Dad

Wrote this for my father’s birthday last November 14. Accompanying this was a book entitled Predictably Irrational, which is a decision-making book (something my dad is very in to, especially given his line of work. Something I’m in to as well, since I’m a psychology major). I decided to use it as a springboard to play on rationality and emotionality and their interaction with perception and image, in the dynamic of a parent-child relationship. I chose this because my dad has always been my image of perfect rationality and knowledge, but he also has a sensitive side, and I think those two elements are married into his love of language, literature and writing. If you ask my friends, then you know I take after him… for the most part. I don’t think that the interplay was so well-hewn in this poem – actually, I find the poem wanting – and a lot of it is standard parent-child gratitude (but to my Father’s credit, aside from being quite a character, he’s been a wonderful caretaker and model of values), but I still think it’s worthy of publishing here.


 

Dad,

It’s not easy to describe parents

A parent is both exceedingly familiar

And a mystery –

You spend your whole life knowing them

Yet you know that they lived another life before you.

You tell us stories of your past;

I remember bits and places

And you’ve introduced us to a few faces,

But how much does a child know, really?

And how much can a child,

Even full-grown,

Understand?

But I know that you are good,

And that all you do is an outpouring of love for me.

You are busy,

But you still seek to know me.

You are interested in my music

And my books

And my schooling

And in my takes on any random topic under the sun.

Most of all,

You listen to me,

When I babble,

And when I reason,

And when I joke around,

And when I am trying to make sense of my emotions.

You’ve always been all about knowing,

And because of that, I’m the same.

But I love that you are still willing to know me,

Even when I am not rational.

Even when all that I am is messy,

And quirky,

And dramatic,

And me.

You are my father

Proprietor of my abode,

Provider of each need and luxury;

Both protector of my innocence

And pusher for my knowledge and expansion

You are my teacher –

Of lexicon

Of structure

Of meaning

And I love you

And my work is done to make you proud.

I may not know you fully:

I can’t claim to understand your thoughts,

Nor do I know anything about your work,

Nor can I narrate your life story with confidence.

But I know what I need to know.

You are wise,

You are kind,

You are open,

You are honorable,

And you are mi Papa, Father dearest,

Dad.

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8th of November

Written in response to the November 8, 2016 decision of the Supreme Court to allow the burial of Dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) in the Philippines. The decision was publicly received with a mix of joy, relief and outrage.


 

Today is the 8th of November. The day the Notorious Nine ruled to bury the Dictator in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. It is a sacrilege to the symbolism of the national heritage site, a lambasting of the sacrifice of the generation before us, and a rehashing of the victimization of tens of thousands of citizens. The nation has been consumed into a numb slumber by its blindness, its humanity inverted by its twisted, conceited logic.

I don’t get why they said to “move on.” “Let’s be united,” they said.

Move on? Why should we? Were we even bitter before that?

We were making reparations, demanding justice for what was lost. Mali bang maghanap ng hustisya? Tinatamad lang ba talaga kayo? Gusto niyo bang mag-“shut up na lang” kami, which is exactly what Marcos wanted, and why so many journalists were killed in the first place?

So magpapaka-“good boy” kayo by saying, “Dears, let’s stop fighting. This is immature.” Don’t try to act all fudging holier-than-thou. Pareho lang ‘yon sa pagtatanggal ng boses namin.

‘Pag kinatay ang ama mo, ‘pag ginahasa ina mo, ‘pag trentang taon na nawawala ang bunga ng iyong sinapupunan, come right back at me and tell me this is immature.

Aksidente ba? Fudging no. Was it for a higher good? Don’t even go there. You know it was intentional, and you know what the intention was.

Kung may puso ka, hindi mo dedepensahan si Marcos. Kung tao ka, rerespetuhin mo ang kapwa tao. Kung Pilipino ka, may pake ka sa pinagdaanan ng kababayan mo. Kung may konsiyensiya ka, hindi mo masisikmuraing umuunlad buhay mo (which it actually wasn’t during the Marcos dictatorship, by the way) habang may namamatay sa tabi mo. And don’t you dare play Pilate.

We weren’t bitter and divisive before all this. Your blatant disregard for your fellowman is what split us up. It’s what drew the line.

Don’t try to turn the tables of who is causing the division, mmkay? Ikaw ang nang-iwan sa kababayan mong humihiyaw sa kamay ng militar.

We’ll be over here trying to fix this. You can come back when you’ve woken up.