Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Give me flight and I will love you
with a range from earth to sky.
Give me wings and you will never
have to feel the rough, the dry--
for your feet will never touch them.
And though all the world should try,
love would stay forever nested
in our heaven, by and by.

Set me free, and swift as starlight,
I will sail through all of space.
There proclaim our transient loving,
in so doing, give it weight.
Much of love may be the doing
of that thing named chance, or fate;
but let our love be born of freedom:
free of distance and of date.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Memories in November

I stared in silence at the gray smoke curling up from the candles, as they burned amid the lazy afternoon light. 

What am I here for? What are we here for?

I can’t even remember the first time I've been brought to visit my grandfather’s grave. I can only remember snippets of the succeeding visits—the ones which have become regular features of the yearly tradition. Each time is so like the others. There was always the melancholy fragrance of burning wax, the haphazard flower arrangements, my grandmother’s biko and adobo.

The mausoleum started as a blank gray space, open at all sides—the raw monotony of the unpainted walls were broken only by their contrast with the white slab that was my grandfather’s tomb. The years have brought with them a lot of changes. There were now walls around the tomb, and windows with grills on them; and the blank space saw a splash of blue and yellow paint. Because the renovations made the mausoleum look so much like the "Big Brother House", my cousins and I dubbed it "Bahay ni Lolo Johnny". Now, even my cousins are gone--separated from me by miles and miles of ocean, building their dreams on faraway shores. 

I never met Lolo Johnny, so I can't exactly say I know what missing him is like. But even so, I had the feeling that the yearly visits to him will serve to teach me something. Do the living visit the dead for the dead? It may be, but I believe the living do this more for themselves--creating an image of continuity, "Why, our loved one may be gone already, but life goes on." I--we--can build on memory. Memory matters. Memory can be something worth fighting for.

I think of this as I watch the people dropping by to light a candle for my grandfather, my mother and grandmother busy with my cousin Ethan, who was visiting Lolo Johnny for the first time. There might have been a time when these very people doubted the possibility of moving on, but here we are.

Here we are--and we need not worry why. This will all be for something.