Have you ever tasted dirty paint water?
“No, you’re not that stupid, right?”
No. No, I wasn’t. I never… but have you?

Anyway, I had sweet and warm coffee
right next to my wash cup
Did I dip into the wrong cup?
I dunno. Maybe.
It tasted sweet,
And red, and juicy.
And then I tasted salt,
metallic and red.

The thickness of the red covered my teeth,
My tongue, my lips,
And then my eyes were red.
And all I saw was that taste.
So I rubbed by eyes,
Hence, hands stained red forever.

All I touched was red.
Everyone stared back at me red.
I could not hear their hearts,
All I could hear was clanging, metallic red.

I dare not touch them.
Perhaps I feared my red.
Perhaps I feared theirs.

“Was it quinacridone?”
Nah. Cadmium, I think.


Ang mga Munting Pangarap ni Bobi

Si Bobi ang Tatay ko.

Natatawa ko sa kanya. Nilibre ko siya ng almusal kahapon. Pambawi kasi di ko siya sinipot nung Fathers’ Day.

Bobi: Tinatanong ka nga pala sakin ni Jun.

Ako: Jun?

Bobi:  Si Jun Cruz Reyes. Mag workshop ka daw sa kanya.

Ako: Ahhh.

(sorry for the name-drop)

Natatawa ko sa kanya. Hanggang ngayon umaasa pa rin na makakapagsulat ako ng seryoso. Palanca daw. Sayang daw. Di naman ako karapatdapat sa pagsusulat.

Ibang-iba talaga sila ng Nanay ko. Ibang-iba ang pangarap para sakin.

Tumango na lang ako kay Bobi. Paano mo sasabihin sa sarili mong ama na nilamon na ko ng corporate world at ng pag-pangarap sa ibang bansa? Paano ko sasabihin “Tay, salamat. Pero matagal na’kong patay.” ?

Di ko masabi dahil mahal ako ni Bobi.

Happy Fathers’ Day.

The Fable of Piney

Piney is a three-inch pineapple fruit wtih a four-inch crown. He was planted on a littleplanter on my 21st birthday by my Grampa. To this day, I don’t know what my Lolo meant by giving my a miniature pineapple except that I liked cute tiny things.

Piney wasn’t much of a looker. He had uneven yellowish moss green skin. At least his crown was a stunner: thick deep green spines that were glossy.

I took care of Piney: watering him every other day, making sure he gets some sunlight every other day, talking to him on occassion. I migled him with my family of tiny cacti. The prickly little fellow felt right at home.

And then he started to die. Piney withered before my very eyes. His yellowish moss green rounded body came slumping off the tiny planter. At least his crown was still a stunner.

And I figured, Piney really wasn’t meant to live long. Tiny as he is, he no longer had breathing space in that tiny planter of his. And so I left him to his fate among the cacti,  tiny planter and all  and forgot about him.

One day, I was trimming my nails on our paseo(the prettified alleyway leading to our house) right beside the giant dama de noche bush. I inspected the cacti table. Piney was no longer there. All that was left was his tiny, cracked planter. I figured Mom must have cleaned up the remains. And so I forgot about him.

After some heavy rains a few months later, I came out inspecting the damage to our plants in the paseo. And I found some stunning thick deep green spines that were glossy hiding under some mayana leaves. Piney was prettier than ever! He had new green shoots, making his crown even lovelier.

I asked my folks how that happened. And my brother cockily said “You didn’t know how to take care of it. So i transplanted it, dummy. It’s mine now.”

Moral of the story: Some gifts are better taken care of by wiser people. Or else they wither and die.

I, Artist…not!

That word gives me the prickles. Aren’t they the ones with faded clothes, scruffy hair, black-rimmed eyes (due to lack of sleep or….gasp! eyeliner), yet look effortlessly cool? Aren’t they the ones who have pot sessions and whirlwind romances? Aren’t they the ones who didn’t do so well at school, don’t so so well at work, yet go through life with their genius and charisma? Aren’t they the brooding types? Aren’t they the ones who live in (self-imposed, self-made or self-imagined) poverty? Aren’t they the ones who pursue and are consumed by their passion (for whatever fancy they may take)?

I am none of those things.  I have no eye for design or fashion (although my brothers, artists both, will say that they’re anti-fashion, but whatever). I am so straight-laced that people laugh at my dorkiness. I did well in school and I do well at work. I’m not exactly likeable; I only have handful of friends. I cannot be passionate about anything. I am a capitalist-minded, conservative conformist who loves money.

I can’t draw. I can’t paint. I can’t dance. I like reading but I am not well-read. I’ve heard of, but have not read, Nicholas Sparks, Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, etc. I love music but I don’t know the history of blues, jazz or rock music. I sing, but I’m a terrible performer. I like looking at paintings but I don’t know what they mean.

 And then my boyfriend calls me a Toreador (a fancy-pants Moronic-Byronic wimpy Anne Rice type)… i.e an artist. I was taken aback. The nerve !

He explained that, to him, that an artist is simply someone who needs to express herself so bad that if they don’t they’ll explode. I’m not exactly the exploding type.

Is it because I blogged about Angono? Is it because I blog (with a severe case of oligo-blogia)? There’s nothing artsy about blogging. The crassest people can be found on the blogosphere.

I was a writer in high school. But everyone knows you can’t stay in high school.

My friends and teachers from high school tell me they’re surprised that i took the corporate track. They expected me to be a bohemian, an artist, an activist. Just because I wrote news in the schoolpaper.

The truth is, I knew I would have never been successful in that path. And they knew it.

I can’t write anything of my own. I had to have someone tell me “Please do an article on the newly elected student council. Leave it on my desk by Friday.”

None of “Omigosh your love requiem was so hardcore it made me cry blood! and I’ve never liked poetry before!” I wasn’t “Such an insightful editorial I wanna march into the Senate with you now!” I was just OK. Good, but not great.

I was old reliable. And I still am.

Maarte lang ako. Hindi ako artist.