Monthly Archives: June 2011

so there i was

lounging on my favorite couch at ride & roll bar trying to enjoy my glass of screwdriver last night. it is ride & roll’s twilight week, and we were set to increase their revenues even by just a percentage. it’s the least we can do for a place that served my favorite adobo rice.

how did i end up with a glass of screwdrive when i was looking forward to a bottle or two of red horse beer?

let’s start with this admission: i am acutely afraid of germs, especially new pathogens from new locales. when i am settled for the day, bathed and happy, and we get a text message for a late-night out jaunt, i wear a cap and a jacket. i compromise “fashion” for my “fear” if only to protect myself from physical contact with strangers and with dirty tables and countertops.

so when i discovered an insect in my half-finished bowl of binagoongan courtesy of ambula at xavierville, i wanted to barf right there on our table. i wanted to get my spritzer of isopropyl alcohol and burn my tongue with endless sprays. i was in a panic, and i was giving out nega vibes. so i went out and brooded and sulked and channeled all of holden caulfield’s cool sense of hatred toward the world.

jazz told me i can kill the germs by drinking vodka or tequila. ride & roll only had ladies’ drinks. the screwdriver and a glass of margarita were my germ busters. i sincerely hope the two glasses worked.

and so there i was lounging on my favorite couch at ride & roll trying to enjoy my glass of screwdriver last night because it is the bar’s twilight week when joel toledo walked in to use the men’s loo at the second floor.

that. is. joel. toledo. i thought.

i’ another thought. i mean i was drinking and i was still channeling holden caulfield but a part of me that’s giddy and perpetually in awe of writers is kicking and screaming to be let out.

i let that part of me out while holding on to a retreating holden persona and said hello to him.

so here are what i got from joel from the two instances we talked: One when i went out to greet him; two when he bade us goodbye and thanked me for the CD of anthology my co-fellows and I at the Silliman Workshop prepared as a token of thanks to our panelists and to friends.

– he’s happy when i introduced him to my friends and i said “SIYA yung book na binili ko!” and he said, “Tama yan, dapat patay na ang writer pag anduun ang work niya”
– he’s leaving for a three-month residency in Iowa
– he’s looking forward to meeting a dean at iowa and meeting ROBERT HASS. yes, meeting ROBERT HASS (i just needed to repeat that).
– he’s been neck-deep in poetry and other works because of the Under the Storm antho and because of Phil. Free Press’s upcoming awards

yesterday was an eventful day. i marched with LGBT people and supporters at the UP pride march under the banner of task force pride and not under our home org’s simply because of a mix-up about our tarp. i met joel toledo in quezon city (the first time was at Silliman University) which was a surreal experience. and i ate something that housed an insect’s icky juices and all its baggage of germs.

i’m still alive, still brooding, still clingy to ride & roll, still toying with the idea of spritzing isopropyl alcohol inside my mouth like a breath freshener. so there.

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for reference and for equality

Should I trust Wikianswers?

In English, a good rule of thumb is that there is one syllable per audible vowel sound. So in ‘sprite’, only the ‘i’ is audible. (The ‘e’ is silent, though it influences the pronunciation of the ‘i’.) Rare exceptions to this are words like ‘rhythm’, which is pronounced like a 2-syllable word: ‘rhyth-m’.
From here

Okay, noted, but should I trust you?

in other (personal) news, my brother is sick as per his punctuation mark-less SMS because of the moody weather, i’m killing time channel-surfing, and the girlfriend is out with one of her best buddies on a quick drive to tagaytay and back. my brother just sent an SMS telling me he just saw Jazz over at Brigada on TV. what the hell is brigada? and on what local channel again?

accompanying the blustery weather that makes me happy is the news that gay marriage is now legal in New York. fist pumps in the air! it’s so liberating to note that one of the most advanced cities has just abandoned some of its regressive ways.

there are people who think or who assume that LGBT people only wish for the ceremony associated with the marriage rites — dresses, dances, food, the “you may now kiss the bride” part, and the whole hoopla and riot of organizing one. if that’s the only aspect of it, then more LGBTs would have trooped to Reverend CJ’s Metropolitan Church group (an NGO officiating ceremonies for LGBTs based in Quezon City) and would have requested a commitment ceremony right then and there.

what LGBT people are after are the legal rights that come after the legal ceremony — the right to co-own property, to co-adopt, to have one’s partner as part of one’s will under the “family” category, to decide for one’s partner during medical emergencies. In short, to be recognized as part of a duo under the law. here in our country with the anti-discrimination bill pending for years, LGBT people cannot even argue for the right to be respected as per their gender identity. we can’t even give justice to those who have been physically, emotionally, and sexually violated and who have been killed simply for claiming the brave banner of being lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders. no wonder some heterosexual people claim that some lesbians are just too defensive as it is, day in and day out, or that some gays are pa-men or pa-mhinta. eh ikaw kaya gawing butt of jokes since high school, ewan ko kung di ka maging defensive?

I love my vodka, but here's more reason to love Absolut. In 2008, it created a lovely bottle celebrating the 30th anniversary of the rainbow flag. From

if you know anyone who has gone through discrimination because of his or her gender identity, i hope you have tried being there for that person. it’s not about kindness even. kindness presupposes a disparity in status. it’s just how things are supposed to be — equal and ultimately, gay and happy.


A good read: Why every straight person needs to hang a rainbow flag by Alice Dreger

tomorrow, Pride March will be held in Baguio City. i salute our contingents there. congratulations also to Rainbow Rights Project founder angie umbac who is the international grand marshal in the 2011 Toronto Pride Festival. this is a huge deal for a lesbian Filipina since “the International Grand Marshal will act as an ambassador to highlight international human rights issues throughout the Pride Week festival at official human rights events and other events. In addition, she will lead the Dyke March and the Pride Parade.“ YES! ikaw na, Anggeh!

let’s continue celebrating diversity even in our own little ways.

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a meme

what’s a meme anyway? i’m too lazy to google it. if you’re kind, maybe you can explain it to me. suffice it to say that i got this from baby jopai who got this from glenn who got this from alyza who got this from somewhere. i want to answer the questions as a sort of affirmation that i am on the right writing track and to show you dear readers that i haven’t read as much books as i project myself to have done so. guilty as charged!!

oh and before diving into this, i want to share that i finally met karl r. de mesa, author of news of the shaman and damaged people — tales of the gothic-punk.

i first encountered his name and work when i was asked to report on his memoir, reports from the abyss, for philippine literature 151 under the very amazing and uber brilliant ruth jordana pison. i had to get in touch with him and scuttle to his blog to bug him for quotes. afterward, it was sms and emails between us as he became part of my writers’ pool for another magazine. he, in turn, made my dream come true of writing for Monday magazine.

we met up at bookay-ukay on wednesday evening and had a bottle of beer each at the adjacent tomato kick. we were joined by his friend from a great local band. it was a conversation that swerved from media chismis to local music and took a sharp turn to other topics like tattoos and the perpetual haunting of the ivory tower (this was primarily my issue during our exchange).

it was a rainy evening, and i was glad to have glenn around who taught me how to commute to tomato kick.

here goes nada:

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Haruki Murakami, Charles Dickens, Salman Rushdie, Sylvia Plath, Margaret Atwood

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
A book by an author I’m too selfish to share with the public. Mom Weena met him at one of those Iowa gatherings. Also Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Yep, but there’s beauty in letting go.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Estella of Great Expectations and Esther of The Bell Jar.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
Satanic Verses, Where the Wild Things Are, Midnight’s Children, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, The Little Prince, The Robber Bride

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Christmas Carol (yes, I’m a Charles Dickens fanatic)

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

Wala namang worst book.

8 ) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

Sylvia Plath’s Ariel.

9) If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?

The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie dahil sa word play and allusion to pop culture and to Orpheus and Eurydice with a rock culture setting. Yeah!

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?

Edith Tiempo

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

Any Umberto Eco book. Mind fuck!

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

Any lesbian book like Orlando.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

Marami na so it’s hard to recount them, and I’ve forgotten most of them. If we treat Jesus as a literary character, then I had a very weird and scary dream involving him. He was looking for me as he climbed the stairs, the cross borne on his shoulders going thump thump thump on the stairs. Next scene: He was on the cross, and he suddenly fell to the ground. And then he looked up: His face was the devil’s. This was a recurring nightmare when i was a kid.

On a lighter note, I recently had a dream with Jopai in it.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?

Ayoko baka maka-offend ako.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

Umberto Eco’s The Island of the Day Before because you need full concentration. Also Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea dahil… wait for it… ang boring niya. Samahan mo pa ng Norah Jones in the background, and it’s suicide country. Kill me now, lord.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?

Obscure? Parang wala naman.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Russia as a destination, Russians for novels, French for poetry.

18) Roth or Updike?

Honestly, wala pa kong nabasang works nila.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

Same as my reply in 18

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

Shakespeare or Chaucer

21) Austen or Eliot?


22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

Kapag binabasa ko ang mga guilty pleasure books ko like Kikomachine, haha! Biggest lang, not embarrassed of them. I like that set of books. They always kept me company during therapies.

23) What is your favorite novel?

A novel by the author I’m too selfish to share with the public. Second best favorite: Midnight’s Children. Third best: Sputnik Sweetheart by Murakami

24) Play?

Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare. Forever Witches by Estrella Alfon (i’m crazy this way). Rent by Jonathan Larson.

25) Poem?

Isa lang? No can do. you fit into me by atwood. purple bathing suit by gluck. autumn by rilke. proxy eros by mookie katigbak. variation of the word sleep by margaret atwood. plath’s lady lazarus. alunsina takes a walk in the rain by conchitina cruz. on loving an atheist by ashley polley. no umbrella by cynthia ayala. mad girl’s love song by plath. eileen tabios’s causing adultery and the secret of her happiness. love poem exercise 197: loss by ramon sunico. dear one absent this long while by lisa olstein. etc. etc. etc.

26) Essay?

Essayists na lang. Joi Barrios, Thelma Kintanar, Gilda Cordero-Fernando, Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil

27) Short story?

The Cries of Children on an April Afternoon in the Year 1957 by masterful Gregorio Brillantes. The lottery. A story by kurt vonnegut that was unjustly titled a long walk to forever. Dancing girls by margaret atwood. ALL stories by kerima polotan-tuvera. Professor quemada’s last words by eric gamalinda. The laugher by heinrich boll. Wants by Grace Paley. Sexy by Jhumpa Lahiri.

28) Work of nonfiction?

Alice Sun-Cua’s travel pieces. I, Do, Still by Rica Bolipata-Santos (thanks to walkingwithsunshine for the painstaking work of typing it)

29) Who is your favorite writer?
The author I don’t want to share with you. Others: Salman Rushdie, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Sylvia Plath.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

Yung writer ng Twilight saga.

31) What is your desert island book?

Which one is it? Stuck in the desert or on an island? Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut kasi kelangan mo tumawa at umiyak pag stranded ka. Good luck if you have Eco or Marquez that requires more brain power. Plus Jill Thompson’s A Little Endless Storybook.

32) And… what are you reading right now?

All my pretty ones by Anne Sexton, Chiaroscuro by Joel Toledo, if i write you this poem, will you make it fly by simeon dumdum, Brothers Karamazov, Zyzzyva (anthology of West Coast writers), The Game by A.S. Byatt (yes, I can’t focus on one book)

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deathly: back in your head, cornflake girl!

whenever i work, i try to listen to music. in between transcribing interviews, my hands go on auto looking for tegan and sara, tori amos, and aimee mann over at youtube.

for tonight’s search, i found this two-minuter. i like sara more than tegan in terms of facial features. but since they’re identical twins, the fact that i have a hard time telling them apart just tickles me. i was told there were initial plans to bring them over here for a concert, but every thing’s all abstract. so this is my attempt to campaign for their concert to push through here in manila. even without Facebook (where I heard people are voting for the concert to happen here), i am doing my part.

to help me identify sara more, I’ve decided to research on her tats.

here’s from

Upper Right Arm –black symbol
Outer Right Forearm –colourful tree
Outer Left Arm near Elbow –black symbol
Inner Left Forearm –colourful tree with heart
Upper Right Bicep –beginning of quote from Bruce Springsteen’s The Human Touch “What you don’t surrender” by Justina Kervel
Upper Left Bicep –continuation of quote from Bruce Springsteen’s The Human Touch “the world just strips away” by Justina Kervel

Inner Left Forearm – symbol that looks like a capital E with an extra line
Inner Left Bicep – black and red birds
Outer Right Wrist – black six lines
Inner Right Wrist – black ring
Right Bicep – black rope-ish design COVER-UP by boat in waves
Inner Right Bicep – black ninja with sword in front of tree
Centre Back – black design

therefore, on this video, Sara is the one on the right. i was correct all along! 55 points!

okay, scuttling back to work now.

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another fangirl moment (pilit na moment)

oh my god, nasa wall ng Facebook account ni F. Sionil Jose ang pangalan ko because I made it to the initial shortlist of UNDER THE STORM: An Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry

proximity albeit in a virtual manner.

fangirling. like what i did and went through when i saw chingbee cruz. she was several feet away from me, and the reverence i felt toward her was…supersonic. i even worshiped her pink boots.

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– the number of times i rewrote the poem i wanted tattooed on my left wrist
– the number of times i have myself inked to date
– the number of times i scraped my tattooed wrist on objects
– the number of times i have applied petroleum jelly on it

third tat

And I am not about to stop counting.

When I had my first tattoo, it was june 11 or june 12 of 2007. Her name is Luna, my fallen angel.

My second — I had it 4th quarter of 2009 as Jazz’s gift to me. Her name is clementine, my suicidal dreamer. She’s dead, but like the characters in Unbearable Lightness of Being, she breathes repetition.

The third one was inked on me on June 11, 2011. It is a poem by Margaret Atwood, a poem that lives out metaphor, form, brevity, power, voice. And pain.

When I was being tattooed, I was on the phone scheduling a photo shoot for the first four minutes. The rest of the 10 minutes flew by with me capturing it on video. In the video, I could be heard singing along with Tegan and Sara and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Jazz’s and Mako’s voices could be heard marveling at how I welcomed pain. Ani was my official DJ. She would have her turn next. She would clutch Jazz’s hand, and I would be the videographer. I would needle the artist to make sure the letter “i” remains small. I would comfort Ani, and she would remain in her seat, fidgety and noisy, holding on to Crazy Courage’s folds of her dress. She would go home and comment that I was a good videographer. She would be told by Jazz to go for that item in her bucket list that is infamous and crazy and nerve-wracking and blood-pumping. She would most probably do it.

It was a road trip to Tagaytay. Ani had Cynthia Ayala’s words tattooed on her left wrist — knowing there is only now. Mako had an old one covered. Death of Endless is her piece. It was Death on several levels for her. The shading part was sheer torture, and her skin bruised up because of it. Her pores bloomed in anger, but she plowed through it. The day after, Death was swollen but beguiling as ever.

I notice that I get inked every two years. What will happen in 2013 then? The poet’s heart beats more questions than answers so I wouldn’t know. What I do know is how I welcome pain like a dear, dear friend. I just let her be, and being of wanderlust descent, she would step out and would take long walks. Every time she knocks on my door, I know she’s chosen me again. That is how surrender is — you know what’s in store, and you open your heart for more.

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When I’m confident enough

I will be able to come up with a dance routine using this song

and this song

and another routine using this by Imogen Heap

Imogen Heap and The Postal Service are wicked! Moments like these ones, I’m really glad music was created by the universe.

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quotes, elements, whatnot

I promised tweeps that I’ll be uploading my notes from the Silliman Workshop. Fyi, not notes as in notes for every piece critiqued but actually, quotes and a reading list and elements of a couple of genres.

I was lazy to type them as text; just download them as images. No apologies for the handwriting, but I do apologize if I may have misspelled authors’ names.

Happy reflecting!

Elements of a longer short story

Quotes from discussions

Readings + elements of a prose poem

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