I stood by the bridge, overlooking España Boulevard and UST. I thumbed through the spaces that surround me, overtaken by the swooping sensation that I was so close to the world, yet so distant and so disconnected from it all. Lights blinked from every corner of the place like kaleidoscope colors splashing life to the dead canvas of my troubled mind.
Certain places in the city never catch my attention and make an impact—like the crowded stretch of a boulevard or the blinking signal of traffic lights. I consider them ordinary, the way most people do, and recognize them as merely a part of the overall rhythm of the life force that drives and moves the city.
One . . . two. . . three
The jeepney swerved to the left and to the right before it made a full stop at a gasoline station where its tank was filled with fuel: hot, brazen, and gold. I imagined the smooth texture of the combustible fluid sliding effortlessly down my throat, setting my body in flames. I remembered the film I saw once about a Buddhist monk who burned himself to death in 1963: how fire licked his skin, his robe, his being, and how he felt nothing. I wanted so badly to assume that he died feeling nothing.
There should be a word for the gap in our souls, for this hollow space in our chest where our hearts used to be.
I reach out for myself, dragging my hand all the way down my trembling lips, my bruised neck, my aching collarbones, and notice the cracks stretching infinitely into that lonely cave they call heartbreak. I let my hand wander further and find my skin a vast ocean of memories. My eyes water, my tears forming pool and tracing an island of scars.
Certain conversations never leave my head. They linger in me like traces of smoke after a bonfire is doused with water. They hang onto me like memorial lanterns, constantly parading themselves in front of my weary eyes, demanding to be felt and comprehended until I finally give up the resistance and give in to remembering.
Here is a memory.
I look back to one sunny day in March: by the hall way of the sixth floor of the university, the entire view beneath us glimmered in the light of the noontime sun and the sticky breeze blew me away as in a daydream. Someone was speaking to me but her words came off as indistinct murmur as I went about staring mindlessly at the cumulus clouds over us. She nudged me twice, thrice before I managed to pull myself back to Earth once again. Her voice was intrusive when she burst out her question.
My heart still
breaks a little
at the sound of
I wonder where
you are, or how
you have been
or how many nights like
these passed by without
you noticing or
once, on an August night
we were together
and you were mine.
This blog post is an appreciation post for the music video of Cosmic Love (2009) by Florence + The Machine. The English indie rock band has been around the scene for quite some time now. I stumbled upon them only recently and fell fast in love with their songs. Continue reading “Cosmic Love by Florence + The Machine”
Some days just feel so unspeakably empty despite the presence of events and people. some days just run like the flow of time and take away everything in its wake. But some days just run dry and leave no words, no language—nothing but the sound of a moving life with all its unmoving senselessness.
I wish I know what I am saying, dear blog. But you see, I think of all these things I want to write about, but as soon as my mind sets itself into motion, the thought of all those feelings, all those senseless attempt to craft my own meaning, simply melts into the distance. Maybe what I am trying to say is that sometimes you just have to lie to yourself because the cost of honesty is too high a price.
There are instances in our lives when we consider an event as fleeting, forgettable, ordinary, at that particular moment when we are experiencing them. Like a quick glance from a passerby on the street, a word, a phrase spoken without the least bit of intention, the way a stranger’s face carves a memory of some faraway island, the way city lights hum in a frenetic buzz in the midst of the metro traffic.
Perhaps we were wrong
to test our hearts of their limits
thinking they can withstand
the wickedness of this game
And when I tell you love
perhaps it was a mistake
on my part
to wait for an answer
From where I stand you are
only a thousand light-years away
I count the distance like
I would count the years
And I realize if you multiply
ten by itself, then by a hundred
then by a thousand, by a million
What we would have at the end of the equation
is the product of our lost and wasted time
when we once believed, fooled ourselves
that we were right for each other,
or when we thought we knew
how to love when
the truth is we were
If I tried to take
everything in this world
that reminded me of you,
it would be so empty
that fucking God himself
would have to fucking start again.
And his eyes would
roll back in his head
and pretend it never happened.
It is the time of the semester once again for everyone to finally bleed: for words to fall heavy with the weight of farewells, for silence to finally speak the same. I think about this passing semester and remember not so much the days I stayed alive in crowded hallways and sticky classrooms listening to the hours tick away in slow motion, as the nights I spent awake thinking what will happen when all of these are over. I think about empty offices and the muted silence that accompanies them after everyone has stood up and left. I think about the stillness of the lonely river by the window, the ferry boats that pass every so often like time dragging away, and wonder what kind of lives people lead long after they have abandoned this place. I think about their plans, crafted well in pieces and hemmed seamlessly in place, and realize that I have long forgotten how to dream.
I spoke to my some of my batch mates yesterday afternoon, as if by accident. Their words were stars that sparkled in the dimness of own universe. They spoke of things that every average graduating student have in mind: grad school, law school, application forms, the endless pace of someone who chases after endless dreams. When they asked me about my plans, I spoke sheepishly of my wanting to retire already, to which they laughed almost as a form of contempt. I spoke of going to Europe and learning a language, leaving behind whatever there is that’s forgettable, heavy. I spoke of scratching the ground and starting all over again. My words were blunt, silly, marked by a childishness of someone who never take things seriously, but inside me was the turbulence of Tahrir Square. I thought about Berlin and a one-way ticket to everything that I have n[ever] dreamed, and realized that this too was practice. I thought about the future, the helpless attempts to decipher what is to come, the foolishness of it all.
Are you following me?
I have spun myself into a circle, into places where she’d been, and sought for a sign. I have left a mark on the road in case I forgot the way back, but my mind has lost traces of her footsteps the moment she mentioned something about substance. And right then I thought about abuse and the dim lights of a yellow bulb singing its way into her soul, a round of prescriptions on the bathroom floor taken twice, thrice, until there was numbness and the sorry look from a stranger’s face saying “What have you done to yourself?”
I thought about her eyes, dull in the height of frenzy, and watched the rainbow haze float from out of her misshapen mouth. I thought about her silence but all I remembered was her scream, and the cracking of an old vinyl as it swallowed the hollow spaces between her smoke-stained teeth.
I thought about the crooked line that separates both substance and abuse, and wondered how one person could be both. I thought about the setting sun, and the stillness of her sunken face when Death finally came to empty her of her
miserable miserable life. They said overdose. They said she had too much. But she was so empty, so hungry, when she left us all.
Are you following me?
There are only two points in a straight line. Point A is where we’re at. Point B is where we’re going. Kara never cared about the line, only that she wanted to carry her cross to eternity. She jumped her way out of it—into the vacuousness of everything real and imaginary. She spun herself in circles, in spirals, for she
never believed in an end. She danced. She dances still, to the slow steady music of an ethereal eternal return.
Exactly five days ago you had me bursting with hate again. I knew this the moment you spoke to me. I looked at you and saw that you looked at me too, a split-second collision of madness and fury and rage all summed up in an indelible injury, and how right then and there I wanted to gouge your eyes out and make you blind for the rest of your life. Because you once were, and because for once I wanted to know what revenge tastes like under this bloodthirsty tongue of mine.
When I looked at you that day I had every hope of strangling you in the neck, or cracking your skull open, or setting a bullet where your cold unfeeling heart is supposed to be. But it was not fair that I even put myself again into such a silly game. When did I ever win to you? Even in the darkest corners of my memory all I remember is that you were stronger, you always had the upperhand.
But not anymore.
When I looked at you that day I wished that I was looking at an illusion, something that would vanish instantly if I close my eyes, something that would leave no memory at all if I wake up the next morning and find myself on the floor. Still you were there in front of me, and even if I blink a thousand times, your memory lingers like a scum sucking leech in every shattered inch of my consciousness.
But today I close my eyes. What I see is my finger on the trigger with the gun aimed at your head, or at your heart. Depending on which will cause more pain. What I see is blood trickling down from your heart to the ground to erase every fucking memory of the time I spent with you. What I see is your face and the color of crimson in your eyes when you say that you’re sorry. What I see is my own unforgiveness. What I know is I will never forgive you.
When I look at you what I see are our memories together, but only the blurry outlines of them. I could trace the lonely path where we once existed and tell myself that I loved you once, twice, thrice, until I lose count of them all. But that would be a lie. To say that I still want you would be wrong. What I want is an undoing of things. What I want is to look at you, dead or alive, and feel nothing. What I want is for you to be nameless, faceless, in a world where every inch of you is erased, vaporized.
What I want is to bury you.
Despite the rain, this is the driest semester I have so far. Parched from the absence of oceans and waterfalls and enthusiasm that once welled up within me. Drained of devotion to its very last drop.
Blame it on my two-day schedule. A schedule that actually allows more time for self-pitying than for sitting in class. But most people at school would look at me surprisingly, express their thoughts about how seldom they see me, and say with all their hard-earned desperation, “Buti ka pa ito lang klase mo”.
I could engage them in this particular subject matter if I wish to, draw a perfectly shaped circle of my inconsistencies and talk them into believing how it’s ten times worse to be an irregular. But in the end I would simply attend to their thoughts by subscribing to the weather, asking them about trivial matters, cracking the most mundane jokes in the planet like I would crack an egg. What I realized over time was the futility of explaining things to people, the hollowness of a desire to be understood and the attempts to understand what most regular students never will.
There is a vast desert island in the depths of my soul where even the oasis is ennui. As the rain makes its dreamy downpour I, however, thrive impatiently in my own tropicality, basked under the heat of my withdrawal from people I thought were sensible and sincere to hear the truth of the matter. I’m sunburned to the third degree by their shallowness masked under the pretense of their half-baked knowledge about Heidegger. I’m toasted by the way they made my life a private joke, and how at random times they would approach me in the hallway and ask me how I’m doing, and the stupid little doll that I am would answer however untruthfully “I’m okay”. If they were real friends they would’ve accepted my decisions and sticked to their promises for better or for worse. But little did I know that I was married to a barkada whose hard-rock ego blinds their sensible judgment of people and replaces it instead with prejudice of maximum proportions. Before I even knew it I was the barkada’s newest joke, an excommunicado.
But most of all I am tired. Dead-tired and almost at the brink of surrendering to this exhausting and utterly pointless life in the academe. There are days when it’s too tempting to pack these bags and leave. Travel South where I came from, or North where it’s too far from everything I’ve ever known. I learned from Mom that if you’re not happy in a certain place all you need to do is move someplace else. If I tell her I want to quit college she would probably only laugh at my indecision. She would simply say “Just do it”.
But do what? Quit school and find a job in the BPO industry that pays enough to buy a Starbucks venti when the 8-5 shift turns horrendously unbearable? Or enroll in an art school and paint your boring unproductive life in technicolor? Or join a creative writing workshop and convince yourself of your own inadequacy? Or get fucked up somewhere sometime by people who has no sense of direction in life like you? Or die an uneventful death so Mommy won’t have to worry about sending cash to her crazy little damaged daughter?
There’s so many possibilities.
The Law of Cause and Effect states that everything happens for a reason. All actions have consequences and produce specific results, as do all inactions. The choices we make are causes, whether they are conscious or unconscious, and will produce corresponding outcomes or effects. If I am moved from where I stand, there has to be a given cause. And when I close my eyes and think about the reason I see their faces, red with alcohol, burned by the silence of the secrets I kept for a long long time, consumed by the hunger of a human being who knows not to care or to understand. If I were to retrace this profound longing to get away from the university I would remember the sun, and how it burned brightly one day in July, and flickered softly until there was nothing left but the afterglow.
I haven’t moved on, if that’s what they want to hear. I haven’t forgotten one single detail of all that was said and done. But that doesn’t mean I still want it back. In fact I hate it. I loathe it. I despise it. Somewhere deep in outer space there’s an other I who has learned to forget. She isn’t afraid of hurting people. She has no time to play it safe. In some alternate parallel universe she is leaving them.