Socrates in a Dark Alley

Poetry by | September 23, 2007

Beware this ancient agent of wisdom
At the prime of his faculties
Before he was brought low by his drink

Beware the searching lantern eyes
Ever on the lookout
For the honest men of Greece

Beware the sharp silver tongue
That cuts with the confounding power of truth
Implacable corruptor of Athens’ fair-haired youth!

To him, all ground is fertile
Nowhere sacred, nowhere safe
Be it market, forum, palace, or temple

Beware those wiry hands
That reach out and grab
For victims of his method

Then with the force of a knife
He wrenches an answer to the essential question:
“Your money or your life?”

Stupid Complaints

Poetry by | September 16, 2007

I hate the speedy HH.
I hate the bumpy road to school.
I hate the scent of Manong Driver.

Complaints! Complaints! Complaints!
Don’t hate the speedy HH.
Let the air slap your face.
Smile. Close your eyes.
Listen to the rush of air.
You will hear the laughter of the earth.
Don’t hate the bumpy road to school.
Let the rocks in the road jolt you to the real.
Hold tight. Close your eyes.
Feel the stony path.
You will find there life’s ups and downs.
Don’t hate the scent of Manong Driver.
If he smells awful, let him be.
Breathe freely. Close your eyes.
In his scent you will sense
Man’s proud spirit towards life’s journeys.
Stop complaining. Just ride on.

Pakikiraan

Poetry by | September 16, 2007

Paano kaya kita kakausapin

Nang walang sinasabi

Walang hinihingi

Walang minumungkahi
At walang dinaramdam
Nais kong maging maingat
Sa aking pagdaan
Manabi-tabi, ituring kang
Isang ilang na lugar
Tahimik na susubayin
At buong galang na iiwanan
Hahayo nang walang galit
Walang gustong nakawin
At walang ni anong dadalhin.

Polemic on Culture and Capitalism

Poetry by | September 16, 2007

The pen is mightier than the sword
But the PC is mightier than the pen
But the cell is mightier than the PC
But the radio is mightier than the cell
But the cable TV is mightier than the radio
But the power company is mightier than the cable company
But the bank is mightier than the power company
Perhaps I shall work for the bank

Magdalena and Scenes of Chronic Poverty

Fiction by | September 16, 2007

It’s About Time You Meet Her
You knew her though, or someone you knew of. We were all aware of her existence that, like wallpapers, we never really took notice. Hers was a familiar face in the crowd with that look of desperation crawling right into you. Her face caked with pustules that nobody dared to touch. Her body looked so thin, her skin tightly embracing her bones. She didn’t possess those black-rimmed glasses and buck teeth (though she had one missing on the upper mouth); she didn’t have braces that completed the criteria for everyday geeks. Her mother barely covered the basics; another strain on their budget was certainly out of the question.

Continue reading Magdalena and Scenes of Chronic Poverty

The Driver’s Blessing

Poetry by | September 9, 2007

One day, I saw a driver
He was getting off his jeep
He ran to the roadside, stood against a wall
And became a priest
He stood with his legs apart
Looked up to the sky above
Bowed down his head in prayer
And clasped his hands in front of his hips
In silent supplication
In fervent adoration
Then he started to perform his rite
And suddenly out gushed
A spray of amber water
The driver has blessed the concrete wall
And washed away its sins

The Sound of Water

Poetry by | September 9, 2007

I like the sound of water
crooning like nature’s song
from a mountain’s secret streams
I like its voice, like a lover’s
echoing whispers
within a pool in a cavern
sometimes subtle, like dew
on a yawning leaf,
it can whoosh as if in a rush
and slap against daring rocks and ridges—
at times oddly thoughtful,
it putters and plops
and trickles on a window sill;
or merry, it blends
with the shrieks and splashes
of running naked limbs—
forbidding, it roars
with the force of an angry ocean;
hurt, it whimpers—the sound
muffled by a confining bottle
or glass—

quiet, it lies gagged and imprisoned,
locked by a trembling eyelid.

The Legend of the Sacred Butterfly

Fiction by | September 9, 2007

Hi there! My name is Zac. I’m a little boy who really liked exploring, but I didn’t understand why father won’t let me do it. “Please Dad, may I go exploring?” I asked when I was four years old. “No!” said Dad, loudly, “Not until your tenth birthday comes.”

Finally, after six years my tenth birthday came.

“Yippee! I can now go wandering into the jungle,” I said excitedly.

“And just who was it who said that you can go wandering into that jungle?”

“You Dad, you told me when I was four years old,” I said nervously.

“What? I didn’t say such a thing,” lied Dad.

Continue reading The Legend of the Sacred Butterfly

Law school, anyone?

Nonfiction by | September 2, 2007

To my beloved ones: If I had chosen to stay in law school, I would not be here doing the most important things in the world. Like lying flat on my belly and looking up at the ceiling while dialing the numbers of my friends and lost loves. Or memorizing my Kanji and Hiragana. Or “googling” for scholarships abroad. Wondering what Warren Buffet’s Cherry Coke tastes like. Trying to recount all my significant and memorable days and then feeling sorry for myself after knowing that I only have a few memorable events to recall. Knowing that, at least compared to the others, I am more blessed—never made it easy. Trying to fool myself I am great. Deleting the memories of courtrooms, case digests, case recitations, exams, articles, statutes, and ordinances from my brain and digging deep into my heart for that feeling of integrity and honor I used to have for myself. Playing with my shadow and the shadows of my study lamp, law books piled on top of my study table littered with post-its. Languidly staring at my reflection through the mirror. Wanting to feel remorse for the people I had hurt or hated. Examining the consequences of my choices and finding my way out through literature—I am now, in fact, beginning to read about elves and the geisha. Part of my brain is saying something is missing. There is something I had failed to understand. Is the time to reason all I have now left? Has my time to go back and analyze that missing something passed me by?

Continue reading Law school, anyone?

When I talk

Poetry by | September 2, 2007

When I talk
To you and you answer
With a sigh or
Asterisk I am at
A loss

For words just
As well
And then we converse
In long
Or short
Silences and a smattering
Of footnotes

You and I
We do not talk anymore
And all our asterisks
Are turning
Into flowers.