Sunday, January 13, 2008

Waste land

It’s the hottest morning of the week, & I have a cold.

Yesterday it rained all day—the only time it rained in what was generally a chilly 7 days.

Some are sick & miss a week of school. Some—like me—get sick & don’t miss a day.

Others have viruses of a nature incomprehensible.

Confirmed rumors speak of a prolonged squabble about I’m-not-so-sure-what between those-who-shall-remain-nameless.

Prognosis: remedy needed quick, but I don’t know what it is.*

Months ago, I placed Marie’s poem under a stack of academic readings. Busy. Her deadline came & went w/out my comments. Negligence. Recently I wanted to ask for her comments on something of mine. Selfish. Life has taught me about nonsense like karma. Guilt.

Apologies, both ways, reinforced this week over at a place others still incessantly call Chicken Boy. Now I’ve ran out of excuses.

My tito is dying in Iloilo. How’s he doing? I ask. I just really want to get away from the city.

Eight-thousand bucks to drain a bloated corpse stubbornly holding on. Anytime now, says the doctor. Anytime w/ a per-night rate of 2,000.

Expectations for the next 2 months: a funeral & a 90th birthday celebration. I don’t own a barong, but a tita got me a pair of new Chucks, baptized yesterday in the flooded streets.

We had both spoken about entitlement, how we both didn’t want to feel it. Names we hold dear splashed on covers. Father she used to describe the man others hold in such reverence. While she feels she isn’t entitled, others brown-nose their way into her father’s life. Such is my interpretation. I am a skeptic.

I can relate.

More so now; I think I might’ve disappointed a mother of sorts this week.

You feel so distant, says the boy. Their bodies close, lips inches apart. The girl says nothing, hopes the touch of her fingers would suffice for the moment’s brittleness.

We spoke about seatmates, how the ones in high school are somewhat sacred. Before she was the girl on TV, she & I used to talk nonsense like the shape of our shit.

That’s pretty intimate, says Marie.

Years later April & Sasha interview my former seatmate backstage of a musical production, mention my name. She hesitates. It doesn’t ring a bell.

I saw a man walking along Aurora to the LRT station barefoot.

It was the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

Vince gave his class a free cut.**

He had once shown us around Quiapo to elucidate the magnificence of the city's chaos.

Every January 4, he says he reads a TS Eliot poem.

This year it was The Naming of Cats.

He needed a humorous one, he says. The world is depressing enough as it is.

Last January 11, I sat in his class as they took up The Waste Land.

In response to Sibyl’s dilemma, a student says: My lola is sooo old, right? She’s…like…90 or something…

A petty squabble. A dying uncle. A father one can’t talk to. A disappointed mother. A silence between a girl & a boy. Intimate memories forgotten. Hopes & dreams pinned on a statue.

The world is depressing enough as it is.

*Like I said earlier in the week, ma’am, ayaw kong makihalo diyan.
**He would later deny actually going to Quiapo that day.

* * *


Book launch: beLIEve, a compilation of works by Creative Writing seniors of the Ateneo, will be launched this Wednesday, January 16, 8PM at Mag:net Café, Bonifacio High Street.

Two of my essays & my intro included.

Expected live performances by DJ Mike Oreta, Ernville, Hymn of Siren, Melany, Mayonnaise, & Hilera, among others.

Thanks to Panch Alvarez for the cover illustration (above) for the book.

Speaking of Panch, his December 26 exhibit in Bicol went well: 7 paintings sold. He’s feeling ecstatic; a bunch of us had free pizza this week as evidence. Hoping to post some of his works here.

Congrats, mehn!

Lastly, deadline for contributions for the next issue of Heights extended to February 1.

Contribute na, mga 'tenista!


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