Postscript

I know when to use ng and when to use nang. I also know the difference between pinto and pintuan. But is it spelled anu-ano, or is it ano-ano? And is “although” bagaman? Bagamat? Are they both correct? Beats me.

But I do know that hyphens are used for repeated words and that repetition necessitates likeness. So technically it should be sino-sino, not sinu-sino; taon-taon, not taun-taon. This rule, however, also implies that halo-halo (a combination of unlike objects) is different from haluhalo (our favorite dessert).

It reads wrong, and it looks wrong — who spells it haluhalo anyway? But experts insist that this isn’t a matter of preference. “Paano ka magtuturo ng language kung lahat ay tama?” asks national artist Virgilio Almario in a Wasak interview with Lourd de Veyra. Everyone, including the media, must follow the rules. So it should be ni’yo, not n’yo (rule on contraction); imahen, not imahe (rule on etymology); siyokoy, not syokoy (rule on diphthongs).

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Friday Hustle

A part of me regrets posting the Plath poem last night. Work has been a shitshow this week and yesterday was just — hay, ‘tang ina. The gist, I suppose, is I fucked up.

Or other people fucked up. But because my brain is wired a certain way, I have this crippling tendency to just take in all the blame.

This morning, for example, the contractor told my boss that our project had not been running smoothly in their site. Parts never arrive on time, he said, and it’s my job to tell the vendor to provide all the parts on time. But I always speak with the vendor and he always assures me that he’s got it, that he knows the drill. Welp. Apparently not.

The other day I had a different problem with another project. The site discovered existing issues with my design, all of which I assumed were already handled in the past. Again, apparently not.

So I made all these assumptions and they ended up biting me in the butt. I’ve been trying to justify my decisions but, to be honest, they were really just shitty decisions. I fucked up.

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Mad Girl’s Love Song

This week has been shitty at best. The stress, the exhaustion, and the sadness have all become so unbearable — and it’s not even Friday yet. I will keep the details to myself, per usual, which of course leaves me with nothing to write about. Hayayayayay.


Mad Girl’s Love Song
Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)


The poem above — a villanelle — was written by one of my favorite dead ladies Sylvia Plath. The featured image is a photo I found in my media library. Random lang, if randomness even exists. 

Supermassive Black Hole

“You can throw television sets, diamond rings, or even
your worst enemies into a black hole, and all the black hole
will remember, is the total mass, and the state of rotation.”

– Stephen Hawking, in a lecture

“I’m sure if Shakespeare were alive today,
he’d be doing classic guitar solos on YouTube.”
– Peter Capaldi, in a meta-diary

As a kid I used to have an irrational fear of black holes. I learned from the I Wonder Why series that one cannot escape a black hole — you either travel faster than the speed of light (highly impractical, according to a nerd called Albert) or you destroy yourself piece-by-piece as you get closer and closer to singularity. Fun stuff.

Black holes also distort our sense of time. Inside a black hole, time slows down and everything else speeds up. Time gets whacked, so to speak, which is also what happens when we spend hours and hours on the Internet engulfed in the cold celestial blob that is YouTube.

But I don’t fear YouTube and I don’t hate it either. I just don’t like myself when I get swallowed by those insipid artista videos like Boy Abunda’s Fast Talk or Darla’s bag raids. Bag raids, in particular, are unexplainably addictive. The attempt to humanize celebrities does nothing to mask the brazen displays of luxury — and still, I dive in.

The better part of YouTube has an even stronger pull. Two of my favorite channels, for example, are Lessons from the Screenplay and Every Frame a Painting. They use the video essay format to deconstruct movies with keen attention to cinematic form (i.e. screenplay, musical score, camera movement, etc). I think film analyses that focus on form are better expressed through video essays. By showing us clips from the movies being dissected, video essays are able to present the argument and the evidence at the same time.

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bicol express, manhattan stop

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The saddest line of the night, apologies to Neruda, is this: I don’t miss home anymore.

I think about home sometimes, usually during the ungodly hour of the night when souls are at their most fragile. And when I think of home, I think of the past, of memories lived and now cherished, of regrets nurtured but now tempered. I have learned to nod terms with my old self, apologies to Didion, and I am now at peace with my decision.

I don’t miss home anymore, but I still call it as it is — home, and always will be.


bicol express, manhattan stop
Marie Bismonte

no geographical coordinate can pinpoint
a word that embodies a concept:

home is not a location, remembered in distant lands.
nor is it a journey from the road to Mayon,

where all beginnings take root invoked in sepia,
nor an arrival of an express train to the Upper East Side

in Manhattan, people ask me what i am.
all answers lead nowhere

in my head, i am neither a citizen or a national
but a transient between memories, moving through

post-it-notes and found postcards
to forgetting what cannot be remembered.

home is not a word.
it is a language of the sense:

an approximation of ingredients
to create the right mnemonic

in the pan, bicol express simmers—
the steam of bagoong and gata rising

to a smell abhorred by neighbors
who call it too ethnic, but to me it is

decoding the landmarks of my past,
the sili burning tracks

on my esophagus, a combination of words
that defies expression—

my tongue incapable of speech
as it recalls the taste tugging at my throat:

the loss of what cannot be recovered in
each meal, the comfort that makes my eyes water.


The poem above was published in the the anthology Crowns and Oranges: Works by Young Philippine Poets (2009), edited by Cirilo F. Bautista and Ken Ishikawa.

The featured image is Cycles by Dawani de Leon

“And then we cowards”

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We parted with a hug, a text message, a smiley face. I told you I will miss you, and you said same. No promises, nothing else — we remain slaves to silence, and that’s okay.


“And then we cowards”
by Cesare Pavese (translated by Geoffrey Brock)

And then we cowards
who loved the whispering
evening, the houses,
the paths by the river,
the dirty red lights
of those places, the sweet
soundless sorrow—
we reached our hands out
toward the living chain
in silence, but our heart
startled us with blood,
and no more sweetness then,
no more losing ourselves
on the path by the river—
no longer slaves, we knew
we were alone and alive.


The featured image is Julie Mehretu’s Dispersion.

Sunday Currently #3

Let’s do away with the usual kuda and go straight at it. I am currently

reading tweets, recaps, and articles about The Good Place, an American television show that I binge-watched this weekend; my favourite piece, so far, is Shawn Adler’s “A Moral Defense of Chidi’s Swoleness: An Ethical Examination of Abs in ‘The Good Place'”;

writing this post and another document that summarizes my notes on non-TGP articles I’ve read recently (e.g. Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation” and Gary Bettinson’s “Wong Kar Wai and the Poetics of Hong Kong Cinema”);

listening to the ticking of the clock and the humming of the furnace; I’m already in Sleep Mode so no more music;

thinking about how my weekend went — even though I didn’t leave the house and celebrated Halloween like a typical twenty-something living in This Side of the World, I still think my weekend was well spent;

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