Breakups hurt. Your
lungs will give in to the constant
crying. You will die.
I am not sugarcoating it.
Breakups hurt. Your
lungs will give in to the constant
crying. You will die.
I am not sugarcoating it.
How do you unlove/unlike someone?!
How do you even know if you love/like them more than friends?
Silence is important.
Silence is needed.
The angel to the devilish chatter.
Silence is all I live for.
The sound you hear when the day is gone,
and the stars are seen.
The sound you hear in empty corridors
and hollow spaces.
It’s all I need right now,
not the noise that is hatred
and idle gossip, and stupid mouths opened.
I shall break my silence,
when what I have to say…
is of absolute importance.
When what I have to say…
is something that is worth the wait.
Our old wounds teach us something.
They remind us where we’ve been and what we’ve overcome.
They teach us lessons about what to avoid in the future.
That’s what we like to think.
But that’s not the way it is, isn’t it?
Some things, we just have to learn over and over and over again.
No point in it now, is there? I should stay. It’s what’s expected. It’s safe. Why will I risk another six months for just three months of waiting? What do I hope to gain? Personal satisfaction? Personal sense of adventure? I’ve always had such a short attention span for things. I’ve been so quick to get bored when there’s nothing else left to do. Is it worth risking my parent’s nag just because I want more to do and because I want to challenge myself? If I do get it, I’d have to restart from the beginning. The worst of it is, I know that if I do consider it, I do not even know if I’d get the job done without proper training. It’d be months of training – not just a week like before, but still. Maybe something happened and I lost my own self-belief and confidence. And all this time, just doing nothing but sit in a chair until 6:30PM has not helped me too. Even if I do stay here for years and years to come, what I was before I came here, and until the day I leave, I know I’d still be the same. I know I’m not growing, but the security is there so why leave? Will it be worth it? I do not know. 21 years old, wanting more than just a well-paying job. I’ve seen my mom and dad struggle with their jobs. Dad had one job since he came to the province. One job – until he quit. Mom, still a teacher even after all the stupid students, the bothersome loans, very trying supervisors. They’ve all chosen security over personal satisfaction. All they have ever done is provide for me and my brother. Discounted and sacrificed their very own comforts for the security of their family. Now that dad’s out of a job, and mom and I are the only ones working, should I be like them too? Yes, right? They handed in the torch so I have to accept it, right? Right, diary?
I’ll stay. Security it is.
Dear diary, there are days I do not want to write. Like today. Like the past couple of months. There are days when all I want to do is watch movies to relieve the boredom. That feeling of not being able to know what it is exactly that is making me feel bad. I don’t even know if it’s sadness, loneliness, or just plain old boredom getting the best of me. So, I rather not write. I don’t even know what to write on days like today. I feel like I’d just be ranting about the same things. It feels like I’d only be repeating the same things in different sentences anyway, so why bother? Diary, you and me now. Just us and this dim reality of how we are going to cope with things in life. Nothing is exactly wrong. It’s just bland, that’s all.
Poetry does wonders to those who hear it.
In the olden days, men and women were chosen to read passages to their visitors as a form of entertainment. I’d like to think I have always been partial to spoken performances of things that I’d rather prefer are written. But I know it ain’t so. Exceptions and extraordinary experiences come my way and I get hooked – line and sinker, too. As a child, I was taught poems by my mother orally before I learned to write.
I was taught proper English first before I knew how to properly converse in Tagalog. I learned pronunciation before I could write ‘apple’ on my paper. I recited poems before knowing how to write my name legibly as a kindergarten student. And so, one can say my love for rhymes started so early. The oldest poem I can remember that my mom taught me is about a cat showing off her ‘meowing’ skills. I would recite it to mom whenever she’d come home from work along with other poems involving other animals like fireflies and dragonflies. At an early age, even when I only knew the words by sound, I fell in love with the way my voice would echo the walls of our tiny apartment. I loved speaking the words I didn’t even know how to write yet. Then I grew up and preferred the spine of the book. I grew up and loved the silence I hear when inside the library reading my Harry Potter books. I tried reading chapters of my stories aloud in my room, my voice trying to mimic how the characters would sound like but I found them tiring. A chapter. 7 pages. 600 pages per page. That’s a lot of saliva. I grew up and loved the feeling of my music in my ear as I read my books in my dimly lit room. I loved the solitude of not being able to hear the words – my words – my voice. I grew tired of my voice echoing the walls of my apartment and instead longed for the silent conversation between me and the author unseen beyond the pages. The first time I was brave enough to watch a poetry jam on my own was not too long ago. It was 4/5 years, I think? I had only finished watching Dead Poets Society and looked for poetry organizations that host poetry nights and found one on Facebook. I went there after school, and listened. It was like being transported back in time. I felt their words like I felt the poems I recited all those years ago. The audience sits, the poet stands. Immediate reactions and responses from the listener to the speaker. A conversation that lasts no more than 10 minutes and everyone is participating. The poet finishes his piece and the audience claps, amazed at the rhymes and the metaphors they had just listened to. Sarah Kaye, Phil Kay, Olivia Gatwood are some of the spoken word artists abroad that I admire. Locally? A whole awful lot. And every month they never disappoint. Every month, an established non profit organization hosts poetry nights that showcase world class talents that sprung from nowhere else but our very own province, Northern Mindanao. The Nagkahiusang Magsusulat sa Cagayan de Oro (NAGMAC) is a young artists collective of new-wave poets, essayists, fictionists, and playwrights which aims to provide a platform for local writers, artists, and musicians to showcase their talents to an audience. A growing community of amazing talented people, they hold poetry nights in different venues in my city and I make it a point not to miss any. Not only because of the pieces but because of the feeling one gets after every poet is done. That sudden rush of excitement and joy. The feeling of being able to understand and respond to the poets poem and them seeing/hearing it.
Last Saturday, another poetry jam happened and I was there.
The theme was ‘Starving’.
A lot of poets performed. A lot of people watched and listened. Laughter filled the garden (venue) and the audience enjoyed every piece. The way things go in these events is that for the first part, senior fellows or members of the organization perform their piece; of course in accordance to the theme and then afterwards, open mic happens. Brave souls that have poems to recite go onstage and read their piece. Every poetry night. Nothing changes. Always the same pattern. The only things that change are the venue and theme. Saturday was a great night for poetry. A lot of people were in the area. A lot of open mic participants too.
Everyone was starving for their chance at the microphone and spotlight. Everyone wanting to get things off their chests.
I watched and listened to everything. Stayed until the event finished. I watched, listened, cheered from the sidelines for them as each of them stood on stage, holding their papers/books/phones and read poems to me. Listened to various kinds of poets. Watched and listened to poets explain their piece before actually reciting it. A brief description before a swirl of rhymes, puns and flambouyant words congregate and reach your ears.
Personally, I adored two poems – one was a sociopolitical piece where the author perfectly captured an ordinary worker’s starvation for hope after every workday as he passes by eateries on his way home. The other was how cooking reminded him of home – how food reminds us of memories, good or bad. I listened to a collection of metaphors on food and sex jokes in between. Starving. That was the theme.
We’re all starving. Starving for someone – someone to love, a crush, an ex. Starving for something – career, attention, hope, failed relationships.
Poems. Symbolisms. Analogies. Stanzas were read. Writing this now and trying to remember how every poet sounded as they delivered, I don’t think I sounded any different. They sounded normal. Calm. Fast-paced. Words clearly spoken. (Edit: I sound shitty, after recording myself). Everything coming back down to that one word – starving. How are you when you starve? What does starving for someone’s affection feel like? How do you quench your thirst for someone’s love? We’re all starving. We all want the same thing. To be relieved of the hunger. We’re all starving. Not all of us are brave enough to admit it. Starving. A song. “I didn’t know that I was starving ‘til I tasted you.” Sex, maybe. But in reference to another song, “one taste, and I want the whole thing~” A lot of things can be said about the word. A lot poems can be made in association with the term. We’re all starving.
I look across,
at an empty chair.
It’s where I’d put my bag,
my purse near me – so is my phone.
I look across,
my menu in hand.
The waiter’s ready to take my order.
I browse for a bit,
He gets off and I am alone, again.
I look across and see nothing,
feel nothing too.
I have grown too accustomed –
too accustomed to being by myself,
this has become normal.
The chair in front of me,
still unoccupied after years.
Orders, upon orders.
Chair still empty after many years.
Sometimes, I imagine you’re there.
You sit across me and we eat.
We’d eat and drink and laugh.
Sometimes, I imagine you’re there
my bag no longer staring at me
but a pair of beautiful eyes, talking.
Sometimes, on good days, I do.
On bad days, I see sorrow.
Wonder why I have to constantly stare at emptiness while others happily eat their meals.
On bad days, I wonder,
am I the reason you’re not sitting across me?
When you come, would you even stay?
Will you stay until the lights are out and walk me home?
I wonder. These are the things I think about, on sorrowful days.
Doubting myself. When, a promise of you ever coming becomes an if. If you would even come at all.
Most days though, I feel proud.
Like how I am now. Most days, I don’t bother with the wondering.
Most days, I don’t ask myself if you’re out there. Where you are.
I don’t imagine you arriving and sitting across me too.
Most days, I go in, sit.
Order. And wait.
I am here, waiting for my steak
looking across an empty chair.
I am not afraid to eat alone,
I know what I bring to the table.
Just recently, I have had the most amazing time finally getting to hear the voice of someone I’ve known only through blogs, IG posts, tweets, and photos. In spite of all our communication technology, no invention is as effective as the sound of the human voice.
Nothing is as up close and personal as a conversation. We all want to share our ideas – we’re wired that way. We want to be heard, be part of something – a community. It’s why we send and wait for messages; hoping for a response. Hoping for connection.
When we hear a human voice, we instinctively want to listen, in the hopes of understanding it. Even when the speaker is searching for the right words to say.
Yep. We’re all starving.