Two Hafiz poems for a Monday

Do sad people have in
It seems
They have all built a shrine
To the past
And often go there
And do a strange wail and
What is the beginning of
It is to stop being
So religious
Like That.


This place where you are right now
God circled on a map for you.
Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
Against the earth and sky,
The Beloved has bowed there –
Our Beloved has bowed there knowing
You were coming.


An end to religiosity and a prayer. Amen. 


Hanoi and her sense of community

I love Hanoi. The place is bursting with crazy energy-- the motorcycles whizzing by from all directions and made-up locals with somewhere to go.


Home of the pho and vermicelli, the restaurants are usually full and busy. Locals loving their own food. A Vietnamese friend from Hanoi, Zi, proudly says that their cuisine is rarely oily (lucky girl!). 

Get into those hole-in-the-wall restos, but also try out food from the vendors plying the streets. (For what you can eat around Hanoi, check out this previous post.)

In the old quarters, you'll see many examples of French architecture that's able to maintain their charm even in their less-than-ideal state (check out the details: the iron grills, the art nouveau windows, the bold and pretty colors). Also, the place is teeming with cute boutiques that pop out of the most unassuming side streets...

Lira, who's responsible for half the photos in this page
But the thing that I loved most about Hanoi is her sense of community (yes, she's female!). Say what you may about its craziness (disclaimer: I find crazy streets exciting, but I know it's not for everyone) and rude drivers, but Hanoi's got that "buzz" -- of family, kinship, familiarity. We walked around the Lenin Park - Literature Temple area and found these: parks full of families and neighbors playing sports together, old uncles and granddads hanging out playing cards, and an old married couple walking hand in hand (cue in "awww").

I love places that are abuzz with that homey feeling.  


Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi

Bursts of happy in a mask stall outside the theater
Water puppets on parade
Puppeteers/actors take to the water stage, giving their bows for the night
Ensemble + the Puppeteers and dragon

Bon Iver - The Park (Feist Cover)

Bon Iver - The Park (Feist Cover)

why would he come back through the park?
you thought that you saw him, but no you did not
it’s not him who’d come across the sea to surprise you
not him who would know where in London to find you

with a sadness so real that it populates
the city and leaves you homeless again
steam from a cup and snow on the path
the seasons have changed from the present to past

why would you think your boy would become
the man who could make you sure he was the one?

To those possibilities we bury.


The Inevitable Heartbreak

She'll only break your heart, it's a fact. And even though I warn you, even though I guarantee you that the girl will only hurt you terribly, you'll still pursue her. Ain't love grand?
- Ms. Nora Dinsmoor, Great Expectations



Leonard: Hello Leslie.
Leslie: Hi Leonard.
Leonard: I'd like to propose an experiment…
Leslie: Goggles, Leonard.
Leonard: Right. I would like to propose an experiment.
Leslie: Hang on. I'm trying to see how long it takes a 500-kilowatt oxygen iodine laser to heat up my Cup o' Noodles.
Leonard: I've done it. About two seconds, 2.6 for minestrone. Anyway, I was thinking more of a bio-social exploration with a neuro-chemical overlay.
Leslie: Wait, are you asking me out?
Leonard: I was going to characterize it as the modification of our colleague-slash-friendship paradigm with the addition of a date-like component, but we don't need to quibble over terminology.
Leslie: What sort of experiment?
Leonard: There's a generally accepted pattern in this area. I would pick you up. Take you to a restaurant. Then we would see a movie, probably a romantic comedy featuring the talents of Hugh Grant or Sandra Bullock.
Leslie: Interesting. And would you agree that the primary way we would evaluate either the success or failure of the date would be based on the biochemical reaction during the good night kiss?
Leonard: Heart rate, pheromones, et cetera. Yes.
Leslie: Why don't we just stipulate that the date goes well and move to the key variable?
Leonard: You mean kiss you now?
Leslie: Yes.
Leonard: Can you define the parameters of the kiss?
Leslie: Closed-mouth but romantic. Mint?

- "The Fuzzy Boots Corollary," the Big Bang Theory (1.03)

On writing

That's the good news and the bad news. The bad news, because it means that confronting terror and humiliation is part of the job description. Good news, because it happens to everybody, it comes with the turf, and each time out will be like the first time. First love only happens once, but first-fiction terror and euphoria can happen again and again.
 So haul out your Moleskin or boot up the iBook, and go scare the hell out of yourself. Then fall in love. Repeat when necessary. 

- Tim Tomlinson, "Fiction," The Portable MFA in Creative Writing


When the plug is pulled from under you & you get reduced to the basics, you realize what really, truly matters.


The beginning of the end

There’s always a moment when you start to fall out of love, whether it’s with a person or an idea or a cause, even if it’s one you only narrate to yourself years after the event: a tiny thing, a wrong word, a false note, which means that things can never be quite the same again.
- Douglas Adams

"If I should have a daughter" - Sarah Kay

"Baby," I'll tell her, "remember, your mama is a worrier, and your papa is a warrior, and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more."



We talk about the tragedy of false notions, the link between discovery and despair, the joy of understatement. When there is a knock on the door, a request to take a minute of our time, I say sure. We are inside the story, and to the students outside, I say, sure, come on in.
excerpted from "Geography Lesson," Conchitina Cruz

Brought as reading material Conchitina Cruz' Disappear - a book of poetry on our many disappearances: within ourselves, society, inside and outside a story/ stories, the city.

I love the way Cruz uses language - moving and poignant- and what it reveals. In "Geography Lesson" in particular, the subject was despair: and how, depending on your geopolitical location, you may have the luxury for it or you may not.

On a personal note, it got me thinking, given the choice, would you live a life worthy of poetry?  

(Thank you, Turtle, for this book recommendation!)


Hello from El Nido

At Matinloc Shrine

Still here in town, trying to finish a deadline. I love this place so much, I'm delaying going back to Puerto Princessa (which gives me around 6 more hours to work in this awesome place). =)


For 2012: Integrity and Love

This post is a bit late, after all we have been 11 days to 2012, but two words that I'd really like to achieve for the year: integrity and love.

Integrity, not in the "doing what's right even when no one is looking" sense (although that's cool, too), but integrity as a condition of wholeness, of being complete; that's one of the primary goals for 2012.

The second being love. Looking back, 2011 has truly been the #giddinessmagnet year (thank you, Universe). There were those moments of magic that lifted my feet off the ground and had me walking on air, i.e. the backpacking trip (B-2011) that allowed me and my girlfriends to escape the humdrum of everyday life and go on a 3-week adventure across Southeast Asia, those published pieces on Pulse.ph and an entry on hellogiggles.com, etc. These are great, yes, but quite sporadic. And for the year, the goal, really, is to be more consistent when it comes to doing the things that make me giddy. And what is kilig-made-permanent but love?

 The commitment I'm making to myself this year is to go after those things that make me whole with a greater sense of consistency this time around. So, to kick start that, a short list for myself:

1. Meet my deadlines. Self-imposed or client-imposed.
2. Treat writing as a necessary adventure, not just an escape. Make it a regular fixture.
3. Embark on those projects thought of in 2011.
4. Allocate mullah only on those things that truly count.
5. Give.  
6. Forgive.
7. Let go of unnecessary baggage.
8. Think twice before booking a trip (no more impulse-ticket buying).
9. Work towards a job I'll be happier with.
10. Be more present in whatever task I'm involved in.
11. Use the calendar more by penciling in schedules and to-dos. Plot goals and targets with a more long-term approach. 
12. Cook more and eat better.


This is your year.

Happy New Year!

Some eye-candy start-of-the-year reminders for all of us this 2012: 

1. Embrace it.

Super Swoon
2. Go for what you love.

Jessica Svedsen

3. Do.
from etsy