Archive for August, 2008

Forgetful Me.
August 20, 2008

FORGETFUL ME

By Pol Arellano

Geraldine lives across the street.

She has been my neighbor for almost six years now.

She’s quite easy on the eyes – Slim, a gorgeous brunette.

Her almond shaped eyes are taupe. I know this because my favorite baseball cap is in that same exact shade.

She has a beauty mark on her left brow. It grows bigger when she smiles.

Her dark hair frames her rosy cheeks, and hides her scar, at the right side of her forehead.

She’s a looker, alright.

One day she painted her whole house pink.

Pink, of all colors! Not the delightful shade of pink, the disastrous kind – a cross between metallic and something else horrid. It’s the kind that makes a passerby think that he’s lost in an alternate universe. A horrifyingly pink alternate universe.

Thank goodness she doesn’t have plants.

Or dogs.

It took me about three days before I had the courage to push her wooden pink gate.

And stare at her pink brick pathway.

And ring her little pink doorbell.

“Just a second!” as always, she shouted.

Hey, her voice is sultrier. It’s almost as if it’s sexier. I swear, she sounds like someone famous.. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I..

She opened the door.

But I’m not quite sure if she is Geraldine.

“Uh, I’m looking for Geraldine. Is she home?”

“Billy.. You silly, silly man! It’s me, Geraldine!”

She can’t be Geraldine, she just can’t be!

Her eyes, they’re no longer taupe, they’re astoundingly blue.

Her beauty mark is gone.

Her hair is blonde. Short, with bangs.

And highlights, even.

“But, you’re not her.” I said.

“No, Billy, it really is me.” She said, full of confidence and conviction. She even smiled a bit wider, which emphasized her cute dimples.

Geraldine doesn’t have dimples.

“But I’ve known her for six years, she looks nothing like you.” I said, starting to frown at the attractive looking woman in front of me.

“Billy, listen, why don’t you come in and have a cup of tea? You need a warm cup of English tea to warm you up and bring you to your senses.” She smiled even broader this time.

I didn’t think it was possible to smile that wide.

Aghast at my own abandon, I walked inside the little pink house.

Maybe it was the inner Bond in me, or maybe it’s the inner Depp that pushed me to come with her inside Geraldine’s house.

My shoes trampled a pink runner. Hah, serves Geraldine right for putting a pink runner on top of a pink floor. This place is ridiculous!

The lady made me sit on a large, Victorian couch, which is needless to say, pink. She left me for a while at the company of Geraldine’s pink coffee table and pink television set.

And pink walls.

And pink cabinets.

And pink duck ornaments.

I was beginning to suffocate with all of the pinkness.

She came back, finally, with a tray. (Pink, of course.)

In the tray, there were two small tea cups, intricately designed ones. (Which happened to be pink, by the way.) There was also a tray of English muffins.

Need I say the color of the muffins?

“Here, Billy, have a cup. And please do try the muffins, I made them myself.” She said proudly, her smile permanently tattooed on her pretty face.

“Thank you for the tea, miss. But I really, really need to see Geraldine. I have to ask her something.” I said as I slowly took a sip of the tea. When I noticed that the tea was also pink, it was too late. I already took a couple of swigs. Spitting it out is futile.

“Billy, I really am Geraldine. What must I do to convince you?” she said, starting to look hurt.

“I’m sorry ma’am, I didn’t mean to offend you, it’s just that I really know what Geraldine looks like, and sounds like. You look nothing like her. Your voice is different too. Please tell me where Geraldine is, I really need to ask her something. I’ve known her for six years. I know her. And she’s not you.” I slowly said, staring at her face, gauging her facial reaction.

She just sat there, nodding her head as I spoke.

She was freaking me out.

“What makes you so sure that I’m not Geraldine, Billy?’

Her forehead was creased with lines now, but the smile never left her face. I noticed that she wasn’t drinking her tea anymore. She just sat there, staring at me intently, gauging my facial reaction. Is she studying me or do I have bird shit on my hair?

“Just tell me where Geraldine is, okay lady? I just want to ask her a question alright? Just one question. If she’s out, tell me where she is and I’ll fetch her.” I was beginning to lose patience. She was getting on my nerves.

“I can’t, Billy.” She said, almost apologetically.

Yes, that’s when I lost my temper. The woman is a complete weirdo. She was freaking the hell out of me! She started to look more sinister by the minute. Her eyebrows became furrier; her eyes were a couple of shades less stunning. She was aging right before my eyes.

“Tell me where she is or I’m calling the cops! I mean it! Tell me where she is lady, or heaven forbid, I’ll carry you to the police station!” I stood up, forgot about the pink cup and spilled pink tea on the pink hardwood floor.

The lady smiled at me, but her smile is laced with apparent melancholia. Her eyes grew dim. She looked tired. She looked so tired.

The deep dimples were gone. I searched her face and blinked my eyes. But the dimples were gone!

Her short blonde bob is not blonde at all. It is gray! Why did I only notice this now? My eyes are playing tricks on me! Why did I ever go inside this house?

“Who the hell are you?? Who are you, lady??” I shouted, moving backward, trying to look for a door, a pink door or any of the other grisly pink windows! I need to get out of this place! My hands were trembling uncontrollably, I don’t know why, but I can’t make them stop, I can’t make them stop! The room was getting pinker and pinker. I hate the damn color! I screamed to make everything stop.

To make everything right.

To push away my fears.

Just like a damn fag, I screamed.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

Billy, hush.. Listen to me..

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

“Geraldine is dead, Billy.

Must we go through this week after week?

She’s dead – Like the way she was dead last year, and the year before that..

WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SAYING, LADY?? WHERE IS SHE??

..She’s dead Billy, I’m sorry..

..But it is good that you now truly realize that I am not Geraldine.

It is a noticeable improvement. You were able to reason out this time; defend that I am not, and could not be Geraldine, and it is a very, very good improvement..

YES, YOU’RE NOT HER! YOU’RE NOT HER!! SHOW HER TO ME!

..Please do come back, Billy. Three days from now.

I HAVE TO ASK HER SOMETHING! PLEASE TELL ME WHERE I COULD FIND..

BUZZ. BUZZZ. BUZZZZZ.

“Yes Doctor Greene?”

“We’re through.”

Carpe Diem.
August 17, 2008

By Pol Arellano

Come smile with me on this putrid day

Smile at the blinding sun.

Look, isn’t that your mother

Holding twelve paper bags in her hands?

Why don’t you go and help her?

Come smile with me some other time

Maybe come back after an hour

Or after you see Mr. Procs win at checkers

But let me remind you that the sun won’t shine for you, love.

It won’t shine again for you.

So what are you going to do?

Mahal Kong Tampalasan.
August 16, 2008

Ni Pol Arellano

Binuksan ko ang puso ko sayo’t

Tinikman

Ang pawis mong maalat-alat

Hinawakan ko’t hinagkan

Ang agaw putik-abo mong kakisigan

Kinilatis ko ang pagtitig mo

At ang bawat kurba ng iyong pagkatao

Tumawid ako’t lumapit

Lumapit hanggang sa sumikip

Hanggang sa hininga man ng nagaagaw-buhay na sanggol

Ay maluwang pa kay sa pagitan

Ng pawisan mong wangis at ng nakadukwang kong dibdib

Gabi-gabi’y inaawitan ko

Ang larawan mong

Umiikot sa aking hapag

Tinitingala kita

Habang lantad sa iyong harapan ang

Mababango kong mga kandado

Kandadong kalag para sa iyo

Ngunit sa paghaba ng leeg ko

Upang ika’y mapagmasdan

Hinatak mo ako at ako’y

Napatitig

Sa iyong mga nakaunat na palad

Nakaunat

Nakatikom

Nakaramdam ako ng pagsikip

Pagsikip ng hininga

Nagkaroon ng marubdong pagtutunggali –

Nagpapaunahan ang dugo, luha ko’t pagiisip

Sa paghimlay sa nakadukwang kong

Dibdib

At nagpapadausdos

Sa lupang kinasasadlakan

Ng hubad kong likuran

Ang puso kong binuksa’y

Niyapakan mo, mahal ko

Ngunit

Ang luha kong tuyo

Ang malansa kong dugo

At ang isip kong hapo

Ay patuloy na titingala

Titingala

Baka sakaling maramdaman mong

Ang pagangat ng leeg ko’t

Ang pagdukwang ng dibdib ko’y

Para sa iyo, mahal

Wala ng titikim

Sa iyong maalat-alat na pawis

Alalahanin mo mahal ko

Alahanin mong kapag wala nang tulad kong sa pawis mo ay titikim

Hindi na magkakaroon kailanpaman ng tagapunas

Tagapunas ng pawis mong maalat-alat

Maalat-alat at maitim.

Isang tulang iniaalay para sa mga bayaning pinaslang, sa anomang paraan, ng kanilang ipinaglalaban.

Ang kumurap, makasarili.
August 12, 2008

Ang Kumurap, Makasarili

Ni Pol Arellano

Binabati kita, Ginoo/Binibini, tao ka.

Ang sabi ng titser ko noon, tayong mga tao daw ay nagmula sa mga unggoy dahil sila ang may pinakamalapit na ugali at pamamaraan ng pagkilos sa atin. Sa madaling salita, galing tayo sa hayop na may buntot. Pero hanggang ngayon, ayoko pa ring isipin na sa hayop ako nagmula. Ayokong padapuin sa isip ko na kinuha ako mula sa tadyang ng lalakeng unggoy. Hindi naman porke’t mukhang unggoy ang ibang tao ay nararapat nang sabihing galing tayong lahat sa unggoy. Baka murahin pa ‘ko ng nanay mo kapag sinabi ko sa kanyang mukha kang tsonggo. Isa pa, ayokong isiping dati tayong may buntot. Para sa akin sobrang pang-aapi na ‘yan sa mga ninuno ko. Abot-langit na nga ang habag na nadarama ko para sa kanila dahil pa naimbento ang sanitary napkin noong panahon nila. Eh hindi lang naman ngayon nauso ang regla, ‘di ba? Kalabisan na kung iisipin ko pang may buntot sila. Bilang respeto sa mga ninuno ko, sa mga nakapanganak na, kapapanganak pa lang at sa mga manganganak pa, ayokong isiping ang tao ay hayop. O nagmula ang tao sa hayop.

Pero tingin ko hindi naman kabastusan sa mga ninuno ko kung sasabihin kong may mga taong mala-hayop. Tumitig ka lang sa kanto, sa labas ng sementeryo, o sa harap ng salamin ay siguradong may makikita kang ganito. May mga taong umiihi sa hindi dapat ihian, nag-iingay sa hindi dapat pag-ingayan, dumudura sa hindi dapat duraan, nakikipagniig sa hindi dapat pagniigan. Sila ang mga taong may sa-hayop. Ito ‘yung mga taong tinatawag ng matatanda na kinulang sa hilot. Tao nga, oo. Pero may karakteristik silang nakuha sa aso, pusa, baboy, kamelyo. Kumbaga, pinaglihi sila sa hayop, ngunit sa halip na magkaroon sila ng nguso ng kabayo o gilagid ng balyena, nagkaroon sila ng mga ugaling kapag hindi nila binago, maaaring makahawa ng iba. Mga taong astang hayop, sila ito.

Lalo namang hindi ko pinabubulaanan na walang taong hayop. Hindi puwedeng mawalan ng ganitong uri ng tao sa mundo. Sila ‘yung mga taong hindi narararapat tawaging tao. Sila ‘yung mga hahayaang mamatay ka sa isang sulok ng ospital dahil, gago ka ba, wala ka namang pera eh. Sila ‘yung mga handang pumatay ng tao para ‘wag malaman ng ibang tao na pumapatay sila ng tao. Sila ‘yung mga taong papapaniwalain kang banal kuno sila pero sa totoo lang, silang sinasamba mo mula ulo hanggang paa ay pinagsasabay ang yosi, alak, panloloko at pandarambong kapag hindi ka nakatingin. Sila ‘yung mga nangangakong hindi na tatakbo, pero ayun, matulin pa sa hinahabol ng asong ulol sa pagkandidato. Sila ‘yung tuturuan ka ng sandamakmak na bagay na wala namang maitutulong sa pag-asenso mo bilang tao, at ililigaw ang atensyon mo sa mga bagay na dapat pinagtutuunan mo ng pansin. Sila ‘yung mga nakikibaka kuno na buong-pusong tinatanggap ang iba’t-ibang uri ng tao, kahit alam naman nila sa sarili nila na ‘yung pakikibaka nila ay plastikan lang. Parang “Uy, bago ‘tong Keffiyeh ko, brod. Kita mo naman checkered ‘to. T***ina, sali kaya ako sa rally?” Siyempre sasali siya sa rally, kahit na ang Keffiyeh na binili nila ay simbolo ng mga bayolenteng terorista sa ibang bansa. Sila ‘yung mga taong hayop; mga pasosyal na binabalutan ng taong naka-corporate attire, mga pekeng hiphop na kalbo, ‘yung mga may kotseng bigay ng tatay nila na bumabayo palagi ang music, pati sige ‘yung ibang naka-Kefiyyeh. Ito ‘yung mga hindi lang basta karakteristik ng aso, pusa, baboy at kamelyo ang nakuha. ‘Pag pinag-crossbreed mo lahat ng hayop na ‘yan, idagdag mo pa ‘yung mga extinct na, itong uri ng tao na ito ang kalalabasan.

Kung matino ka, maaring iniisip mo kung ano ka nga ba; kung saan ka napapabilang. Maari mong itanong kung paano mo malalaman kung tao ka. Simple lang: Tao ka kung nagiisip ka.

Ang pagiisip ay isang tanda na tao ka. Nagiisip ka kapag nagtatanong ka, nagsasalita ka, nakikinig ka. Sa bawat pagtaas mo ng kamay para magkomento, sa bawat paghatak mo sa palda ng nanay mo para magtanong, sa bawat pagbabasa mo ng mga libro ng kuya mo, sa bawat pagsusulat mo sa notbuk mo, sa bawat litratong kinunan mo, sa bawat konseptong binubuo mo, pinapagana mo ang isip mo. Tandaan mo lang ito: ang taong inuudyukan kang magisip, mataas na uri ng tao ‘yon. Ang taong kinakahon ka’t inaaring pipi, gago ‘yon.

Isa pang tanda ng pagiging tao ay ang pagkakaroon mo ng pananampalataya. Tao ka kung may sinusunod kang paniniwala sa buhay mo. Sinusunod mo hindi dahil sa uso o dahil ‘yun ang trip ng crush mo. Sinusunod mo ito dahil naniniwala kang doon nagiging mas mapula ang dugong dumadaloy sa katawan mo. Sumasampalataya ka wala man itong materyal na kapalit o mahirap man sa pisikal mong katauhan. Isa kang tao kung marunong kang umasa, manalangin at magtiwala sa isang Lalong Makapangyarihan pa sa iyo.

Tao ka rin kung may pakiramdam ka. Kung nakakaramdam ka ng habag, panibugho, pag-ibig, libog, ligaya, hiya, takot, lungkot at sakit. Tao ka kung marunong kang makaramdam at makiramdam sa nararamdaman ng iba. Tao ka kung nararamdaman mong naghihirap o natutuwa ang iba dahil sa iyo. Tao ka kung nararamdaman mong kailangan mo nang tumigil o magpatuloy sa ginagawa mo. Tao ka kung nararamdaman mong nagkakamali ka, at mataas kang uri ng tao kung alam mong tanggapin at isaayos ang mga pagkakamali mo.

Tao ka kung may pag-ibig ka; kung marunong kang magmahal hindi lang ng mga magulang mo at ng mga taong malapit sa’yo, kundi ng mga taong hindi mo aakalaing dapat mo ring mahalin. Kasama na dito ‘yung mga taong tinukso kang Kirara nung bata ka pero hindi lang sila ito. Sila ‘yung mga nanlilimos, paralisado, preso, puta, tindero, kartero, barbero, basagulero, haciendero, doktor, abugado, bisor, embalsamador, tambay, basketbolero, senador, at higit sa lahat, ang propesor mong binagsak ka dahil, wala lang, pangit ng apelyido mo eh; at ang propesor mong binagsak ka dahil lagi mong kinukuwestiyon ang awtoridad niya.

Ang tao, marunong makinig. Alam niya kung sino at ano ang dapat pakinggan. Alam din niya kung kailangan magbingibingihan. Ang mga bagay na pinapakinggan niya, itinatanim niya sa puso niya’t pinaninindiganan niya. At dahil marunong siyang makinig at manindigan, hindi siya kailanman magiging balimbing. Ang balimbing ay hindi naman hayop, prutas ‘yan e. Kaya kung balimbing ka, ikamusta mo na lang ako sa taong pipitas sa iyo. Pipitasin ka, kakainin ka, at itatae kang durog-durog.

Higit sa lahat, kung tao ka, alam mo kung ano ang silbi mo sa mundong ginagalawan mo. Alam mo kung bakit ka itinalaga bilang tao. Alam mo na hindi ka pwedeng mabuhay mag-isa. May ideya ka kung bakit pinapalibutan ka ng iba pang mga tao, ng maraming mala-tao, at ng sandamukal na mga taong-hayop. Alam mong bilang parte ng isang konektadong grupo, kailangan mong magmasid. Magmasid ng walang patid. At magagawa mo lang ito kung hindi ka kukurap.

‘Wag kang kukurap.

‘Wag kang kukurap. ‘Wag mong hayaang ipikit mo ang mga mata mo sa katotohanan. Kung ikaw na tao ay kukurap, bibigyang-puwang mo ang pagpasok ng mga kahayupang ideya sa iyong sistema. Mapaparami ang pagkurap mo, hanggang sa tuluyan nang lumamlam ang mga mata mo’t makatulog ka na. Kapag tulog ka na, wala ka ng kamalayan, wala ka ng koneksyon sa kapwa mo.

Kasalanang mabigat ang pagkurap. Dahil sa isang saglit na pagkurap mo, isang libo’t isang daang hayop na ang nakapagsayaw ng kundiman sa kalsada. Sa paghalik ng mga pilik mo sa iyong balat, isang libo’t isang daang tao ang pinabayaan mong mag-isa’t walang karamay. Sa pagkurap mo, naipapakita mong mas importante sa iyo ang pansariling kaligayahan – ang kaalwanan ng paghimbing – kaysa matiyagang pagbabantay. Sa pagkurap mo, nagiging makasarili ka. Sa pagitan ng ga-segundong pagpikit mo, naipagdamot mo lahat ng maaari mong maibahagi sa lahat ng nasa paligid mo. Ninakawan mo sila ng karapatang matuto, magmahal, makadama, at maging tao. At dahil dito, isa kang makasariling nilalang. At ang pagiging makasarili ay pakikipag-alit, hindi lamang sa tao, kundi lalong-lalo na sa Lumikha sa ating lahat.

Nakita mo bang binati kita kanina?

Hindi?

Kumurap ka yata eh.

Isang tula para kay Tara Santelices.
August 8, 2008

Isang tula para kay Tara Santelices.

Ni Pol Arellano
Sa masikip na dyipni
Umupo ka’t nanahimik
Doo’y pinatakbo ang isip
Sa mga tulay at daanang
Hindi kasing-dilim at karimarimarim ng
Kantong ito.

Sa masikip na dyipni
Itinitig mo ang mata mo sa akin
At sa isang perpektong segundo
Nakaramdam ako ng ligaya
Nakita kong tumatakbo ang isip mo
At hinayaan kita, dahil kay sarap mong titigan
Kahit madilim at nakakarimarim
ang kantong pinaglalakbayan nating dalawa.

Sa masikip na dyipni
Naramdaman ko ang bigat ng hangin
Matalim na hanging sumasampal sa pisngi ko
Nakita kong lumingon ka
At hinampas ang mabigat na hanging sumasampal sa akin
Hinampas mo ito
Hanggang sa humandusay ka sa sakit.

Nakita ko ang mukha mo
Ang mukha mong maamo
Ang ngiti mong mabango
Ang isip mong tumatakbo
Nakita kita, sa gitna ng masikip na dyipning ito
.
Lumamlam ang mata ko
Sa pakikipaglaban mo
Hayaan mong buhatin kita,
Iangat ka sa pagkahandusay
Kahit magalaw ang dyipning ito
Magalaw, masikip, umuusad sa kantong madilim.

Sapagkat nakita ko ang mukha mo
Ang mukha mong maamo
Ang ngiti mong mabango
Ang isip mong tumatakbo
Oo, nakita kita, sa gitna ng masikip na dyipning ito

Hayaan mong buhatin kita
Hayaan mong hangaan kita
Hangaan ang ngiti mo, ang ngiti mong kay ganda.

On the eve of her 23rd birthday, Tara Santelices was shot in the head during a hold-up while riding a jeepney along Imelda Avenue, Cainta, Rizal. Joee Mejias, who was with her at that time, rushed her to Amang Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Marikina City. The parents of Tara and Joee arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter. When morning came, Tara’s parents finally decided to transfer her to the Medical City, Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City. Since 8:00am of August 6, Tara has been in the ICU fighting for her dear life. Her parents have decided not to push through with the operation.

Although it might seem that there is nothing else that we can do but wait for Tara to wake up from this horrific nightmare, we, the friends of Tara, have decided to raise funds for Tara’s hospital bills. This is the least we can do to ease the unbearable pain her family is going through. We have been given the go-signal from Tara’s dad, Tito Larry, and here are the details:

The temporary bank account is under Anne Marie F. Santelices, Banco de Oro, SA 2140-062201. For direct cash donations, please proceed to the ICU Waiting Room of the Medical City (Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City). Please look for Joee Mejias or Lila Santelices.

Any amount will be gratefully accepted. Anonymous donations are also welcome. Please spread the word. Forward this to your family, friends and even to everyone else you know. Please post this on Friendster, Multiply, Facebook and wherever else you can think of. Please send group messages on Yahoo Messenger. This will mean so much to us, her friends.

Please continue praying for Tara, for Joee and for both of their families. If you want to come see Tara, visiting hours at the ICU are at 9:00 am to 11:00 am and 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Thank you so much for your time and kind consideration.

For inquiries, please contact Joee Mejias (09228154987) for calls and Jac Ledonio (09167243071) or Myka Francisco (09163695148) for text messages.

Maraming salamat kay Erick Calilan para sa impormasyon at sa paguudyok.

http://earthmedicine.multiply.com/

Mahalaga ang pirma mo.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/justice-for-tara-santelices.html

Oaths are Tasty.
August 1, 2008

This poem was inspired by the vile thoughts running around my head on the 30th of July, 2008. Oaths are tasty. They just didn’t cook it right.

Oaths are Tasty

By Pol Arellano

I’ve always thought

That oaths were something that you cannot

Trap under

Beautiful effigies and numbered claps and that

They were tasty beyond belief.

More intimate than red hot kisses

Underneath damp mattresses that

Rumple and cringe

To the very thought of intimacy

“Not again,” they’d think with their mattress minds.

But, sir yes sir, they are damn tasty.

Oaths are tasty

Tasty beyond belief

Tasty beyond damn belief, sir

Oh, you beg to disagree?

You must have been cooking them the wrong way, then.