grace is in that sea of people
grace could not help but drown us all
grace is in that sea of people
grace could not help but drown us all
THE HOUSE OF TRUE DESIRE: Essays on Life and Literature, is the latest book from Cirilo F. Bautista. It will be launched on Thursday, March 3, 2011, 4 p.m., at the Tanghalang Quirino (Graduate School), Benavidez Building of the University of Santo Tomas.
Finally found that little notebook in the other nomad bag.
Yep, the handwriting was that of my friend’s.
This was the Greenbelt poem:
Let There Be No More
Let there be no more
Legends on the moon.
Why play children’s games
With an explained fact?
The moon is dead, and cold,
As any dragon fact.
To explain is to fix
Even the orbit of change.
The way moonbeams fall
Must respect or discipline;
And as we wake, submit
To interpretation of dreams.
But I will still always love moon legends.
And in my rock of a heart, the moon is never dead.
I once read of the web being referred to as an “echo chamber” in one online article. I thought perhaps it was called so because maybe, just maybe, one sometimes gets the feeling of conversing with echoes when communicating through the web – you either feel that you are in touch with friends or strangers only in a surreal plane, or that you’re the only one talking to yourself, to your own echo.
I don’t know if other online writers ever get that feeling, but I know I do, sometimes, and I particularly feel more of the latter feeling , the talking-to-your-own-echo feeling, especially since I harldy ever get anyone to comment on my own posts, and I seldom get any traffic at all.
Which sometimes brings me to asking, “What’s the point?”. If it’s all just me and my own echo, then what else am I doing this blogging thing for?
Actually, several years ago, had I been asked about my opinion of the web and blogging, I would have probably given the usual web skeptic’s response. In the first place, I didn’t even know how to surf the web until 2002, when I entered graduate writing school, and one of the professors had been kind enough to sit with me in the library’s cybernook, told me to type w-w-w-dot-google-dot-com inside the big long white bar, then press enter. But blogging, as soon as I tried it, have actually benefitted me. And I have not yet even been making money from it. What more if I grow diligent enough to explore that possibility?
Blogging is a tool, and this I often hear from friends who have been blogging for years, and have urged me to blog too. Around the time it was first suggested to me, I was already contemplating about leaving my ten-year government job (which had me tied to a typewriter and consequently kept me away from nearly everything that had anything to do with high-tech and the net) for a professional writing career.
I knew that I would encounter problems since my only published works during that period were but a handful of poems. They did come out in nationally circulated publications, alright, but they were poems – and I was not applying for a job as a poet (well, I have not encountered any company looking for one – please inform me if you do). My graduate school classmates then said that I should put out a blog which could feature the kinds of writing that I could do or would like to do professionally, so that the magazines and websites I have been applying to would have a ready reference to check for my work. Besides, no website would hire a dweeb who doesn’t even know what in God’s name blogging is, or how it works.
I followed the advice. I included this blog’s address in all the resumes I sent out, and true enough, I got callbacks and eventually got the writing job I wanted, with others at the side.
It doesn’t end there. It has been quite my frustration to become a rock journalist. I hold fast to the belief that the two best writing jobs in the world are those of rock/music journalists and travel writers – basically because I believe music and travelling support poets the best. During my one year so far of living off from my writing, I have had only one chance of writing a rock album review for which I got paid. The blog therefore sometimes serve as my outlet for music reviewing. Actually that was the original intention of this blog, to indulge my desire for music writing. Lately, though, the entries have been more into the personal – delving on personal trips or side stories from official travel assignments – stuff that would not be suitable material for the actual articles commissioned.
In the future, I hope to be able to use this blog to help promote personal, major works – God willing.
There really are benefits after all, eh?
So, at this point, I actually can’t remember what I have been earlier asking “What’s the point?” for…
Ah! The hardly-any-traffic thing…
What’s the point if no one’s listening?
I would have to wax cinematic, but basic, here. Some professor in some beloved movie two decades ago said something about poetry, which I feel applies into answering the question –
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer: that you are here; that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” — Dead Poets Society.
I wrote this entry alone, longhand, in my solitude – afterall, writing is a solitary act. But what has been written would be useless if not surrendered.
Must I wait to have gigs in a rock/music mag before I should write about music that sees me through every day? Or movies that I grew up loving? Or books that are ever humbling? Or my little journeys, to places, or within?
Must I be assured first that I would be heard before I’d be willing to share? To offer? To give?
Hopefully, this project could open other doors for me. As blogging is a tool, it would sure be nice to reap more as I wield it.
Pulp? Rolling Stone?
Just asking. 🙂
And yep, only blogging could have room for the smiley.
Fully Booked has recently sent its new releases update to its mailing list. Being one of those updated, I learned that finally, after months and months of waiting, it has finally arrived: Miles Davis’ recording of Porgy And Bess.
So go kids, go grab it. That one’s a treasure. It will be worth every cent, I promise.
Hopefully next year, or even sooner, I can afford a copy. I have been missing a lot in music and poetry/books lately, due to insufficiency of funds. Last June I saw a Vintage expanded edition of W. H. Auden’s Selected Poems, and a non-movie-tie-in edition of Girl, Interrupted in Fully Booked Rockwell. By July I have been seeing Madonna’s Hard Candy (hail the queen of pop! wahoooo!) and Jars Of Clay’s Greatest Hits all over the place. This August, I learned that Weezer has a new album, The Red Album. And this August too, just as I was still pondering if I would approcah nanay for a loan so I could get even the cheapest ticket to it, the Eraserheads concert had already been staged. It would’ve not mattered to me if I heard only half-a-set, nevermind if the ticket i could’ve bought posted me all the way back.
I wanted to commune. Apart from the music, you can go to concerts, to live performances, to commune. That communion, that’s what I would’ve wanted to see and hear and feel –
– but I couldn’t, because there’s the rent and the tuition and the daily question of what-can-I-eat-for-twenty-pesos.
I pray for better days ahead. For Ely’s full recovery, for another Eraserheads reunion (I heard Raymund Marasigan on TV say that there will be another… I love that guy, I love his attitude), and lots of money for me so I can finally go.
Last time I saw them live was when they opened for Foo Fighters and Sonic Youth and Beastie Boys at Araneta. I was still in college. My ticket was for a mere 100 pesos, balcony section, but I got near the pit after a little riot ensued and the Araneta chicken wirings dividing the sections were torn apart by my enthusiastic brothers. They caught me in their arms as I leapt in the dark to cross every section. It was magical.
And then I read Buddy Zabala in Eric Caruncho’s Sunday Inquirer magazine article on the concert say of his experience, “I feel like a baby.”
Or was it ‘felt’? Or ‘feel’? God, I’ve forgotten.
I guess I’ll just have to be content right now with staring at that sick bottle of San Mig given to me by a friend who made me promise not to drink it. Staring at it as I lie down, with Alkohol blasting in my ears.
Tu-ru-rut-tut-tut-tu-ru-rut… alkohol alkohol alkohol!
“ … Music pours over the sense
and in a funny way
music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better… “
– Anne Sexton, from Music Swims Back To Me
Yesterday I went to see my mother after learning from her staff that she went on sick leave for the day. Migraine, they said. For a moment I was worried that perhaps her vertigo has struck again. It usually comes to her with migraines. So I visited her, to check.
She was holding a broom when she opened the door. After asking me if I had eaten (“Hindi ako nagluto, pero may sapsap sa ref, kung gusto mo,” she greeted), she immediately went back on top of a chair, held the broom up, and swept away some cobwebs. Either the migraine had already worn off or she just went on leave to clean, I thought.
I looked around the house, she was alone, so I said I’m turning on the computer. Forget the fish, I want to hear some beach music. I was all set on an infinite loop of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World while drinking some coffee when mother suddenly asked, “Pwede ko na bang itapon ‘yang mga iniwan mong tape d’yan?”.
“’Wag!” I protested. There are still quite some rarities there that I haven’t found on CD, I said, I can’t throw away a tape unless I already have it on CD. Actually, I don’t remember throwing even those I already have on CD. I passed them on to whoever wanted them, my brother Jonas’ friends usually. Those tapes were what made me skin and bones through high school and college. I would rather save up my lunch money to buy them than be thrown bits of rice at and be called four-eyes in the bully-laden PNULSHS cafeteria. They were what bade me farewell everyday before I went inside the fortress that was Intramuros, having attended Lyceum for college. The songs coded in those ribbons were what I’d sing in my head to shut off the bullies that chased me all the way to my Journalism classes. Those were what I hummed as I walked the cobblestone streets, going home. Those songs in those tapes were my home. My fortress. And those songs were the songs that my brother and I slam-danced and head-banged to, with the neighbors below not being able to complain on account of my mother’s pakikisama. So those tapes made up the soundtrack of my youth, as the saying would go.
Among those tapes are the following: The Pixies Surfer Rosa and Bossanova, The Breeders’ Pod and Last Splash, Rancid’s And Out Come The Wolves, Hole’s Live Through This, The Flaming Lips’ Transmissions From The Satellite Heart, The Smoking Popes’ Born To Quit and Destination Failure, and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds’ The Boatman’s Call. That is not even inclusive of the compilations I have made out of recording from the radio, listening then to NU 107’s Midnight Countdown, DZFE’s The Master’s Touch, and that program in some other station hosted by that good woman who called herself Midnight Madonna. She played almost every torch song I asked her to, as long as they date no later than the 1970s. I also have some soundtracks, including Swing Kids which introduced me to jazz, and Pulp Fiction. I remember my brother memorizing Samuel L. Jackson’s And I will strike down upon thee speech off it, using it in place of hello when answering the phone. Most callers thought they dialed the wrong number.
And because our VHS machine was hooked up to the karaoke, I was able to record on cassette tape performances by Brad Pitt on Johnny Suede, Diane Keaton on Annie Hall, Michelle Pfeiffer on The Fabulous Baker Boys, and that wonderful, psychedelic on-the-road montage from Hideous Kinky, stringing together America’s A Horse With No Name, Jefferson Airplane’s Somebody To Love, and the Arabic prayer of one of Kate Winslett’s on-screen daughters, its echoes bouncing off from Moroccan mountains. My tapes with those performances and montages are the next-best-things I could have in place of their soundtracks which I still have not come across in my years of scouring cruelly posh Makati or Taguig record shops and dangerously friendly Recto and Quiapo stalls.
“E wala ka namang cassette player, ‘pano mo pa pakikinggan ‘yang mga ‘yan?” She really wants to be rid of them.
Over at cousin Aizel’s, I thought, she still has a cassette player. I wouldn’t mind traveling all the way to Far-view to hear Black Francis ask Where Is My Mind?. Nevermind that I already have a Quiapo copy of Fight Club where the song plays gloriously at the end. It would be a whole new experience jumping to the tune of it now, with my nephew Kodi, Aizel’s son, and definitely still with my doting aunt, Tita Deng in the background, yelling “Dito ka na kumain ha!”
Just leave them be, I tell mother while stirring my coffee, and one of these days I would come back and sort through them, so she could throw away everything else.
In the meantime, let those ribbons stick themselves tighter unto their spools. Let them lie down there in that bottom drawer. Let them remind the mother of her daughter.