Friday, April 25, 2014

Tied, worn, or slung


The disadvantage of posting pictures too far from the time they were taken is forgetting what I was thinking or feeling at that time. 


Like I recall these images were taken Monday afternoon and that I wore white jeans because it was warm and I brought a cardigan because I was going to be out till the evening. But I don’t remember what inspired me to wear black and white.


The advantage, on the other hand, is gaining greater perspective after the lapsing of time, especially when one can look at an event against the context of a succession of days, weeks, months. Heavens, even years!


That’s what happens to the books I buy, which I sign and date. Afterwards, I find myself glancing at the stroke of my name like old scars. Trying to remember which pen I used, why it bled or ran out of ink. Why some signatures had to be repeated over faint marks.


Same goes for the notes that I scribble and set aside, convinced they would be useful for future poems. Or self-reference.


Sometimes I intentionally write them to air them out – I want to see if they would still be valid after the sting or slather has subsided or dried up.


Hence it would make sense to rename this post “Tried, wrung, or unsung”.


Of course, it goes without saying that the posts on these very pages serve the same purpose. 


From journal entries to markers for my poetry. 


Though they may sound detached and aloof, they are a definite way to plot my personal history. 


Once I have the breathing space to write thoroughly, I will return to these entries like a general inspecting sentries.


Oh how I yearn to think and speak with military cadence!


T-shirt, A.P.C.
Jeans, thrifted
Braided belt, Nautica
Sneakers, Generic Surplus
Cardigan, Muji


But in the meantime, I have to settle with explaining why wearing mommy jean-ish denim makes sense – as compared to my white Margielas. (It takes me forever to button and then hook the crotch of jeans and pants purchased from the house that the Belgian abandoned.)


Need I point out that combining a tee with a relaxed fit and a cardigan tied around the waist (just in case) is my way of biding my time?


It still surprises me that these ill-fitting jeans don’t look that bad in these pictures. 


And that against the light my hair actually looks brown (like my mom's).


Returning to the topic of time difference, there is an advantage to having a boyfriend who works nights. 


I can have my silence when he is asleep. Hence I have the time to write this post. (Not that he could already afford to work at the moment.)


I imagine writers with children feel the same way. But what I am actually amazed (but not at all surprised) at, is that after months of being together, we have learned to visit each other in our dreams: I in his sleep, and he on the walking and wide-awake white page.

I hope you forgive any incoherence. I blame the coffee and occasional jets breaking my concentration (and the sound barrier!).

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Midweek meanderings


Well, technically, the median was yesterday, Wednesday. But I got caught up with personal errands. So yeah. This was what I wore last Monday, when I didn’t have to go to work. Hence the shorts.


Come to think of it, office people should be allowed to wear decent shorts in the tropics – what, with the blazing heat and the consequent discomfort. I mean, women are allowed to wear minis, some of which are shorter than my own DIY cut-offs. But I digress…


Say hello again to my naturally distressed canvas sneakers, worn down by wear and the weather, which have made them softer and more comfortable.


I remember way back when I was in elementary - during those summers breaks when the family didn’t decide to take a road trip or a flight to somewhere near the beach – I would always be carrying my stuff in a backpack because I liked to sleep over either at my cousins’ or at my grandmother’s house.


The first week would be spent at one house, then the second at another, then the third with other relatives.


I didn’t mind packing my essentials and I didn’t miss my own bed as much. I packed light even before I heard of the term.


Even if I only stayed with family, each week was an adventure. It was as if I wanted to pack as much as I could into my summer vacations.


I would tag along with older cousins, do chores I normally didn’t do at home, play lots of board games.


Am not sure I even had time to read comics or pocket books. (Rest in peace, Archie Andrews.)


I was a wanderer who never grew bored of the things around me.


T-shirt, U2
Cut-off shorts, DIY from Lee jeans, thrifted
Sneakers, Bass
Backpack, thrifted
Versatile cap and visor, Armani Exchange
Belt from Divisoria
Watch, Guess


Most of all, I was eager to listen to stories. 


Watch the lives of people unfold before my very eyes.


All the while smiling, or keeping to my silence.


Never once suspecting that these stories would ever become part of future writings.


I guess that’s how I also never get that weighed down by problems.


By keeping my distance, even before my own personal crises, I have been able to work through them.


Quietly and patiently, just like the plot of a long novel working through a book’s pages.


An aunt called it my good disposition.


I would like to look at it as my perspective.


Nothing will always seem as simple as it looks.


But also nothing will ever be as hard as we imagine it to be.


Of course, I am aware that this almost verges on the nihilistic.


But I should know better.


These shoes will show you where I’ve been.


But only I can find out where I’m headed.


And that is: out the door!


Off to new adventures!


Wherever I am, even if I’m only sitting before my desk, in front of me there will always be an open window.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Three tasks by the tamarind tree


I wore these two “outfits” last Saturday: the one with the gray tee before I went to the gym around noon and the black one when I went out again after going back home to eat and rest. It was early in the afternoon.


You can guess for yourself the time of day each picture was taken by the way the shadows of branches and leaves cast themselves.


I remember planting these tamarind trees in our backyard in 2003. I got the seeds from my grandmother’s ancestral house in Maragondon, Cavite. (Until now, I don’t think I’ve tasted the sweet, pasty rind that I enjoyed more than a decade ago from the pods of these trees – they grow so high that our neighbors keep on pruning the branches themselves.)


I don’t know who said that to be fulfilled in life, one needs to do three things: to plant a tree, to write a book, and to raise a child. It doesn’t really matter if it came from the Talmud (which says marry a wife rather than raise a child) or if it is attributed to José Martí (or even Pablo Picasso). The proverb makes sense.


By the way, this is me meowing (didn’t know before this picture how I looked “conversing” with our two cats).


And this is me looking at one of them climbing our roof and gallivanting to our neighbor’s.


But back to the proverb. At first, I couldn’t figure out the logic or the connection between the three “tasks” in life (I’ve already planted three tamarind, or sampaloc trees, and one palm.) Sure, one can think that planting a tree and raising a child can be self-serving: for eating fruit and ensuring that there will be children to take care of you in your old age.


But every parent will tell you that not every child returns the favor, just as not every tree bears fruit that can be eaten. And what about writing a book? Is it for fame or for ensuring that you will not be forgotten?


Tee and jeans, Bench
Belt from an Italian market
Sandals, Birkenstock
Backpack, Team Manila


Tee, Chevignon, thrifted
Jeans, Bench


Partyly true. I think the proverb is all about the future.


All three: trees, children, and books have “lives” that live beyond us.


That more can benefit from shade, fruit, and oxygen.


That more people can hear about the stories waiting to be told by our own children. That more can share our joy and learn from our mistakes. 


And thus I realize I have once again forgotten to write what I have set out to illustrate in this post (something about books and what I'm writing about), which sounds more like a sermon than a journal entry. 

But what the heck! There will be more time for that. Till then, happy Tuesday!