Only Lyrically

Month: July, 2009

Since I’ve Been Wanting To Go



Another old timer. Been tugging at my skirt lately.








When I said I can sign away my limbs

As a means to indemnify,

All I meant was that I can keep still

And within what is left, be confined.


Not that I scheme to appeal for Mercy

To parry for me the blade in mid-air –

In the first place, no place is mine to relinquish.

I really have nothing but roaming to waive.


From most of this expanse, I should then disappear.

Then, should Patience still see the need to calm down

Its son, the one I struck, that one who says the wind

Could cripple him – he fears – should it follow him around,


Let Patience teach the bastard how not to breathe

This air we have no choice but to share.

I can sign away my limbs, but can he forgive?

He must, to skip hell and not meet me there.               





Jennifer Balboa


 (I believe a slightly different version appeared in Manila Bulletin’s Panorama, April 2, 2006. No big deal, some commas just morphed into dashes here.)





Inventory At Thirty




“Three be the things I shall have ’til I die:

Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.”

 – from Inventory by Dorothy Parker


Dear Me,

It has been brought to my attention that you have been recently plagued by a cloud of frustration, apparently due to your current financial situation. I understand that you have been longing to leave your island of Luzon, cross the sea, and go to Camiguin for your 31st – only, you going there would have to mean that you cannot go to school for a whole term, because you would have to use your tuition money for fare. You cannot afford to sacrifice that. You know you need your master’s pronto. You know you have no choice but to remain still for a while, with whatever you have at the moment –

which is more than enough. I have taken the liberty to list them down for you, some thirty valuables you have been enjoying for the past year, your good 30th, in case you have forgotten, and God knows how you can be forgetful sometimes. They may be numbered, but not according to rank, and they are so numbered only for purposes of taking track of them while they are being enumerated. I am confident, though, that these 30 surely are the top of your 30th year list.

Please, feel free to refer to this list everytime the tail of ingratitude whips you:

1. everyday

2. your little home, at the moment

3. your new, peace-loving neighbors

4. your generous landlord

5. your noble job which lets you help save the Earth

6. your cool co-workers

7. pretty Ortigas

8. gritty Quiapo

9. asianTraveler

10. homey Paete

11. the Caramoan islands, wedded to the Pacific

12. your first flight, weeeee!

13. the day of the Eraserheads concert last March when you met Bleepster and Mang Jose’s other friends (oh, and  Sunswirlies’ bro, Nolan, again!)

14. your thesis adviser

15. the library at La Salle, one of the best libraries in this country

16. everything else in La Salle, including the nourishing drinking fountains, the pristine CRs, the twin popsies at the canteen, the Chapel of The Pearl of Great Price, the coffee shop, the covered walkways…

17. Mrs. Lykes, who is like a mother to you

18. Sunswirlies, from whom you learn so much all the time

19. Michipooh, the younger sister you never had, and she’ll be turning 30 soon, too!

20. The Baptist, for all his help and kindness

21. Mang Jose, for his kindness, and for being your friend

22. music

23. poetry

24. movies

25. Mother

26. Brother

27. Mrs. Calda, your favorite cousin

28. your health

29. Nine Inch Nail’s gig here on August 5

30. and all the other goodness coming


You have a few more days left before your 31st. Cheer up! You may be racing towards the best years, for all you know. And you don’t have to have the sock in the eye, like your flapper idol did.  Only that “thing with feathers, that perches in the soul”, eh?

Now off you go. Go!