Wednesday, September 28, 2005

and then the factory starts grinding

It feels good to be in the thick of things again. It helps to have, of course, people who are willing to help, like our librarian who suddenly found a higher calling in collating photocopied executive summaries and filing them in neat folders, euphemistically called participants’ kits. You painstakingly badger paper presenters for their respective papers’ summaries or Powerpoint presentations, reproduce them, compile them in a folder, and then distribute them to participants so they could have one more addition to their ever-expanding collection of unread photocopied thingies. Maybe we should put a large sign on the cover: “Note: this can also be read.”

Amid the flurry of calling up paper reactors and researchers, our most trusted clerk decided to file a two-week sex leave because her seaman boyfriend just docked here. Now he's docked somewhere deeper and danker. She didn’t leave me hanging, though. She made sure the nitty-gritty of clerical shit had already been ironed out before she darted toward the brine-drenched arms of her beau. Even the reclusive creature in our Data Bank, who is usually holed up in between musty shelves that irritatingly smell like stale sweat, got out and did some faxing and coordinating for me. She still required that the task be spelled out to her in detail, but what the heck, at least, she’s out of her burrow now, and made herself useful to the human race.

I paused to munch on my tuna sandwich and to chat with a visiting friend, Gail. In between bites, I managed to squeeze in a photo shoot featuring Adie’s barely-there boobs and butt. I wanted to do “before” and “after” shots but I needed to rush back to work. Only the “before” shots were taken. Besides, I don’t think Adie brought enough rolled up socks for the “after” pictures. They wouldn’t have fitted in her bra anyway.

Back to work. Phone call here. Document there. Lay-out design on Adobe Pagemaker. Last minute printing and photocopying of stuff. And we’re all set. The roundtable discussion will be held this afternoon. It will last for approximately five hours. Great. Five hours of sleep. That’s not bad at all.


Monday, September 26, 2005

I love to puke after drinking

I almost forgot the relief that comes with puking one’s innards out after some heavy drinking. The last time I really vomited was months ago, when I downed barrels of tequila (or was it rhum?) mixed with Vishnu knows what. Intoxication makes bartenders of anyone, and it makes any mixture, however odd, taste sublime. That was also the time when I, in drunken stupor, proposed to woo one of my high school friends while Alona was cleaning up puddles of vomit on the floor and Cez was on all fours, claiming that she’s washing clothes. This whole bacchanalian exercise was caught on video, which I haven’t seen yet. I don’t know who the hell has a copy of it. They’d just probably show it during my funeral or something and have a good laugh at how goofy I had been when I was still alive. Yes, make fun of me, you assholes!

This time, though, what made me puke the morning after was just some cheap beer at a tacky joint with a confused and overworked videoke machine. Don calls it Hell. But Hell does not sell five bottles of beer for just a hundred bucks. That’s more like Heaven’s thing, if you would ask me.

Beer has never made me puke before, especially not that kind, which tastes just a bit better than water. This tells a lot about the deterioration of my drinking prowess. I should start flexing my liver muscles again so it can load up as much alcohol as it used to and perhaps gear up for more discussions on philosophies and beliefs; sex and lust; betrayals and trysts—stuff that drinking sessions are so rife with. I got home at six the next morning, reeking of beer-soaked morning reveries. A few hours after, I was face to face with the toilet bowl, unloading my angst with steady bursts of mush and digestive juices. And then came relief.

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 22, 2005

what's in my closet

Tagged by nelz...


1) It doesn’t have a door, only curtains. Damn landlord hasn’t fixed it yet, and I sort of forgot I still have some major complaining and ranting to do. Now I remember…

2) It has around thirty unused hangers from the laundry shop.

3) I should start calling it ‘hanger pantry’ from now on.


1) Thong underwear. Don’t ask me how it found its way into my closet. Technically, I’ve worn it once, just to play out my S&M fantasies, and man, I swear, they’re little torturing devices disguised as kinky underwear! I felt like an elephant with hernia. I wonder why Bench keeps on marketing thongs for men. They just don’t work, not unless you’re contemplating a career as a go go boy. It just makes your crack itch and make you feel like you want to take a crap all the time and when you go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet, you find out that all you want to do is scratch your damned anus until it falls off and why the hell do I talk too much when all this tag was asking for was a list of useless stuff in my closet?

2) My digital camera. How the fuck can you wear a digital camera?

3) Thick, loose, hip-hop shirts I’ve used when I was in college


1) are we still talking about my closet here? Can I mention my books? There I just did.

2) low rise undewear. they work well with my low rise jeans

3) my sleeveless shirts. I can wear them to bed whenever I can’t sleep in the nude.


1) A huge paper bag of plastic bags. They will come in handy one of these days.

2) A mesh, neon yellow vest lined with green reflector on its edges, the type that traffic policemen wear at night. I found this in the UKAY-UKAY (garage sale) we organized to raise funds for the surgery of a friend with renal disease. I thought I could use it if I ever decide to go biking at night.

3) A corpse. ‘Can’t wait for it to decompose.


1) muscle shirts. Yes, I do feel I’m irresistably sexy. Fuck off and invent your own delusions!

2) leather and whip. I should buy these one of these days…

3) chastity belt. (who am I fooling?)


1) tank tops for all seasons. If I’d have my way, I’d go to the office wearing nothing but sando, beach shorts, and sandals.

2) white socks

3) black socks


1) blue

2) green

3) er, just those two. I’m slightly color blind. I can’t recognize too many hues.


1) you
2) you
3) you

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

nice and polite me

Early Saturday morning, I went to my cousin’s house to serve as one of the sponsors in her daughter, Micah’s, christening rites. I was the first one to arrive, which prompted my cousin to conclude that I have finally learned to be on time. If she could only see my time card at the office.

The pastor requested that all godparents say their prayers for the kid, one by one. I wanted to tell them that I should be exempt from this exercise because I don’t exactly pray. I opened my mouth and went “ahhhh” and then they sort of assumed that I was just shy and needed cajoling. They said there was no reason to be shy; the ceremony would be less formal and more meaningful if godparents would pray for the kid, too. Oh shit, not again.

The pastor started out with the usual exhortation that the child should be trained according to the ways of the Lord. The christening—they called it dedication—was more of a pledge of commitment of the parents and godparents to lead the child toward God’s path. The little speech sat well with the guests’ sensibilities as they all punctuated it with mild applause and words of affirmation. Pretty perfunctorily, I should say. I felt like an alien in the midst of a cult ritual.

When it was my time to “pray,” I said: “I would rather say my wish for her. Micah, when you grow up, I hope that you would approach everything with a critical eye and an open mind. Never ever let anyone, or any institution for that matter, dictate to you what you should do and how you should live your life. I can’t promise that life would be easy. But when the difficult times come, I assure you that you will never be alone.” The baby just stared at me with wide eyes and twitched its arm slightly. I felt stupid for talking to her like that. I should’ve just said “coo coo, cutie-cutie baby-chukie pie! You wanna go pooh pooh to escape this farce?” I think she could’ve related to it more.

Later, during lunch, one of the godparents approached me and said, “Ah so you’re Sol’s youngest brother! No wonder you look familiar. We’ve been praying for you. So that you would find the truth!” With emphasis on find.

What a nice introductory spiel to start a lasting friendship.

“Which church do you go to? Or do you ever go to church?” she added. I swear, she must’ve taken a crash course on How to Piss Off People You Just Met.

“No, I only go to church on special occasions,” I replied.

“Special occasions? So God is just ‘for special occasions?’”

You have to be either stoned or plain dumb not to notice the derision in her voice. Since it was a beautiful morning, I decided to be nice. It was not the proper venue to be acerbic to some tactless bitch. So I politely turned away, rolled my eyes, and helped myself to some veggies on the buffet table. I doubt if she would understand me even if i had tried to explain my views. Besides, I don’t need to explain myself to anyone. So I let her think what she wanted as I silently pigged out on chopsuey.


That night, after class, Erica, her sister, her friend, and I watched the gala performance of McVie’s play Bayan Bayanan at the Ateneo. Thanks, McVie, for having us as guests. Sorry we couldn’t stay for the cocktails.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

i touched my chest again

Memories and friends grow on your skin like a sweeping bas-relief. I have mine cleanly carved on my chest. I might not see it as often as I want to but it’s just there, silently waiting. Erica made me caress my chest again. Painful and sweet. Remembrance squishes me to a pulp and resurrects who I was years ago, back when my job hasn’t forged prison bars yet; when I used to swish into the dialectics of life and art; when I used to get drunk with the craziness that only theater people can elegantly get away with. It was both cerebral and visceral. Thanks, Erica, for bringing back the memories. Yes, we can start weeping again.

"Bound Faith"

Model: Erica

Photographed by Nelz Agustin

Labels: ,

Monday, September 12, 2005

it slips away, slowly

Your kiss now speaks of dried up memories, of mummified dreams we once swirled on our palms, arid and syrupy like your parched lips. That kiss used to give me something better than ambivalence. I don’t remember what exactly. But it had been there before, always leaving a tickly haze in my mouth. Now your kiss leaves nothing but entangled cobwebs on my gums like bland cotton candy that refuses to melt. The residue of betrayal blackens the teeth, they say. I wonder if it would also cause my braces to rust, the way your heart rusted two months ago. I prefer lust than rust. But even that is no longer there, having left the moment you confessed you had thought of leaving me. I don’t want tears to moisten your scorched lips and make them supple again. Tears well up from somewhere less noble, somewhere too shallow for pain to wade in. I brew blood and sulphur in a deeper, more intimate place, beyond the reach of tears. Oh but you can’t see it. Not when your kisses merely take me to the bliss of minor distractions. I won’t ask you about love and its absence again. I would rather scratch off my scabs and let the wounds bleed copiously. It amounts to the same thing.

I see memories flying with dry leaves, conniving with the wind to take them farther than my imagination could ever fathom. They will be preserved there, wherever that is. And I would be preserved, too, as I kiss you and imagine my memories of your love intact in some place I cannot visit.



i added pics to the post below. go check them out.

brazen self-promotion, yes.

Friday, September 09, 2005

what were you like ages ago?

I got tagged by Dionne.

20 Years Ago
It was full of beginnings without endings. What I had been 20 years ago is so remote that it might have been a different person altogether. I just transferred from a private, Catholic exclusive school for boys to a public grade school. They all saw me as an oddity, which made me more aloof and lonely. I was a shy and quiet boy then, just starting to make sense of school life. This is when I started bringing home medals every school year. They must’ve thought that I was a geek who had nothing in mind but my studies. Naturally, nerds don’t attract a lot of friends. Everyone knew me but they were wary of making friends with me lest they turn out to be as boringly geeky as I was. But really, all I had in mind was hide-and-seek and backyard ball games. I only got to play—and I mean really play—with kids from our own compound. They didn’t have much of a choice, my family owned the whole compound, including their houses, so if they didn’t make friends with me, they pretty much knew where they’d end up in. That’s how pathetic I was.

15 Years Ago
By this time, everyone in school already knew me. I had made a name for myself by winning inter-school competitions. I even bagged the top prize in this writing competition participated in by all public and private grade schools all over Manila. It was the first time my school actually won in a contest as huge as that. I graduated at the top of my batch.

Now, I feel like a loser talking about all these. All I ever wanted was to have a handful of friends to hang out, swap ghost stories, and play football or tumbang patis with. It feels sick to reminisce your childhood and see nothing but medals and stupid contests. I mean, honestly, would you enthusiastically recount how you won some stupid essay-writing contest in grade school to your grandchildren? That’s so lame. Medals get rusty and grimy, and they don’t tell interesting stories.

This was also the time I met a pervert who sexually molested me and left me scarred for life. Read the details here.

10 Years Ago
High school was wacky. I felt normal and loved as everyone else. Nobody thought I was a geek because there were worthier geeks above me. All of my classmates were either valedictorian or salutatorian in their respective grade schools. I still won inter-school competitions but the pressure was no longer that great. I never topped in my class, I was always in the middle, just an average, procrastinating student enjoying his life. But I still graduated with honors. Right about this time, I discovered I had the rare talent for gluttony.

Then came college. This was a totally different ball game. I learned to thrash institutions, question authorities, challenge god, and shatter my own beliefs. With Nietzsche mumbling aphorisms into my ears, I set out to explore life. This has changed me forever. I sailed on with my existential angst and agnostic beliefs and never turned back.

I was actually inside a thing like that!
5 Years Ago
My job at this time took me to places I never thought I’d be in, like riding a helicopter and getting inside a powerful Tunnel Boring Machine while it hollowed the bowels of the Sierra Madre Mountain range to create a tunnel that would pipe in water into the Angat-Umiray dam. We were probably the last human beings to ever set foot in that tunnel before it was flooded by water. I also got to chase whale sharks in the deeper parts of the Palawan seas. Wearing nothing but my trunks and a pair of goggles, I jumped into waters more than 150 feet deep and tried swimming with the whale sharks that were playing near the surface. But of course, I never got to touch them because they swam a lot faster than I ever could.

3 Years Ago
I started in my present job. Being confined in a cubicle and writing shit as boring as term papers made me a little stoic. There were occasional trips in other parts of the country and abroad but they were all work-related and were not as adventure-filled as my previous trips.

That's my virgin hippo look.

Loitering at the back of the Notre Dame de Paris

Last Year
Museum and church-hopping in Paris and Rome. For the first time in my entire life, I lost my wallet to a thief! Damn those Italian pickpockets. Don’t ever assume that everyone near the Vatican is holy. There’s a lot of assholes prowling the narrow streets of that ancient city. I lost all my IDs, ATM cards, Parisian train card, and almost 200 euros. What’s worse, when I flew back to Paris, I had to jump over the turnstiles at the train station because I had no money. Lo and behold, there were French police checking if the passengers had their carte orange. And they fined me 40 euros (or was it 60? Hell, I can’t remember). Good thing I had my friends with me who generously chipped in. Qu’est-ce que m’aurait arrivé sans vous, mes amis?

I also met Elsa in Paris. Being a Parisian, she was a perfect tour guide. We spent a couple of nights walking along the chilly Seine, the cobbled streets near the Louvre, and around the Madeleine while she spoke to me in rapid French about the historical or artistic significance of each place we went to. She was patient enough to listen to my broken French and cheery enough to thaw the frosty air. I’d never forget how we peeped through the glass walls of the famous Maxim’s, a posh restaurant where you need to wear a coat and tie to be able to get in. I don’t see the point of dining in a fancy restaurant and looking like one of the waiters, really. One time, she brought me to this dark, candle-lit bar whose walls were painted with murals of a bisexual orgy. We spent the whole night drinking beer, talking about life, and figuring out what language the customers on the other table were using. I had a swell time with her. (Elsa, quand je rentre à Paris, je t’appellerai encore. Je ne veux que me promener à Paris avec toi ! Tu me manques. Je suis désolé que je te rate toujours à YM.)

This Year
Aside from going to Hundred Islands, Quezon Pahiyas Fest, and Cavite, this is such a boring year.

Late for work again, as usual. ‘Went to German class after office.

Last Night
Leafed through “The Second Messiah,” a book positing a theory on the real origins of the controversial Shroud of Turin.

Writing this post, what else? I’ll go to Glorietta afterwards to catch a movie.

my little blue cubicle, a veritable prison cell.

Will organize a roundtable discussion. Life is getting predictable.

Next Year
I don’t know. Get a new job? It depends really on how sucky this year turns out to be.

5-10 Years From Now
Fly to Pluto and never return.

I think you’re old enough to tag yourself. I don’t have to do it for you.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

plastic creatures

Boredom. Shrek and the dragon are on my desk. Plastic beings on particleboard terrain. I am their god, omniscient and wrathful. I tried placing them really close to each other once to see if they would fuck. They never did. Stupid, frigid, plastic creatures. Even my divine will is subservient to theirs. They desire—oh they do—passionately. And why should I forbid them to?

A few inches from where they stand is the desk’s edge from where they could fall off and lose one of their plastic limbs. And their omniscient god might not be there to pick them up as he is busy obeying the whims of a higher god who, in turn is busy kissing the ass of an even higher god who is probably filing her nails up in her posh office at the topmost floor. The hierarchy of ass-kissing can be confusing like mutant coffee blends. If Shrek and the dragon knew that I don’t give a hoot about them, can their plastic neurons still convince their plastic hearts that I am full of love and compassion? Would they think less of me if they knew that I also have less magnanimous gods to serve? Would they revolt if they found out that I tried to initiate a mating season for them, without their knowledge? But I love both of them, like a master loves his slaves.

It is a god’s prerogative to dispense love like that, as much as it is a tyrant’s entitlement to warp history, defiling the sacred and valorizing the iniquitous. I, too, am a plastic creature in a bigger particleboard terrain. But I do know what my gods have done and are doing. And I will not fall for some cheaply engineered trick to mate with another plastic creature. I live my life guided by my passions, consciously avoiding the edge of the desk lest I plummet down the abyss, knowing fully well that my gods will do nothing but stare and mutter “oh there goes another one.” I wish I didn’t know.

Ignorance can sometimes conjure wonders. Bliss, as they say, comes with it. And solace, too. Ignorance makes you look forward to a glowing future, however nebulous, however implausible. Ignorance, like faith, promises troves of dreams fluffier than your pillows. But once you believe, you get shackled to the whims of the gods. Then they pull the strings and start the puppet show to the shrieks of a rowdy mob demanding carnal entertainment. You get used to the charade and start believing that the show’s thin plot is your life.

Jester’s hats.

Luscious Frills.

Painted smiles.

Satin dominoes.

On the other hand, those who are cognizant of the grim truth have grown morose and brooding, but unshackled. Free to obey the dictates of their hearts. Free from the grip of hollow institutions. For they know that institutions stand for nothing but the interests of their founders. Beliefs are spread not necessarily because of the noble goals they preach. So they trod on with scabby feet, nursing their troubles with reason. That can be hard. That is why some vainly wish they could cling again to the solace that empty rituals bring.

I am part of that pack now. I am way past the point of no return. There are times when I do miss being in the comfort zone of a puppet show in which every scene is contrived and sure. But I cannot stand having shackles on my feet and hands. My outlook is a lot clearer now, grim and raw, yes, but clearer. Life can be grim and raw, too. At times, I even think that the abyss at the edge of the desk holds things more concrete than fluffy dreams. I will get there. In time.

And then the plastic creatures on my desk will rejoice at the loss of their omniscient and wrathful god.

Labels: ,

Monday, September 05, 2005

the sanctity of a virgin hippo

It was one of those rare occasions when my family actually managed to persuade me to sit through a Sunday service. It was my aunt’s birthday. We had been invited by her congregation to do this birthday tribute thing during their church service. Since I haven’t seen her in months, I agreed.

I settled on the last pew at the back, trying to look like a meek, saintly parishioner like the rest of the flock. With an idiotic grin plastered on my face, I shooed away obscene thoughts and switched on my holy mode. I had gotten the the-holy-ghost-spanked-my-ass look down pat ages ago. But I’m getting rusty at it now, having no occasion to practice it in. If I remember it right, it’s something akin to looking as serene as a virgin hippo while suppressing a stiffy. It’s great to play holy once in a while, which is probably the only thing a lot of churchgoers are good at.

No sooner had I put on my best hippo face than tirades against sinners and decadent bastards came shooting from the pulpit like disgruntled fireworks. For a while, I thought the pastor was directly speaking to me. How about telling me something I don’t know yet? I’ve been told countless times that I’m gonna burn in hell with fire and brimstone and all that shit. And then good old Lucifer (or Lucy, depending on his mood), dressed in a satin teddy and Winnie-The-Pooh slippers and with a pound of mudpack smeared on his face, would just watch while quaffing vodka from a cup fashioned from Hitler’s skull and, gasp, he won’t even offer me a sip! Now that’s scary. Imagine an eternity without vodka—that’s torture only Job can endure. I should make friends with the devil now to ensure my endless supply of booze in hell. Oh, but I digress, I’m supposed to look holy. Suppress the stiffy; hold back the shit. Virgin hippo look.

The pastor was now mouthing something about faithless but highly educated people being fools and about how screwed up this society is because we are now more accepting of homosexuals, pre-marital sex, and progressive thoughts; and about how worldly the world has become (duh?) and about the Bible being an indubitable source of all wisdom and Catholics being idol-worshipping pagans; and so many other unprintable assertions. The pulpit is perhaps the only place I know from which bigotry can emanate unchallenged. That diatribe was something only people like Pat Robertson would be delighted to hear. Or was that Pat’s avatar talking? I heard his dildo-wielding spawns are walking the earth, clandestinely making their way to Venezuela to murder its president by butt-fucking him nonstop with high-powered vibrators the size of Bush’s missiles. Could one of the spawns have found its way here, and somehow took on the body of this pastor to spread Mr. Robertson’s gospel? Creepy. This world is really fucked up big time.

Spawn or no spawn, I found myself checking my pocket calendar just to be sure if it was still 2005 and not 1105. Sitting through that sermon and thinking about Pat Robertson’s dildo gang made me feel like we slid back to the Middle Ages. That may not be such a bad thing—if they already had vodka back then. Which reminds me, I should give Lucy boy a call. Now where did I put that bitch’s number?