I saw a cemetery from the bus this morning. It was along the way somewhere I’ve also never been to, but decided to go to this morning on a whim. The cemetery was a few meters from a military air base. If it had been a luckier day, I might have seen a plane fly by. It was on a rolling green terrain and sat in the midst of a plain that was blanketed with just the view of the sky. I almost wanted to go down.
There wasn’t any sun as the bus ploughed the empty road – and I was far out from places I’m familiar with. Honne’s Warm on a Cold Night album played over and over my headphones. Finally, I was going out for my soul.
Remember this day, when your limbs crumpled under the weight of his memory. Forming dark alleys and forlorn rivers. Twisted in their own reality.
Remember this day, when your eyes were surrounded and sunken, drained out of life. Vacuous, it couldn’t hide the pain unlike your smile.
Remember this day, when you imagined writing letters that will never be sent. Protecting truths that will never be known. Threatening to withstand the test of time.
Remember this day, when even sleep was robbed from you. Left with sporadic episodes. Leaving you awake treacherously in the middle of the night.
Remember this day, when the sun sets with all your happiness. And it rises without taking away any of your sadness.
Remember this day, when you cried alone.
One day you’ll be okay, and you’ll remember this day.
Sometimes, I see beautiful things. So beautiful that my grip on my camera strengthens as I raise it to my eye level. But when the moment captures my heart more than my eye, I somehow always find myself bringing that camera down. Because those imageries are always beautiful for how they make me feel rather than for how they look. And no amount of composition or camera build is capable of capturing that.
Though photographs tell a lot, this is the reason why the best imageries can only be found in a person.
The pain rendered me immobile. It was irreconcilable with every reason I came up with before I reached this decision. I find myself in this state again – of having to flush out tears several times a day just to feel
marginally better nothing. I hate myself for letting my heart take me through this. “You useless little piece of shit”, I almost want to say. But it stares back at me helpless and now lacking of any spirit, with pleading eyes that say “I did what I felt was right”. As always. Yet the the realization that I may have lacked the wisdom I thought I had in the first place leaves me in a bind – I end up pointing to nothing and no one. I have no energy to figure out what to blame.
It hurts profoundly. It hurts in places I thought I had built enough immunity. My own strength and resolve threatens to destroy me. Here I was again – broken on a pavement of dreams. Waiting for but myself to put it back together again. But I loved and that’s all I want to matter.
I’m in love with early mornings. When it’s dawn in some place, but not quite yet where I’m in. The way it intensifies everything. From the click of my heels, to the heavy silence – giving way to the songs of insects and birds alike to be heard. And how it wakes me up when the watch man calls me out from the darkness to greet me a good morning. It’s unlike dusk, where no further light is promised. While dusk opens the gateway to unpredictable darkness, early mornings await the first ray of light to descend on the ground. It awaits the golden torch that saves us from yearning through the night, because the promise of another day has already been kept.
I got on the bus and tapped my card. The sound of insufficient balance pierced through the entire vehicle and I took a step back to ask how much it was to my destination. The bus driver mouthed the number and I was relieved to find the exact amount in my purse. I dropped in my payment and collected the paper ticket that I always didn’t feel like taking. “Nobody’s going to check anyway”. Yet I’ve been on exactly 4 buses where a random check was conducted. I got up into the second deck, almost missed a step but saved myself from embarrassment. My mind never fails to come up with visions of tripping whenever a staircase confronts me. I am grateful for every single time my fears don’t materialize. As I scan for a seat, I find that getting a row to myself was no longer on the menu. I chose a thin girl as a seat mate and took up my space. I took an anthology out of my bag and started to read where I left off. But my attention gradually pulled away from the text and into the surrounding bus space. To my left was a mother, seated with her young daughter. She was overdressed relative to her entire family. And spoke to her daughter in a matter-of-fact way to tell her whose birthdays were coming up and that she’ll check and come back to her with those she missed on another day. In the front was this lady’s husband, looking on to their other daughter who refused to give up the front seat she spotted when they first came up the bus. They had a muffled argument just a couple of minutes ago, about whose fault it was that the other daughter wanted to sit in front. The father cut it short by stamping into where the cast-away daughter held ground, perhaps fearing his wife would make a scene in the more than half-filled bus. Behind me, a man assaulted my ears with a clanking sound every so often. Its frequency was constant enough to drum pervasively into my consciousness. He was an old man, with gold bangles, as I had witnessed when he first came up. I struggled to figure out how he produced the disturbing sound, without success. At a seat not too far, two ladies took everyone’s attention. One spoke in Filipino, and another in a language I will not pretend knowing for the sake of completing this essay. Their idea of a phone call was to include the entire bus in the conversation. “I’m on my way”, she hollered. “You wait for me”, in English she said. I wondered if she was from Myanmar, but as soon as I looked into their direction, I realized the unknown language was probably one of my country’s dialects.
My stop finally came and I went down the upper deck a station early. As soon as I stepped out of the bus, I imagined I would have been free of all the unnecessary noise that I could not escape in such a confined yet public space. Yet I realized that I was in the same boat, just that people were further away. The same people, only they didn’t clank into my ear. This time, all the sounds competed in repressing one another and if I stayed isolated enough in my own thoughts and my own path, it was just one unified drone that echoed the city’s soul.
A blackout poetry collection done with my good friend, Swati. Pages regretfully taken from Alice Munro’s “Love of a Good Woman”. But hey, we made new poems out of her story. Click here for the full collection.