Sunday, September 24, 2006

Emo for a cause

I WAS invited by Anne Calma to Conspiracy this past Friday to read an excerpt from “He’d Rather Be Relevant.” It was a “Rock for Guimaras” event; poets and musicians performed to help raise funds for the cause. I was sort of the opening act.

Cindy went along with me; JC and his 17-year-old cousin (whose name eludes me right now) met us there.

Reading from a piece about cancer seemed a bit extraneous in an event for an environmental cause. I intentionally chose a segment that epitomizes the message of “relevance” in the piece—relevance we were all displaying that night, lending our voices, talents, and support to an important cause.

I was into my second bottle of Red Horse when an organizer summoned me to the stage—alcohol pretty much ridding me of any potential nerves.

A poet I am not. But I read three pages of “He’d Rather…”—the three pages with the most emphatic use of cuss words—as I remembered Gelo Suarez performing a month or so ago at Mag:net, as I remembered Lourd De Verya reading poetry during Palanca night, as I remembered Ricky Abad reading Bien Lumbera verses a few hours earlier at an on-campus event honoring the National Artist.

I think I did well. That was the consensus among those I talked to after. A bottle goes a long way in easing nerves, though JC did notice how I read kind of fast.

A girl in attendance approached me after I went off stage. She asked for a copy of the entire piece. Her brother’s fighting cancer. She was moved by my piece—or at least three pages of it.

So the few minutes on stage managed to strike a chord. Mission accomplished, I suppose.

I went back to our table where Cindy and I ordered more and more bottles as we listened to more poets and bands, including Salamin, EO Marcos’ band whose vocalist is Paolo Valenciano. (EO's a friend from Reedley.)

Cindy and I haven’t been having the best of weeks individually in our personal lives so we settled for some good old-fashioned drowning. Long after JC and his cousin left, Cindy and I had “emo-ed” ourselves to sitting on the floor of the semi-enclosed smoking room with empty beer crates stacked behind us and hard rock musicians sitting on chairs while sharing the table that loomed over our heads.

Cindy and I made sure we bought “Rock for Guimaras” T-shirts (I didn’t have to pay entrance so might as well, I thought) before heading back to Katipunan for more cheesy sentimentality over burgers and fries at McDo.

It was nearing 2AM by the time I got home.


Just finished reading Butch Dalisay’s Killing Time in a Warm Place. Great book. Insightful look into the optimism, confusion, struggles, triumphs, and disappointments of what I think is our greatest generation.

Too bad little has changed. So sad the paralyzing lack of vigor in my own generation.


Belated Happy Birthday to Ada (September 23)!

“Perhaps there’s / Something to be said of the number 23, or the mere 29 / Days that separate our births. Maybe there’s significance / In complimenting inclinations towards the cadence of combining / Words and the lively lucidity of images. Or perhaps / There’s just something binding about the power of conversation / (or the poverty from losing P500 to an old lady in front / Of Quiapo Church).”

I’ll give you the rest of your birthday poem when I see you.


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