Saturday, October 28, 2006

Closure, Heartless

VACATIONS and I don’t get along. The relaxation from the silence of no-work eventually screams the deafening cry of reflection. The demons easily suppressed by interviews to be conducted, stories to be written, and philosophy papers to be studied come out of their hiding places.

I become the “me” I hate being; the “me” of unfinished chapters and yesteryears gone unresolved. That “me” is writing this right now.

As I was reading in our living room, something from the past suddenly popped out of nowhere. “Ey Dad, remember when we were stuck in the airport in Jakarta and they gave us free McDo?” Dad nodded while grading papers by his desk. “Was that our evacuation trip or the day we left for good?” Dad forgot as well.

Being stuck in an airport with free McDonald’s. That’s all I could conjure up about my last day in the place of my birth. This was 1998. Indonesia was in complete turmoil. There was no choice but to move to Manila. It was moving back for my parents after 15 years. It was moving away for me; I had known no other home but Jakarta.

Movies depict last days and goodbyes in the most unrealistic way. I learned this that day in 1998. There were no violins in the background, no tears were shed, and I’m certain my heart would’ve been heavier had I actually fully realized the significance of the moment. I was only 12.

Goodbyes to our maids and driver who had been with the family all 15 years were hefty severance packages, mere handshakes, and a picture-taking session.

Goodbye to our old dog who we decided not to bring to Manila was simply a pat on the head before handing him over to our landlord. And to think, that dog was the only one whimpering that day.

Goodbyes to my friends in school never happened; they had all evacuated to their native countries unannounced during the early stages of the rioting. I’d only learn of this through unanswered phone calls to their homes.

Even in those moments, I could tell that I wasn’t feeling the extent of its significance. I knew it. And yet, it’s as if I didn’t want to care. I didn’t want to feel a thing. I didn’t want to hurt. So I didn’t. I should’ve.

Unfinished chapters are seemingly all I’ve known since then. Relationships are always left hanging. Arguments are never resolved. The warmth of a hug is as fleeting as the millisecond I can actually maintain eye contact.

I’m not very good with goodbyes, even of the end-of-the-day-to-your-friends variety. Farewells feel awkward. Something unsettling about a goodbye to someone you’ll see tomorrow, and saying nothing to those who just simply disappear from your life.

Someone I care about once wrote about me: “his bold brows are vectors pointing trespassers / away / they furrow so, to shield the frail petal-lids covering the most / heartbreaking eyes.”

I’ve been thinking; perhaps those brows aren’t pointing trespassers away rather steering me away from them, protecting myself from the possibility of saying goodbye, or from the possibility of my not doing so before they are just suddenly gone.

And those eyes are probably not heartbreaking, rather heartless. They have to be. For my sake.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

College Boosters Boosting Country

BEHIND every good university are graduates that, in one way or another, give back to their alma mater. From every good university must arise graduates that contribute to the greater good of the country.

The University of the Philippine Alumni Association announced last week that they would start rating UP graduates in key government positions based on their “performance, commitment, lifestyles and integrity.”

Wouldn’t it be interesting if the Ateneo Alumni does something similar? I say “interesting” because there are some obvious problems dealing with grandstanding, money, and bureaucracy that’ll arise—problems that are admiringly or shamefully ignored by our maroon countrymen, but problems that are very much pronounced within the blue context.

But it would be nice to have eagles patrolling the skies for ill-intentioned comrades. What better way to be awakened in terms of how you’re doing your job than to be rated by your peers from your school?

And it would be a strong flame under that ass. Ateneo alums are a close-knit and passionate bunch. Something about being commonly hated by other schools that binds our alums even more tightly. Very frat-like, really. So why not protect your frat brother? Tell him off if he’s messing up. Whip him if he needs to do more to help others.

Who else is he going to listen to if not those who have worked their asses off within the same hollowed walls under the same legendary mentors?

It’s cool that the alumni like to have jubilee parties. They like to hold golf tournaments…great! If they want to hold five-star dinners for one another, so be it! They want to donate money to build a new wing, awesome!

But just as much as they should feel the need to give back by sucking up to the school, they owe it to the country to also ensure the integrity of their fellow graduates who are in a position to lead not just Ateneans but all Filipinos.


Disgraceful Dealing

APPARENTLY, there need not be another accidental oil spill for the nation to face another environmental disaster. Our government just signed up for one to happen.

The Japanese-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) signed by Pseudo-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in September seals our commitment to accept Japan’s toxic and hazardous waste.

Senior Trade Undersecretary Thomas Aquino said that only regulated waste would be allowed into the country, as if the word “regulated” makes being the waste dump for other countries OK.

Designing a deal that’s slightly slanted for personal benefit is a strength of our people (albeit a shady one). We call it abilidad. The art of the hustle knows no better Picasso than the Filipino.

But something tells me we’re losing our touch.

In exchange for allowing them to dump their waste on our territory, the Japanese get dibs on our finest nurses and caregivers.

Yup, we’re definitely losing it.

And in other environmental news, a caption in the Inquirer reports that Arroyo was “dismayed and called for a stricter enforcement of environmental laws” when she saw the thick smog over Metro Manila from where she was in Antipolo.

What was she doing in Antipolo? Playing golf. Lord knows she needs all the leisure time she can get with all that guilt built up inside her. (Unlike more intelligent skeptics, I have hopes in her actually having a conscience.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Birthday Props

MY 21st birthday will be remembered as a day with Ginny Sonico. It’s not exactly what I planned but I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ve jokingly said before that in the absence of a significant other, she’s it. But seriously, she came through again for me today.

Thanks for spending the day with me, Gin. Love you for it. You’re the best. Thanks also to your mom. Send my regards to her and the rest of the family.

(And thanks Mon for letting me borrow your girl for the day…Hahaha.)

..........................A picture of Gin taken on-campus a couple months back.

Japs, you win. You were the first to greet me, edging out Liana by mere seconds. Cindy was third. Ada was fourth.

(But technically, Ria was the first to greet ‘cuz she greeted back in September. And my cousin Ian greeted me last week. Whatever. You all get the prize of my admiration.)

Special thanks to surprise well-wishers: To my “girlfriend” Didang, a hug back at you. Salamat din kay Korinne (feeling close ka na ah…just the way I like it…Apir! Ingats sa Ilocos!)

Thanks to everyone else that greeted!

(This is the first time in a couple of years that I didn’t plan a birthday inuman. Because of this, few of my guy friends actually remembered it was my birthday. I’m not complaining ‘cuz I rarely remember theirs if there’s no drinking involved either. It’s just a funny anecdote.)

And lastly, thanks as well to my family. Don’t give them much credit but I suppose they raised a 21-year-old somewhat deserving of all these warm salutations. And they’ve allowed him to be who he wants to be for the most part. For that, he is forever indebted.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I turn 21 tomorrow. 21. Damn.

The attachment of that number to my name is funny. In many ways, I feel like I’m older; in many ways, I feel like I’m 12.

But the implications of that age don’t mean a damn thing to me.

The alcohol-drinking age here in the Philippines is 18 or something, and like many Filipinos, I’ve been baptized into the practice before I could even start growing a mustache (by no less than family members).

Almost all bars are run like all-ages joints here, and strip clubs aren’t my thing (no need if you got internet).

I’ve had my driver’s license for a couple of years now, and I’ve hurt my dad’s car a couple of times already.

I don’t intend to get married anytime soon but I could’ve done so since three years ago.

Lastly, I’m too chicken-shit to do anything that would get me arrested.

21? Big deal.

The number doesn’t matter but a birthday’s still a birthday. Someone up there thought that I deserved another year in this world. My contract’s being renewed and I’m grateful for it.

Here’s a quick ambiguous review of my life since my last birthday celebration:

On the personal front…

Things never worked out with the girl I was all touchy with during my party.

Nor did things work out with a certain “her” who managed to turn my life upside-down for a minute while turning off many of my closest friends who know what’s best for me (“her” wasn’t it, they said).

Then there’s a certain intense “she” that came in out of nowhere. “You’re in deep,” remarked a friend. I’d have to agree. In too deep, perhaps. But I really wouldn’t want it any other way.

And now, the rumor mill brings about a new “one” with whom conversations are had amidst a soundtrack of “nyiheees” and intrigued eyes. This “one” has won everyone over.

Where do I go from here? I have no idea.

Moving on…

The films I was working on during my last birthday never worked out, but aside from that, the “professional” front has been much better than the personal…

I earned some money for the first time ever for my writing after winning first prize in a university competition.

I had my first nationally-published piece, which has apparently made its rounds in emails to people I don’t even know. And it earned me my first anonymous negative reader response.

I won my first (hopefully not my last) Palanca on my first try.

I began writing for Katipunan. (And have recently been asked to run for an editorial position for next year.)

And lastly, “He’d Rather Be Relevant” (which I fondly call “the Palanca piece”) is being published in Heights.

Birthdays are all for not if nothing has happened since your last one. A lot has happened since I turned 20. Some ups, some downs. I can’t complain. That’s how life works. That’s how we grow.

Over the past year, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve stumbled, I’ve grown.

I’ve lived a life. I’m alive.

And however complicated shit gets, my life’s not so bad at all.

To all who have truly been at this asshole’s side through awards and losses, through hers and shes, through pilsens, lights, and horses, I thank you for making it all worthwhile.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

On the eve of theology finals,
proof of my attention deficiency

HSCOPE:SCO: Things can’t
possibly get any worse
today. It feels like you’re
getting closer to a nervous
breakdown every minute.
Get a hold of yourself!

But she finds nothing in her hungry quest.
Instead she hears the raucous seagull’s cry
Which is a shriek beyond the rock-ribbed nest.
It mocks her as she crawls upon the sand—
The sidewise movement of the hermit crab

If one is sincere and careful in his spiritual life, in his effort to love and serve God, he is not likely to give full consent to the act of masturbation.

oh. wala na, deal breaker
na! :p

In a camouflage jacket he had not worn in years, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay peered through the glass windows of his 21st floor office and watched his army of civilian supporters gathered below and chanting his name.

wala pa, mamaya pa akong
three pupunta

Masturbation that is regularly preferred despite the availability of moral opportunities for intercourse seems to indicate that the individual involved is operating out of a sexuality that has not been fully integrated.

no way! shit!

The political drama is being played out in the country’s financial capital, which has also been the scene of opposition protests against President Macapagal-Arroyo.

Am leaving now reaching
1pm. North park nlang.

There is light petting; other forms of petting are much more intense and they seem clearly designed for the purpose of moving the participants toward even greater sexual arousal.

martie mcfly,you doing
anything on your bday
week? kailangan magkikita
tayo ha,kasi may bibigay
ako sayo!

The juridical configuration of this impediment includes the following conditions: [a] the woman is abducted and detained against her will [only the abduction of a woman gives rise to this impediment]; [b] the abducting party does not have to be the man who is contemplating marriage with the abducted party; it could be some third party; it could even be that he is unaware of the abduction.

we can movie marathon!ü
basta matapos lang tong
linggong to.. raarrr. uy
martie,best of luck sa finals,
if you still have any! ü

Which Dylan saw on a deserted strand
And used as a metaphor in runes that throb
With life. Yes, this city is a pair of claws,
Creeping, crabbing with all its tragic flaws.

wait uwi muna ako

(Written in a twilight zone of text messages received, “Manila” by Federico Licsi Espino, theology class readings, and today’s Inquirer.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006


THERE’S something very stressfully encouraging about the end of the semester. A buckle-down attitude sets upon students who have yet given in to the resignation of failing.

Quietness besieges usually loud terrain, like along the hallways, in the classrooms, and even on Yahoo Messenger. The library becomes a venue for studying as opposed to sleeping. (But a nap in the middle of reading the “Phenomenology of Knowledge” doesn’t hurt.)

Fronts of chic frivolity and cool indifference shed to reveal young minds at work, hearts that care, souls with inherent drive. (We're all so uncool!)

It’s not the most enjoyable time of the year: late nights become obligatory and stressful; those barely out of their teens have blood pressures of 80-year-old pork addicts.

But the end of the semester proves that the world of the modern youth isn’t so much of a waste land after all.

I went on a studying exile at the Rizal Library yesterday. I found a comfortable nook by the window in the Filipiniana Section.

When I managed to ignore the sickening bureaucracy represented by the signage of the Manny V. Pangilinan Student Center for Leadership, I could actually appreciate the gentle sunlight pouring in, the view of trees, courtyards, and handsome brick.

That night, as status messages ranged in terror from the generic “busy,” to “OP-manizing,” to “buzz at your own risk,” to a single name that needs no explanation: “dacanay” (condolences Japs), I “struggled” through describing the poetics in three poems I wrote about Quiapo, and “stressed” over arranging the pieces for my nonfiction portfolio.

To help the process along, I got my “Joaquin” on with my third bottle—its amber tint and cool, bitter contents extracting hazy creativity.

I ended the day by having a phone conversation (which brought me to 2AM early this morning) with someone who needed to be cared for and who I feel I truly care for more than anyone else (that’s the truth, Ms. A.L.).

Realization hit: my life doesn’t suck.


Good luck sa finals week mga kapwang Atenista!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dear Mr-or-Ms-Future-Nurse-who-might’ve-or-might’ve-not-cheated-in-the-licensure-exam,

I’d first like to say that I respect the field in which you’ve chosen to dedicate yourself to.

In a time when choice of profession entail certain avenues to simply escape the homeland, please do understand my skepticism in terms of your true intent upon taking up nursing.

But it doesn’t deny the fact that I believe nurses, whatever their original intent, always seem to do a good job.

I battled cancer when I was younger, and I say this not to evoke sympathy, rather to establish my familiarity with your field of choice. Over the course of a year, I saw firsthand the importance of nurses, and I don’t hesitate in saying that they were instrumental in my recovery.

The reason why I can look at these nurses with such high regard was that they were competent and qualified.

The recent controversy over the leakage of the nursing licensure examinations has greatly affected you and your peers. I understand the frustration.

I won’t accuse you of having taken advantage of the leakage. I can’t prove that. In fact, I’ll go as far as to bet that you took the test honestly and passed it cleanly.

You should be working in a hospital right now, finally earning something after your years of training. And you should be helping patience and their families through difficult times.

But you’re not.

What now? We wait and see anxiously.

What bureaucrats do is beyond our control and usually counterproductive. I won’t give them the time of day.

But I have a plea to you and your peers: Please want a retake. Please. It’s for your own good.

If you passed the first time, chances are you’ll pass if ever there’s a retake. So don’t worry.

Is it unfair? Yes. But given the unfair situation, be fair to yourself. However clean your passing, you’ll still be a part of the batch that went through the controversy. There will be a stigma.

It’s unrealistic to ask investigators to pinpoint who cheated and who didn’t. Yours will forever be a batch with an asterisk.

You deserve better than that as you look for employment here or abroad.

To clear the cloud over yourself, retake the test. A clean slate will yield an honest licensure exam where only the qualified will pass. Furthermore, you will be looked upon as noble legitimates—those willing to prove their worth amidst a chaotic situation.

In the true-to-life film Stand and Deliver, teacher Jaime Escalante takes over a less-than-desirable class in a public high school in East Los Angeles. After a year under Escalante’s tutelage, the students exceed expectations and pass an advance placement test, which was perceived unfeasible.

Met with skepticism, the results of the test were questioned by the school board. The students were forced to retake the test. They did. They all passed again.

The test of character was inevitably not when they finally got their acts together towards a purpose, it was when this newfound sense of direction was questioned.

You are in a similar crossroads. Yes, this is not your fault. Yes, this sucks. It’s unfair. But it’s what it is. You’ve gotten tangled up in the corrupt web of a reality that we live in.

Now do you just complain your way out of it? Or do you step up and end this mess for good?

There’s something at stake here. This goes beyond just your career. There are too many underpinnings to hide behind the victim card.

It’s in times like these, when institutions, systems, and even peers falter, heroes emerge, showing character, displaying strength.

When institutions falter, people stand up, rising from the ugliness man is capable of, and displaying his innate beauty.

Time is ticking.

I wish you the best of luck and clarity of thought.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Gods of the Streets, Streets of Goddamnits

THANKFULLY, the line for southbound cabs in SM Makati was short. A mere five minutes of waiting and I was at the front of the line. An FX pulled up next to us and the driver was offering to take two southbound passengers where they needed to go. I was going home to East Service Road, the family behind me was going to somewhere near the airport—it was never going to work out. They driver agreed anyway, and so did I (a momentary lapse of judgment).

As we turned towards Edsa, the driver was suddenly hit by some stroke of pragmatism. I live to the east of the expressway, the family sharing the ride with me lives to the west; it was going to be a hassle for everyone concerned and the driver would lose money taking opposite routes. He decided to take the family to where they wished (the “women and children first” concept was working to the family’s favor), leaving me out to dry. He apologetically dropped me off at the corner of Pasay Road and Edsa.

I walked down Pasay Road, where a bunch of foreigners were patrolling, scouting the various night clubs, and I hailed every cab that passed by, even the one’s with passengers (don’t ask me why). I think something like four cabs actually stopped; all four refused to take me home.

I then decided to walk towards Goldcrest opposite Glorietta. There I had a ton of competition in getting a cab. The consolation was that most of us were all being refused by cab driver after cab driver. I wasn’t alone in frustration.

Places like East Service Road, Pasay, Timog, and Pasig were unattractive to cab drivers when they knew that they could spend the entire Friday night taking passengers to various places within the Makati area. They would never be at a loss for passengers and they’d make a lot more money just circling the Makati hotspots.

Notice how I sound so inferior to them damn cab drivers. It’s because as a passenger, in Metro Manila, especially in Makati, I am inferior. That’s how the game works. It’s almost like a cab actually taking me to where I want to go is a God-sent. Cab drivers not asking for an additional P20 above the meter rate are almost miraculous.

Cab drivers are the gods of the streets. It’s stupid. But it’s true.

I can understand when cab drivers don’t want to take you to places where they know they won’t find more passengers. Times are rough, prices are high, they have mouths to feed, yadayadayada… I get that.

What absolutely makes me want to kill someone is how cab drivers reject you these days. They’re no longer apologetic. They give you the “are you crazy?/you must think I’m dumb enough to bring you there/who the fuck do you think you are?” look.

Customer service has never been a strong point. And you can pretty much forget about manners. Tourists say Filipinos are hospitable; it’s because tourists are dumb enough to accept a “plus P60” for a ride from Katipunan to Parañaque that will already cost upwards of P200.

Even the polite cab drivers—the ones who actually look embarrassed over refusing—say the stupidest things when they refuse.

Ay sorry po… Di ako papunta diyan sa inyo e, sabi ng drayber.

Sagot ko naman: E malamang… Ako nga ho ang pasahero dito.

Utopian streets would have cab drivers happily take passengers to where they need to go at metered cost. Reality says otherwise. In fact, cab drivers of our reality in Metro Manila try making you guilty for even availing of their services and try to make you feel stupid for wanting to go where you need to go.

And their excuse? Naghahanap buhay lang po kami. Mahirap e.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t beg for a car after graduating from high school… Teka lang. Oo nga pala. Wala kaming pera. Mahirap talaga ang panahon, di ba mga taksi draybers?

(For the record, this egotistical fuck of a 20-year-old asked to be picked up by a driver for the first time since the last time Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo actually told the truth about something.)


Finished reading Philip Roth’s American Pastoral (1997 winner of the Pulitzer Prize) a week ago. The Human Stain is still my favorite, but American Pastoral might be Roth’s more ambitious work.

It’s like Fitzgerald’s
The Great Gatsby in that it depicts the breakdown of America’s “promises of prosperity, civic order, and domestic bliss.” But as Gatsby’s message was disguised as a love story, Pastoral’s is more upfront and immediate, as the daughter of the Levovs—the perfect all-American family—turns to fanatical terrorism to deal with deeply-rooted issues in society, but more importantly, in her own family.

MV recommends.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Milenyo mayhem and non-manic Mondays

TYPHOON MILENYO suspended classes, took away our electricity, and shattered one of our windows. I was forced to stick it out with the whole family at home last Thursday and for much of the weekend. Need I say more?

Nature’s got a humor about herself sometimes, seemingly mocking you by matching your mood.

Roth, Yuson, Murakami, Sedaris, Pound, Stein, and Pessoa stimulated my time in the dark on Friday morning. The Inquirer got into the mix somewhere in there, as well. It was supposedly the worst typhoon in 11 years. Luzon was in the dark. Still no electricity. In Pasay, a billboard collapsed on to a car. Driver died. Instantaneous.

I decided to kill time in Rockwell. Between eating establishments, a big bookstore, and lights, I figured it would be a cool place to hang out.

It took a good hour or so to get there that afternoon. Edsa was clogged; the cab ride ended up costing me P200. Literary retail therapy cheered me up. I looked around Fully Booked for quite some time, diligently browsing through the shelves, by-passing costly temptations by Coetze, Jin, and Wolfe, to finally settle for Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (for three-hundred-something).

I later found myself having merienda at a table behind a scary-looking Jessica Zafra as she keenly observed her surroundings, violently writing things down on her leather-bound notebook.

Would’ve been interesting to read what she wrote about the group at a nearby table, the sort of English-speaking maarte bunch that would make any person without electricity at home go crazy. But of course we were in Rockwell; pretentious people are the norm.

There’s a natural shift to showbiz sightings here. I’ll make it quick. Karl Roy’s the man, Bernard Palanca looks chubby, Karylle’s pretty hot, Rajo Laurel is pretty gay (and a stylish motherfucker), and that Zanjoe dude from Pinoy Big Brother kind of looks like an Arab.

And from my circle: Aeli’s roommate has a nice smile, EO and Mandy Marcos are sweet siblings and cool friends, Bica and boyfriend look cute together, and Marcee was supposed to be there but I didn’t see her.



Mom went to mass looking for salvation from idleness, boredom, heat, and darkness. She said that the new parish priest used his sermon to comment about how many have elected to check into hotels given the current blackout, and how this is similar to turning away from the hardship God wants us all to experience at the time.

I’d like to believe that God is not the type that would subject us all to the difficulties we were having. Such an elementary test of faith if thus was the case. The guy who was crushed by the billboard…was that a test of faith? The people who lost their roofs and are now pretty much homeless…are they passing or failing?

I’d like to think of poverty not as a God-inflicted test but as a human reality. God is not testing us, seeing whether or not we can get ourselves out of this rut we’ve created. No. I’d like to believe that we’re on God’s side and He’s guiding us. The “test,” if any, is whether or not we’re open to being guided.

As for what has caused stuff like Typhoon Milenyo, I think the simple explanation is that shit happens. Now let’s just pray to God for guidance on how to deal.


An opportunity arose to watch Game 2 of the UAAP Finals on campus with friends on Saturday. I didn’t take it. Wasn’t sure if the MRT and LRT were up and running and taking a cab’s too costly.

Dad and I ended up watching Ateneo lose over pizza and draft beer at Grappas, Greenbelt amidst a boisterous UST crowd and a rather subdued, diplomatic Ateneo group. I forgot that there were AMP gigs going on along Palanca Street at Gweilos and 6Underground so I went home after the game.


Sunday. Still no electricity.

Kat checked into a cheap hotel in Pasay with a friend from work. Pope spent the day at the office. I spent the day in and around the Ayala Malls of Makati. Restlessness is the common theme here among these three cousins.

I decided to walk from Greenbelt to Makati Cinema Square to see the many ways I could piss off Edu Manzano and his anti-piracy crew. The walk was a pleasant one, if not slightly eerie. The streets were empty, most of the buildings were closed, and the sidewalks still had debris leftover from Milenyo’s onslaught.

Back at McDonald’s, Greenbelt, three separate birthday parties were going on in three separate closed-off areas. Ronald McDonald was making his rounds between all three. A purple mascot, whose name has never been a concern of mine, was making his rounds, as well. Thankfully, the main dining area was rather empty and quiet. That’s where I spent the rest of the afternoon.

Overall weekend sentiment: crankiness.


When you’re down in the dumps about shit seemingly conspiring against you, God works his magic and helps your rejuvenation come along.

Monday became a day of procrastination, which didn’t bode well for my academic and org requirements, but did wonders for morale.

Positive strokes are just that: strokes—not hitting you like an uppercut of euphoria, rather playfully jabbing and softly tugging every now and then, reminding you that you’re alive and how good that fuckin’ feels.

The strokes are there; you just have to want to recognize them. Positive strokes I’ve recognized aplenty today,

like listening to real hip-hop
along the hallway
with the illest girl I know,

……………like hearing a poet cum teacher
……………talk about his admiration
……………for John Stockton,

like hearing stories
of Krip Yuson’s courting a tita
of an orgmate years ago,

……………like sharing brown out stories
……………with a Heights editor,

like watching your favorite Jesuit
try to extend the reach of a TV antennae
with a metal-tipped umbrella,

……………like watching the game at the FA dep,

like a text from Dad during halftime
informing you that the electricity
was back at home,

……………like getting to know somebody
……………because of her being convinced
……………of the metaphysical romance
……………being expressed to her through the three-point shot,

like sharing the agony
of a lost championship
over a Shakey’s dinner.

Frustration, they say, makes you stronger. (There’s a killing aspect to this cliché that escapes me.) Reveling in it, though, becomes a monotonous bore.

A little joy—however simple, however shallow—never hurt anyone. In fact, it puts up a middle finger to frustration and yells, “Bring it on!”

So here’s to the new week and the end of the weekend.