Sige Na, Ako Na

Sa bawat sinag ng araw na ang binabalik sa akin ay ambon,
Bawat oras ng bukas na magiging isang simpleng kahapon,
Sa bawat sandaling huli na ang pag-dating,
Bawat “hindi ako pwede”, “busy ako”, o ano pang sinungaling.

Kahit ako na ang maghintay,
Kahit ako nalang ang magpuyat,
Kahit ako nalang ang tumayo dito
At ikaw nalang ang lumakad palayo

Sige na, ako na ang magdudusa.

Kung ang kapalit naman pala ay ika’y hindi na mapapahamak
Kung ang kapantay naman ay ang iyong tuwa at ligaya
Kung ang kailangan mo lang ay ang aking puso at diwa,
Ok lang, mahal, sige na, ako na.

Isang pahayag na dati’y sobrang tamis
Ngunit ngayo’y sobrang laki ng hinagpis
Pinipilit na ngumiti sa bawat sandali
Kahit na mata’y pula sa hapdi

Sige na. Oo na. Ako na ang may mali.

Sa bawat imbitasyon, bawat lakad, at bawat hamon,
Bawat pagtawag ng saklolo na hindi mo naririnig
Bawat oras na sinayang sa paghintay at pagtimpi
Bawat pagkunwari para lang ika’y bumalik.

Ako ba’y naririnig na ngayon? Sige na, ako na.

 

Ano ba… Ako nalang palagi.

 

Hindi… Ok lang.

 

 

 

Teka.

Ok nga lang ba?

Sige Na, Ako Na

A Love Letter to Self-Love

Dear self-love,

Your cousins, sisters, brothers all outshine you
Eros, Agape, Filia, Storge, just to name a few
But out of all the people in your family
Only you have ever left an impression on me; you see,

No language in the world does justice to your name
No culture that romanticizes the warmth of your flames
Oh, am I the only one that yearns for your existence,
The only one overpowered by your silent presence?

Thank you for taking care of me when no one else did
Chanced meetings in dark places, how ironic, isn’t it?
How much I crave you when you’re away,
And yet, underestimate you whenever you stay.

Why not seek glory and fame like the others?
Yet, I’m thankful, for your humility has pushed me farther
It is selfish of me to have you to myself, but am I
To be blamed when all else has seen you, and without a pause, simply passed by?

But oh, you have taught me what love meant, and
It was giving what you have without bargaining for your end
I want to have you as mine, to close all our distance
Such sentiments will defeat your purpose, an insult to your existence

And so – an open letter
For the curious, the wounded, those who yearn to feel better
For those who still look for solace in their own embrace
For those whose shadows save them from grace

A Love Letter to Self-Love

What do you and the sea have in common?

Every single day, I open my Word file, waiting for the words to come. A poem is burning to be born, but I cannot begin to tell my fingers to type.

I used to swim in oceans so deep, so full of stories about love. That was, until, I screamed. To you. For help. The water filled my lungs and the very water that I created choked me and cut the very air I breathed and you? You did nothing to save me. I came up to the surface instead, got drunk in a liquor called music, and laid wasted in a beach full of art until the sun came up. That first night, I tried to wipe myself dry by jumping around the island, shaking every droplet of you into every leaf that needed you more than I did.

The next few days were peaceful. I simply stared into the sea that used to be me. Sometimes I would come up to the shore and feel the shallow water wash my feet, reminding me of how much I used to love you.

Ah, but did I love you? When the waves left and the water crept into my ankles, was it you whom I missed? Or was it the poems I’ve written? The words I can’t seem to find now?

I am afraid of drowning into another sea of poems, because as I forget how to breathe, as my hearts unevenly, I see nothing but your face – the inspiration to every letter I have ever written, to every sonnet, every paragraph.

I dig my feet hard into the sand, gritting as I force myself to forget the feel of the cool water on my soles. Being stuck on land, surrounded by you – or, remnants of you – I curse myself. Why can’t I have thrown the poems to the sky and turned them into stars? It would have been easier to avoid. I can always live looking down. Why must I have condensed my words into water? Being in an island surrounded by you, too afraid to swim in you, too afraid to drink you in.

It wasn’t always like this. I used to relish in how my every word of you bathed me, embraced me, nourished me, like an infant in a mother’s womb. I swam deep into the idea of your existence. I lived to see every flawed coral living inside you, every living school of fish spinning around you. I loved it. I loved you – or, the idea of you.

Here I am now, alone in this island. Nowhere to go, no one to go to. The worst part is that you are all I see – just a vast stretch of ocean full of what we were, and what we could have been.

I am 70 percent filled of you, and the 30 percent in me hates it. It tries to pull out every ounce of you through the tears ducts in my eyes, one drop at a time. Yet, no matter how much I cry, you are a part of my survival, and I have no choice but to let you back in. I drink you in tentatively, afraid that the way my breath stutters at the thought of you will make the water travel in the wrong pipe.

Here I am now, alone in this planet. Nowhere to go, no one to go to. And I’m writing this poem, taking a sip of you once again. I am 70 percent filled of you, and I cry you out, but drink you in again. Maybe I was never made to live in an ocean full of you. Maybe . You were made to pour yourself into the world, and I was made to beg for the little that you could give.

But every day, I open my Word file, waiting for the words to come. And it comes in tiny droplets.

 

 

What do you and the sea have in common?

So what’s it like being a theater arts student?

You see, theater is like an arranged marriage. From the perspective of someone who chose Theater Arts without much knowledge of the said art form, of someone who’s never done a play back in high school, of someone who was never in a mile close to being in theater before college, of someone who has never watched theater plays and musicals in her free time (except Hollywood’s Les Miserable), I was kind of forced to love theater.

Last year, when people heard the words “theater arts” stumble upon my lips, and they replied with “Are you sure?”, I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand why the others were so afraid of our “theater practicum” class. But now, I do.

You see, there’s a reason why we have the phrase “break a leg”. A theater play is like one big magic trick, wherein the magician is willing to break his own wrists every time just to please the audience with every show. Just like a newly-wed couple that is still adjusting to the domestic life of cleaning houses and paying bills, being in theater makes you wonder: is this worth it? Is the audience really worth all the tears we have shed, all the money we have spent, all the effort we have given? Is s/he worth all my sacrifices, all my patience, all my love?

The theater is selfish. Well, people would retort that every course in college is selfish. But I disagree. Theater is even more so.  And like with an arranged marriage, it doesn’t always work out. There are moments when you wonder what you have done to upset God so much to pair you with such a demanding bitch. Why can’t Fate pair you with someone kinder, someone more gentle?

It’s at this point that we forget that we, too, are becoming selfish. Arranged marriages are used as a peace treaty or as a way to strengthen business between two families. Being in the theater is a selfless act of forgetting yourself – your physical health, your money, your alone time, your academics, your social life – all in exchange of pleasing others.

It’s difficult at first. Why put so much effort into people when you’re not sure they would even appreciate it? The injustice will weigh you down. You’ll think that you deserve so much better. You’ll get mad at your high school friends and family relatives who won’t be able to  watch what you’ve worked so hard for. You’ll look at the loud guests with distaste. You’ll see the theater as a hell that you have to put up with every goddamn day. Every action you make becomes a live performance that you have to fake.

And how can you not look at it in such a bad image? When you see the people you’re working with sacrificing so much, and receiving so little in return, how can you not hate the people they’re sacrificing so much for?

There will come a time when you will be so close to filing a divorce case with the course you have married; a time when you will feel that you’re better off somewhere else – free of obligations and commitment, where you will worry about achieving your own happiness, where you will think about nothing but yourself.

When I was at this point, at this terrifying edge of my figurative cliff, teetering between staying and leaving, I did the bravest thing I could ever have done so far – I waited. I waited for a miracle. Something that can make me genuinely love what I was doing. I waited for the storm to pass. I waited for the sun to rise. I waited for the smoke to fade. I used whatever I had as a shield against the temptation of an easier life.

And then… it came.

The sound of genuine laughter after a line that I’ve heard of a thousand times reached the ears of virgin minds. The high squeaks of fear from high school students as we shocked them with the magic tricks we’ve all lost slept for to perfect. The tear-strained cheeks of children and adults alike. The buzz of wonder as they walked out of the theater, discussing their ephemeral experience before it fades from their memory forever.

It’s the little things that make you stay in a marriage. The little things that turn duty into dedication.

From then on, every sweep of the floor was accompanied with a wave of fondness. Every step I took along the aisle of the audience seats reminded me of why I haven’t left, of why I shouldn’t.

So what’s it like being a theater arts student?

It’s faking a smile, and receiving a genuine one. It’s repeatedly saying “thank you for watching”, with the hopes that someone will reply with a “Congrats!”. It’s about living for the little things. It’s about living for others. It’s knowing that if you want to witness a beautiful sunrise, then first you have to go through the blackest night.

It’s offering your limbs to ideals, people, stories, places – content with the fact that, from nothingness you were born, and from nothingness you shall return. That does not mean however, that your life was worth nothing. Your worth is seen through the people you have influenced. And as a theater arts student? You will influence a lot.

So what’s it like being a theater arts student?

We Promised

[A/N: Created year 2012]

We promised not to forget, but why do we act like we don’t remember?
We used to laugh at everything, but why do we not greet each other anymore?
It wasn’t supposed to be this way, but we knew this day was coming,
We pretended anyway, but the future was always there, looming, waiting.

We promised it won’t end this way, but all those promises were for naught,
Suffering in the moment called today, no longer in the warmth we once sought.
It shouldn’t have ended this way, pretending not to know, pretending not to care.
But we do it anyway, and it pains me to know you’re always there.

We promised, we promised! We jested but deep inside we meant it,
When we said, “Together, we’ll face what was coming”
It was a thread that to something more, we trusted each other not to cut it,
We didn’t, but instead did the unimaginable. You let go, I started lying.

We ended up going our separate ways, saying goodbye to our counted days.
Not really what we wanted, there was still so much to say.
But behind the regrets and the pain of losing you,
No matter what happens, I’m still hoping for us, together, tomorrow.

We Promised

To you, my not-Valentine

I wonder
Does your breathing change when we’re at proximity
Do your eyes linger a little longer when you look at mine?
Is your hand afraid of touching me
The way mine always does, every single time?

I wonder
Has your heart ever twisted in pain?
Have your lips quivered a little before speaking?
Is your soul afraid to touch mine, afraid to maime,
That is why you stick to dreaming?

I wonder
How much do you even think of me?
Do you even think of me at all?
Is it even worth it knowing,
when I’ve already made the fall?

I wonder
Why do I always chase the ones ahead
When they do not even turn to see?
They didn’t hear what I just said,
“Why do I not look at the one looking at me?”

To you, my not-Valentine