the daily discomfort

Candid capture by Henrick Crisostomo

Candid capture by Henrick Crisostomo

A few minutes before I was supposed to go onstage to do a reading of some of my old #WritingTrue pieces for Eden & June's Finders Keepers, I mustered enough courage to write something new. It isn't my usual style but it is what is necessary, especially now. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


the daily discomfort

let me buy myself
a cup of specialty coffee
or cold-pressed juice
to make up for the fact
that i will
elbow
shoulder
hip
and knee
my way past
closing MRT doors
there was no way
i was missing another train.

i feel so
bottom of the food chain
as i give
the mother and daughter
next to me
some space
in a jeepney
bound for the projects
and the only real change i see
are coins passed
from one end to the other
mother clutching daughter with one hand
a brand new electric fan with the other.
SM’s 3-day sale
promised yet another
slashing of prices
70% off, so generous
so we could enjoy the finer things in life
like a new fan for the inhumane
heat, a new phone
to better fight the wars
on social media
and slash off
friends you no longer agree with.

how easy it is
to scroll through names
pick out entire identities
on 5 inches of screen
i mean, we didn’t use to be obsessed with
followers, and
follower-to-followed ratios.
and we are
scrolling
scrolling
scrolling
to see which friends belonged in the unfriendzone
scrolling
scrolling
scrolling
past the names of this year’s
bar topnotchers
new lawyers
teachers
engineers
builders of the future
acknowledged right here

yet we call for volunteers
for a beach cleanup
an ecobrick dropoff
a tree-planting seminar
and the list is so sparse
one scroll and you’re done.

i’m in a GrabCab now
and i feel like hurling
i feel like retching out my insides
not from the wretched traffic
or the jumpy brakes
because i see a name
of someone i’ve unfriended
down a list of the dead
casualties from
a casino shootout
or a wannabe attack
and i don’t know whether
i can hate terrorists
any more than i blame myself.

2017