Mabuti pa ‘yong holdapan, naisip ko, mabuti pa lahat ng sorpresa ng lungsod na ‘to, hindi katulad ni Noah, kahit paano, inaasahan, napaghahandaan.
abner e. dormiendo
Inibig Kita Tulad ng Ulan Inibig kita sa isang lupaing Ulan lang ang tugon Sa lahat ng tanong. Sa lupaing kinulang Sa haplos at halik, Inibig kita tulad ng ulan: Ibinubuo sa alangaang Ang kasiguruhang tugon Sa iyong pag-aalinlangan. Dinidiligan ng katiyakan Ang bawat sulok ng kapatagang Nanigang sa pag-aalangan. Sa silid na itong naging lunan Ng bawat nating pagkabalam, Lumapit ako at nagtanong: Ako rin baâ€™y iniibig mo? Bilang sagot, ikaâ€™y napatikom At sabay nating pinakinggan Ang dalang tugon ng pag-ulan.
Bula Minsan may tinangka kang itawid sa langit Panalanging hinuhubog sa iyong kaibuturan, sinasambit Sa isang marahang pag-ihip Bumubulong kang naglalakip ng iisang hiling: paglundag sa indayog ng nagdaraang hangin Nakapagtataka kung paanong sa bigat na iniluluwal, nakalilikha ng rupok, ng gaan, ng selan Paanong nananatiling magkaalinsabay ang pagpapaubaya at ang paghigit pabalik. Ang iyong mga mata tila may inaangkin sa iyong pagtingala Di inililihis ang pagtitig nang para bang may naipaglalapit ang ganitong pagbibigay-atensiyon Ang pananalig Pag-iingat na sumisidhi lamang matapos ang ganap na pagbitaw
Ang pagbitaw na walang iniiwan maliban sa pagkakataong mamasdan ang kanilang pagpanaog, ispektakulo na sa ilang saglit ay ikinalalagot ng hininga
Over-The-Bakod Natatandaan ko pa yung unang beses kitang nakita. Kakatakas ko pa lang sa nanay ko nun dahil gusto na naman niya akong bigyan ng private ESL lessons. Nag-over-the-bakod ako sa pader ng bakuran ninyo na may backflip-ninja-roll combo para may style points yung execution. Medyo fail nga lang dahil bumakat yung zen garden pebbles niyo sa likod ko. Habang sinusubukan kong tanggalin yung mga bakat na pebbles, nakita kitang nakahiga sa ilalim ng Banzai tree. Nilapitan kita kasi akala koâ€™y patay ka na kasi ang puti ng balat mo. Parang you were Hayden nung nagpaulan ng melanin si Vicky Belo. Hindi ko rin malaman kung nakapikit ka ba o sadyang non-existent talaga yung espasyo sa pagitan ng upper talukap at lower talukap mo. Titingnan ko sana yung tyan mo kung nag-bre-breathe-in-breatheout ka just to know if you were still alive but barely breathing pero hindi ko masigurado dahil makapal yung kimono mo. Kaya nilapit ko yung mukha ko sa mukha mo tapos nagkasalubong yung breathe-in ko sa breathe-out mo at nalanghap ko yung morning kimchi-breath mo. Hinimatay ako.
Nang magising ako, nasa harapan ko na yung mukha mo. Buti na lang nagkasabay yung breathe-in natin kaya hindi ulit ako hinimatay. Para siyang gasps of relief and bewilderment dahil nagkatinginan tayo for the very first time at nalaman nating pareho tayong buhay. Pinainom mo ako ng tsaang lasang medyas kasi sinabi mong it would calm my inner soul pero lalo lang akong kinabahan kasi akala kong bading ka kasi mukha kang lalaki kasi maikli pa yung buhok mo tapos may sakura-printed futon ka habang naka-kimono. Ganyan din kasi yung itsura ng tatay ko pagkauwi niya mula sa Thailand. Bago sila maghiwalay ng nanay ko. Maraming sinasabi yung nanay ko dati tungkol sa mga bading. Bad daw yung mga bading. Nasa pangalan nga nila eh. Bad + ing. Sabi ng nanay ko gerund daw yun kasi it functions as a noun. English teacher yung nanay ko kaya sabi niyang kailangan kong maniwala sa kanya kung gusto ko raw maging matinong tao. Pero sinabi mo sa akin na babae ka. Nagduda ako kasi yun din yung sinabi ng tatay ko. Nagtalo tayo nang matagal-tagal. Medyo intense dahil nagsapakan pa tayo. By sapakan I mean, flailing our arms randomly while not really hitting each other. Napagod tayo kaya sinabi ko na lang na ipagpapaliban ko na lang muna yung pasya ko kung babae ka ba o bading. Sabi mo papatunayan mo sa akin na babae ka. Sabi ko naman, tatawagin na lang kitang Mulan.
Bumalik ulit ako nung sunod na araw. Nag-over-the-bakod ulit ako papunta sa zen garden niyo pero hindi ko na pinilit yung backflip-ninja-roll combo para hindi ko na kailangan magtanggal ng babakat na zen garden pebbles sa likod ko. Hindi kita mahanap sa ilalim ng Banzai tree kaya naisip kong naglaho ka na sa mundo. Nalungkot ako nung naisip ko yun kasiâ€Ś ewan. Nalungkot lang ako. Habang nalulungkot ako, naramdaman kong yumugyog yung earth underneath my feet. Natakot ako dahil nakita kong gumuho ang langit, mistulang tuma-tum-buh-linâ€™ down, as if umalinsunod nga ang tadhana sa mga salitang binigkas ni Prophet King Carole. At doon ko nalaman, in that moment, when my heart started tremblinâ€™, that you were around. At sabay nga naman, right on cue, nag-perfect 0 out of 10 landing kayo ng dragon mo sa katawan ko. Hinimatay na naman ako.
Pagkagising ko nakita kitang umiiyak katabi yung dragon mong mukhang masungit. Sabi mo, akala mo napatay mo ako. Sabi ko, halata namang hindi mo ako napatay kasi kinakausap kita. Kaya ngumiti ka na ulit. Ngumiti na rin ako kasi ngumiti ka. May awkward silence. Tinanong ko kung saan mo nakuha yung dragon. Sinabi mong nasa cultural heritage mo na siya. Iniwan pala ng lolo mo yung dragon para bantayan ka. Tinanong ko kung bakit hindi mo kasama yung lolo mo. Sinabi mo sa akin na hindi ka pwedeng pumunta kung nasaan yung lolo mo hanggang makumbinse mo yung dragon na ganap ka nang babae. May awkward yet familiar silence. Nagmuni-muni kasi ako. Tinanong ko kung gusto mo nang makasama yung lolo mo. Sabi mo, matagal na. Kaya sinabi kong tutulungan na lang kita.
Tanda ko, sinubukan pa kita sabunutan para humaba yung buhok mo. Sinabi mo sa akin na hindi na ulit hahaba yung buhok mo kasi nasunog siya dati ng dragon. Tinanong ko kung meron kang buhok sa kilikili para pwede nating idikit sa ulo mo pero sinabi mong wala. Hindi ako naniwala kasi lahat naman ng tao may buhok sa kilikili. Pero pinipilit mong wala. Kaya sinabi kong â€œpakita nga.â€? Dahandahan mong binaba yung isang manggas ng kimono mo. Tinakpan mo yung dibdib mo gamit yung isa mong kamay. Nasilayan ko yung balikat mong kasing dulas ng slopes ng Mt. Fuji na nakita ko sa mga imported smuggled magazines ng nanay ko. Tinaas mo yung braso mo at bumungad sa akin ang kilikili mong kasing puti ng tawas na nakapahid dito. Parang mooncake na nalalagas.
Namula yung mga pisngi mo kasi tumatak na sa utak mo na nakatingin ako sa kilikili mo. First time ko yatang nakita na nagkakulay yung mukha mo. Kaya napatingin ako. Yung tinging parang nagiging titig na not quite there yet kasi kulang sa focus. Yung tipong tinging hindi naman sinasadyang patagalin. Yung tipong tinging mapapangiti ka na lang na parang tanga. Pero hindi mo mapigilan kasi nabighani ka talaga. Yung ibang klaseng pagkabighani na dinadala ka sa ibang mundo. Na nawawala ka sa sarili mo. Na parang sigurado ka sa ginagawa mo pero kinakabahan ka pa rin. Parang tuwing nag-oover-the-bakod ako sa bahay niyo. Hindi ko sigurado kung 10 out of 10 o 0 out of 10 yung landing. Pero mahirap talaga pigilan dahil gumagalaw ka na. Na-set-inmotion. Na-move. Kaya nung nakita kitang nakatungo sa sahig habang namumula yung mga pisngi. Nawala ako. Kaya hindi ko na rin napansin. Napaniwala mo na pala ako.
Simula noon, dumalaw na ako ng madalas sa inyo para tulungan kang makumbinse yung dragon na ganap na babae ka na. Pero kahit anong gawin natin ayaw niyang maniwala. Hanggang isang araw sinabi mo sa aking ayaw mo nang sumunod sa Lolo mo. Medyo weird yung naramdaman ko noon. Medyo may yehey-di-ka-na-aalispero-badtrip-ka-naman-sayang-effort type of feeling. Tiningnan mo ako tapos parang nalungkot ka dahil hindi mo maintindihan kung masaya ba ako o hindi. Kaya nilapit mo yung mukha mo sa mukha ko para tingnan ako nang mabuti. Yun yata yung first time na nakita ko yung mga mata mo. Hindi naman pala sila sobrang liit. Para siyang overhead view ng Oreo na lumulutang sa malapot na gatas na nakalagay sa medyo slanted-oblong-ish na baso. Nginitian kita para malaman mong okay lang ako. Nginitian mo ako para malaman kong naintindihan mo. Gusto ko lang na malaman na okay na tayo. Kasi paalis na rin sana ako kasi dumidilim na at alam kong sanay kang maaga natutulog. Pero nung mag-oover-the-bakod triple-forwardflip-finale na ako, bigla mo akong hinila mid-flight kaya nag-wipe out ako sabay faceplant sa zen garden pebbles. Magagalit na sana ako pero nakita kitang nakatungo na naman kaya sinabi ko na lang na, â€œOo, hindi ko nakalimutan. Babalik ako bukas.â€? Binitawan mo na yung braso ko tapos nag-vanish na ako into the night.
Anniversary kasi ng unang beses kong mag-over-the-bakod sa inyo. Akala mo nakalimutan ko pero pangako nga ni Basil Valdez “hindi kitaaaaa malilimuuutaaaaan…” Anyway. Nag-over-thebakod-rectangular-420-degree-blaze-it-flying-somersault ako para matawid yung bakod ninyong parang lumalaki. Pero all of a sudden nagka-miscalculations ako at nabitin sa 419 degrees yung ikot kaya nag-spin-out-of-control-free-falling-ako-all-of-a-sudden. Akala ko ikamamatay ko na yun kasi tanga ako pero buti na lang na-catch-mewhen-I’m-falling-fast-again mo ako. Gumulong-gulong tayo sa zen garden pebbles parang nagyayakapan na Jack-and-Jill na wala sa hill. After mga limang 2.34 minutes, naubos na rin yung force ng inertia. Tinanong kita kung okay ka lang. Sabi mo okay ka lang. At sinabi ko namang, “buti naman, kasi ako hindi.” Sabay hinimatay dahil tumama yung ulo ko sa isang zen garden boulder.
Nang magising ako, medyo dumadapithapon na. Medyo brown na red na orange na yellow yung langit. Parang na-blender na Jolibee Chicken Joy Meal with matching buttered-mais-and-asanoryanghindi-natutunaw-kaagad-agad-sa-sikmura side dish. Niluluto mo na yung dinala kong imported smuggled Kimchi-Flavored-RamenCurry-in-Mooncake-Dumplings para sa hapunan natin. Medyo nagtampo ako kasi wala ka sa tabi ko nung nagising ako. Sinabi mo sa akin na hindi ka na masyadong nag-alala dahil lagi naman ako nakakabangon â€˜pag hinihimatay ako. Pero bago pa ako maka-emote sinubuan mo na ako ng pinapawis-dahil-tag-init-wintermelon.
Nagreklamo ako sayo dahil weird na may climate change occurrence sa kinakain kong prutas. Mainit siya sa labi kaya pinapucker ko yung lips ko na parang kakalagay ko pa lang ng uneven amounts of lipstick. Unexpectedly, nilapit mo yung mukha mo sa mukha ko, at hinipan mo yung labi ko. Natakot ako nung una dahil akala ko hihimatayin na naman ako sa hininga mo. Pero contrary to my expectations, maaliwalas yung hangin. Sinabi mo sa akin na nag-Happy toothpaste ka ngayon dahil special tong araw na to. Nginitian mo ako sabay ihip ng minty fresh gust of wind na may 25 hours worth of protection from odor-causing germs. Huminga ako nang malalim.
Nagkatinginan tayo. Yung tipong tinginan na pwede ma-overread. Yung tipong akala niyong nag-lalast forever. Kahit alam niyo namang imposible. Pero at that moment wala kayong alam. At that moment, wala kayong pakialam. At that moment. Tumitigil yung mundo. Pero gumagalaw pa rin kayo. Na medyo mabilis na mabagal na saktongsakto lang, sa kakatwang tibok ng puso ninyo. Mga miscalculations sa blood circulation, kung saan-saan na napupunta yung dugo. Yun siguro yung dahilan kung bakit hindi natin namalayan. Na sobrang lapit na pala, ng ulo mo, sa ulo ko. Sobrang. Lapit.
May prolonged and comforting silence. Yung tipong silence na kinakanta ng mga tao sa Silent Night, where all is calm and all is bright. Yung parehong calmness and brightness sa mukha mo nung sinabi mong kailangan mo nang umalis. Hindi ko maintindihan hanggang ngayon kung bakit. Pero parang gusto mong maintindihan ko. Kasi nilapit mo yung mukha ko sa mukha mo para ikaw lang yung makikita ko. Nagkatitigan tayo. Yung titig sa mga mata ng isaâ€™t isa na sobrang focus na parang naghahalo at naglalaho na yung whiteness and darkness ng sclera at iris. Yung parang yumi-yin and yang na yung mga mata at gumagawa siya ng kulay na hindi mo na maipinta. Yung mga matang lalong lumalabo tuwing akala mong kitang-kita mo na. Ganun yung mga mata mo nung huling beses kitang nakita.
Ibang klaseng staring contest yun. Yung tipong contest na parang walang mananalo at wala ring matatalo. Yung tipong kaya mag-goon-forever. Dahil ayaw kong magpatalo. Ayaw kong pumikit. Ayaw kang pakawalan ng titig ko. Kasi alam kong kapag pinakawalan kita, mawawala ka talaga. Kaya hinalikan mo ako. Kasi alam mong sobrang awkward kung nakadilat pa rin yung tao habang nakikipaghalikan siya. Kaya pumikit ako. Kasi sinabi ng mga labi mo na pumikit ako. Pumikit ako at wala na akong nakita. At nagtiwala ako sa kawalang yun. At nung naramdaman kong bumitaw na yung mga labi mo sa labi ko, hindi ko na binuksan yung mga mata ko, naramdaman ko na lang na tumama yung buhok mo sa mukha ko. Yung buhok na hindi ko napansing sobrang haba na pala.
Hanggang ngayon hindi ko pa rin gets kung bakit kailangang mahaba yung buhok ng mga babae. Kung bakit lagi akong pinapagalitan ni nanay pag sinasabi kong gusto kong paiklian yung buhok ko. Ano bang meron sa buhok? Minsan mahirap talagang hanapan ng kahulugan yung mga bagay-bagay. Pero minsan mahirap din bigyan ng kahulugan yung mga bagay-bagay. Lalo na yung mga bagay na hindi mo maintindihan. Yung mga bagay na akala mong sobrang lapit pero sobrang layo pa pala. Yun yung mga bagay na mahirap bitawan. Mga labi. Mga mata. Mga babaeng masaya yung hininga.
abner e. dormiendo
Paghahanap ng Talinghaga sa LRT Papuntang Legarda Kaninang umaga, I took the LRT papuntang Legarda kasi I was planning to buy books—collection of poems dahil ngayon lang ako nagka-free time. Sa loob ng tren, siksikan, as usual. Kalat-kalat ang pagkakaayos ng mga tao. Haphazard. Nag-uumpugan ang mga balikat, braso, siko, pero ever so gently, walang harmful intentions I think. Sa standpoint ko, mukhang dagat ang mga tao— sea of faces, ‘ika nga. Tapos ‘yung mga kamay nila, nakakapit sa plastic handles. Umuuga sa paggalaw ng tren. Parang mga taong nalulunod, naghahanap ng salvation; kung ano mang salvation iyon, di ko na inisip. Gumaralgal ang boses ni madam sa PA system: Ang susunod na istasyon ay Gilmore. Napaka-distant ng tinig. Parang phone call from a stranger. Nevertheless, naunsyami ako. To my surprise, dumami na pala ang tao sa tren. Ang hangin, mas humid, naging mas dense. Para kaming nakatayong sardinas sa napakahabang lata. Iba-iba ang orientation ng mga tao, iba-iba ng tinitignan: their cellphones, the city. ‘Yung partner nila while wrapped around each other’s arms. Si ate sa harap ko, nakatalikod, nakatulala. Nagrereverie. Nakaipit sa braso niya ang isang envelope. And di ko naman intention na mabasa pero nagsusumigaw ang letters sa harap: diagnosis. Parang humihingi ng saklolo. Gusto ko sanang tanungin si ate: Sinong may sakit? Anong sakit niya? May cure pa ba sa ganitong karamdaman? But, public place and all, at dahil kailangang respetuhin ang private spaces, di na lang ako nagsalita. Next thing I know, nang tumawag uli
ang garalgal na boses sa PA, Legarda na. So I stepped out, (may excuse me pa while passing through), at naglakad papunta sa bookstore. Doon, naghanap ako ng mga tula, naghahanap ng salvation sa talinghaga. And narealize ko, habang naglalakad palabas ng bookstore kipkip ang mga libro na nabili koâ€”expensive, napagastos ako nang malakiâ€”na naghahanap lang ako ng talinghaga para sa mga ganitong eksena. Ordinary, almost mundane. For example, paglalakad sa streets. Or pagsakay sa train.
Isla Kapung-awan Sa Isla Kapung-awan, tuyo na ang mga balon. Malaon nang hindi umuulan. Tigang na ang mga taniman. Upang makainom, kailangan nilang umiyak. Pumipikit sila at iniisip na lumisan sila sa Isla Kapung-awan. Nagpakalayu-layo. Tila may malalim na balon sa kanilang kalooban na hindi natutuyo. Ngunit pagdilat nila, wala silang natatanaw kundi ang lawak ng dagat. Walang kabila. Kailangan nilang lumuha upang walang mauhaw.
The Clocks Stop for us. In Yokohama, Cosmo Clock 21 slows to a steady halt; one passenger car swings back and forth. The song of the Rathaus-Glockenspiel’s bird is held in its throat by a fist. Jaipur’s Samrat Yantra wrestles with the shadow of its nose, berates its margin of error. Saint Peter peeks out of the window of the clock in Prague, scoffs at the horoscope below him. I tell myself we must do something grand, I must say something memorable, exhaust all my thimbles. Instead I spend the stretch between this goodbye and your departure being a clock: I stop. If we were given this minute again, I would meet you as hands upon midnight, a silent lingering—or as the sun crashes into the bay, a violent embrace. I would unclench the fist in my throat, confess all that has been clawing to be told: Thank you for your time. Salvador Dali melts our pocket watches, reminds us that we are
demonstrating a collapse of cosmic order. The memory persists: In this last minute I memorize what I will come to forget.
Andromeda i. Submission is in the shape of her body’s contortions—curved to her lover, she moves with his reckoning, the lower lip cherry red, eyes half open, shoulders limp, hair parted to rest at the back, giving full view of the body to the other’s eyes. ii. What is a lover’s body? This one he knows within the confines of the sheets that crease when she rolls onto her side, moisture from macadamia oil evaporating from the skin, faint traces of sex in the room circulating with each exhale. The lover’s body is in motion, static only in her gaze. In their quarters: a bottle of grape wine, scarlet silk sheets, incense burning. He buries his head in the adipose areas of her body—breasts, buttocks, belly. The belly grows patches of baby hair. iii. Natural selection recognizes threats to the body’s most vulnerable parts—the head, the eyes, the underarm, the sex—and for that, it compensates with hair growth. Anatomical hair is virility, hence Andromeda has none. A woman cannot be both desirable and invulnerable. We create clothes for protection, the body makes hair for the same purpose; Andromeda is stripped away of both. iv. The details bear no traces of the follicles, even to the precision of Rembrandt’s brushwork; light catches the curves of her body, shadows recede to where light does not hit—the artistry consummate save for when he misses anatomical aphorisms: where is her hair, and if it has been removed, where are its roots.
v. What is a body? To be naked is to be oneself, to be nude is to be seen naked by others. A body is an object. Tintoretto paints Susanna stripped, crouching to conceal her breasts from The Elders watching her. Venus is born a ripened woman, and Botticelli created her, from her Birth, the object of male desire. A body is languid, static on where the gaze is fixed. The painter directs it to where he wishes: soften your spine and lay lifeless as you look to me; understand that you give up your flesh when you allow me to turn it into brush strokes.
Tall Story i. The year my friend RJ jumped off his roof was 2002. He was ten. Only in the fourth grade and already the weight of the world on his shoulders. Things were crazy at home. His parents were constantly arguing; he was convinced a separation was inevitable. His brothers, instead of making things easier made matters worse. When they should have acted as role models, in his eyes they were all but responsible: one screw up after another with nothing but a lack of remorse for their behavior. Nothing was going right. At ten years old, you could only take so much. All he knew was there was a clear solution: Climb up the roof of the house and jump right off. End it before it gets worse. He was barely hurt. No broken bones, no bleeding wounds, nothing. Just a sore body, aching legs and more than anything, hurt pride. A lanky boy lying on the pavement thinking, Am I dead; and then the familiar sound of his motherâ€™s voice calling him for lunch piercing through his imagined comatose. I donâ€™t remember much about the day he told me the story of his attempted suicide but I remember enough. I was crying and it was the day after my 20th birthday. He was sitting across from me, on the very same chair he sits on every time he comes over. I remember thinking that his story was absurd, but it made me laugh and that made me feel better. At the time, it did not cross my mind that the chances of a ten-year-old jumping off the roof of their house and surviving with nothing but sore legs for battle scars were slim. All I knew was I was crying, and there was the boy that I run to when things go haywire armed with a story and a comforting hug. 45
ii. I was only a freshman in college when I met him. He was a sophomore, towering over almost everyone in the pavilion where our first acting workshop was held. At first glance, he looked to me as someone who was so sure of himself: confident, talented, and funny. In my head, he was someone who knew what he wanted and more than anything knew what he was doing that he became interesting to me and I wanted to get to know him. The truth is, as I write this, I realize I don’t really know if I know him at all—at least not conventionally. The information I have stashed away in my head about this boy who is supposed to be one of my closest friends is merely a collection of three years worth of stories, observations and things I believe to be true. What I think I know about him is what I’ve put together in a desperate attempt to find out who he really is. I know that he is the youngest of three boys, born February 21, 1992. He has lived in “the south” all his life, and by south I mean Las Piñas, where he lived from birth until the summer before fifth grade, and then Parañaque where they moved in ‘03 and have stayed since. He was once a black belter and was part of the Junior National Team for Taekwondo. I know that he only took Taekwondo because his parents forced him to do so. He didn’t want to and his mother told him he could quit when he reached black belt. He did and quit right after. He sings and exceptionally so. As a matter of fact, he likes to write songs and posts them online for everyone. You would assume that he likes the attention—he does. He also has one of the biggest appetites amongst almost everyone I know. He eats anything and everything and is blessed with an insanely fast metabolism. Bias aside, he is one of the best designers I know. And I know for a fact that everything he knows about graphic design is self-taught and that that’s the kind of person he is. That he likes to learn and is driven. That he’s talented but not complacent.
Those things, I can say are a hundred percent fact.
iii. “Everything you know about me is a lie.” I pick at the cake in front of me that he bought because he knew I would be stressed in silence and wait for an explanation. “I don’t know if you know this but I’m a pathological liar.” “I know,” I admit, uncomfortable. He doesn’t ask how I know but he looked surprised. I give him a weak smile and encourage him to continue. Halfway through, I find myself unable to control my laughter. My theory is that I did not know how to handle all the information that was suddenly being taken apart, memories that were being changed and corrected and ended up laughing as an attempt at a civilized reaction. “Why are you laughing?” “I don’t know. I find it interesting.” “Interesting?” “That there are so many versions of you I have yet to get to know. And how do I know you’re not making this up?” “You just have to trust me,” he said, suppressing a smile. The problem is, I do. The funny thing is someone already warned me that RJ is a liar but because of everything we’d been through I had always given him the benefit of the doubt. True enough, there he was, sitting across from me, admitting to it. It happened over dinner. We’d taken to eating at Xocolat after rehearsals, an unwinding after a long day of school and work. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised. If anything, I was caught off-guard because I never thought he would own up to it; much more apologize for lying to me all these years. When he told me he needed to talk to me, I was expecting much worse. At the end of the conversation, all I knew was there was this boy sitting across me telling me that everything he has ever told me was a lie. That the boy I knew and had grown to love was merely a projection, a lie he’d believed in so much he brought it to life. 47
We spent the entire night going down memory lane, to the very moment I met him, our vacation in another country, our conversations over Skype, middle-of-the-night-can’t-sleeptexts, sleepovers: everything; breaking down the bits and pieces of information I knew about him arranging them: lies, truths, half-truths. Family problems? Half-truth. Cheater? Lie. Male chauvinist? Lie. Asshole? Half-truth. Suicide attempts? Lie. Geek? Truth. When you told me you liked me? Truth. (Awkward laughter) The guy that I liked? Lie. I am tired of trying to be someone that I’m not. I know. If lies were tangible things we put them in boxes, trying to figure out what to feel about this lie. What to feel about this truth and why couldn’t the lie just have been as real as we imagined it to be? In the span of three hours, I was robbed of three years of what I thought to be true. The image I had of him—the picture I’d painted in my head, the person I’d grown to know was nothing more than just that. There he was sitting across from me, the one boy I trusted entirely and I thought to myself how unfortunate it is that I didn’t even know him. iv. The day after I turned 20, I called RJ telling him I needed to talk to him. I had learned early in the morning that day when I got home from a party that my father was wrongly accused of conspiracy and was being discharged from the service, after devoting more than half of his life to the country and doing so with without even a hint of fraudulence or dishonesty. My dad’s track record is clean and anyone who knows him
can attest to that. I called RJ knowing that this was something I could not handle on my own. Granted, because he is who he is, he was there, sitting across from me on his usual spot in my house, listening. While I said my piece, he was quiet. I could only imagine the things that must’ve been going through his head. When it was over, he stood up, reached over to hug me and told me I was ugly when I cried. I laughed, knowing this was the only way he knew how to comfort me. Then, through a story, he told me that things are going to get better. It may not look like it will any time soon, but it will. It was typical and cliché, but it had to be said. “One time,” he starts, “When I was ten years old, I jumped off the roof of my house.” I stare at him, not knowing what to make of it. v. I’d like to believe that he tells these stories not just because he wants attention, not just because he’s told them over and over again he believes them to be true, not just because he wants people to like him or because he’s insecure. The stories that he tells me may be tall and absurd, but I know that he tells them because sometimes there are things that need to be said. Sometimes what a story means is so much more important than whether or not it actually happened. Some stories just need to be told. Some people lie to hide things, to mask pain, to cover up sadness. Some people lie to try to get away with things. Some people lie to make themselves feel better. Some people lie to make others feel worse. But some people lie because they have stories to tell, because through these stories, they have something more to give. “I wanted to be a writer,” he once told me. I don’t know if it’s true, or it’s just something he said because he knows it’s what I’m interested in. But I do know for a fact that the twenty-year-old boy I have come to know, the tall one in the room I almost always spot first with the glasses (that aren’t graded) and the awkward smile and a
million stories to tell, could very well be one. Five months ago after what happened to my dad, I felt like nothing was ever going to get better. I saw the world for what it was—unjust, cruel; that it takes too much and without remorse. I suppose it’s right to say I’d lost my faith in everything. Things are not better but I know for a fact that I am. Five months ago, at my lowest, there was this boy sitting across me telling me he tried to kill himself because he felt like there was nothing left to live for. I refuse to lie and say I would’ve gotten by all the same without him. I would’ve gotten by, but he made it bearable. In him I had found a friend who would willingly carry my burdens with me. If it hadn’t been for him, his stories, the world he fashioned out of nothing—a world I so willingly allowed myself to get lost in—I wouldn’t be where and who I am right now. When you’re at your lowest, there are just some things you don’t want to hear: things are going to get better, you are going to be okay. I realize now that even if he had to lie to say it, it was exactly what I needed to hear. “One time, na-stranded ako sa dorm and I had to eat paper and toyo.” I look up. He is sitting across from me. We are having dinner with some of our cast mates. We’d just finished another round of Pinoy Henyo and the last item was ice cube. I don’t recall how the topic went from ice cube to eating paper but it did, and he relished it. “Ondoy kasi nun,” he continues. He is so good at this: holding a crowd’s attention—every single one of us listening intently. “ ‘Di nga.” “Oo, talaga. Nag-flood nung Ondoy tapos wala akong makain and I was so hungry I ended up eating paper with toyo.” “Paano yung roommates mo?” “Umuwi. Mag-isa lang ako nun.” Question after question, he always had an immediate 50
answer. He spoke with clarity and without hesitation, never faltering; with such conviction it was almost impossible not to believe it real. Somewhere in the middle of his story, I’d stopped listening and was simply watching his every move, observing. I know him well enough to know he’s lying. That again he was simply putting on a show. Halfway through the story, he stops, smiles and looks at me. You’re lying. He knows that I know. I smile back and say nothing.
Tidal This is what you learned there and this is what I learned back home: Everything is moving and there is no space to gather your bearings. Imagine the landlord who—by profession— is obligated to see off his tenants, their departure already scheduled. Imagine the conductor who knows better than anyone backpacking across Europe what it means to yield. Observe any machine or institution with its regulating mechanisms, ushering a small sum of parts by their incompleteness. You told me over video that some of these trains now come with small beds, and to think, you manage to be still while moving. When you aren’t attending classes in Munich, you are pulsing through the heart of underground Europe. The last time we spoke, you were in Brussels, then Venice, and then you were somewhere in Florence, standing in line to see the David, who stands contrapposto like nobody’s business not despite, but because 52
of his vulnerability. How does it feel to know that even in repose, you still possess the capacity to wander? Memory is like walking backwards to restore your footsteps into fullness. May your travels never be a betrayal of your sense of direction, and I hope the road feels like finding a thousand homes you never thought you had, settling down a thousand times over. If you were ever curious about how it feels writing you letters, imagine me praying to old gods. The last time we spoke, you said you were going to tour the city of Rome. Can you feel the history of a strange land, warm in your bones?
London Honestly, this is it: the pieces breaking in two. The pressure is nearly constant: wheels, carriages, horses, boots, even the parts of former monuments carried on the worn shoulders of Londoners. And when there are no people, there are storms. One season, the boots are rubber, another plain, unrugged, another matched by the rain of bullets. Iâ€™ve lasted so long, long enough that I can almost admire the rhythm of your striking. The story always ends thus: When has anything manmade averted rupture? A bridge can only last so long. Iâ€™ve lasted so long. Honestly, this is it: How kind you must seem to rebuild me. 54
Label for a Lost Object I am walking on Togetsukyo Bridge with my mother while I keep my head bowed from the sun; but when I look up I see I am not walking with my mother anymore; I am walking with people I do not know; my mother walks slowly, or she must have been carried by the crowd further away; I stop and pretend to observe the river; I think there are shrines we still have to see; I think why is the water of the river this shallow; I think Arashiyama is a small town; and the point A to point B of this bridge is the town proper to a mountain range; a rickshaw passes; the wind is cold; the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and the Japanese also have plum blossoms called ume that mark the end of winter; the river is too shallow; so I walk again from point A and then I see my mother waiting at point B; she says finally and did you lose your phone and I ask now where do we go; the bridge is a straight line.
from Blue Sonata no. 2 (self-portrait)
My life is the gardener of my body. My hands have long known the uncertainty of trembling, gravity upon weight, and in music the delayed response. I see tempo as the incessant reminder of imprecision, that pushes my piano music away and broods a complacency of my hands. Later, my right arm is a type of conduction; my left shoulder is a point of reverberation. My face—wet clay that since forgetting about it now grows molds. My upper body above the navel is mostly a bare field, but the neck is an overproduction, and the breasts small moons my mother prays for. My lower body, beneath the navel, knows instability from a slight pause, how forward motion is paralytic. The feet are stone when I walk. My hands play the piano wholly stiff. They drag in locating the keys. I had been meant to play Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2, but in learning it my right hand corrupted the expressive phrases, the detail of dissonant notes; and the left could not sustain its meter, the balance enacted by the chords. The body is a short entr’acte. It is the point before making music. The brain—protrusive, condensed, a futile imposition on my lungs. The lungs—a wide expanse, the filter before my upper body. I only tell myself the melody of a familiar piece.My mouth is a general remission.
My life is the gardener of my body. My body puts forward a face. Appearance: black hair, round eyes, wide nose, my ears, brows, my teeth and lips, set upon a fair, round face. My mother: black hair, wide eyes, small nose, her thin lips, her cheeks sag below the jaw. My father: white hair, his eyes always watery and red, the same wide nose. My room is made up of a soft yellow wall, the other sides in deep purple, shelves, a desk, a bed, Sanso painting above the bed. The living room has eight frames; the title of the painting is written on the back of the frame; sometimes the artist writes a note. And music is composed of meter, rhythm, the key, variations of the key, the dynamics, pitch, the timbre of phrases and notes. Appearance is the different elements. Sound is the appearance of different elements.
At the Piano I press down on one note silently, a low bass note rich, unsounded. I place my other hand to its higher octave, then strike a familiar, mid-tone key the starting point to all students of music: C. Immediately the lower C, as a natural reaction to its unsounding, sounds a distinct force and vibrates as that keyâ€”I hear it clearly, the note as deep vibrations, far from faint though slightly floating. I press down silently again on lower C, and with my other hand move some steps further from its octave. I strike it, the first overtone, and again I hear that note C, its rich bass. But it sounds a different force; it has floated further away dominant, middle C but still claims clear a reaction to the overtone G. The next overtone exists somewhere between B-flat and A. So I play them to a trill, slowly first, then quickly as if in practice. I remember these are well-tempered keys. I decide to play the major A; my finger is still pressed to low C. When I strike it I only hear the bass note slightly now, but it was there even if it was afloat. I strike the A again so as to affirm. The low C does sound. The next overtone is four steps higher than A. I strike E, and the C floats. It is nearly unsound as it had been.
Exercise on Bowing I see my face is abraded by this exercise on how to bow. The violin rests awkwardly on my shoulder. Several times I reposition my jaw on the rest. I bow downward on G and the grip of my right hand is so loose it cannot hold the weight. So the bow skips away intermittently at the string, and the sound trembles. My right arm moves too much. My left hand cannot manipulate the wrist. But I feel it, definitively, the wild vibrations on my left shoulder.
My life is the gardener of my body. The years accumulate as varying encounters of different music, the same music; I see the points where they converge: What I hear is what I know to be true. Transliteration is a dangerous imposition. To look at myself and see the corruption of my attempt, in elements— To which my body opposes: music is that appearance that is not merely its appearance, it is intrinsic, while I remain this known field— My life is re-imposition; instability; imprecision; the insecurity; profession without conviction— And the years continue to accumulate and I feel them, entirely, the whole of my delayed response— To oppose music by speaking, and my mouth?— For I would not see its ambiguities. This is production. This same attempt—
In Cebu while waiting for the thanksgiving mass for San Pedro Calungsod Morning peels the shell of night, spilling the sunâ€™s color all over Cebuâ€”a conflagration of red and yellow. The locals, under their straw hats, have been waiting for quite too long, with the chorus of smiles they wear over their red shirts. Remember, these are what they have come for: Flower-strewn carrozas on the cobblestones in front of the cathedral, already missing a bulb or two, children running freely around while holding candlesticks the priests have handed over, and morning blisters caught in the frayed ends of straw hats. The fluvial procession will begin in two hours and we have positioned ourselves where the bus will pick us up, some unknowing tourists. After waiting for an hour, one bus drives past us.
The cold makes a rush to our feet that travels through our threadbare pants and sends a chill down our spine. From afar, we see a tarpaulin of San Pedro Calungsod dancing jovially by a pole.
How the water falls in the Kaufmann House on Bear Run in Pennsylvania When you have lived in the river for too long, you will notice your limbs attaching themselves onto the banks so that you are able to resist movement in eddies. Finally, your body would start rejecting water. I guess this is what happened to the Kaufmann House on Bear Run in Pennsylvania that clings to the side of the gorge resting over a bedstream like a baby with his mother. It is also known to be Falling Water because water has nowhere to go but down. This should be what they call oedema, the excess fluid in the tissues that distends the body, making one look really turgid, just how my great grandaunt looked like when she died of pneumonia. The doctors said her lungs, having been filled with water, suddenly gave up and burst. She must have immediately choked and drowned herself. But Frank Lloyd Wright, this great American architect who detested monotony, has found a way to solve this problem. His solution: to displace water where water was abundant. The first time I encountered the photo of the Falling Water it was during our art appreciation class. Our professor was showing us some great architectural structures in the world. I was struck at how the water falling from the house and onto the moonwashed river resembled a tongue slipping out of the mouth, which reminded me of how my cousinâ€™s tongue looked like poking through her crimson lips inside her coffin after she committed suicide (or this is how I remember her when I saw the funeral video taken from the States). My aunt was howling through the TV screen as she was being held back by my other aunts. I was only seven then. To me, everything was a feast.
Wright said a home must be able to express a manâ€™s self (more than his personality), which was why he made a house that rejects water because a man must have a clean soul. And water, I learned from our molecular biology class, washes away everything. Maybe then the rain shall wash the memory of our hands clean as we learn to forget everything, until all that is left are our names engraved on stones.
luis wilfrido atienza
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Song to Orpheus before I am lost, hell must open like a red rose for the dead to pass. â€” H.D., Eurydice Love, all I wanted from turning was to return. Where we were alive, I was lost in the flowers of living gardens, pale against the light of such a luminous world. Where only lyre could cut and move and sound, I had only to bask, be grateful, sigh. In this passing, I am not so delicate. See how the earth blooms, tender and bright red in my love for you? See how we challenge the gestures of gods? If only once, I could paint you this serenade that I ached and ached to sing. Look at me: unfurling into an echo of a song, blossoming to face you in divine offertory. The earth trembles in our magnitude. How could I walk all the way back? When in the breaking of this passage, I was vivid, finally, as you? For you?
for Lolaâ€™s father
As I am missing your name, you had no words to give this music. No terms for the quickening of pace, a pulse, the gesture of chord against finger. But stranger, everyone knew and so do I, that you were a melody of a manâ€”that every stroke of your hand could arrange drone into lullaby. Stories, have cradled me as much. And as such, my greatest wound this: your truest debris in the wake of my inability, so that all of the songs you have ever played resonate in the hollow of my chest: these bones conspiring into operas without any hope of light. Understand. Understand how my flesh trembles in the holding of a single beautiful note, how I attempt to hum so much love with a voice that can do nothing but break. How I ache to learn the way your hands waved. If I hold true the words that you did not have, then to sing a song is always towards ending it. To love a language is to never, ever speak it.
Robin “And his hands? His hands keep turning into birds and flying away from him. Him being you. Yes.” —Richard Siken, “Unfinished Duet” Upon first light, the robin sings: lone notes, repeated; the first, the second, moving smoothly into the third, and so on, creating a rich, melodious string of whinny and tut calls that rarely falters. The robin finds a tree and perches itself upon the highest branches, ruffling its feathers as it settles. It sings until the sun has fully set, becoming among the last to rest. The robin is tireless in this way, and I am reminded of hands, then fingers, then feathers. They become piles of leaves upon the grass. Light follows, gracing the earth—the skin. Fingers or feathers, I forget; both simply fall where they may. The Common Robin is native to the Nearctic region, appearing almost exclusively throughout, and its thrush is widely considered to be the most abundant in North America. The adult robin bears a striking reddish-orange breast, unmistakable even in flight; the color of desert sunsets and daylilies. Its head is often jet black, rarely a lighter grey, appearing impossibly blacker upon meeting the white stripe of its throat and the white plumage that runs from bill to head. Its dark eyes are framed by white arcs. Its wings are shades of white, still, and brownish-grey at rest, revealing warm reddish-orange feathers when spread out. The robin is not at all an ostentatious creature, but it certainly has the capacity to be. Its blacktipped bill varies from yellow to orange depending on the season, and upon observation, where the sunlight hits. In humans, the sun 68
does this to hair: ash brown becomes gold, in the way of evergreens. During winter, the robin’s feathers fade to paler hues, worn down by the crisp air. The wind grazes the robin’s breast, making it shiver. It’s a creature so touched by the element that it can’t help but change along with it. The breeding ritual of robins is simple: it happens in early spring. A pair of male and female robins bond to breed and raise their young, although the female is often left to build and secure the nest; to care for the delicate newborns. Poppies and brittlebush blossom at the peak of spring, and so do the young robins. But these are wildflowers; by definition, they thrive in the wild. Robins, however, merely survive. Most that are born in spring are laid to rest in the summer. The robin, when newly-hatched, doesn’t possess the reddish-orange breast its adult counterpart is known for, nor does it sound particularly like a songbird. A newborn robin has few feathers and translucent skin that reveals bulging eyes in a skull that seems altogether too small and too weak to hold its self up. Sympathy comes all at once and spills over. The robin gingerly takes it in, unused to the care of strangers. Strangers, or: anyone who isn’t mother. The newborn’s father returns to the nest, once or twice, to feed it. We often forget those who are absent. People say this. We remember not their faces, but the way regret sounded as it fell out of their mouths. The robin shies away, perhaps on instinct, even as its father offers it berries. In these early stages, the newborn’s skin is so transparent that very little gets in the way of viewing its internal organs. One can easily observe its gallbladder, greenish from bile; purplish liver, yellow-orange yolk-sac, and the occasional bright yellow spots of fat deposit; all appearing as though mere pastels through the newborn’s milky white skin. This frailty, then, becomes like the feathers on the 69
underside of its mother’s wings: a revelation, reminding us of grace. At fourteen days old, it is no longer fit to be called newborn, having fully grown its feathers from clear sheaths—smooth cylindrical cases that serve as shells for the robin’s emerging feathers, falling away at a feather’s slightest nudging. At fourteen days old, the robin flutters its wings. Now, it flies. Yet the robin rarely forgets its days as a fledgling. Its feathers become fringes, turning its eyes into beads in place of little moons. The robin develops in rapid bursts: a naturally occurring time lapse. But the robin still remembers how it got to the point of flight. Humans often discount the value of time when it’s measured in quick intervals. Fourteen days: in other words, two weeks—negligible in the face of a year. Most robins have only a season. They grow old in the time it takes a human child to learn a new word. It remembers cracking open its shell—the natural shade of which is so unusual it calls for reproduction: in wallpaper swatches, it’s the color between Holiday and Cascade; approximations. In the language of digital color codes, it’s #00CCCC. Crayola calls it, simply, Robin’s Egg Blue. Yes, the robin comes out of its egg; however, it still cannot know light. That first exposure is a delicate case: the newly-hatched robin, having experienced only the specific darkness of its egg, wails for its mother. For a few days after its hatching, the robin’s eyes are closed. Yet the light remains blinding, and so it wails. What it sees, or doesn’t see, is an imprint: the ghost of light, interrupting that which the robin has come to know. It creates a separate darkness. The robin is a sensitive creature in these early days, burying its head in the twigs and feathers that make up its nest: its home built upon a cushion of grass held together by mud. The newborn seems to relax only when its mother returns to brood it, perhaps thankful for the familiarity of her touch. In brooding, the robin’s mother carefully distributes warmth from her own body among the featherless newborns, shifting her weight so as not to crush them. The most essential part of the process
is its consistency: the warmth she delivers in the morning must be the same as in the evening. The newborn knows when it’s different, struggling almost as though it believes a different bird has taken its mother’s place. Before hatching, the mother would sit upon her eggs, foregoing her need for food or drink. She would pluck feathers from her bright chest so the eggs could keep warm even when she was, however briefly, away. In brooding, there’s very little room for change. The mother knows this, and so she is constant. It is she who feeds the newborn fruits and small insects: the bare necessities for survival. Unlike the chick, which is fully formed and feathered upon hatching, the robin is entirely dependent on its mother during these crucial weeks. Its underdeveloped legs disable it from following its mother during her foraging trips. Its naked skin, featherless in the beginning, makes it susceptible even to the pleasant chill of springtime air. Its weak head lolls under the weight of eyes it has yet to open. The mother patiently delivers food to its child, and soothes the newborn’s wailing. It’s careful to brood it after meals. In fourteen days, the robin’s wings develop enough to allow flight. The robin leaves its nest. Yet, for a while after, it still returns home looking to its mother for berries. Robins don’t have time enough to forget being flightless and cold. Before winter can shift to spring, there is the stillness of the in-between: during which only the hardiest of spring flowers begin to bloom. Crocus and camellias appear as though planted in snow. Quiet storm clouds at sunset, the soft pink of baby’s first blanket, plump ducklings. They break the white. The air smells of ice melting upon the earth, of old grass and old leaves that stood the test of winter; of sweet life. Mist comes much later. Flocks of robins begin to fly in from their winter ranges, settling in trees. The leaves drip with forgotten snow. Morning light peeks over treetops as the robins sing from their branches. They prefer to fly south during the winter, favoring the countryside, as food in the wild becomes scarcer the colder it gets. Robins don’t mind the cold as long as they’re fed; full suns rarely touching full bellies. Springtime carries this promise. 71
a. a. aris amor
Interfaces <!--The following is^H^Hrepresents a work of fiction; any resemblance to a real coding syntax, living or dead, is purely intentional.--> USER:\>hello world 400 ERROR BAD REQUEST USER:\>define “world” in user:daniel 205 MESSAGE RESET CONTENT USER:\>login daniel:\ LOGGED IN DANIEL:\>hello world 400 ERROR BAD REQUEST
DANIEL:\>run chat_client CHAT_CLIENT RUNNING DANIEL:\>action chat_client\browse%20online USERS ONLINE (3:17:34UTC+8) username chat_client status DNDliches Euphrates busy Ellen Euphrates available xxHeartaches Tigris available zenithAsimov Euphrates busy DANIEL:\>ping xxHeartaches PINGING xxHeartaches WITH 16 BYTES OF DATA: Request timed out. Request timed out. Request timed out. Request timed out. 504 ERROR GATEWAY TIMEOUT PING RESULTS 4 packets sent 0 packets retrieved 4 packets lost
DANIEL:\>ping Ellen PINGING Ellen WITH 16 BYTES OF DATA: 4 bytes from daniel : 100.8 ms 4 bytes from daniel : 100.4 ms 4 bytes from daniel : 100.3 ms 4 bytes from daniel : 100.3 ms PING RESULTS 4 packets sent 4 packets retrieved 0 packets lost average ping : 100.5 ms DANIEL:\>action chat_client\chat%20with\user Ellen 408 ERROR REQUEST TIMEOUT DANIEL:\>action chat_client\browse%20online USERS ONLINE (03:19:42UTC+8) username chat_client status DNDliches Euphrates busy DNDwarlock Tigris busy enola Euphrates available xxHeartaches Tigris idle zenithAsimov Euphrates busy
DANIEL:\>action chat_client\browse%20online USERS ONLINE (02:24:26UTC+8) username chat_client status DNDliches Euphrates busy DNDwarlock Tigris idle enola Euphrates busy xxHeartaches Tigris idle DANIEL:\>action chat_client\browse%20online USERS ONLINE (02:24:58UTC+8) username chat_client status DNDliches Euphrates busy enola Euphrates busy xxHeartaches Tigris idle DANIEL:\>action chat_client\browse%20online USERS ONLINE (02:25:10UTC+8) username chat_client status DNDliches Euphrates busy DNDwarlock Tigris idle enola Euphrates busy xxHeartaches Tigris idle DANIEL:\>action chat_client\browse%20online USERS ONLINE (02:25:19UTC+8) username chat_client status DNDliches Euphrates busy DNDwarlock Tigris idle Ellen Euphrates available DANIEL:\>action chat_client\smile%20at\user Ellen 200 MESSAGE OK (02:25:27UTC+8)
DANIEL:\>action chat_client\inbox\new NEW MESSAGES (02:25:49UTC+8) from title timestamp DANIEL:\>action chat_client\inbox\new NEW MESSAGES (02:26:22UTC+8) from title timestamp DANIEL:\>action chat_client\inbox\new NEW MESSAGES (02:26:43UTC+8) from title timestamp DANIEL:\>action chat_client\inbox\new 522 ERROR CONNECTION TIMED OUT â€ƒ
DANIEL:\>action chat_client\browse%20online USERS ONLINE (01:56:56UTC+8) username chat_client status DNDliches Euphrates busy Ellen Euphrates available enola Euphrates busy xxHeartaches Tigris idle DANIEL:\>action chat_client\inbox\new NEW MESSAGES (01:57:47UTC+8) from title timestamp Ellen smile 03:49:22UTC+8 (yesterday) DANIEL:\>action chat_client\inbox\new\smile MESSAGE RECEIVED YESTERDAY AT 03:49:22UTC+8 TITLE: smile BODY: DANIEL:\>action chat_client\send%20message\user Ellen title:midnight 202 MESSAGE ACCEPTED INPUT MESSAGE BODY “Remember me? It’s been a while since we last talked.” 201 MESSAGE CREATED 200 MESSAGE SUCCESS YOUR MESSAGE HAS BEEN SENT (02:04:16UTC+8) DANIEL:\>action chat_client\inbox\new NEW MESSAGES (02:05:03UTC+8) from title timestamp
DANIEL:\>action chat_client\status\set%20to\busy 200 MESSAGE SUCCESS DANIEL:\>action chat_client\inbox\new NEW MESSAGES (03:15:27UTC+8) from title timestamp Ellen re-midnight 04:24:28UTC+8 (yesterday) troyRules game%20night 12:29:34UTC+8 (yesterday) DANIEL:\>action chat_client\inbox\new\re-midnight MESSAGE RECEIVED YESTERDAY AT 04:24:28UTC+8 TITLE: re-midnight Hello, Daniel. Of course I remember you! BODY: What’s on your mind? The other night, I was having a midnight snack and realized that the mayonnaise I had been using was expired. Did you know that expiry dates are not set in stone? DANIEL:\>action chat_client\send%20message\user Ellen title:re-midnight(1) 202 MESSAGE ACCEPTED INPUT MESSAGE BODY DANIEL:\> “You ate it anyway Sounds gross... but I guess it would make sense in the apocalypse... stay healthy? I just wanted to drop a line and ask how you are. I’ve been feeling lonely.” 201 MESSAGE CREATED 200 MESSAGE SUCCESS YOUR MESSAGE HAS BEEN SENT (03:21:11UTC+8) DANIEL:\>action chat_client\status\set%20to\lonely 406 ERROR NOT ACCEPTABLE
DANIEL:\>ping Ellen PINGING Ellen WITH 16 BYTES OF DATA: 4 bytes from daniel : 100.4 ms 4 bytes from daniel : 100.5 ms 4 bytes from daniel : 100.8 ms 4 bytes from daniel : 100.2 ms PING RESULTS 4 packets sent 4 packets retrieved 0 packets lost average ping : 100.5 ms â€ƒ
DANIEL:\>action chat_client\inbox\new NEW MESSAGES (02:58:56UTC+8) from title timestamp Ellen re-midnight(2) 04:18:26 (yesterday) troyRules re-game%20night 12:36:32 (yesterday) DANIEL:\>action chat_client\inbox\new\re-midnight MESSAGE RECEIVED YESTERDAY AT 04:18:26UTC+8 TITLE: re-midnight(2) BODY: Geez, lonely? You need to get out more. Tell you what, I will be at the cafe on the corner of Rizal at 0330 tomorrow. Donâ€™t be a stranger, keep sending messages. DANIEL:\>hello 404 ERROR NOT FOUND DANIEL:\>hello world 400 ERROR BAD REQUEST DANIEL:\>hello 404 ERROR NOT FOUND DANIEL:\>
Art Editorial Why is it that there is a fear of art, rather, the word “art” and the implications it carries? We use the term art with such weight, as if the idea of art is too big, too incomprehensible. There is a distance that accompanies this title; too often do we hear people describe creative pieces as art when they cannot understand them. How then, is this fear? Perhaps, at its most basic level, it could simply be a lack of understanding. Fear is involved when people become afraid of a piece, of the idea that it is art, that it is beyond them. But how can art be beyond a viewer when the viewer is human, and art is drawn from experiences of humans? It is true that some pieces necessitate training: whether a brush stroke is masterful or what defines good lighting, for example, is not knowledge readily available to everyone. What becomes accessible is the humanity of each piece; the aspect of the artwork that is rooted in shared or common experiences. In this folio, each piece can be seen as an exploration of a theme or idea derived from these human experiences. Dimla’s Sa Kapatiran, for instance, is a play on the idea of brotherhood; Joson’s Predator and Prey is a visual representation of the artist’s own fears— fears that are shared with the piece’s viewers. Cruz’s Endemic bring to light bigger social and environmental issues, applicable to our country’s context, while both of Reyes’ pieces attempt at translating mathematical and scientific concepts, familiar to many, into visual art. Calanoc’s series reconciles two images: one manmade, the other natural; a reconciliation that is not foreign to us. Why then does “art” remain scary? This reaction is a result of a self-imposed helplessness. Too long has this idea that art is too distant, too inaccessible, been propagated. Regardless of one’s
training, or formal education in art or aesthetics, everyone has the capacity, and the opportunity, to appreciate art. It becomes a challenge: to ascertain that which tethers a piece to its human aspect. Art, after all, is a very human phenomenon. Manuel I単igo A. Angulo January 2014
Pamela O. Celeridad. Swarm. Acrylic on canvas. 4 x 3 ft.
Therese Nicole Reyes. Convolution. Ink. 18 x 12 in.
Trisha Katipunan. Identity is Self-contained 1. Ink on grocery bags.
Identity is Self-contained 2.
Identity is Self-contained 3.
Nikki Vocalan. Subliminal. Digital.
Santi Lacuna Martinez. l(a. Mixed media (graphite and digital). 8 x 11 in.
Justine Anne S. Joson. Predator and Prey. Mixed media (ink and digital).
Regina Ira Antonette M. Geli. Animate. Digital photography.
Byron Raymundo. Kahit Saan. Film photography.
Therese Nicole Reyes. Deconstructing Lines. Ink. 9.8 x 16.3 in.
Tim Lopez. Bad Karma. Digital.
Rae Cruz. Endemic. Graphite.
Pamela O. Celeridad. Odalisque. Acrylic on canvas. 4 x 3 ft.
RJ Dimla. Sa Kapatiran. Digital photography.
Todd Lazaro. Transverse. Mixed media.
JV Calanoc. Fringe from Looming (series) in the collection Traces. 50 sheets of archival paper. 9 x 9 x 0.75 in.
Tapestry from Looming (series) in the collection Traces. 50 sheets of archival paper. 9 x 9 x 0.75 in. Previously published in Graphika Manila 2014.
Patchwork from Looming (series) in the collection Traces. 50 sheets of archival paper. 9 x 9 x 0.75 in.
Krysten Alarice Tan. Travel Light. Watercolor.
Mick Quito. Daylight from Lights (series). Digital 3D rendering.
Chise Alcantara (4 BFA Creative Writing) Si Francis Alcantara, mas kilala sa pangalang Chise, ay isang manunulat na trip pagtawanan ang mga bagay-bagay na nakakaaliw para sa kanya. Mahilig siyang magsulat ng mga sanaysay, at mga tulang hindi mukhang tula. Kasalukuyan siyang nag-aaral sa Ateneo de Manila University kung saan niya kinukumpleto ang fine arts degree niya sa creative writing at minor sa philosophy. A. A. Aris Amor (2 AB Development Studies) My deepest gratitude for those who have decided to matter. Lara Antonio (4 AB Communication, Minor in Creative Writing) Lara L. Antonio is an ab Communication senior with a minor in creative writing. To the faces behind the stories I have had the privilege to write, thank you for lending me your lives. Luis Wilfrido Atienza (3 BS Biology, Minor in Creative Writing) Hey, you. You’re cool, keep doing what you’re doing (unless you’re a criminal, then stop). Thanks for reading this (and reading my work too, hopefully). If I’ve ever asked you for writing help: I couldn’t have done it without you (really). I think I’ll move to Alaska. If you wanna talk, come find me (I’ll be the guy in the igloo).
Christian Benitez (2 BS Mathematics) “That is why you found joy in writing: You take inspiration from sheer nothingness.” Sa Kanya. Sa Block W (Ah! Annyeong haseyo, lahat kayo), sa Fil-hc (Sobremesa), sa Bagwisan (Ace, Abner, mga film sequels), at sa mga kaibigang binabalik-balikan. Sa mga guro ko, noon at ngayon, para sa pagbabahagi. Sa mga panelist sa 19th ahww para sa pagmahahal sa paglikha. Sa mga propesor ko sa Filipino para sa pangalawang buhay. Sa nanay at tatay ko: lahat ng pasasalamat at pagmamahal. Para na rin sa isang hapon sa tea shop. Sa lahat ng mga posibilidad, pagtataya, at mga sandali ng pagkamangha. Regine Cabato (2 AB Communication, Minor in Creative Writing) “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard.” —A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh Regine Cabato is a communication major currently pursuing a minor in creative writing. Her poetry has also been published in Under the Storm: An Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry and the Philippines Free Press. She hails from Zamboanga City. She is learning to let go of what she will never forget.
JV Calanoc (BS Management 2013) JV is currently working on his collection Traces in hopes of showcasing it within the year. He needs the money. There is no Plan B. He dedicates this to the heights seniors, most especially Audrey, Meggie, Abner, Steph, Joe, Sam, Pam, Momo, Veron, Aaron, Begy, and Micah. Nicko Reginio Caluya (BS Computer Science, Specialization in Interactive Multimedia and Games 2013) Simula noong Disyembre 2013, sa lungsod na nakatira si Nicko. Humihirap na ang pagsusulat sapagkat marami nang binubura at nabubura. Sa ngayon, kinakalaban niya ang antok at mahabang balikang biyahe pagpasok niya bawat linggo. Gumagawa siya ng mga laro bilang trabaho. Iniaalay niya ang mga tula rito para sa mga nasalanta ng mga gusali at ng lungsod, sa pamilya ni Nanay Carol at sa komunidad ng Lupang Arenda, at sa mga nabiktima ng 9/11. Deirdre Camba (AB Literature–English, Minor in Creative Writing 2013) Deirdre Camba is a recent graduate of the Literature and Creative Writing programs of the Ateneo. She was a fellow for poetry at the Ateneo heights Writers Workshop in 2011, and the Ateneo National Writers Workshop in 2012. Her latest attempts at adulthood involve convincing high school students to read more haiku. Pamela O. Celeridad (BFA Information Design 2013) “When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money.” —Oscar Wilde Dionne Co (3 AB Literature–English) Dionne is an English major. She likes feminism, poetry, and spoonfuls of Nutella. 115
Rae Cruz (1 AB Social Sciences) I have been using graphite pencils for the past three years. For a small amount of time, I have learned that coming up with a title is the hardest part and usually the journey to finish a piece just ends. And so nothing is ever finished, except for this work. RJ Dimla (3 AB Interdisciplinary Studies) RJ/Dimla, a 3 ab is student, is a virgin in sharing his photography outside his circle of friends. This will probably trigger him to do it some more. He would like to thank his friends and his mentors esp. Ryan Racca for all the encouragement and support. amdg Abner E. Dormiendo (4 AB Philosophy) Paki-hire ako please. lagimlim.wordpress.com Alexander Genesis C. Dungca (2 BS Management) Tsamba na nailathala nang ganito kaaga si Alex. Siya ay tubong Tarlac at ipinanganak nang may kakaibang kilay. Kasalukuyan siyang nakatira sa Rizal Library. Nais niyang pasalamatan ang mga sumusunod: ang kanyang ama at ina na palagi siyang binubusog, ang kapatid niyang babae na tagalahad ng tsismis, si G. Edgar Samar na nagpakilala sa kanya sa Musa ng Paglikha, si Gng. Corazon Lalu-Santos na naglinang sa husay niyang magsalaysay, lahat ng kaibigang binigyan siya ng inspirasyon at kunsumisyon, at higit sa lahat, si God. Abangan ninyo ang mga kuwento niya. Regina Ira Antonette M. Geli (3 BS Computer Science) Something clever or touching should go here.
Justine Anne S. Joson (3 BFA Information Design) The eyes can be limiting sometimes, so I tend to put more trust to the other senses. I believe they can take me somewhere farther. I would like to thank my family for the unending support and for allowing me to explore the world. To my friends, both old and new, thank you for all the encouragement. And to Boss, thank you for putting up with my crazy self for 99,999 years and for always being a good buddy who reminds me whenever there’s a Steam sale. Trisha Katipunan (4 AB Psychology) Being humans and all, we always tend to complicate things that are really very simple; identifying with too many people and the many variations they go through as they churn into complex personas— from a state of identifying with different personas, to intrinsic polarities, to a loss of identity, to finding stasis. Keisha Kibanoff (4 BS Psychology) Keisha rose to pop stardom as the glitter-worshiping songstress behind “Tik Tok” in 2009. In between world tours, she takes care of people and writes small poems. Todd Lazaro (2 BS Health Sciences) Maybe art isn’t the best medium for making much of the Messiah— using poor brushstrokes to paint pictures of excellence and perfection. But I do my best to engage a page-turner, burning my canvas to a fragrance. The painting featured here is Transverse. This means: Grace is an ocean; his life skews over to mine. toddlazaro.tumblr.com
Marc Lopez (2 BS/M Applied Mathematics, Major in Mathematical Finance) Si Marc ay naging fellow para sa tula sa 18th Ateneo heights Writers Workshop. Nagtatangka pa rin siya. Labis pa rin ang kanyang pasasalamat sa lahat ng naniniwala sa kanya at sa kanyang ginagawa. Tim Lopez (3 BFA Information Design) Tim Lopez is a Cancerian id illustrator who likes music, art, Krav Maga, and trying out new things. Tim one day dreams of traveling and backpacking in other countries. His favorite color is the yellow of saffron in rad Indian food. Santi Lacuna Martinez (1 BFA Information Design) Another from my lit class all the swirling. mountain demon colourful demon spring demon a long-necked one like a giraffe. Jam Pascual (3 BFA Creative Writing) Jam Pascual is a junior taking creative writing at the Ateneo De Manila University. He was accepted as a fellow for the 18th Ateneo heights Writers Workshop. This is his second time being published in heights, huhu. For J. Thanks for everything. Carissa Pobre (3 BFA Creative Writing) My sincerest gratitude to my professors.
Allan Popa (Kagawaran ng Filipino) Allan Popa is the author of nine collections of poetry, the most recent being Basta (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2009), Drone (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2013), and Laan (De La Salle University Press, 2013). He has received the Philippines Free Press Literary Award and the Manila Critics Circle National Book Award. He earned his mfa in writing at Washington University in Saint Louis, where he won the Norma Lowry Prize and the Academy of American Poets Graduate Prize. He received fellowships to the New York State Writers Institute at Skidmore College from 2006-2011. He teaches at the Filipino Department of Ateneo de Manila University. He is one of the founding members of High Chair. He is now finishing two manuscripts: Malabarista, a collection of essays on writing poetry and Narkotikong Panganorin, a new poetry collection in Filipino. He is currently the director of the Ateneo Institute of Literary Arts and Practices (ailap). Mick Quito (4 BFA Creative Writing) I started out doing visual effects back in high school. Iâ€™ve been selftaught learning how to composite videos and pictures whenever I worked on school projects. Eventually, when I started doing green screen work for music videos, I started learning 3d with trial versions of Lightwave and Maya so I can create environments. I went to California in 2010, to further my experience in visual effects, meeting industry veterans and directors who also give me work. I love creating visual work but I realize I love creating stories more, so I decided to quit my job in California and pursue a directing career by taking writing classes. For me visual effects and 3d are great tools for telling stories. Using these tools, I envision places where stories happened or where people can explore. Sharing stories and sharing adventures whether they are fiction or nonfiction is what Iâ€™m passionate about.
Byron Raymundo (4 BS Management of Applied Chemistry) Byron is passionate about the process and prefers things to be done, the old-fashioned way. Maybe thatâ€™s the reason why he loves film photography. Therese Nicole Reyes (BS Psychology 2013) Convolution is a visualization of thoughts as a semantic network. Deconstructing Lines is a study of the origin of points through the collision of lines, based on a definition that lines are nothing more than moving dots. Therese has a peculiar fascination with details, nature, and circles. Her work has been consistently published in heights since 2011 and garnered the Loyola Schools Awards for the Arts: Illustration in 2013. She hopes to continue loving the magic of Art, even though her current position keeps revealing all the tricks and tactics behind it. For you who stopped believing. Julz E. Riddle (Kagawaran ng Filipino) 24, F, Quezon City. Brylle Tabora (Ateneo de Manila Grade School 1999-2002) Brylle Bautista Tabora, 21, was a writing fellow for fiction to the 12th iyas Creative Writing Workshop in Bacolod City, and a fellow for poetry to the 52nd Silliman University National Writers Workshop. His poems have been published in the Philippines Graphic, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and Silliman Journal. Krysten Alarice Tan (2 BFA Information Design) Krysten Alarice Tan is a fine arts information design sophomore who is currently really enthusiastic about art and all the other things; to travel light is to live off your suitcase.
Paolo Tiausas (BFA Creative Writing 2013) Nagtapos si Paolo Tiausas ng kursong creative writing sa ilalim ng Fine Arts Program ng Ateneo de Manila University noong 2013. Naging fellow siya sa tula ng Ateneo National Writers Workshop noong 2012 at naging fellow naman sa Ateneo heights Writers Workshop noong 2010. Kasalukuyan niyang hilig ang magdisenyo ng mga libro. Ayana Tolentino (2 BFA Creative Writing) “Give me your eyes, I need sunshine.” —Wolf Parade, “I’ll Believe in Anything” Ayana Tolentino is a sophomore taking up bfa Creative Writing at Ateneo de Manila University. “Robin,” her first published work, is for everyone she’s ever loved. She’d also like to thank her parents, friends, fellow heights staffers, M02, Allison, Christine, Bianca, Sir Vince, and Sir Martin for all their support. Nikki Vocalan (2 AB Psychology) Art is a curious thing. Like dreams or white rabbits you need to chase. I’ll keep drawing until I cease to dream.
Errata In heights vol. 61 no. 1, Gian Lao’s piece, “Daytime,” should have an additional line break between the lines, “It is sunny outside; and a sailor” and “prays he can make it to the coast.” In the same issue, the year and course of Christine Mae Sta. Maria, artist of Tainted, should be 3 bfa id, not 3 bfa cw. The heights editorial board would like to apologize for the aforementioned mistakes.
Acknowledgments Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, sj and the Office of the President Dr. John Paul C. Vergara and the Office of the Vice President for the Loyola Schools Mr. Rene S. San Andres and the Office of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs Mr. Eduardo Jose E. Calasanz and the Office of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Ma. Luz C. Vilches and the Office of the Dean, School of Humanities Mr. Danilo M. Reyes and the English Department Dr. Jerry C. Respeto and the Fine Arts Program Dr. Alvin B. Yapan at ang Kagawaran ng Filipino Mr. Allan Popa and the Ateneo Institute of the Literary Arts and Practices (ailap) Mr. Christopher F. Castillo and the Office of Student Activities Ms. Marie Joy R. Salita and the Office of Administrative Services Ms. Liberty Santos and the Central Accounting Office Mr. Regidor Macaraig and the Purchasing Office Dr. Vernon R. Totanes and the Rizal Library Ms. Carina C. Samaniego and the University Archives Ms. Yael A. Buencamino and the Ateneo Art Gallery The mvp Maintenance and Security Personnel The University Physical Plant Office Mr. Victor Rafael M. Agbayani and The Guidon Ms. Iman Tagudi単a and Matanglawin Mr. RJ Dimla and the soh Sanggunian The Sanggunian ng Mag-aaral ng Ateneo de Manila, and the Council of Organizations of the Ateneo And to those who have been keeping literature and art alive in the community by continuously submitting their works and supporting the endeavors of heights
Editorial Board Editor - in - Chief Audrey Mae Ferriol [ab eu 2014] Associate Editor Natasha Basul [bs com tech 2014] Managing Editor for Communications Stephanie Shi [bfa cw 2014] for Finance Melissa Yu [bs mgt 2014] Deputy for Finance Moli Muñoz [bs ch - acs 2015/2016] Art Editor Manuel Iñigo A. Angulo [ab com 2016] Associate Art Editor Nicole Soriano [bfa am 2016] Design Editor Eugene Tuazon [bfa id 2014] Associate Design Editor Cheska Mallillin [bfa id 2016] English Editor Joseph Ledesma [bfa cw 2015] Associate English Editor Bianca Sarte [ab eu 2016] Filipino Editor Ace Ancheta [ab lit (eng) 2014] Associate Filipino Editor Abner E. Dormiendo [ab ph 2014] Production Manager Cressa Zamora [ab ds 2015] Associate Production Manager Jonnel Inojosa [bs lm 2016] Web Editor Carissa Pobre [bfa cw 2016] Associate Web Editor Jam Pascual [bfa cw 2015]
Head Moderator and Moderator for Filipino Allan Alberto N. Derain Moderator for Art Yael A . Buencamino Moderator for English Martin Villanueva Moderator for Design Jose Fernando Go - oco Moderator for Production Enrique Jaime S. Soriano Moderator for Web Nicko Reginio Caluya
Dyanne Abobo, Ariana Asuncion, Micah Barker, Katrina Barreiro, Adrian Begonia, Nicole Castañeda, Samantha Chiang, Jikka Defiño, Lasmyr Edullantes, Cathy Elago, Regine Ira Antonette M. Geli, Corrine Angeli G. Golez, Selena Herrera, JJ Joson, Yannah Justiniani, Nichele Li, Marion Emmanuel P. Lopez, Moli Muñoz, David Nacar, Lorenzo Torres Narciso, Justyn Ng, Sara Nothdurft, Veronica Oliva, Mick Quito, Joel Recto, Krysten Alarice Tan, Ali Timonera Jen Venancio, Aaron Villaflores, Nikki Vocalan
Anissa Aguila, Sean Bautista, John Lazir Caluya, Bianca Carandang, Angela Chua, Ida de Jesus, Kenzie Du, Bianca Espinosa, Patty Ferriol, Beatriz Ignacio, Alex Malto, Julian Occeña, Meagan Ong, Troy Ong, Tommi Principe, Krysten Alarice Tan
Rayne Aguilar, A. A. Aris Amor, Luis Wilfrido Atienza, Marco Bartolome, Tasha Basul, Christa Bucao, Catherina Dario, Regine Cabato, Azi de la Paz, Reg Geli, Jenina Ibañez, Leona Lao, Samuel Liquete, Mint Marquez, DC Mostrales, Jeivi Nicdao, Lara Pangilinan, Jam Pascual, Carissa Pobre, Andie Reyes, Stephanie Shi, Micheas Elijah Taguibulos, Catherine Tan, Ayana Tolentino, Josh Uyheng, Erika Villa - Ignacio, Pam Villar, Kazuki Yamada, Noelle Zarza
Selina Ablaza, Chise Alcantara, Gwen Bañaria, Christian Benitez, Pat Cendaña, Dustin Jan Cruz, Reia Dangeros, Alexander Genesis C. Dungca, Sha Hernandez, Jonnel Inojosa, Ariane Lim, Marc Lopez, Kimberly Lucerna, Francis Eldon Mabutin, Eileen Mae R. Manalaysay, Aidan Manglinong, LJ Miranda, Matthew Olivares, Marian Pacunana, Ray John Santiago, Jero Santos, Micheas Elijah Taguibulos, Roro Yap
Sheena Amit, Kim Ang, Gwen Bañaria, Punky Canlas, Karis Corpus, Grace Cruz, Louise de Guzman, Alonso de Leon, Drama del Rosario, Momo Fernandez, Clouds Lunn, Micah Nadaat, Maia Nery, Ysa Ocliasa, Carissa Pobre, Beta Santos, Max Suarez
A. A. Aris Amor, Sarah Arrojado, Billy Atienza, Nikki Blanco, Regine Cabato, Aleah Cunningham, Catherina Dario, Kenzie Du, Beatriz Ignacio, Clarice Ilustre, Leona Lao, Izo Lopez, LJ Miranda, Ysa Ocliasa, Michelle Parlan, Julianne Suazo, Jaclyn Teng, Kaye Toledo
The AY 2013-2014 Second Regular Folio, Vol. 61. Heights is the official literary and artistic publication and organization of the Ateneo de...
Published on Feb 28, 2014
The AY 2013-2014 Second Regular Folio, Vol. 61. Heights is the official literary and artistic publication and organization of the Ateneo de...