Coffee & Flowers: Summertime

I just realized today that one of the saddest things about no longer being in school is the absence of a summer vacation. I’m definitely not a beach bunny but I do really love the summer.

I find that there’s something comforting about the heat and how getting ice cream can be called a necessity–as opposed to what it usually is: an additional three inches of fat. I like the feeling of sweat rolling down your nape and the cooling sensation of having the fan blow it across your skin until it disappears somewhere between the cloth of your shirt and your shoulder. I like how taking a bath can offer so much relief and how there’s no need to waste water waiting for the heater to work. I like how you can go to the mall in the middle of the day, catch the first movie and eat popcorn in the cool air-conditioning without feeling cold because it’s so damn hot outside. I like wearing shorts and tank tops and cut-offs and sneakers and sandals.

Summer is laying on your back and reading time–it’s beer below zero time, it’s wearing bandanas time, it’s fuck you I’m dark time, it’s yes I’ll have green mangoes time, it’s watermelon time, it’s I’ll spend 50 bucks on Magnum because I can time, it’s look at my hairy pits time, it’s I’m going to free-boob in this tank top today time.

I am a December baby but I would not do well in cold weather. I am a child of the summer (said all of the ASOAIF characters–hahaha).

Admittedly, DLSU doesn’t have the longest summer vacations but it was nice to be able to start the day whenever I wanted and to have the luxury of spending the day writing or reading or “educating myself”. Today is a Saturday and I’m sitting at my desk. I tied my white curtains up so I can see the neighbor’s roof (there’s a thief who’s been climbing roofs–but that’s another story). It makes me want to fry an egg. Or suck on ice candy.

My niece is starting day care in June and seeing her so excited for it makes me think about why people have children. If for nothing else, maybe it’s so they can watch someone fall asleep slowly while lying on the couch in shortshorts with their top up, rubbing their belly while a fan blows in their faces and on the TV screen, Ariel jumps back into the ocean after saving Prince Eric.

Coffee & Flowers: This City, Tattoo Plans

I realized last Friday that this city is like an old friend–my parents’ office is right smack in the middle of Ayala Avenue and when I was a kid I used to go there in the summer (to print out The Calling lyrics and anime pictures). I can still remember how things like going to Ministop alone and taking the underpass made me feel like a grown up. Funny. And now taking the underpass and passing through the Ayala/Paseo area makes me feel like a child.

The thing about Makati which never ceases to surprise me are how subtle the turns are: there are different pockets of life which are delineated only by the tiniest structures–overpasses, pedestrian lanes, a KFC. In the case of Ayala Avenue and the Dela Rosa area, it’s just a corner. That corner (the one you turn after getting down from the Greenbelt overpass) never ceases to amaze me: how can you go from yoga studios and parks and virtually no noise to buses beeping and people chattering and cops blowing whistles? You walk a bit.

I was in the Ayala (literally Ayala Avenue not Ayala Station or Glorieta) area last Friday to meet up with my friend JM. It was so good to meet up with someone you haven’t seen in a long time. 🙂 Sadly (or maybe not), I was unable to take a photo when we were hanging out because we were too busy chatting–and then my mom called and I had to run run run to catch a ride home. But I’m superstitious with certain things: like I always get the feeling that if I don’t take a memento from a fun time it’ll never happen again or that if I wear the clothes I wore on a good day, some luck carries over. It’s stupid and to a certain extent I (of course) know it isn’t true. But fuck it. People have obsessions and people have compulsions. If there’s one thing I learned in my x number of years in BS Psych, it’s that. So I took this selfie in the elevator mirror. That was a good day.

Since graduation, I’ve pretty much been able to accomplish everything that I set out to do: I got a job, I set things in order for MoarBooks (or have at least made those arrangements) and I’ve upped my reading quota per month. The one thing which I haven’t done that I said I would (and still mean to) is to get another tattoo to commemorate my graduation. I was initially thinking of getting two arrows fashioned in the style of the equilibrium sign because it was chemistry (ah, damned pre-reqs) that kept me in school so long; it was also my chem subjects that I feel taught me about what it means to strive hard for something and I’m still considering that but a part of me also feels like doing that would be incredibly false because well, I don’t know a lot about chemistry. My appointment is scheduled for the end of March/start of April. We shaaallll seee!

Coffee & Flowers: Stoker, Gravity, Adrienne Rich and Mourning Over Lost Torrents

Yes, I may be the most outdated person re: really good movies. There just isn’t a lot of time–I dedicate most of my time either reading, writing or watching TV shows (because they’re shorter and you don’t have to finish it all it one go to “finish it”). But I was really curious about Stoker and Gravity because they were movies I’d resolved to go see in the cinemas and then didn’t get to catch while they were in the cinemas because they always seemed to fall on finals week or the week before finals week (which is worse, actually) or (in the case of Stoker) it only showed for an uber short period and then *poof* gone-gagonegonegone.

So, ya know. Buti nalang may U-Torrent. Hahaha But yeah, I watched these two movies recently and they are fucking amazing. In retrospect, I absolutely regret not having gone to the cinemas–finals week or no, I think giving up an hour or two to see these films on the big screen would’ve been worth it. Below are a couple of thoughts on the movies, torrents and some almost completely unrelated poetry.

1. Stoker (2013)

Image

Okay. So. I loved everything about this movie. The cinematography was beautiful and the story was paced really well. It’s a little gory but I feel like this is what a true blue horror flick is supposed to be like. It’s supposed to get you super fucking invested and then snap your neck with a belt while you’re having sex (HAHA go watch it). This movie is insane! The fact that it’s shot in such a serene palette just drives me crazy. The creepiness and suspense is so subtle. Plus, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode are both people who are able to present themselves as incredibly likeable. Without giving anything away, I must say that the thing which scared me the most about this movie was that I was rooting for them pretty much up until the very end. Oh, and conversely, the same thing must be said about Nicole Kidman’s ability to present herself as a real bitch–so much so that even if she’s right, you hate her character anyway.

It makes me laugh to remember being 15 and watching Chasing Liberty with my friend in the movie house. Like. Damn, Agent Ben Calder–you have gone a looooong way from chilling out with Mandy Moore in travel porn locations throughout Europe.

2. Gravity (2013)

Image

So much has already been said about this movie–about the cinematography, the story, etc. and so I feel like all I can really talk about is how it made me feel. I feel like Alphonso Cuaron is one man who really knows how to break people’s hearts (Great Expectations made me want to sleep for a year) and I think that that is, to a certain extent, one of the best talents a story-teller can possess: second only to being able to make people laugh.

Before this movie, I don’t think I’d ever cried for two hours straight (although after it, I watched The Book Theif and that came pretty close hahaha). The pace and the little touches are beautiful–the intricacies of the details were incredibly well thought out and the dialogue–crazy. The dialogue just crushes your heart into a tiny mountain of cocaine.

3. These poems by Adrienne Rich

Last week, one of the things  I had to do at work was put together a class on the basics of poetry, which of course includes providing readings or examples of the points about poetry that the course is trying to make about poems. Because I primarily read prose (most of the poems I’ve read are recommendations from poet friends or are things which I’ve stumbled upon accidentally), I had to do more research for this than the other classes I’ve had to work on. I realized that most of the poets I liked were all male (Poe, Strand, Pound, Collins, Frost) or else were all spoken word poets–apart from Gwendolyn Brooks and Mary Karr , I really hadn’t read a lot of work by female poets. So, yeah. I googled them! I liked a couple of other things by other writers too like Sharon Olds and Louise Gluck but I liked Adrienne Rich the most. I read a lot of her poems in order to get a feel of what her work was like but this one was my favorite.

Cartographies of Silence
Adrienne Rich

1.

A conversation begins
with a lie. And each

speaker of the so-called common language feels
the ice-floe split, the drift apart

as if powerless, as if up against
a force of nature

A poem can begin
with a lie. And be torn up.

A conversation has other laws
recharges itself with its own

false energy. Cannot be torn
up. Infiltrates our blood. Repeats itself.

Inscribes with its unreturning stylus
the isolation it denies.

2.

The classical music station
playing hour upon hour in the apartment

the picking up and picking up
and again picking up the telephone

the syllables uttering
the old script over and over

The loneliness of the liar
living in the formal network of the lie

twisting the dials to drown the terror
beneath the unsaid word

3.

The technology of science
The rituals, the etiquette

the blurring of terms
silence not absence

of words or music or even
raw sounds

Silence can be a plan
rigorously executed

the blueprint to a life

It is a presence
it has a history a form

Do not confuse it
with any kind of absence

4.

How calm, how inoffensive these words
begin to seem to me

though begun in grief and anger
Can I break through this film of the abstract

without wounding myself or you
there is enough pain here

This is why the classical or the jazz music station plays?
to give a ground of meaning to our pain?

5.

The silence that strips bare:
In Dreyer’s Passion of Joan

Falconetti’s face, hair shorn, a great geography
mutely surveyed by the camera

If there were a poetry where this could happen
not as blank spaces or as words

stretched like skin over meanings
but as silence falls at the end

of a night through which two people
have talked till dawn

6.

The scream
of an illegitimate voice

It has ceased to hear itself, therefore
it asks itself

How do I exist?

This was the silence I wanted to break in you
I had questions but you would not answer

I had answers but you could not use them
This is useless to you and perhaps to others

7.

It was an old theme even for me:
Language cannot do everything–

chalk it on the walls where the dead poets
lie in their mausoleums

If at the will of the poet the poem
could turn into a thing

a granite flank laid bare, a lifted head
alight with dew

It if could simply look you in the face
with naked eyeballs, not letting you turn

till you, and I who long to make this thing,
were finally clarified together in its stare

8.

No. Let me have this dust,
these pale clouds dourly lingering, these words

moving with ferocious accuracy
like the blind child’s fingers

or the newborn infant’s mouth
violent with hunger

No one can give me, I have long ago
taken this method

whether of bran pouring from the loose-woven sack
or of the bunsen-flame turned low and blue

If from time to time I envy
the pure annunciations to the eye

the visio beatifica
if from time to time I long to turn

like the Eleusinian hierophant
holding up a simple ear of grain

for the return to the concrete and everlasting world
what in fact I keep choosing

are these words, these whispers, these conversations
from which time after time the truth breaks moist and green

 

It’s like word porn for me: phrases like violent with hunger associated with a child’s mouth or the technology of science/ the rituals, the etiquette/the blurring of terms/ silence not absence. Hay. I also really like the fact that the title doesn’t overtly mention maps but the study of maps. And. Yeah. If you can’t already tell–I’m a fool for enumeration. ❤ GAH.

4. Mourning Over Lost Torrents

I got home last night from a fun night of eating on the grass, drinking beer and eating cupcakes with two of my best friends and all I wanted to do was watch the second season of Kuroshitsuji. But noooooo. Nooooooooooo. All my anime torrents were in the old hard disk of my computer–irrecoverable, 0% function, a hopeless prognosis. So. 38% whyyy. I got so desperate I actually tried to see which episodes had already completed in the 38% that was downloaded–alas, they were all episodes I’d already seen. So I had to resort to reading the Kuroshitsuji II wiki. :/ Uhhhh. Not the same thing. Although I guess this might be a good thing because the thing about animes like Black Butler is that they’re really easy to watch: unlike say, Shingeki or Psycho-Pass or even Fushigiyuugi or El Hazard or the Samurai X OVAs where there are a lot of jarring, painful things which happen with this you can just sort of relax and let the story unfold. Not because tragic things don’t happen (they do) but because you trust the butler to sort things out–which is why we know the way this anime ends is going to be painful. Let me revise my earlier thesis statement: if something can make you laugh, it can break your heart.

Image

I am also mourning the loss of my Psycho Pass torrents because I was planning to re-watch the entire thing before the second season/movie trailer came out. But, oh well. I guess there’s always the option of re-downloading everything. D: If anyone has the complete seasons of these things please let me know!

Image

I ended up (after leaving that very informative wiki page) re-watching the entire Season 3 of GIRLS. Not a very good idea, either. HAHAHA It’s just not the kind of show you marathon.

Well, lesson learned: BACK UP THOSE GEDDEM FILES!

More soon. 🙂

Coffee & Flowers: Plural, Driving Lessons, Hang outs, Work and Crying Animals

Okay, so today was a really good day for me: I was able to exceed my word quota at work (yes, that’s a thing) and am currently working on a course about Abnormal Psychology which is surprisingly a lot of fun. I quite like reading about dead old men and how they liked playing with their animals. It makes me happy–there’s something nice about knowing what these people did to pass the time. I was also able to hang out with my cousin Zach for lunch–I haven’t properly seen him in years so that was really fun. Bitin, but fun nonetheless.

I’m also very, very happy because Plural Prose Online Journal came out with their maiden issue yesterday! If you guys don’t know what Plural is, it’s a journal dedicated to contemporary prose writing. The journal has a pretty freaking awesome vision. I’m not done reading the issue yet but it’s pretty great so far. The people running it are excellent writers and also really cool people which is why I’m very proud to announce that one of my stories, Driving Lessons is featured in this issue. 🙂 It’s a story about a boy and a girl who go “drunk” driving around Binondo in the late 90s. Anyway. Go give that a download if you want to read it (it’s free). 😀

I was also able to work on some snippets for this story I’m writing that is so fun to write I’m kind of worried about how it’ll turn out. It’s sad that I always seem to equate good work with torture. Why is that? I dunno. But yeah. I’m working on a story and it’s pretty long for something that I would write but I quite like it. I will post it on here (part of it anyway) one of these days. 😀

Image
Photo collage by Arabella Paner | Click to get it!

One of the other things I do for work is make Writing Exercises.  I’m supposed to come up examples to help guide the students through basic creative writing thangs so here’s one I thought I’d share just for kicks because the thought of crying animals makes me laugh.

You say you have cried
every cliche
body of water–
rapids running into
every ocean of despair.
But my darling
(Narcissus)
The only thing
you
have gushed
out of you
is you
could you cry
a whale
gray and hunched over
massive, assailing
the very form
eye
as I
pushed from its corners
elephants roaring always
remembering the dry
broad-backed
desert
when I said
my pain
I meant
my pain:
a living thing.

Coffee & Flowers: This Fucking Thing

Image

I was on the fence about sharing this because I am very particular about my whole name (I somehow get the feeling that the only people who should know it are people who were my teachers/editors, close friends and people who knew me before 2007), but then I realized–what the hell, I can MS paint that shiz out! This fucking thing came in the mail today and that expletive is not in there arbitrarily: I’m so happy it’s here!!!!!!!!!! The desire with which I have worked toward receiving this shiny paper is crazyyyy and definitely not without more struggle than I’d ever envisioned for my life upon entering University life. 🙂 SO. Yay!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑