Balita

Sabi sa balita magiging maaraw ngayon
kaya hindi ako nagdala ng payong.

Tatanga-tanga na naman ako.
Ang hangin: humahalakhak habang
binubuhusan ako ng malamig na tubig.

Ayaw kong magmukhang mahina
kaya’t tuloy pa rin ako sa paglalakad.
‘Di bale na kung ang aking mga paa
ay maputikan. Mahirap talaga manatiling
malinis kapag nasasaktan. (Nakakainis.)

Dinadaig ako ng ulap sa pag-iyak.
Nilulunod ang parang sa luha.
Binibingi ang kakahuyan sa hiyaw.
(Hoy, ulap, akala mo ba
ikaw lang ang nahihirapan?)
Sukang-suka na ang mga halaman sa sakit.

Nasaan ka na ba, Araw?
Hindi ba’t alas-tres pa lang ng hapon?
Masyado na ba kaming nalunod sa pighati,
na ‘di na namin maaninagan ang iyong ilaw?
O ikaw rin ba, ay nakain na ng kadiliman?

Patuloy sa pangungutya ang hangin.
Kaunti na lang, masasanay na ako sa ginaw.
Ano pa nga ba ang saysay ng lumaban, kung
pare-pareho lang naman tayo ng kapalaran?

Sumuko na ang mga sanga kumapit
sa mga puno. Nagkalat silang tila mga bangkay
sa daan. Tulad nila, napapagod na rin akong
magkunwaring malakas.

Hindi ko alam kung kakayanin ko pang maglakad,
ngunit ako ay may naaninagan: aninong papalapit
dala-dala ang payong na magpapatahimik
sa hangin at magpapatahan sa ulap.

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Para sa Isang Mananakayan

“Isa pa. Isa pa
rito!” sigaw ni manong.
Bilisan mo na
at baka maiwan ka na
ng dyip. Huwag ka nang
magreklamo sa kakulangan
ng upuan. Buti nga, pinasakay
ka pa. ‘Di bale nang walang
masandalan ang iyong puwit,
maya-maya nama’y nasa
bahay ka na. Kumapit ka muna
diyan. Hawakan nang maiigi ang
mga gamit. Pabayaan ang pawis
ng katabi na napupunas sa iyo.
Magkunot at tignan ang daanan.
Kapag nakita mo na ang gasolinahan
sa kanto, sumigaw ka ng “PARA!”

Siguraduhin mong malutong ang
pagkasabi mo. Huwag malambot.
Nakakahiya. Malalaman nila:
maunlad kang pinalaki
ng magulang mo.

Thoughts of a Wanderer

Friendship Heights, Maryland. On a sunny day in June, you decide to explore the city. Wanting to open yourself up to possibilities, you pay no mind to an itinerary. Instead, you let your feet lead the way. Certainly, you’ll find a place that is worth your time? One hour has passed, and still you are walking. Your feet are heavy. You do not know where you are anymore.

You thought this would be a breathtaking adventure, only to find yourself out of breath. Now you are descending into a dark abyss. What happened to the sun? You start to feel drained. Your lips are parched. You want to rest, but you have to continue walking. (Remember what your parents told you?)

Somehow, you find a door. You enter, because that’s what doors are for. Or you exit. You’re not quite sure which. Nevertheless, you pass through it and finally find a place to sit.

What have you gotten yourself into? You feel like you are being sucked in a vacuum. This could be worse. All you wanted was an adventure. To take a leap, to take the risk because if you do, you’ll fly — or you’ll fall. You were descending earlier, so no luck about flying. Where did you go wrong? Was it foolish to wander?

Darkness. It’s so dark where you are. You feel some force at your back — pulling you away, or pushing your forward. You do not know anymore.

Step back, doors closing.
Step back, doors closing.
Step back, doors closing.
Next stop: Union Station.

Shake off the drama. You still have a chance. Just hang in there for a few more seconds. You’ll be where you want to be.

Doors opening. Step back to allow customers to exit. When boarding, please move to the center of the car.

Now stand up, or you’ll miss you chance.

Modus Operandi

Women fall in love not with looks, but with words. Ask her about her opinions, her dreams, her passions — what she longs for and what she aches for. Listen to her life story, and when she tells you her insecurities, assure her by saying, “You are beautiful, nevertheless.” Send her occasional messages of how are you’s. Do not use flowery words. Say something as simple as: “If you need someone to talk to, please know I’m just here.” If she doesn’t want to share, tell her, “Tell on your own time,” so that she feels that you respect her space. Of course, you also have to tell your story, too. As much as possible, show her that you two have something in common: perhaps a bruised childhood, or an unrequited dream.

After a few weeks or months, when she has become used to talking with you regularly, ask her out. Do not refer to it as a date so as not to appear intimidating. Still, bring her to a cozy restaurant — not too fancy, but somewhere conducive enough to have a good conversation. Make things interesting by asking her questions like, “If you were a word, what would you be?” or “What is your contradiction?” Be prepared to answer your own questions as well. She will only lay down her cards if you do the same. You can tell her: if you were a word, you’d be “reserved” because you play within the lines. Your contradiction is that you are open-minded, but deep inside you are judgmental. Let your wavelengths intertwine. Physically, keep distance, but stay close enough to brush your fingers against hers. Do not expect her to respond immediately. If she does not move away, then it means that she is interested. Keep at it until she reveals more of herself. On your first date, do not kiss her yet.

When you do this, she will daydream about you. Perhaps she will not say how she feels, but you will notice it. She will allot some time to hangout with you, no matter how busy she is. Ask her, “What are your plans today?” Listen closely. When she says something like, “I have to go to a meeting this afternoon, but aside from that, I have no other plans,” then it means you are on the right track. Another sign will be if she never tags a friend along with her in any of your hangouts. It means that she is comfortable with spending time with you alone. At this point, she trusts you. You can hold her hand, hug her, and kiss her already.

Strengthen your hold on her by showing her your world. Introduce her to your closest friends. When she seems nervous, assure her by winking at her across the table. Level up by bringing her to one of your family dinners. Talk about long-term dreams together, and while you’re at it, make sure that your eyes sparkle. Do not forget to hold her hand or to put your arms around her while you are walking in a public place. She will take this as a sign that you are one hundred percent committed. At this point, she will be sure: you are the one for her.

Women believe that love is the underlying of a relationship, not mere attraction. If you are a singer, sing songs for her. If you are a writer, make her the subject of your poems. More importantly, tell her that you want to make love with her, not screw her. She will hold your hand tighter. She will kiss you more passionately. Her clothes will become shorter. Come full moon, take her to a hotel, or to your own mansion. Never bring her to a motel, because every woman wants to be treated like a queen. Touch her gently until she no longer feels the need to cover herself up. Take off your clothes, as well. When she is finally naked, lick the parts you have never seen nor touched. Hold her arms so that when she resists vulnerability, she can find comfort in your strength. Keep caressing her until she is completely lost in another world. Ride her rhythm. Moan when she is moaning. Show her: you two are in tune with each other — that you can be lost in her, as much as she is lost in you.

Before the sun rises, get fully dressed. While she is wrapped in white sheets, tell her the truth: she is beautiful, but the touch of a man is better.

Snippet 0405

Three friends at a bar

Anna: I found my soul mate. I know it’s him, but he isn’t the one I’m with.

Francesca: We just click, you know? I never thought I’d find myself in this situation. He said he wants to stay with me, but his wife doesn’t want to sign the annulment papers.

Robin: I’m divorced. I really thought she was the one.