Thursday, February 24, 2011

147M orphans minus one

I am very moved by Eileen's post about the adoption of Michael's brother by a New York photographer. I have been following the adventures of Eileen in parenting and adoption and it is just heartwarming to know that Jose, Michael's brother, now has a family.

This news gladdened my heart today. Thank you, Eileen and Victor, Jose's new dad.

Friday, February 18, 2011

connecting the dots...

it looks like the egyptian revolution is spreading around the Middle East. Bahrain. Iran. Iraq. the youth-led revolutions want democracy and the US supports people's desire for freedom, right? but the US has always backed the autocratic rulers in these countries in order to secure our supply of oil. so what will happen when the people start demanding that they take back control of their own natural resources (same demand in Nigeria re oil) and instead of shipping everything to the US and its allies, they will open the competition to China, India. they will demand that corporate profits be more equally distributed to citizens and not just the royalty. what happens if the royalty does not yield to people power? what will the US do? can we support democratic movements and support dictatorships at the same time? all the editorial pundits are already speculating on the precarious moves that the US must consider...

i smell blowback. i know i am not alone.

no wonder the elder brothers have been warning the younger brother to pay attention. the younger brother will not pay attention....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Banig Memories

Sometimes a banig is more than a banig.


I remembered the last mid-January weekend retreat in Sta. Rosa, the playing like children in Sonoma, the comfort of Leny’s kitchen and couch. I remembered the warmth of bodies and hearts, all 15 of us, settled like birds in a nest, treasuring the home we found in one another. I remembered the sheer bliss of rediscovering deep friendship, the sweetness of laughter shared as a family, the passionate play of being community. We were, as Perla so aptly described it, a bowl. We contained each other, our laughter and our tears, our smiles and even our fears, our bodies, our spirits. We were a bowl yes, but at the same time, we were also a boat on the river, flowing with our dreams, rowing to the rhythm of our vision - for service to our Kapwa - rowing towards liberation, always moving towards freedom.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Haunting Valentine x3

A meditation (1) turns into a hay(na)ku (2) and a new poem (3). Thanks to Eileen and Grace!!

(1) i am haunted by words. spoken. written. whispered. over the phone. texts. emails. even words that never leave the tongue but flow with our breath. words that are remembered because they pierced our hearts once. words that someone uttered from across the table confirming an answer to a question: why won't you love me? words that tumbled over the brain like waterfall washing all the nonsense away. words that flower from the mountain of grief. words that seed themselves in the ground of being. words that birthed a new intimacy...with the body's skin. bone. hair. words that rush like wind airing out the dusty corners of psyche. words that spell a four letter word which is your name.

i am haunted by words. they have a life of their own. and because they have a life of their own, i cannot claim ownership. so i own Nothing.  in the end i am back to the beginning: I am left with the Fullness of Nothing.

(2) Eileen's Hay(na)ku version
i am haunted
by words.

written. whispered. over
the phone.

emails. even words
that never

the tongue but
flow with

breath. words remembered
because they

our hearts. words
someone uttered

across the table
confirming an

to an unanswered
question: why

you love me? 
words that

like waterfall washing
all nonsense

words flowering from
a grieving

words seeding themselves
in the

of being. words
birthing new

with skin. bone.
hair. words

like breezes airing
out dusty

of psyche. letters
spelling a

which is your
name. i

haunted by words. 
they have

own lives. i
cannot claim

i own Nothing
in the 

am back to
the beginning:

only with the
Fullness of

(3) Grace's poem:

i am haunted by words.

words that never leave the tongue but flow with our breath.

words that remember how to pierce hearts.
   words that spell a four-letter word which is your name.

once, words uttered themselves across the table

words came, confirming an unanswered question: 



you love me? 

they tumbled over the brain

like waterfalls washing all the nonsense away.
out of phones. texts. emails
   they seeded-tender shoots of words  grounding themselves deep into the ground of being. 

they sprouted- tendrils of words on top of a mountain of grief

and then, new words flowered 

birthed a new intimacy...with the body's skin. bone. hair.

new words  rushed like wind airing out the dusty corners of psyche.

and though, still...even then
Nothing in the (y)our words

they have a life of their own.

they have a life of their own 

though i know,  i cannot own you
 i am back to the beginning:

all that is left,  planted in my mouth 

are (y)our words.
sated,  I am left with the Fullness of Nothing 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Ghost of Mr. White

There are ghosts that haunt us...
Prof L ended up doing research on the Thomasites because as a child he grew up hearing stories about the ghost of a Mr. White. The prof became fascinated by the question of whether there was a real person behind the ghost story. So off he went to do a phd on the Thomasites and unearthed the story of Frank Russel White who built the first public school in Tarlac and later on became the overall superintendent of schools in the country.
I asked Prof L what he thinks the ghost wants or needs that it has pursued him all this time?
Is this spirit restless, wandering, lost, sad, confused, remorseful?
Is he asking or needing forgiveness?
Is he needing absolution?

I suppose I'll have to wait for an answer on the next visit.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

growing Transition Movements

it's good that the Transition movement is growing. 
buzz words: civilizational collapse, soft transition, end of cheap oil, cutting carbon emission, localization, quality of life, less travel, etc.
this movement is initiated by mostly urban, affluent communities, mostly white folks. in this video, there are featured towns from Ireland, England, New Zealand, Australia...there's even one near me - Transition Sebastopol (not in the video, tho).
this movement is grassroots and grounded on valuing relationships including respect for elders, mindful use of resources, planting your own food, sharing -- all good!

i've been mulling for a while now how i can plug in to a transition community but then on second thought, 
i do not have to transition because i am and have always been "in transition"...!
this movement is really calling for a call to return to indigenous values - love of Land/Earth, love of creation, love of each other, questioning modern values -- values that folks like me have never left behind. 
my question is: is it enough to talk about transition without also talking about the need to decolonize the white/whitened mind (Eurocentric, modern)? and what would that look like exactly? 
here's Jurgen Kremer with some answers.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

cooking frenzy

the day started slowly and late.
toast and jam; softboiled egg for breakfast.
the day before i bought shrimp and ground pork.
we had shrimp sinigang last night. i used lemons and kalamansi from the garden.
i was going to make lumpiang shanghai but ended up making torta instead. i didn't make torta the way my mom does. i used yam instead of potatoes; green pepper instead of red. added corn and peas. dried chopped apricots instead of raisins. it's almost as good as mom's.
then while the torta was cooking, i baked 3 medium-sized beets.
i chopped off the beet greens and sauteed them in butter and garlic.
then i remembered that i had kale and broccoli in the garden so i harvested some. the kale was mixed with the beet greens. i steamed the broccoli; with nothing added, it was perfect.
afterwards i noticed that i had a large butternut squash on a basket on the kitchen counter. i sliced it in half and baked half of it drizzled in olive oil. i cut the other half in chunks and cooked it in coconut milk with a touch of curry powder and ginger. well, it turned out to be coconut cream so i only needed half a can. what to do with the other half?
well, i had tapioca pearls. i also had frozen pandan leaves so i boiled it for a few minutes to infuse the pearls with pandan flavor. after the pearls were done, i added the coconut cream. ack. i forgot to add sugar. what to add for sugar? ahh, i had a can of lychees. i cut the lychees into small pieces then added it with the syrup to the tapioca pearls. delicious!!
it was a good day....
i wish you were here to eat with me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SILK EGG by Eileen Tabios: A Response

Sometimes I feel I'm carrying on an illicit affair with Poetry. You know how that feels, right? Desire overwhelms and then the disciplined heart (or is it the mind?) intercepts and says: Dont! You can't possess her anyway!
And so Silk Egg sat on my coffee table as I got busy: a retreat, two book reviews, two syllabi, a walk in the woods, a romp on the beach at sunset, and traipsing here and there with friends.
But tonight I picked her up and took her to bed with me (I wouldn't be writing this otherwise, no?) And she just wouldn't let me go.
I had forgotten how sweet it is to get lost in the beauty of ....Words. These black dots on a page suddenly turning into a visual sensual orgasm of sort.
What is so special about Her birthland is replete with child soldiers? Just one sentence that would take a Nicholas Christof an entire NYT column to expound on. But say it once, say it again and ....
There's a reason why Sky is better than aspirin! because when one thinks of war, of refugees, of orphans, one thinks of the assumed amorality of maps. But for me those who draw maps succumb to manifest manners - a Rarefied pretense of empire mongers. Yes, I believe that in the rarefied air of the imperial City, radiance has absconded.
The rest of us are ushered into a Door not of our choosing; sometimes regretful but then acquiescing to the loosening of rain, rain rain.
After all, the heart is a pure animal.
When having an illicit affair, you don't allow yourself to drown in the headiness of it all.
You caress slowly to make time stand still.
Do not swallow Silk Egg in one night.
But who will stop me?
I have no remorse.