24 November 2010

Come Hither


Artwork: boy3 - Audrey Kawasaki, 2009

come to me
my sweet thing
and stand
at my
side:
my consort,
beloved,
thou whose
name
art etched
in my
heart,
my soul.

let my
hands
glide over
your
smooth
flesh,
let me
stain
your pale
cheeks
with the
blush,
the wonted
crimson
of
desire.

i will
murmur
promises,
vows
i intend
to keep,
to keep
you by
my
side
forever,
for always.

and you,
my sweet,
my darling,
shall never
yearn for
another
for i
can
i will
give you
everything
your heart
yearns
for...

...only
give your
sweet,
precious
innocence
to
me.

17 November 2010

Weep Not for All is Not Lost


Artwork: Hibiscus - Marco Mazzoni, 2010

i live
i breathe
i know
with every
fiber
of my
being:

i am
blessed;
love abounds
and then
some,

i am
proud
of the
work
my two
hands
can do,
have done,
will do

i am
happy
that i
am not
at the
losing
end
of life's
overflowing,
bursting
at the
seams
cornucopia
of delights,
of dreams.

i know
deep
within me
that - yes
that - soon
that - indeed
regardless
of the
braying of
fanatics,
groupies,

of
hypocrites,
of women
turned crone
before their
time:

i am
right.


03 November 2010

Firelight


Photo taken on 31st October 2010

the nights grow longer,
the cold grows stronger,
and i seem
to have lost
my way.

but my
heart,
my
mind,
my
soul -
they burn
with
fervor,
with
passion,
with that
fever of
yearning so
strong.

just when
i think
i need
to grope,
stumble blind,
feel my way
through
the endless
darkness
i see
a pinpoint,
a flash,
a faint
but present
flicker
of flame

and i walk
without
fear
for i know
deep
within
what i
feel,
what i
know
is true,
all true,
is you.

05 October 2010

Conquest Most Sweet


Artwork: Dominion - Natalie Shau, 2009

come hither
beloved
and let
me
kiss
you:

lose yourself
in the
sweetness,
the warmth,
the
overwhelming
softness
of flesh,
of love,
of lust
unbridled

unleash
yourself
from the
fetters,
the rusting
shackles
of prudery,
of ignorance,
of innocence
unwarranted...

free
yourself
from your
inhibitions
and bind
yourself
to
me.


01 October 2010

Vanity of Vanities, All is Vanity


Artwork: Vanitas - Natalie Shau, year unknown

remember:
you are dust
to dust you
will return.

you resort
to the
paint-pot,
the surgeon,
the mask
to hide
your
uglinesses

it does not
change
a
thing:

you're hideous:
rotting flesh
stinking,
reeking
beneath rich
perfumes,
salves,
unguents.

your heart
is rotten,
your soul
is black,
your mind
filled
with the
maggots,
the vermin
of slander,
of envy,
of greed,
of lust,
of hate.

how i
wish:
someone
would strip
you
of your
pretensions,
your follies,
your lies,
your false -
blatantly fake -
pieties,
your power-plays
your pitiful
mockable
mockeries...

...and
show
that you
are little
more
than the
devil's
precious
little
whore.

28 September 2010

Siren-Song


Artwork: Blue Mermaid - Yoshimasa Tsuchiya, 2009

i love you
beyond doubt,
beyond pain,
beyond pleasure,
beyond joy,
beyond grief...

more than magic,
more than power,
more than substance,
more than even
life itself...

i lure you
to my
side,
i beckon you
to heed
this call,
this song,
this ode
to love
and longing
and passion
and life...

for
i love you
more than the sweet,
more than the bitter,
more than the sane,
more than the mad,
more than life,
more than death
and possibly
beyond.

21 September 2010

Anger


Artwork: As She Began to Fade Away - Chad Merritt, 2010

i feel the
pain:
the rage
threatening,
roaring,
trying
to break out
like wings
through my
shoulders.

i am bowed,
and cowed,
and rendered
mute
and scarlet-
faced
by the
things
i cannot,
could not,
would not,
should not
say
lest i
kill with
a word.

i want
to lash out
to bash up
to mash up
to crush,
crunch,
cripple,
maim;

to rip out
slanderous
tongues,
to pop out
lying
eyes

for every
wrong
inflicted
upon my
heart,
upon my
soul,
upon my
flesh:

thrice
is the
price,
the
ransom
i name,
i seek,
i demand.

15 September 2010

Nine Days


Artwork: While You're Sleeping - Audrey Kawasaki, 2009

the clock
ticks:

minutes pass,
seconds
of life
fluttering,
flitting
by.

i sit in
the darkness
and wait
even
as the
pain
cripples me
more than
i care
to admit.

the fear
breaks me
but i
try
not to
let it
show.

i think
of you
and think
too hard
and worry
myself
sick
and worn
and ragged.

and i
wait
still;
nine days
ere
my year
turns

and i
weep
and i sigh
and i
worry
myself
to
shreds.

14 September 2010

Be Not Proud, My Foes


Artwork: Butterflies Trying to Escape Their Shadow - Peter Callessen, 2005

be not
proud,
my foes:

all is
not yet
lost!

i can
still
fly
free
from your
lies,
your dark
mumblings,
every
single
curse
you've
uttered
against
me.

be not
proud
of
yourselves
for you
are as
nothing,
are as
rubbish,
are as
dross:

you malign
that which
you
understand
not;
you scoff
at that
which you
fear,
which you
dread,
which you
know
will mean
your
end.

be not
proud,
my foes:

death
will have
her last
laugh
yet...

and you
will weep,
will moan,
will mourn,
and curse
the day
you
were
born.

when that
day comes:

good riddance
and get
thee
gone.

13 September 2010

Grief and Circumstance


Artwork: Annie Duels the Sun - Angie Wang, 2010

i weep:

my heart bleeds
sore
within
and i know
not
what to
do

for all
are against
me,
none stand
for me;

my world
is fallen,
is black,
is bleak,

and i
am too
spent
for any
struggle

my heart
is weary
and all
i want
to do
is die.

06 September 2010

730 Days and Then Some


Artwork: The Second Look - Carin Welz-Stein, date unknown

i wrote
you off
when we
first met:

you were
a child
fresh from
school;
a pest
who plagued
and pestered
and drove
me mad
for a
fortnight.

and yet
when once
again
our paths
crossed:

you seemed
to come
alive
at the
sound
of my
name.

when we
next met,
things took
a turn:

it's been
two years
and then
some -

and you
still plague
and pester
and drive
me mad...

but
in a
good
way;
a very
good
way.

27 August 2010

W2


Artwork: Boy in Static - Audrey Kawasaki, 2010

i look outside
into the bleak
the cold
the grey
the wet
world
below
and
sigh

and think
and wonder
and look
back
on a
sunny
warm
may
day:

how i
wanted
to say
something
other than
the
technobabble
gobbledegook
we were
conversing
in,

how i
wanted
to speak
of hope,
of life,
of faith
and then
some...

but i...
am a
coward
and i
spoke
not.

and i
regret
my silence
every second
minute
hour
day
that has
passed

and i
look out
at the
cold
world
below...

and wish
it was
may
and wish
you were
here
and i
could say
what i
want
need
wish
to
say.

24 August 2010

A Time of National Crisis

Photo by AFP/Getty Images via CNN.com

Cross-posted from Sybaritic Diversions.

This post is going to look seriously out of character given the nature of this blog, but I feel the need to scream in serious frustration with everything that has happened over the past twenty-four hours.

In one fell swoop, a single madman made history by destroying the Philippines' reputation across the globe. Through the deaths of several hostages yesterday, this lawkeeper turned lawbreaker has thrown a wrench into the new administration's plan of making positive changes.

And who will end up - who are currently - suffering because of his stupidity, his misplaced yearning to return to the police force? Us - the Filipino people.

My heart grieves for our domestic helpers, factory workers, and tutors working in Hong Kong. I fear for their lives, knowing well the potential for violent retaliation inherent in the situation. Because of one man's madness, their lives are now in danger.

My blood seethes with anger at how this incident will have a seriously negative impact on tourism and commerce.

I want to know why our authorities did not move faster. In their desire to be cautious given that the culprit was an experienced policeman, they overdid it and this caused the needless loss of lives.

I want to know why the media swarmed the crime scene like so many maggots over a rotting carcass. Don't these newshounds have any sense of decorum or propriety whatsoever?

I want to know why the police didn't cordon off the area ASAP. As a result, bystanders came flocking in out of curiosity. What if there was a bomb in that bus? What if the hostage-taker wasn't dead and decided to set it off, taking more lives in the process?

This whole fiasco is a horrible black mark against the Philippine National Police, but the Hong Kong government has taken things to the extreme by declaring the Philippines as unsafe ground, calling home its nationals, and pretty much painting a gory portrait of our country as an ongoing bloodbath run by idiots and nutcases.

This is no time for us to just sit still, twiddle our thumbs, and do nothing.

The gauntlet has been cast.

I pray and hope that this incident will not lead to just finger-pointing, a whole new blame game on top of the one that has been playing out for years.

I pray and hope that this bloody incident will galvanize the Filipino people, that it will unite us in the common cause of washing away this bloody stain, this slur upon our identity as a people, as a nation.


19 July 2010

Truffles and the Measure of Devotion

Cross-posted from my food blog:

A little over a week ago, I found myself in the kitchen melting down Ivory Coast and Indonesian single origin chocolates with some rum and cream while thinking about various events that have punctuated the last couple of years. While stirring the fragrant, creamy mass, I thought about the "friend" (whose status in my life has now been reduced to "acquaintance") who told me to forget all about a certain someone because she believed that he had no place in my life. She said I deserved better. She said he was just a kid and all I'd get from him in the long run was aggravation.

But I'm a stubborn bit of baggage. I know what I want in life. I know what - and who - I don't want in life. And I know who I love, who I care about, who I get my inspiration from.

And it sure wasn't that "friend" who told me off - then made matters worse by blabbing my feelings to her best friend. They both considered me weird for caring about a boy whom they thought silly and childish and not worth considering seriously.

Well - and I rarely every say this - to hell with them both! Both of them may be married, but I doubt if they know what devotion and inspiration look like.

But going back to the pot of chocolate and cream that was slowly transforming into a gorgeously unctuous ganache, I thought about the boy who has inspired me to return to writing poetry, the one who has driven me to take stock of my life and make changes that - so far - have proven to be the right ones.

Mr. W - the adorable Mr. W of posts past - is one guy who I think is truly underrated, even underestimated by the people around him. All people seem to see is a tall, pale-skinned, somewhat gangly young man. I, on the other hand, see a diamond in the rough. Of course, people tell me that I'm being fanciful, but that's my opinion; everyone else can shut up and get lost, for all I care.

As I poured the finished ganache into a container for chilling, I considered the ingredients I used for it. Ivory Coast is the most commonly used chocolate for commercial bars and the taste is classically chocolatey but not at all that remarkable. Indonesian chocolate, on the other hand, is considered inferior and bland. However, it's amazing what the application of heat and the mixing in of rich rum and pure cream can do to these chocolates. My ganache was rich, fragrant, full-bodied; the flavors nuttily bold yet gloriously smooth.

Later on, once the ganache was chilled till solid, I took out my tub of ground almonds, rolling lumps of the frozen chocolate paste in it to make truffles that seem to have played in a snowdrift. Those of you who are connected to me via Facebook know that I named these little treats Truffle W - after the young man whose merest acquaintance actually brought back a spark in my life that I thought long extinguished by so many disappointments: the spark of creativity, of inspiration.

I sank my teeth into a truffle and marveled at its contradictions. Rich, but not too cloying; crisp almond balancing almost chewy chocolate. A smooth, dark bitterness balanced by a nutty sweetness.

I savored my truffles and thought about the man I named them after - and smiled, and wished I could actually share them with him.


16 July 2010

Heartstring


Artwork: Plucked - Audrey Kawasaki, 2010

i want
to play
with your
heartstrings:

stretch,
twist,
test the
limits,
pluck like
those on
a lyre,
play them
like a
violin -

play myself
a fugue -
no, dirge -
no, ballad -
no, torch
song - -
no:
play myself
a bride's-march

or, worse:
stretch them
like the
string on
a bow -
suddenly
releasing,
unleashing
every
single
emotion
you fear,
you hide,
you dread;
stretch them
till they
break
and let
you
feel
the pain
you put
me
through
every
single
waking
moment.

but that
would be
too cruel...

better for us
to play
these strings;
hearts
in
concert,
in
harmony
at
last.

08 July 2010

To Put Down Roots


Artwork: Passage for Lost Clouds #0176 - Ken Wong, 13 January 2004

to stop
running,
to pause
mid-stride,
to take
a break
and smell
the
roses
blooming
before
they
wither:

to hold
one's tongue,
to cover
one's mouth,
to have
a finger
pressed
upon
your lips
to silence
the rampaging
thoughts,
the cutting
words:

to put
down roots,
to quiet
down,
to settle
down
in
domesticity
in the
midst
of
modernity,
progress
marching
on and on and on:

to put
away pen,
to shelve
away paper,
to don
one's apron,
to minister
to the
needs
of a
loving
spouse...

i seek,
i yearn,
i sigh...

i wish.

06 July 2010

W

Artwork: Blue - Audrey Kawasaki, 2009

i want
to be
there
to wipe
away
the tears
you shed
in your
silent
hours,
your hours
spent
alone -

away
from them,
from them
all:
those who
smile
in public
but sneer
in private
behind your
back
against the
walls
scribblers
of
insults and
whatnot -

those
scamsters
who claim
your
friendship.

i want
to hold
your hand
in the
best,
the worst,
the most
of times,
hours, days,
weeks, months,
years -
forever
and then
some.

the earth
has
journeyed
thrice
and more
since that
day -
that day
you
ingrained
yourself
into my
mind.

i
no
longer
care
what
frenemies
may say,
scream,
rant
and wail:

i don't care
if you
turn away
so long
as i
know
for a
fact
this
admiration,
infatuation,
inspiration...

is
purely,
simply,
sincerely
love.

01 June 2010

No Regrets, No Barriers, No Kidding


Artwork: Hamlet and Ophelia - Andrej Dugin, year unknown

i despise:
the naysayers,
the ones
who claim
that what
i want
will come
to naught...

the ones
who say
i can
do better-

but how
do you
define
better - ?

better for whom?
for me?
for them?
humanity
in general?

who
are they
to say
what i
want,
what i
need?!

drop dead,
fall flat,
leave me
be,
you wretches,
you tiresome,
worthless,
dark-mongering,
night-spewing
hags!

i tread
my own
path,
i dance
my own
measure.

i chose,
i decided,
i abide
by what
i want,
i need,
i desire.

drop dead,
fall flat,
and
leave
me
be.

26 May 2010

Pause


Artwork: Medusa's Corner - Eugene Berman, 1943

i stop
in my
tracks
and say
a
prayer
that
i
may be
saved
from all
the
trouble,
the grief,
this tragedy
this life.

i stop
and
wonder
to
myself:
who am i,
what am i
doing here,
where do
i go
from here,
how
do i
get there,
when
does it
all
end?

04 May 2010

19 April 2010

On the Deterioration of English in the Philippines...



I had the opportunity to interview some of the country's finest financial minds last week for a project and, while the photographer was setting up the lighting equipment, the conversation turned to the communication skills of today's young people. Both the gentlemen I was interviewing at the time were appalled by what they'd been hearing from the mouths of modern Filipino kids:

  • If you speak English with an American twang, a British lilt, or even an Aussie drawl, people make fun of you. They think you're stuck up or putting on airs;
  • If you speak straight English to anyone under the age of twenty-five, they'll ask you to stop: Ate, Tagalugin mo naman; ka-nosebleed naman kasi English mo, e. And the aforementioned statement will be accompanied by a wry, even pained grimace;
  • If you speak straight English with a "foreign" accent, people will throw you a look of wonder and say "Wow, ba't 'di ka mag-trabaho sa call center?";
  • Kids these days swear a lot - and, whenever they swear (or try to swear) in English, it sounds so wrong.

English was the very first language I was exposed to, having been born into a family of educators and civil servants. Television served as my babysitter and I picked up an ambiguously American accent because of Sesame Street and various cartoons on RPN's Saturday Fun Machine weekend block. My earliest memories are of books (all in English), of learning to read from Reader's Digest, of watching my younger aunts rehearsing their lines from numerous plays or classic pieces for elocution, of teaching my younger brother how to read because he wanted to read the Bible. I remember that English was the lingua franca for conversation in school; any words in Tagalog were reserved for recitation in Filipino or Araling Panlipunan or any number of idiomatic expressions used to spice up a conversation. If you have a chance to read Arnold Arre's soul-stirring graphic novel Martial Law Babies, keep a keen eye on the conversations: they're pretty much the way my peers and I spoke to each other in the late eighties' and early to mid 1990s.

Fast forward to 2010: I have this sinking feeling that I am one of a dying breed of English-speakers / writers. Most people younger than me are more comfortable with Taglish - that bastardized mix of English and the mother tongue - and their conversations are peppered with all sorts of vulgarities, expressions picked up from loud, crass transvestites who have come out of their closets to shock us through mainstream media. When I was a schoolgirl, it was considered de rigeur to listen to FM radio stations like RX 93.1 and Magic 89.9; today, I don't bother listening to FM radio because every station I tune into sounds like a cheap club filled with filthy-mouthed showgirls and their sleazy customers. I don't watch local television anymore except for the news because I know that scumbags like Willie Revillame will be screaming at me while selling pipe dreams to the hapless masses. It disgusts me to no end that even kids from the Big 3 Universities - schools whose alumni have long been known for their linguistic superiority - can't speak or write English properly at all.

Who do we blame for this? Can we blame the media for unleashing a tsunami of cheap, uncouth, sickening programs on the public? Do we blame the late Corazon Aquino and the much-reviled Joseph Estrada for their insistence on putting an emphasis on subjects other than English in the national education system? Do we blame the yayas hired by middle-class households for exposing their young charges to local pop culture? I honestly don't know.But what I do know is that young people today are getting an extremely watered-down linguistic education - and this, I believe, is a damning factor for our failure to rise to the same level as our Asian neighbors. In the 1980s, we were the third largest nation in terms of functional literacy in English; today, I don't even want to know where we stand.English is still my personal lingua franca: my language of choice for conversations both in business and among friends and family, my language of choice to express how I feel, my language of choice for the writing that serves as my bread and butter. Not to disparage the mother tongue, but English makes my life a whole lot easier - and much more colorful.

And if anyone is stupid enough to either laugh at my accent, think that my vocabulary and grammar give them nosebleeds, and believe that I ought to be working as a lackey for stupid Caucasians to rail at, that person is going to die a slow, painful, lingering, and very public death.

05 April 2010

Enspelled


Artwork: Ordinary Magic - Wendy S. Rolfe, 2008

i'd like to think
that there's something
that binds me
to you
otherwise:
i'd have
forgotted
about you
a long,
long,
long
time ago.

and yet:
the world has
turned
twice
and your
face
is still
the last
thing
i see
ere i
fall
asleep.

why?
why?
oh, the
never
ending
why...

i'd shoot
myself
now;
but i
wouldn't
see
how this
unfolds
now,
right?

07 March 2010

On Bullying - and Why the Parents of Bullies Should be Punished along with their Children

Those of you who grew up with me at Benedictine Abbey School know this: I was bullied horribly as a child. I have no idea what I did to merit such treatment, but I spent eight years getting stuff thrown at me and being called names. My unusual surname was made fun of, I was derided for being bookish and bespectacled. It was as if everything I did was wrong in the eyes of those around me.

I had my hair permed when I was eleven - and ended up being called an Aeta because the resulting perm was so damned kinky. My grandfather died when I was twelve - and the boys in my class said it was because he had a heart attack at the sight of my ugly face. I was told I was ugly and stupid and naive - by girls whom I considered my friends. I was kicked down a staircase, but the school did nothing because the kid who gave the push was the spoiled-rotten youngest son of a prominent official. In fact the school made me look like a villain, that I brought it upon myself because I would not behave like all the other kids.

Is it really so wrong to be different? Is it really wrong to dance to the beat of a different drummer? When I was growing up, that seemed to be the norm. If you were different, you were considered weird, ugly, stupid, crazy - all manner of labels would be plastered over you. The school guidance counsellor used to say I was severely maladjusted and needed professional help. I tried everything I could to fit in and I failed miserably.

It's been nearly twenty years since those horrific times. I have since grown up; we've all grown up - except for the kid who kicked me down the stairs; he died when we were nineteen - kidnapped and brutally murdered. It was all over the papers - but, strangely enough or perhaps not - I felt no sympathy. The big bully finally found bigger bullies who tragically knocked him into his place - most likely one of the lowest circles of hell.

I wrote this entry because I just saw something on TV this afternoon. It's just another of those cheap, hastily done local soap operas, but the tragic tale of the ugly, outcast kid bullied by prettier, wealthier, but spiritually uglier brats is still one that harrows up my soul after all these years. Children who bully others are the ones who need professional help. They are the maladjusted ones. They are the ones with the real issues. I mean, really: who cares how pretty you are, how smart you are if you have a mouth full of insults and a mouthful of hate. The parent who encourages his or her children to bully others should be sent to jail and kept there for rest of his or her life.

Because behind the little brats who make life miserable for their peers are parents who are little more than monsters themselves.

Think about that.

17 February 2010

Ode W

Artwork: Flayed Lamb - Hayv Kahraman, 2008

if all i can do
is look,
if all i can do
is see,
if all i can do
is observe
from
afar ~

then i
feel sorry
for myself.

the pathos,
the tragedy,
the million
myriad
unusual
fevered
maddening
things
about you;
those base
triggers
that send
mishmashed
signals
flickering,
blinking
into my
befuddled
mind.

the dark
hags,
the shadows,
the hissing
adders
tell me
to say
my
goodbyes.

but i:
i...
am more
stubborn
than an
ox,
donkey,
obstinate,
ornery
beast
that i
am.

i don't
know why
i haven't,
i can't,
i won't
give up;
why i
won't,
can't,
shan't
give in.

i think,
i believe,
i know
you're
worth
it.

16 February 2010

Clock


Artwork: Why Time Goes Slower when We Get Older - Rhonald Blommestijn, date unknown

the things,
the people,
the events
that mark
my life

like the
hours,
the rapid...
...fire
hours
speeding
away
on the
face
of
father
time
himself.

i need
patience -
a patience
so intense
as to be
surreal,
inhuman,
potent.

ticks,
heartbeats
throbbing,
flitting,
thumping,
counting
my life
away
one
second
at a
time.

honestly:
i look
like a
fool
waiting
as i
do.

Clock


Artwork: Why Time Goes Slower when We Get Older - Rhonald Blommestijn, date unknown

the things,
the people,
the events
that mark
my life

like the
hours,
the rapid...
...fire
hours
speeding
away
on the
face
of
father
time
himself.

i need
patience -
a patience
so intense
as to be
surreal,
inhuman,
potent.

ticks,
heartbeats
throbbing,
flitting,
thumping,
counting
my life
away
one
second
at a
time.

honestly:
i look
like a
fool
waiting
as i
do.

08 February 2010

On Food, Life, and Being Gorgeously Full-figured

I was imperially pissed off by a little word-bite I read in the Rushes column of the Sunday Inquirer:

Phoemela Barranda - masibang kumain [Phoemela Barranda - glutton]

For those of you who don't know or have never been exposed to the Philippine fashion scene, Phoemela Barranda was - and still is - one of the country's more popular model-celebs. When she first hit the scene over a decade ago, she was as slender as most models in the biz. In recent years, however, she has certainly gained some magnificent curves that have made her more beautiful.

So it seriously irks me to hear these ridiculous canards make fun of her eating habits.

What's wrong about women enjoying their food? That's the problem with this media-addled world: unhealthy stereotypes have been keeping us from becoming who we want to be, from becoming who we really are.

There ought to be more women like Phoemela who love to eat. Women like us have a certain joie de vivre; we do not shy away from new tastes and textures. Ergo, we do not shy away from experiencing new things.

There ought to be more women like Nigella Lawson (shown above, enjoying a hot cuppa tea) who look fabulous thanks to a healthy combination of a good appetite and a perky disposition. Women like us can look at the darker side of life and take it with a grain of salt (or a couple ounces of very good chocolate).

There ought to be more women like the late Julia Child who teach people to slow down and enjoy life. Child's book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is not the easiest cookbook to work through. (Ask Julie Powell of Julie and Julia fame!) But it teaches one to do things a step at a time and that it's okay to make mistakes.

There ought to be more women like Maya Angelou who show people that you can recover from even the most devastating tragedies. I would recommend her cookbook-memoir Halleluijah! It shows you the sort of hurt she went through when she was younger and how food and verse took her from humble beginnings and turned her into someone special.

We ought to be telling younger girls that it's okay to be curvaceous, that you should be happy with the body you were born with, the body you're growing into. We ought to be telling younger girls not to listen to those hypocrites who tell them that women can only be pretty if they're Kate Moss-scrawny. That's not beauty; that's a mocking caricature of beauty, a useless, sickly stick figure with no real purpose except for clothes to hang onto.

It's only now that I'm in my thirties that I have begun to take pride in my Rubenesque, Baroque figure. I am proud to be a 38C with a trim waistline and generous hips - and I never went to some idiot with a scalpel to get this figure. I have good skin and hair. I have a good smile. I may not be the sunniest-tempered person, but I do my darndest best to cheer people up.

I love to eat. I'm darned voluptuous.

And I am beginning to learn to appreciate my life.

I am beautiful.

And no anorexic fashion hag is going to tell me otherwise.

Besides, Italian director Fedrico Fellini said it best:

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed.

Think about that, boys...

To Love Dormant

Artwork: Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse - Krista Huot, 2009

do you
think,
dream,
envision...

do you
see my
face
whilst
your eyes
are
closed?

am i
but a
memory,
a trace
of things
past...

or am
i
real
to you
in
your
heart,
your
mind,
your
soul?

innocent
query
at the
break
of
dawn.

05 February 2010

Path

Artwork: Reliquary for My Everyday III - Carment Lozar, 2007


can i

ask you

to find

your way,

to find

the path

that leads...

the path

that leads

to what

your heart

will want,

will need,

will...

...consider...

consider

the odds

that block

the way,

consider

the words

to say.

can i

ask you

to find

your way,

to find

your way

to me?

14 January 2010

Angel in Prayer


Photograph from Wayne Whang

i love
the look
on your
face
in
prayer:

the peace,
the serenity
you exude.

it's like
seeing
the face
of an
angel.

i wish
i could
say
these
words
to
you ~

but i
fear
that you
might
fly
away.



11 January 2010

Confessions of a Madcap Foodie



Artwork: Because of Toast - Joe Sorren, 2008

(Cross-posted from my food blog!)

Since starting the year calls for living with a clean conscience, I'm taking a cue from Lorraine over at Not Quite Nigella and posting up a few confessions from this brutally die-hard foodie:

  • I will try anything once - and sometimes, if I didn't like it the first time, I give it a second chance. My list of second-chancers includes ampalaya [bitter melon], Buffalo wings, orange marmalade, English-style fruitcake, poultry giblets, and bagoong isda [native fish paste];
  • I'm a sucker for all manner of Filipinized Spanish dishes; I admit that I'm a caldereta junkie who will kill for that beef stew enriched with pureed tomatoes and liver spread. However...
  • I steadfastly refuse to eat the local take on menudo. I can't explain why, seeing how I will willingly wolf down afritada (chicken stewed in tomato sauce), mechado (beef pot roast larded with a wick of pork fat), morcon (stuffed beef roll), and pochero (pork and chicken cooked with cabbage and potatoes in tomato sauce). I just don't like the stuff.
  • Bread is a non-negotiable for me - but it's actually a recent non-negotiable. In the days before I knew how to bake bread, I could actually live without it. In fact, I was the sort of kid who detested bringing sandwiches to school for recess. Croissants were a treat and baguettes were something you could break your teeth on. However, I learned how to appreciate the staff of life when I felt that deep frisson of pride at taking my very first batch of cinnamon buns from the oven.
  • If it's Oriental, I'll eat it. It started out with tempura over at Kimpura in Makati. Then it grew to include Chinese noodle soup with wontons, pata hamon, and ngohiong (pork-stuffed bean curd rolls; known as kikiam to some). Then came the sushi and the okonomiyaki I'm seriously addicted to. Which brings us to...
  • If you tell me we're going to either Binondo (Manila's Chinatown) or Greenhills (where there are a LOT of fab Chinese restaurants because of the sizable Chinese community), I'll be ready in a second flat. I plead guilty to the fact that I will make a beeline for this Chinese grocery just a short walk from Binondo Church and buy stuffed mochi (well, daifuku, actually) in a whole spectrum of flavors, sungsong peanuts in the shell, and a wealth of spices and pork / fish floss. Then I'll head for Shin Ton Yong to get several lap cheong, meat rolls, smoked pork, and machang. Lunch will be at Wai Ying on Benavidez and will consist of a heaping bowl of tausi spareribs and chicken feet on rice and a glass of cold Hong Kong-style milk tea. Now, if we're going to Greenhills, that will call for any of the cold, milky drinks at Diao Eng Chay plus one of their fab chicken mushroom pies. Then there's a bowl of combination noodles and a bottle of soy milk over at Le Ching...
  • I'm a Little Tokyo habitue. I recommend the o-nigiri bento over at the Yamazaki Grocery, any of the o-bento at Choto Stop, the takoyaki sold at Hana, the Sapporo-style ramen at Shinjuku, and the burgers at Sango: The Burger Master. And I also suggest that you stockpile on DARS and LOOK chocolates, all sorts of Pocky, instant noodles, and Japanese snacks at Yamazaki.
  • I love men who look good whilst browsing through restaurant menus. Click here; enough said. :D Oh, and I love them all the more if they love pizza, pasta, Nestle Crunch bars, and have to qualms about trying anything new. [Giggles; hi, Wayne...]
  • I'd love to marry someone who would be a joy to cook for; it'd be non-stop fun, I think. :) Even more so if his mother loves to eat! That would be a LOT of fun. Which means...
  • I would opt for either Paris, Singapore, or Rome for my honeymoon. Food-trips in these culinary capitals are my idea of a romantic getaway!
  • Strangely enough, I don't eat when I'm depressed.
  • My friends accuse me of fattening them up. Hey, it's not my fault my recipes include copious amounts of chocolate, butter, cheese, cream, eggs, or bacon!
  • If there's nothing good to eat in the fridge and I'm too lazy to cook for myself, I put slices of cheese on rice and melt them in the microwave.

Quite a list, isn't it? :D

10 January 2010

Beyond Sustenance


Artwork: Because of Toast - Joe Sorren, 2008

i believe
in the color,
the flavor,
the savor
of things -

consider:
the ripe
mango...
golden, firm,
fragrant, honeyed
oval...
succulence
made tangible.
its musky
perfume
cooing a
siren song,
an almost
sexual
come-hither
signal.
tempting
in its
ripeness,
juice dripping
like sweat
from a
fevered
brow.
the flesh
soft,
yielding,
sensual.

consider:
the verdant
green,
the audible
crunch
of a
well-made
salad -
the tenderness,
the savor,
the blood-tang
of rare beef
causing
an almost
vampiric
hunger
in a
diner.

pity
the dieter,
pity
the picky,
pity
the prejudiced -

for they
know not
what they
miss.

08 January 2010

Publish or Perish: Musings at the Start of the Year


I guess the slogan on the notebook is pretty self-explanatory.

This entry is rather late, seeing how it's already the tenth of January, but I guess it's better late than never when it comes to writing out how I feel at the moment. In light of the fact that the tail end of 2009 left me in an emotional tailspin - well, more like an emotional whirlwind - the coming of 2010 poses numerous questions that I've been trying to answer. In varying degrees of success, alas.

I was very put out with both myself and the people at work when a psychiatrist told me to take six months off work.

Six months - six bloody months. Just because I lost my temper. Just because I felt as if I was useless because my boss outsourced most of the writing jobs I was supposed to do. Just because I felt that I wasn't getting the help I needed for my work. Just because I was different from everyone else.

I'll be very honest here: I felt like garbage. I was told to see a shrink, to take medicines that will probably do my body more harm than good. I felt that I'd been classed with serial killers and convulsive madmen who have to be tied to their beds so as not to cause harm to them and those around them.

When I was told that I would only be paid for one month out of the six I was supposed to be on leave, I was stunned. When I was told that I had to involve my family in the course of treatment, I didn't know what to think. Their words were "You need your family. They have to support you throughout the six months of treatment."

It was a slap in the face for me.

It was total bullshit.

What the hell am I supposed to be for the next six months? A damned parasite?! I've told them time and again that my parents are retired; they need the money more than I do. Then they want me to lean on my parents, sponge off them as if I was some useless vegetable - as if I was physically incapacitated?!

I am starting to believe that those who sing the praises of shrinks, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers need to get their heads checked.

I won't deny that I get depressed. Nor will I deny that I get really pissed whenever I feel things aren't going my way. But I will also admit that I have never caused physical harm to anyone; in fact, the only person who ever got hurt physically was me.

I'll admit that I've had suicidal thoughts over the years. However, I have never actually attempted to do anything to actually get myself snuffed in the process.

I've managed to pull myself together with the grace of God and the love and support of those around me.

It's about time I put the past behind me once and for all and look towards the future with my head held high; with hope in my heart rather than dark despair, to face it with clear eyes rather than those clouded by potentially poisonous medicines prescribed by someone who gets paid a hefty P 500.00 - 800.00 per session just to listen to people.

There are other, more viable ways of getting over depression; there are worlds beyond my current workplace.

It's time to publish rather than perish because I was too much of a coward - or I was cowed to badly by those who think they know what's best for me - to do what I really want to do in life.

And, if anyone gets in my way, there will definitely be hell to pay.

02 January 2010

Yearning: An Acrostic

Artwork: The Truth About Comets - Dorothea Tanning, 1945

was it
a coincidence:
you showing up,
not expected,
everything in an uproar -

whatever.
heart gone
aflutter;
now, everything is
grace.