Monthly Archives: October 2010

A Routine Reflection on Routines

You know what they call drinking on Fridays, right? They call it “unwinding.” The connotation is something like, Monday to Friday, you stress yourself out, working on your job, a trapped robot among hundreds of trapped robots along a kilometer of conveyor belt. But then on Friday night, you get a screwdriver and unscrew all your nuts and bolts, get out of your metal shell, and sit on a table in a bar a complete breathing human being for once. And then you look at the inviting golden bubbles of your cold bottle of beer and drink it. All the problems sorta melt, dripping at the back of your head, vaporizing into nothing at least for that night, and you’re free. That’s “unwinding” for you. For us.

But that’s the thing with routines. Even the part where you unwind after a routine is part of the routine–you tend to realize that after a few drinking sessions. You realize that somebody’s fooling you and having a good laugh at you. Even that blissful moment of drunken freedom is actually part of your role as a clunking robot. You can say it’s even the last stop at the conveyor belt before it enters the machine, goes around, and begins the cycle once more.

Routines are our lives. Well, at least for some of us, like me, for example. If you’ve got a creative job then good for you. Or it may also be the case that your job’s really not creative at all, but since you’ve got very low standards and expectations when it comes to creativity, you’re satisfied with your job as it is. If you’re that kinda guy, you’re lucky and I envy you. Continue reading

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The Eye Shutter

In the future, when people can’t close their eyes anymore without the external services of a professional, Mac dreamed of becoming the best Eye Shutter in the world.***

His older brother was a licensed Toothbrusher. His sister was a Belly Scratcher living with a man who was a Burp Inducer. Mac’s mom and dad were really proud of them all but more so with Mac since he dreamed of pursuing such a high-profile career.

Being an Eye Shutter requires tremendous passion and skill for people simply can’t close their eyes through normal means anymore, not even with the anesthetics and tranquilizers of olden days. The career requires a 4-year college course plus 4 more years in an Eye Shutting Institute to learn all the technical skills to shut a person’s eye tight. Even the best Eye Shutters who had attained celebrity status like Brandon E. McDonald sometimes encountered almost insurmountable challenges in their field. There was this time when McDonald bashed a patient’s head against a wall to make him fall asleep, resulting in the patient’s skull and jaw cracking in 54 different places and his left eye permanently going blind. The case was much publicized until the patient–waking up quite sadly from a 23-day coma–finally corroborated McDonald’s statement that the “therapeutic” move was done with consent.

But none of those kinds of stories had ever deterred Mac from studying rigorously to become the person of his dreams. And so he became a legend in his Eye Shutting Institution for raking in honors and prestigious recognitions from organizations like the Neo-Insomniacs Club and government agencies like The Commission on Forced Unconsciousness.

Time passed and Mac graduated as the most promising student in his Alma mater. In 2 years time, his genius successfully transferred from his campus to his clinic and to the TV screens of people all over the country and the world over. Continue reading

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A Philosophical Rat

There was once a rat who tried to understand the world. It was a philosophical rat, a rare kind of rat for its issues were not limited to when the folks around the kitchen table would leave. So this rat, coming to the conclusion that their little scrappy hole couldn’t foster deep thinking, scurried along the rusty water pipes and finally came out on the roof. It was above the neighborhood blanketed in darkness. It was below the glowing yellow ball in the sky and the tiny lights that always looked down.

And the rat asked, “Why do we rats suffer?” But it couldn’t answer its own question because it didn’t know why the folks around the table used a cane (caked in the blood of its relatives) whenever its rat family would go out to get their share of food.

It looked up at the clouds and wondered, “Is there really such a thing as love?” But it couldn’t answer its own question for it couldn’t delve into female rats’ minds and, were it a gay rat, it also couldn’t know what male rats thought. In fact, when it pondered the question more, it didn’t know what love consisted at all. Continue reading

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Red Light

Bad
Bad

They have no idea
how bad it gets
when the office falls
silent
and I’m left to gaze ahead

at the beckoning abyss of the wall
dotted with sharp pins.

Bad
Gripping

Your face on my cell phone
eternally smiles, and I remember
I was there in that same room
on that same night,
as bald stray cats prowled the grounds,
and I
was seeing more — far more,
an entire more universe
sparkling with undiscovered stars —
than this

greasy

gadget

in my hand.

Mad
Seeping

It’s like a naive cancer or an earthquake,
or a tragic film no pleasant soul
would wanna see on a summer day
of flowers
and lovers
trailed by petals
and a hundred

bowed heads.

Bad
Bad

They have no idea.
Push me with a finger
and I’ll collapse on the bed.
I’ll stare and I’ll glare

at the abyss of the ceiling
where lizards hunt roaches
patiently.

No one has an idea;
not even you since you can’t pick my head.
Oh, darling,

you don’t wanna
pick this head.

It’s so bad that
one day, while crossing the street
among the usual crowd
between the typical jeeps,
inhaling that exact, same soot,

I think I might

stop
in my tracks

and refuse,
just shake my head violently
and refuse,

to cross
to the other side

so I can stay there forever.

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The Incapable Man

These past few days, I’ve been clicking pages like crazy on Facebook, commenting on the whole mess that was the aftermath of the Carlos Celdran incident. But I’m not even gonna go into the ideas I threw in the various debates and discussions I participated in because, most of the time, they felt like food fights. People throwing around greasy drumsticks and fried rice at each other’s faces. I’m not saying I’m above those discussions — just that unlike before when I was in college, this time, I have simply grown tired of them.

It’s like this. After a frenzied polemic on FB or on Twitter, I can’t help feeling stupid. Why?

Others look really proud of it. They continue on, blabber on, atheists vs Christians, liberals vs conservatives, facts vs theories, logic vs just sheer low-class insults. Like I said, I’m not saying I’m above it. The mere fact that I participated means that I care about what people say. But it’s the moment after that heated participation where I just feel like an actor with a dripping pie on my face, like a member of the audience threw it on my face because I suck so badly at what I do.

The truth is, I feel like I’m betraying my reality, the reality of my life as I live it. I mean, here I am, sitting here in my cubicle — one of the hundreds of square, cold, boring cubicles in a square, cold boring building somewhere in EDSA. I am a man who wakes up at 5 AM, works until 9 or 10 PM and sleeps at around 11 PM, these days, sometimes even past 12 o’clock. I’m a bona fide workhorse or beast of burden par excellence. Throw me some extra hay and I’ll work the fields for you. But it’s not even that. It’s not about the amount of work I’m doing, which results in this feeling of betrayal of reality.

No, that disgusting, pathetic feeling comes from projecting this image that I am somehow bigger than I am. There I was, saying things about poverty, what it means to fight for the poor, what involves the eradication of poverty, capitalism, fighting capitalism, love, Christianity, postmodernism, rationality, irrationality, democracy, sociology — the nerd list goes on. There I was, ranting on these things, allowing myself to feel frustrated, angry and even ashamed of a concept or a thought I defended or not defended, but every word I was saying there didn’t seem to reflect my life as I live it.

So was I acting? Continue reading

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My Home

You are my simple life,
my home at the end of the road.
I’ve traveled far, hoisting the problems
of a million strangers on my shoulders.
Oh, I can’t wait
to lay them on your doorstep someday
and worry about them
no more.

On your small wooden table,
a cold glass of water awaits.
I’ll drink it with glee
while looking out your window
at the warring worlds
I’ll leave behind. Continue reading

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