Bigo

Paumanhin

Para sa lahat ng bagay

Na hindi mo maintindihan

Natututo pa lang ako

Kung paano gumalaw sa

Mundong ito

Alam kong

Para sa’yo’y madali lang ‘to

Para sa’yo’y walang mahirap

Alam kong

Di mo naiintindihan kung bakit

Ako’y bingi sa mga salitang

Di mo iniimik

At bulag sa katotohanang

Hubad sa’yo

Patawad dahil

Baka sinasayang ko oras mo

O nakakasira ako ng araw

Nagtatanong ka kung

Paulit-ulit na lang ba

Pasensya na

Di ko masagot

Kulang

Ang salita ko para magpaliwanag sa’yo

Kung ilang beses ko na rin hinanap

Kung ano ba ang mali

Alam kong

Di ka maniniwala

Kung sabihin kong

Di ko ‘to sinasadya

Pero di gan’to ang hinangaring hantungan

Pangako


 

Not from any immediate personal experience, don’t worry about it LOL (rest assured, these past couple of months have been the farthest I’ve felt from the content of this poem in a while). I don’t even remember how I started writing this. But I did want to go for something with simple words and simple structure – something that still evoked a lot of emotion. Something conversational, confessional.

This goes out to all the souls who’ve felt incompetent and lost, and like they disappointed someone who was expecting more from them.

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You

Experimenting with something new.


 

The lights turn on and you step out from behind the screen, the audience welcoming you with applause. You check the settings on your effects pedal one last time while the drums tickle the excitement in the crowd. You look up and your confident eyes sweep over the eager crowd. You say, “Welcome to the Summer Festival!” unleashing your audience’s squeals.

You glance at your bandmates, and a ready smile spreads on your face. You were born for this.

Your hands rise over your head and you clap, the fans joining you before you even tell them to. A quick look to your right tells you it’s time. You throw your hand like you pulled a trigger, “Bass.”

The low notes spill over the percussion like a warm touch. You nod your head to the beat, and it takes your whole form with you. You wait to extend your arm and sing in scale, “Piano.”

The keyboard’s first sweet note collides with the cymbals like the splash of the ocean. You grin as the sound blooms and blue lights wash over you. Your gaze floats up and you breathe in, as if you were overlooking the open sea. You call out, “Fast acoustic.”

The music builds up and a swing from your arm heralds the guitar in. The audience aahs. A mic from across the stage whines, so you answer, “Hey!” The echo hangs over your shredding on the lead guitar. The crowd screams, enraptured, but all your focus is on the six electric strings vibrating under your fingertips.

You move like you are the guitar’s timbre. Like you are the pulse. The music swells and you give one final strum before the music cools and you drop your arm at your side. You stride back toward the mic, and the audience takes the opening line from you. Your eyes twinkle, as if welcoming in a friend. You motion, “Come on,” and more voices add to the richness of the verse.

Your arms mill at the elbows to their singing; your head bobs to the beat. They know all the words. Your gentle hands fall over the mic and you duet the next lyrics with the crowd, pulling them in to listen with the twist of your wrist. Every time the second voice comes on, you pull back just enough for a grin to peek through and the rhythm to course through you.

Your every gesture keeps the crowd’s attention rapt. Feeling a little mischievous, you turn away from the mic and, with a finger up in the air, cue the audience. You mouth the words, they fill in the blanks. Satisfied, you get right back in and complete the verse.

“Whoo!” you cry, ending your turn in time to hop back to strumming your guitar at the crash of the cymbals. The canorous pre-chorus has taken over you, and you’re almost unsteady on your feet, dizzy with delight.

Your forehead knots as the guitar soars, and you bite your lip until the cymbals clap and the music cools again. Ecstasy-drunk steps whisk you away to the corner of the stage, but the dancing lights still find you. You aren’t even the one singing, but you’re a show all your own. Nothing stops the grand harmony from sweeping you away to another planet.

You orbit back to your spot, drawn by the crescendoing music. When you jump into the chorus, you take the whole audience with you. Your lips move along to a line that isn’t yours, and your eyes close, feeling every chord and syncopation. It’s your song, but its beauty still overwhelms you enough to push you a few steps back. The cadence ripples through your limbs as you sing along. The rhythm breathes through your whole body. You lean your head back as you bask in white light and musical revelry.

Your eyes open and you smile, remembering where you are. The lights color you yellow as you nod and speak something inaudible to the crowd, but everyone just understands. This was it. You were going to let it all out. The last chorus explodes over the speakers and everyone leaps into the air. It’s nothing but lightness and freedom, dancing and emotion, sunny hues and song. 

And just like that, the piece ends with the last stroke and the audience erupts in cheers. You look down at your pedals, preparing for the next set – completely unaware that for four minutes and twenty-five seconds, you had become everything Joy looked like.

 


 

Most of the things I’ve written are based on something internal or imagined, and I wanted to try writing about something that I observed outside of myself. When I saw the video this was based on, I immediately felt like I needed to write. There was just something so contagious about it (of course, I took some artistic liberties in how it flowed, but it’s mostly faithful to the video).

I wrote this song in such a way that I hoped the reader would maybe feel the same kind of excitement and joy of doing what you love and living every moment of it. I kinda want to use this as a reminder to go through more and more of my days like that.

288 Days

I lost the necklace you gave me.

It must still be somewhere around the house, because I can feel its haunting presence reassuring me that it lies waiting for the accident of its rediscovery. If that moment comes, would I celebrate? Would I cry? Would I not care? … Would everything come crashing back?

How long until I stop missing you?

The question was my good night and I always knew the answer by morning. When it rained, I wondered when it would stop making me remember the scratch of your sweater. When the sun cast its rays on the earth, I asked myself when it would finish reminding me of your dappled skin under the acacia tree. When would my heart no longer cry each time melodies gave me goosebumps? When could I look up from my feet without hoping you’d pass me by? When was I going to feel the world again, when you were the vigor of my senses?

It was never a question of how. There was no how. I could run a borderless plane and still be nowhere. No matter what I could have done, it would have been either a temporary fix or a futile escape, and all roads would circle back to you. Forgetting you would have been like trying to lose the tune to a mother’s lullaby. There was no how.

There was only when. Like the end of our time, the withering of our memories will be inevitable. There was nothing to do but suffer through until time had run its course. There were no questions of inefficiencies, no viral life-hacks. No one to convince, no standard to meet. No deadline. There were no honest shortcuts. It was humbling, the powerlessness I was subjected to. I was forced to just… be.

How long until I stop missing you?

The question was solemn and quiet and at the back of my mind through day and night, in the undertones of every hangout, weekly plan, checked-off to-do list. It was like a spool of thread falling off a cliff, irreversibly undoing itself until it was spent. It was like watching cut blossoms dry with no vase to put them in. It was like an autumn of the soul.

The memories have gathered dust. They sit like snow globes on the hearth of my heart. Curious mice and sentimental fingers stir them up sometimes – but they’re just little towns and little lives from an idyllic past I’m not living anymore; a rose shard that broke off from my glasses.

Everything is faded and filtered with your grey colors. I work and learn and play, and all the world continues to turn. But I don’t see gold in the sunshine anymore.

Maybe the prick of the heat will come soon enough. Maybe the ice will thaw into paths worn under treading feet. Maybe the sky will not be overcast. But when will the lights stop looking fluorescent? When would water no longer taste distilled? When will the air fill with open fields and garden scents?

If the chips fall and chance leads your necklace back to me, would I feel the spring?


 

The necklace has yet to be found, but the spring sun shines through my open window.

The Impossible

Another thesis on Levinas’ Infinite Other.


 

What magnetism – the impossible. The flipside of reality.

I am fascinated by what exists apart from me, like the cold, milky galaxies – and how awe-striking, that I see those bright stars in the eyes of another, another with hands like me, lips like me, hopes and dreams and pains like me.

How could it be that you and I exist – move, breathe, are – in the same space? How did the rules of Things permit this? How have the seas not halved and the skies not raptured? How is it possible for such magnitude to fit a frail human heart? You and I are a question to the universe.

I see the tenderness of mellow twilight in you. I see the coy lapping of the shores in you. I see the invisible embrace of the wind in you. I see the crimson vein that goes on flowing with happiness and sorrow in you. You are the horizon of what I know and understand and am. You are the World’s Edge.

You are the beautiful impossible.

Snippet Series #17: Nightmares

I’ve been looking for this for a while, and it’s purely chance that I stumbled across a copy of it.

This is the very first poem that I wrote that made sense. Everything prior to this was required by class and/or was pretty infantile, in my opinion. Literally, lines were like “The rat scurried under the hat/So that he could run away from the cat”.

I wrote this in second year high school. Some of the verses just suddenly jumped into my mind while I was sleepily listening in class, and for several days, I couldn’t shake the words out of my head. So I wrote it all down. I probably finished writing the whole thing during break time. Ever since I wrote this, my writing has been noticeably better. It’s weird.

I didn’t know what the poem was about while I was writing it – I just know that the images were powerful and honestly kind of disturbing. It was only after I had a friend read it that it was pointed out to me that it was about poverty. It’s pretty obvious when you see it now, but when I wrote it, I just saw the voiceless suffering and the cold, detached outcasting. I still remember how unreal it felt to see those images in my head, but then… this is what’s happening in the world today.

I’ve edited it a little so that it flows just a little bit better.


 

The nightmares I had as I lay

Haunt me even into the day

Rain has stopped, clouds left the sky

But tears still flow from my eye

 

The world overflows with the sun’s beam;

I am blinded by the harsh gleam

The world sounds of sweet melodies

But all I hear are cries of misery

 

They eat from a feast and drink wine

She eats the scraps they left behind

He is naked; He has no clothes

Blessed treasure are the rags they loathe

 

 

They live in mansions of grandeur

She dwells on the streets with lepers

Their children play in flowered fields

I see the bloody knife he wields

 

The biting chill is his blanket

He’d be warmer in a casket

The world sleeps on beds of roses

She sleeps with flies, dogs and corpses

 

Starved flies come to feast on his skin

Hungry worms eat him from within

She is lost in a world of black

Lying dead and cold on her back

Snippet Series #16: Ink

Getting inspiration from a pen and paper is like extracting water from the air. Not impossible, but not easy either.


It’s been weeks. That’s too long for me.

I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to just let my thoughts flow from the hidden spring of my mind, through the stream of my fingertips around the hard plastic of my ballpoint, and unto the white sea of paper slowly being filled with the colorful words of black ink.

No, I was a fool to say that.

What human, upon tasting the sweetness and feeling the rush of inspiration pump into their veins, can fail to remember the awesome beauty of simple words strung together in an attempt to hold a moment for just a little longer? No one can forget the freedom one gets and the power one feels upon indulging in their imagination. Those who claim to have forgotten have never really felt it. How can one forget? To experience it is to want it continuously, to be lost in addiction to it.

Snippet Series #15: Imaginary Companion

I’m just sitting here wishing I could draw you. Wishing that I could hold the memory of your beautiful grin just long enough for that. But no – like a needle pulling thread you surface and dive into the colorful fibers of my unstable imagination. It seems that the harder I grip, the quicker the grains of your image run out of my mind’s hands. Your memory is a fragile butterfly that I may only ever watch and never hold, lest I kill it. The ribbons of my thought run and flutter, sketching your face on the canvas of the sky, but it is all blown away by the wind. I delve into the sweet pool of watercolored dreams and blend into the paints of a fantasy I pretend to be reality. All of it is a delightful illusion that shifts like the shades of the deep ocean.