the gapanese invasion is nigh!

"pinakamaganda ka nga sa buong kapuluan, pero latina na naman ang magwawagi ng korona at sash sa miss world! racism ba ito? lupasay!"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

gorgeous in the gateway palace

no, it was not sudden death. neither did i abruptly renounce my care for my blogspot and the internet altogether. just that it's hard when the mac is busted and the handsome repairman i entrusted it to seems to take forever in returning the cpu already operative. i was forced into concentrating my attention to other inclinations namely reading, writing, sound-tripping, watching tv or vcd or...traveling (hmm, were you thinking i'd say cruising?).
my nomadism is something that, well, takes me to places, literally. one point i am picking fish balls south of metro, the next i am sipping iced tea in the north. when i'm in nueva ecija, it's almost like a religion to be visiting the nearby provinces of tarlac, pampanga, and bulacan. my erstwhile colleague jopay is suprised how i do not seem to tire trotting from one town to another whenever time permits. the same bewilderment affects jangeum, who went on to say that i'm like a bird (!), able to fly and nest from coast to coast. if she was referring to human coast, i have no idea. when i joined a night swimming session in laguna a week ago, gorgeous texted that he envies my free time. if he only knew how i restrained myself from falling off the jeep along the south superhighway tracks for the rushing trucks to flatten.
so it came to pass that after meeting my student lor at the ateneo, i asked to hitch for a ride en route to cubao. the sunset painted the sky orange and purple and i have nowhere to go. i lounged at the araneta center and thought whether to visit friends in crame area (not the military boys but my fellow teachers) or to meet up boylets. i considered the second option, but zanjoe said he's at the screening of da vinci code at santa lucia east and it was not beyond me that he's not really watching the film, for if he could attend to his phone and invite me to be with him, i won't be able to sit down, view and review the movie.
destiny was weaving something for my footloose character, for just as i left gateway, i saw hunk, gorgeous' pakner in crime. yes, percy bysshy shelley, if hunk comes, can gorgeous be far behind? i was in the brink of creating a scene when after two shouts, hunk could not hear me. i supposed he plugged his ears with his i-pod earphones yet again. i cut the chase and confessed how i missed him and gorgeous, to which he replied that i was not being honest--it was gorgeous i missed more than hunk. hmm, i could put up a tent in quiapo and make hunk moonlight as seer naked from waist up so his rippling pectorals may be an added attraction.
half an hour and who do i see traipsing the glimmering foodcourt of the posh gateway? gorgeous was so divine, i felt like a desert pilgrim seeing a rapturous mirage. hunk excused himself to go to the washroom, but in silence i thanked him since he was giving me quality time alone with gorgeous. when gorgeous flashed his boyish smile, i got reminded of tantalus and the food and water receding whenever the punished king reached for them. gorgeous was opposite me, and not even a kiss! aarrgghhhhhhh!
he told me that after the night out, he will proceed to the market to purchase pork meat and vegetables since an officemate of his asked him to prepare certain dishes. "raket," gorgeous claimed. an imaginary light bulb glimmered atop my head: gorgeous cooks! if i can eat like a piranha and he can be a male jangeum, we're the proverbial match made in heaven. silly you, i smiled secretly, hansam's already a miracle for you and you harbor the delusion that's gorgeous?! just when the palatial mall amidst the middle-class araneta complex was blossoming with phantasma of flowers and heavenly perfume care of gorgeous, hunk zapped me back to reality and playfully asked the question, "o, nakita mo na si y***, solved ka na ba?" to be honest with you, hunk, i can never have enough of him--adik na adik ako sa kanya.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

going against the grain in gattaca

Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca (Columbia, 1997) is a science-fiction drama that presents a futuristic world wherein humans are genetically engineered so that their perfect genes will suit social developmental expectations. Persons who are traditionally conceived have genetic factors that are deemed flawed and “in-valid,” hence they are assigned to the lowest rungs of the social pyramid. One such in-valid is the character played by Ethan Hawke, who is determined to belong to an elite league of cosmonauts no matter what the cost. He buys and usurps the identity of the character of Jude Law to fulfill his dream. He matches his hairstyle, facial features, even height with those of the valid guy, who in turn supplies him with urine, blood, even heartbeat record just so their deal will be culminated.
Seeing the film has me mulling over the ill-effects technology can inflict toward the society at-large. In humans’ hard-core aspiration to create a utopian state, they actually aggravate division and marginalization because their faith rests alone on contemporary superstition: science. Obviously, destiny is what we make it and not what makes up our genetic pool, so the way human lives are being governed by scientific experiments in the film is deplorable. Thus, I admire how the characters fought for their place in the world even if it meant going against the society’s difficult grains.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

"boss, bayad nang pamintang sumabit..."

traveling on a public transport is always an occasion for cruising for me and, i'm sure, for some of my sisters out there in the metropolis (even perhaps for those on nocturnal provincial trips). i just give a naughty chuckle whenever i imagine what obliging gay guys do behind the mysterious curtains of air-conditioned buses.
there was one instance in up campus when i embarked a north avenue-bound jeep at the vinzons hall area and if my gaydar was not mistaken, eight other straight-acting gays boarded the vehicle. i readied my imaginary steel parasol in case a precipitation of sulfur suddenly decided to vaporize the rust-covered jeep but spare the ikot vehicles containing heterosauruses.
the other day, i went aboard a montalban-bound jeep in cubao and along marikina, the driver fetched a rather tame-faced narcissus who magnetized my eyeballs throughout the journey. the transport was already filled to bursting, but in behalf of the driver, the conductor spared the paminta the horror of riding atop the roof, and just made him sabit.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

my marvelous afternoon in bed with gabo marquez

one luxury provided by recuperating in bed is reading books at a faster pace than when i'm physically fine and only perusing to doze off eventually. my reading backlog is cluttering my library and so, i had to take to bed one book a week in order to finish everything in about a year before i yield to the urgency of buying new ones when booksales lure my money away. this is one good thing about being in pain: i may explore new worlds that exist now in text and may exist soon given the infiniteness of possibilities.
such is gabriel garcia marquez's fictional world which, depending on whose perspective, may be vegetating already in the author's native south america or may be dismissed as just false truths of the magic realist boom. now that i'm tired of distracting my headache by making origamis of pterodactyls and jets, it's about time to penetrate la maravelloso real jungle town in gypsy clothes, riding a caravan of hammocks, kitchenware and whatnots, wolfing a banana in one hand and lashing a beast of burden with the other. together, let's read marquezian solitude in no one writes to the coronel and other stories composed of the title novella and the surreal fictions "tuesday siesta," "one of these days," "there are no thieves in this town," "balthazar's marvelous afternoon," "montiel's window," "one day after saturday," "artificial roses" and "big mama's funeral." the same surreality that the neo-classic one hundred years of solitude made me run the spectrum of emotions is also present in the fiction anthology.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

origami (para kay y***)

ang masakit kong ulo'y
nililindol na mundong
napipinto ang paggunaw.
payo ni dok:
"nang maibsan ang kirot,
ibaling ang pansin
sa ibang kaabalahan."
mag-origami tayo
gamit ang makukulay
na papel de hapon.
ganito ang pagtiklop ng isang ibon:
sintulis ng kutsilyo ang kanyang tuka,
hawakan sa buntot nang kumampay
ang nakatuping mga pakpak.
heto naman ang hugis ng isang pugita:
balintuwad na piramide ang kanyang ulo,
mga galamay ay nangatingkayad sa dulo.
mula sa balwarte mong malayo,
sakyan mo ang eroplano o bangkang papel
at halika rito sa tabi ko;
sa bisa ng origami'y
payapain natin ang mundo.

Monday, May 01, 2006

a comparative study of e.e. cummings' is 5 and paolo manalo's jolography

While a few generations apart, American poet e. e. cummings and Filipino counterpart Paolo Manalo manifest in their literary works quaint English language use which may be dismissed as a mortal sin by grammatical standards. However, in cummings’ postmodern take at is 5 (New York: Liveright, 1996) and Manalo’s at Jolography (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2003), both were able to produce poetry whose agenda enabled the shattering of prevailing binaries of the universal/fragmented, truth/fallacy, elite/popular, conventional/postmodern, and colonial/postcolonial, all despite considerable lapses in grammar if only to crystallize the liberating context in which idioms, figures of speech, and language at-large were considered. The poems in question have identity (or lack thereof), in/significance of history and versions of truth for issues. Content analysis based on existing ideologies will provide the point of comparison for the poems under study.
First, there exists a similarity between cummings’ “this young question mark man” and Manalo’s “Yours, Etcetera”. The two poems have for a theme the failed assertion of one’s identity.
In the first piece, the persona refers to “this young question mark man” (line 1)—question mark being a punctuation that is always associated to openness to dispute, non-definitiveness, even doubt of existence. The reader is prodded into “question[ing] mark” (line 2) in order to ask him of his identity (yes, mark seems a play on word, a pun: it is the alluded guy’s name). Mark is only known for his sufferance “from/indigestion” (lines 3-4), a bodily process that shows incompleteness, a characteristic that extends up to M/mark’s personality. Mark, as knowing people “personally…tell” (line 7) the persona, “is a remarkably/charming person” (lines 5-6), but this account seems not enough for the author to recognize M/mark. Whereas many attempts are made to depict M/mark to the persona, at most “he’s a wet dream/by Cezanne” (lines 14-15). M/mark’s dream-like quality renders him too good to be identifiable or real and his Cezanne-like depiction manifests an identity that is tied up with a sweeping critique made on the French postimpressionist’s modern paintings: something that does not exist yet in time being, shrouded in mystery, an abstract.
The second piece’s first three lines present ways through which one may point out one’s existence, that one “[is] here” (line 6): tree etching (line 1), bathroom graffiti (line 2), meetings on the sidewalk whether or not it is the first chance at getting acquainted with another person (line 3). In all manners, one may give “a name,…a number/…[i]maginary or otherwise” (lines 4-5) as long as this opens up an opportunity at identifying oneself. In the Philippine context, certain people need the reassurance that they “are here” (line 7): they etch their name on trees, scribble their name onto public washroom walls, or, during chance encounters, mention their name to their new acquaintance.
However, the failure comes by the very purpose of mentioning one’s name: the necessity to be sure. In the olden times, it was believed that telling someone your name, which was deemed sacred, spelt your consequent submission to that person. Does the heedless tree etching or bathroom scribbling of “I am here” or “_____ was here” mean one fears a lost identity so one needs to reassure oneself of one’s existence that exact moment? What does this tell of one’s giving away his name only to be consequently overpowered by another individual? The last four lines are telling: in the bureaucracy, the same thing happens—“many forms [are filled] out/before [one] fill[s] in” (lines 9-10). One legitimizes one’s existence only when he gets acknowledged through his name. One’s identity is reduced to the squiggles of the ballpoint pen or marker or knife.
Second, there exists a resemblance between cummings’ “my sweet etcetera” and Manalo’s “Pusher.” Both poems have for a theme the reduction of history’s significance.
In the first piece, the persona is surrounded by his immediate family—aunt lucy (line 2), sister isabel (line 7), mother (13) and father (line 15)—whose very presence and words remind him of the greatness of participating in a national affair, say defending one’s country at war (lines 3-6) or making comforters (lines 8-12) for such defenders. His “mother hoped that/[he] would die…/bravely” (lines 13-15 in such an interesting time for one’s nation, like his father who will take the “privilege” (line 17) of becoming a soldier “if only he/could” (lines 17-18). This historically significant event is lost on the persona because all the while, he was stupidly daydreaming of his beloved (lines 22-26). What is more, he dismisses such a national affair’s importance by interspersing the word “etcetera” nonsensically along the lines. He downgrades history and chooses to channel patriotic love into romantic love.
The second piece, in its commentary on the decadent state of Philippine education, sweeps into the denigration of history by virtue of highlighting its facts (lines 19-21) and in the process neglecting the implications of such. The mention of [Gregorio] Zaide (line 14)—a Filipino historiographer reputed to have written in the colonialist’s perspective instead of the native’s—affirms the doom in which Philippine education languishes. The lack of memories (line 22) or, in essence, of history, instituted the need for students to engage “only [in] memorizings” (line 22) in the misguided belief that being bookish renders them “ready for the world” (line 17) and that family or friendly connections (lines 5-8, lines 10-13) will work for them in “a country/where for giveness” (lines 3-4) may be had, as long as one can give (or maglagay/bribe). In loving the loser (line 1; one example is, the one who takes history’s significance for granted), one “spell[s]/Disaster” (lines 9-10).
Finally, cummings’ “’next to of course god America i” and Manalo’s “Colorum” are comparable in their thematic rendition of version of truth.
In the first piece, the speaker articulates his patriotism, that he loves this “land of the pilgrims’” (line 2) and then proceeds to rave about america’s sons’ “acclaim[ing] [its] glorious name” (line 7) across centuries of colorful history before it turned into a very powerful imperial nation, following its colonial mother, Great Britain. Practically everyone talks about america’s beauty (line 9) even the handicapped (line 6) but to the speaker, there is nothing more beautiful than those who gallantly fought for the country (lines 9-12) just so they may enjoy the “voice of liberty” (line 13). This version of truth is all the speaker wants to articulate for all time because even as “[h]e spoke[,]…[he] drank rapidly a glass of water” (line 14) in order not to stop raving about this beautiful america he loves. The time in which the poem appeared, the United States is gaining ground to become the superpower that it is today.
The second piece has a marginalized person, most probably a native for a speaker. He possesses “[t]he truth—light that fills me light…” (line 3) by virtue of having been allowed to see through the light despite the totalizing efforts of the privileged to dismiss him as a colorum or, in Filipino parlance, an illegitimate. He proceeds to mention “Bagumbayan. Aritao. Maragondon” (line 9)—the places where famous “colorums” like national hero Jose Rizal, the popular movement Cofradia de San Jose and great Katipunero Andres Bonifacio were all martyred. The colorum will not take demonizing against him sitting down,if only to liberate himself: he will not be bullet-riddled (lines 10-12) in the facedown manner all traitors die, nor give up his faith despite its being hanged/suspended (lines15-16) by the “legitimate.” The poem ends in an Amen (I believe), Cofradia-style, the last three syllables of which call to mind the name in which they were tagged.
It is noteworthy that in postmodern times, individuals are being liberated when they become their own person, someone not necessarily associated with an institution just to have an identity, someone whose assertion of identity will not fail unlike the addresses of the first pair of poems compared. Meanwhile, the postcolonial issue of retracing one’s significant history and reclaiming one’s truth, once resolved, will likewise bring about liberation; otherwise, one continues to be incarcerated in a colonial hegemony. The poem samples above which tackled such themes ruptured binaries to create poetry of liberation.