Thursday, August 12, 2004


Silent All These Years

Tori Amos

Excuse me but can I be you for a while
My dog won't bite if you sit real still
I got the anti-Christ in the kitchen yellin' at me again
Yeah I can hear that

Been saved again by the garbage truck
I got something to say you know
But nothing comes
Yes I know what you think of me
You never shut-up
Yeah I can hear that

But what if I'm a mermaid
in these jeans of his with her name still on it
Hey but I don't care
cause sometimesI said sometimes
I hear my voice
And it's been here
Silent all these years

So you found a girl
Who thinks really deep thougts
What's so amazing about really deep thoughts
Boy you best pray that I bleed real soon
How's that thought for you?

My scream got lost in a paper cup
You think there's a heaven
Where some screams have gone
I got 25 bucks and a cracker
Do you think it's enough
To get us there

Cause what if I'm a mermaid
In these jeans of his
With our name still on it
Hey but I don't care
Cause sometimes
I said sometimesI hear my voice
And it's been here
Silent all these...

Years go by
Will I still be waiting
For somebody else to understand
Years go by
If I'm stripped of my beauty
And the orange clouds
Raining in head
Years go by
Will I choke on my tears
Till finally there is nothing left
One more casualty
You know we're too easy

Well I love the way we communicate
Your eyes focus on my funny lamp shade
Let's hear what you think of me now
But baby don't look up
The sky is falling

Your mother shows up in a nasty dress
It's your turn now to stand where I stand
Everybody lookin' at you here
Take hold of my hand
Yeah I can hear them

But what if I'm a mermaid
In these jeans of his with her name still on it
Hey but I don't care
Cause sometimes
I said sometimes
I hear my voice

And it's been here
Silent all these years
I've been here
Silent all these years

The Immediacy of Things

I don’t like this at all. I am breaking down more and more often. Last night, on the ride home from Novaliches, I was crying again in the jeepney, and I really didn’t know why anymore. I suppose this is exhaustion followed by pressure followed by god-knows-what. I’ve always been aware that I am swallowing far more than I can chew, but it has never come to this point.

Oh wait, it has. During my Writers’ Club days.

But back then, it seemed so easy to make a choice. Now I run the risk of disappointing people, of not fulfilling my duties and responsibilities. I run the risk of not being able to do what I’d want to do, as opposed to what I should do. I feel thin and stretched, as Bilbo Baggins has said before, like butter scraped over too much bread.

But I don’t like myself now. I sleep at 2 AM, and wake up by 9. My eyes are swollen and red-rimmed, more often than not. My sleep does nothing more than to pass the time; I never wake up refreshed and ready. In fact, I am starting to dread mornings because that means that my day will be moving from one event to the next and it’s getting more and more difficult to find the energy and the drive to move. All I want is a day, God please give me a day, where I can actually work on my writing backlog.

In fact, even that thing that I love the most – writing – is something I am not able to do anymore. And I don’t want to use thesis and work as an excuse to not perform my other responsibilities: with GRAIL, and with the college yearbook, and with my friends. Especially not my friends. I don’t want to be the hermit hidden in her cave, forgetting human contact. I don’t want to miss out on their lives. I want to have my cake and eat it, too.

Sometimes I wonder if I was such a bad person in my past life (which I still believe that I was a geisha who was trained in the ways of the samurai; either that, or I was a dishwasher in Renaissance England) that I am being punished for it right now. I’ve always been waiting for someone to save me; perhaps I have to realize that I am the only one who can save myself from this downward spiral.

A friend of mine was telling me that we always have all these long-term plans, but the steps we take towards the achievement of these goals will always be superseded by the day-to-day activities that we have. Sometimes the urgency of things come because we need to finish them by today, or tomorrow, that we forget to set aside time for the slower (but more often than not important) goals. And we don’t always have the luxury of time. Sometimes we just have to plunge right into things because we cannot always have the time to spare being existential and wondering what the world is doing. Sometimes the task at hand will have to be done immediately, before something else comes along.

So what do I need to do? First off, I have to start writing my critical essay for my thesis. Then comes work – I have two deadlines coming up, one of them almost a week old actually. (Yes, that damn Jocano article!) Then comes GRAIL – we have the induction, and then org week, and then ACLE, one on top of the other. And then the yearbook – I have to assemble my editorial board and get the quotations from LSA as soon as Elbert can give them, and perhaps canvass for other publishers if the price is still too steep. And then somewhere along the mix is my social life, which crops up from time to time and actually drains my wallet faster than a speeding bullet.

I’m not complaining, or at least I hope not. Do I sound whiny? ^_^ I’m just hoping that I have enough discipline and foresight to actually push through with all of these plans because I do not want to let anybody down. Like I said, the two most important things in my life is my craft and my friends, and please for all the gods’ loving sakes, don’t make me choose between one or the other because that will break my heart all over again.

The Education of This ______

Well, the blank is supposed to be for the word “poet” but then that assumes that I am one (which I’m not) so let’s just fill it in with the word of your choice.

*stands up for a moment and gets a plateful of beef curry and rice*

In realizing that I want to write poetry, or – perhaps more correctly – poetry has chosen me to write for it, I’ve also realized that it is by far the most difficult thing I have wanted to do. Before, I would write poems on a whim, without not much thought regarding the craft involved in creating this tiny unit of literature. I mean, if Ezra Pound can do his couplet and will call it a poem, then who’s to say what I write (or not-write) is a poem or not?

But, as my poetry teacher has pointed out to me earlier, this is crunch time. Whatever poems I have in my system I’d better get it out now so that by the second semester, I will just have to revise and rewrite, but the bulk will already be there. And perhaps I have been preparing for this ever since high school – I came across my old English paper which I wrote in fourth year about female archetypes in mythology. And then here I am, a senior in college, writing poems about archetypes based on the tarot, but inevitably wind up back to the female psyche.

Maybe I should write about a tree instead.

Not that writing about women is bad or anything. It’s just that I don’t want to be known as a poet who always writes about women – particularly about all these angsty, sad women who end up cutting their wrists with shards of glass – but as a female poet. There is a difference, you know. I don’t want to make my sex my cause. I do not want to be bound by the tenets of femininity, even though at the same time I revel in the fact that I am a girl.

Which all leads back to the question “What do I want to write about?”

What was primarily an exercise in self-realization and self-actualization (such big words!) is now making me look at the world outside my own, becoming more observant of my environment and of the people around me, of listening to stories and sorting out the patterns of life and trying to see what makes a person’s life worth living. Really big philosophical questions, but then I have to ask them, see, because I am sick and tired of writing about my life and perhaps it’s high time to write other people’s stories.

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