Friday, 22 August 2014

For SB - Happy birthday, sir

Written in March 2013, while preparing for the NSPC. Happy birthday, Sir! I'm forever your Republic staffer.

I could only stare at the computer screen in shock. And when it passed, a black wave of panic and disbelief washed over me, until at last the tears streamed down and blurred the words on the screen.

I blinked my tears away, bit my lip, and continued scrolling, though each Facebook post I saw only intensified my misery. There are griefs that are eased by the sight of others likewise grieving for what you all lost, but this wasn't that kind of grief. "Rest in peace, Sir Bong", "You'll be missed"--all the different words and all those people--how could someone who had touched so many lives be taken away so suddenly?

He was the English teacher who became my class adviser in second year, the guy whom you'd never catch speaking Filipino. He looked like a foreigner even when he wasn't. He knew his students' stories: who's dating, who's crushing on whom, who's downplaying their potential. He came to class with knock-knock jokes and spelling words, asked us to write "My handsome English teacher will give us additional points" on our outputs. He listened to The Beatles, he was the kind of teacher you could sit with for hours, just talking.

I began to reminisce about him, hoping to stamp his influence permanently on my soul.

"I'm confident with my line-up," he'd said to me before the Regional Schools Press Conference. He said it so empathetically, I was touched. I thought, I'll be very much surprised if I met someone who believed in my ability more than he did.

Closing my eyes to that memory, I racked my brain for another. What I found was this scene of blazing light, too bright for me to make out faces in front of me. It was the awarding ceremony of the RSPC. I was standing with Sir Bong on the stage, waiting for the announcement of winners. I didn't even know where to turn my eyes, and kept shooting him with nervous glances. But Sir Bong just stood there smiling, like there was something he knew that I didn't.

Then it came. "Andrea Joyce Lucas, second place!"

My heart lurched in disbelieving joy, and all the words I wanted to say was lost to the excitement of the moment. Sir Bong remained composed, but his congratulatory smile said enough.

He was proud! I made him proud.

The realization brought me back to the surface, drowning as I was in chaotic feelings over his passing. I smiled a little through the tears. We shared but a brief time, but there was a lot, a whole world of things I learned from him. To just write and let loose. To embrace that streak of sentimentality. To believe in myself.

So I steeled my resolve and returned my attention to the computer screen. Whatever words I could muster at that moment may not prove enough, but I imagined him smiling at me for them nonetheless. He was always a believer.

And so I began typing my tribute, "Sir Bong Miguel..."

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


We lay together with our hands linked, but already we are sundered by form. Sight, touch, feeling, passing time--would that we shared the infinite span of each other's being... It is hard holding your hand and thinking how different it is, myself and the person existing in the recesses of your mind. Hello, stranger. Am I, or am I not... these random thoughts spill out of me like tears: soundless and sightless, flowing endlessly, senselessly. I fill a yawning void with unrelenting affection.

I'd have done better with your affirmation. Dost thou love me? But you are sleeping soundly, and there's only so much that you could hear me say. 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


You are not one of a kind, and what we have is not much different from what others have. We hold hands like most others do. We believe we're entitled to that sense of possession. Like everyone else. We read the same poems they did when they were falling in love:

Had we but world enough, and time.

Would that we had all the world and all of time, indeed, but with this loving I am happy. I choose those eyes among many others, with its unending flood of stories waiting to be read. I choose those hands, rough and brown, to cradle mine. I choose to walk beside you beneath the acacias, I choose to wait for words to breathe in that space between us.

You are not one of a kind, and I choose you. I exercise the fullest sense of my being by so doing:

Siehe, ich liebe. Woraus? Weder Kindheit noch Zukunft werden weniger... Überzähliges Dasein entspringt mir Herzen.

Saturday, 9 August 2014


I can't ask you to speak, I can't ask
to speak, I am used to so much silence,

endless nights pass without the merest whisper
of a dream or maybe I just couldn't remember

anything, everything is so blank, I can't ask
for you to come and make it bearable,

I am lonely, waiting for you to realize
I'm alone, will you ever come to me,

this palm waits for yours to clasp it,
and sunlight and color and words

and music will bloom between them,
I want it, I want to be silent no more.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014


I want to be saved by you, but only I can save myself, isn't that right? Loving was never about saving or being saved, but oh! how I wish it was. Tonight I sit on the topmost stair, head resting on the wall. I am waiting...for what? I am tired. I do not know. I wish I could say I was waiting for you, but I can't ever be sure. To wait means there's something coming.

I feel like I am stretched too much, the threads of my life spanning a lot more space at the price of wearing thin. Maybe that's what I'm waiting for. I am waiting for the breaking point, for the fabric to finally tear apart, leave me in tatters. I am waiting for the blow that severs life from limb, or thought from action. I wait for everything. Everything that is nothing.

I want to be saved by you.
I want to be loved by you.

I want you to deal the killing blow. Render me senseless. Exempt me from blame.