there are days when you just have to know where you stand in this game called life where family values still amount to something if you only take the time to set down that knife you're too busy using to cut off what matters your own eyes your heart your soul are in tatters and you've forgotten respect and integrity too blinded in your own lies to see that you're nothing but a hollow spineless coward and you'll never be the man you were meant to be until you stop, take a breath, and look beyond the hatred you've sown but i doubt you'd do that, your ear pressed too deep against the field of lies you've grown all this time plotting plotting against your own
on this day two years ago, he died,
driven home from the hospital
for it was cheaper to die
at home, not surrounded
by his children for
they were too far
from home, now
Every day is Mothers’ Day as far as I’m concerned. And it’s not limited to those who’ve borne children, for I know of many women – and men – who have such mothering souls and I am grateful to have had – and still do – have them in my life.
This here be my mum! Ah, the days of the bowl cut! Unfortunately, her “being gorgeous” gene skipped me. 😀
My favorite foods are no more, and that’s because as of eight weeks ago, I stopped eating meat. These days, if I find myself yearning for food for the soul, instead of reaching for chicharon dipped in vinegar and garlic, I look for a few ears of sweet corn and remember my late cousin, Randy.
Randy used to come over to the house after school with a huge bag of freshly harvested sweet corn purchased along Banilad Road, and while he and the other cousins and my brothers sat outside on the stoop trading stories, or by the kitchen table in my small two-bedroom apartment, I boiled the corn and then afterwards, we’d sit and shoot the breeze. Sweet corn always brings back my memories of Randy, who died shortly after he passed the bar with honors, his dreams of becoming a city mayor like our grandfather, gone in a blink of an eye when a decorative boulder along a resort waterfall topped over him while he was on vacation. A freak accident, sure, but it’s one that I still find so difficult to believe over 15 years later.
But with every bite of sweet corn, his memory always returns. I see him. I hear him. And he’ll always be there.
A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?
I haven’t been spending as much time with my prompts lately because I’ve been working on my novel more, and if it’s not my novel, it’s just writing in general, including editing. Words seem to be my constant companion these days – words and ideas. It makes me seem so antisocial but I can’t help it. The words just have to flow or I’ll be miserable.
But if I had to pick five people I would like to spend my time with, first, I’d like to make sure that they would actually like to spend time with me. I mean, what if they say no?
What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?
I’ve got a face for radio, that’s what someone once said to me once, and it’s stuck ever since. For how can you forget something like that? My friends talked me into applying for Cathay Pacific one time, only because they were, and I was going with them to the first interview – which wasn’t really an interview because they were looking for girls (we were all 17 then) who were either tall and beautiful (a plus if you were both) – of which I was neither. So while they made it to the second round, where this time you actually got to talk to someone, I was dismissed with just a glance from head to foot for I had neither the height they required, nor the beauty they wanted to walk the aisles of their planes.
But what I did have, and still do to an extent, is my voice. I’m not a singer, and I can’t hold a tune. But I have a voice that can give you the news, tell you a story, or just narrate something. I first realized I had a voice someone actually wanted to hear when the local hip radio station hired me to do the news for them. Sometimes I did commercials, which paid more.
These days, my voice is limited to family, my clients and my students. Most of all, to my little boy. I love it when he tells me, read me this book, mama. And I tell him stories about Thomas the tank engine, and his friends, or of Sam I am and how he doesn’t green eggs and ham. Or just go chika chika boom boom just because it sounds so funny.
Sometimes I wonder if he thinks me beautiful, but really I know it doesn’t matter. I’d like him to remember my voice and about how my voice can tell show him just how much I love him, cherish him, wish I could be with him forever and watch over him. My looks are fading, and so is my voice, growing lower with each passing year. But till the end of my days, as long as I’m able, I’ll always be there to tell him the stories he wants to hear – even of a creature named Sam, and about how he doesn’t like green eggs and ham.
Remember those lovely genies who grant wishes? Well, you’re one and you’ve just been emancipated from your restrictive lamp. You can give your three wishes to whomever you want. Who do you give your three wishes to, and why?
I’d give the three wishes to my older brother. He’s the only one I trust the most to make the right wishes for him and everyone we love. I may not agree with them, but he has wisdom way beyond what I can ever achieve – and he has a heart of gold.
And of all the people I know, he’s also the only one who deserves those three wishes, and everything life has to offer.
When I look at my son, I see his love for his father
and his father’s love for him
undying, never wavering
something that stems only from within
Yet when I think of my own father,
the well of memories run dry
there’s a bit of this, a snippet of that
there’s not a lot, no matter how hard I try
but one memory does stand out,
and it’s an obscure one at best
it’s when I woke up from surgery
and there he was, holding my hand, at rest
his eyes were closed, as if he were sleeping
and when I stirred, he, too, awoke
stroking my hand, avoiding the pic line
my own voice barely a croak
“Anesthesia can give you amnesia,” he said
“and I hope that you’re okay.”
But I knew then that even if I forgot all
I’d never forget that day
For that’s the only time I ever saw him
so vulnerable and so alone,
he loved me the best he ever could
doing everything so I could stand on my own.
But amnesia hits me now as I sit here
thinking of moments that we once shared
for all that comes is when he stroked my hand that day
a hero so vulnerable, his greatest weakness bared.