Little Love

I tried to become a prince

To a princess who’s so fair.

I marched, fully-armored

To slay a dragon in its lair.

“A vicious battle,” I expected

But the princess interrupted

In the end, it turned out funny

She chose the dragon instead of me.

 

I strived to be so friendly

Like Casper’s friendly mood

To chase had been my strategy

But still it was no good

Flowers, sweets, and fancy stuff

Why were they still not enough?

I tried to win her, night and day

But I just frightened her away.

 

And then I met this Madame Frog

Claimed, “I’m a princess in disguise.”

At first I was reluctant

But it assured, “No lies, no lies.”

And so I kissed to transform it

From a frog to a pretty dame,

But after that, nothing happened.

It stayed just like the same.

 

After those misfortunes,

Adventures, and reverie,

I never really failed to think of

The girl destined for me.

Will it be Cinderella,

Snow White, or Rapunzel?

Oh, spare me from overthinking

I need someone to tell.

 

At last came out Thumbelina

So, I chose to be Tom Thumb.

I realized being so little

Is not too bad at all.

I don’t have to be a giant

Or like any other man.

Now I’m just doing all I can

To be her little one.

 

inspiration: you who have the littlest hand that perfectly fits with mine

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Lonely as the Moon

The moon already appeared and could be perfectly seen through my window from where I was sitting. I could relate myself completely to its loneliness that night. An idea suddenly came into my thought. That the moon’s journey from rising to setting, from waxing to waning, from turning full to becoming new again, all seemed to me as its endless curse. It was like dying alone repeatedly. Another thought came into my mind, that if I were the moon, I would wish for another moon. It would be much easier for the moon to wax in, wane out, rise up, set down, go full, be new, and die every month. That wish might get the uniqueness out of it, but at least the moon won’t be so lonely anymore.

Thinking so much of the moon’s loneliness made my evening as if very boring in return. I hated it when I felt that way. It was always depressing in the end.  When that time comes, I always end up as if sick, heavy-hearted, and ill-tempered. In order to avoid being drenched overhead in too much boredom and to distract myself from the negative emotions that were starting to creep over me, I turned my attention to my unfinished literary writings.

I read and reread some of my unfinished manuscripts and kept on editing and rewriting some parts which seemingly need repair. I planned to finish at least one of my short stories on queue but I just couldn’t think of a good part to add up to it. I already decided to give it several tries but the intense summer heat forced me to just leave my work for another day. I became deeply absorbed working on my short stories that evening. But sadly it didn’t last long for I felt sudden stress as a result of my over-thinking.

I shifted my attention to the television instead. However, nothing interesting enough from the cable channels that stirred my curiosity, so I decided to go to the terrace for some fresh air. I left my room and walked towards the terrace. Unfortunately, it was unoccupied which meant that no one there to talk to. The roof-covered half of the terrace had a wooden table surrounded by some easy chairs, while the roofless-designed half appeared wide empty. I always wanted to stay over the other half of the terrace, so I moved one of the chairs into one corner where I was directly opposite the evening sky. Thinking that the fresh air would clear my brain fogs, I started breathing long and deep. As the air filled my lungs, I felt as if the negativities inside me were slowly being puffed out of my ears and nostrils. From my seat, I could hear my parents talking down the living room. I considered the idea of going down to join them, but I chose not to because I thought that I might be taking some precious time for them to have a personal and serious talk. So, I didn’t stir from my seat anymore. Still, the idea that somebody other than me were still awake made me feel a little bit better because at least I wasn’t the only one who was still up in the house at that almost late hour.

The evening sky was so clear highlighting its waxing moon almost in its full and the countless stars which continuously twinkled above me. I didn’t bother to turn the lights on anymore because my sitting spot was completely illuminated. Birds chirped, frogs croaked, insects hum, and other creatures reverberated in chorus around, while a big mango tree beside a towering coconut tree at my side being silhouetted by the background sky slowly waved some of its leaves along with the gentle wind. It might sound and appear creepy, but this was just a typical barrio scene.

I began to feel the cooling effect of the evening fog. My perspiring stopped and my sweats were completely dried up. Eventually, I felt relaxed. After a while, I stood up and leaned my elbows on the metal railings of the terrace to observe some things around the place. A few vehicles and a few passersby that passed on the road were the only noise that shattered the deafening tranquility. The leashed dog on the front yard only scratched its side, played with anything it could grab, and barked time to time when it heard a disturbing sound. The street lamp, with different little insects flying around, steadily lighted the road. With that, still nothing on my mind to contribute to the development of my short stories, nothing but boredom bothered me inside. Boring it was, I accepted the thought and expected the whole night to be. I already thought of heading back to my room, but decided to stay a little longer. I reached out for my cell phone and texted “hi” to several people. Some replied and the texting went on for a while. Yet, it was not enough to drive my enthusiast to keep on doing that all night. I was about to get back to my room when I heard footsteps from the stairs below going up to my direction. My father noticed me and called my mother’s attention and told her that I was there in the terrace.

Ma asked me why I was there. I told her that I couldn’t stand the heat in my room and that there was nothing interesting featured on the television so I decided to come out and take a rest there for some time. Ma agreed about the heat but was reluctant about my TV-viewing habit. She would surely find something of interest on watching TV.

Pa pulled out another chair from the remaining set from where I took mine. Then, he positioned it near me. He sat in his usual position. His left foot curled up on the chair top on the edge of his own seat and his left arm either leaning on his knee or wrapped around his leg and thigh which were bent together. He later took a cigar from his pocket and lit it. Although he knew that he would receive a polite warning from me that his smoking is dangerous to both of us, he kept on forgetting it and still tend to light a cigar near me. Pa immediately pulled his chair away from me and transferred to the opposite corner after hearing my plea. Ma just stood near the railings, her hands folded behind her. She too, like what I was doing before they came, began to observe for something unusual over the surroundings. When she realized that everything around was normal, she began talking to Pa about the recent past harvest on our rice farm. I occasionally raised a question in the middle of their conversation about the things which had some difficulty to understand. A little later, they shifted topics, from gossips to simple happenings to any other things which their talk could go about. I kept on listening and did some courteous butt in whenever needed to clarify something out of their topic. I noticed my usually silenced phone vibrated twice or thrice but chose to ignore it because I became too engaged in the conversation.

The conversation was suddenly distracted by my two nephews. They came running from their room to ask me what they should do about an online game they were playing. My brother allowed his two kids to stay up until late night for it was still the summer vacation. I did some sort of stuff with them sometimes even reaching until after midnight while their father and their youngest sister Kia were already dreaming about the clouds. After telling them what to do on their gaming, Baki told his older brother Jake that it was better for them to transfer the laptop into the terrace for it was much “cooler” to play in there. Jake okayed the suggestion, so that in no time they were already back in the terrace carrying the laptop, charger, mouse, pad, and other electrical wires with them. They were able to assemble the appliance immediately and returned to their gaming after. From that time on, our conversation was added with background noise from the key tapping, mouse clicking, and the giggling of the two kids.

My attention that time was divided in two. Most of it was directed to the continued topic of an existing real enough arable farm which my parents were talking about, while the remaining of my consciousness was being bugged by the childish talking of my two nephews about their virtual farms. The latter seemed much more enjoyable and appealing to me.

Down the road, a motorbike stopped. On it were my sister Yaye and her son Troy, both were wearing a thick windbreaker jacket and a helmet. After came my brother-in-law’s white car. Out the front door came my other sister Vivien carrying her youngest son Xyhl. From the back seat out came her eldest son Xyron assisting his only sister Xyna.  Troy started calling our names loudly, “Mama Belen, Papa Bien, (instead of grandma and grandpa) Tito Jep, Kuya Jake, Kuya Baki,” while waving his hand unto us from the gate. Upon hearing Troy’s voice, Jake ran down the semi-spiral wooden staircase and was immediately there before the gate to let the newcomers in. The cultural kissing of the hands (or the touching of the forefingers of the elderly to the forehead of the young ones, simply called “pagmamano”) and the never-ending exchange kissing on the cheeks for those belonging to the modern age followed the scene.

Ate Vivien’s maid Ate Lety laid the things she was carrying on the dining room counter. The kids’ pillows and bulky toys explained that they were having a sleepover. Pillows and toys were like our treasures when we were kids, irreplaceable indeed. The racketing from the living room below signaled that Troy and Xyna’s mischievous forces were already combined, while Xyron joined Jake and Baki on their online gaming. After settling their load into its proper places, my two sisters and my brother-in-law Kuya Biba settled themselves in the terrace with us by taking the remaining unoccupied seats.

“Did you get my message?” Yaye asked. “I told you that we were coming,” she added. I checked the messages on my phone. There it was, one of the messages which I ignored just a few minutes ago. “Yeah, I received the message. I just failed to notice it.” I lied.

Unexpectedly, as if telepathically sensing the gathering in our home, my sister abroad called and opened her account in one of the online applications that offered video chat. Afterwards, her face and of her son’s (Mickjay) were already being flashed on the computer screen. We talked to them over the choppy line and blurry reception. Xyhl who was still new to the technology kept on touching the screen with his hands wet with saliva. The scene was followed by the laughter from both line-connected parties.

After the chatting, Ate Vivien opened some potato chips and began to call the attention of the kids around to eat, while I was sent to prepare the juice drinks.

Webbing conversations, loud laughs, and mixed turmoil continued from all of us. Grown-ups saying and hearing words not knowing whom to answer first. Teens talking funny sorts of stuff. Children running to and fro. Aunts trying to figure out whom to scold first. Mothers pampering their sweating kids. I, the uncle, singing the rhyme “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to my youngest nephew Xyhl as he alternately closed and opened his palms with his arms outstretched upwards trying to reach for the twinkling bright lights in the sky, who after getting irritated from the repeated singing decided to find some comfort from his milk bottle.

As the night grew deep, both children and grown-ups one by one went to the bedrooms to retire. Two rooms were filled, although there was still a vacant one. The little ones chose to get jump-packed in these two rooms for the chance of having slept beside their favorite cousins, while the older ones to have the rare time spent with the immediate family members.

As to me, I checked first all the doors and lights. Then after that, it was time for me to visit the room where the little ones stayed to send them their last warnings for them to really go to sleep already. There I received a new set of kisses of their goodnights. On my way to Ma’s room where I was destined to sleep, I saw Yaye still facing the computer. I talked to her only for a while and said my goodnight to her since I know I couldn’t stand awake against her insomnia. I left her reaping the fruits of her own virtual farm.

I was lying beside Ma, while Pa for sure was already fast asleep in one of the rooms since he didn’t want anything disturbing that late hours. Ma was still talking to my sister Vivien, who was holding the camera reviewing the pictures she took during the night.

As the humidity dropped to a much colder temperature and as my warming blanket lulled me into sleep, the night’s final yet happy thought came into my mind. It was not a very bad night after all. No doubt, that night had a boring start, but at least it ended up with a sure finished story. That night was like the night and I… like the moon. At first the moon showed up all alone and then at the end, my little bright stars simply just joined in.

 

inspiration: the moon itself and my stars

Rhetoric

I

Alone.

Blank white.

And okay.

 

You.

Color-filled.

Touched me.

Left a mark.

Made me happy.

Not for long.

 

After you.

Alone again.

Now tainted.

And not okay.

But why?

 

Thought.

Thought deeper.

Thought deeply.

Even thought of revenge.

Good memories.

Good source of control.

 

Memories.

Stains.

Pains.

Tried to erase.

Tried…

… wine.

… tears.

… women.

Found another.

Her.

 

Failed to find comfort.

Forced myself to her.

Still came back to you.

Her?

You!

HerYou

Him instead?

Stupid Humor.

Her again.

You again.

Always you

 

 

A big DIFFERENCE.

 

Between you

 

 

 

 

and her.

 

 

Sadness.

Once again.

Later.

 

 

Still not okay.

Bitterness.

Much later.

 

 

 

Met tranquility.

Santuary from heartache.

Much much later.

 

 

 

Realized.

Even without yo__,

Am like

A rhetoric.

Might lack content.

Might lack yo__.

But still.

Will always be.

Full of meaning.

 

 

So now…

Am continuing my life.

And…

End.

inspiration: sa mga nanakit po sa’kin no’n. (giggles) / those who had hurt me once before

The Bike Ride

I used to see Papa riding on his bike when I was younger. On it he traveled to run errands, to check the farm, and to visit his friends. It was passed down to him by his older brother during his later elementary years as his school service. It served him well in schooling and to his other naughty schemes as well. It made a great company to both Pa’s after class and class-cutting activities. Far from today’s tri-geared racers and mountain bikes, Papa’s was an old-modeled heavy duty that had a foot brake, a weird stand, a curvy steering tube that made it difficult to maneuver, and a full metal cover-less backseat. The backseat, as if specially designed for ‘up to no good’ youngsters, always catered enough space for his colleagues who were so much willing to trade their school time for fun. To think of an escape away from school came in as handy as his bike and his friends. Some of his friends had one too, while the ‘bikeless’ end up standing on the step knots or occupying at the backseat. Bikes were the most common transport during those times especially that cars and motorbikes were not as common as nowadays. Papa together with his friends carried on their mischievous activities with ease. His bike didn’t just provide him some extra miles but also offered him an instant sidekick hitchhiking at his backseat during his exploits. They usually went bathing completely naked in the irrigation waterways in the middle of rice fields and would later stop by and play yo-yo, marbles, rubber bands, and sling shots with some bunch of kids along the streets. His naughty friends teamed up with him in every way they thought of in their protest against their jail-like school. Still it was the bike itself was Pa’s real partner in crime. There were instances that his bike became ‘out of order’ due to flat tires, a bike part broken, or any other reasons. When such misfortunes came, he himself would simply do the hitchhiking, sitting at the back of one of his friends’ rear seat or standing on the step knots.

 

His adventures grew much bigger and better during his high school days especially when his backseat offered him more than a hitchhiker. As Papa turned from a school boy to a teenager, what the bike offered lifted from a load of boyhood mischief into an overload of teenage love. It was the time when Pa met the girl who soon became the mother of our family. But before they entered their early young marriage, Pa drove his bike usually with Ma sitting at the backseat. Their parents surely didn’t agree on them having an early affair, especially that my father’s family saw only the poverty of my mother. Likewise, my mother’s family saw only arrogance to the other. But the bike was never against their love. It was always there. It was there when they went to the movies together, when Ma and Pa seen each other in their secret rendezvous, when she chose to be absent from classes to get fetched by him to attend a party or just to have a simple lunch together. When in tight monitoring, Pa slipped out of the house unnoticed. He then went to his friends who willingly accompanied him to visit near Ma’s residence, almost three kilometers away, just to get a glimpse of her. If lucky enough, they would have a chance to have a quick word with each other, while Pa’s friends served scouts, always ready to warn them whenever a possible hostile was approaching.

 

The bike was there when Papa was with his friends and her love but it was also there when he was alone. Like his school, his home sometimes became jail-like. But there, instead of teachers, Pa had his parents to do the teaching. To satisfy his parents, he would bear listening to their ‘advice’ for some time which seemingly took almost the eternity out of him. Their ‘advice’ was like a cage preventing him to fly with the right bird for him. ‘Bike’ and nothing else came in to his mind after enduring the burden of his parents’ words. Bike was still his means of escape from his bitter world. He would leave away from the house to a place where he alone could breathe for some fresh air to cool down his dismay. There he enjoyed solace and sought a possible solution to his problem from the depths of his young mind.

 

Fortunately, Pa found a practical solution to his problem. One night, when his mind already set to his plan, he rode his bike and rushed to their secret rendezvous. There he met his girl for the last time. The next time they met at that place, she was no longer a girl anymore, but a beloved wife already. That night was their greatest ride, where the bike seemed flying with the help of their winged light hearts. In the end, their helpless parents couldn’t do anything but support their fallen fledgling to build their own nest.

 

When he became a family man, his bike transformed. From being a means of escape, it turned to a tool of a strong father. The tires rolled on the rough roads of life. The steering tube stood strong against the stiff curves of confusion. The stand supported the family in times of poverty. The paint faced the weather no matter how bad it was. The seats held the family up high from the father to his youngest son. The brakes taught him very well when to stop. Thankfully, the rider and his riding partner kept balance to keep the whole family going and didn’t let the children face the negative consequences of their fall.

 

Pa’s adventure didn’t just deal with the trying times, because his adventures sometimes even crossed across the supernatural line. I heard some scary stories from Papa, others being retold by Mama. Without him knowing, he was seen several times during his young adult life with a long-haired lady wearing a white long dress sitting at the seat behind him. Once, he was splashed with blood, at the last night of his best friend’s wake. It happened when he was about to pass the street leading to his dead best friend’s home. Pa admitted that he got tired from dating during his courtship to Ma, so to go home directly and have a rest were his priorities. He had no intention to attend the wake but was planning to attend the burial the following day instead. But after what happened, although his shirt was blood-splattered, he immediately decided to take the turn right into the street to finally attend his best friend’s wake. Another was Pa’s face to face encounter with the supernatural which I would love to tell some time.

 

Eventually, the bike became almost useless. Several tries of repair were done, but the rarity of its broken parts became the initial problem. With nothing much to expect, it came to its almost irreparable state. It only served a souvenir from the past to us now. I once heard my uncle in one of his wine sessions with Papa about restoring the bike. Unfortunately, I no longer heard of it again. I once planned of restoring old things especially the bike when I was younger. But when I came to maturity, I just accepted the fact that no matter how hard you try, some things can never be brought back just like they were before. Restoring the bike would cost much money, precious time, and great effort. Another thing is that most of the family members lacked the virtue needed for its restoration and would just rather replace the old bike. No one in the family except me and Papa were too emotional for such a thing. Finally, Papa received a mountain bike for one of his birthdays, so the idea of restoring the old bike, anyhow or any longer, turned long gone and forgotten.

 

Now that the road of life, love, and mystery made my Papa and his bike old and weary, both began to show their slow journey towards the highway of retire. Papa, not as active as he was before, chose more often to stay in or just near around the house. During their peak, Papa with Mama customarily attended affairs, visited friends, and was out beyond his residential perimeters before. But these days, such do not happen as often anymore. He would rather water the bonsai pots in the front yard or let the cows drink or just simply play his card solitaire.

 

However, Pa’s legacy of bike-riding didn’t stop just like that. It continued up to us, his children. I admit that there is a great difference between the course we have taken and are going to take. The roads we are in today are not as rough and bumpy as it were before. The motorized bike today that I am riding on is much easier to handle and much faster than Papa’s manual and old-modeled ride. However, considering the speed and technology of modern bike, I am definitely far from and might not be able to overtake or even keep up with him in the experiences and the lessons he acquired in life.

 

Until now, his old bike is just tied hanging from one of the window bars in the bodega. The rusts might soon consume its totality, but for sure the memories of Pa’s bike adventures will still be treasured for quite a long time. By himself, by me, by us.

 

inspiration: father’s day and Pa’s bike adventures

Who’s that Pokemon?

I was watching a documentary on TV one rainy afternoon. It was about animal migrations. I was comfortably seated upon my bed, when Jake entered my room. After seeing what I was into that time, Jake decided to watch the documentary with me. At first, we had our usual chats. Later, he asked me if we could have some of my potato chips. So, I asked him to get some from the drawer and then we settled ourselves perfectly to enjoy the TV program.

In our viewing, Jake asked me some things which were about what he was seeing. I always wanted kids to learn things from me, so I explained to him eagerly. I even gave him some bonus information or sometimes some funny ideas to make us laugh. I did that to make the documentary more interesting to him.

That afternoon, I noticed that Jake mumbled words in connection to the animals being featured over the television. He was doing that as if to make the ideas presented much clearer to him. Sometimes, he would mention the name of the animal. Sometimes, he would tell me that he knew the facts already. He would even jerk his head sometimes when something strange about the animals is told.

However, in the middle of our viewing, Jake started mumbling things which immediately caught my attention. He began labeling the precious animals (which he was not so familiar with) with Pokemonnames.

“Oh, it’s a Wingull. Oh, Walreins,” Jake would remark for the seagull and the walruses respectively. Sometimes, he would even add that a certain animal was an evolution of a certain Pokemon or thatPoke-animal he was referring to can do a gust of wind, or a thunderbolt, or something that sounds like that. I thought that he was joking at first, but made me realize that he was not, when he continued his Pokemon-naming frenzy to the other animals. I tried to correct the names of the poor mouth-slaughtered animals but Jake kept on naming some other creatures that flashed on the screen with his Pokemon fashion. I became irritated, so I just fell into silence. I was sad that my nephew couldn’t normally distinguish real animals from Pokemons.

A little later, there came a creature which he could not name (that even his list of Pokemons failed to do so). It was a hyena. Wondering so much of the hyena’s laughing sound, Jake asked, “Tito Jeff, what animal is that?”

“Oh, that?” I asked as if I were dumb (but really thinking of finding a way of teaching Jake a real lesson).

Jake just answered me with a nod.

“Why don’t you check the Pokedex,” I was pointing at the computer, “to know what kind of Pokemon is that?”

inspiration: Jake, NatGeo, & Pokemon

Must Be the Curtain

For nights I have been haunted,

Seeing the curtain before I sleep.

To my surprise, it happened

By my window, one midnight deep.

I woke up when I heard something

Of a lonely lady’s weeping

I thought someone there was moving

Might be the wind outside, just blowing.

Pitch-black shadows and tricky moonlight

Badly distorted what’s in my sight

For I thought I saw the midnight air,

Slightly tossed the curtain’s hair?

Though scared, I dared to look at it

Finally saw its hands and feet

It’s hard to believe that ghastly view

But I knew what I saw was true.

Still I guess it’s just my curtain

I really hope that’s just the case.

Oh, yes! I must be certain.

Just wonderin’ why it had a face?

inspiration: my imaginary friends?