Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Don't Remember You

Stumbled across this lovely piece from The Happy Time.

For no one in particular. I just like the lyrics and the melody.

And the irony that alas, I remember only too well.




Monday, August 23, 2010

A Blue-Sky Day

Image from here.

I spent today laughing, watching beautiful kids in colorful outfits playing gleefully on green meadows against 360 degrees of perfect blue skies and fluffy white clouds.

A picture-perfect day.

So full of hope. So full of joy.

So full of life.

Except that in my line of work, nothing is exactly as it seems.

Had the camera panned further down, from the gorgeous blue heavens, to the fresh-faced children and their happy smiles, to the dewy green grass beneath their feet, it would have also revealed grave markers nestled among the blades.

Some of the children and I walked up one of the grassy hills, reading the names of the people lying beneath us. One kid pulled me over to a certain marker, which only had one date inscribed on it:

March 10, 2010.

"He was a baby," I explained. "He was born and died on the same day."

"Oh," replied the kid nonchalantly, as though I had just told him why dead leaves turn brown.

At around 3 p.m. I was suddenly struck with a feeling that something terrible was happening somewhere. But none of us heard of the news till we all got home from the shoot.

It had been a blue-sky day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Watery eyes, check.

Runny nose, check.

Fever and chills, check.

Yep, I'm a sick boy.

There's an old aphorism that says grown men revert to little boys crying for their mothers when they get sick.

Well, I want my mom.

I want chicken soup. I want orange juice. I want her to check on me as I sleep and tell my clients that I can't come to work because I'm sick and need to rest.

Pfft. This is what I got:

Mom: When you're better, get vaccinated against flu and H1N1.

If there was ever any doubt where I got my sardonicism from, look no further.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

For Good

One of the tell-tale signs that I'm a gay man is my appreciation for musicals. Especially well-written ones. I've often thought that songs are but poems set to music. The combination of powerful lyrics and beautiful arrangements can move even the most hardened of hearts.

Music soothes the savage beast. Sometimes it can even make it cry.

Despite treading familiar, universal themes of love and loss, every so often some songs resonate more than others. For me, such is the case with this one, from the musical Wicked.

For anyone who's experienced the agony of parting, the lyrics should be enough. But the performance above made the song especially poignant because it was Kristin Chenoweth's last performance as Glinda, and therefore the song - and its lyrics - took on a very real meaning. Just listen to her voice breaking as she tries to maintain composure and you'll see what I mean.

I've been meaning to write about death and loss but, considering its odd emergence of late in some blogs I follow, I felt this should suffice for the meantime.

For you, Joel.

For you, soltero.

For you, Sonia.

For everyone who's ever had to say goodbye. For good.

I've heard it said 
That people come into our lives for a reason 
Bringing something we must learn 
And we are led 
To those who help us most to grow 
If we let them 
And we help them in return 
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true 
But I know I'm who I am today 
Because I knew you... 

Like a comet pulled from orbit 
As it passes a sun 
Like a stream that meets a boulder 
Halfway through the wood 
Who can say if I've been changed for the better? 
But because I knew you 
I have been changed for good 

It well may be 
That we will never meet again 
In this lifetime 
So let me say before we part 
So much of me 
Is made of what I learned from you 
You'll be with me 
Like a handprint on my heart 
And now whatever way our stories end 
I know you have re-written mine 
By being my friend... 

Like a ship blown from its mooring 
By a wind off the sea 
Like a seed dropped by a skybird 
In a distant wood 
Who can say if I've been changed for the better? 
But because I knew you 

Because I knew you 

I have been changed for good 

And just to clear the air 
I ask forgiveness 
For the things I've done you blame me for 

But then, I guess we know 
There's blame to share 

And none of it seems to matter anymore 

Like a comet pulled from orbit 
As it passes a sun 
Like a stream that meets a boulder 
Halfway through the wood 

Like a ship blown from its mooring 
By a wind off the sea 
Like a seed dropped by a bird in the wood 

Who can say if I've been 
Changed for the better? 
I do believe I have been 
Changed for the better 

And because I knew you... 

Because I knew you... 

Because I knew you... 
I have been changed for good...

(Oh. And lest my previous post makes you think I'm anti-Lea, here's another rendition of the song featuring Ms. Salonga and Jennifer Paz - another Filipina with a crystalline voice.)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Red, Red Wine

It was raining cats and dogs last night.

I was in my fortress of solitude, sitting in front of the computer, as usual. In the middle of soundtripping on some melancholic songs, my dogs started barking, signaling the approach of unwelcome intruders.

The insistent knocks on the door made for cacophonous accompaniment to the angry barking of my royal pooches, but the barbarians at the gate refused to go away.

Sighing the sigh of the damned, I trudged to the portal in my boxers and grudgingly greeted the team of wild horses awaiting me there.

"Hel-lo!" smiled Miguel.

"Hello!" smiled Andrea.

"Well, hello, Greta," smiled Nicky. That last one did it, and my scowl broke into an uncontrollable smile.

The arresting party, of course, had a glass of red wine in each hand.

"Aren't you going to invite us in?" asked Miguel.

"Nice try, vampire," I snapped.

"Oh, come, come let us in," cajoled Nicky.

"This isn't where the party's at," I replied, still standing firmly behind the screen door.

It was a classic Mexican standoff. After a minute of silence, I figured resistance was futile and said "Let me get decent, and I'll see you there in a bit."

Nicky gave me a raised eyebrow.

"I promise."


"Well, that was fast," Nicky said when I arrived five minutes later.

"I didn't bother to shower," I replied.

"But why?"

"There's no one here I can even remotely imagine having sex with."

"Oooooh, I love that jacket," he gushed, caressing the tailored red leather number I threw on to repel the rain.

"Someone knows how to make an entrance," chimed in a girl I didn't know.

"Thanks," I replied. "It's my homage to Scarlett O'Hara showing up in that sinful red number at Melanie's party after being busted for having the hots for her boring husband."

"I thought it was more James Dean, dear," offered Nicky.

"It'll be that when I have a Porsche I can crash."


The red leather jacket continued to garner rave reviews throughout the night. An elegant Englishwoman festooned in turquoise asked to take a picture, which took me by surprise. I haven't been a camwhore in years and so it was a little awkward, but I acquiesced nonetheless.

I wonder where that pic will end up.


In between, my old friends and I talked of many things, of cabbages and kings. Nicky amused us with his tale of finding genuine Manolos in some Baguio ukay-ukay for P1500.00. Sadly, they were size 8; his feet were size 11. But Blahniks being Blahniks, Nicky phoned a designer friend in Manila - someone with size 8 feet - to ask if he wanted them.

"Tawaran mo pa ng P1000.00" said the friend.

So Nicky tried to haggle for the pair.

"Hindi ba puwedeng P1000 na lang? Ano ba naman yang Manolo na yan?" he asked, feigning ignorance.

Unfortunately, the tindero happened to be gay himself, and countered

"Si kuya naman! Parang hindi niya alam."

End of story? Nicky wandered off for a while, and 15 minutes later, when he went back for the shoes, they were gone.

Some other lucky Cinderella had snapped them up.


For all his footwear expertise, Nicky admitted he couldn't tell genuine LV from Class B. And so the girl I didn't know and whose name escapes me weighed in with the merits and demerits of Class A LVs

"Define 'guts'" I said, out of the blue.
"Shoot," she said.
" 'Guts' is shopping in Bangkok and then boarding a direct flight to Charles de Gaulle."


And then Maureen arrived.

"I LOVE that jacket!!!" she squealed in her unique effervescent way.

"It loves you too, hon," I replied.

A glass of red wine appeared magically and then the Lea-bashing began in earnest. A frenzied feline free-for-all made even more ferocious because no one at the party seemed to sympathize with Ms. Salonga, no matter how crystal-clear her voice was.

"She's so FAT!" hissed Maureen, blessed with genes that still kept her svelte and flawless way beyond her 30s. "She looked like a furball!"

"She just doesn't have the gravitas to carry the role," chimed in Nicky. "She's perenially cute, forever tweetums."

"Well, maybe next time they can get Sanrio to produce CATS instead." I muttered.


October is when Nicky has his grand masquerade ball at the old haunted house.

"How are your ghosts?" I asked.

"Ok lang. They don't bother me. And yours?"

"Same. They know better than to bug me while I'm working."

"Ganun lang naman dapat. Just carry on."

I'm a busy man. And that's how I live with my ghosts.

Human or not.


Talk turned to fashion and Nicky waxed nostalgic about some fabulous antique gown he gave away to a female friend. Apparently, said gown became the talk of the town in Paris, where the friend is based.

"What did you ask in return for that gown?" queried a jealous Maureen.

"A poochie!" exclaimed Nicky.

I stared blankly, an image of a black Yorkie flashing in my mind.

"Ooooh, I love poochies, too! I want one!" gushed Maureen.

Blank look again, this time with a poodle running through my head.

"Well, it depends on what the color schemes are." tittered Nicky.

And then it hit me.




The red wine continued to flow as Ned joined us.

"CATS is a one-song show," he sniffed.

Well, he saw it on Broadway with Betty Buckley as Grizabella, so there you go.

"Nice jacket," he said as he passed a joint around. I haven't had "herbal life" in a good while so I was grateful for a couple of puffs before resorting to my Reds. Maureen carried on about her showbiz career and the boredom of playing the stock contrabida mestiza.

Ned is a filmmaker and I am an aspiring one.

"We should do a remake of Supergirl," I told Maureen. "You can reprise the mad scientist role played so effortlessly by Odette Khan."

"Is that the one with Nora?" asked Ned.

"No, that was SuperGee," I corrected. "Nora in black leather, on a black bike. Supergirl was with Pinky."

"Pinky de Leon did Supergirl?" asked Maureen.

"No. Pinky Montilla. The chubby girl who's vanished off the face of the earth since then."

I couldn't blame her, really. If I played Supergirl, I'd have vanished off the entire universe myself.


I collared Miguel as he, his boyfriend, and Andrea tried to scurry away like the rats they were.

"Where do you think you're going?" I snapped.

"Ah...home," came his meek reply.

"You live a block from here."

"Well, it's almost midnight," he stammered.

"Your Corolla has been a pumpkin for a decade now. Try harder."

"Ah, ano, my girlfriend is looking for me na kasi," offered Andrea helpfully.

Well. Far be it from me to stand between a woman and her lesbian lover.

"We're going off to Sagada with Nicky in September," came Migs' parting shots. "Wanna join us?"

"Do they have Blahniks there, too?"


My leave was French, as usual.

Maureen with a black cat on her lap.

Nicky cackling about someone or something.

Ned ignoring his lover's pleas to get going home na.

And our weary host sprawled on his sofa, dozing off while waiting for us to vanish.

Red wine in my system, red jacket over my skin.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Remembering The Forgotten

I've forgotten how to play backgammon.

I remember you taught me how to play, until I could beat you at it.

I've forgotten to read.

The last book I read - and the one I read over and over again - was the one you forgot to pack when you left.

I've forgotten pool since the day you said goodbye.

The red graphite cue stick you gave me to replace the one I had that you lost remains untouched.

I've forgotten how to play mahjjong since you fled.

Red wine sometimes brings memories of those Sundays we spent.

I've forgotten how to sing since the day I gave up.

I've ruined my voice since then, smoking my croon into a croak.

J'ai oublie comment parler Francais.

Because I chose to stay instead of joining you in France.

I remember you.

Do you remember me?

I wish you would.

We loved each other.


Thursday, August 5, 2010


There's an apocryphal story about Ernest Hemingway. One that involved a wager that he could write a short story in six words. Papa was supposed to have won the bet by writing the following words:

For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

365 Days Later


A year ago today I ventured belatedly into the blogosphere.

An odd birth brought about by something quite its opposite : death.

Or rather, the spectre of it.

As I told Kane in his initial Spit Roast piece, I started this blog because I thought I was going to die and wanted to get my thoughts down.

Thoughts of mortality which, oddly enough, I didn't share with any possible readers.
Instead, as stated in my first post , I shared

"...a running commentary on anything and everything. A stream of consciousness, if you will, dotted with flotsam and garbage and the occasional bloated rat carcass floating serenely on its way to the sea."

I'd like to thank everyone who's ever bothered to read this blog, and those who followed it, and especially those who still read it despite my less-than-stellar personality. Bonus points for those who comment: I always enjoy our little banter.

I'm happy to have "met" many interesting people and characters on the blogosphere. I've enjoyed reading the stories of their lives: their adventures and misadventures, their hopes and fears, the ups and downs of this business of living.

And speaking of living, Kane - keen interviewer that he is - asked me why, since I'm obviously still very much alive, I continue blogging. My reply, as some of you know, was a pithy "Coz I ain't dead yet?"

Many bloggers that I follow have been blogging for years. I don't know if I have the time, inclination, or stamina for that. But like life itself, we don't really know for sure how long we've got, do we?

So for better or worse, I guess I'll be ranting, raving, and ruminating for a while.

You decide if that's a good thing or bad.