To brood

We are really worrisome kids, worrisome kids.

We spend sundays waiting for time to slip away and introduce to us something new, that will never come anyway, nothing comes when we wait. We do not wait for things to happen, we make things happen.

This, and more. In a waiting game sunday, in far-fetched anxiety over turning twenty very soon, very soon if calendars do not connive with all the lies.

On a sunday, someone said to me, check you email, someone is addressing you, partly, in an essay. And so I did as told, and retrospection became inevitable.

We idealize the past, we idealize the past — as the calcified thing where everything was done and was finally stable and most painfully, gone. Especially when now is nothing but a big lump of waywardness, denied directionlessness. This is not the trauma of teenagehood termination. This is the wariness, the dramatized finicky attitude towards beginnings. Especially when, especially when everything is encountered alone.

Calendars be damned, but please lead me to a peaceful July, a placating August, an intoxicating September, and yes, a dream-fulfilling October. We can wait. We can do things. See you on the roads.


On romanticism

Romanticism won’t seem to get old, and hence, no need for something like a neo-romanticism to spring.

Since Wordsworth, since “flowers are red and your puckered lips are dry territories I wish to explore,” people have been mad about themselves, mad about how they feel, and mad about how they can exploit nature. And then we have Murakami today creating characters that want to know their selves by being alone in a dry well and I can affirm: romanticism did not die like Hellenism and the Victorian tradition and Jose Rizal.

Some magic in a single text message, and how I sometimes fall into scrap

This is one of the most frustrating times, for a columnist, even for a monthly. How I would start drafts and die at the middle, realizing how my words are going nowhere special or interesting. How I would avoid that instance when I will receive another text message from the Editor-in-chief, asking me, Katrina draft mo! That exclamation mark was only my doing, despite my failure to meet the deadlines sometimes, I believe that it never came to a point that I was so lost in the calendar she had to use this “!” in her texts.

Perhaps this is the stress of the mid-semester I would not like to acknowledge as “inevitable,” because I feel like doing so would mean that I was dormant and lazy and not diligent to prevent it. Still, it hovers in my head, right now, as I type this, what will I do with my thesis proposal? Where is it heading? And how do I finish reading King Lear in three nights? Perhaps through this:

I read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, succeeded up to the 25th page but grew tired when I felt there was a lack of speech from the characters. I want novels where girls talk and boys admit their sentiments and cry and fail in liquor. So my search for diversion went on.

The other day, I was facing SM, the retail giant, pretending to tower above us all, as I joined quite a number of other enthusiasts who oppose the tree-cutting plan. I felt it sapped a lot of my energy and tore away much of my skin, so I chose to loiter during the weekend. Saturday afternoon, I received a text message: “Kitty, Mt. Cloud tayo.” I thought it through, quite intently, only to end up devising an excuse. “Masakit ulo ko eh, next time na lang.”

There is stupidity in that, you might say, which even though you won’t, still I’m putting on myself. I found myself dramatizing the distress and fatigue I earned from the week, excusing my inappropriate bed rest at the nascence of the weekend. I had the chance to have a walk, smell early evening pine scents and leave my destructive dormancy, but I blew it off. I tried to make up for it, with a tight resolve, I picked myself from the bed and promised I would finish the column before dinner. It should come easy. If I can’t flip the pages of King Lear or open that word document in my desktop with the name “199 crap,” I should be able to finish something.

So here we are.

Thankfully, I have now almost left writing long hand for typing at the keyboard, in that case, there would be no crumple-the-paper-then-throw-them-at-the trash-bin scenes for me. Our trash bin would have been already full right now. But I am not killing my pens and blue notepads, I still rely on them when I am in a ride and something cute gets into my head or when I’m in an unexpected encounter with a genius who can’t run of poetic insights to say.

Like I don’t have them now.

Still struggling, someone texted again, the same person. “Kitty, may nakita akong Junot Diaz! 170 lang!”

Now that is something! What did I do? Put on some decent clothes, fixed hair, went to Mt. Cloud. And made Saturday a bit worthwhile, not to say productive; then return home and write about everything. And mailed, hey mam, here’s my draft.


*For last night, this was already my third draft for the January column, and I was out of blood after that, felt like this was already the most decent I can show them. So without surprise, they gave these kinds of edition, comments which no matter how harsh sounds, beget no denial or counter:

General comments:

1. parang naiba personality mo kitty maria. Dati,ikaw ay laging maraming nasasabing kakaiba sa mga mundane na bagay sa mundo. Ngayon ay wala na lang talagang masabi.


Isa pang general comment:

1 Maligoy ka Kitty.

2. Successful naman sa pagdedemonstrate na indeed, this is one of the most frustrating of times. Ang kaso, you still need to relate to your readers, would they still find this interesting? may tangent pa kaya ito sa buhay nila, maliban dun sa fact na nakakatamad ang akads?

3. isa pa pala, nasan ang issue na dinadala mo? may sa attempt na magsabing involved ka pa rin, hindi apolitical, kahit paano, dahil sumama ka sa movement. pero naiwan iyong hanging. so ano nga ang iminomoda mo dito kitty?  Ang point siguro, ay wag mahulog sa tendency na magpabasa tayo ng isang random moda, since ang space mo precious. at worthy of greater something kittyness. Baka namimiss na rin nila yung Kitty na may kaunting angst.

4, I suggest a total scrap. : ) you can still improve this though, or you can start from scratch, at iwan ang lahat ng frustrations sa himpapawid, o sa kanal.

5. Labas ka Kitty, para may Makita ka pang ibang bagay na pwede mong isulat-an.

6. Pass your next draft ASAP. Thank you. meow. 



Taking care of 12 minutes, 23 seconds

The thing with resolutions, despite their display of a sort of finality, and one that is positive, is that they are likewise vulnerable to the tidal force of change. One moment, you are resolved, the next moment, you no longer are. It’s part of the large-scale deceptiveness of everything, the lack of fixity that always asks us to be not too complacent with our positions.

In the gall of randomness, while lulled in a jeepney ride, a long, jeepney ride, and just listening to The Decemberists, I became thoughtful of the simultaneously beautiful and threatening nature of impermanence. I thought of beautiful, seemingly perfect-with-nature moments with you. We strive to grasp each other in several seemingly innocuous moments. We were subconsciously aware of the fact that what we were having are only momentary, that they will end just when they ought to end – when external factors call them quits, or when we have finally succumbed to the call from the outside. But during those moments, there is a spirit of harmlessness, a beautiful sense of security. Our eyes will meet at the high fogs laughing at our heads. You will hold my hands sometimes, like it is the most natural of all that we are, all that we do, all that we have during those moments. You’ll talk about the psychoanalytic lack, I’ll write my name in your back. We are all alone in that sphere that is only for both of us, in moments when it is only ours and ours alone. There is a security that I can sense, like a mutual trust that we will be fine with each other. My eyes will be safe in yours, your back will be safe in my arms.

But all these do not negate the reality of impermanence. But we will still cling on them – those moments that are ours alone, and perhaps look forward to the next ones with anticipation, with certainty. Like when a child is called, the party is over, it’s time to part with your friends, and all the kids will console one another, heartily and with joy over sadness, see you again soon, in school, or in your house, I’ll go there. We can never be unflagging in the face of the momentariness of moments, we will eventually submit to them. We only have to be unflinching in asserting ourselves in the face of the momentary circumstances, that is the more vital thing, I must believe.

Impermanence, thank you. Cognizant of a definite end point, we have become keener in our experience, in our presence, in the presence of others. We would hold on to it more firmly, more lovingly, more specially. And with our greater preoccupation in these moments, they get more weight, more opportunity to be sensed, to be appreciated, to be understood. Although that seems to make our departure with them more painful, I believe we would eventually resign peacefully to that fact: departures happen. But along with that, we will realize that departures are not permanent as well. That they foretell the coming of returns as well, or resurgence, or resuscitation. And these things tell that everything could be better, more special, more beautiful than before.

Ultimately, despite the threats of departure, of termination, of impermanence, we will carry on. There is a perspective that says they are inevitable, but despite that, there is the sweet potential for betterment as well. Most important of all, we decide on the fate of these things, whether they return and wilt and die, or reignite and reach a greater level. Yes, I tell you impermanence, just stay there and I will act to make things better

To the storm and of taking a bath

It was Tuesday and one needs to grapple with the psychology of laziness promoted, silently and villainously, by the oohs of rain if one wants to be productive.

I throw a slight attempt, right now, at the intangible whorl of nothingness that the storms strongly create. An attempt to be stubborn, hey rain, you tell me to lie down and sleep and laze around, but I differ.

In a narcissistic backreading, I find it delicious, the possibility posted that the voice of the rain is like that, “oohhs,” “aahhs.” I recall the everyday, when do we moan like this? Doesn’t we do it when we are delighted, when we have discovered a new information, when at the peak of sex, when we have come to realization that sounds so profound. If the storm’s tugging of the frail stems of the trees and their unabashed clinking on the roof is made at its pleasure, does that make it an utter evil? It revels in its own way, how it pounds on earth like in some human form, like a giant stepping down on trees and rocks, not really for its disastrous consequences on humans, but on the mere act itself.

I tried to hush the storm, but in the discovery of the futility of my act, I negate the supposed effects of the storm on me. The bathroom is ready and clean and I thought of basking in an overflow of water. Rains are swanky and enormous outside and would not some refreshing bath be beautifully harmonious with the day’s flavor?

Contradictions are wise opportunities for betterment. And I am in the mood to agree with the rain, but with a twist. I am not in the mood for some merry, children-like, so-carefree-of-the-world dancing in the rain, but I will be merry and productive despite the rain in alternative ways. And almost in instinct, I felt the beauty of things like that, singular ideas expressed with the aid of hyphens. As if words are rubber and we stretch it because we want more, because we recognized a lack, and we want to fill in that lack, and we recognize that we are actually capable of filling in that lack.

My cliché is that language always lacks. But to add salt to the wound, it would be apt to declare that everything lacks, in one way or another, in a simple facticity that we would rather not consciously admit. Efforts lack, sometimes. So do are time, energy, commitment, my hand’s length, the beauty in your lips, Pnoy’s education budget, the length of the semester, or the sembreak, money for a DSLR camera, or our life span. What an embittering tragedy is that, all is lacking expect for some things untouchable: the span of my dreams, the length of my imagination. And some people, frustrated cynics, would say that our dreams and imaginations also have their limits.

In a conversation with a Lacanian/Zizekian reader, a touted intellectual and a very good speaker of love, we agreed that the symbolic will always fail, and the idea of the Real needs to stay or else the insufficiency of the symbolic be invalid. And what beauty do we find at the end: there will be a lack forever, but that could be the cause for some really notable creativity. Creativity supersedes a lack, but it is not exactly that the latter necessitates the former. Creativity is not necessitated girly, it is, ahm, chosen, and then done.

I am such an incoherent blabber, defying the storms and the sensuous sound of it, in a Tuesday afternoon when no Snow Patrol is in Itunes.

Sorry moving cursor, I breathe and write and kill and “am”

But what is the moving cursor telling me? “Hey, young ideologue, planning to write something pretentious again, something escapist again? Why don’t you confront everything that you are writing about? Why don’t you just eat with the beggars in Session road? Why don’t you just plant with the farmers? Why don’t you just rally with the people clamoring for higher wages like they were clamoring against death? Why don’t you just approach the hundreds which you claim to be blinded by a “false consciousness?” Are you yet another on-the-surface Marxist?

Hey, hey cursor, easy on your accusations, easy on your prejudgments. Can I defend myself first from your rather reckless proclamations? But it feels… ahm what, quite delightful to hear what you just labeled me, a young ideologue. I know you won’t have any other option but to agree that we are in a muck. You implied it yourself in your spate of questions/bombardments of accusations: beggars in Session, higher wages against starvation and death, people acting like zombies not knowing that every Bieber cd is more dollars for big-time American corporations. And what do we cling onto in these times of lived hell but ideologies. A young ideology, a young ideologue clinging onto the most optimistic of all, these times are changing and I will be part of this movement for change. But this is not a young ideology after all. This ideology is almost as old as the problem that it seeks to transcend

, it seeks to end and transcend. This is an ideology that clings not onto false hopes or the most cherished illusions, this is an ideology that is crafted and honed through the ever-talking temper of times, the ever-warring voices of times. This is an ideology that has been crafted and honed through constant revisionings, recuperations, requalifications. And as times change, as rates of exploitations rise with the assiduous mountain-climbers and heaven-seekers, as jobs are given to white collars and decent payments are deprived of the uneducated and the submissive, as machines replace humans and humans begin to imitate American accents, the need for the sustenance and reevaluation of this ideology continues. And most important of all, the need to advance what this ideology is calling for only gets more urgent and borders on the life-and-death scenario.

This is more about academic battles and publication glories, this is now about the life and death of the people.

And what is pretentious about this, can I retort? What is escapist about writing the pain which is only partially expressed in the writhing of farmers or SM employees after a day’s work? What is escapist about writing the trickeries set-up by so-called intellectual wordplays and the undertones of seemingly beautiful terms like “liberalism” and a “free-market?”

Perhaps it is escapist in the sense that it does less of a confrontation with the things it tackles. It merely writes, not exactly negotiates; it merely slanders, not terminates. But what else it is doing but shatters the myth of the neutrality of words. And in converse, bestowing upon them a certain power that only few will ever recognize. Battles exist not only in the fields or through ammunitions but in the text as well, through words and rhetoric. “The struggle over the sign,” thank you Bakhtin. So is this not confrontation? Perhaps it is a shyer confrontation but it is. A midget is also a man, and if you insist it is not, oh no, you are well too governed by words again. And I guess I must conclude that that is a sadness, being well-governed by words and eventually, well-controlled not to act against, ahm, the governor that uses not only guns and bullets, but also social institutions (hence, hardly violable) and words and music and film to eternalize its rule on us.

The power we are up against is too powerful. And if with words alone we lose, I don’t know how else we can break out.

Saying the unsayable

There are seemingly unsayable terms, unsayable words, unsayable names; teasing designations that wound even the seemingly most impenetrable presence.

Whereas “puta,” ‘tanga: or “son of a bitch” could be unsayable for supposed angels, names that reverberate with and gush with pieces of sad memories are unsayable because they evoke that precisely, a sadness so deep one needs to swim in it before getting over it. Whereas “inscrutable” is too sacred to be told, “unsayable” here is too painful to be told. Where it takes everyday to say “Hi” or “Thank you,” perhaps it will require a torture to say the unsayable-name-that-reaps-sadness.

In the fake glimmer of summer, I forced myself to rub out from my vocabulary this person’s name who was never really like a meter apart. In the challenge of a monotonous May, I invited a nocturnal specter to force me to avoid mentioning and declaring a new, verbal taboo. That is like murder, although definitely of a different type. Killing someone with your mouth is like killing someone in your consciousness, forcibly excluding the person in the frame of things one can recognize, much more value. The words that come out of our mouth, being a product of a process which had an earlier stage in the mind, have this great significance. Like what I say is intertwined with my memory, my feelings, my knowledge, my desires, or what else, my consciousness. And banishing a name from the realm of what I can say, how is that? That is difficult, especially if you are trying to abandon a name which belongs to someone that is, shit, special.

But feelings and situations are not stable. And while feelings amplify, situations can be unfavorable that they disappoint the feelings.

And we usually end up in that, disappointments, frustrations, and those other words that are overflavored with glum. So I keep rehearsing in front of the mirror, doing away previously typical sentences where I speak of the unspeakable, say the unsayable. This looks like it will be of great hypocritical fun.