Oceans

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I dreamt of you yesterday.
We were walking by the sea
barefeet on the golden sands
of a faraway memory.
 
When was that? I can’t recall.
Last year? Five years ago?
But this, I do know …
like the ancient ocean in my dream
constantly reborn it would seem
with each turning of the tide,
this constant pain too, pulses anew each day.
And the sea, in its murky gray depths
calls to my turbulent soul,
howling across time and space
a pain — this pain, so old and timeless
like the ocean in my memory
where once we walked together
hand in hand
blessed by the warmth of the sun,
with the seawater serenading us
and the sound of your laughter encompassing
that day, that sweet glorious day
where forever was both a dream
and a heartbeat away.
 
And in my dream,
you looked up at the sky
face upturned
arms outstretched
and the wind blew around you,
lifting your hair to the heavens above.
And all the light of this world cannot compete
at that moment with you.
Everything felt right and complete,
and I was home, and I was whole
within the breathtaking iridescence of your soul.
 
And the sea, the sparkling, wise, ancient sea
quietly watched us, like an old man knowing
that such happiness cannot last
that the world turns and time flows
like the tides of the ocean, always churning,
and memories of such days would be lost
in the waves of consciousness,
but never completely forgotten …
for time and tide have a way of washing up
our lost treasures on distant shores
where the sun shines, and the wind blows
and a love so timeless could exist
to dance forever upon clear divine waters
reflecting the perfection of an everlasting sky.
 
But I woke up.
It was a dream.
There was no sea
and no blue skies.
I heard the clock
ticking away,
time slipping away.
Each second turning into yesterday.
Yet memories have me in their grip.
And before I knew it,
I tasted, once again
the saltwater on my lips ….
 
 
Featured image above was taken from: photocase.com

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The Lamentations of an FB Nosferatu 

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I am fading …
out of words
out of sync
with the world and its workings.
Living beyond time.
I feel each day that spins by,
hurtling through insipid eternity
without rhyme
without reason.
 
Sisyphus beginnings and endings.
 
And I wonder if this is okay
this day after day of throttled existence.
But, I know life goes on
the sun rises and sets
and people live
status updates are changed
pictures are staged, uploaded.
I devour them feverishly
trying to find the meaning of being.
 
FB has turned me into a vampire.
Living off on other people’s lives
but their blood is never thick enough
lacking substance
watered down by filters
pruned to elicit likes
sieved into pristine perfection
molded into uniformed banality
seasoned with the same superficiality.
And so I wither away
undead
patiently waiting
for the sun to burn brightly
or someone to drive
a stake through my heart.
 
 

 
(Images were taken from the Web. They are not my own.)

The Sunset of Now

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I will remember
the slant of sunlight
on your glowing face,
as you sat by the window
caught in the fading embrace
of this tangerine-colored day.
You laughed,
orange happiness cascading over
engulfing with light
this precious moment, with me
and the sea of faces around us,
paled, faded into meaninglessness.
Nothing and no one matters now
except you and me, except us.
I prayed this moment would last.
 
And so I prolong each second.
Time, our only silent witness
in this space we claim is ours
for this instant
for this fleeting meeting of souls
inner sparks igniting,
in celebration of each other’s light.
Your hair burning brown under that golden sunlight.
Your eyes sparkling, reflecting the warmth of your laughter.
Your cheeks flushed with the intimacy of an imagined forever
with me, yes, with me — now.
And I wish it would never end
I wish I could bottle up this flowing sunlight burning brightly,
so gloriously towards a sweet pinnacle of completeness,
before it recedes … beyond this moment
beyond this time, beyond now ….
 
Then, will I softly hold your hand
as you kiss me tenderly
before leaving quietly,
while I close my eyes
and hide my face
trying to hold on
to remember everything
before sunset sadness comes
taking the light away
taking the glow
taking happiness
taking completeness … taking you.
And all I could do
is watch the light fade
watch you get lost among the faces
watch as our today become yesterday ….
 
 
 
(Image was taken from http://stephenvramey.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SayingGoodbye.jpg)

Kindred Spirits

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W.H. Auden once wrote, “We must love one another or die.” His words inspired me to write a poem about love, acceptance, and unity. My poem could never be as good as Auden’s, but given the state our world is in now, I think I should re-post it.
 
 
Kindred Spirits
 

 
We are all in the same boat,
cluelessly adrift
in unpredictable but familiar seas.
Traversing the fate of humanity,
each of us … weary …
in need of a sanctuary.
 
So come, join me
within life’s sacred circle.
Let us accept one another —
sister of my heart,
brother of my soul.
Bound by invisible common lines,
drawn together by Providence,
our paths are intertwined.
 
Spin this tale with me.
Shall we weave together
our shared history?
Shall we compare stories —
of mothers and fathers,
of sons and daughters,
of husbands and wives,
of young men and maidens?
Each one connected —
fellow travellers in life.
Young and old,
captive supplicants
of happiness and despair.
Do we not breathe the same air?
 
In homes, in seats of power,
in palaces, in places of worship —
from sunrise to moonrise,
in each echo of the ticking hour,
are we not bound by mortal lot?
Treading the same path.
Walking the same road.
 
Shall we give voice?
Sing the same myths
and see with clear eyes;
the celebrated fate
of our connected days.
Shall we reach past
color, religion, and race,
and hold one another’s hands,
acknowledge our shared bonds?
Shall we, like children, guilelessly —
intricately knit our lives with each other?
Is it not better to stand together?
For we are, after all, all of us —
spirit kins.
Are we not all the same within?
 
Have we not both known pain?
Have we not both known love?
Did we not gaze up at the same stars?
Or bled from wounded souls,
reeling and healing from scars?
As this world turns,
shall we continue to burn?
We have the power to change history.
We have the power to create our story.
We have but one voice,
And we have but one choice —
we must love one another
become united and strong,
or else fall hearts apart …
dwindle and bleed away,
towards another
terrible scarlet day ….


Image was taken from: 

https://sites.google.com/site/morebenefitsofbilingualism/home/module-1-cultural-awareness-is-well-supported-on-bilingual-people

Of Love and Time

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It was cold outside today
and the chill felt heavy
seeping through my lonely old bones.
I watched a young couple pass by.
The lady held a bouquet of roses in her hand
their testament to love
fueled by youthful plans and passion.
 
The flowers left behind a trail of petals.
And the sidewalk bloomed
transformed from dull to magical.
I have often marvelled
at how love could change the world
how it leaves behind crumbs of hope
assuring us, through a touch or a kiss,
of our life’s purpose and meaning;
how it bestows happiness, or inspires us
with trails of sunlit stories
that guide us when we lose our way
and remind us that we are beings
whose hearts beat out of the need
to be seen, to be heard, to be touched
and to burn like wild fire
under the gentle insistent lips
of a worshipful beloved.
 
And remembering all that
awakened memories of you.
And the cold and the chill
was replaced by fire.
And my tired old soul
was set aglow by stories of our love
that lay forgotten
within the decrepit corners of my heart.
And I smiled, for today, ever so briefly
I walked with you again.
And we were surrounded
by the fragrance of flowers.

The Tragic Story of Half a Chocolate Heart (as told through a poem)

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taken from unrestricted.com
Today, I saw tragedy.

Lying on the street

between Taft and Vito Cruz

soaked in a puddle

drenched and looking forlorn

was half a chocolate heart.

I wondered,

where could its other half be?

Is it lying at some forgotten corner?

Staying, hoping, and waiting for forever?

And if by some miracle, they do see each other

would they still fit together?

Uneven edges and all? Would it be that easy?

Wouldn’t it be messy???

But wait …

I guess the biggest question of all is —

can we really call this dismembered remain a heart at all?

Does a heart remain a heart, even when it’s not whole?

And while I thought of this,

a passing jeepney backfired

startling a poor soul walking by

causing him to jump and step on

that poor half a chocolate heart.

Ah, what a horrible end to this story

For now we know 

the two halves would never meet,

for our half a chocolate heart 

is definitely crushed beyond heartbeat.

Yes, too bad, it’s too late …

and now, all I could think of 

is how badly I’m craving for chocolate. 

What I learned from Nobel Prize laureate, Mario Vargas Llosa

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Last Nov. 8, I was fortunate enough to attend the awarding of the honorary doctorate in literature degree to Nobel laureate, Mario Vargas Llosa, at De La Salle University Manila.
 
He fondly recalled that during his younger days he was educated by La Sallian brothers, and one of them, Brother Justiniano, taught him how to read. Llosa then proceeded to tell us about the significance of reading and of the power of literature to change us and grant us a deeper and broader understanding of ourselves and the world.
 
Here are some of the learnings I’ve gleaned from listening to his inspiring speech. Unfortunately, I did not have a recorder with me, and so the following account is a mixture of his words and my words as well.
 
1) Good books enable us to overcome prejudices. It is within the pages of a book that we will find characters and situations that are hauntingly familiar to us. According to Llosa, stories make us realize that there is “the equality of human experiences”. We are not alone, and at the heart of it all, we are all the same. Think about it, have we not all felt love, despair, hope, jealousy, or happiness? Have we not all witnessed the miracle of life, the silence of death, the victory of the human spirit against all odds, or the tragedy of loss so great that it leaves us feeling numb? It is because of this equality of human experience that we are reminded of the truth that — we are the same.
 
2) Good books allow us to access civic and spiritual values. Books are avenues to explore and understand other people’s beliefs, ideas, philosophies, faith, and opinions. It is by reading about other cultures and other lives that we learn to understand other people, and in the process, we are also able to reflect on our own values and beliefs.
 
3) Good books develop in us a dissatisfaction with the way the world is, and it also develops in us a hope that society will be able to transform for the better. I think that statement is already self-explanatory.
 

On Reading

 
One of the remarkable things that Llosa said that captured my attention was this : Reading makes people think, and in the process, it critically engages and “trains citizens of a free and democratic society.” He also said that, “It is not exceptional that regimes in history have tried to control human lives and are always suspicious of literature … because literature is a vehicle that carried the fears and the realities of the citizens and individuals.”
 

On Literature

 
I was able to quickly jot down what he said about this, and I think, if I did miss out a few details here and there, they are quite minor and could be excused. So here is what Llosa said:
 
“In free society there is an idea that literature is just an entertainment. This is a big mistake and a dangerous mistake. Yes, it is an entertainment, but at the same time it is also a kind of knowledge of the world and human beings that, you cannot learn from other fields. Literature teaches us that we have living experiences, we learn to enter into the intimacy of a culture, and the personality of a human being — allowing us not just to learn who we are as human beings, but also the most secret aspects of our personality — our feelings, our passions that determine our behavior. So, we must read and we must teach the new generation how to read. We must convince our children that reading is a way for them to become better citizens and to face challenges that they would encounter in their existence.”
 
I end this article with those powerful words. I hope that this piece would inspire you to read, and while you’re at it, why don’t you start with some of Llosa’s novels: “The Storyteller” or “The War of the End of the World”, which won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature.

   

   

The End Days

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There are no stars tonight
the sky is dark
black as a funeral shroud,
and all I could hear
are the croaking of frogs.
Faintly, from somewhere,
from everywhere, it came
becoming louder
like a thousand thunder
the deafening sound
of a multitude of gnashing teeth
and the keen wailing cry
of banshees running mad,
as the moon turns red
looking like the great eye of God
fixed, eternal, steadfast
all seeing, all knowing
the hearts and thoughts of men
hearing, understanding
putting on record all of man’s mockery
waiting, until the appointed hour
when the well of mercy runs dry
and the moon is eclipsed
as the great eye closes,
upon hearts of stone that are cursed
and there is nothing more, but darkness
descending relentlessly,
for we reap what we sow —
and the juggernaut of reckoning comes
on burning wings of requital it strikes
unmoved, unaffected
by time and the rise and fall of kings,
and I could hear angels sing
a dirge
as the rain of blood
fell from the sky
drowning out the frogs
and the land turned crimson
when judgment came
beyond human will and reason.
 
 
 
Artwork was taken from allnewspipeline.com

Ashes of Yesterday

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She was earth,
warm and giving
perhaps too willing,
perhaps too trusting.
He was fire,
hot and fiery
too burned
too weary
to see how he hurts her
how he consumes
all she could give,
until in the end
nothing remains
but the ashes of yesterday.
 
 
 
Note: Photo is mine.

Thoughts of A Nobody

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I am a nobody.
A disembodied face
wandering the narrow streets of this city,
a constant in the alleyways of squalor,
a witness to everyday horror.
 
I am a nobody.
A normal abomination.
Civilized society’s aberration.
Seen yet unseen.
Child of the sewers lost in the din.
 
I am a nobody.
A ghost? Spirit? Monster?
No one could tell,
but one thing is certain,
I can inhabit any shell.
 
I am the undead walking
looking at you with red bloody eyes.
I can make you turn away
with derision or confusion,
and your conflicting emotions
leave us all, with nothing to say.
I am the unpleasant prick
who stabs you, in your face
with the savage force of truth
and you wonder why you are bleeding
as your heart constricts in panic
while I feel — nothing.
I am the gut-wrenching stench
that you cannot get rid of,
seeping out of the gutters
creeping towards you
with the fatal embrace of decay
making you sick
with a soul-numbing fear
that you cannot allay.
 
Look closely now and see …
the ghost
the monster
the unpleasant waif of reality —
the hollow souls of this city,
fleeting from place to place
in the darkness
under a bridge
in the smoky chambers
deep down a filthy underpass
in shrouded crowded corners
of boxed walls and pungent floors
in carved-out tree trunks
surrounded by patchworks
of tattered tarpaulin dreams.
 
Can you see me now?
I am the little girl clawing, reaching
for the juicy meat that you’re eating.
Or perhaps, I am that little boy searching
for priceless plastics and papers
worth an honest day’s meal.
Maybe, I am the old woman, hunched over
on some forgotten steps, begging for mercy –
the compounded interest
of century after century
of flawed democracy.
A broken soul, purloined
who now lives for the rattling of coins.
But I could be that man, waiting at the corner
emaciated but still acting tough
scrambling to call you a cab,
because if I’m lucky enough
you’ll toss me some dough,
but are those ever really enough though?
Better yet, I am that woman, carrying a baby
peering and knocking on your window,
hammering down on a glass,
separating me from you,
forever closed,
like the display cages at a zoo.
I gaze at you, from the outside
I stand, quietly staring.
Asking for some loose change
that, I know, is far from coming.
 
I am them. I am a nobody.
Unknown. Unseen. A statistic in your book.
Just another number in your ordered world.
Yet, maybe, someday this nobody
will make your blood run cold.
After all, I have nothing to fear.
Nothing to lose.
And each day the hunger grows
fed by pain and loneliness
fueled by your beautiful apathy
parading each day in designer clothes
that everyone could see,
I could see ….
And I grow tired of seeing.
So maybe, one of these days
at knife’s edge
you will see this nobody —
within that split second
reflected brilliantly in silver —
become your somebody.
 
 
 

Photo was taken from:
https://homelesschildwelfare.files.wordpress.com