Writing in a Time of Terror and the (Mis)management of Grief - Charlson Ong
i feel really cheap and ruthless by copying and pasting whole works from ian casocot's site. i didn't have to go through any lengths to get these words. i try to justify that i don't earn money or distribute these works any further than this one blog.

Keynote speech to the 2004 Iligan National Writers Workshop

Once when I was as young as many of you here, sitting where many of you now sit, I wondered, as many of you must be wondering now, how they choose keynote speakers. I wondered too, in silence -- as you too must do so in silence -- what such speakers are supposed to do. Should the speaker inspire? Cajole? Castigate? Prognosticate? Prophecy?

I believe it was Dr. Bien Lumbera who spoke during the opening of the first Iligan workshop of which I was privileged to be a fellow. But to be honest, I don’t quite remember exactly what Bien said on that occasion as I’ve been with him in many other workshops and conferences ever since.

What I do remember of our workshop was Felino Garcia as a very rotund, and very gay dysebel, wrapped in his malong bathing in spring waters of Timoga. He reminded me more of a beached whale than a mermaid on that occasion but Felino’s comic talents and sense of humor, not to mention literary insights, made it a memorable workshop for me.

Similarly, you will remember mostly of this workshop such moments as will challenge long held notions of beauty and order in the known universe.

Not that the panel discussions and the critiquing of mentors and fellows are of little value, far from it. But what you hear in the formal sessions will likely merge in time with all the other stuff you would have heard in many other classes, workshops, conferences- that is, if you do continue with the writing or academic life- like a river fed by many streams.

And yes, you’d probably wonder ten years, or ten days, from now what on earth I said- save perhaps, for Felino having once resembled a beached whale. And, really, it is best for us to remember of one another what we write than what we say, especially to each other and after dark and after beer. But I am supposed to be profound and respectable this morning, so let me try.

An artist without an art form is a dangerous person, reads a line from Toni Morrison’s Sula. And indeed many of the characters in Morrison’s works, especially her women, seek to transform their own lives into art. Amid the squalor of slavery and post slavery, denied the possibilities for decent livelihood, much less self expression, these characters often defy convention and follow the urgings of an inner spirit to produce a life that if not, arguably, well lived or well remembered is at least remembered. At the end of her short life, Sula- ill, alone and despised by her neighbors- says to her best friend Nel: but my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else’s. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Now ain’t that something? A secondhand lonely?

Rebellion in art, says Albert Camus, is the refusal to be a victim. In and through art, the victim’s tale sees the light of history or becomes its own history. In this light, there are many histories rather than a single narrative so that the notion of an End to History becomes absurd for the tale that Francis Fukuyama claims to have ended is but the one he chose to tell.

I do not, agree, however, with the notion that all truths are equal. Certainly, the planet earth I think I live on is roughly round, the heaven above me is about 100 kms. of polluted air. And the hell below, mostly molten rock. The artist or writer as historian must tell his or her tale in the light of reason as much as revelation, clinical data as well as tradition. It can only be a story of his or her time, suspect to both past and future.

When the artist is ready, society may provide the means for the telling of the tale: in song or in dance, in water or in stone, in print or celluloid, by body or by spirit, mummified or digitized. But what of those whose circumstances preclude any non violent mode of expression?

Is destruction, including self-destruction, the obverse of creation? Is there a suicide bomber lurking within every artist? To the Chinese the God of poetry, Guan Yu, is also the God of war, To Hindus, Brahma the creator and Siva the destroyer are two Gods of the cosmic triumvirate.

I think it was Henrik Ibsen who said that the fantasy of any writer, at least for a certain season in one’s career, should be to torpedo the Ark- that is, Noah’s Ark- rather than to pick the survivors ala Noah.

No doubt the events of 911 and their consequences have cast a shadow over our work as writers. Already, fictionists like Salman Rushdie and Haruki Murakami have responded with important works. As a nation, we have been victim to political and sectarian violence even before the catastrophe in New York. You in Mindanao have had to live with war or the threat of it for many decades. But now, our involvement in America’s ‘war against terror’ threatens to engage us in a broader conflict.

Historically, conflict and catastrophe often bring out the best in artists. Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov deal with the drama wrought by profound changes in Russia at the end of the 19th century. WW II spawned such novels as Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, and Stevan Javellana’s Without Seeing the Dawn. The Spanish Civil War inspired Picasso’s Guernica. Lu Xun wrote Ah Q during the 1920’s as China suffered imperial collapse, strife and foreign aggression. So too the excesses of the ‘Cultural Revolution’ of 1960’s became the subject of the new wave of Chinese cinema as well as the work of Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian. Apartheid in South Africa was the canvas across which Nadine Gordimer and J.M. Coetze painted their intimate literary portraits.

Political strife and terrorism often make for good fiction. One of my favorite stories and one which I often teach in class is the Management of Grief by Bharati Mukherjee. It is the story of Shaila, an Indian-Canadian woman who along with her neighbors in Toronto have just lost their loved ones as a plane enroute from India explodes in mid-air. They are the victims of the very sectarian violence they had left India in order to avoid. Shaila too has lost her husband and son but being among the more Westernized of the community, Shaila is recruited by the social worker Judith Templeton to help the other victims deal with the catastrophe.

Shaila’s most urgent task is to convince an old Sikh couple to sign documents which will entitle them to the benefits left behind by their son who was aboard the flight. The couple refuses to do so as it remains their duty to hope for their son’s survival. Shaila realizes the futility of trying to explain one side of the cultural divide to the other. Grief, after all, like anger and hatred cannot be managed in the manner a modern bureaucracy wishes they could. In the end, Shaila manages her own grief by returning to Toronto after a brief sojourn in Calcutta, in order to ‘carry on’ what she and her dead husband had begun. Though seemingly affirmative, the story’s ending suggests darker possibilities.

The management of public emotion as much as war technology is a task confronting political leaders whenever nations face adversity. Has the war on terror been mainly to flush out Bin Laden or seek out weapons of mass destruction or to assuage the anger, salve the pain of the American public? Are emotions being allowed to boil over across Central and West Asia?

In Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, the Hindu girl Lata, pained by the suffering caused by the violence between India’s Hindus and Muslims shortly before that nation’s partition in 1949, gives up her own desire for her Muslim suitor, Kabir, and marries instead her co-religionist Haresh- who is himself forced to give up his suite for a Sikh girl. Two victims of tradition decide to forsake passion which has wreaked so much havoc, in order to do their bit in restoring decency in their world.

There is little wonder that works which deal with political and cultural strife are often written by authors of multi-cultural backgrounds. More than others they appreciate the view from opposing camps, more than others, they court the displeasure of those who brook no re-valuation of their own beliefs- as in the case of Rushdie.

His work in the French resistance during the Second World War led Jean Paul Sarte towards the existentialism for which he is best known. Reflecting on Nazism, Sarte declared that: Evil is not an appearance…knowing its cause does not dispel it…it is not opposed to Good as a confused idea is to a clear one…it is not the effect of passions which might be cured, of a fear which might be overcome, of a passing aberration which might be excused, of an ignorance which might be enlightened…it can no way be diverted, brought back, reduced, and incorporated into idealistic humanism. Perhaps a day will come when a happy age…will see in this suffering and shame one of the paths which led to peace. But we are not on the side of history already made. Therefore, in spite of ourselves, we come to the conclusion, which will sound shocking to lofty souls- Evil cannot be redeemed.

A challenging thought, certainly, in these times of terror and counter terror and evil mongering. Still, the problem of evil is one that writers always deal with. Every short story, every novel or drama is about Good and Evil though not necessarily in Biblical or religious terms. But what differentiates our work from that of the sociologist is the moral choice that our characters must make at the climax of the tale.

It is the terror of that decision that confronts every story. The terror of the void that annuls all meaning. In the face of that terror the writer only has language and memory.

A writer is an editor of memory. Writing well is the best revenge, someone once said. In writing you can stand up once again to the school bully or steal kisses from the school beauty this time with better results. In writing we make the loves we should have made, wage wars we should have waged. It doesn’t always make up for the real thing, but it does have its rewards.

Remembering is the only way to learn, the only way to grow. The fear of death is not the fear of losing the future but of losing the past. It is the fear of forgetfulness, of Alzheimer’s. But remembering is also the great problem of politics. When a big power wants to dominate a smaller one, says Milan Kundera, it uses the method of ‘organized forgetting.’

To be deprived of memory is to be orphaned. And being an orphan, says a character in Arturo Perez-Reverte’s erudite thriller, the Seville Communion, “means being a slave. Memories give you some security; you know where you are going. Or where you’re not going. Without them you are at the mercy of the first person who comes along and calls you daughter. To defend one’s memories is to defend one’s freedom. Only angels have the luxury of being spectators.”

Every song, every story is a hedge against death, against forgetfulness. We remember for ourselves, we remember for others.

There are no formulas for writing or writing well. Anyone who says otherwise is just trying to earn a living. But I have always gone by what I call the four Ms of writing- Myth and Memory, Magic and Metaphor. If you are true to your memories, the myths will reveal themselves. If you serve well your metaphors, the magic will descend.

Discover your terrain as a writer. Philippine literature is a banquet being laid out continually. What do you intend to bring to the table? There is a line in Sam Mendez’ film “Road to Perdition,” wherein Paul Newman’s character says to Tom Hank’s character: This is the road we have chosen. There is only one thing certain, none of us will see heaven.

Well, writing, like mobstering, may or may not be the road to perdition, but it often is the path to penury so you best be prepared for the worst.

We live in dangerous times. I do not say that art salves all pain or that the politics of hate is anyone’s franchise. One person’s martyr is another’s mad bomber. But the stakes are too high for us to leave the management of emotions and perceptions around the world to politicians, clerics, terror mongers, or to CNN. We must do our part. As writers we must stand by the integrity of the word, we write as well for those who cannot speak, for where words may not be heard, says the anonymous poet of Palestine, bombs rejoice.

When I was as young as most of you I said that I wrote because it was the only way I knew how to live. And that remains true today. I write the way I do because it is the only way I know how. Often, I find no other cause for writing except to echo James Baldwin that: although the tale of how we suffer and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be told. There is no other tale to tell, it is our only light in all this darkness.

But I say the writer today must also be an interpreter of grief. In the end, like Shaila, we too might find it impossible to be a bridge between cultures, to translate meanings; to hold the center. Life might just be too powerful for art. But the attempt should be worth the effort. I have no more desire to torpedo the ark, to fancy myself a Brahma or Shiva but only a Vishnu, a preserver.

In days of anthrax and HIV we might be reminded, by the master story teller himself, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, how the human spirit has always prevailed over the ravages of time, bombs, and viruses.

Finally, as the main preoccupation of any writers’ workshop is really to gossip about writers, let me share this anecdote about two of our great fictionists. When Manuel Arguilla was executed by the Japanese during WWII, Francisco Arcellana was so pained he wrote that Arguilla had no business dying. “I will never forgive him his patriotism,” wrote Arcellana. “He was no patriot, he was a poet, we have many patriots,” Arcellana lamented, and “too few poets.” I pray that I will never have to recall those lines in memory of anyone of you here in this gathering.

But that’s not the story. This, according to Franz was what Manuel Arguilla wrote in his dedication to Arcellana when he had his copy of Arguilla’s book signed: Dear Franz, more life in your art, less art in your life.

I suggest the same for all of us.

webpage ]

  writers - cesar ruiz aquino
from checkmeta: the cesar ruiz aquino reader

The sequence was something like this:

I study at Silliman for one semester in 1962. The next semester I quit school and go to Manila for the first time, to attend a seminar under Leonard Casper, the American literary critic, at the Ateneo Graduate School on Padre Faura. [8] When the next school-year opens I am back in Zamboanga. I finish my A.B. at the Zamboanga AE College. Then I go back to Manila, go to the U.P. at Diliman for graduate work in Comparative Literature. I am twenty-one. I see James Dean for the first time at the Lyric Theater in Escolta. The movie is East of Eden and when the movie is over I want to bawl like a child inside the moviehouse’s comfort room.

I come home during the semesteral break and beg to be allowed to quit school for a while and stay home. My mother will hear nothing of it. I do not have the courage to tell her I am a delinquent, more exactly a truant, in school and I know the second semester will go absolutely the same way. So she wins, I go back to U.P. and after a year she loses, though I can hardly say I’ve won—I leave university with no units earned except in one subject under Mrs. Dolores Feria.

Now nothing can make me go back to school. My mother yields helplessly, as though I were ill. I am in fact completely bewildered, sort of knocked out on my feet. But I am back to my old habits in no time. I visit the public library in the mornings. From our house on Unreal Street, it is one short perpendicular street away—a small building from the American years. Its door faces north; one enters turning left, away from a now visible sea beyond the Fort and the acacia trees. In the afternoons I take to the streets. I browse in the two bookstores, Apostol & Sons and Golden Bell, very small but in the former I miraculously find a book each by Capote, Bellow, and Nabokov. One after another I buy all three. I run into old friends, chiefly Willy Arsena.

This goes on for months. In July, I join a radio station as casual announcer. I disc-jockey in the evenings. People wonder who the young man behind the voice is. At parties they are surprised to meet me. Naturally I am extremely good-looking on the radio, not to mention tall and dark. I become shyer and shyer and more and more conceited at the same time. They can’t make anything out of me in person. I am the ultimate in uncommunicativeness. But quite swaggering on the radio, and on the phone when the girls call up, who all flip over the voice. One can’t wait to meet me and comes to the station right after she calls. When she arrives, I put on a long-playing album and take her outside the booth, away from the view of the technician, and proceed to at least partially fulfill her fantasies before they completely deserted. In March of the following year, I transfer to another station where, in December, I get into a fight with a senior announcer, let go with a hail of blind blows one of which lands hard, sealing the end of our boxing match with a black-eye.

Also the end of 1966, the end of my job, the end of my adolescence.

The end of my life in Zamboanga.

webpage ]
inquirer ]
  twilight of a poet - d. paulo dizon

I am sick and tired of being poor, of being pushed around, of being sorry for myself.

I am sick and tired of the inconsequential things that are happening around me and to me.

I am sick and tired of hearing about the breaks my friends and some other people I know are getting all the time.

And they are beginning to be sorry for me too. The only breaks I get are the kind that hurts: heartbreaks, a break in the bone in my left leg that confined me to bed for nine months in a free ward in the orthopedic hospital across the road and only a stone’s throw from the psychopathic hospital, and a break on the head I incurred in a brawl with an unpublished poet who also knew how to employ an empty beer bottle in the art of self-defense.

My friends, who also know a little about the craft of writing who have more time than I do to indulge in it because they do not have to work and to loaf and to examine their souls and feel sorry for themselves, have been winning awards, fellowships, travel grants, or at least kudos; others have been offered high positions in government officialdom and in big business establishments.

And you, the woman I almost thought was in love with me for what I was and what I stood for instead of what promises I had made, said, What are you doing about yourself? Has it ever occurred to you that you are being left far behind, that as you are now you are too old to start from the bottom, that soon enough you, will be four feet underground?

“Six feet,” I corrected her, “is the standard depth, my lover.”

“We can’t afford that deep, lover,” she said. That was what we called each other—lover—when we got sick and tired and were about to jump at each other’s throat.

“Come to think of it, lover,” I said through my clenched teeth, “you are very cruel, to me. Gahdehmet.”

“The trouble with you, gahdahmet,” she said—we also called each other that--gahdahmet—when we were about to stick an icepick in each other’s back—”is that the only thing you are tops in is in the art of self-pity.”

“In the first place,“ I said, “I am not too old to start all over again. I can do almost anything if I wanted to, or it I were properly inspired. I may have a few grey hairs, but that is because I think too much and too deeply. Why, I am only 33.”

“At your age Christ died on the Cross,” she said, perhaps to remind me of my religion and soften my heart.

“Look,” I said, ”I have no ambition of dying on a cross, or in an electric chair, or by a goon’s or a cop’s bullet. Why do you always remind me of death, huh, lover?”

“I am sick and tired of waiting,” she said. “Always waiting for a better life. And all the time we are getting old. And you seem to take everything in your leisurely stride, complacently. While your friends, who must be looking down on you now, are making good. I just read in the papers that one of them was awarded a literary fellowship by a cigarette factory.”

“It may hurt you more to know, lover,” I said, “that several of my friends have also received literary awards from a gin factory. One of these days a conscience-smitten dope pusher might give me a literary award and a travel grant to where the poppies grow. Don’t worry, lover, I will take you along, and together we will enjoy the sights and the poppies.”

“That’s what you always say, but you don’t do anything about it.”

“What do you want me to do, gahdehmet?”

“Do something! Write a masterpiece! Win an award!”

“Ssssh… Quiet, lover. You are waking up the neighborhood.”

“Do you know what the neighbors say about you? Do you think it does not hurt me to hear them whisper unsavory things about you? They call you a laggard, a frustrated …”

“Shut up!” I shouted, not at her but in the general direction of my nearest neighbors. But only their dogs heard me and they started barking.

You know how it is when a dog starts barking, especially when he doesn’t see what he is barking at. There is a suspicious and apprehensive quality to his barking, which the other dogs are quick to catch even in their nap, and they start barking, too, suspiciously, apprehensively, until the whole community is full of the consternation of canine alarm. Soon their masters and mistresses are awakened and catch from their pets and friends the quality of suspicion, apprehension, and alarm. They get their guns from under their pillows and with trembling hands put on all the lights in their houses and inspect their doors and windows. And the next morning they will tell their neighbors how they chased the prowlers away.


“Marcos San Pablo,” she glared at me fiercely as she stood up and loomed over me where I sat on the soapbox. “Never even dream of interfering with my stereophonic, I tell you. You have nothing to do with it. It is mine. It is a gift from an admirer, and it has sentimental value. I need it for my singing practice. If you are thinking of selling anything that is yours, I may suggest your typewriter.”

“For your information,” I said, “that’s what I am planning to do first thing in the morning. Sell my typewriter, quit my job, and with what capital it may fetch me I shall start some business.”

“I think I can sleep now,” she said.

“I think I can resume my deep contemplation of life,” I said.

“I think I am leaving you, Marcos,” she said. “I cannot stand, it anymore.”

“Goodbye,” I said.

In the morning when I awoke, the cot, an army surplus, on which she had been asleep the last time I saw her, was empty. It was unusual for her to rise ahead of me, for she almost always slept late. Even when she came home early she would not be able to sleep before midnight out of habit perhaps. She would play on the phonograph some song hits sung by popular American singers, and she would try to imitate them, over and over again, and it was impossible for me not to be disturbed, not to be distracted from my thoughts, which explains why I cannot even write a poem with punctuation marks.

She was nowhere to be found in the little downstairs apartment we had been sharing for the past four or five months. She did not leave any note, not even a mark of her lips on my cheek. There was no touch of her in the house to make it seem like a home, no touch of her that might remind me of having lived with her in a fragment of my life.

I knew she was never coming back because the phonograph was gone along with her clothes and her costume jewelry.

If I knew she really meant it when she told me that she was leaving me, I would have gone ahead of her. And she would have known that I was never coming back because my typewriter would be gone along with my clothes and a pair of cuff links from Thailand.

It may be that I am missing her and her singing practice along with the echolalia of the recorded songs. I am missing our quarrels. How quiet it is in the night without her. Or maybe I am just lonely, as everybody else upon the earth may now and then be lonely.

I am also sick and tired of being lonely.

[ web page - thanks, ian casocot. :-) ]

  a jab at the presidency


it's hilarious.
it is this
supreme effort at loving someone
strange as the lakebreeze
felt as the sun races across

overhead, it is
this loving someone
you cannot know unless
it is for a task of some or other

the non-idleness of hours
for there is much planned,
it is this, finding someone who
is sure to lay their lives for you

without asking, and you wonder
if they're just playing dumb
or if they're praying same as you -
please, lord, no more broken hearts

no more jilting,
no more cheating,
just honesty so i can move on
with the myriad other

tasks you've appointed me
accomplish at this moment on,
just the lessons you've prepared
for me, long before

i even had the consciousness
that you had been planning for me
to set about finish
at the exact appointed time.
  the spirit of solitude - percy bysshe shelley

The meeting boughs and implicated leaves
Wove twilight o'er the Poet's path, as led
By love, or dream, or god, or mightier Death,
He sought in Nature's dearest haunt, some bank
Her cradle, and his sepulchre...

- Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Spirit of Solitude, 1816
from this web site

  charlson's quotes
charlson ong, writing in a time of terror:

 "We live in dangerous times. The stakes are too high for us to leave the management of emotions and perceptions around the world to politicians, clerics, terror-mongers, or to CNN. We must do our part. As writers we must stand by the integrity of the word. We write as well for those who cannot speak. For where words may not be heard, says the anonymous poet of Palestine, bombs rejoice." [ addressing the illigan national writers workshop ]

A writer is an editor of memory. In writing we make the loves we should have made, wage wars we should have waged. It doesn't always make up for the real thing, but it does have its rewards. ... I have always gone by what I call the four M's of writing -- Myth and Memory, Magic and Metaphor. If you are true to your memories, the myths will reveal themselves. If you serve well your metaphors, the magic will descend. [ writers as editors of memory ]
i'm obsessed with colors, and often i refuse to use them coz they say more than i'm willing to show. :-P

some links:

web colors
color wheel pro
true colors communication group
the occult library: colors in psychology
infoplease: psychology of color
how does color affect us?
  blue dark
midnight, like the womb, a chance to duck into the deepest of fears. you are a monster, not fully child, not fully human, with gills yet to evolve erased along the sides of your neck. when you are complete, you emerge into the stark daylight with lungs of steel and breathes of storm, your voice announcing your come. with gills erased from the neck, they grasp you there first and then your haunches next. thus you are held for the first in your life, and then again soon after, when you desire to hold them by their necks and then their waists, cradling them close so your body can tell. the difference is that you are held first proudly for the introduction, and then you are held next fiercely, dreadfully, each moment a lesson in debt, promise, illusion. the kiss, soon after, and your faces disappear, and your voice announces your come. what follows after both midnight losses are a jumble of edges and fractures and animations and expressions; marks left by our lives, fleeting.
let's pretend the world is my stage. for it once was, and still is, i assume. everyone will be hanging on to my every word, seeing as strands of hair fall across my face, representing my shattered existence and dislocated lifeviews. i am expertly trained to capture stars and break illusions, i've become incapable of creating any of my own. i've been locked up in chains and made to say yes, no, one or the other, because there isn't anything else expected of me. while the world goes about ranting and raving and appreciating everyone else's work, i've become used to the anonymity, the silence, the solitude of my own voice tapping, my fingers typing, listening while others successfully weave out their lives in paper and song. poetry to me is a lost, abstract art, a language i can no longer practice - but to live and breathe yet one more pass i fool myself into believing i have some sort of contribution to make. i choose a nook and cranny to eke out my existence and i let fly. my pen bleeds and my mind spills. my knowledge and my skills are up for sale. take me, try me.

  girl on the verge of ...
girl on the verge of writing a girlie story on xanga: 'hey lois lane, did u read d story yet?' - toti72, july13 759p.

  answering the front door

i never lived in manila.

i lived in a suburb, the vast, the huge, the diverse quezon city. there, we stomped katipunan avenue, loyola heights, tandang sora, and infamous diliman.

in diliman, my mother birthed four children, one stillborn, in legendary area 1. i don't remember across the street from where we lived, i just remember the houses behind us, the vacant lot next door, and the long, asphalted and pot-holed agoncillo street. we were #50-or-something. you pass an ivy-encrusted acacia, a palm tree, and right under a starapple tree, you park your car in our dirt driveway.

you ascend clay tiles and then a pebbled walkway and knock on frosted glass front doors. one time my parents left the front door keys inside our house and my dad had to remove four pieces of the glass shuttered windows and ordered me to climb inside and open the door for them from there. i only was concerned about getting cut by the glass, even as none of the shutters were broken, and i detested my mother's clucking nonesense to be careful.

i was a pirate of the 40 seas, and took my time climbing the window and then jumping from there to the deep brown marron tiled floor of our sala. as i trotted to the front door, all the lights asleep and the house echoing my footsteps, ghosts greeted me from all sides, "what are you doing here!" as i protested how they don't recognize me, i thought, "wow, so this is how thieves would rob our house!"

i dreaded the front door, dreaded my parents' expectations that it took me so long, dreaded to take the world back into my own hiding place, dreaded to share my ghosts with others, but i turned the lock and greeted my parents' bemused faces.

  in fairness

this story was taken from www.inq7.net
resent by

"In fairness"
Posted:11:02 PM (Manila Time) Aug. 20, 2003
By Michael L. Tan

LATELY I've been hearing more Filipinos, especially the younger ones, using phrases like "in fairness" and "to be fair."

I've realized that the phrase's popularity is coming in from movie gossip talk shows, where commentators seem to be dropping "in fairness" every other second. After yakking about the latest dirt in a celebrity's life, the showbiz reporter will add, "In fairness, we haven't asked the celebrity for his side." It's a strange after-the-fact application of the notion of fairness -- almost a way of seeking absolution for gossip and backbiting.

I'm not surprised that we've distorted the meaning of "fairness." Fairness is a difficult concept to grasp, especially in feudal societies like our own, where the powerful define fairness in terms of their own rights being paramount, above everyone else's. Thus, when politicians appeal to the mass media for "fairness," what they actually mean is: "It's okay if you print bad stories about my opponents but don't even think about doing that with me."

Notice we don't even have a strong equivalent Filipino word for "fairness." The other week I was talking with a worker and wanted to know if he thought his salary was fair. I found myself at a loss for the proper word in Filipino and finally used the English term.

When I asked around for the correct Filipino word, people offered "patas." But I don't think it quite captures the meaning of "fair." Patas is "equal" but "equal" isn't the same as "fair." When you ask a laborer if his salary is "patas," the question hangs there because "equal" needs a qualifier. Do you mean equal to one's needs, or equal to one's work output? "Fair" captures many different dimensions in one sweep, a fair salary being one that considers both needs and skills of the worker, as well as the employer's own investments and profit margins.

After graduating from college I worked for a few years with the social action arm of the Roman Catholic Church. We had an amazingly simple salary scale at that time: If you were single, your monthly salary was 600 pesos. If you were married without children, it was 700 pesos, and if you were married with children, you got 800 pesos.

Many of you will probably say that's unfair. Well, as far as we were concerned at that time, it was perfectly fair. It didn't matter that Dr. Tan got 600 pesos and our janitor got 800 pesos because our janitor had greater needs than I had, and therefore deserved more.

Although in retrospect I think that three-level scale was too simplistic, not even quite reflecting the complexity of needs, I still agree with the principle of fairness that was used, i.e., those with more in life should be willing to work for less. Thus, I will in one breath say that our salaries at the University of the Philippines (UP) are unfairly low, but will also say that I think it's only fair
to continue teaching at UP since I've been more fortunate in life and my needs are easily met.

Fairness is not built on a mechanical application of the notion of "equal." Quite often, fairness may mean giving special preference to those who have less to start with. This notion of giving a headstart to people with a disadvantage is at the heart of "affirmative action" in the United States. For example, universities will increase admission quotas for members of cultural minority groups, based on the recognition that they were marginalized for decades and that
society needs to make amends, giving them extra opportunities to pull themselves up.

When I proposed an affirmative action component in our department's admissions policy, I actually met opposition. One faculty member protested, "But we are all minorities. There is no majority ethnic group in the Philippines."

Here's an example of where "patas" falls apart. Sure, Tagalogs and Tausugs and Tagbanwas are all "patas" in the sense that they are all numerical minorities, but we know, too, that there are vast differences in the economic and social status of the three groups, and that a preferential option needs to be given to the Tausug and Tagbanwa.

Note, though, that "fairness" here is not reduced to a matter of ethnicity-final admission will still depend on many other considerations, including a student's capabilities. Neither does fairness end with affirmative action in the admissions policy. Thus, if we eventually accept a student from a cultural minority group, even if his or her grades were not too good, it would be again be unfair to just leave the student to try to survive alone. To be fair, the university needs to give special support to help such students get through university, through scholarships and tutorials.

We need to talk more about fairness in our daily lives. When a driver creates his or her own counter-flow, driving down the wrong lane to get to the next intersection, the principle of fairness is violated, the moron having jumped the queue and, worse, possibly jamming traffic flow coming from the other direction and wasting more precious time of numerous motorists.

"Unfair" behavior is really cheating. When a student copies someone else's work, he or she is being unfair to those who put in time and effort to prepare for the exam. Similarly, on the part of faculty members, it would be unfair to allow mediocre work to pass because this "cheats" students who put in so much more effort into their papers.

Eventually, we have to recognize that fairness is crucial as well for a nation to develop. Our unfair system of patronage in the workplace and in politics is a major reason why so many Filipinos leave the country. There is the perception that one's chances of success are tied to who you know, rather than one's skills or meritorious service. On a macro scale, we lose many potential investments, from both Filipinos and foreigners, because our system is seen as unfair, again based on connections and patronage and rules and policies being changed midway through a project.

It's interesting we adopted the Spanish "patas" to mean "fair" when it's actually a term used in relation to games and sports, referring to a tie or a draw. The correct Spanish word for "fair" is actually "justo" (just). The sooner we develop an ethos around fairness as it should be, tied to justice and equity, the better it will be for our country.

©2003 www.inq7.net all rights reserved


And here's IN FAIRNESS used in a sentence by a native speaker of English:

A near half-century of terror
By Noam Chomsky

The national security pretext lost whatever shreds of credibility it might have had after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, though it was not until 1998 that US intelligence officially informed the country that Cuba no longer posed a threat to US national security. The Clinton administration, however, insisted that the military threat posed by Cuba be reduced to "negligible," but not completely removed. Even with this qualification, the intelligence assessment eliminated a danger that had been identified by the Mexican ambassador in 1961, when he rejected JFK's attempt to organize collective action against Cuba on the grounds that "if we publicly declare that Cuba is a threat to our security, forty million Mexicans will die laughing."

In fairness, however, it should be recognized that missiles in Cuba did pose a threat. In private discussions the Kennedy brothers expressed their fears that the presence of Russian missiles in Cuba might deter a US invasion of Venezuela. So "the Bay of Pigs was really right," JFK concluded.

  saturn returns

boo. [ click here ]

i hate it when strangers find out things about me before i even get a chance to. i hate any anonymous or unfamiliar thing that tells me that they have dominion over me, or that they know me better than i know myself.

it's different with friends, though - that i don't mind, in fact i crave friends who aren't afraid of telling me that i'm wrong about certain things, or that they have secrets they want to tell me, or that they have discoveries they want to share with me.

but for this story? this "saturn return"? ionno. i'm not sure. maybe i'm just bucking the truth by my irreverence and that laughing at everything's my defense mechanism. i know i always DON'T want to deal with issues because there won't be anyone to help me sort them out after the dust settles.

but then again, maybe i'm just being bitter like that. sometimes when i let my thoughts wander during the long bus and train rides to downtown chicago or suburban evanston, i realize that i need to let people into my life more often, that i have to "unclench" a bit more - because it can be intimidating, when you appear busy but actually are just waiting for someone to prod you awake, touch you silly, smile at you real, "hey," they can say.

  la filipina

hay! naniwala naman ako:

"The most determined human beings I know are Filipinas: friends, ex-girlfriends, daughters. My sister. My mother. Let us add to that presidents, CEOs, film directors, musicians, traffic enforcers. There is something in the way the Filipina makes a meal, or makes a point, or makes love, the way she finally decides on matters of her home or her country, or her heart, and firmly goes the distance - with you or without you.

"It is what makes you want to punch the wall with your fist, what makes you weep and makes you weak - her constant presence, her quiet strength, the soft, water-drop persistence of her enduring life and love."

~ Sarge Lacuesta

ahahahaha! if only he knew. sheesh! if only i knew what the hell he's talking about. it's obviously something only he sees - or something that only people on the outside looking in can see. coz i'm sure women themselves have noticed this about us, ahahaha :silly: ... oh, for all the undeserved little bones thrown our way. cheers! [
webpage ]

  password for a hybrid century - luis h. francia

The world is full of speech unheralded
Each creature, each thing, fashions
Words not said, nor heard

Mankind, beast, flower, fish, atom cell

On the avenue, in the city's
Fields of streets
A language of secrets unscrolls
Rich in the grammar of love

Pure as an infant's theology

I sense it in this room when
Your beauty navigates this space
By osmosis
When your seaweed hair announces
Itself as a sacrament

I sense it on the days of
Longing, when this trill and utterance
And weave, this eloquence beyond the
Exultations of art, beyond the scribbles
And bankrupt narratives, blesses and

Bathes me, drowning the pornographic
Stutter of a center that devours its young.

Speak me as I speak you,
And not only you, my beloved,
But all of you who are my beloved
This speech without speaking, this

Covenant and testament
As the measure, the love of

All the invisible and real
Sometimes am I blessed

By such tongue, to move through the
Interstices of being and put

My head on the twin laps of
Pain and pleasure in
Whose hymns I

Taste death, that passage
Out of life into life
Where in a vast hall

New music plays, and each one of
Us, from particle of dust to deity,
Is a scale of ancient lore

Read me read you

Speak me then as I speak you
As notes for a song
Between speech and nonspeech

Between a living that is a dying
And a dying that is a living

Make me a part of your speech
An act looking for silence and utterance

An O lodged in the mouth of a mute god

[ webpage ]

  higher education - revised

i refuse the ability to summarize
and deconstruct and write
convincing papers that argue
my points to kingdom come. already
printed matter shouts me
its intensest secrets, and if mute,
i know how to coax it from them.
isn't that what we all teach students -
the ability to dig up corpses
and catalogue artifacts and
chase treasure in maps; the ability
to identify suspects
expidite concretely in five-page opuses,
a final revealing of the stars' infinitude,
the solutions to mysteries
that stumped aristotle and socrates;
there must be concise directions to paradise
otherwise the perfect grade shall be withheld.
for this i refrain from chasing
winters and snows, fleeting summers and
springs generated in classrooms that glow
gold in the autumn sunset. still i crave
to capture light in prisms so i can share
your glee at discovery. still i crave
precise discourse held exclusive. yet i fear
your cold solitude and fullness in life in pages.
i fear your dogged insistence
that this particular detail
is off by furloughs and furloughs. there has to be
someone to rescue you from infinite confines and
deep mazes, there has to be someone to pull you
out of ruts and make you eat. or at least breathe
the dustless air. come, the sunset
is warm and i've set it aside for you. tell me your
secrets, i promise to listen,
and taste and drink and sample
every fresh sprig of detail,
until you are full
for having someone travel with you for a time.

this week feels like it's going to go downhill. another blah week after a good one last. i didn't capture it in joy like i used to, but i tried and withheld, for reasons i choose to keep secret. i haven't told anyone of how great last week was - everything that i asked for was granted to me. that NEVER happens, that's why i never reveled in it, thinking it won't ever last, so what's the use of cherishing it? too late i learn that when things like that you never let go of memories, you wear them like proud ornaments and let them dazzle in the sunlight, let them capture starlight and moonshine to trap everyone's eyes and plant in them envy and illicit from them, "oh, magnificent. as soon as you turn your head, i'm taking your joy from you and run furthest until i hear no more of you."  
coffeepots won't brew by themselves
i need an assistant to keep juice flowing
but if i ask one i incur instead wrath
legendary for its effectiveness and speed
we each crave one small success, the kind
bursting like fireworks and joltiness
like a train headlong into the chasm of
distance yet suddenly stopped for fear
of flying into the unknown, but i haven't
the ability to capture it in cages yet, my
writing space's been invaded by pressures
and lectures and questions generated from
all sides of the city we inhabit, and you query me
for the secrets of nuclear fusion and the
depths of the atlantic and the peace over
the pacific, how when waves form could i
possibly have succeeded in awakening your
dormant heart and released your trapped
imaginations, when in truth all i truly wanted
was to capture my own and share it with you.
  higher education
i refuse the ability to summarize
and analyze and deconstruct and
write convincing papers that argue
my points to kingdom come. already
when i look at a newspaper i know
its darkest secrets and its intense
history, and if i didn't know, i know
how to find out. isn't that what we all
teach students - the ability to dig up
corpses and catalogue artifacts and
chase treasure in maps, X marks the
spot; the ability to identify suspects
and bring out truth and beauty and
make sure they've expidited concretely
enough in five-page opuses five times, a
twenty-five page final that reveals the secrets
of the stars and the infinitude bottoms
of black holes, the solutions to mysteries
that stumped aristotle and socrates;
there must be concise directions to paradise
otherwise the perfect grade shall be withheld.
for this i shall refrain from chasing after
winters and snows, fleeting summers and
springs generated in classrooms that glow
gold in the autumn sunset. still i crave the
ability to capture light in prisms so i can share
your glee at discovery and conversation. still
i crave precise discourse held exclusive. yet i fear
your cold solitude and fullness in life in pages, i fear
your dogged insistence that this particular detail
is off by furloughs and furloughs. there has to be
someone to rescue you from infinite confines and
deep mazes, there has to be someone to pull you
out of ruts and make you eat. or at least breathe
the dustless air. come, the sunset
is warm and i have set it aside for you. tell me your
secrets, lead me your realities,
i promise to listen, and taste and drink and sample
every fresh sprig of detail, until you are full for
having someone travel with you for a time.
we've finally made the move
and exhausted we let go of packages,
boxes, containers, moving equipment;
sent away the relatives and friends
who've insisted on helping out,
sent away the moving van with tips
for everyone. we've closed the front door
and, silent on the couch, watched sunset
in the new apartment strewn with every
imaginable article meant to make
our lives better. but the only thing i can
think of is my racing heart and how
day in and day out it'll be like this
between us from now on, and i shove
panic down my throat because i fervently
hope to keep intact your expectations
of what life might be like here with me,
after all the talk and the exchange and
the arguments and the compromises.
i worry for i remember asking out loud,
"are you happy?"
for isn't that what we first set out to do,
why we moved way out here and why we
separated ourselves from the rest of the
world, just so we could find out if we're
truly each other's irreplaceable puzzle piece -

you stand from the couch,
stride to the kitchen counter,
take a moment,
"yes, i am," you said, after a pause,
and turn around, and face me, smiling.
i let fall the space between us, a chasm.
i won't tell you this, my habit of
remaining unconvinced,
maybe it's just nothing.
maybe it's just nothing after all.
  3 a.m.

at 3 a.m. i realize the night sky,
my hundred thousand things
unaccomplished, and i notice
the sighing busyness of the night
tunes going about their business
as they've done for millennia past
as they plan for millennia further.
you don't want to wake the air at 3 a.m.
you let dust settle and
space retreat; a folding complete
that when shattered chases joy away
instead of magnifies it the way the sun in the
daytime with everything it touches.
at 3 a.m. the cold summer nights
in the northern hemispheres of the globe
make you wish for rest and sleep with
all your might, make you breathe to the rhythms
of the rest of the world, for when you
dance your best steps, you cry,
for when you immortalize moments
in poetry, they only waste 
into the infinite, the icy,
the anonymous midnight,
and that is no way to effect love,
lust, hope, guilt, chagrin, anger,
illicit a scream and conjure imagination
into audiences easily rapt into believing
that the infinite, the immortal, the everything
is within their grasp.

  pangitain sa mga bituin (para kay sam) - usman abdurajak sali

Nahuhulog na ang iyong mga bituin,
Kaya naglalaho na ang iyong ningning,
At kapalaran mo'y lalong dumidilim,
Tiyak sa bangungot di ka magigising!
Pumupusyaw ang dugo mong bughaw,
Sa labis na pagnanasang di mapigil
Sa paglingkis at pagtuklaw,
Berdeng kamandag mo'y lumilipol!
Namumutla ang pula sa iyong bandila,
Kaya masidhi ang nais mong ito'y kulayan,
Ng dugong inosente't sariwang-sariwa.
Tinutungayaw ka na ng sangkatauhan!
Kaya lalo kang nagpapakapal ng mukha.
Ngunit nahuhulog na ang iyong mga bituin,
Pumupusyaw ang dugo mong bughaw,
At namumutla ang pula sa iyong bandila!
Pinturahan mo man ng puti ang panlilinlang,
Hindi maikukubli ang maiitim mong balak.
Huhusgahan ka ng sangkatauhan!
Tiyak na ang iyong pagbagsak.

[ tinig.com ]

  my house is haunted
it really is.
just now our two dogs howled like crazed wolves. i had to turn on the kitchen light and call them to me to appease them. they wouldn't stop until they've each recieved rubs and cooes. the spoiled brats. rotten to the core. 

then in the 3:30 a.m. silence i hear someone laughing. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! it annoyed me coz i didn't know where it was coming from. i tried to place where i'd heard such guffaw before, and it came to me - my sister upstairs must have heard the dogs' howls and realized that i, of all people, have elected to appease them. each night when i come home from work, the first thing i tell them as they greet me hopefully is, "no! go away." they look into my face each night hoping for a different reaction, ahaha. but they get none, and bound away to my mother.

the laughing continued. i was getting annoyed, until i realized it was coming through the wall of our house! i didn't realize how thin our walls were, between this house and the apartment building next door. there's only about 4 feet distance between the two buildings. i realized it was one of our neighbors' kids, and he sure was enjoying it.
i cooe to the dogs a bit longer and then turn away to the bathroom to wash my hands. ahahaha! i'm always like that, you never know, with fleas and my allergies. the bathroom's light is off, but who else would be sitting on the throne there?!
my sister, awake for a midnight leak.
i'm hella annoyed!!!! ahahahaha - and she didn't even look up when i went "huh!" ahahaha. boo!!! i'm so annoyed. she just sat there, waiting for her business, hair disheveled, pajamas down and a blank look on her face. i just had a heart attack, my hands are shaking and my mind's spinning, and she remains impassive.
i babble on how i thought the laugh i heard were uttered by our other sister, supposedly asleep upstairs, and then how i think it's our neighbor and then how the dogs started howling, making the laughing person laugh some more. she finishes with the bathroom, and i go in to wash my hands. i babble on, not realizing our mother went out to work tonight.
i'm even more annoyed coz when i finished washing my hands, my sister is nowhere to be found! she sleepwalked back into her room. arg!!! she looked like a ghost in here white pajamas and blank expression, now she's apparated into her room. i must really have been preoccupied coz i didn't even hear the stairs creak when she ascended them.
and then i take my allergy medicine. i just petted the dogs, and i hate itchy, watery eyes. i think of my mother who always thinks our deceased dad is somewhere nearby, freaking me out, and of friends who IM out of the blue at odd hours in my day, and how i need to break my habit of automatically signing on to AIM and YM because it just aggravates me when someone IMs at the wrong time, making me go, "brb!" and sending the wrong signals.
i hate being interrupted by ghosts. but i hafta learn how to live with them! this is one experience that's going to give me high blood pressure.
luckily, i'm not on my own. at least, i hope i'm not. :blush:

  i believe - alix olson
i think there are people out there who are more complete when they are who they are.
one of my biggest hopes right now is that if i come across someone who's so insecure about their sexuality, or someone who's confused about things in general (or particular), that i learn how not to lay on them grudges i carry against certain others: they're the least deserving of my pains, they're the hope i have of living in a world different from mine.
we all need the presence of life forms from another reality from time to time. to me, that's just being real. books and movies and other media can only take us so far. 
i believe misogyny and patriarchy are closet homo lovers
and they screw over their sisters cause they’re scared to screw each other.
i believe harriet tubman should be on the dollar bill
we’ve had our fill of white boy faces
time to change places.
i believe hilary, not bill, should have worn the crown
they could have learned from jack and jill
which one would break it and fall down.
i believe there are too many lonely lesbians looking for a lover
and if some would lift their cool masks maybe they would find each other.
i believe people and products both need less packaging
cause bullshit is still bullshit when you pull off all the wrapping.
i believe people are see-through
if you hold em up to the light
i believe people are enlightening
if you plug em in right.
i believe our system is a love affair between the up and upper classes
cause it’s easy to get screwed when you’re just raping all the masses
i believe diet coke is liquid steel
i believe too many women
drink their meal.
i believe in survival of the fittest--
if you’re ranking members of a gym
but if you’re talking about the human club, you gotta let everybody in.
i believe you should learn more than one language
you should learn to talk in tongues and lips
i believe in nipples and skin and toes and hips.
i believe in noise from teeth and throats
and cunts
the noise of poetry, music, laughter, after screaming cunnilingus.
i believe women are sexy
without makeup or clothes
i believe women are sexy
when they’re reciting prose
i don’t believe in horoscopes,
fortune, fate, luck, or chance
i believe sometimes shit works out
just cause of circumstance.
so i believe if you call the wrong number
you should talk for a while
you might like em more than
who you meant to dial.
i believe small talk is for small people
who have nothing much to say
if you really think it’s so nice out,
shut up and go enjoy the fucking day
i believe wall street invented
the criminal mentality
the easter bunny laid
mandatory heterosexuality
i believe mutual masturbation makes a lot of sense
i don’t believe in a white picket fence
i believe in picking fights and picketing riot dykes
i believe in loving in groups,
i believe in loving alone.
i believe in hardship, in travelling
through hard shit
then i believe in coming home.
i believe some wives find their husbands boring
and they picture women naked
while those boys are snoring
i believe men need to revolutionize
themselves or they’ll see
all those wives kissing jill sobule and me.
i believe there are more buttons
and more clever bumper stickers every day
and less and less sticking
to what they have to say
more recycling of garbage,
more recycling of cash
it all ends up in the same bin --
with all the white corporate trash.
i believe there are too many babies
and too many weddings and too many headings
that started with Monica
i believe post-gay is presumptious
just plain gay functions.
i don’t believe in ex-gay
i believe trent lott should be b.b. gun-shot
ex-punged from this term before
the thousand years he’s got left
i believe barbie should be used in anatomy class
as a perfect bag of bones
then taken to biogenetics
as an argument against clones.
i believe cell phone culture is ridiculous
imprisoning us in the cell of a social fetish
i believe baby dolls should have realistic clits.
so baby dykes can start getting used to it.
and i believed the guy i waited on today
who said i’m one hundred percent nice
i don’t bite
i said i believe you sir and i’ll take the beer
can you believe i’m one hundred percent queer
and i talk it and i teach it
and i poet and i preach it
and I hold it and I mold it
and I know it so I give it.
cause I’m sure that I believe
i’m still learning how to live it.

alix olson ]
bbcharlotte ]

  pablo neruda - stephen dobyns

Pablo Neruda stands on a corner next to a poster
advertising quick weight loss diet aids when I
happen by with half my creative writing class.
He wears a black boating cap and blue cloak draped
loosely over one shoulder, and he stands very still
staring at the clouds where he probably sees the profiles
of famous poets. At his feet lies a small brown dog.
We had heard he was dead and so are surprised and
walk around him several times. He has nice fat cheeks
and after a moment I reach out and touch one, but
gently and he doesn't notice. I look at my students
and I can tell they are ready for anything so I
take out my Swiss Army knife, open the littlest
blade and cut Pablo a tiny bit on the left arm.
He doesn't even blink but I think he begins to
concentrate more intently on the clouds. By now
my students are becoming excited so I open a bigger
blade and carefully cut a sliver of flesh from his
shoulder. I put it on my tongue and it's very sweet
with a faint taste of smoke. I chew it slowly.
Glancing at the sky it now seems a deeper blue.
My students see me smiling and licking my lips
and they too take out Swiss Army knives and start
cutting off small slices, although they don't stay
small for long, because suddenly we are ravenous.
It feels like I haven't eaten for days. I barely
pause to hew my food and I grow angry at my students
for pushing and getting aggressive over the more
succulent bits. One even eats the brown dog.
In practically no time there's nothing left but
a quickly folded pile of clothes on the sidewalk
with the black cap on top. Then we all become
embarrassed and won't look at each other because
we've eaten this famous poet, and even though he
tasted great and we could probably eat another,
and even though the city seems brighter and more
exciting than before, we still feel ashamed to have
surrendered so completely to such animal passions
so we point to our watches and make excuses and
stroll off in our separate directions, but shortly
outside a movie theater, I see one of my students
offering herself to the people waiting in line;
then I see another accosting a crowd at a bus stop;
and a little later in the lobby of a convention hotel
I see a third bothering the legionnaires. And you,
now that I have your attention at last, ignore these
imposters. They're too hungry to be telling the truth.
Feel this arm, this fath thigh. Why would I cheat you?
Even now the moon grows more swollen and the stars
throb deep in their black pockets. Bite me, bite me.

[ stephen dobyns ]
velocity ]
psychicpants.net ]

  she will be loved - maroon 5
Beauty queen of only eighteen
She had some trouble with herself
He was always there to help her
She always belonged to someone else

I drove for miles and miles
And wound up at your door
I've had you so many times but somehow
I want more

I don't mind spending everyday
Out on your corner in the pouring rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved
She will be loved

Tap on my window knock on my door
I want to make you feel beautiful
I know I tend to get so insecure
It doesn't matter anymore

It's not always rainbows and butterflies
It's compromise that moves us along
My heart is full and my door's always open
You can come anytime you want

I don't mind spending everyday
Out on your corner in the pouring rain, oh
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved
She will be loved

And she will be loved
And she will be loved

I know where you hide
Alone in your car
Know all of the things that make you who you are
I know that goodbye means nothing at all
Comes back and begs me to catch her every time she falls

Tap on my window knock on my door
I want to make you feel beautiful

She will be loved (repeated)

Please don't try so hard to say good bye.
  currently playing
i hate this song... it's making me cry.

hate isn't really the opposite of love. that would be indifference, a lack of emotion. hatred is still vehemently feeling something for something. i haven't the ability to capture it in words right now.

there aren't any coincidences, and i wonder what lovely trap's waiting for me by my coming across this song again, at this point in my life.

god really knows how to deal with me. he's not making me choose. he's not even laying out choices for me. he's making me look for the choices myself.

how rude! haha. that's so insane. how crazy is that? there's no logic to that at all. it could be equal to a one-sided affair too - what if i'm making all this up? what if there really aren't any choices involved... just fantasies, things i wish could come true, but can't, and all i'm doing to appease my hurt is to make things up?

major cryfest comin up in... 18 days. i'm not ready.

but i'm going to that cryfest so i can at least find out some of what i need to say goodbye to.

*sigh.* it should be fun. yfc's always made me laugh.

If You Want Me To
by Ginny Owens
from "Without Condition"

The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reason why you brought me here
But just because you love me the way that you do
I’m gonna walk through the valley
If you want me to

Causei’m not who I was
When I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise you’re not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will go through the fire
If you want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that’s not my home
But you never said it would be easy
You only said I’d never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I’m all by myself
And I can’t hear you answer my cries for help
I’ll remember the suffering your love put you through
And I will go through the valley
If you want me to
grabbed from this [ webpage ]

by Pablo Neruda

Maisusulat ko ang pinakamalulungkot na tula ngayong gabi.

Maisusulat, halimbawa: "Ang gabi'y mabituin,
at nanginginig, asul, ang mga tala sa dako pa roon."

Umiikot sa langit ang hangin ng gabi, umaawit.

Maisusulat ko ang pinakamalulungkot na tula ngayong gabi.
Siya'y inibig ko, at kung minsan ako'y inibig din niya.

Sa mga gabing tulad nito, niyakap ko siyang mahigpit
at hinagkan sa lilim ng walang-hanggang langit.

Ako'y inibig niya, kung minsan siya'y inibig ko rin.
Paanong hindi iibigin ang mga mata niyang malamlam?

Maisusulat ko ang pinakamalulungkot na tula ngayong gabi.
Isipin lang: Hindi ko siya kapiling. Nawala siya sa akin.

Dinggin ang gabing malawak, mas malawak pagkat wala siya.
At ang tula'y pumapatak sa diwa, parang hamog sa parang.

Ano ngayon kung di siya mapangalagaan ng aking pag-ibig?
Ang gabi'y mabituin, at siya'y hindi ko kapiling.

Iyon lamang. Sa malayo, may umaawit. Sa malayo.
Diwa ko'y hindi mapalagay sa kanyang pagkawala.

Anyong lalapit ang paningin kong naghahanap sa kanya.
Puso'y naghahanap sa kanya, at siya'y hindi kapiling.

Ito ang dating gabing nagpaputi sa mga dating punongkahoy.
Tayo, na nagmula sa panahong iyon, ay di na tulad ng dati.

Hindi ko na siya iniibig, oo, pero inibig ko siyang lubos.
Tinig ko'y humalik sa hangin para dumampi sa kanyang pandinig.

Sa iba. Siya'y sa iba na. Tulad ng mga dati kong halik.
Tinig, maningning na katawan. Mga matang walang-hanggan.

Hindi ko na siya iniibig, oo, pero baka iniibig ko siya.
Napakaikli ng pag-ibig, at napakabata ng paglimot.

Pagkat sa mga gabing tulad nito'y niyakap ko siyang mahigpit,
diwa ko'y di mapalagay dahil sa kanyang pagkawala.

Ito marahil ang huling hapding ipadarama niya sa akin,
at ito na marahil ang huling tulang iaalay ko sa kanya.

by Pablo Neruda

Itatanong ninyo: At nasaan ang mga lila?
At ang metapisikang nababalot ng amapola?
At ang ulan na madalas na sumasalpok
sa kanyang mga kataga, tinatadtad iyon
ng butas at ibon?

Ikukuwento ko ang lahat ng nangyari sa akin.

Nakatira ako sa isang baryo
ng Madrid, may mga kampana,
relo, punongkahoy.

Mula roon ay natatanaw
ang tuyong mukha ng Castilla,
tila kuwerong dagat.
Ang tawag sa bahay ko'y
bahay ng mga bulaklak, pagkat sa lahat ng dako
sumasambulat ang hasmin: iyon
ay bahay na maganda,
may mga aso't bata.
Raul, naaalaala mo?
Naaalaala mo, Rafael?
Federico, naaalaala mo
sa kinalilibingan mong lupa,
naaalaala mo ang bahay kong may mga balkonahe,
ang mga bulaklak na nilunod sa iyong bibig
ng liwanag ng Hunyo?
Kapatid, kapatid!
Ang lahat
ay tinig na matitinis, inilalakong asin,
kumpulan ng titibok-tibok na tinapay,
mga palengke ng baryo kong Arguelles na may istatwang
tila maputlang lalagyan ng tinta, napaliligiran ng isda:
ang mantika'y lumalapit sa mga kutsara,
mga paa't kamay
ay matinding pintig sa mga kalye,
metro, litro, maanghang
na katas ng buhay,
nakatambak na tulingan,
kulu-kulubot na bubong at malamig na araw
na pumapagod sa banoglawin,
makinis at nakahihibang na garing ng patatas,
hile-hilerang kamatis na umaabot sa dagat.

At isang umaga, lahat ng ito'y nagliliyab.
At isang umaga, ang apoy
ay pumapailanlang mula sa lupa,
lumalamon ng buhay,
at mula noon, sunog,
pulbura mula noon,
at mula noon, dugo.
Ang mga bandidong may mga eroplano't alipures,
ang mga bandidong may mga singsing at dukesa,
ang mga bandidong may mga prayleng nagbibindisyon
ay bumaba mula sa langit para pumatay ng mga bata,
at sa mga kalye ang dugo ng mga bata
ay umagos na lamang at sukat, tulad ng dugong bata.

Mga hayop na kamumuhian ng hayop,
mga batong kakagatin ng damo at iluluwa,
mga ahas na kasusuklaman ng ahas!

Sa inyong harap, nakita ko ang dugo
ng Espanya, bumubulwak
para lunurin kayo sa daluyong
ng kapalaluan at mga balaraw.

Mga taksil
na heneral:
masdan ang bahay kong patay,
masdan ang Espanyang lupaypay:
pero mula sa bawat bahay lumilitaw ang nagbabagang asero
sa halip na bulaklak,
mula sa bawat sulok ng Espanya
lumilitaw ang Espanya,
mula sa bawat batang patay lumilitaw ang baril na may mata,
mula sa bawat krimen sumisilang ang mga punglo
na isang araw ay matatagpuan sa gitna
ng inyong puso.

Itatanong ninyo kung bakit sa kanyang mga tula
ay hindi inaawit ang mga pangarap, mga dahon,
ang malalaking bulkan ng kanyang lupang tinubuan?

Halikayo't pagmasdan ang dugo sa mga kalye,
halikayo't pagmasdan
ang dugo sa mga kalye,
halikayo't pagmasdan ang dugo
sa mga kalye.

by Pablo Neruda

Sa sinumang hindi nakikinig sa dagat ngayong
Biyernes ng umaga, sa sinumang nasa loob
ng bahay, opisina, pabrika o babae,
o kalye o minahan o tuyong bartolina:
sa kanya ako lumalapit, at walang kaimik-imik
binubuksan ko ang pinto ng piitan,
at isang walang-katapusang ugong ang maririnig,
dagundong ng kulog na nag-uugnay
sa bigat ng planeta at bula ng alon,
mag-aalsa ang namamaos na mga ilog ng dagat,
manginginig ang bituin sa kanyang mga talulot
at ang karagatan ay titibok, papanaw, magpapatuloy.

Kaya, bilang pag-alinsunod sa aking tadhana,
dapat kong pakinggang lagi at pakaingatan
ang panaghoy ng dagat sa aking budhi,
dapat kong damhin ang hampas ng matigas na tubig
at ipunin iyon sa isang tasang walang-hanggan,
nang sa gayon, saanman naroroon ang nakabilanggo,
saanman siya dumaranas ng parusa ng taglagas,
makasisipot akong kasama ang gumagalang alon,
makapapasok ako sa mga bintana,
at ang sinumang makarinig sa akin ay titingala
at magtatanong: Paano ko mararating ang dagat?
At walang kibo kong iaabot sa kanila
ang alingasngas ng mumunting alon,
ang pagsambulat ng bula at buhangin,
ang anasan ng asin na kusang humihiwalay,
ang abuhing hiyaw ng ibon sa dalampasigan.

At sa pamamagitan ko, ang kalayaan at ang dagat
ay tutugon sa pusong nasa karimlan.

grabbed from this [ webpage ]

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.

Escribir por ejemplo: "La noche está estrellada, y tiritan,
azules, los astros, a lo lejos".

El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta.

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Yo la quise, y a veces ella también me quiso.

En las noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos.
La besé tantas veces bajo el cielo infinito.

Ella me quiso, a veces yo también la quería
Como no haber amado sus grandes ojos fijos.

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Pensar que no la tengo. Sentir que la he perdido.

Oír la noche inmensa, más inmensa sin ella
Y el verso cae al alma como al pasto el rocío.

Qué importa que mi amor no pudiera guardarla.
La noche está estrellada y ella no está conmigo.

Eso es todo. A lo lejos alguien canta. A lo lejos.
Mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.

Como para acercarla mi mirada la busca,
Mi corazón la busca, y ella no está conmigo.

La misma noche que hace blanquear los mismos árboles.
Nosotros, los de entonces, ya no somos los mismos.

Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero cuánto la quise.
Mi voz buscaba el viento para tocar su oído.

De otro. Será de otro. Como antes de mis besos.
Su voz, su cuerpo claro. Sus ojos infinitos.

Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero tal vez la quiero.
Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido.

Porque en noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos,
Mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.

Aunque éste sea el último dolor que ella me causa,
y éstos sean los últimos verso que yo le escribo.

translation by Mark Eisner

I can write the saddest verses tonight.

Write, for example, "The night is shattered with stars,
twinkling blue, in the distance."

The night wind spins in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest verses tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times beneath the infinite sky.

She loved me, at times I loved her too.
How not to have loved her great still eyes.

I can write the saddest verses tonight.
To think that I don't have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the verse falls onto my soul like dew onto grass.

What difference does it make if my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered, full of stars, and she is not with me.

That's all. In the distance, someone sings. In the distance.
My soul is not at peace with having lost her.

As if to bring her closer, my gaze searches for her.
My heart searches for her, and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, of then, now are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, it's true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched for the wind which would touch her ear.

Another's. She will be another's. As before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, it's true, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, and forgetting is so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is not at peace with having lost her.

Though this be the last pain she makes me suffer
and these the last verses I write for her.
  Geeks rule! spiderman2 is kewl. ...
Geeks rule! spiderman2 is kewl. :)

  they've killed a dog and other poems
finally! i've broken from my gothika spell and am able to post something different!

Pretensions on a River
by Jose Wendell P. Capili
for Mahar

Punting on this river, we outswear
the cavalry of monks burning incense
before an image so alien for both of us
to make offerings with reverence.
We renounce the color of our skin,
not confessing how three men
attacked you from behind,
stepped on you, walked over your head,
paid no attention to a turning
of medieval earth where we versified
how universal blood and feelings are.
Punting on this river, we plucked
a tune of chamber music
not realizing that, as we pass through
Clare and Trinity, we have become
the loneliest of figures on straw
mats we procured from merchants
who believe that pretension is fluvial.
We punt on rivers before gloom
touches the rim of a dead-end pool.

[ more poems by jose wendell capili ]
[ cambridge university filipino society ]
[ webpage ]
[ they've killed a dog ]
oh my god. what a freaky movie.

this movie is sooooooooooooooo freaky! arg!

i am rendered speechless.

coz who really can say what one's thinking? or who's the insane one? like, what yardstick? stuff like that.

dang. psychiatry. not just psychology. she became a doctor first before specializing in the mind. medicine's already something.

and then she goes on to learn that she's got other gifts - like the ability to be conscious of the paranormal.

well, if you get picked on ghosts like that, who won't be?

she prolly pleaded insanity. the characters are all sharp as hell, except maybe the sheriff. mwahahaha! his loyalty is unparalleled, to say the least. but everyone else, like the psychiatrists, the nurses, the lawyer - shoot. they finish each other's sentences. they get stumped by the same puzzles. they don't always know what's going on, but they don't stop there - they go on and see if they can find out.

the things people can hide from each other, even after you marry and live with someone. even after you try to extract it from them. even after you take strides so they tell you of their own accord.

Gothic[1,adjective] Gothic[2,noun] Gothic arch Gothic Revival neo-Gothics teamboat Gothic

Main Entry: 1Goth·ic
Pronunciation: 'gä-thik
Function: adjective
1 a : of, relating to, or resembling the Goths , their civilization, or their language b : TEUTONIC, GERMANIC c : MEDIEVAL d : UNCOUTH, BARBAROUS
2 a : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a style of architecture developed in northern France and spreading through western Europe from the middle of the 12th century to the early 16th century that is characterized by the converging of weights and strains at isolated points upon slender vertical piers and counterbalancing buttresses and by pointed arches and vaulting b : of or relating to an architectural style reflecting the influence of the medieval Gothic
3 often not capitalized : of or relating to a style of fiction characterized by the use of desolate or remote settings and macabre, mysterious, or violent incidents
[ webster ]

filmmakers audaciously took the literary and architectural term "gothic" and packaged it so it becomes the descriptive, collective "gothika" - a story that pulls in all the elements of gothic fiction - remote, macabre, mysterious, violent.

i'm spooked! :-( i always like ghost stories, even tho some films - like this one - easily spook me to bits. but seldom do i really encounter movies that make me think like this, ahahaha... so i don't really want to indulge in much else. but i have to. coz it is 3:13 a.m. on a tuesday night, and i hafta rest and get up for work tomorrow! :-( boooooo. ...

[ movie website ]
  Check out this Timbuk2 bag!

yhortil5@yahoo.com just sent you this custom Timbuk2 messenger bag. Click on the following link to view the bag at Timbuk2.com.


Additional Message from yhortil5@yahoo.com:
mwahaha... my current toy obssession: timbuk2 bags - but in the colors of the pinoy flag. :swoon!: they don't have white for any of the accessories :shrugs:

About Timbuk2

City-born and street-tough, Timbuk2 has been a San Francisco original since 1989. Stitch-by-stitch, bag-by-bag, we've built a solid reputation and a loyal following among real-life, hard-working bicycle messengers and cycling enthusiasts.

Over the years, our messenger bag emerged from its working-class roots, to be adopted by a growing number of urbanites, students, and young professionals as a stylish alternative to the ubiquitous two-strap daypack and the formal black briefcase.

Visit our website at www.timbuk2.com to learn more about our messenger bags, laptop bags, yoga bags, and accessories.

Important Note:

The link is to a Flash Movie and requires version 6.0 of the Flash plug-in to view. Don't have Flash? You can download the latest plug-in from: http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer
  another homey thought - unfinished
ahahaha... i can't think. it is a sign that i need sleep!

home is.
it is present tense,
here, now.

home is.
it is present tense; here, now,
it is always, yes; yet remarkably
not yet - not yet, for me,
here, no, not really yet.
  just a thought about... home
afterthought to "houses."

home is when you rifle through your clothes
carelessly dumped on a futon
your mind intent on the action
rather the pending purpose.

home is when you're not afraid
to take your time
because you know
no one's rushing you
no one's expecting of you
you've none to answer for
but you, and only you.

home is when you realize
there's no one after you -
not after any of your possessions
or connections.

you are twinged by distances unimaginable
by disasters figmental
by disquiet unbelievable
but home is when you never mind that -
you are dressing for you.
  big fish
i am definitely going to find time to read the book.

i had just finished watching the movie. we started it at past 2 a.m., so i didn't realize i'd fall asleep halfway through the film.

:spoilers ahead!:

of all the possible legends that could be mined from this version, the one about storytelling's haunted me most. after the big fish's death, friends gathered and told stories about how they remember him. director tim burton could have chosen a cacauphony of voices competing for dominance, but instead he had music absolve all differences and attentive, peaceful countenances tell the epilogues, tributes, post scripts, afterthoughts.

there's an old saying that it's the stories we tell, the stories around us, the stories of us, passed along from person to person, lived through us all, that makes us immortal.

people spend their whole lives looking for something to live for. the big fish lived to tell stories. he didn't care if people didn't like them, so long as he told them the way he knew how. the movie doesn't say whether, at the end of his life, if he had any more new stories to tell - just that he had one last one.

one last one he told with his son, who put his own spin on the tale. the big fish had to interject about how his friend the giant pushed cars away so his red charger could cut through town and arrive at the river faster. it was, after all, still his story.

later when the big fish swam away, a little fish at his grandfather's swimming pool started spinning stories of his own.
  happy shallow highlight of the ...
happy shallow highlight of the hour: suprising my sis as she croaks blondie's 'the tide is high' :)

magsimula tayo sa madali:

matagal na pala akong
bahagi ng tahanan ninyo.
inuunahan ako ng galak na
hinaluan ng hiya na
namimilipit sa tiyan kong
gulong-gulo't lundag ng lundag.

unahin natin ang madali:

sandaling tuwa lang pala iyon,
tila buhos ng ulang inipon
ng himpapawid hanggang maabot
ang pinakatamang tiempo,
ang pinakahustong oras.

may nagreklamong papano daw tayo
magkakasundo't papano daw tayo
mabubuhay nang walang sapat na
aralin, walang sapat na trabaho?

maraming nag-aalalang aalagaan mo
ba daw tayo't ang ating minimithiing
mga plano, planong katas ng imahinasyon
sa lupaing nakalaan sa panaginip?

ah, pero sandali -

sabi mo masanay na ako sa 'yong
mga sorpresa, sa 'yong madiing
panramdam para sa aking pakikisama,
dahil ako na'y bahagi, bahagi ng 'yong
tahanan -

para kang may panaginip na
papaano kaya tayong mabuhay
bilang pinakahuling paris ng tao
sa buong daigdig -

ngunit kumagat ang katotohanan -
matagal ka na palang nakapili.
para akong naging balanse, ebidensya
ng iyong napiling ligaya.

noong kinuwento mong may madiing
tinik na pumapako sa yong dibdib,
tumigil ako. sa iyo nang lahat
ng aking mga muni-muni. wala akong oras
para sa mga larong sinasabi mong madali.
  pagtingala - rebecca añonuevo
Halos walang hangganan ang kalawakan sa bahaging ito ng daigdig.
Sa unang yapak ko’y pinayungan agad ako ng liwanag at lamig;
ng mga imortal na bulaklak na ang kulay ay halimuyak at pintig;
mga punong nakataas ang mga kamay, tila sinasalo ang lahat ng
biyayang ihahasik ng bawat pagsulpot ng araw.
Ito ang malaon ko nang panaginip.
Kahit saan ako gumising, kamangha-mangha ang tumatagos sa paningin:
Naririto ang mga maralitang palasyo sa mga kuwento
ng maralitang kamusmusan; ang mga museong lalagyan
ng mga dambuhalang rebultong marmol at mga ukit
mula Ehipto at Gresya, at mga lupaing naging kolonya ng Britanya;
mga dakilang likha ng mga maestro sa pagpipinta; mga unibersidad
na nakaluklok sa iba’t ibang siglo ng bato; mga gusali’t katedral
na naghihila ng tanaw patungo sa kalangitan.
Kamangha-mangha ang pag-aalis ng balabal
ng aking tinutunghayan, dahil tila lalo pang kumakapal ang karangyaan.
Mapapagal ako sa paglalakad ay hindi mauubos ang pagbulaga ng daratnan.
Hindi ako masasanay sa salansan ng nakabuyangyang
na kariktan at mga espasyong masusukuban.
Mabuti’t nalapitan ko ang daigdig na ito.
Labis ang aking pasasalamat sa labis na kapangyarihan ng sandali.
Ito ang sandali ng lalong pagtiyak sa sarili:
Ang pagnamnam sa luwalhati ng pagpanaw.
Ang pag-uwi muli sa lupa’y kinasasabikan --
Hindi ito ang aking tahanan.

6 Abril 1998
[ webpage ]
home is like a pandora's box of emotions - all treasures, all beautiful, all expensive beyond my means right now. to have gone abroad in my case is a luxury i really can't afford right now. it is sophistication like a shimmering quartz cavern.

but what price can you lay on "home"? how much does it cost to buy a house these days? does it mean buying not just the equipment inside the structure, but also the tiny parcel of land around it, the gated safety for peace of mind, the location and address for the quality of neighbors? does it ring investment to you, that if you don't own one you lack ties to your adopted land?

right now we look to the heavens for fireworks and snow, sleet and rain to cool our air. but we're the only ones that do. the others duck and carry on with work they're assigned to. there's no time to peer west and dream, no time to plant and cultivate deep and discover, "i've yet to pass by us, too."

what i mean by home remains under lock and key, secret to everyone including me. maybe when i find the steady whirring of overhead fans and the ready clip and stop of air conditioners, when breaking the neighbor's glass case or the roar of jeepneys careening steadily becomes less piercing a memory than humid biking days and my name said differently... when brooklyn bridges and city halls cease to loom giantly above me, when elevated train tracks cease to dictate time and circumstance and schedule on me, that when sunrise and sunset mix and intertwine like lace or heavy rope fold around me so that i depend more on earth and pray for rain to nourish me... i suppose then, and only then, will i ever realize home.

welcome, and thank you for boarding the ulanmaya transit express. tickets, please. mind the gap as you depart. have a pleasant experience.

05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 /

gromit is curious

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