Thursday, March 31, 2011

Saddest booksale ever


Nothing personal, nothing national.

photo taken at the payday bazaar at the office. :D

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On practising the noblest form of shopping

by E Wong

When you hear someone say all my meager annual bonus just went down the drain, you know this is some sort of an all-too-familiar tragedy, but in my case, "drain" is the UP Press's 46th anniversary month-long sale; and thus, needless to say, it is good, guilt-less spending.

So yesterday, the money which I originally intended for an 'unplanned' weekend adventure somewhere up north was spent instead on these eight awesome poetry books:

An Edith Tiempo Reader Edited by Gemino Abad, et. al.
Six Poetry Formats and the Transforming Image: A Monograph on Free Verse by Edith Tiempo
Commend Contend/Beyond, Extensions by Edith Tiempo
Mostly in Monsoon Weather: Poems New & Revisited by Marne L Kilates
The Garden of Wordlessness: Selected Poems by J Neil C Garcia
Passage: Poems 1983-2006 by Edgar B Maranan
Marginal Bliss by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
Onyx by Romulo Baquiran, Jr

All the books above are UP Press titles (with 20% discount), except for Maranan's book which is published by Bookmark (5% off). The student editions of Daona and Baquiran were on sale for only P50 each! I spent more than a thousand bucks for all these--still quite a lot, I know, but I think it's all worth it, considering these are 'real literature' by acclaimed Filipino authors. And also, I feel good being able to somewhat 'help' our struggling local publishing industry. And yes, there's a vast presence of literature in the internet, but nothing will ever beat the intellectual and emotional experience of the book.

Having spent a good hour at the store, I realise that buying books is a therapeutic, even orgasmic, activity. It is probably the noblest act of shopping. Unlike purchasing food or clothes, you don't literally taste the product or try it on... but you do it on a literary level. Book shopping is definitely way way harder than the tough task of choosing the right brand of peanut butter or whitening soap. It knows no hurry; you skim and scan, you browse the pages, read a line or stanza or paragraph. Sometimes you end up finishing the whole poem or story or essay or chapter of a novel. Most likely you'd be going back and forth to the shelves, a Shakespearean question repeatedly arresting you: to buy or not to buy? And when something strange strikes your soul--a phenomenon not defined by even the long years of commercialism--you finally buy it.

Of course it helps if you know the author or if he/she has achieved some fame or notoriety or has an intimidating list of awards and previously published books. Nonetheless, you make your decision not on nutrition facts or expiry dates or newness of the whole package, but on the "promise" of words printed on paper. And who buys "promises" these days?

So shopping for books is a great activity, and this I recommend to everyone (especially on paydays). It is almost as surreal as the act of reading--which, by the way, I am not very good at. My friends have this wrong notion that I am such a bookish person, but I'm really such a slooowww reader that I'd always say it took me a hundred days to finish Garcia-Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. And so with these new titles I bought, I'm giving myself a conservative eight hundred days to finish reading them all.

Being back in the campus halls was another story. I sneaked into AS (sneaking, I realised, was unnecessary as the guards at the entrance weren't too strict after all) and stayed in CASAA for awhile. It amuses me that nothing much has really changed, except perhaps that everyone seems to be using laptops now. But all else is the same. [Well, maybe not the students, for the too-strong smell of the (upper) bourgeois was unmistakeable. How many of these kids came from public schools? From the provinces? Am I in La Salle? Is this Ateneo de Diliman?] But I mean my feelings for, about, and in UP were the same. I could have entered any classroom and just get lost again in the strange 'at home-ness.' Or get found is what I mean?

I remember a friend saying that we should not be working in the BP__ industry, for this is not where we belong. Then the UP thing got into the conversation, and suddenly, we were back in our former selves, well-bathed and basking in the old ideals of the university, perhaps last seen and felt genuinely during the beginning of the past decade, when an academic unit was still just worth P300...

But like I've said, this is another story that warrants another article. Something I better not dwell on for now. :-)

The UP Press anniversary sale is until March 31. The bookshop's new location is at the ground floor of the printing office itself, along E delos Santos St., near the UP Police Station. (Those who try to steal books will go straight to jail!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



To be Born again ::
one must Die first
And this is not about Death
or Religion :: this is not Poetry
What good are Hands whose Palms
Do not have Lines :: Do not Lie
:: Lay your sleepy head in the sky
O sweet Illumination :: You
are not a Supermoon
but a bold figment
of the Sun :: Pigments of Leaves
are not solely Green like envious
teen who's never seen the nudity of ::
Sun sounds somewhat
like Sin :: and the Moon not again ::
why do you always figure in this
scene :: Soon too soon :: Give me
some room
To die Now is to live
Later :: But I would like to munch
on Biscuits now :: Drink
Coffee later :: Play
Cards forever :: Kill kill
And this is not about Murder ::
but Moon hiding behind ghost
vapours ::
Tonight let me kiss
the sun O yes
How Hot
you are :: my Lips
do not sting My lips are flaming
Burn Baby Burn Burn :: The Moon
suddenly :: between :: the Earth
and my Hands
How come
Have we come
so far ::
Where where
we are
Oh yes I said
to be born Again ::
one must die First

But I am ::
being Born
nor Dying
I am ::
but tiny figment
of your sun

Please Please

Look at me ::

Look at me ::

You so Bright
and Beautiful

Look at me ::

Look ::


Creative takes on the recent "Supermoon"
Poetry by Myself
Photography by
Jeffrey Ocampo
Short film by Joni Gutierrez

Monday, March 14, 2011


by Myself

Dear Myself,

You have got to end this certain sadness which had been keeping you “happy” for a long while now. Stop talking about constructs of romance, you must, for it is worthless when put alongside images of loneliness.

Remember, though, that the greatest love is that which is unrequited. Next would be one that’s unprofessed. You are privileged that yours is both. Yours is the greatest. And thus, even if you quit, you can never lose in this particular battle. Quit now, my dear, for this antebellum is most opportune for surrendering.

The sun shines today, as it had yesterday. Tomorrow, if God allows, it will shine again, perhaps hotter, more scorching than before, but always—always and forever—just as brightly as when it first rose from behind the mountains of time. You may live in this melancholy all your life, but the sun would never care for your troubles, as it is blinded by its own brilliance. And we cannot blame the sun for burning like that.

If you keep yourself in this utter darkness you’ve painted with your eyes shut, you may not remember the beauty of light. So I tell you, my friend, it’s high time to open them, your eyes. Love will remain to be called love, as it was in the Renaissance, or during the world wars, or perhaps even in the prehistoric age when man had no use for words: Love has always been called as such.

But tomorrow, if you just open your eyes and see the world again, even if you keep that memory of unhappiness, love may have a new meaning.

With love,

Your Other Self.

And stop pondering concepts of d-----, will you?


Saturday, March 5, 2011

A bill so electric you'd feel 'the spark'

This is the kind of monthly bill you'd like to be getting for the rest of your life:

Unfortunately this is not our apartment's Meralco bill, but my neighbor's (my former housemate's). Nevertheless, "small miracles" such as this is cause for huge celebration, eh?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Mannequin

by E. Wong

                                  Swept   he is
by unbearable malice
in undressing
a mannequin
It was easy finding you
among the throng of strange souls
First off the blouse
and the skirt
then his hand on her feet up her legs
‘tween her thighs to her waist
but she has no
A big red umbrella
between you and the sun
she’s always been the woman
in daydreamings
of a night watch
You want it red

so in the day’s brightness

you’d be blushing
your heart’s breaking
Now seek
such plump breasts touch her
the center
of life impenetrable
Such sumptuous lips kiss her
but she has no
But, my love,
how about on rainy day?
Stunned by
her subtle smile
he brings her back
to her spot by the window
with a new dress
yes, envy
such steady
Do you want the world
to see your bleeding?
*written sometime in April 2010
**For ______ whom I undress with my eyes, always...

***Written on those malling days during summer, inspired by the mannequins in shops' glass windows; the umbrella element I got from my highschool friend ("ka-loveteam") Cherie Keitch, who, I remember Kred saying, loved red umbrellas because she would blush naturally under it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On the utter randomness of things

by E. Wong

how it falls

the further our attempt at measurement
somewhere a faucet cries alone
its drama felt the house over
explodes then be consumed
by mercy of earth always always
without fail almost finally defining
forever this is nature of space you say
what is invisible or abstract
occupies endures

suppress not
voice inside tell me
baby sparrow breaks out
from mother’s shell yawns like sunshine
if too loud
let out like lahar create
ruins beautiful
beaches pristine
I believe you say
humankind’s best friend
God’s greatest invention
so trust again I may
out of everyone in the din
we will be found

when at last a thing becomes an object
we do only two acts of love

we sin
we sing

*artwork: "Number 8" (Jackson Pollock, 1949)
**poetry written sometime in April 2010
***as this is the poem after which this blog is named, this pretty much expresses my consciousness of the world, my concept of love, my faith in entropy, and....