Sinta Na Hindi Akin. (Tagalog Poem)

Ang isip ay lumilipad nang madalas,

Nananaginip kahit imposible.

Kahit alam na nating parehas

Nandito lang tayo sa kung saan komportable.

 

Sa lalong pagtanggi sa sarili

Na hindi totoo ang nararamdaman,

Sa ngiti ko’y nananatili

Ang bakas ng kasiyahan.

 

Magkalayo man sa ngayon,

Hindi man alam ang ruta papunta diyan,

Malay mo’y sumang-ayon

Ang tadhanang nakalaan.

 

Sumasagi rin kaya sa isip mo

Ang mga ganitong bagay?

Tinatanong mo ba ang iyong puso,

“Siya na ba pang-habambuhay?”

 

Siguro nga, ganito ang trato mo sa lahat.

O di kaya’y kaibigan lang talaga ako.

Kahit ano man sa dalawa ang angat,

Nagpapasalamat na pinagtagpo.

 

Magulo man at walang kasiguraduhan,

Pero handa akong itaya ang puso ko muli.

Hindi mo man alam sa kasalukuyan

Na gusto kong sayo’y umuwi.

 

Sinta na hindi akin, manatili ka

Rito kung saan tayo lang ang nakakaalam.

Sa lugar na walang humuhusga,

Sa lugar na sana’y walang magiging paalam.

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What Does It Mean To Fall In Love?

It came rushing in like a breezy wind finding its way towards the comfort of your room’s open window. The feeling of being home–in fact, more than that–captures your soul and fills you with bliss that you felt like was stolen, deprived of you for so long. It doesn’t matter whether you expected it to come, or how long you’ve waited, or that it wasn’t part of your plan. You attracted energy that appealed to that one person in particular.

 

Like they always say, it’s crazy that in retrospect, this person wasn’t as significant to you as he is now. It’s surreal that somewhere along the way, you clicked and interacted with each other like it was the natural thing to do. How the power of conversing gives you a cheap (well, not really) thrill of finding out more and more little details about him that you wouldn’t get to discover unless you actually talk with compassion and interest.

 

And you start to question yourself: where had he been all this time? He had always been there, hiding in plain sight, living, existing, breathing; the same way you were. It was privilege, a fact you weren’t aware of the first time. But when you finally acknowledged this truth, it was the moment you know you’ll both treasure and regret (if things turn up ugly). And you know you don’t have to look any further for questions you will never have answers to.

 

But there’s a catch to it somehow…it’s really too good to be true. Here’s the thing: you don’t know if he feels the same way. You haven’t mustered the courage (or never will, who knows?) to ask him directly because it isn’t your business to pry on his feelings. Your feelings are your feelings alone, and this applies to him as well. You hold on to this tiny slivering dash of hope that maybe, just maybe, he looks at you the way you look at him: with admiration, respect, and most of all, love.

 

Love. Huh. It’s a feeling that’s become foreign to you, even though it has been only months since the person you loved for years broke your trust and decided to close his eyes and never open them once again as long as you’re in the picture. The person who made you travel an extensive road with no exit signs or directions to follow. Yet you’re here, getting back up, putting the past behind you, and moving on for yourself.

 

Because of this, it provides you with a great amount of terror. What if this boy you’re talking to isn’t the man you think he is? This has been the scar of the love that left you–a bag of trust issues, constant need of reassurance and consistency, and a slight craving of attention. And you may not admit it yourself, but you are. You are scared. You’re scared to love again and to open your mind and heart to another person that you know is temporary; but you’re also fearless and careless because no matter how much you convince yourself that you don’t want to fall in love, you always do in the end and that excites you. It moves you, even. And that’s what it means to fall in love: to have your heart chewed up and spit out, until you cross paths with this one lovely human being in your lifetime and you know: you’re on your feet again, walking, running, frolicking towards love, towards the person closest next to home; and everything that’s disheartening, and even the walls you absentmindedly surrounded yourself with, will be gone the moment you hear your heart beat.

The Buried Past As I Work. (A Short Fiction Story)

Like the way renowned pianists are accustomed with the parts of the piano, I am here tracing the shape and physique of your body. Every measure has to be accurate–no more, no less–for the outcome to be perfect. I carefully and earnestly study your shoulders, your boobs, your hips, your belly. There’s no denying it: this is what I love.

Onto the next phase, where everything should follow your design. Your desires. Will this truly satisfy you? Do you want to feel reborn? Do you want to be significant enough? Will I be able to signify your part successfully? In this case, we have to work together to both meet our ends, our pleasures.

We make small talk here and there to make up for the uneasy silence that embraces us around this room. “Is it too tight?” I ask you politely when you suddenly look like you’re out of breath. The top half of your boobs and cleavage are showing and have droplets of sweat on them due to the summer heat, but I don’t mind that. You smile timidly and tell me, “I’m alright.” It doesn’t reassure me quite enough, so I adjust just in case you feel a little out of place.

“There’s no reason to be anxious,” I advise to you lightly after you share with me your thoughts: how ecstatic you are that it happened, how scared and nervous you are of what will happen next, how you want to have kids after. “Really?” you retort and then hold my hand gracefully, an expression of your gratitude of my being there. I mean, of course? How can I not be?

We are done for the day and we both start packing up and fixing our respective paraphernalia. I felt a wave of accomplishment because I see the way your eyes shimmer like the lights of this space we are in together, the ease that appears in your face, portraying exactly this: you are truly, madly happy. 

“We’ll see each other again, right?” she cheekily says and leaves.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

As I hear the various narratives and stories of the contented, happy couples–or in the sense of business–the happy customers, I am always left with two things: one’s a strange, electric pang that goes through my heart and chest, and the other a tremendous sense of fulfillment. Sometimes, those two duel on which should I feel more; the feeling of emptiness or of satisfaction. When my brain chooses the former, I remember my ex-husband and the lingering sensation of him abusing me while were still married. That sensation haunts me from time to time. In retrospect, I expected too much about having the flawless, ones-you-see-on-TV marriage.

Nowadays, the latter feeling overwhelms me. And when it does, I cling onto it like it’s my remaining lifeline. Remember when I said that there’s no denying that I love this? Indeed. I love my job as a modiste. Years after I abandoned the married life due to his abusive behaviors, I took this life that I currently have now.

I am the modiste that soon-to-be husband and wife run off to for their wedding needs. Getting them as customers still makes me giddy, but nonetheless I’m grateful to hear their exciting individual stories about their engagements. I never tell my customers anything about life outside my profession and I tend to keep it that way. No negativity shall reign on them after getting their hearts’ delight. Whether their marriages will end in chaos just like mine did or be their source of bliss, contentment, and feeling of home, is matter-of-factly, out of my control.

As I leave for one of my customers’ wedding–yes, we will see each other again–I ponder if some people think I’m secretly envious of them auspiciously finding loving husbands because I failed to do so in the past; but no. It is what it is. I am going to remind myself every now and then that I was a reason, a bridge, a path that made their wedding elegant and beautiful; to their eyes or to the eyes of the ones they both love.

“The Buried Past As I Work”

Birthdays and my unsolicited perception of it.

My viewpoint regarding the celebration that you’re getting a year older hasn’t always been like this. For the most part of my childhood years, birthdays are considered a momentous occasion for me. Your family excitedly plans where your venue is, how it will be designed, who are the invited guests, what gifts should they get you, and many more. As time went on, and due to a series of unfortunate events, parties are disregarded and set aside; or even worse, they won’t acknowledge it’s your birthday at all.

 

It’s not that I’m experiencing the latter part of my statement. I still do get greetings from those people close enough to my social space. And I’m grateful enough that I still receive gifts and paraphernalia. So, what do I see during my birthday? It’s the feeling of being lonely even after all the blowing of candles, the greetings, the hugs and kisses, the gifts. Rather than rejoicing and gaining the feeling of significance and joy, a shallow emptiness you can’t accurately describe embraces you. And this bothers you, as if there’s an itch you couldn’t scratch. And you start to contemplate whether you just feel too entitled or maybe, honestly, people whom you love and consider your friends don’t actually care enough for you. Not just friends, but even your own family.

 

You doubt your own worth on your very own birthday. On the day where you should be looking forward to getting older, but instead, this might be the reason you will end getting older. Perhaps, maybe I make birthdays too much of importance? That birthdays are just like any other day, except, it’s just the day you were born? Having a brain with conflicting ideas is hard enough alone. It’s quite a paradox–I think that birthdays are a milestone. But on the other hand, I also think it’s just an ordinary day that comes with a reminder.

 

So I promised myself that I won’t make such a fuss over a celebration such as my birthday. There’s no reason to overthink such event. That it shouldn’t serve as basis for my worth, importance, and happiness. Life in itself is a precious gift. I don’t hold what people choose to say or do on my special day; it’s their business, not mine. As long as I hold myself together, along with the right company and comrades, my birthday will remain a day with a reminder.

 

 

Leave me alone.

You have no say in what I choose to say and do towards you. You have deeply hurt me, degraded my being, shattered my heart, used me like an object, and disappeared like thin air.

 

You have no say in what I choose to feel. This is the consequence of what you did. You let this happen and you know well this is your fault. You can’t blame me for what I feel after your shitty, selfish act.

 

You have no say in my putting a grudge against you. I am angry, I am disappointed, I am upset, I am frustrated. You have left me in awe and wonder and confusion.

 

My boy, you have no say in anything at all ever. You obliterated your own place in my life and that is something you cannot undo. Go if you must; but always know that you have no say in what I choose to say, do, feel, and my putting a grudge against you. You can merely watch from afar with your own judgment and regret. By your leaving, you also take your baggage with you–memories, paraphernalia, intentions.

Next-in-line.

Maybe behind this wall of torment and fear,

Lies a solemn escape with tremendous ease.

A place of tranquility and contentment,

So close to what you call a utopia.

 

You must conquer mountains and monsters,

To reach the so-called perfect destination.

Experience loss, sacrifice, thirst, and hunger.

Even lose your mind, so to speak.

 

Now, is it truly worth taking?

To tackle the road of uncertainty?

To fight against an invincible army?

To  accept the quest for the future?

 

Thus, the vehement forces come in rallies,

Destined to take one step further.

On the other side are the ones with power,

Cross-legged, sitting inside their privileged offices.

 

They are growing bigger as they eat off from

The efforts of their very own people;

Like a lion munching some lone mammal

In a faraway deserted desert.

 

But this doesn’t cripple the voice

Of the generation with an oncoming success–

That is if they relentlessly strive and promise

To uphold their fight with conviction.

 

As long as the hourglass hasn’t been inverted yet,

Notwithstanding that time runs in a course,

There is still hope that we can reclaim

The future we once dreamed ourselves in.

 

 

BALA. (Tagalog Poem)

“Iho, iho!” Ang sigaw nila sa akin.

Habang ako’y naglalakad mag-isa sa dilim.

Tila ‘di narinig at ‘di napansin,

Kaya’t nagpatuloy sa aking lakbayin.

 

Sa daang ito ako’y nag-iisa,

Kasama ang kaluskos ng aking mga paa.

Ito ay oras ng pagtulog ng mga tao,

At ako’y pauwi pa lamang mula sa aking trabaho.

 

Bitbit ang pagod at antok,

Puso ko’y mabilis na tumitibok.

Napalitan ang pagod ng takot,

Ang baril saki’y itinutok.

 

“Iho, iho!” Muli nilang isinisigaw,

Habang sa aking bangkay sila’y nakatanaw.

Sapat na pala ang isang bala,

Upang ako’y ‘di na makita muli ng aking ina.

 

Nang ako’y kanyang barilin,

‘Di lamang ako ang kanyang pinatay.

Damay na rito ang aking mga pangarap,

Na kasama ko habangbuhay sa alapaap.

A Phantom Hovers.

I still see you in everything I do. Walking in the park, drinking coffee, singing karaoke, swimming in the pool, watching movies at the cinema.

 

“What can we be doing at this very moment?” I ask myself. Will you kiss me? Hold my hand? Hug me out? Make fun of me? Tell me one of your stories? There’s a lot to do. But a lot isn’t enough because you decided to leave.

 

There’s no one to kiss. There’re no hands to hold. There’s no one to hug. There’s no one to make fun of. There’s no one to tell stories to. There’s nothing I can do, except to pretend that your mere shadow is with me.

 

You are not sorry for what you did. And that’s okay. I’m not sorry for writing this either. I am not sorry for holding on while you chose to let go. But as I’m writing this, maybe you let go a long time ago. Maybe you left several times and chose to go back because I love you and it’s just that easy.

 

Indeed, I am pondering over what we could be doing at this moment instead of me writing all of this alone. Your ghost haunts me everyday until I have to close my eyes and dream somewhere else.

 

You are not mine anymore. I cannot kiss you. I cannot hold your hands. I cannot hug you. I cannot make fun of you. I cannot tell you stories. There’s a lot to do, and that is to wake up from my fictitious realm and into the reality that you’re never coming back.

 

I should never again see you in everything I do.

Muling Magkikita. (Tagalog Poem)

Sa bawat araw at gabing nagdaan,

Simula sa parteng ako’y iyong iniwanan.

Laging sumasagi sa aking isip,

Naalala mo man ba ako sa iyong pag-idlip?

 

Ni isang paalam ay wala akong natanggap.

Basta’t naglaho patungo sa alapaap.

Kumusta? Wala bang balita?

Naiintindihan mo ba ang aking salita?

 

Nagdasal ng nagdasal sa Diyos na di ko pinaniniwalaan,

Upang ibalik ka sa mundo ng kamalayan.

Dito sa aking tabi, kung saan ang tahanan nati’y perpekto.

Sa kung saan nararamdaman ko ang pagtibok ng iyong puso.

 

Nag-antay sa isang walang kasiguraduhang pangako.

Pero sa dulo, tayo ay muling ipinagtagpo.

“Inantay mo talaga ako, ano?” Aking tanong,

Habang papalakad sa iyong puting kabaong.

 

Mata mong binubuksan sa pagkapikit.

Bibig mong habang buhay magkadikit.

Kamay mo na ngayo’y napakalamig.

Kaluluwa mong di na muling iibig.

 

Tumawa sa sarili na tila panandalian lamang.

Nagpapanggap sa sandaling iyon na ako’y matapang.

Malayo pa ang ating lalakbayin pabalik.

Tungo sa lugar na tayo’y nagtalik.

 

Tayong dalawa lamang ang naroroon,

Kaya’t doon ka ibinurol at ibinaon.

Magkikita tayong muli, panghawakan mo iyan.

Basta’t dumating ang araw na wala na rin akong nararamdaman.

 

— H.L. 

The aftershock—courtesy of you.

How do you forget someone whom you built a future with inside your head?

 

Funny how one mistake, one message, one circumstance, ends it all. How one thing leads up to another. One second ago, you were saying your “I love you’s” and the next you thing you know, they were your last. It amazes me and leaves me breathless.

Months passed, and I’m not going to lie, but you still come into my mind every now and then. It stings for a few minutes; going through the painful memory of what we once had, of what we once shared. But I knew better than to cry over something that’s becoming rotten to the both of us. So I fix myself up, dry my tears, and put my attention elsewhere.

I grew more cynical and doubtful over whom I let into my life after you. I loved myself more than I did before. I became more open to the thousand possibilities that the universe may offer. I have gotten reclusive, and I think that’s okay.

Walls are getting higher. Stakes are getting rougher. Heart is getting colder. Brain is getting wiser. What’s not to expect?

Falling in love with you and then losing you may have been the worst thing…but it was also the greatest experience anyone could offer. You have showered me with love, care, and attention for a short span of time. You have made me feel like a priority, even just for a while. But most of all, you’ve given me enough reason to become myself.

Melancholy as it may seem, going through the process of surrendering and opening your heart up to someone to being bitter, heartbroken, and lost, we can’t exclude the fact that we grow by it.

Don’t worry. This is just my aching heart speaking. I’ll learn to go through life without you. Someday, I will find the courage to blossom and flourish. I am my complete self, yes, even without you. You do not define me. And in the meantime, I’ll be busy rebuilding the future that I once built with you in it.

I will move on…in my own time and pace. And I hope you do, too.