I welcomed February with exactly $0 in my bank account. Usually I save at least a hundred bucks after each billing cycle — but this month? Pff. I had nada.
“We got bills to pay,” sings Taylor Swift. So this month I paid the bills, I took charge of my brother’s rent (long story and not mine to tell) and I shouldered other expenses too. I couldn’t even let my paychecks simmer into oblivion. They were gone as soon as they arrived; it was instant sublimation.
But I’m fine, I guess. My family still eats regularly, I still have a job, and I can still afford to drink beer every now and then. I come from a lower middle class household so treading the fringes of financial stability isn’t new to me. I’m used to this; we’ll survive eventually.
I rarely see stars anymore, and maybe that’s why I’m thinking about them tonight. I spent a good chunk of my early teens just marveling at their beauty. I wrote poems about them too, but what young girl didn’t? The cool ones, probably.
Four years of my youth were spent in a boarding school carved on a slope of a mountain. Our kubo-style dorm rooms were connected by stairs and bridges, and from our verandas we could see the sprawling veins of the city and the quiet bay that hugged its contours. We were far from everything else but we were so close to the stars. At night we could just lie on the road, use our sweaters as blankets and admire the glittering debris of the universe above us. It was magical.
And while most of my favorite bloggers would rather keep to themselves these annoying and now-repetitive admissions of failure, here I am nurturing the frustration and feeding it fat for everyone to read.
Some nights I wish that I took poetry lessons to heart. To learn Language. To make it dance then break its legs. To make it crawl out of the page, make it punch people in the gut, or maybe in the face. To know its dirtiest kinks and please it like a lover until it writhes and shivers and screams.
But tonight let’s just file these thoughts in a folder called “dreams.”
To Myself Franz Wright
You are riding the bus again burrowing into the blackness of Interstate 80, the sole passenger
with an overhead light on. And I am with you. I’m the interminable fields you can’t see,
the little lights off in the distance (in one of those rooms we are living) and I am the rain
and the others all around you, and the loneliness you love, and the universe that loves you specifically, maybe,
and the catastrophic dawn, the nicotine crawling on your skin— and when you begin
to cough I won’t cover my face, and if you vomit this time I will hold you: everything’s going to be fine
I will whisper. It won’t always be like this. I am going to buy you a sandwich.
The poem is from Franz Wright’s Ill Lit: Selected and New Poems. The featured image is 20,000 Leagues Beyond My Mind by Dawani de Leon.
I cringe every time I see a spike in my Stats. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it usually means that one curious cat got a tad too curious and decided to dig through my dusty archives.
Which is fine, actually. It’s dope. It proves that some people still find this space interesting and it makes me feel a little less alone (shet ang lungkot ko naman?). On the flip side, however, it also means that these people get to see more of my shortcomings as a writer. Exhibit A: my “very sad and very poor” grasp of the English language.
I’m aware of it, and I’m trying to be better at it. My about page says it all: please feel free to judge my grammar mistakes. I apologize for the lapses; I apologize for my egregious English.
I was meaning to write something long-ish tonight but I ended up logging in to Facebook instead. I’ve been inactive on FB for so long and — holy biscuit I missed a lot! Kasal na si Ganito, engaged na si Ganyan. Tapos may baby na pala si Ano at si Kwan? Shuta, ‘di ko man lang alam.
And then of course I read the news about NDFP consultant Randy Malayao who was shot dead in a passenger bus on Wednesday. The bus pulled over at a designated stop in a town in Nueva Vizcaya when the gunman boarded and shot Ka Randy. It was 2am; Ka Randy was sleeping.
I couldn’t help but worry about my friends back home. They ride buses too — will I be reading obituaries about them next? Hindi naman sila NDFP consultants, pero mahirap na. Sa tindi ng karahasan laban sa mga progresibo, hanga talaga ako sa tapang ng mga taong hindi natatakot lumaban. Sana wala namang mangyaring masama sa mga kaibigan ko. Nami-miss ko na sila; gusto ko silang yakapin nang mahigpit isa-isa.