Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On Birth, Dreams, and Days

The weekend is our mother and every weekend we dread is the discomfort of birth
severing us from her body. We shriek to be born into a narrowing world of wider loss.

There is daylight and an entire range of noises. It could only be the eldest of pain
way before the uninterested spirit stopped caring, and the heart had turned inconsolable.

I learned that as a child, my dream was everything to me. Adults must never forget
dreams. They must never raise a child without a dream, without this form of longing.

I’ve longed so much to touch flowers underneath the sea, taste the whitest snow,
and jump the highest water fall I can climb. I’ve had more dreams since, I believe

because I never stopped. I live inside my head with all the hours piling as I sit on a desk
moving about clumsily as if to reach within and embrace the mechanisms of my body.

There are narrower days ahead to look forward to, newer noises apart from our voices
and the things we do before finally sleeping. How the day ends is most important to me.

On the Road: to Chocolate Hills, Bohol

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Privilege of Being

Many are making love. Up above, the angels

in the unshaken ether and crystal

of human longing

are braiding one another's hair, which is

strawberry blond

and the texture of cold rivers. They glance

down from time to time at the awkward ecstasy--

it must look to them like featherless birds

splashing in the spring puddle of a bed--

and then one woman, she is about to come,

peels back the man's shut eyelids and says,

look at me, and he does. Or is it the man

tugging the curtain rope in that dark theater?

Anyway, they do, they look at each other;

two beings with evolved eyes, rapacious,

startled, connected at the belly

in an unbelievably sweet

lubricious glue, stare at each other,

and the angels are desolate. They hate it. They

shudder pathetically

like lithographs of Victorian beggars

with perfect features and alabaster

skin hawking rags

in the lewd alleys of the novel.

All of creation is offended by this distress.

It is like the keening sound

the moon makes sometimes,

rising. The lovers especially cannot bear it,

it fills them with unspeakable sadness, so that

they close their eyes again and hold

each other, each

feeling the mortal singularity of the body

they have enchanted out of death

for an hour or so,

and one day, running at sunset, the woman

says to the man,

I woke up feeling so sad this morning

because I realized

that you could not, as much as I love you,

dear heart, cure my loneliness,

wherewith she touched his cheek to reassure him

that she did not mean to hurt him with this truth.

And the man is not hurt exactly,

he understands that life has limits, that people

die young, fail at love,

fail of their ambitions. He runs beside

her, he thinks

of the sadness they have gasped and crooned

their way out of

coming, clutching each other with old, invented

forms of grace and clumsy gratitude, ready

to be alone again, or dissatisfied, or merely

companionable like the couples

on the summer beach

reading magazine articles about intimacy

between the sexes

to themselves, and to each other,

and to the immense, illiterate, consoling angels.

--Robert Hass


Painting found at the Museum of Modern Art, New York
by French artist Marc Chagall

Saturday, October 3, 2009

And to where all this "will" shall go.

A few weeks ago, I got to watch this documentary special on Discovery channel about the geographical changes which occurred on Earth for billions of years. It showed positions of continents, plate tectonics, how high intensity earth quakes moved huge chunks of land, and major volcanic eruptions which shaped the world we live in today. A huge part of the documentary also discussed how climate drastically changed. It was a thorough documentation of what the Earth used to be and how it currently is.

Honestly, I didn’t get to watch the whole program yet it seriously left a great impression on me. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop me from thinking what kind of world awaits us in ten, twenty, or fifty years down the line. The part where so many islands are now submerged hundreds of feet below sea level really frightened me. We are faced with greater problems which we can barely reverse: deforestation, global warming, overpopulation, disease, poverty and the list just gets longer. Every year, the water rises, and it’s happening a lot faster than before. At this rate, it alarmed me to think that the Philippines will slowly but surely be wiped out of the global map.

I never really thought I’d live to even witness how the waters of the Pacific will slowly claim all 7,107 islands of our country— until after last Saturday. I forgot to factor in typhoons in the equation, that rain fall can really put a city under water if it goes out of hand. But it happened that day. There were no warnings. Little did I know it has begun.

None of us thought it could flood at subdivisions where homes have never been flooded before, but it did. Logically, people won’t prepare for something they don’t think would happen, but it did. Okay, maybe we thought about it but we just didn't give a damn to care enough. And so we're faced with the consequences.

Many succumbed to drown in the strong currents of the flood. So many families lost their homes. What’s more devastating is the aftermath of typhoon Ondoy. Surely, there will be more casualties, many people will fall ill due to lack of sanitation in evacuation centers and some will not survive due to scarcity of food. How will these people rebuild their lives? Surely it must be painful to lose everything at once when you worked hard for it so long.

If I could start again, a million miles away
I would keep myself, I would find a way.

-- Trent Reznor, "Hurt"

Now is the time, more than ever, to help our fellow Filipinos. It's not just about self-preservation, we have to work together. Yes, we have to rebuild. The way I see it, this is the perfect time to start over. We have to realize that we need to restore our ties with one another and with the Environment to ensure a livable future for all of us. I've never seen so many people genuinely concerned with their fellow Filipinos. To those who continue to pray, volunteer and send relief to those affected, I'm very grateful. For that I say I'm glad to be Filipino, because this is what we're supposed to be doing.

After this catastrophic event, we should be focused on the real problems. Let this not be just another "tragedy". Just because Pinoy tayo, it doesn't mean dapat masanay tayo nang naghihirap, we must also learn to prevent this. I seriously cannot bare to think that my future descendants will be left to live in a world just like in Cormack McCarthy's The Road. If the world turns into a total wasteland, it's only because people wickedly pursued their own selfish interests. I apologize if you think I'm taking it way too far, but we cannot keep on tolerating simple things like improper waste disposal, water pollution, illegal logging, ozone depletion and more. It all adds up into something destructive, as we now can see.

We all have to do our part too. I'm not perfect, I am one of the guilty ones who have in more ways than one contributed to the Earth's destruction, but I urge everyone do something and help save it now.

I recently got in touch with Haribon Foundation because of my work. We interviewed Ms. Annabelle Plantilla, Executive Director of the said organization who also happens to be an Environmental Planning graduate from Miriam College. It was very encouraging. We did this for an episode (Watch it on QTV, I'll announce the date) which focuses on how we can work together to make a difference in society.

To do my part, I plan on adopting a tree and supporting Haribon's cause for reforestation and sustainable development. Visit www.haribon.org.ph to know more about the Adopt a Seedling campaign. Pledges to adopt 1 tree starts at Php75.00 only. If you can't plant it yourself, at least give what amount you can to have it planted. OR in your own way, like what my friend said, at least plant some trees at your own backyard. We have to start planting trees as soon as we can. Of course, let's not forget to reduce our waste and start disposing of our garbage properly. Also, water is so precious so we better start saving it before we have nothing more left to drink.

As the pain sweeps through, makes no sense for you
Every thrill has gone, wasn't too much fun at all
But I'll be there for you as the world falls down.

--David Bowie, "As the World Falls Down"

We have to turn this around. We can't abandon this mission because the world is dying. To those of you who were affected by what happened, please don't lose hope. We've to pray harder, be stronger, put our trust in the Lord, and in one another to make this happen. Please spread the word!