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Rift

We will not work out.

 

Because I am that.

And what that is

You are not.

 

Because X and Y.

 

Because we are  

Stark-naked

And stark in differences.

 

Immovable in

And unmoved with

Your bland and my blunt

Shoddy shady oddities

Precepts and preferences,

Nuances, truant

From happenstance

And romance.

 

We will not work out

Because we are star-crossed

Lost

And losing, nevertheless.

 

A lack of subsequence

To a precedence

Nor a cadence

To a logical sense

Of consequence.

 

We will not work out

Because we are hopeless and hapless

Untaken but mistaken.

 

And indeed I am

Mistaken.

 

We will not work out

Not because of the reasons

Listless, restless lists

Outlying outlines writ

From A to Z.

 

Simply, we will not work out

Because your love is greater than mine.

 

We will not work out

Because I did not know

What to do of love

When you had given it to me.

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Cancer

Control –

Everything under control –

Subjugated by thoughts

Conquered with every heaveless

Calculated breath.

 

Certainty

Each motion was

Each heartbeat was

A microcosm,

A string,

Importantly, not

Devoid of purpose

Nor direction.

 

Fear.

Fear.

I have not known it.

 

I am doubtless

Immortal and godless

Invincible,

Infinite and unstoppable.

So sure of myself

And so assured of myself,

 

Was.

Then.

Used to.

 

Stripped away

And far removed

From the pretense of control.

 

Disenchanted .

Disillusioned.

Vulnerable.

Open.

 

I am not

The strength of infinite worlds.

And facts do not

Bend on my words.

 

I have no control of the world

Of my own ego

Of any single creature

Of any living cell

That spreads in yours.

 

I am not

The strength of one world

Or half of it

Of a city.

 

Or of one person.

 

Scared.

Terrified.

 

But in my despair

In my grief

In my powerlessness

And in yours

 

I have hope.

 

Am.

Is.

Now.

 

In Form

Today while cleaning, I found the notebook on which I wrote the fifty goals I set out to accomplish this year – a list of which I have only managed to keep a handful of religiously, and even I’m being generous with that description. But I digress.

It was supposed to be menial, mindless work. How difficult would it be to just throw the damn thing away? Of course, in perfect Dexter-esque form, I started skimming through the pages, and this, after having just drafted my upcoming goals yesterday (a much more modest list of ten items, this time).

Part of my original fifty was to jot down, rather laboriously – I still believe in the feel of a pen and paper – the best and worst thing that happened that day, everyday for the rest of the year, and much of the pages of the notebook after the list were dedicated to such expressions.

“Unstoppable,” I simply wrote, perhaps, much conceitedly so to my chagrin, under the “BEST” column on the 4th of February, with nothing scribbled on the opposite side. Backreading on the previous days’ entries implied I was on a roll in solving in code, which happened to be another goal on that list.

The writings tapered off at mid-September, which was a conscious effort on my end: “I can’t keep patronizing these negative emotions,” I wrote myself. This, after having first taken, and generally stayed on, a definitive slump on March, as much positivity abound for the first eight weeks. During the third week of April, tired from the commute from Taguig, I wrote, “This is not what I signed up for.”

And yet, as I look back, it’s difficult to not notice how largely one year changes you – hell, how a few months could change you. Screw the fact that things have taken a turn for the worse, but it’s surreal to realize “look, this was how I felt one year ago to this day.” One year to this date, I trudged, armed with all the zeal and passion in the world, every breath hopeful, eyes teeming with excitement, heart racing from all possibility.

And then, in a snap of a finger, everything changes – from doing so much because of passion to caving in and doing nothing to doing so much just to keep the negativities at bay. One bad decision begets another. Too scared to make a move, you let everything fall away, let yourself fall apart. You’re doing things for all the wrong reasons. And then you realize you’re in too deep.

That I’ve dabbled with, and pretty much stayed on the fence of agnosticm by reading too much of and into the Bible, and that I needlessly frustrate myself with people who air-quotes-connect with their family through their phones as they trot lazily on my path and pretty much disconnects himself from his immediate vicinity, and that I get lost in the aimless shuffle and don’t spend nearly as much time in silence and reflection that has made me out of touch with myself, and that I drip with much cynicism and disappointment and bitterness – all of which merit a separate entry, I might add – has been nothing short of a byproduct of this year. I really have changed; I can think of last year, and say “this was me, then shit happened.”

You know how they say things don’t seem to change from day to day. And then you look back on a year and see how much the landscape has weathered away, how unrecognizeable it all is as when you first set out.

Only now, you’ve accepted it, and you’re consciously making amends. And now you’re armed with a zeal to turn everything around, with a perspective from the other side to boot.

And maybe, just maybe, things have never really changed that much, after all.

It Moves Us Along

You can blame my feeble mind for waxing something trivial, and yet I could never say for certain what exactly makes a relationship tick. Or perhaps, for the fear of sounding too wet and naïve, I could never quite lay a finger on the ‘how’ aspect of it all: the behind-the-scenes, the cogs, the works, the enchilada. Yeah, whatever.

Not that I have never been into that same rut before; I have. And  yet being in love and being in a true blue relationship are often too few and far between. Scratched off the tally are the hundred gazillion puppy love’s that remained only as, harshly as it sounds, well, bursts of feelings. That leaves only half an experience to boot for all these twenty two years walking around and looking for a partner. (And no, you really wouldn’t get that unless I tell you, so you can quit trying and just skip along to the next.)

Let’s face it. Sure, carrying a torch, keeping it quiet, handling the dilemma of whether to profess and making a fool out of yourself to the girl friends as she recounts the whole thing over giggly girl talks – this obviously has its own quirks. And while I call proclaim to be a master of that art, it could only take me so far. The real challenges of a life with a partner, as I understand it, infinitely wane the intensity of unrequited crushes and fangirlisms.

Much of what I know with that life come from too often a night spent talking with my girl-space-friends about their relationships with their own boy-no-space-friends, discussing about shortcomings on the other end, somehow playing the role of a midnight-d.j. consoling a female caller. As to why they even bother confiding in me is well beyond confuddlement, though I generally find to less surprise that it was often the girls who had been in a longer relationship who often had the er.. “less positive sentiments”, if you may. Maybe they’ve experienced much more, seen much more to know where the other half lacks, or maybe they’ve finally figured what they really wanted. Whatever the case, it’s something that obviously comes only with time.

So what happens when you finally leave the honeymoon stages, crossing over and sailing beyond those times when you get all too giddy when he calls you on the phone or get excited when he asks you out? What happens when the cuter talking points are all but exhausted, and the remaining topics are about oil price hikes and philandering politicians and rising costs of living? What happens when you wake up and discover that the sensation that caused your heart to skip a beat in the first place, overpowering your logic to say yes to the relationship mellows out and balances to one that no longer consists only of happiness, but also of the other nastier bits?

It necessitates remarking that of the girls I counsel, most have gone on to live happier, fuller lives with their guys, as though all their complaints have miraculously been quelled. Of course, a more credible perspective was that they never needed my advice in the first place.

A friend of mine, this one I’m not as close to, but is one of my guy’s girlfriend nevertheless, as though knowing what was going through my head, seemingly summarizing, for sure, the sentiments of all those who are firm with their relationships, answered me on Facebook. “Falling in love is different from being in love. Falling in love – nahulog ka lang, that’s it. Being in love [on the other hand] is a decision, a commitment. Don’t just fall, but BE in love!”

And that’s it, really. It would be too innocent to presume that love would be, as Adam would conveniently put it, only rainbows and butterflies. Maybe I’m spoon feeding you with too much cynicism, but to not expect some form of hitch along the way would be, in my mind, at least, unthinkable. I’m not talking about over the top, world ends here and now bumps and bruises, but I take you get the point.

What I gleaned from all those nights on the chatbox was something I eventually learned to take to heart over time. The important thing is, you always have to remember that at one point, no matter whether it’s on a cool afternoon on the thirteenth in front of the laptop, or on a hot July morning sitting on one of the benches, this was exactly what you wanted, and you owe it to yourself to make things work, often within, though sometimes well without reason. All the time, it takes more than just love, but also dedication and passion to grit through the tougher times when it all ceases to be a fairytale.

The not-so-important thing apart from that I referenced Maroon 5 twice? Well, all this is just a metaphor.

The King of Make-Do’s

Should you ever bother to ask of me now, I’ll swear by, as I have had on the many appointments borne out of bus rides to Ayala and Taguig and Boni, on purple ties and ebony-black slacks, on programming. I would confess squarely, without so much as a flinch, that coding is not only my passion. It was life, much like air I breathe.

Well, maybe not that much.

But maybe, once or twice, I’ll go as far as stretching the truths to say that all along, from the moment I sang Lea on my high school auditorium, leading up to crossing the arch, swiping my ID, day in and day out, on what was to be my home for the next five years, and ultimately to the grand staircases of PICC, that this was what I truly wanted.

Only that it wasn’t, and the choice, easy as it may seem to make believe that I had known all this time what I wanted for sure, was never easy to make. As ludicrous as it sounds, programming was, to put it harshly, just another accident.

Truth be told, the plump school boy that was me, backtracking half a decade and some years ago swore by entirely something else. Then, I confess, the breath of life that I speak of, unimaginable as it is, was writing.

As a high school kid, stories from the Greek mythologies gave me thrills. The sirens and muses captivated me, and poetry had me enthralled. I remember memorizing Frost and Henley by heart, and would undoubtedly jump at the chance to write anything, however much I deemed my work to be infinitely less noble than the works of the poets I idolized. At one point, I had planned, along with a friend, to write a novel entirely out of verses, much like, to an innocent mind as mine was in those days, the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Those dreams were extinguished when my parents refused to have me take literature. They have never believed for a moment that the petty musings of a high school kid of arctic wolves that danced with humans and hidden gems could ever pay for the bills. It was a disheartening road block, but with all the enthusiasm on the world on my side, figured I could take up engineering as they had prodded me to do, but also keep a blog to, as I’ve always been keen to tell myself then, ‘keep the passion burning.’

And yet three years forward, and the fire has all but smouldered. I posted entries erratically, and on those occasions that I have, have struggled to produce something readable.

On the other hand, the very course that I had been force-fed to take as I had somewhat begrudgingly filled out the USTET application, I was, without so much as mock modesty, doing fairly well. I have had, undoubtedly, my fair share of bumps and dead-ends – the what-in-the-freaking-Atlantis’-name-am-I-doing-here, sweat-my-underpants, please-don’t-call-me-to-explain-what-a-Hartley’s-oscillator-is moments, but I had generally, to everyone’s belief, overcome.

An angst rooted from the notion that nothing mattered more to me than individualism would bitch-slap ‘this is what I want, and nobody can freaking take that away from me’ right on everyone’s faces. I have somehow convinced myself all these years that I had always gone after what I wanted, without so much as a brick wall fazing my focus. But who am I kidding? All I am really is the king of make-do’s.

And humbling, perhaps, as it all is, that is where, I believe, the danger lies.

That I have somehow succeeded and triumphed against my own heart and my own passion five years ago is what frightens me. Arming yourself with the knowledge that you can, as the cliché goes, “succeed in anything as long as you put your mind into it” inevitably giving you a false sense of invulnerability, and all the more reason to put off pursuing what you really want. That I had ultimately come out of it unscathed, for lack of a better term, frightens me to bits.

If I could be any more succinct than I already have, I still regret the five years I spent in a course I never wanted to pursue. Even now, a little over fifty months wasted pouring over one electronics book to the next, I would never imagine myself to explain the finer points of modulation in a heartbeat. I absolutely despise the idea.

In some ways, I shudder to think how my life today would have played out had I passed the board exams, and it is here where I ultimately shout forth praises to my God for the gift of failure.

And yet, growing and aging ever more cautiously to the brink of paranoia, I have come to the notion that I had only come out of the pan and into the fire. True, I have relished the idea of programming as a passion, even priding myself to be a mean programmer where it’s due. I have come to believe, as a result of a four-year love affair with programming, that this is finally what I want. And yet, being used to having options emphatically shoved down my throat, how sure can I be that all this is not a figment of yet another make-do attitude?

What if I was really born to write?

Or to manage and run my own restaurant as I had dreamed not so far back? Or become a radio jock? Things I had never been so much as exposed to in the academe, but have at point or another, been a source of daydreams and giddiness?

I was talking to Rona about her success on getting employed on her dream company the other day. On one of the few messages we happened to exchange after the congratulatory notes, I had jested on resigning from work and jumping ship once she was project head.

Sayang, master, sana dun ka din. Para masaya,” she quipped, to which I admitted that, at one point, getting in to said company had also been one my top agendas for the year, only I had not been lucky with the interview.

So when the call was never returned, I decided to pursue something else. And yet to think that I had jumped entirely from what would have been a job with minimal programming, to one that extensively requires so – and then I realized, hoping and wishing beyond reason, that, throwing a prayer to the skies, this was not what I feared, and this time around, my God had only put me in my proper place.

Of Benches Facing A Wall

They were always something to see, those benches. Weird, perhaps, for it was amazing how something so simple and normal could be so beautiful at the same time. And yet there they were, grainy and polished all the same, tucked squarely against a wall leading to a staircase, a sight utterly ignored and completely neglected by those who didn’t really know what it was exactly that they were looking for.

That had been his case ever since. Of course, he kept saying he never really knew what came over him that day. Then again, chances were it didn’t really matter that much to him anyway. All he knew was that on one of those sultry July mornings, on a day he never really had anything planned, something beautiful happened. Surreal. But beautiful.

For three months, he kept on doing the same. On August, he was completely enchanted; on September, he found something magical. Eventually, he found it’d be his nook away from everything, and more importantly, from everyone. Prying eyes had made everything anything but difficult for him, and he somehow found his security blanket there.

For some reason, he never got to go back on October.

It was much of a surprise to see how much things have and have not changed the day he finally had the chance to return. Perhaps, the timing was a bit off; the lovers weren’t there, the windows were closed, the halls were a bit quieter, save the sound of sneakers brushing past a semi-marbled floor. And everything – well, everything smelled of disinfectant.

But at least, they were still there – those were the one he missed the most. And sure they’ve all but moved a couple of inches forward; and yet for all that it’s worth, they were still the same benches facing the same wall. And to him, it was like falling in love all over again.

Freesia

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Picture courtesy of louisa_catlover

 

It is with you,

Ever patient,

Faithful and enduring,

Waiting springs to come to bloom;

 

And I,

Impatient,

Insistent and

In love as I am

Budging against uncertainties

Cutting loose.

 

Or at least,

We used to.

 

For what we are, I guess,

Is the product of a choice,

Of time,

Of fate,

And of compromise.

 

For what ever, indeed,

In the world could make

An angel

In the humble semblance of a flower no less,

Leave the mighty lofts of heaven

To surrender everything

Once grand and beauteous and soft

For a life with a mere mortal like me?

 

In the arms of someone

Unworthy as me?

 

For it is

With your selfsame devotion

To share a happiness beyond any,

Against a life carried away

By the promptings of a Fate

Playing deviously

A game of puppetry?

 

There is no less

For jealous, as he is

In his sky discerns,

The eyes of Fate,

All that we are.

 

And it is none other

Than a war we’ve waged

Just for a love

That’s taken center stage,

 

As I put into verses

All that you are,

And all that you mean to me.