Sunday, March 19, 2006
It's Sunday, 6:06 in the morning
. I can't sleep. Outside, the false dawn gives out this blue light and morning is quiet. I would have embraced days like this, but my body reels from sleeplessness. Even when I went dancing last night and my body aches from absorbing too much movement, and even when I downed three bottles of beer which -- especially if you are not a drinker -- is enough to turn my head around three times. I can't sleep, and there is this: my heart floats in a hollow
, for the nth time I should suppose. It knows only that, and sad songs. Imagine what's inside me: or better yet, imagine what is not
inside: a filling wholeness, or a rapture I once have known. How do we lose things? How do you keep the heart from betraying what is truer than what you want
to believe? How do you measure hope and unlearn expectations, and how does one journey from stasis, to moving on? How do you relearn how to love, and how do you stop saying sorry for your mistakes? How do you keep your hands from hurting yourself? How do you begin a Sunday with this taste of loss? How do you say this is the first day of all days, and believe what is easily the impossible? How do you choose to be happy? How do you turn all grief to glitter, and where do you begin to map the extent of pain so you will know where it borders sanity and redeem yourself?
Tell me how. I can't sleep.9:24 a.m.
I brewed a cup of coffee, and I am watching the day pass by slowly. I don't know what to do except to stare at the play of light on my closed glass jalousie windows. I feel like vomiting, but there's nothing inside -- so even that proves hollow. I decide to work. On a Sunday. Work will save me. Work, and gym. Please God, let me learn how to breathe.9:49 a.m.3 A.M.By Rodrigo V. Dela Pena Jr.
As the clock ticks to 3 a.m., the sounds
of the city begin to fade: the honking cars
and jeeps and buses thin out along EDSA,
the cats in heat on the roofs stop screwing,
and in smoke-choked videoke bars,
the mike conks out, images of bikini-
clad ladies blurring into snow.
An ambulance siren dwindles in de-
crescendo until it fades into a mere
whimper, and one by one, the cellphones
cradled in sweaty palms mysteriously
flicker and die after beeping a last gasp.
Exactly at 3 a.m., like musicians stilled
by a conductor in an orchestra, like
a choir suddenly voiceless and holding
its breath, everyone is drowned by the purest
silence. And so the drunks in the neighborhood
are stunned, sobered up by the clarity
that silence brings, and couples nesting
on cramped beds make love quietly
yet intensely, each city-dweller awe-struck
by the immense, engulfing silence. In this
nightly miracle, does anyone imagine
how astounding a moment of no-sound can be?
Even the infants wake up from their dreams,
marveling at the stillness, and for once,
everyone can listen to his own heartbeat.10:22 a.m.
It's a wonder how we can fool ourselves into a semblance of living. The morning's not even over yet, and I have gone from sentimental fool to actor playing a part. I inhale the seething disbalance of Marlon Brando, the suave nonchalance of Cary Grant, the aw-shucks attitude of Tom Hanks, and finally the unperturbed resignation of Bill Murray. I can win an Oscar for this
. The cup of coffee is gone, and then I turn to the morning papers online to read how the rest of the world has come to pieces, then I see a segment about lava in Hawaii in Discovery Channel, then I write a poem about lava, then I read of Monica's unraveling in Sarge Lacuesta's White Elephants: Stories
. This is the paradox I subscribe to: small tasks can banish great pains. But only until the next moment when you suddenly find yourself thinking, and thinking, and then sinking deep into remembered despairs. To punish the dull ache, I make lists: there's laundry to deposit and get at the nearby laundromat, there's the paper to edit for my college dean, there are students' grades to calculate, there is the whole Sunday to spend forgetting. We move on, I guess, only little by little. Margie Udarbe, my wise one, once texted me this: "There will be sad days, and there will be better days. Somewhere along the way, the better days will outnumber the sad days. And then you just learn to stop counting."11:00 a.m.
I don't know what to do next. I need to get out of here.4:54 p.m.
When will this f*****g day end?
Labels: life, love, poetry
 This is Where You Bite the Sandwich
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