22

From the plethora of endless options of titling this blog post, I came to terms with myself into reducing it into two digits: 22.

2 and 2, in perfect equilibrium. 2 and 2 = a score and 2 years of me from my first breath of life, to the initial wobbly baby steps, to my remarkable childhood, to my encounters with real friendships and zany crushes, then opening my eyes to the awareness of death and losing loved ones, to receiving my college diploma, eventually getting hired, and finally to here and now.

I have always loved birthdays, (and the neurotic surprise planning that goes with it especially when it’s for a friend). But, I have never been a fan of my own. As a matter of fact, I dread it. Why? Because I have this feeling that the date is jinxed of some sort. Maybe because I have thought of my birth day selfishly, that it should and must be all about me and what would make me happy during those 24 hours. Like everything was at my disposal.

And as I add another year to my heady “wisdom”, a sudden epiphany has dawned on me: a birthday is not about the celebrant, but more the people around her. Those who have come a long way, or may have been around all along. They have given her new eyes, a clearer sense of direction, those who choose to stay and grow with her. But the passersby matter as much, because they have instilled on her the hope of a “someday, somewhere in the future”. They remind her of her being, that she, her life is worth celebrating. They are the ones she has touched, and they are a perfect telling of how one can embrace so much lives more than the capacity of outstretched arms.

For this year, October 25 came in 3 hours ahead of schedule. But I thank the people behind the “preparation” from the tiniest capillaries of my heart. You helped me start the day strong and we faced it together head-on. I am paying homage to all the firsts we did today, because you made acting and dancing ridiculously in public über fun!

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Eid ul Adha

Tea at dusk as I

Witness the moon slowly rise.

In a few moments, it will

Almost

Be a perfect horizon.

Except that, nothing will ever be

Perfect again.

Because “perfect” will stand for

A pungent memory of

What used to be -

The starting point of

A wild goose chase, or,

The opening line to this poem -

Almost.

A song from songs

God of the universe

But also the lover of my soul,

You remain from age to age.

You are the God of David

The God of Abraham

The God of Adam and Eve,

And since the beginning

You long for one thing –

You long for my undivided attention.

You want to be close to me

And stay in my heart.

Everyday Lord,

You run after my heart;

You pursue me while

I pursue other idols.

Everyday You woo me

When I feel insecure and unloved.

I am always on the run;

Chasing after my own passions

And I am weary.

But when I turn back

I see You, Lord.

You have been there all along,

Waiting for me to return to You.

Only You can outlove my flaws

And distill me to be blameless

From my iniquities.

Reign in my heart, Lord.

I long to stay in Your presence

And muse on Your beauty and majesty.

To You I give my all,

But this is nothing compared to You

Giving up everything

Just to have me back in Your affections again.

You keep me.

Teach my finite heart

To love an infinite heart like Yours.

Teach me to lean on You

As You dance me above

My failures and troubles.

Permeate my soul;

Swallow me whole by the immensity

Of Your grace and mercy.

Show me that I can be satisfied

With nothing, because I only need You –

my everything.

I tell You I love You

But You love me more.

And when You say You do,

You show me the cross.

You tell me to look up and show me the wide

Expanse of the heavens.

You want me to enjoy

Your astronomical love.

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Biking After You

5:30 on an early Wednesday morning and I am acutely aware that I am awake. There is the final breath of dawn and the former night’s rays in their last moments of solitude. I have seen these with my own eyes because, after fighting long and hard with my indecisive self, my conscience caved and led me to a blunt (and, safe to say, compulsive) decision – a task that should have long been on the top of my repertoire – to bring Papa’s bike back to life.

It feels great to be up and on the road again just before day break. I have the world and your bike all to myself, and I am allowed to explore more, since running, which I did in one phase, just tired the living out of me and distracted me from truly “seeing”. With the goal being to Mitty-fy (inspired by the most awesome movie I have seen to date, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”) and Libby-fy (do you still have to wonder where I drew this motivation from?) myself, I will try not to be tied down by inhibitions. I am in the state of actually “doing” now, and the plan is to keep going until I will be better at it.

 

But just to let you know from now on, I will always see how you had once, unceasingly followed this road that led you to your next adventure. I will try to defeat the mountains you conquered on a daily basis, and I will learn love like how the sun once colored your skin; brazen and unashamed of the trickling blood on your scabbed knee, because you respected the road that tripped your wheel. It was not at fault, because it was meant to be there, ordained by the complicated results of an ecological cycle; it was natural, like how I am now living after your life.

 

I will promise to be brave. These eyes you have imparted to me, though blurry with a 150/125 grade (it’s worsening!), will see the sights you’ve seen without haze. So here’s to an exhilaratingly new experience towards the uncertainties of stones and trees and curves and pavements. Your life will be my adventure, Papa. You were one real Walter Mitty.

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The Return of the Comeback

Lately I’d been who I was not, and it was a constant struggle of finding myself again. I was on a literary sabbatical since the day I came home to Butuan. But yesterday, I broke the fast. I have begun reading poetry again, and I can say that I have returned to my first love.

The hike up to Zoila’s Sanctuary – a quaint piece of mountain that Tito Monching owns in Taligaman, and the venue for our poetry reading – was tiring. But I had to keep in mind that I was doing this for the love of poetry. If not for the majestic view of towering, emerald trees, I might as well had run back to the car and just read poems to myself.

Before the reading, introductions were made and I got to see different personalities and characters. It was a meeting of brilliant minds, and of course I felt like I was one of them!

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I got the chance to share two poems. One, an original by moi which showcases a hopeful lady waiting for her muscle car man to come. And the other somehow a talk-back to the girl given the name Penelope, in the poem Binangkal, Penelope by Corazon Almerino the latter being a personal favorite, and which quickly became everyone’s:

Penelope, kaon og binangkal.

Wala’y pulos kanang  magsige’g

Ginansilyo-kanang magsige’g

Paabut nianang tawo nga galisud

Og tultol sa iyang panimalay.

Wala to siya gilamat uy. Daghan tong

Gihapit-hapit. Daghan pud

Ang Nangapyot ato niya.

Barug dinha ug sulunga

ang tindahan nilang Nang Kikay

Ug pakyawa ang iyang mga

Binangkal. Kon kahibalo ka

Moluto, hala, pagluto og

Daghan.

Haay, Penelope. Kon tinuod man gani

Nga nasaag o gilamat gyud siya,

Dili gihapon niya mapanas

Ang mga gabii sa imong pagtukaw,

Ang imong mga daman,

Ang imong kahingawa.

Kit-kita ug ub-uba

Unya ang mga binangkal.

Kit-kita gyud. Ub-uba.

Ang sobra, tipigi.

Inig uli ato niya, inig tungtong

Niya tungod nianang pultahan,

Gubata dayon og binangkal.

Two very personally relevant poems I could cry binangkal tears.

The whole experience was enlightening. It has been a long, long time since I felt the exhilaration poetry gives me; breathing in and speaking out beautifully juxtaposed words. I’m looking forward to sharing my soul again. Hiatus no more!

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Something about binangkal made them crack up.

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My tita who is ever supportive of my weirdness.

 

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This is how everyone should spend their weekends!