Old man Canley

He shivered on the cold of the night breeze, the same one that rustled the bare Mango tree right by the silent street he was walking on. His umbrella was barely holding, taken by the weight of the wind. It wasn’t even raining anymore, he just holds it up, lost in thoughts while walking this long but familiar path home.

He had just turned right into the alley between the main road and the road that slopes down. This was done mainly as a shortcut, but partially to see the odd little broken building that demolishers chipped away every single day. Yesterday it looked like a turtle, overturned and on its back, the curtains left writhing like fingers to the chill of the wind.

Today, it looked like a lonely lego brick, awaiting it’s unsuspecting giant to be stepped on. There was only rubble and rocks around it, like an unholy halo of destruction, like tears shed and remembered only in memories.

He had thought this was the last time he’ll see the building, it had gotten so small that perhaps a single blow would be all it takes to bring the rest of it down. Then he can actually call this an “empty lot”. Aghast to the thought, he felt that he barely even remembered what this place looked like before. It had always been just this brown menacing building, covered by boards and weeds and stones. Only made up stories and rumors no one can ever now prove surrounded the lonely piece of building left standing.

He recalled the fantastic one he heard about the beggar that once lived in the building. As stories had went, a friend of a friend of a relative once heard the story of the old man of Canley – this was the long sloping street at the end of which housed the alley that this building had stood. The old man of Canley was a lively old fool that had a harmonica and begged for food. He’d been chased by many a policeman but never caught because he’d disappear through the alley. One day, it was said that a stranger approached and tried to talk to him, umbrella in hand from the drizzle of rain. The old man was in the middle of playing an unfamiliar old song, so without fear of interrupting, the stranger went close and cleared his throat. He asked him why he didn’t seek shelter since they’ve been told the rain brings sickness.

Old man Canley finished his little ditty, spit on the ground and looked straight through the man. He said, “Ang mundo ang aking tahanan at nakatira ako sa lupa” (But the world is my shelter and I lived on the land)

Confused, the stranger gave him bread as the old man restarted his instrument – this time playing an eraserheads song. The stranger immediately recognized, and decided to sing along.

“Kamukha mo, si Paraluman..” the harmonica sustaining the note, as if to a long lost love.

“Nung tayo ay bata pa.”

“At ang galing galing mong sumayaw.. Boogie man o cha cha.” It had started to pour harder, the stranger singing in between a cigarette he lit as the song started.

“Magkahawak ang ating kamay at walang kamalay-malay, na tinuruan mo ang puso ko na umibig ng tunay.” The stranger then looked intently at the old man, who played so passionately those last few notes as if there was nothing else in this world but the song.

“La la la, la la la… la la la, la la la-” at that last note, the old man stopped, stood up, said thank you and walked to the direction of the abandoned building.

The stranger, now sure that the man was a little bit off, thought nothing of it. However, to his behest, he never saw the old man again. So as any urban legend must end in, the people began to believe that the old man was the spirit of the building and all it wanted was to be part of something again – perhaps something as simple as the chorus of a song.

With that thought, the wind and the rain picked up as he realized that he was staring at the empty building. Shivering again, he had started to proceed home. And he rounded the corner where the building was about to leave his view, he started to sing the same song in the story.

Nobody would even believe him even if he tried, but he was sure that while he was singing, it was like the wind was whistling the same lonely tune – an ode to days gone by.

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Little Wishful Fantasy

I wish my life was a fairy tale story, with wonder and starlight that would light up the night.

I don’t rightly care about riches and diamonds and all sorts of gems, so I’d rather there be princesses and heroes, and creatures of majesty.

Where chivalry is commonplace and life was worth living. Where purpose was naught but an everyday thing. It could start with “once upon a not so long ago” or with gusto like “in the land of milk and honey”.

I’d hear then of fanciful tales, about golden eggs and glass slippers, and dream a dream that might come true. I’d walk along forlorn forests that housed a beautiful witch, or two.

I’d rub all the lamps I come upon to wake the genie sleeping inside, to wish for more days, or a longer stride to see the world before I died.

I’d look into the long horizon, the one that houses the great sunset. I’d wonder if adventure is out there and if the princess I’ll save hasn’t met me yet.

I wish my life was a fairy tale story, because then maybe I’d fit rightly in. Because I believe in romance and wishes and chivalry, which in this world, I wonder if there’s ever been.

#140 Epiko

Ikaw ang prinsesa ng buhay ko
Lahat pagdaraanan para lamang sa’yo
Iikutin, susuungin ang bawat parito
Para maibigay sa’yo ang ating mundo

Aakyatin ang taas ng pinakamatayog na bundok
Lalanguyin ang dagat hanggang sa kahit anong sulok
Hahamakin ang lahat sa iyong pag-uudyok
Aabutin ang tagumpay sa kahit anong rurok

Lahat ng balakid lalampasan
Mga problema’y ipapasan
Pag-ibig ipaglalaban
Hahanap lagi ng paraan

Dahil ikaw ang prinseaang inaasam
Sa kaibuturan ng puso’y ramdam
Sa aninag ng isip ay alam
Na di sapat ang panandaliang hiram

Ang araw mismo ang pipitasin
Ang hangin mismo ay huhulihin
Iipunin ang lahat ng bituin
Kapag ikaw na’y naging akin

Prinsesang ganda’y sing tindi ng bahag-hari
Na ang puso’y nais kong makibahagi
Ikaw ang nag-iisa sa lahat ng samo’t-sari
Mahalin mo sana ako kung maari.

Notes to Self

You should see life in a way that makes life feel surreal.

See it in all absurdity. See it in how weird people are and what they value in earnest. Value your own things and don’t just blindly copy. Revel in their individuality and the quirks that make them who they are. Trust in their good. Find the good even in the bad.

People will call you naive and romantic. These aren’t bad things. You know when you’re being taken advantage of, call it out.

You aren’t adopting this line of thinking for anyone else but you. For the enjoyment and wonder in your life.

Let them find you weird and carefree. Let them wonder at how you spend your days, judging how it is or whether they’d like that too. There could be no better in a world where we do what we do to keep us going.

Fight for good things but do it in kindness. Hear words out, see actions through. Seize the day how you want it. Spend it in earnest or with people, enjoy the monotony as much as you do in cacophony. Don’t beat yourself up for days gone by, do better a second and third time around.

Regret nothing. Do what you want within reason. Say what you want even if that means sometimes saying nothing at all.

Live a life that would keep you honest and kind and loved.

Fail to do so, then try again.

See success as a stepping stone to being kind and not the other way around. Open doors and windows, rebuild all bridges. Pave a path that leads somewhere, even if it’s the wrong destination. What you get from the journey is just as important.

Tell others what you learned. Defy expectations but do not be controlled by them. Fear the unknown but face them like you would a long lost friend.

Most of all, be unabashedly kind. Smile when you want. Dance stupidly while listening to your music. Help strangers. Remember moments that make you happy. Learn from moments that make you sad. Embrace more, in reality and in metaphor.

Love. Love yourself. Love whoever you want to. Love as you want to be loved, but always love more than that.

Whew. Okay, future me, let’s make this youe checklist.

#139 Vista

You are the only view
I seek to be with

The only horizon
I hope to reach

The only mountain
I seek to revel in

The only sea
I wish to dive into

You are the sky, the sun and the stars
That make me want to jump into the comsos

The day to seize
The road I’ve taken
The adventure of my lifetime

You are the only destination
When I set out to see the world.

# Signal No. 2 #

Delubyo!
Ang sasalubong sa iyo
Ang hangin ang magdadala
Sa luha ng kalangitan

Magbabaha ang lupa
Di kayang akuin
Ang bigat ng pasang iyak
Ng ulap na namumugto

Sa puntong ito
Kay sarap pakingan
Ng bagsak ng ulan
Sa patag na kalsada

Kay sarap langhapin
Ang malamig na simoy ng hangin
Habang ang lahat
Ay nalulunod, lumalangoy

Bugso ng ulan
Na di titila
Hanggang ang bigat ng pasan
Ay tuluyan nang mawala

Sa ngayon maghihintay
Maglalaan ng daghang pasensya
Para muling masinagan
Ng ngiti mong sing ningning ng araw.

28th.

I spent my birthday just at home, with the usual celebration and set-up we always seem to do. There’s spaghetti and fried chicken, a cake to top it all off.

As always, the rains pour during my birthday. I can remember at least two instances where the rain got so bad that there were floods all around Manila.

I don’t think it’s gloomy though. I’d rather have a birthday blessed with rain than a sweltering hot one.

That being said, I just spent the entire day at home. Pigging out and just resting. It’s been a while since I stood back and just thought about nothing.

You could say that I’ve just generally been at home relaxing all this time and you wouldn’t be wrong, but most times I think of stuff too much. What to do next, where to go next, who to next meet or what adventure can i have to get out of the slump that it is. It has been a while since I genuinely have not given a damn.

I just lounged around all day, staved off attempts to go out and just let it all go. I will neither confirm nor deny what state of slobbishness and general lack of clothing I sported, but its one you appreciate and only minorly regret doing after.

Does it sound as bad as I think it sounds? I keep thinking that it genuinely needs my perspective on all of it to sound good. Some might even think it was a sad way to celebrate my birthday. I would vehemently disagree.

I celebrated my liberation from all thoughts.

I felt ‘okay’ and generally comfortable with that ‘okay-ness’. I didn’t bother lifting my spirits up to happy, and there was no need to combat dark thoughts. It was peaceful, albeit slobbishly peaceful and I’m gonna have to work out extra hard the next few days to make up for it.

But the serenity of accepting this day as my own, one in which I decided not to think of anyone else but what I wanted to do, was so freeing. All I wanted this day was to just rest, silence the mind and let go all need to make anyone else happy.

I gave myself the gift of inner peace.

Looking around, sifting through people greeting me, I have resolved not to reply and just let it go, but of course out of courtesy I should. I saw that everything was okay, not because someone else was telling me it was going to be, but because I knew that even though I can never know for sure, that it would be.

Plus I enjoyed the rain a lot and the cake was sooooo delicious.

It was special in a special way and I thank God for the day of peace – even if it was just low-key stay in bed kind of birthday. Here’s to more days that can make me appreciate days like this one.