I finished performing the seven wonders today. How was your weekend?
At least where I’m concerned.
Before I left for Hanoi, I had to bury two of my dogs. Bury them myself. It’s one thing to hear about them dying and come home to an empty house, but to actually do the digging was an inexplicable heartbreak altogether.
Only three were left. The two rescues, Tyler and Owen, now healthy regal animals, that my mother couldn’t help but save from the litter of terrified puppies being sold in a sidewalk. They were flea-ridden, frightened, underfed and dejected when we got them. Now, all the love we gave them made them confident, bouncy and playful creatures that I’m just so crazy about.
But the third dog, Chippy (I didn’t name him; my sister did and it was too late), the child of the two who died, has been with us for eleven years. Everytime I drank my morning coffee at the front porch back home, he would jump into my arms and we would talk. haha. That’s ridiculous, I know, but yes, I talk to dogs. Because I’m awesome.
Since I left, about a week ago, my mother said Chippy has been depressed, and they had to give him extra pampering. He demanded attention now. Yesterday, he slipped into the house and barked at my bedroom door, whining and running around looking for something. Isn’t that the most heartbreaking thing?
I don’t cry anymore. It’s been ages. But today, while Skyping, my sister carried Chippy with her and as soon as he heard my voice, our usual whisperings, his face perked up and he stared at me. It was an expression so eerie because it was almost human. He was surprised, confused, betrayed, excited, his eyes asking why I wasn’t holding him. And the tears just flowed.
They’re still flowing. How’s that for homesickness?
I’ve never been confined in a box of uncertainty. 100 square meters of it, more or less, where the “new” life is a hundred shades different from the old one. Outside my bedroom window, the morning descends with smog, and skyscrapers cut the skyline like overgrown spires. This Dorothy is not in Kansas anymore.
From a small town, I find myself smack in a dubious urban heaven. Inside, I have all the conveniences of city life at hand. Spacious, airy and bright rooms, a laundry area, my own bath, a bedroom twice bigger than the one back home, an entire apartment at my disposal and all of it for free. But outside, the city spreads and moves. Unfamiliar streets, the terrifying ordeal of buying things and navigating streets where I don’t understand a single word. In a sense, I am alone and not alone in equal measure, and both polarities are a little antagonistic. The jitters of being abroad for the first time and living in a country where everyone is an uncalculated force.
Still, I am lucky. But I feel like I’ve been handed a luxury that I didn’t deserve. Back home, I was the generous one. Relying on someone else’s generosity is an unknown situation. Especially if it is unconditional. Filipinos respond to favors like a lifelong debt. My “benefactor”, a former student of mine and someone that’s become a close friend over the years, would have none of it. I’m scared that months from now, when I’m finally earning an income, he would refuse any offer of payment. I’ve never been a freeloader. I’m determined to earn my keep and I’ll choke him if he doesn’t let me.
26 floors below, there’s an entire map that I need to conquer. But I guess there’s one in my chest that I need to conquer first. We’ll see.
What is it about poetry that makes me sick?
Could it be the iron links of remorse that my
arid lungs breathe in to get by?
Poetry is exuded from every surface;
from the dusk, the dust, the dairy, the daily…
you set out that door and are instinctively given
a chance to pen an epic.
All you have to do is make an effort to pen it
or spontaneously combust.
Like today, for example, when I set off for laundry
and the day reverts into a song I could shimmy my waist to.
Those Indian fuckers next-door and their noisy music.
What? Can I help it that I know how to belly-dance
Then suddenly there are preachers at the front gate
yelling at me to save my soul from my bandana and “gay” shorts.
Maybe if I chose to crawl back into the closet I could be spared their God’s
fire and brimstone.
Honey, I could care less. Maybe you could show me
your Urim and Thummim so I could wear those spectacles
and create another book. Another interpretation of your prized
Perhaps I could rival the Book of Abraham
and this time it won’t turn out to be
standard ancient Egyptian text buried with the Dead.
You and your fakery religions. You cannot accept that your creed is a hoax.
My creed is humanity, and you had just committed a mortal sin. In my book.
Show me your Leviticus and anti-homo posters.
Contradict yourselves like Africa or a Siamese.
Leave me be with the salsa on my hips and the prod in my ass.
… there’s nothing like twisting the Torah to protect oneself from the twisted.
The fanatics who cannot even defend their hallowed bricks.
So the preachers left.
It’s always fun to insult them. They insulted me first, after all. Bite the Biter,
is all I’m about.
Poetry makes me sick.
I could start out with washing dirty clothes
and create an epic.