“The past is a landlord’s luxury. You cannot put your past in your pocket, you have to have a house.
I have only my body, a man entirely alone with just his lonely body cannot indulge in memories,
they pass through him. I should not complain, all I ever wanted was to be free.”
FROM JEAN-PAUL SARTRE’S “NAUSEA”
The strong outlives everything that tries to kill him and so he lives
alone. That does not mean though that I am now more masculine with
Herculean strength, neither Spencer nor Darwin specified which specie
was the fittest, well then to whatever class I belong to, I am not
really and entirely alone. I have found myself in God where I began,
in solitude and by choice I am finally getting a life.
Fac ut vivas, now reads more like carpe diem.
The full moon woke me up twice with its insistent beam prying open my
petrified eyelids. It was proudly waving light by my picture window
to my right so I returned poetic glances and decided flirting with it
till early dawn was soporific diversion.
I found myself falling back to sleep with it, only to wake up with
obstinate tapping on the same window. Two white doves peered through
my waking brain and flew off when I got up.
I did not think they could fly 23rd story high so I went posthaste to
set a plate full of rice grains.
They have yet to return, the rice grains could have grown stalks had I
not retrieved these before another rain shower. Stoopid doves.
Housework is a fruitful mental and physical exercise. I
systematically organized tasks according to my compulsive obsessive
proclivity to sterilized habitat so then I metamorphosed into a
morning person with the sun in my brain.
Have you tried administering vitamins to your once stray and then pet
cat, mine I named Ysatis after a favorite perfume, whose fangs hiss
with resounding growl?
That’s nothing compared to wiping his anus with alcohol to clear the
debris surrounding it. I did not know then that was a “no-no” until I
discovered wet wipes. I had a map of its claws on both my hands to
show for these.
He did not want to eat the smelly pellets, the ones that look like
oversized hamster food so I began feeding him with canned cat food.
The thing was, the cat litter had to be changed every other day
or my whole apartment would smell like an open sewer, it was my
exercise closest to swimming underwater. Holding my breath was
strengthening my lungs but it made me nauseous so I took to wearing
the face masks left over from the SARS fad, too bad these did not come
with tinted goggles.
Once I had to do my major laundry, the cat jumped on the open tub
filled with water just as I was pouring liquid detergent. Suffice it
to say I had to retrieve him from the wash, soap suds and all; it was
a major feat for the books.
Have you tried giving your once stray and then pet cat a bath with
your signature shampoo and conditioner? That’s nothing compared to
blow drying his matted fur. The map of his claws on both my hands
extended the demarcation lines on my arms.
About the branded cat food in cans, I wrote to his vet requesting to
provide me with a list of environment-friendly cat food. I faxed the
letter and she wanted my cat back.
I organized my freezer starting from day one. The fridge that came
with the apartment was an igloo that had to be defrosted every week.
Lesson one: do not store sliced onions in the icebox to scrimp on time
and tears. I squeezed out the juice from a defrosted and soggy pulp
and mixed this in my marinade for pork roast for my carnivorous
family, oh well, waste not want not it is; and anyway whole onions
stored just in the fridge do not bring tears when sliced, so no need
to ice them.
Lesson two: learn how to turn the contraption off before opening its
doors when defrosting. I spent the entire day in comfortable room
temperature mopping kitchen floor and wondering why the thick ice in
the roof of the freezer remained stuck.
Lesson three: do not leave your glass tea kettle boiling in a mixture
of potpourri oils and cinnamon unattended. It is risky cleaning up
hot and fragrant range with a broken kettle and with just the
absorbent cloth the stoopid sales lady with a head microphone said in
the store would soak up liquid.
Lesson four: do not spray a can of furniture polish on wooden floors
unless you are an expert skater.
Lesson five: you can actually bathe your stuffed toys in the washer.
They don’t mind the bumpy ride to kingdomcom because they emerge from
the dryer warm, perfumed, squeaky clean and huggable.
Lesson six: You can enjoy variations of home cooked meals with each
reheating, for instance deli ready roasted chicken leftover is great
with cream of mushroom soup, a touch of Worchester sauce, sliced
button mushrooms and fresh tarragon. Succeeding leftover with the
gravy is wonderful with olive oil, fresh diced basil and parmesan
cheese over pasta. If you’re lucky, you will still have chicken
flakes that make delicious omelet or sandwich fillers. Really. Ask
Mrs. Beeton who probably would find my unconventional cooking both
artistic and practical if not horrific. I have defied every
imaginable cooking rule except gravity that would have my pot roasting
I caught the children on cable TV cavorting in the zoo and I marveled
at unadulterated instinct of survival, the key lies in carpe diem. I
decided that I have had enough of living my life; let me- like the
children allow life to live itself, then perhaps I would find myself
happily cooking poetry in my kitchen.
So cooking I did in the many years that followed and the prose and
poetry came in between that and transferring residences. I have
turned semi-vegetarian with my open kitchen then the size of an
abbreviated hallway. Other lessons though not in futility:
Lesson one: do not even think of toasting garlic or glazing/sweating
onions unless you want to attach your tiny apartment to the next door
deli/café. I have only one small window from my living room facing the
neighbors’ outside in clusters of adjoining buildings, an intelligent
looking exhaust hood that only sniffs and a door that opens to a
laundry area that barely contains both my washing machine and dryer.
Previous to this I lived in a spacious apartment closest to the skies
where the cooking vapors were absorbed by the unsuspecting clouds that
hovered about on many a clear day. Why I moved out too soon is a
lesson in futility that is if your wandering feet take you to where
Lesson two: do not welcome change with open arms if you are still
carrying emotional baggages. I learned to anticipate all other
lessons here and have taken the consequences as a matter of course.
The difference between the past and the present is only the time
factor and the difference between that and any future consideration is
Objectivity is an acquired attitude.
House cleaning is my exercise but when it exacerbates my condition of
obsessive/impulsive nature I have less time in the day for
intellectual pursuits, so less than a year of living on my own I hired
my personal factotum. She is a precious everything imaginable -
assistant, secretary, housekeeper, caregiver and sounding board. My
proximity to malls, restaurants, clinic and chapel thankfully does not
require her to possess driving skills so I have actually begun getting
a life, my subzero social life notwithstanding with- yet other lessons
Lesson one: a drastic change of hair style and hair color does not
obliterate your past so it was when in the least expected place and in
the quiet of the chapel, an old friend recognized me.
Lesson two: while you can not completely disregard the past, you can
always refer to it in the present for future considerations.
Lesson three: live by the teaching of the church that includes loving
your neighbor even if she blamed the proliferation of flies in her
apartment to your habit of feeding birds outside your window with dry
rice grains and bread crumbs at that.
I could not then cook with gay abandon in my tiny kitchen because my
loving neighbor might have found something else to complain about, so
I tried baking. I have never been good at it, the last time I tried,
my canonigo was as flat as pancake and never mind about the cookies, I
do not have enemies I could threaten with edible bullets.
The thought of the delicious aroma from my oven filling every nook and
cranny of my apartment is poetic, but that remained with the metaphors
because it is easier to buy them fresh next door…
I have since then transferred residence again and today, I am far more
comfortable with the space that allows me to catch dreams, cook a
feast, humor the writing bug, live with my four cats who own me, and
talk to God; and by far the best lesson learned, is the realization
that the world does not revolve around one suffering individual and
that misery does not always have to love company.
I actually began life with nucleus of a dream not necessarily my own.
Sometimes, we let go of dreams that no longer fit when expansion comes
from outside of the circle that was supposed to have drawn lives
I used to have a family, the kind one like me is supposed to have for
keeps. Some marriages are meant to last with lifetime guarantees; and
some marriages have expiration dates. Mine overstayed its welcome so I
moved on and so did all my three children...
And then there was one.
What lesson is there to learn in Déjà Vu here?
Everything that makes one remember:
Who you are,
What you are, and
Why you are here in the now...
The answers come when you are not looking and they come in the child
within, the one who knows there is enough of life to get by without
straining to live it...
The possibilities of living are endless for Alice in the poet's
heartland, the emancipated and former nameless “It”, that is the one
who was without a name and the one who once lived in the shadows but
have of late, found a way to carve her own niche in the sun.
If I can do it...you can do a whole lot more.
So you can forget additional lessons here.
“There is...only a single categorical imperative and it is this: Act only
on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should
become a universal law.”
I came across this painting session in the recent ManilArt Exhibit and the model sat there mimicking perhaps Margot Fonteyn of the Royal Ballet taking a break from a scene with Rudolf Nureyev.
A well-known painter stood where I was gaping at him painting the image he took of her in his celphone, in my time you see- back in college, we had no high-technological instruments save for the brains that had to freeze memory of images we needed to paint from rough sketches.
I remember my father who got my siblings and me started with the appreciation of the arts by watching live ballet, opera, and classical full orchestra concerts long before I could finish reading my first classic novels of Heidi and Little Women; and my mother had the gumption to enroll me in the ballet classes of a noted dancer for many summers to no avail, however my sisters and I continue to appreciate these concerts to this day.
Now imagine if you will, being enthralled by the paintings of ballet dancers of the great Degas that come alive with the elegant and enthralling music of Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Vivaldi, Brahms, Strauss.. to name a few…Sometimes it is not necessary to know the story unfolding in ballet as with the immortal Nutcracker, a Christmas must-see because the graceful movements of the dancers that go with the flow of music create images in the mind that play with the senses…The elevated feeling that culminates in affinity to the divine is as evident in the appreciation and visceral experience of poetry, of painting, of photography… This is the quintessential purpose of art with its very soul made far more palpable with the heightened senses elevated thus to the more sublime state…suddenly we see beauty in creations and God in our midst…and then indeed there is magnificent beauty and perfect order in the universe.
- Current Mood: chipper
And Alice said to Dinah her Cat with the Cheshire Smile:
Give it your best shot and all
Slam dunk or air ball.
Take it to heart...
The first move
Is always a good start...”
You remember Cary Grant in the “Affair to Remember” of course when he asked Deborah Kerr “How about the top of the Empire State Building?” to which she answered “Oh yes, it’s the closest thing to heaven we have in New York…” Well that’s the 102nd floor they were talking about and mine isn’t even half of it, but I still have to climb that many floors to get to where and to meet who?
Forget it, what was I thinking? So I looked out my picture window and wonder what goes behind those lighted windows in clusters of high rise buildings that could very well equal the height of Empire State Building, that is if I were to arrange them like building blocks – one on top of the other which should take all my supply of glue sticks, so forget that too and I wasn’t really thinking.
I open the window and choke on the evening’s smog and hear Antony’s “I made these wars for Egypt and the Queen whose heart I thought I had for she had mine, which whilst mine had annexed unto’t a million more…nay weep not gentle Eros. There is left us, ourselves to end ourselves.” Yeah right.
The smog froze in my face midway between giddy nostrils and weepy eyes so I closed my window. Forget the mnemonics in ellipsis here. Out there from the same window, is a good view of the corporate metropolis ready to party but it is a long way down you know, make that 79 floors less the Empire State Building. What was it I was trying to forget?
I am googling my favorite search engine typing in names of great thinkers and great writers ensconced in the penthouse of the great kingdom above. I am hoping to jettison from the roof of my building to gate crash on their mad tea party. Easier said than done.
It has been years and counting since my last attempt and now that I am more adept with my computer and more chronologically gifted with biological clock ticking, I have decided to turn my attention to cooking. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, yes but do these great ghosts eat? Fat chance but let me die trying. When I do, I expect to find myself in their company wondering if I put too much cheese in my ravioli. Fat chance, so then I go back to writing - life is what you make it and mine has its fair share of ups and downs…somewhere along the way, I learned to keep my head above water, my feet on the ground and my eyes fixed on heaven.
- Current Mood: cheerful
Once upon a time, when fairy tales spun magic that brought to life Alice in Wonderland, hearts fluttered about where poets played with metaphoric reality. And so, she found the wonders of poetry in her soul, Alice was never the same since.
The love for art allows better understanding of intricacies of soul’s existence in our everyday lives. Technological advancement has made communication virtually impersonal yet; there remains a poetic implication in reciprocal exchanges.
If we were to exclude imagination from spoken and written languages, the signals transmitted would constitute variable messages from highly complex automated machines that we inadvertently become should creativity remain ignored.
To recognize the innate poet within is to acknowledge the pervasive influence of the soul at work from the very essence of our being.
Poetry is a sensuous experience with an enhanced spiritual dimension added to the journey that it takes to revel in delightful nuances of being alive.
“Me a poet?” Alice asked the white rabbit with pink eyes.
“Oh dear, oh dear. I shall be late!”He replied while he fished out a watch from his waistcoat pocket.
Alice followed him down through the rabbit hole where she found a poetry book with a large label that screamed: “READ ME.”
And so she did just the way the caterpillar taught her how to.
Now some poems were easily understood and some seemed they were not meant to be understood. But Alice read on until she became so tiny she fitted with the words of the poems in the book.
“Look!” he tiny voice bellowed from the book covers.
“I am the poem.”
Now who is to question the metaphor Alice has become in the poet’s heartland?
- Current Mood: bouncy
(with excerpts from LEWIS CARROLL’S original book of Alice in Wonderland)
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE SHE GOES…
HUME: “People do not have a constant perception of themselves as distinct entities. They are nothing but a bundle or collection of perceptions.”
ALICE: “You can’t think that we might be dreadful composite of motley of perceptions from all our associations, or are we so indeed?”
HUME: “Quite so and read: A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE. ”
ALICE “I don’t read abstruse literature!”
HUME: “And, what do you read?”
ALICE: “Tis the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare,
You baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair…”
The Hatter opened his eyes and asked: “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”
“I believe I can guess that!” Alice exclaimed
HUME: “All human knowledge is based on impressions.”
ALICE: “I’m afraid I couldn’t quite make that out, sir!”
HUME: “When the mind passes from the idea or belief of another it is not determined by reason but by certain principles which associated together the ideas of these objects and unite them in imagination.”
“Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?” inquired the March Hare
“Exactly so!” retorted Alice
“Then you should say what you mean!” The March Hare went on
“I do!” Alice hastily replied: “at least – at least I mean what I say – that’s the same thing, you know.”
“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say that “I see what I eat!’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see!’ ”
“You might just as well say.” added the March Hare “That I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like!”
“You might just as well say” added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, “I breathe when I sleep” is the same thing as “I sleep when I breathe!”
GOETHE: “Once one knows what really matters, one ceases to be voluble – and, what really does matter? That is easy: thinking and doing; doing and thinking – and these are the sum of all wisdom – both must move ever onward in life, to and fro like breathing in and breathing out. Whoever makes it a rule to test action by thought and thought by action, can not falter, and if he does, he will soon find his way back to the right road.”
“The best way is the Caucus-race!” exclaimed the Dodo
“What is a Caucus-race?” Alice asked
“Why” answered the Dodo “the best way to explain it is to do it: First, a course is marked out, in a sort of circle, (the exact shape doesn’t matter) and then all the party are placed along the course, here and there and everyone then begins running when they liked, and leaves off when they like so it is not easy to know when the race is over and who won.”
GOETHE: “Everything is simpler than you think and at the same time more complex than you can imagine.”
“Nothing is worse than active ignorance.”
SOPHOCLES: “Our happiness depends on wisdom, all the way.”
PLATO: “Mathematics provides the finest training of the mind.”
ARISTOTLE: “Theoretical sciences are to be axiomized. By what axioms and conditions must a proposition be an axiom; by what form will derivation within each science take; by what rules will theorems be deduced from axioms?”
PLATO: “The reality which scientific thought is seeking must be expressible in mathematical terms, mathematics being the most precise and definite kind of thinking.”
“A line is an object having length but no breath. No matter how thin we make a line in our world of senses it will not be perfect mathematical form since it will always have breath.”
ARISTOTLE: “Infinite in mathematics could not be made of indivisible parts; the continuous is that in which the boundary or limit between two consecutive parts where they touch is one and the same.”
ALICE: “It shouldn’t be a bit rude if I try to solve the mystery of squaring the circle of Antiphon, Bryson and Hippocrates with my own illustration of “continuous” as the same line that squared a form and proceeded to move around in a circle back to its source, then perhaps to a single axiom system that initiated a systematic order in forms?”
GOETHE: “The solution of every problem is another problem.”
EPICURUS: “It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain himself.”
ALICE: “I’m afraid I can’t put it more clearly sir for I can’t understand it myself to begin with; and my being of different sizes in a day is very confusing.”
Alice was looking about for some way to escape, and wondering whether she could get away without being seen when she noticed a curious appearance in the air but after watching it a minute or two, she made it out to be a grin, and she said to herself: “It’s the Cheshire Cat!”
“Who are you talking to?” said the King, coming up to Alice, and looking at the cat’s head with great curiosity.
“It’s a friend of mine – a Cheshire Cat”’ said Alice: “Allow me to introduce it.”
“I don’t like the look of it at all,” said the King, “however it may kiss my hand if it likes.”
“I’d rather not,” the Cat remarked.
“Don’t be impertinent,” said the King, “and don’t look at me like that!”
“A cat may look at a King”, said Alice “I’ve read that in some book, but I don’t remember where” “Well it must be removed!” said the King very decidedly, and he called to the Queen, who was passing at the moment, “My dear! I wish you would have this cat removed!”
PLATO: “Kings should be philosophers and philosophers kings.”
ARISTOTLE: “Not merely unnecessary for a king to be a philosopher but even a disadvantage. Rather, a king should take the advice of true philosophers, then he would fill his reign with good deeds not with good words.”
GOETHE: “He alone is great and happy who requires neither to command nor to obey in order to secure his being of some importance to the world.”
ARISTOTLE: “Every Greek is a person. Every person is mortal. Every Greek is mortal.”
MARCUS AURELIUS: “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: Therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.”
ARISTOTLE: “Happiness is the highest good, being a realization and perfect practice of virtue, which some can attain, while others have little or none of it.”
SARTRE: “It is collective authenticity made manifest in man’s struggle to reconstruct the social fabric and establish real brotherhood, an incorporation of Marxism and Existentialism.”
PLATO: “Philosophical profundity and political sense do not always go together.”
HORACE: “Dum vivimus, vivamus: since we are living, let us live well.”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up. Alice replied “what’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter.
“Nor I,” said the March Hare.
“Have some wine.” offered the March Hare.
“I don’t see any.” replied Alice
“There isn’t any.” March Hare retorted
“Then it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it.” said Alice angrily.
“It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without being invited.” said the March Hare.
- Current Mood: amused
What a profound question that reminds one to take stock of life and count blessings. Each single moment is an opportunity to see beyond ourselves and to know the limitless possiblity of good...
- Current Mood: cheerful
We are told that there are two ways one deals with a situation: fight or flight, the resulting chaos is given. I have done both in different situations and when pressed for explanations that cannot suffice in this lifetime and in the next, silence becomes the benefit of doubt, because it is the way it is.
Having survived catatonic aftermath of life-changing choices made, I moved on to find even the most mundane can be another lugubrious choice.
I have four spoiled cats who own me: three obese Persians and one sleek Himalayan. The someone who said cats are good for writers because they demand the least of attention, did not anticipate how spoiled mine have become and how the writing gets in the way of their demands, so the hapless human parent namely - me, can forget about getting work done, by the time the bulb in the brain lights up, cats’ eyes obstruct the vista and the flow of creative juices dry up with the many ways the cat has skinned me alive; and there are four of them. One fat furry blob is sitting upright on my computer desk glaring at me now because I am trying to get a view of the screen, another is tapping my thigh because the 24/7 snack bar that is conveniently relocated to where they convene, is not as good as fresh portions straight from my free hand, and another is singing an aria off key because he wants another roll of aluminum foil for an extra homemade ball to play with (he is the only cat retriever I know who returns the ball you throw faster than you can throw it again), and then one is trying to get his claw off my cushioned chair. It is just amazing how much writing can still be done.
Ever since the birth of my oldest child when Maya birds came to announce the momentous event outside the hospital window, I have made it a habit to feed the hapless city birds outside my windows with grains of rice or bread crumbs. Lately I have stationed a cup to hold potable water for these gentle creatures and have increased their feedings to two times a day. I have moved residences for years and always in high rise buildings because living in an apartment has afforded me a laid-back lifestyle and I am happiest grounded at home where cozy spaces extend to high heavens.
I must be the only resident in all nice buildings I have occupied who have the most bird droppings outside my bedroom windows. Today, the habit stays and the birds have multiplied with some of them tapping my window sill at daytime when I am typing away in my workstation because they want more food so I oblige and get up in the middle of whatever it was I was typing and return with a handful of grains at which time I remember to forget what distracts the order in the brain and so I simply crawl on all fours and play with my cats who owe the birds that favor. So am I a pushover? Nah, I do what I do, because it is the way it is.
- Current Mood: complacent