Wednesday, March 31, 2010

To Zurich, with Love

Dear Lucerne,

I could not find
the watch that you said
you had left underneath the bed
as you hurried off to the airport
to leave for Zurich.

No, it wasn’t there.

Maybe you stuffed it in
one of those giant suitcases we
bought at a summer sale
five years ago,
the ones that had
our shoulders crying in agony
when we had to drag them
across five blocks,
in front of five hundred.

Or maybe you left it
in Mother’s kitchen. You know
how much you loved to linger
in that room whenever the
woman’s around.

Do you know
she cried just watching you
enter the terminal?

Yes, she did.
Now that I’ve said it,
please do forgive her for what
she ‘did’ to you when we were
very young. It wasn’t exactly
the easiest thing for her
to leave a poor baby
crying all alone on
the sidewalk.

Please understand:
Dying would have been worse for you.
Someone had to pick you up.

Before you left,
you asked me if all my
childhood, I had known about
love. Because you claim
not to have known it
in anyway.

My answer is this:
To take some stinking, foul piece
of trash lying helpless on
some pavement is the
greatest love
there is.

Please understand.
And please, do forgive.

I know you’re coming back soon,
so I’d like to tell you that
I still haven’t found
your watch, and that
you will have to look for it there,
or look for it when you
get home.

Yes, I know it’s gold
at the core.

So with or without me,
for the sake of love,
look for it!

I hope Zurich
is not turning you

Tons of love,

You're a Little Bit Racist - and I'm a Little Bit, too

Hellmonth. n. typically 28 consecutive days marked by almost unending piles of academic work, e.g. exams and papers. Or you may put it this way: For Imed 2016, it was March of 2010. Which, unbelievably, is over. A school year has come to pass since we first step foot on the catty (pun intended) grounds of UPM. One can even say that we are now on vacation mode. Only… we’re not. The monday after Easter, Math 100 finals lies waiting.


This school year, I was very, very fortunate – blessed, if I may – to have caught the local productions of four Tony Award winners for Best Musical: Spring Awakening (10-10-2009), Sweeney Todd (11-22-2009), Rent (02-20-2010), and Avenue Q (03-20-2010). Ah, the perks of living in Manila (no, that’s not what I mean... and dear brother, you had Lea's Cinderella and Joanna's West Side Story last year, so that makes you pretty blessed, too). I have to say, then, that the best among them would have to be – hands down – Avenue Q.

I can now confidently and proudly say that I fully understand why Avenue Q beat Wicked for the 2004 Tony for Best Musical.

Both of them are great musicals – epic, to put it simply. However, Wicked is only a musical. It’s about show-stopping songs, award-winning acting, a funny script, scenic backdrops, those lights, the stunning choreography, and everything else that one can say about grand Broadway queens.

What Wicked doesn’t have, though, is the in-your-face reality that Avenue Q purely subsists upon. Avenue Q, to say the least, is everything that people see, hear, and feel nowadays all in one show.

Wicked has that underlying message about accepting people for who they are – green or Animal; Avenue Q pokes fun at racism while speaking that unspoken truth that a racist exists in each of us. Wicked has that song about popularity, complete with the dumb-blonde, cheerleader archetype; Avenue Q fights back with a prostitute who’s proud to be one. Wicked has "I'm Not That Girl"; Avenue Q has "There's a Fine, Fine Line." Wicked has those faultless dance sequences and a green girl flying onstage; Avenue Q has live puppet sex in varying positions.

To use one of Princeton’s lines, “Hahahaha, You see?!”

The truth is, Avenue Q is something you just have to see. It’s life by way of puppets and perverts.

So what can I say about the fifth run of this Atlantis production? From Felix Rivera (I’m now a big fan) and Rachel Alejandro’s (used to be a nobody, now a somebody, for me) versatility in shifting between two totally different characters, to Aiza Seguerra (a personal revelation!), Calvin Millado, Thea Tadiar, Joel Trinidad, and Frenchie Dy’s equally outstanding performances - nothing but the highest praises. Perfect cast, perfect acting, perfect direction, perfect production.

Today, I say: I heart Avenue Q. Even though the show was only “for now,” I do believe that the production's “purpose” is to pop up in the local theater scene every few years or so.

Don’t get me wrong, though: I totally, down-to-the-conduction-system-of-my-sinoatrial-node adore, worship, and love Wicked – the best of Schwartz’s creations. (Enchanted comes second.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'd Like to See Your Face

How the lines would twist and break
along the contours of your eyes,
how shock would crawl across shadows
painted all over your rosy cheeks.

I’d like to see your face
when I burn that blasted shit
of paper.

I’d like to see the soul
depart your body for a moment
as flames feast on paper
bit by bit, bite by bite.

I’d like to see the death
of twinkling stars beneath your eyes,
watching in helpless horror
how the paper dies to ashes.

I’d like to see you fall –
almost faint, when I torch that
blasted shit of paper.

I’d like to see your face,
but I’ve just realized.

I wouldn’t.

You wouldn’t even care,
wouldn’t give a damn even as
the paper writhes in pain
on the floor.

You wouldn’t give a damn. At all.

You never did.

This was written in honor of my 4th Departmental Exam in Math 100. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Your Island

Some things in life
aren’t for free.

A cup of coffee.
Sheets of paper.
Overpriced candy
at the airport.

There’s a price that comes
with every breath that goes,
every sigh that flies,
every drop of sweat that breaks
along the lines of
someone else’s back.

We make payment
to make certain
that the making
of what was made
was made for something
and not in vain.

But look around:
Somewhere, some things
don’t really come
with a price tag.

Gold beneath the earth.
Beaches. Oceans of trees.
An island – your island.

If only you’d open your eyes.

A poem inspired by Kevin Jer David's story about frogs.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Postcard from Hellmonth

It’s the middle of Intarmed LU I hellmonth a.k.a. March of the 2nd semester. So far, things have not been as rocky as expected – not that I want them to be. There are two weeks left before all of this is done, not counting the final exams in Comm III and Math 100 (and possibly, Soc Sci I).

As of tonight, this is what’s left for me: Bio Lec 3rd exam (Wed), Comm Extempo (Thu), Chem Lab formal and oral reports (Thu), Bio Lab 4th exam (Fri), Comm Interview (Sat), Avenue Q (Sat... *grin*), Chem Lab 2nd exam (next Wed), Hum critical paper (next Thu), Math 4th exam (next Thu), Bio Lec 4th exam (next Fri), Chem Lec 4th exam (next Sat).

Let’s make this a fun ride, shall we?

* * *

I’m now into Love Never Dies. I think the music’s pretty good (standouts: Beneath a Moonless Sky, Devil Take the Hindmost, ‘Til I Hear You Sing). The story, though, is another story.

I love Greenday, by the way.

Avenue Q is coming up this Saturday evening. So excited.

* * *

I seriously have a movie backlog. Which is not a good thing. Out of the ten Oscar Best Picture contenders this year, I’ve so far watched only four: Avatar, Inglourious Basterds, The Blind Side, and Up. Not counting all other pictures that are must-watches: war flicks (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan), comedies (The Hangover, 500 Days of Summer), musicals (Nine, Once), visuals (Alice in Wonderland, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus), dramas (Sophie’s Choice, A Beautiful Mind), foreigns (A Prophet, The Counterfeiters).

Seriously, this is. Not. Good.

* * *

Because of the superiority complex of the Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics, I will be spending Holy Week here in Manila.

* * *

I firmly believe that Lady Gaga is a blessing to humanity from above. She is the very epitome of standing up for and being proud of being different. And her music rocks, too.

When she dies, mark my words: I will mourn for her.

* * *

The other day, there were less than ten of us in the jeepney. Along Mabini, a vertically challenged woman (dwarfism, I think) joined us. Upon reaching the corner of Kalaw and Orosa, she asked to be dropped off.

Now, you know majority of Filipino drivers: They are idiots. The woman clearly requested to be dropped off by the sidewalk. And what did the driver do? Stop in the middle of the freakin’ road. Which, of course, the woman simply did not find acceptable. So she voiced out her request again, and the driver had no choice but to comply.

The woman got off. We continued the journey.

But what happened after the woman left really pissed me off. The driver and some of the passengers (not all of them male, mind you) started poking fun at the woman and her height. In some sort of self-gratification, the driver spearheaded a ‘let’s make fun of her height’ campaign.

All the time, I felt like I could melt with disgust. It wasn’t so much because of the fact that those backbiting vipers were enjoying all the self-gratification, or the driver trying to regain his pride after having been told by that woman where to stop the car.

It was the fact that people – supposedly cultured, urbanized Filipinos – found it fun to laugh at someone’s physical defect!

Now that’s just pure evil. To laugh at someone because he or she’s not as tall as you? I tell you, it was all simply disgusting. With people like these, how can we expect to have a better country at all? So much for being Filipino.

* * *

Manny Villar should be accused of poverty exploitation. If he’s so proud of having swum in a sea of garbage, why doesn’t he show it to us now?

* * *

“Before I answer your question, I’d first like to comment on…”

Dear, dear, you almost had me laughing.