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Catnip

Cat eye

I’m a cat, the stray one nobody goes looking for. And you’re catnip.

I scuttle around in the streets, hunting dark alleys for fat rats, born of shadow, a furry fellow.

Wild child. Pet to no one, master of myself. The gleaming silver trash bin is my throne and the shiny brown roaches are my subjects.

My kingdom stretches as far as my little paws could carry me and I have never encountered a leash or an itchy patch of fur I couldn’t reach…

I’m the mighty lion in my own great story.

But you’re catnip.

One sniff of you and the earth becomes the sky. I lose my balance–­­isn’t that an unacceptable crime? I roll, flip, rub, wriggle, waddle, tumble, scamper, scurry and prance. Scoot, shuffle, and dance! Leap down a hole just to steal a glance! You get into my head and get stuck there like a hairball, the kind I want to keep messing with my mind forever and ever and ever more. ‘Til the birds roar and the pigs soar and droplets of purple rain pour on my whiskers.

I’ll throw away eight out of my nine just to get in line for you. Bow down my proud head, play silly games like “play dead,” and like a common hamster, ride a never-ending wheel. Even risk being roadkill if it would get me nearer to you, just an inch or two…

Because you’re the poison I picked.

The laced needle that pricked.

And I can’t get enough of you like a stupid ball of yarn or a goddamn laser pointer.

Oh, you’re probably bad for me. And if I were a dog, you’d probably be my chocolate.

But I’m not a dog.

I’m a cat.

And, my oh my, you’re catnip.

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Decades in Her Hands*

Someday, I might just drop everything, wave goodbye to everyone, and leave for India to find the one who holds decades in her hands.

I’ll fly across the world, jettisoning my worries into the ocean where they’ll feed mermaids and the magical creatures of the deep–and they’ll be no more.

I’ll plant my feet on that ancient land and breathe in the mysteries breathed out by its elaborate temples as old as the gods whose holy names still reverberate through the silent jungles and deserts and in the corners of iron cities drowning in the noise of humanity’s tongues.

I’ll touch the earth and feel the dust of fallen empires in my palms, thinking about my insignificance in the endless river of time and in the vastness of life, sweat dripping as my pale skin bakes in the sun.

Immortal secrets will tear me away from the transient troubles that plague my soul, and the wind–wiser than the wizened shaman in the street–will blow away the worldly whims of my mind.

Into the sea of humanity I’ll dive, riding a whirlpool of saris worn by women whose deep-set eyes peel away at shallow hearts.

I’ll be a foreigner in a strange land that has seen foreigners come and go for centuries and even older times that men can’t possibly remember anymore. And the land will know me more than I do myself, unraveling my trivialities like a scroll.

Yet somehow I won’t care and won’t look back one glance homeward until I find you. Continue reading

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Man of Steel Review: Or Why this Proper Superman is Getting Pummeled by Some Critics

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Be careful what you wish for.

Ever since the first Superman film directed by Richard Donner and iconically acted by Christopher Reeve came out in 1978, people–especially hardcore comic book fans–have yearned for a “proper” Superman movie. Not to say that all previous films about the guy in the blue and red suit were total failures;the two Donner films (one uncredited), in particular, are still loved by many. But Superman’s story is mighty ambitious and epic in scale even by comic book standards. And so while the live-action movies and TV series throughout the years got some of the story’s basics right, fans have still been left longing for more–more of the sci-fi that makes Krypton Krypton, more of the godly strength of Kryptonians, more of the thrill of flying when a man really denies the laws of physics, more of the mythos of Superman. Man of Steel, the latest reboot of the Superman hollywood franchise, aimed to do just that.

So why is it getting mixed reviews? Why does Superman Returns–a film sorely lacking in spectacle in comparison and so campy as to be mistaken from the ’90s–have a higher score on Rotten Tomatoes? Why the flak from more serious publications when most geeky sites, especially IGN, are praising the film as one of the finest superhero movies ever?

I set out to propose an argument. Continue reading

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Red Chucks Made from Sin

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Red Chucks made from sin, shaved my face, uncovered my chin. Pop these pimples for these people, can’t hear my voice ’cause it’s too feeble. Getting late not getting laid, but that’s all right, I’m getting paid. Reading books while losing looks–what have you done? You’re off the hook! Refreshing pages converts to wages, wage my war as my face ages. There’s really nothing here, you see, just passing time and holding pee. Updating sucks, ideas flock to distant times you can’t get back. And when your hacks can’t get a Mac, you just sit back and rock and rock. Eat your chicken, a little smitten, come home from work, fuck–more kittens! I guess there’s mess and plenty pests for every day you can’t digest. But come, move on, and bang your head against the wall, forget the bed, forget the fall. Tie up those laces, too poor for braces, will never get out of life’s love mazes. So I just get up from my chair, brush my hair, it’s never fair. Perhaps one day I’ll see you grin, and then I’ll run and scream my scream. But when that day comes and you take the win, I’ll simply take a spin–I mean–while wearing my red Chucks made from sin.

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Old Dogs Don’t Play No Games

Dog sunset

Ruff!

Been lying here under the car since forever, bugs carelessly flying above my drooping ears, a busy community of ticks underneath my thinning fur, my belly warming the road and vice-versa.

Ruff!

Used to race back and forth along this dusty street, chasing cars, bikes, and strange people with unfamiliar scents. I never got tired even when my tongue was flapping out my snout, leaving a trail of drool in the rushing wind. Life was a never-ending chase then and I was the four-legged speedster behind it, unrelenting, hungry. I never got tired and realized I was spent until now…

Now I just lie here like a log long broken down by poison mushrooms. I watch the road, the cars, the bikes, and the people but the fire in my gut has been extinguished. They’re all begging to be chased screaming from one corner to another but my legs just won’t move like they used to. And so I watch them overrun this street–my street soaked in my sour pee–and I watch them helplessly.

These days, I am a pretty useless “pet”–if you can still call me that. Can’t even protect my home no more should a man with an evil intent climbs over the wall one of these humid nights. If I’m lucky enough to spot his shadow with my bloodshot eyes almost shut by sticky green grit, then I might let out a bark though my owners shouldn’t really count on it since I lost the demon in my voice years ago when a nasty piece of chicken bone got stuck in my throat. Sure, I’ll force myself to run after him and try my best to bite his leg but don’t count on it. Nobody should ever count on it anymore.

*Scratches ears*

Look at these people with the smirk on their faces–how I long to wipe it off with a good growl. Men are arrogant–they think they know life because they live longer than us. A wise, old dog once told me that men live seven of our lifetime, and that makes them proud beings. What fools. If one has seven lifetimes, then that means it takes them seven times longer to commit life’s mistakes and to learn from those mistakes–seven bouts of the same pain from the same wound, which would never close even when it was licked to heal years ago. And from such an unimaginably protracted existence, you may be seven times the wiser but you’re also seven times the fool.

How many lifetimes does it take to learn what to eat? What to put in your snout and be part of your body? Do you really need such a lengthy life to know that your nose tells the truth? The food that nurtures smells good even if may not always look nice, and what’s rotten smells bad even if it’s often a feast for the eyes. The nose doesn’t lie–for it’s an extension of your heart.

How many lifetimes does it take to learn to establish your territory, to pee on the right wheels and scratch at the right trees? Surely once is enough? The independence and insolence of youth might drive you once or twice to cross the invisible boundaries that cut this space of earth but you learn from your first teeth-and-claw fight to respect others, to stay away from the sacred shrines they diligently guard.

In the same way, seven lives are too many to understand that you can never understand cats. Some things are better left misunderstood–and that’s a sign of respect, too, for cats similarly can never understand you.

You don’t need seven lifetimes to realize that the greatest kind of loyalty comes from humility–that there are things bigger than you and you owe your life to them. You bow your head in service to their greatness and transcendence, and when you’ve learned to bow your head low enough, you become great, too, for you have transcended yourself.

It is often said that freedom is overrated but it is more often misinterpreted. Gnash your fangs and howl all you want at cages and collars but nothing teaches the essence of true freedom as bitingly as limits.

And then there’s love–that primeval force that sends you scrambling desperately out the gates at night when all the unwanted eyes are closed or looking somewhere else dark. The unbearable heat of it, the madness that comes rushing through your veins! You can never rest and crawl in a comfortable corner until you’ve smelled her lovely scent and felt her warmest secrets. But you’ll never learn her secrets no matter how deeply you fall–and that perhaps is the greatest limit of all. For no matter how fast you run, love still runs faster–an unchasable car. And because your paws and claws can never even scratch it, you keep running like a rabid canine–irrational, insane, untamed, wild, honest.

Ruff!

Another kid throws a ball at me. I don’t even flinch. I’m tired and lazy like a young cat. The world now has to forgive me for every little thing I can’t do for I’ve paid my dues, barked my blues, and done them all before. People have this saying that old dogs can’t learn new tricks. They’re wrong. We can learn new tricks anytime–but old dogs don’t play no games. Not anymore.

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What to Do When You Like Somebody Who Doesn’t Like You

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Let me crush all your hopes and dreams for a moment and say it plainly that some things are just impossible. You can keep blabbering on about all the self-help lessons you’ve learned from some New York Times Bestseller but that won’t help you when reality finally bites you in the buttocks and you don’t have a choice but to grasp the fact that there are things you just can’t do–and one of them is make a girl who doesn’t like you like you.

When faced with such a situation of a sinister kind of certitude, here are a few things you can do:

1. Stop “investing.” — So you’re about to send her another private message again hoping that you can slip one or two lines of cheesiness in between all the normal, friendly talk? STOP. BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT. STOP. Don’t do it. See, the more you “invest” in a hopeless matter and a relationship that doesn’t exist in any universe or multiverse, the more you hurt yourself, if not today then in the future when the big elephant in the room, which you so fiercely refuse to see, finally shows itself. So whatever you still have up your sleeve (a half-finished poem or a song in your head), better throw that in the trash bin now. Now. Not later, not tomorrow, NOW. Less investments, more resources to consume when the market of your feelings finally crashes launching you into the literal Great Depression.

2. Adopt a hobby. — All of us have hobbies or things we like to do. Falling for a person can oftentimes interrupt these hobbies when we start shifting our attention to the object of our affection. While before this romantic madness, you were able to practice drawing and painting, now your day is only limited to thinking about her and thinking about her and thinking about her some more, which is of course, indicative of a malignant disease. So, what you have to do is go back to doing these hobbies no matter how hard it is to break the habit of not having any habit but daydreaming about stuff that can’t happen in real life. Can’t draw? Don’t want to work out or read a book? I don’t care. JUST DO SOMETHING ELSE FROM NOW ON.

3. Work like a maniac. — Work is different from hobbies because hobbies are what you’re supposed to do at home while work is what you do at the workplace. The strategy though is the same: you must let your work consume your heart and soul, so there’s not a second of your life wasted on pondering the feelings of a person who’s so busy pondering the feelings of another person who’s not you. Do you normally go on little facebooking breaks in between tasks? Quit it! Work like you’ve never worked before. Triple your productivity. Go for those incentives. Hound your boss and make suggestions on how to run the entire freakin’ company. I don’t know. Just occupy yourself with a humongous amount of work and act like workers don’t have rights. It’s good for you.

4. Fuss over other people’s problems. — Let’s face it: you have a problem. Unfortunately, facing your problem in this case isn’t healthy because you’ll only drive yourself crazy thinking about that person again. So instead of minding your problem, fuss over other people’s problems. Yep, you read that right. Their problems, not yours. Your coworker’s cat died? Make him tell you more about how his pet was an irreplaceable part of his life and now he might as well kill himself because the world is going to end! Your friend’s boyfriend left her? Wear your best shocked face and tell her that she has a big problem, which she will surely have the rest of her life. Ferment problems. Heck–create new ones! Spread them like a virulent virus! All the while hiding that you’ve got a problem, too…

5. Drink to celebrate… ANYTHING! — This is the opposite of number 4. Whereas in number 4, you are deliberately generating and propagating negative emotions, here, you’re forcing yourself to create positive energies of the drunken kind. Doubtless you’ve heard that intoxication helps solve problems but that’s not really true. Drinking while thinking and discussing your problem would make you forget the problem only for a brief period of time–the time you spend sleeping after you get drunk. But clearly that’s not helpful at all because you essentially just wasted your money wasting yourself but the same problem still faces you in the morning with a renewed tenacity and vengeance. So instead of wallowing in self-pity while binging on beer, CELEBRATE. Celebrate what? Celebrate anything. Anything. Your coworker wore a different shirt today out of his regular 5-day-a-week shirt rotation he’s held onto for the last 2 years? Celebrate his newfound life! A friend didn’t complain about the train this morning? Cheers to his freshly adopted positive outlook and contagious grateful vibe! Toast to the moon, the stars, the earth below your feet and everything in between, even that disgusting piece of shit you ate for lunch. But never, ever drink because you’re obsessed with somebody.

6. Look for a human receptacle of unspent feelings. — And finally some advanced psychological crap. Thing is, even if you do all of the above tips, you will likely still have a portion of feelings that can’t go anywhere else except in your nightmares where your inadequacy will hunt you and make you wake up in the middle of the night shivering cold and looking like a complete wuss. To avoid that, you must be a little proactive in managing your energies and emotions. One good technique is to find another human receptacle of unspent feelings. This person will serve as the object of your romantic momentum instead of the person you really like. The only requirement is that this human receptacle should not be entirely likeable–that is, you can only truly like her when you’ve completely bullshitted yourself into madness. The advantage of steering your feelings toward this unwitting, poor soul is that no matter what you do or what you don’t, you’ll never get hurt. ‘Cause she doesn’t give a fuck about you and you don’t give a fuck about her.

______________________

*Written in mockery of the author’s own experiences throughout his lifetime. And in preparation for the doom that is Valentine’s Day

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Gusto Kitang Megamolin

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Gusto kitang megamolin. Gusto kitang megamolin kahit ikaw yung tipo na pina-powerplant. Gusto kong ipakita sayo na kahit sabihin pa ng iba na baduy at jeje na ang pagmemegamol, meron pa ring salamangkang pwedeng mangyari sa loob ng kongkretong kahon ni Henry Sy.

Gusto kitang itaymzown. Gusto kong mag-shoot nung sangkatutak na basketbol kasama ka. Pupunta ko sa likod mo at iko-coach kita sa tamang pag-release ng bola kahit ako mismo’y bamban talaga sa sports. Pero alam mo naman na kahit mga di manlalaro ng basketbol ay nais ding maka-iskor paminsan-minsan.

Pwede tayong mag-house-of-the-dead na usung-uso nung high school ako. Tuturuan kita kung pano bumaril ng mga zombies, para naman di nalang puso ko ang laging binabaril mo. Pwede ring mag-bowling, para naman di nalang feelings ko lagi ang ini-strike mo. O di kaya’y mag ice skating sa skating rink kahit may jej swarm sa paligid–baka sakaling magkaron ka lang ng idea kung gano ka-cold ang pakiramdam pag cold ka.

Alam ko naman na ikaw yung tipong shinashang o sineserendra; zinazara, mina-mango, minamarks-and-spencer, mina-maykel kors. Ikaw yung tipong nasusundan ang in sa Tate kaya alam mong pang-commoners ang pagfoforever-twentyone at pagi-starbucks. Kaya naman pilit kitang sasabayan kahit ang totoo’y ako yung tipong dumedepartment-store at jumajalibi lang. Di ako magtatangkang i-blue-magic o i-silverworks ka–pangako yan.

Hinding-hindi tayo mahuhuling nagbebench at nagsisinderela. Mawawala sa bokabularyo natin ang pagna-national at tanging pagpa-powerbooks o pagfu-fully booked ang aatupagin natin pag kunwaring sinumpong tayo ng pagbabasa. Magsi-seattle’s best o magko-coffee-bean-and-tea-leaf tayo hanggang mangutim ang ipin mo sa sobrang kahipsteran. Uubusin ko savings ko sa planner, kahit ilang planner pa gusto mo, as if sobrang hirap planuhin ng buhay.

Kung ayaw mong magtraynoma, ok lang. Di naman kita pipilitin sa ayaw mong gawin. Pero kung gusto mo, iiwasan natin ang pagkikrispy-kreme at, sa halip, ije-jeyco donuts kita kahit abutin ako ng alasingko ng hapon sa haba ng pila. Wag kang matakot dahil hindi kita ia-ali-mall, ie-ever-gotesco o ivi-victory mall–unless kukuha ka ng NBI clearance (lalakarin ko pa para sayo). Di tayo magsi-circle-C para bumili ng DVD, magse-centris para sa sangbatyang talaba, o magse-saint francis square para sa pekeng Lacoste. Mahihiya nga siguro akong i-glorietta ka o imarket-market. Pramis–walang robinsunan, mowahan, o geytweyan kung di mo gusto.

Megamulan lang talaga muna. Subukan lang natin magmegamol A to B. At baka maramdaman mo kung gano kita kagusto from A to Z, one to infinity.

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