Friday, April 25, 2014

Tied, worn, or slung

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


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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.


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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!


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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.


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


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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.


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


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


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From journal entries to markers for my poetry. 


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


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


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


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


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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.)


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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?


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


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


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


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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.)


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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

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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.


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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…


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


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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.


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


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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.


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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.


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


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


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


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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


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


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Watch the lives of people unfold before my very eyes.


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All the while smiling, or keeping to my silence.


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


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


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


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


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An aunt called it my good disposition.


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I would like to look at it as my perspective.


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Nothing will always seem as simple as it looks.


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


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


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But I should know better.


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These shoes will show you where I’ve been.


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


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And that is: out the door!


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Off to new adventures!


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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

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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.


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


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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.)


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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.


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


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


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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.


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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?


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


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Tee, Chevignon, thrifted
Jeans, Bench


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


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


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


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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. 


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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!