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My brother forwarded this message to me. It was from Nanay.

"I feel so blessed having Captain Barbel, Batgirl, Superman and our baby dinosaur. Gud am. Time to get ready for class."

Now, ain't that LOVE?

Captain Barbel is Jukjuk (feeling), Superman is Kuya Jeri (because he wore a superman costume on one of his kiddie birthday parties), baby dinosaur is my 6-year-old nephew Mikmik ("Tita, this is a Brachiosauros, it's a sauropod dinosaur"), and Batgirl is, well... somebody must have read one of my high school love letters.


The text message ended our two-year war. I told my father not to worry, because he and my mother taught me to make my own decisions with due consideration of the consequences.

Relatives and old friends tell me I'm a daddy's girl. I am inclined to believe that, indeed, my father raised me in a way that made him one of the biggest influences in my life.

The first rhyme I learned was "Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan Mo Ako ng Sundang." Tatay made me recite that over and over as he drove to a nearby bridge, where he'd park the old pick-up truck. We'd spend hours looking up at the moon and listening to the sound of the river. He told me if I wished long enough, I'd get whatever I asked for.

I was about five years old then, and it was the time when I believed I need not even ask to have what I wanted. All I had to do was throw the most compelling tantrum. One afternoon, after almost an hour of crying for no reason, Tatay handed me a brush and a can of silver paint. I spent the rest of the day painting our gate.

My father told me a series of adventure stories he called "Ika-pitong Bundok". By the time my younger brother was born, it was already extended up to the "Ika-siyam na Bundok." Putting his children to sleep was always a good chance to practice his storytelling abilities. That, or he'd play cassette tapes of his favorite Filipino musicians. These days, I still sing the Sugbuanon lines from ASIN's "Balita" -- sometimes to put myself to sleep, but more often, to embarass whoever I'm buying groceries with.

When I started schooling, I was allowed to spend a few hours playing with my classmates after our classes. Playtime ended at the start of the evening news, during which I'd clean up, then sit beside my father. For one hour, I'd ask him questions about the reports and he'd answer as patiently as he could.

During my first year in college, I called him up to ask if I could drop Math 17. I was crying, afraid that he'd scold me for the low exam result that I got. He told me: "Anak, 'yung mga desisyong ganyan, dapat ginagawa mo nang mag-isa." That day, Tatay made it clear to me: I was pretty much on my own already. That I should learn to make my own decisions, learn from my mistakes, dream my dreams, travel my chosen path, do my laundry and make my own breakfast. It was an indirect go-signal to control -- or whenever appropriate, to lose control of -- my own life.

In the Summer of 2005, because of our own imperfections, Tatay and I got into a fight that ripened into a cold war. It was a very hard time for me, adjusting to the requirements of law school while harboring emotional pain. When I realized that it was pointless for me to pit my own pride against his, I started sending him messages whenever there was an opportunity. "Happy birthday. I love you." "Happy Father's Day. I love you." "Happy Valentine's Day. I love you." "Have a meaningful Easter. I love you." My messages were all ignored. There were times when I intentionally walked slowly in front of the TV, just so he would react to my presence. He didn't. For two years, I was non-existent to him. Two years, and not even a single word was exchanged between us.

Then early this year, he replied to my message. "Siguraduhin mong hindi ka masasaktan. Ang tagal kang inalagaan ni Nanay mo, tapos sasaktan ka lang ng ibang tao." I wasn't even surprised that no heart-to-heart talk followed, no apologies, no looking back. When I was already certain that it was alright for us to talk to each other again, I showed him my new writings and told him about how I've learned to love the life I chose for myself. He asked me to conduct a lecture, which didn't push through, and to help him write an article for a journal. It has been two years, I almost forgot how bossy he can be. And how sweet. Amazed by my TV-less lifestyle, he told my brother to bring a television to Manila the next time he goes home -- "Kailangan ng ate mong manood ng mga balita."

For two years, I have been walking past a statue in Mendiola but it was only last week that I learned the story from a friend. The man was holding a protest sign. It was ruined during the march, leaving only the frame, in the shape of a cross. Still the man held it, kneeling. The words were gone and only the cross was left -- only the prayer, the wish.

I crossed the bridge this Sunday, recalling how, for two years, I have put a lot of important things on hold. I am beginning to understand my father. I am beginning to understand how it is to be a daughter.

I am just beginning.






I want you, you've had your fun you don't get well no more
I want you, your fingernails go dragging down the wall
Be careful darling you might fall
I want you, I woke up and one of us was crying
I want you, you said "Young man I do believe you're dying"
I want you, if you need a second opinion as you seem to do these days
I want you, you can look in my eyes and you can count the ways
I want you, did you mean to tell me but seem to forget
I want you, since when were you so generous and inarticulate
I want you, it's the stupid details that my heart is breaking for
It's the way your shoulders shake and what they're shaking for
I want you, it's knowing that he knows you now after only guessing
It's the thought of him undressing you or you undressing
I want you, he tossed some tatty compliment your way
I want you, and you were fool enough to love it when he said "I want you"
I want you, the truth can't hurt you it's just like the dark
It scares you witless, but in time you see things clear and stark
I want you, go on and hurt me then we'll let it drop
I want you, I'm afraid I won't know where to stop
I want you, I'm not ashamed to say I cried for you
I want you, I want to know the things you did that we do too
I want you, I want to hear he pleases you more than I do
I want you, I might as well be useless for all it means to you
I want you, did you call his name out as he held you down
I want you, oh no my darling not with that clown
I want you, I want you
You've had your fun you don't get well no more
I want you, noone who wants you could want you more
I want you, I want you, I want you
Every night when I go off to bed and when I wake up
I want you, I'm going to say it once again 'til I instill it
I know I'm going to feel this way until you kill it
I want you, I want you

Dear DiaryCollapse )

Blue morning, blue morning
Wrapped in strands of fist and bone
Curiosity, Kitten, doesn't have to mean you're on your own
You can look outside your window
He doesn't have to know
We can talk awhile, baby
We can take it nice and slow

All your life is such a shame, shame, shame
All your love is just a dream, dream, dream

Are you happy where you're sleeping?
Does he keep you safe and warm?
Does he tell you when you're sorry?
Does he tell you when you're wrong?
I've been watching you for hours
It's been years since we were born
We were perfect when we started
I've been wondering where we've gone

All your life is such a shame, shame, shame
All your love is just a dream, dream, dream

Well, I dreamt I saw you walking up a hillside in the snow
Casting shadows on the winter sky as you stood there counting crows
One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for girls and four for boys
Five for silver
Six for gold and
Seven for a secret never to be told

There's a bird that nests inside you
Sleeping underneath your skin
When you open up your wings to speak
I wish you'd let me in

All your life is such a shame, shame, shame
All your love is just a dream, dream, dream

Open up your eyes
You can see the flames of your wasted life
You should be ashamed
You don't want to waste your life

I walk along these hillsides
In the summer 'neath the sunshine
I am feathered by the moonlight falling down on me

Change, change, change


First aid

You asked me to explain mind

over matter, how pain can be ignored.

I said I'd have to take you to that afternoon

I climbed down a guava tree

in my grandfather's backyard

and cut my right foot as I stepped

on broken glass left on the ground.

I will look at you as you remain

perched on a branch and ask

if you can chew some leaves for my wound.

After you say "yes, of course"

I will be able to tell you why and how

when I saw the broken glass

I believed I was invincible.


I am now officially a member of Lambda Rho Sigma. Here are my post-initiation photos --



It's Pareng Art's birthday, and we had a celebration in the 2H room. Some of our 1C blockmates were there. My ex-girlfriend was there. And I remembered, it's our frustrated first anniversary. Wahahaha! Exactly a year ago, we skipped our Oblicon class to spend the day somewhere. This afternoon, we were in the same room, eating the same food and ignoring each other. Hahaha. I really do not know if I'm still mad at her. All I know is that I'm glad I don't get to see her everyday anymore like last semester. I am happy with what's happening in my life right now and I'm sure she's happy, too. :-)


Arnika will be a very good name for a daughter. (Arniko for boys. haha) It's also good for bruises.

I would really appreciate it if anyone would volunteer to do the household chores and the case digests for me even for just a day.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.



Toward a Theory of Translation by Rodney Koeneke

Everyone knows that O'Hara is great, but who loses much sleep over Pasternak? In Russia, where the poem is still valued as a succession of more or less beautiful lines, creation is also regarded as the province of the Devil. Life and its regulation belong to dumb forces, which collect at a shining point the green translator would probably render as God, while spontaneity erupts (to borrow a favorite Russian image) like a fish breaking out from the ice, flopping from the water to trash and heave in air.

Somewhere in this passage I'm certain it suffers a kind of epiphany, which is often celebrated in poems, but elsewhere finds itself less welcome, even despised. The motifs most common to Russian poetry are rich but few: a monk converses with his starets, or elder; features of the landscape such as ponds, clouds, and weather are addressed familiarly by the poet; a mule or duck suddenly speaks with its owner, describing in tears the heretofore unconsidered awkwardness of its servitude. Each exchange bears its measure of pathos, like women in the Caucasus with baskets balanced squarely on their heads, but it leaves little room for the boozy sprezzatura O'Hara and a dozen other poets archived midcentury on a 40-block stretch of Manhattan.

All this is by way of saying that if love is a state for which no language is ever adequate, yet we keep falling in love and writing about it anyway, then each of us, in our private feelings, resembles a poem waiting for its translator, like a lover who waits for a lover on the steps of a bank or somewhere municipal, knowing how pale and approximate any discussion of feelings will finally be, despite the original's undeniable power. The nonsensical, or phatic -- defined by Jakobson as that which lifts the fish through the ice then gives it nothing to breathe -- has perhaps been too little esteemed in translation, or anywhere else: for though I am no O'Hara, just being with you I manage to feel elevated, a trainful of Russians passing over Manhattan, happy to gesture or shout or merely grasp.

Philip Larkin

Thinking in terms of one
Is easily done—
One room, one bed, one chair,
One person there,
Makes perfect sense; one set
Of wishes can be met,
One coffin filled.

But counting up to two
Is harder to do;
For one must be denied
Before it's tried.

Talking In Bed
Philip Larkin

Talking in bed ought to be easiest
Lying together there goes back so far
An emblem of two people being honest.

Yet more and more time passes silently.
Outside the wind's incomplete unrest
builds and disperses clouds about the sky.

And dark towns heap up on the horizon.
None of this cares for us. Nothing shows why
At this unique distance from isolation

It becomes still more difficult to find
Words at once true and kind
Or not untrue and not unkind.