Placido Penitente

I am a weird organic life form. Not entirely perfect. I walk by the wall.

April Reading Line-Up

Since my employment status has recently regained itself to be nonexistent, I now have all the time in the world to read (and probably study). Soooo here is my reading line-up:

  1. Either/Or is much too intimidating for my brain to tackle (albeit its being literary in style) and I think this one would also do an excellent job in making me feel confused as heck but in a more tolerable level so I’m all up for it.
  2. One word: need. I need more Murakami in mah life. I am not a huge fan of his characters but since this is more of a collection of short stories, I think the vital focus would be on imagery and mood which I like most about his writing.
  3. I have a love-hate relationship with Ayn Rand just because her views on society are too black-and-white for me. I have read three of her books; one of which I have thrown (with great force) against the wall. Buuuut I kinda miss having mixed feelings about what I read so I think this is a good choice.
  4. Same reason as no. 3.
  5. I love love loveeeee Russian authors. This is another one to try. I’m currently reading it (Chapter 18 atm) and though I believe that humans are NOT inherently evil, this book does a great job saying otherwise.
  6. I need me some thrill in mah life. Don’t judge me.
  7. I want to experience different levels of pain because I’m afraid that I would turn into a rock soon if I don’t act on it. I am actually almost done with this (only around a hundred pages left) and I have grown to find the story very dragging; with characters having deep forms of personalities but also with very narrow perceptions.

This is going to be a very hot summer.

Advertisements

A Rejection Letter to Salvation

Halfway into hell, I did the sign of the cross.

The fire licking its tongue against my calloused hands,

Burning the skin as if to expose the bruised sentiments,

Hiding under the silent façade of bravery;

In the name of the Father, knocking my forehead

with the tip of my finger, as if trying to wake up

my sleeping consciousness that I am dipping

my feet in blood as I drag them into broken promises;

And of the Son, stabbing my guts

Trying to assure the dying butterflies

That its rusty cage is still intact despite the

Desperate plea of my finger to turn into a dagger;

And of the Holy Spirit, patting my shoulders

to keep on going surrendering my suicidal soul

into a baptism of fire, clasping my hands in finality.

Amen.

 

One less and lonely

When I was ten, I trapped myself

in book covers, hid between

the gaps the ink missed, my

eyes blurred into white-washed

lengths of paper, my hands molded

into cardboards, my feet pushed

against the shelf, squeezed into

the curves of the corner,

my body disappearing;

 

When I was eleven, I waited for the

last bell, the room emptied and muted

of plans and goodbyes and see you’s,

crawled to my little space, eyes

focused in dance steps, my mouth

moved in synch with the pages,

sang songs as my friends applauded for

me with every flip of their wings;

 

When I was twelve, I started to feel

the weight of my friends on my back

as I walk home with their company,

my steps slower, my breath heavier,

the sidewalk crowded with familiar

faces, the air filled with buzzes,

wishing I could keep conversations with

friends without the need for eyes;

 

When I was thirteen, I cried on the bus

without knowing why, my teacher beside

me oblivious as she stared outside,

my eyes yearned for my friends,

bitterly granted by mixed airs of

laughter and chitchat of classmates,

aware that I cannot do the same

with my friends in a moving vehicle;

 

When I was fourteen, I left my friends

at home in attempt to create new ones,

my voice a sound I knew wasn’t mine,

my feet too slow to keep up,

the sidewalk not big enough for

three people, stretched out yet falling

behind, eyes ached to be with

friends who did not make me feel

I was alone;

 

When I was fifteen, I talked to my

friends more, stayed up all night

with them as they told me about their day;

and I told them about mine as I lifted a pen

for the first time, our realities bridged

into abstract lines, parallel and

intersecting, complicated side by side;

 

When I was sixteen, I saw my friends

in a conversation with someone I

did not recognize, face serious and

straight, eyes dancing to steps I knew

by heart, lyrics my lips whispered

without having to try; but her

movements and melody different from

the rendition I usually did mine;

 

When I was sixteen and a half, I still

trapped myself in book covers,

but with excess space for the addition

of a new colored pen marking

responses on the space between pages

and friends.

 

(I am missing my soul sister very much. I long to go bookstore hopping with her, coffees in our hands. She’s busy with work, though. Also, I’m broke af. The struggle is more real than my own existence lol.)

Hot Springs

I drink iced tea before plunging

in warm water, the acidic taste

lingering inside my mouth as my skin

burns against the ripples I

float in with the desire to defy

the laws of heat;

 

I take another sip, leaning against

the rocky surface, their edges creating

friction against my back, marking dots

as if attempting a constellation

nobody would ever connect

in awe;

 

I take one last sip, heavily bearing more

weight on my back, lifting my head up and

listening to the loud static of the water  running

from a rocky height, taking in the intensity

of the fall, just to embrace a melting

pot of flesh and wetness;

 

I take a deep breath and become one

with the ripples, drowning away the

noise and the taste of iced tea.

Coffee

Every lift of the mug to my lips, I inhaled the aroma of scenes as memories flavored the bitter taste of coffee, dark blend of colors. The somber atmosphere of mahogany black filled the place and made the air lighter. The little corner I found was illuminated by a dim spotlight, directly overhead, guiding my way to pages.

This was how I chose to spend a Saturday. Flipping papers as I drink black coffee. Such a vain attempt at disappearance. I couldn’t even focus on the words, couldn’t form them into structured parts. Instead, they act as an anthology of images of bygone days. Every word is a distant call of a voice I once had. A firm reminder of the voice I lost—of a voice I have thrown away.

A masochistic act of self-incrimination.

I smiled.

To spend time with yourself, the self that disappeared, is to live dangerously.

Interlude

Tv-with-static

I turned off the lights– granting darkness the permission to seize me in its arms, cradling me into a fortress of complete muteness. My soul rocked back and forth into the void, trying to pierce through the walls the universe bounded me as prisoner. My thoughts gathered round in a painful congestion of nothingness, only erupting in a multitude of colors to flash one word we all try to run away from:

Death.

The hour held on to me tightly, twisting me in bundle of nerves that spark endlessly towards that question—what happens to me when I die?

What is death?

Death as a final breath. Death as a limit. Death as a chatoyant of the stillness seeping into my veins, turning me into a solidified mass that makes up walls.

An eerie sound echoed in the hallows of my ears; as if a transmission of networks losing connection.

I tugged myself free from the chord and swam into a vacuum.

Death is static. A numbing sound of monotonous gray—continuously ringing to no end, for all eternity.

My Practicum Experience

I think this reflection would be better supported if I anchored it from my dreams and goals. Now, I never really thought much about the dreams I have in terms of future careers; I consider myself a pretty chill person, only erupting when I reach the impasse of difficulties the last minute. But if we are to take this in a literal sense, I just woke up from a dream I had of me inside a classroom. I was going back and forth through different scenarios, making the images a little blurry inside my head.  I am no Sigmund Freud but I think it sends a message that being a teacher is something that I am still quite undecided of actually pursuing as a career. Quite ironic that I had already been sent off to be a practice teacher yet I cannot be fully assured if this is really what I want to become. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy teaching but I feel like there is still another calling for me that I have yet to respond to.

My taste varies a lot, encompassing such a wide range of subjects that making a decision of focusing on only one drives me into a craze. There are a lot of things I want to try out, possibilities I want to explore. For instance, after finishing this degree, I plan on pursuing an M.A. in Literature. Lately, I have been checking out available programs offered by the University of the Philippines and I found myself leaning towards Anglo-English Literature or Comparative Literature. Having heard discussions on topics concerning these two urge me to learn more about them, giving me the push to finally sail out into the sea of literature with them as the ship.

Admittedly, my experiences during my practicum made me realize that teaching in high school is not the life I’m cut out for. I do enjoy encouraging kids; it’s just not something I see myself doing for the rest of my life. Albeit that personal opinion, I still have learned a lot from my daily interactions with my students. I have came to realize that my students really did come from a wide array of backgrounds that it’s almost difficult to adjust myself to them—and that’s what I constantly work on doing everyday during my practicum: levelling. My students are my top priority so I must see fit that their needs as learners come first and I couldn’t do that when I perceive them as one and the same.

That said, I do confess that this was not the easiest thing to do because my students sometimes got on my nerves. There were times when my temper has gone so overboard that I viewed going to school as more of a jail sentence than a responsibility. It was incredibly difficult handling students who did not even want to be there. It was difficult convincing them to appreciate going to school; it was far more difficult convincing myself that I could direct them into that path. I have never been exposed to this sort of classroom setting prior to this experience so it was hard to test waters and such to arrive at the best way in approaching the whole classroom situation. I had been discouraged a lot of times.

But I realized that if I were to wear these lenses to look at the experience, I would have biased views. I should give it a chance because I wouldn’t really have a complete taste of it if I give up on it halfway. If I do not open myself up to the challenge, I wouldn’t develop from any of this. So, I stood straight even during desperate times—it took a lot of dedication and courage to survive that. Despite all of that, it was exceedingly rewarding.

Because of this experience, I do consider teaching in high school but probably only for a few years. Personally, I prefer a more substantial discourse when I teach, that is why I consider teaching in college. Of course, I am aware that it’s no walk in the park so I have prepared myself for wearing shoes that would endure even the fiery pits of hell. It’s just really something that I’ve fully decided over so I’m all up for the challenge.

Alongside my teaching career, it’s been a dream of mine to publish a book. I don’t mean a textbook in that regard but instead something that would add up to long queue of works in literature. It seems a little too idealistic if you think about it but I have already started thinking of a plotline overview—all that is left is to do is to actually start writing the draft. The thing that I find to be my biggest obstacle is the first few chapters because the story is set in either versions of the afterlife and I do not really know how to start it. Despite doubts, the dream is still burning aflame.

Dreams transcend the dimensions of reality we are enclosed with. I just hope I cross that boundary soon and this experience was a turning point to lead to that direction. I would be forever engraved with the epiphanies I had from it.

Death March

The stomps of forbidden steps echoing dry.
Vibrating up until the cloud’s tearless cry.
The air seems void, breathless and deaf.
Silent eyes switching from the right to the left.
A banner of white now blooded with red.
This is how soldiers march to their death.

January 3, 2017

Classes of of V.Mapa High School resumed today. As expected, I had a hard time waking up because I really couldn’t fathom the idea that I was back to the reality I dreaded for a long time, avoiding it as much as I could during the two weeks I was free from it. Just to be clear, I have no problems with the teaching itself, I just did not think I was ready to deal with responsibilities yet. I wanted to hit the gym because I did not go yesterday (because who the heck do I think I’m kidding? Discipline? Goals? Like, um, hullo. I feasted on an entire jar of chocolate roll-ups and instantly wrapped myself in the blanket of regret afterwards).

So yes, it took a lot of determination on my part to drag myself out of bed. But once I finally did, I was on caffeine overdose and I pedaled my way  to sweating for 45 minutes. Then blah blah blah normal routine. I even prepared a little speech to deliver in class for the new year, just to encourage the kids a little bit. I might have gone a little overboard with it for it consumed one freaking hour.

My adviser told me some pretty alarming news about her pregnancy so I told her I would handle all the classes myself in case she needed time to rest. Sooo, that being said, I taught four sections today- 14, 15, 11, and 8. Needless to say, the number they have as a title is the equivalent sum total of the number of students who showed  up today; props to my babies (Section 8) for having the most attendees on the first day. I was pretty sure that the reason some of these students decided to make it to class was because they needed their allowance. In case you think I’m terrible, they said so themselves.

Section 14 was alright. They were my first class and they behaved well. I could see some of them are hungover (from vacation and alcohol, you could see it from their eyes) so that made their energy level dropped to a minimum. Section 15, despite only having 15 students present there, was still a complete monster.  Section 11 was tolerable, there were just some issues I needed to deal with but nothing major to stress over.

Okay, at this point, I was really really absorbing the kind of energy they were radiating. Dull and sleepy faces everywhere that I think I wore the same expression myself. I couldn’t even bring myself to deliver the speech I rambled inside my head because I was afraid they’d actually start snoring. So, I think that kinda bubbled up inside me and I started feeling a little disheartened, almost to the point I wasn’t in any mood to tell them that it’s the new year and such extravaganza blah blah.

Section 8 kinda made me snap.  The first time I saw my students, they were all mocking me that the seatwork we’d have today would be an activity on New Year’s Resolutions and they said they were tired of it and they did not want to do it anymore so if they could please just go home instead. I tried breathing and told them that I did not prepare this activity myself and if I were granted the permission, I would change it up. They snorted. I lost it and marched to my desk and just sat there, staring at them. The silence that followed was so shocking that I felt a little emotional inside. This was the first time I heard them really really quiet. Like the only sound you could hear were the scratching of pen on paper, the crumbling of paper into fists, the uncomfortable twists of chairs. It sounded peaceful. I felt a bit guilty because I saw how guilty their faces were.

Anyway, I began a game of trying my best not to lose it again. After fifteen minutes of complete silence, I called their attention. I admitted that I was disappointed but it didn’t really matter so much now because they were doing what they were asked to do. I also told them that I do not really believe in resolutions but I do believe in change because you could easily set goals for yourselves whenever you want, New Year just seems to be a more fitting time to do it because it’s symbolic. They started loosening up a little by then, some even asked me questions that I tried my best to answer, some even encouraged me to smile a little.

Funny story, they started being so comfortable that Adrian raised his hand and told me that he was really happy because January is the birth month of his baby and he wanted to be really good to her. I was like, “Adrian, you’re too young to have a girlfriend.” He went all confused and said, “Girlfriend? Ma’am, I meant my kid.” I gave him a blank stare, waiting for the punchline until the actuality of it being a fact punched me instead. WHAT THE HELL. He’s freaking 14. He gave me a cheesy grin and went back to his work. That was a wut moment.

Anyways, I kinda lost it again before I dismissed them but that one student I kinda called on apologized. All is well.

I’m currently researching (plagiarizing) on Climate Change. It’s making my eyes drop.

See you.

A Eucharistic Sunday in the Life of a Non-Believer

 [DRAFT]

The sun blazed into my skin, leaving trails of burnt marks of reddening glow. I inched myself closer to the shade, only to be pushed forward again with the annoyance of how much time I was wasting. I should be at home instead; binge-watching shows yet this pathetic excuse of a morning plan that also goes in the name of waiting on my mom to finish with her Christian duties of going to the mass that made me yielded into staying outside. In my defense, I figured if I were to come inside the threshold of the God I long ago rejected, my skin would not only burn, it would also burst into a mountain of granite dust. We don’t want that in the middle of the opening of the church, especially with how much people were rushing inside to receive the blessings of their aforementioned God. What a perfect way to spend a Sunday.

I checked my watch, the small hand urgently pointed to the dot before 9, the bigger hand mockingly shaking towards 3. 9 freaking 15 in the morning and it felt like I was inside a sauna and a tanning cubicle combined. Hell in front of a holy place, unbelievable. What I did believe in was that I had forty-five minutes before I combust into rage so I was in a desperate need of a change of scenery. Abandoning my spot, I made steady yet slow strides out of the gates, directly meeting with a trail of vendors.

Ate, sampaguita?,” a child of around ten years urged a bundle of flowers into my face. I cringed at the smell of strong fragrance. It smelled like the flowers you offer to the dead.

I shook my head, turning left. To my surprise, I was face to face to a lady wearing black.

“Come, come. My cards will tell you what lies ahead,” she called to me, pushing the seat in front of her desk filled with taro cards.

I felt a shiver ran down my spine, remembering a horror movie with how those cards played a significant role on the characters’ deaths. I took a sharp turn, walking forward until I saw a cart filled with weird materials and apparatuses that I did not know existed here in the city.

“Have you got any enemies,” a voice cracked at me, the owner turning his accusing gaze into my eyes. “One whiff of these leaves and you’d rid of her forever.”  His eyebrows did a little dance.

Shuddering, I walked away.

The sweat on my forehead reached my eyes, stinging them and making my visions blurry. I walked aimlessly everywhere, seeing people go on with their business. Family walking to places in even movements, a complete phalanx formation. Storeowners not even popping their heads out to urge customers in. The streets silent with minimal screeches of wheels on roads.

I kept dragging my feet until I saw another shed. With my feet aching, I rested under the shade. Leaning back, I fanned myself, trying to breathe. The humidity and the heat almost filled my brain with suffocation that I was having a hard time inhaling.

“Is this seat taken,” a broken voice lifted me back to reality. A figure towered over me, showering me with a shadow. He took my silence as permission to sit next to me.

With the available light from the sun, I studied his face cautiously. His hair was damp, clinging close to his scalp that he ran a hand over, the sweat collecting on his palm. Eyebrows mashed together, heavy breathing from his nose and mouth in synch. I couldn’t get a whole view of his eyes for he was squinting as if flinching in pain.

“Jogging under this heat,” he hissed under his breath, “is the stupidest thing to ever do.”

I held back a snort, a little surprised that he’d start a conversation. “You think? Try ‘waiting for your mom while she’s at church.’”

He finally dropped a glance at me, giving me a set of wide brown eyes.  “That’s strange, not stupid. Why aren’t you with her?”

I shrugged, “I’m not a church person, I guess.”

“Too many people?”

“Not really. I just am not.”

A moment of silence took a leap, crashing in the space between us. Heavy and asking for attention. I swallowed the awkwardness away.

“A reading from the book of Matthew,” he said after five uncomfortable minutes. “My name is Matt.”

I nodded, scratching my forehead, not knowing what to say and coming up with: “Hi.”

His lips lifted into a smile, “Glory to you, oh Lord?”

“May you deliver us from evil and vanity.”

He shrugged, “I wouldn’t call you vain. You won’t even tell me your name.”

“Why should I tell you my name,” I snapped, shocking even myself with my sudden annoyance. I didn’t really appreciate small talk.

“Okay. Grumpy it is. Hi, Grumpy,” he took out a box of cigarettes from his pocket and popped one onto his mouth. His teeth chewing slightly at the end, he turned to the sky and said, “Thanks be to God.”

He snapped the lighter with his thumb, flicking a spark on the other end of the cigarette.

“You know,” I began, looking at how he whiffed at it, “smoking after a jog under this heat is the stupidest thing you can ever do.”

“Oh yeah?” he said, letting the thing dangle from his smirk. “Want one?”

I took a cigarette from the pack.

Inhaling it in, and exhaling with a cough.

“It’s mint,” he told me, leaning back on the chair more comfortably.

“Amen to that,” I replied, repeating the process.

He leaned back so comfortably that his foot slipped and he lost his balance. Staggering forward, he put all his weight to fall on his knees.

“Well, that’s very convenient,” I commented, giggles escaping. “You pray after a communion.”

His face burnt redder than the sun, “This is not even close to the body of Christ.”

“But you’re a disciple of it, considering how much you keep on your pocket.”

He shrugged, “True. It kills the body and poisons the blood.”

I lifted an eyebrow, “Well, if that’s the body of your Christ, what’s the blood that you worship?”

“Quite a holy one. San Miguel Pale Pilsen. It makes the blood pump,” he grinned, showing all his pearly white teeth.

 I laughed, “May yourself make peace with those chemicals.”

“Peace be upon you, too.” His expression changed into alarm that he checked his watch, the reflection from the sun shining on his face.

“What time is it,” I asked him.

“It’s almost ten.”

“Oh, it is?”

“Yeah. I need to be somewhere by ten,” he informed me, a bit of an apology in his voice and eyes.

“Well, the mass will be over soon. I should also be meeting with my mom by ten.”

“Oh, right.”

Another silence.

“Well,” he offered his hand, “It was nice to meet you.”

I grasped the hand in mine, feeling how tight my grip is closing in when I felt it cold. “Yes, nice to meet you, too.”

Pulling our hands away, he laughed. “I didn’t even get your name but okay.”

“Yeah, go on now. And prosper.”

“Live long and prosper, Grumpy,” he nodded back, lifting his body off the bench. “I’ll see you around.”

“Right,” I said under my breath, watching his back as he walked away.

The heat enveloped me again and I took a powerful puff at the end of my cigarette.

I need to do a lot of editing on this. This took a really terrible turn. But here’s the gist of what I wanted to do with the idea, at least. But ugh, it’s meh.

%d bloggers like this: