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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guns and roses



In my country of Philippines, every day, every waking hour of our life, we are bound by the invisible lines of love. In our songs, television shows, movies, commercials, in our liquors and even in our women’s sanitary napkins, the word love is etched, blazing in full blood color of red flame. This is our fixation. This is our fate. And in times when metal bullets pierce our hearts, we realize, Cupid’s arrow is not that far from anybody’s smoking gun. 

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” says so by a grieving housewife Shiela Macapugay after gunning her husband Abel to death in what the media dub today as a “crime of passion.” Like a scene from a primetime telenovela, Shiela confronted her husband publicly, in a popular Quezon City shopping mall, on the verge of their marriage’s melt-down. 

“I said to myself, before I die, I have to kill my husband first. I just couldn’t accept the fact the he abandoned us for his mistress.” 

But Shiela failed to shoot herself after killing her husband as mall security guard Ricardo Inamac intercepted which ended up him taking all the bullets resulting to his death. Shiela is now facing murder and homicide charges and is now in the custody of the police. 

Days later, in a certain shopping mall in San Fernando, Pampanga, a thirteen year old boy would kill his sixteen year old male lover in yet again another crime of passion. 

Past 3 in the afternoon yesterday, the thirteen year old boy, jealous of the thought that his lover is cheating on him, shot the sixteen year old boy straight in the head using a .22 caliber gun. In turn, the thirteen year old boy pointed the gun in his own head, pulled the trigger and dropped wounded beside his equally dying lover. Both are later declared brain dead after attempts to revive them in Jose B. Lingad Hospital in San Fernando.   

In a span of a week, we are told of two love stories ending in demise. Every minute and every second around the world, love stories are born while other love stories would die. Some would survive the test of times as others are never given chance of their own love story. But could love really be the be all and end of all? 

Probably, for the thirteen year old boy who shot his sixteen year old male lover, it is. The whirlwind romance that started in May via internet flamed into a passionate affair. For Shiela, it probably was the same thing. 

We could blame many things here, like the boys’ youthful naivety, Shiela’s lack of better judgment, her husband’s infidelity, even his mistress. We could also blame the mall’s security agency, the shopping malls’ lack of better security plan or even the police for their loose regulations governing security providers. But this time, allow me to blame love. Yes, love itself. In these tragedies, let love be the responsible thus let all the blame goes with it. 

This is me speaking, a man once and too many times burned by love, a certain Shiela Macapugay inside me pained by the thought of being abandoned by love and a mind of a thirteen year old boy whose only fault is nothing but to love in all honesty. 

How could anyone say what they did was wrong when love does not recognize our patterns of what is right and what is wrong? How much is too much and how much truth are there in our realities? Are my rationales irrationals and yours the rational ones, you’ll say? 

Maybe they believed they could run away from the pains of love through death, although, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all those years of failure in love, it is the fact that you can never run way. Not ever. And as they say, the only way out is in. 

There’s no use justifying what Shiela and the thirteen year old boy did. Maybe it pained them too much that all there’s left for them to do are more painful things. It is what a certain Allan Watts said, that things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations. 

We are but creatures condemned by love. Shiela, in the brutality of her chosen ways, the impulsiveness of a certain thirteen year old boy, are all but victims. Some will say they’re victims of poverty, of shallow values, of youth and of selfishness. I’ll say they’re nothing but victims of love. Are they not that much different from us? 

In my country of Philippines, every day, every waking hour of our life, we are bound by the invisible lines of love. In our songs, television shows, movies, commercials, in our liquors and even in our women’s sanitary napkins, the word love is etched, blazing in full blood color of red flame. This is our fixation. This is our fate. And in times when metal bullets pierce our hearts, we realize, Cupid’s arrow is not that far from anybody’s smoking gun.

But for now, we pray. 
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

The letter I would love to read to you in person (In memoriam)


"There's a line in 'Aguila' where a Moro secessionist is told his cause is lost. He replies to him that winning doesn't matter, it's doing what one feels one should do. That's wisdom for you."
-Alexis Tioseco, 1981-2009


My beloved,


Like the many other days before I met you, I was lonely. But then I saw you sitting comfortably on that couch; such ease that really caught me. There was rain that day when we met. That mild drizzling outside, I always find beautiful, captivating without really giving so much effort. And you before my eyes, it could not even match that beauty I used to admire. 

You came from a different world. I know, sometimes, you suspected that was the main reason why I was so drawn to you; because I’m dying to create this convenient escape from the mad industry where I dwell. I am telling you now it is far from being true. I could enumerate thousands of reasons on why I fell in love with you despite my hesitance due to many recurring issues brought upon by my previous delving into the intricacies of love, but nothing in there would say that I’m using you as a convenient escape from my job. 

But I have to admit that being with you, or just by talking to you in the phone, is yes, an escape but not from my field of work, but away from this entirely crazy world, going to a universe where everything is nothing but your love and your tempting lips. 

My dear, you know how I pleaded for you to love me back that one day you said there’s no more “us.” I regret the fact that my rhetoric won’t work on you, that despite my effort to become your handsome Viscount, I was always the Phantom to you. I do not know and I probably would never know what really went in your mind that day, but I thought you were only just curious what lies behind my mask and when you saw that ugly part, you just ran away without looking back, scared. 

I was lonely again. I have mourned my loss of you. I was reduced to many questions on why I could not be enough for you. I blamed myself for not being the best looking, the best thinker – just being the best with anything, just with anything, so you could finally see me worthy of you. But you didn't. And I wasn’t. I was never the best in your eyes. 

I wished I could stop. Stop from still caring about you, stop from thinking about you, stop loving you – or just simply stop, stop with anything that goes your name with it. But now, I realize why I could never do so. It’s because once you decide to love someone, you already tore out a piece of your heart unknowingly, handed it to that person and despite whatever that might happen from then on, you may never take it back no matter what. 

So this is why I want to read this letter to you in person. For the last time, I wish you would take good care and respect that piece of me you have in you. It’s yours and I swear there would never be a time that I would regret I have given it to you. You will always be special to me. 

It is painful to see you happy with someone else, I must admit, but somehow it comforts me to know that you are happy and being loved the way you deserves to be. You have truly found your match. I wish the two of you nothing but happiness. For now, I really must go and take care of mine.


Yours,

Désolé Boy

___



This post is inspired by Alexis Tioseco’s “The letter I would love to read to you in person” that appeared in Rogue magazine. 

Alexis and Nika’s love story ended too soon when on September 1, 2009, the two were shot and killed by 3 suspects in their home at 39 Times Street, Barangay West Triangle, Quezon City. 

I write this today, two years after, when justice is still not served, to inspire me to continue believing in love, in my art and in my country, despite countless reasons not to do so. 

Authorities are still on the hunt for the couple’s househelper CRISELDA GESMAN DAYAG, one of the prime suspects of the murder case. A warrant has already been issued for Dayag’s arrest. 

Alexis and Nika’s friends and relatives are offering P1 million peso cash reward for information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects. 

For any information, you can contact them through the following numbers:

+639477211901 | +639053758861 | 02-5263747



Thank you for inspiring us Alexis and Nika. We'll forever miss the two of you. 
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Monday, September 12, 2011

The four merry gentlemen



I was looking directly at the Shadow’s eyes, delirious of the pleasure engulfing as It thrust in various invading rhythm. The world was shaking, twirling as it spiraled in multi-colors and scent. In one hulking ripple, the Shadow groaned and let out a gasp of air as It collapses gently beside me, eyes shut. 

I stared at Its heaving chest, unsure of what’s going on inside. 

“I love you,” I said without knowing what it meant or how I would I want it to mean. It was barely a whisper. 

The Shadow did not answer. 

“I love you,” I repeated not knowing why I did, still without knowing what it meant or how I would want it to mean. 

The Shadow did not answer. 

___

“Hello,” it was 2.30 in the morning, which would explain the hoarse tone of my voice and the blatant taste of irritation that goes with it.

“Who is this?”

“I am Destiny,” said a heavy-airy voice on the other line.

“Who is this again?”

“I am Destiny, and today is your lucky day.”

“What?”

“All you have to do is say ‘I love you’ and I’m all yours honey.”

“What?”

“Just say you love me.”

“Fuck you.”

___

“Désolé Boy, I would like you to meet Heureux Boy.”

It all started with that introduction and since then, we've been going out a lot for the past weeks. [This would explain my trouble at home since the household is becoming stricter on me lately, I can barely understand why. But of course, I can always find a way.] 

Everything is going smooth between me and Heureux Boy. Just one thing, though. Aside from our fascination with anything French (look at our names, silly) there is nothing more that is common in our list of interests. 

He hates my writing. Except for news and commentary articles, he said they were nothing but opéra interminable or in English, endless runs of operas. 

In retaliation, I would often sneer at his naivety. He’s too simple minded and I would often find myself hating his guts. I mean, why would you even bother bite at a grocery cashier’s attempt of conversation? 

It’s not that I am jealous or anything. I’m saying this because that’s how he would often accuse me and of course I would deny it vehemently. Consequently, he would laugh hard and I would become more annoyed than ever. 

But truth is I love being with Heureux Boy. One time he asked me, “do you love me?” It puzzled me since I’ve never seen him that serious, like all the puns left his goofy face at once. 

“Of course I do,” I answered truthfully. 

“One day, we’ll go to Paris and we’ll live there forever.” 

“Tu promets?”

“C’est promis.”

___

Have you ever been in love with a Donkey? I've been in love with a Donkey once. Now, if you are thinking that this is a metaphorical Donkey, I’m gonna have to break that theory of yours this early on. I am talking about a real wild Donkey here. It’s true and in all seriousness, I’m telling you now that I've been in love with a Donkey. Once. 

It’s not too different being in love with a Donkey from being in love with a human. As a matter of fact, I once dated a Pig, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. Anyway, the Donkey has been a good companion at the beginning. It would never give me the usual “donkey-sneer,” you know how donkeys seem to have this usual irritating face that feels like they’re sneering at you? It never showed me that. I was pleased. 

The Donkey’s herd is composed of great donkeys. Gentleman donkeys, I prefer to call them. They are far from being handsome, as no donkey ever looked good in human’s eyes anyway. But I’m fascinated and some were really good to me. 

One night, finally, we decided to push forward our relationship and have sex. I stood there naked in front of the Donkey and for some unknown reason, it ran away and never came back. A few days later, I received an e-mail from the Donkey telling me how ashamed it was. It said it never wanted to have sex in the first place and it realized that night that it doesn't have any romantic inclination towards me. 

I was devastated. But what I've learned in this whole Donkey love affair is that donkeys will always be donkeys. At the end, donkeys belong to the wild and that humans, like me, deserve the city. 

I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong but from the last I've heard, the Donkey just broke up with another human and is now dating fellow donkeys again. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thanksgiving

A year ago today, I was dying. I could still feel it like it was yesterday. The needle pricks, the endless parade of doctors and nurses, the dizzying attack of new blood entering the body – they’re all there. A year ago, it did not matter that I am who I am. It did not matter where I work, where I’ve been to or what I have. All that mattered is that I was dying. 

Now, a year after, I am sitting in a restaurant surrounded by the most important people of my life; family and friends that a year ago, I thought I would be leaving permanently. The distant noises of my playing nieces and nephews, the chatters of my friends and cousins – just by hearing them, just by mere looking, gives me so much pleasure, unimaginable. 

I had to tighten my grip at the thanksgiving mass as I was on the verge of bursting into tears. I look at the altar and saw the endearing face of the Holy Mother staring at me. And then I remember: 

First day at the hospital, I was shaking madly from cold, screaming as my body was getting number and number. I was having visions; everything was blurry. Mama was calling for the nurses, she was frantic. Scared, I guess. She was alone with me in my hospital room and she didn’t know what to do. Then I felt her warm embrace as she handed me a hard beaded thing. It was the rosary I always keep with me wherever I go. “Pray hard,” she said. “Ask Mama Mary to help you.” 

Days after, on the 8th of September 2011, when Catholics hail the Holy Mother for her incarnation in the world as the child Mary, I was officially released from the hospital. I was healed. 

When your life depends on platelet count and injected IV drugs, you’ll think there’s nothing else to see but the pain of it all. That amidst the acrid smell of constant vomiting and seemingly countless drops of dextrose above your head, life already turned its back on you. But when you see people praying for you, distant relatives wiping your body with wet towel to ease the fever all throughout the night or when friends who can’t come regularly call to check, you’ll begin thinking “what the hell did I do to deserve all these goodness?” Apparently, what I didn’t see for a long stretch of time is that all that ever mattered are these people who are willing to love me when I least deserve it. That time I thought: from here on, I have the responsibility to take good care of this life, not just for myself, for God but also for these people who care so much about me. 

So how do you say thank you to those whom you owe so much? The special pasta I cooked for the neighbors, the expensive flowers I offered at the altar, the dinner party, the thank you notes and calls I made, this blog entry I’m writing right now – I could only do this much. But how could I truly repay Mama, all my relatives, my friends and especially God? 

And then I was reminded of what Elizabeth Gilbert wrote. That we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it really is wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voice. 

As for me, I think I wouldn’t mind spending the remainder of my life doing all these stuffs whenever I could, always being grateful to those whom I owe my life to, probably even up ‘till on the other side. 






Deo Gratias!


___
[click here] to see what happened a year ago
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Monday, September 5, 2011

No escape from reality




We all knew the story. A flying seagull once noticed a mouse, asked where its wings are, mouse didn’t answer since mouse only understand fellow mouse. The seagull thought the mouse is deaf and lonely, pitied it and took the liberty of picking it up on its beak for a ride in the skies. After a while, the seagull grew tired and carefully deposited the mouse once more on the ground. Mouse was left in gloom for many many days, for it had known the heights and seen a vast and beautiful world but was taken from it abruptly and unwillingly. In time, it grew accustomed to being the simple mouse again, thinking that the miracle of flying that occurred to it was nothing but a grand dream. 

There could be debates as to the story, question like whose fault was it really, the underscoring of the mouse’s vulnerability and delusions and the seagull’s arrogant meddlesome intentions. 

But now they don’t matter anymore. 

I’ll tell you what matters now. What matters is that I was that mouse for a very long time. I was the same mouse; alone and in gloom. But I was never mad. I was never angry of the many seagulls that came picking me, though I could not blame those mice who chose hatred afterwards. Choosing to hate is always easy. Hatred, sometimes, is best to mask the mortifying scars of loneliness and sense of defeat. I chose the road less traveled. I wallowed in my own demons, have dealt with my own rejections then walked away quietly, watching happy seagulls fly happily from afar. 

I write this today, not because I want to recount the story of the seagull and the mouse, condemn seagulls or earn sympathies for the mouse. I am writing this now when it no more matters who are the mice or the seagulls. I am writing this in the point of view of a boy, once a mouse in a story, to prove that his story did not end in just getting “accustomed to being the simple mouse again.” Because after all, the mouse learned that he can meet the skies even without seagulls. That's the reality now. That is what matters now. 

Alongside the muscular men of Tondo are tattooed broken hearted boys who drank mouthfuls of silver cleaning solutions with a sheepishly written note in their hands. Others jumped out of their hotel rooms while the passionate gunned their very own hearts. It is a cruel reality and many did not survive. But I did and this is what it is all about. 

So let me apologize if the article today appears self-indulgent, as it was written by a boy who once braved the growling seas and fought malignant fat clowns attempting to call themselves knights. This time, allow me to pompously write, tell myself and the whole world of how proud I am of how I’ve triumphantly slain those multi-headed dragons while remaining gorgeously handsome in black leather boots and vintage maong pants. 

It was T. S. Eliot who once said that humankind cannot bear very much reality. And I think I know why. It’s because reality is fundamentally painful. It is painful to see the heights and see the beautiful world in your very eyes only to find yourself, once again, sitting in a dank muddy ground, inhaling all the ugly truths sprawling before you. But then it is also asked, how do we know that the sky is not green and we are all color blind? 

I saw the world, the seas and its amazing dwellers, the bursting green of leaves and the flaming bonfires of mountains – I saw them all through my tears. Surprisingly, they are beautiful. They are real. Now, the tears had dried up, I look at the world and I still find it beautiful, surreal, but very much real. 

Maybe that’s what reality really is. People are born, they walk, they fall in love, they fail, they triumph, they fix themselves, then they walk again, fall in love again, got led on, got broken again, fix themselves again, then walk again for more. And that sometimes, seagulls would come to pick defeated looking mouse for a ride in the skies only to drop them again on a deserted land, hungry and empty handed. But it’s not about what yesterday has taken away. It’s about what you are willing to risk again in exchange of another visit to the skies, either with another seagull, or this time all alone just by yourself. To rise from ivory towers and golden pantheons despite being as minuscule as the mouse and with no flapping seagull wings, that, I think, is now my reality. 

___

Désolé Boy | Year 1, Seq 1
Désolé Boy – Indeed | Year 1, Seq 2
Désolé Boy – Nothing Really Maters | Year 1, Seq 3
Désolé Boy – Anywhere the Wind Blows | Year 2, Seq 4
Désolé Boy – No Escape from Reality | Year 2, Seq 5     


-photo credit to Xander of A Boy Named Xander









 

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