Monthly Archives: February 2009

Time in My Wallet, Money on My Watch

Time and money must be the same thing.

Think about it: if you’ve got more money, then you can buy more time, and if you’ve got more time, then you can make more money. I think there is a direct relationship here that could lead to the conclusion that these two concepts mean the same thing. Time and money could just be two different terms for power.

I’m in a position to hold this belief because I’m running out of these things these days — or nights. When I whip out my wallet to buy “budget meals” at Balog’s carinderia, I notice the thickness of paper bills there getting dangerously thin. After such instances, I usually remember that I have to work on my “freelance articles” immediately to make more paper bills next time; but then I remember that I also don’t have much time because I’ve got other priorities; sleeping and love life, for example (and I won’t compromise those easily).

And then there are also times when I need more time to work on the Web comic that I’m drawing for ages, but I can’t fit it anywhere in my schedule. Concentrating on two different things at night is really difficult, thanks to the unnatural settings of my body clock. Then I realize, if I were filthy rich right now, I can quit all my jobs and just go nuts drawing this Web comic forever. I could invest in something ambitious and put all my energies developing my art. But that’s not possible since I only have enough money to buy a short period of time for leisure and creativity.

Working hard for money also means working hard for time. Now that I’m trying to be a Senior Writer by writing ridiculously difficult stuff, I have to throw away all inhibitions and just accept my dark fate as a night shift employee. I don’t have “tomorrows” anymore, just a couple of hours before work starts again.

I’m crossing one day to another, pushing the night to its death and the day to its birth while hoping that I’m also pushing the contents of my wallet to grow overnight.

When you’ve got so much of these two resources, they eventually disappear from your life. People who have so much money can buy so much time that the pressure to fit things into schedules evaporates in the air. Money ceases to become an issue, as well as time.  Of course, there’s always the issue of how to make that money grow, but the funny thing is, you can buy people who will worry about that issue. Curiously, you set yourself free from time and money only when you have colossal quantities of them.

Indeed, the most powerful men don’t feel power at all. Power is natural to them, like their noses and eyes. Only people who don’t have enough are sensitive of power. To add another metaphor, beautiful people don’t feel beauty. Only people who are not beautiful enough are aware of its existence. Freedom means excess.

Time can be bent by money through various means. Rich folks pay for vitamins, good food, clean environments to live in, cosmetics and surgical procedures to bend time to their will. I bet when cryonics becomes possible, the wealthiest on earth will be the first ones to achieve some kind of physical immortality, erasing time altogether.

But that’s stretching the possibilities a bit too far. Right now, I can only observe that I need more time and money in order to keep on living sanely. Which reminds me, you can also set yourself free from time and money through madness and death — another identical concepts.

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Filed under Life, Random Thoughts

The Complexity of Coolness

Multicolored lights slice through the darkness.
Sweat splashes through the thin air in some
Headache-inducing bar that pulls brains out of ears!

I picture such a thing in the embers of the dying cigarette stick,
With its fire throbbing violently on the floor.
I stare at the complexity of coolness right in the eye,
Hang my head down like an insignificant man in the street.

How many words does it take to enter that door
So I can join in the laid-back musings of free, creative creatures?
How many rhymes do I have to invest
To match the haunting power of a song?

Failures strangle this cause full of wrong angles.
The coffee sheds off heat as I am captivated by defeat.
Oh, if I can only conquer histories with a qwerty keyboard!
If I can only grow groupies by fertilizing the floor with ink,
You might come with me somewhere crowds don’t dance,
Performers don’t prance! And then I’ll have my precious chance
To make your eyes look up at the ceiling to the beat of a sigh.

What should I do when I run out of magic tricks?
There should be shops where I could buy more awesomeness.
What should I do when I run dry of enchanted wit?
There should be plenty of inspiration in bitter dreams.

I’m an old fragile statue amidst booming, glowing towers,
And you are a spotlight that brings life to the night.
My eyes turn watery as I contemplate your deep love,
While your tongue shoots needles on automatic.
You carefully asked me what I am thinking.
I hesitantly said that I am merely listening.
Nothing else I could do but cower at past giants,
Admit that they deserved such enviable heartbeat.
I stare at the complexity of coolness right in the eye,
Hang my head down like an insignificant man in the street.

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Filed under Love, Poems

Get Off Me! (A Monologue on YOU)

I am me. I am myself. I am this person, this body, this mind. These actions, such as this instance of typing on a keyboard, form my identity. I’ve lived for 23 years, writing the story of my life as I go along.

You don’t know me.

But you think you do. You think of a lot of things. It’s probably all you can do with your life. All right, go ahead and think of me. Analyze my actions, my decisions, my feelings. Are you getting to the truth of it already? Try harder. Maybe you need to look through a bunch of books for some reference.

It’s not my style to wage war on the Internet. It’s simply cowardly and pathetic.  I’d rather you and me break each other’s jaw until someone gets knocked out. It’s about paralyzing the other party, anyway. Think about it. It’s all about stepping on another person to feel the power surging in your veins. If we were kickboxers, we’d settle this in the ring. If we were tennis players, we’d go on the lawn to sort this out. But we’re professional complainers, so I’ll excuse myself just this once. I’m going to play this game of word war. Continue reading

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My Beef With Rock Stars

A modern god to smite measly mortals

I have my own rock idols but I generally hate rock stars to my very bones.

People overestimate and overrate rock stars all the time but it’s fine. It’s natural, normal and expected. One can even say eating, drinking, breathing, and overestimating rock stars are essential to life.

My beef with rock stars is that they are rock stars, unlike me. They strum those electric guitars, bash those drums, scream on those microphones, and work those crowds — unlike me. Their mere existence is injustice to me. I’m small because they’re big. I’m boring because they’re exciting. I’m simple because they’re colorful. I’m me because they’re them.

To qualify this bitterness, let me provide some small personal details on the matter. See, I have a girlfriend who was once a rock star herself. (The term “rock star” here refers to a popular individual who regularly performs rock music before a crowd. ) Since she was once a rock star (and there’s reason to argue that she still is), many of her friends, exes, and acquaintances are rock stars, too.

Now, that might sound simple and innocent to you but it’s a nagging pain for me. Just think: how would you feel if you’re constantly comparing yourself to people who have hundreds of avid followers who think their idols are artistic geniuses? Wouldn’t you feel insignificant compared to these people? Wouldn’t you feel boring and two-dimensional compared to these sweaty, hoarse, exciting and musically gifted individuals?

I am not exaggerating. I’m probably just more sensitive to this issue because of my unique personal circumstances. You can hate me for it but you can’t deny I have a point.

Ladies love rock stars, and that’s a fact. Some of them tell me that they think rock stars are normal people when they’re not on stage. Once they do get up on the stage and start doing their rock-star stuff however, they transform into superheroes, heavenly beings, demigods, immortals or something like that. Did you miss the irrationality in that? Read the paragraph again. Wait, maybe that’s logical. Stupid writer.

What’s a lazy, dark, and whining writer got compared to such untouchable entities? What’s a regular employee in a cold, square building got compared to such blazing, shining, dancing bodies of light?

“Well, the writer can write and the employee can go to work and earn some money,” you might say. Yeah, I see that, but they’re still not rock stars.

Don’t you get it? We’re not rock stars.

We’re not rock stars.

We can’t be rock stars.

And that’s the problem.

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Night Shift Now

As I’m writing this sentence, I still have three more hours to go before I can finally go home. It’s 3:00 in the morning here in Ortigas.

It’s my first night ever as a lucky, employed guy on a night shift. This is the joker card that I lay on the table in this poker game with the devil of global recession. I couldn’t do night shifts before but I’m doing them now. Yeah, f*ck recession. Here’s my card. Read it: “night shift.”

One can’t be too choosy nowadays — or nowanights. It seems that the company can’t get day shift clients for me, so they sent me to the dark. Now I’m on the dark side, the shadows, the eerie, scary, bone-chilling graveyard shift.

Forgive the flowery language. It’s the only thing that my mind can manage at this level of sleep deprivation. This shift is hard. My body is only supporting my soup-like brain because I’m energized by an unworldly fuel of mush. If not for these transcendental feelings of lightness and optimism, my face would now be scraping this greasy keyboard.

The keyboard’s greasy because my mouth is automatically gorging on PeeWee, an all-Filipino junkfood. Went to the bathroom two hours ago and noticed that my left eye was already bloodshot. My thoughts are as sharp as a chubby chin and my body feels like Baguio beans. I don’t even know what that means. Who cares? I’m a sleepy bastard on a night shift.

Did you know that it’s both acceptable to type night shift and nightshift? Bet you didn’t.

Do you know that you’ll also go on night shift if it means that you’ll probably get promoted and earn a much higher salary? I bet you do.

This body is but a tool to make itself survive. It will choose to punish itself if it means it’ll have something in its hungry belly tomorrow morning. Night shift is nothing because I need money. I can’t allow myself to become a part of the mass of people roaming jobless on the face of the earth. There’s no doubt now that this is a dog-eat-dog world. I’ll be living on my own carcass in the near future, feeding on my fluid-drained, double-dead, tired meat. Blunt eh? Told you my mind is as sharp as a chubby chin. Whatever.

If I pass the day-time client’s interview tonight, then I’ll be writing resumes for people I don’t know. That, by the way, means big bucks.

The client hasn’t yet replied to my e-mail as the hour comes to a close, however. This could mean that I’ll be back to being a normal daytime wanderer soon. Of course, that would also mean I’ll be jobless. I’ll be hunting for jobs again, figuring out how to send people to school, how to maintain the KFC fries addiction, and how to support my money-munching romantic relationship (all romantic relationships are money-munching).

Too many possibilities. My soup-like brain can’t process them.

It’s 3:50. Cocks are crowing in our backyard. Gotta get up and eat lunch.

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Filed under Life

Cold Coffee in Baguio

Emptied another mug of Benguet coffee,
Listened to another conversation from the next table
In Baguio. I’m free to scribble here,
Let the pencil tip wander from one cold thought to another,
Reflect on empty spaces in the shadows of pines.
Nothing comes to mind
But the retirement of the lines,
Of the restless spirits, and of the aching limbs.
All retire here. People sit and talk,
Look each other in the eye innocently.
It’s as if the endless zigzag road dumped
My ragtag soul into trash bins properly segregated.
Dated here from one cold establishment to another,
Emptying my wallet in the shadows of the night.
Nights are cruel here but smiling.
They send the icy winds to my eyes and my thin fingers,
Watch me curiously, sniggering at how I shiver
From head to toe, with her in my arms.

Fire brought me here.
Somewhere in this labyrinth-like city, buses stop,
People shop, old folks cough, but my fuel burns eternally.
I walk here, not like a cigarette hopelessly perishing
In an ash tray. I sleep here, not like the idle clouds
That sail slowly over my head. I could almost touch them.
I write here because I feel the chill creeping, hinting at me.

Emptied another mug of excitement,
Listened to another nonsense from the next table
In Baguio. I’m free to miss people here,
Let my tired legs climb one steep stairway to another,
Reflect on futile causes leaving me behind.
Nothing comes to mind
But her dark mascara and her hidden intentions
Disturbing my thoughts out in the open.
Weird that people sip icy shakes here,
Wear skimpy shorts and keep their cheer
Even as my head attempts to self-destruct
To let all the weird heat out. Where’s home?
I was there last week; I can remember the sweat.
There were familiar smiles and voices, oil on faces.
I think I was there last week.

Everything here is rich and silent.
A peculiar peacefulness lives even in the noisiest streets.
This city is a man who has had his fill
Of a sumptuous meal, and with his eyes drooping,
Dropped to the nearest bed and had slowly unfolding dreams.

I’m free to whisper here,
Let my voice mingle with the wind that freezes noses and ears.
Funny that I’m here with her, with this ridiculous air
Around me. Laptops, jackets, fog and preserves
Dance before me as I pay the cheap taxi fare.
“I’m in Baguio, right?” I ask her.
One should make sure since it’s hard to infer.
They told me the place was beautiful before I left.
Well, I found out that it’s cold — simply cold.
Had to empty myself,
Listen to coded dialects here in this table
Somewhere in Baguio. I’m free to be sad here,
Let the pencil tip glide from one cold feeling to another,
Reflect on empty minutes in the shadows of pines.
Nothing comes to mind.
No, nothing comes to mind now.

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Filed under Poems