This one is a sequel to the poem I wrote last March, A Woman’s Bite. I need not go far to see the worsening plight of women when it comes to abuse, sexism and misogyny. I live in a country where those who have sworn to serve and protect the people blame women’s choice of clothes for sex crimes. We have a broadcaster who thinks the way women dress could led to inviting the beast. We have a lawyer who would bitch-slap a woman for having a mind of her own. And just when you thought nothing could go worse, we have a president who have a long list of sexist and demeaning remarks.
It is with heavy heart that I share this quote as I mourn for a colleague, a friend, and a kuya who is now off to seek his Great Perhaps. I cannot talk about life and death the way Albom or Coelho does, but I can wholeheartedly say the world lost another good man today. I could only wish he left us on a good time. Not during this cursed pandemic. But perhaps, God has far better plans. He may not be surrounded by the people whose lives he touched, but his soul will be surrounded by our love. 😦
Last night we talked about childhood Walked down memory lane to recall past antics You painted a picture of your early years: Smart kid, chubby cheeks— Probably a little too plump coz you were constantly teased, But you used your wit to you your advantage— Traveled far and wide Winning contests. Here’s a boy who likes solving puzzles, reading newspapers, raising hands
You got a treasure trove of bests And I wish I could say the same.
You see, I have very few memories of childhood I have images lacking backstory And voices with no picture in mind At a young age, I was torn Between two languages— Tagalog and Bisaya, clashing, twisting my tongue which is probably why I came to love silence— And English Here’s a girl who likes Edward Lear, book reading reports, hour hands
I’m a hunter of the treasures of my past And I wish you stick with me ’til I find them at last.
Synopsis: The memoir of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother — his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
Five reasons to read the book: 1) It gives you a good glimpse of South Africa — its people, languages and culture weaved by long history of oppression, divide and deprivation. It’s a good look at pre- and post-apartheid times through the eyes of a mixed child.
2) The storytelling. Reading the book feels like having an actual conversation with Trevor. It’s not presented as a chronological autobiography but instead as a collection of personal narratives on certain points of his life. Perhaps, it is an advantage for those who follow him on The Daily Show or his satirical comedy shows. Like what he normally does, Trevor jumps from one random memory to another, yet always, at the end of every essay, leaves something for readers to ponder on.
3) Trevor Noah. You know what’s sexier than abs and killer smile? Humor and wit. Trevor delivers both and a whole lot more. He doesn’t hide his imperfections or sugarcoat his past. This young capitalist, who spent his early days pirating CDs, DJ’ing parties and operating payday-lending to earn money, will show you the real meaning of strike while the iron is hot.
4) Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. They say behind every successful man is woman. In Trevor’s case, that driving force is Patricia. Her tribal name, “Nombuyiselo,” translates as “she who gives back” — and give she did. She faced racism and gender discrimination with rebelliousness, wrestled with the larger society’s expectations and that of her own. Like all great mothers, Patricia fed her family with ample of food for the body and food for the thought. Despite her trials or perhaps because of them, this woman is indeed phenomenal.
5) The mother and son duo. Free-spirited and independent Patricia raised her son on tough love. You get to see the relatable mother and son banter, but rarely would you see a woman who prepares her son for the cruel world at a very young age. While most of us had the sweet taste of life first, Patricia let Trevor get used to the bitterness — and use that bitterness to challenge him to see the good in everything. Hilarious, dramatic and deeply affecting at once, theirs was a relationship anyone would find interesting. As Trevor wrote, they weren’t just mother and son. They were a team.
Highlighted Quotes: “We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.”
“The first thing I learned about having money was that it gives you choices. People don’t want to be rich. They want to be able to choose.”
“People always lecture the poor: ‘Take responsibility for yourself! Make something of yourself!’ But with what raw materials are the poor to make something of themselves?”
“People love to say, ‘Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.’ What they don’t say is, ‘And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.’ That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.”
“It’s easy to be judgmental about crime when you live in a world wealthy enough to be removed from it.”
“We live in a world where we don’t see the ramifications of what we do to others, because we don’t live with them.”
“But after a while the bruises fade, and they fade for a reason — because now it’s time to get up to some shit again.”
Final Thoughts: Candid and comically sublime, Born a Crime is perfect for those who are looking for a one-sitting read. It’s a book of childhood memories and stories of the past but Trevor, in a way, also reflects on his experiences as an adult man which give it more depth. You’d definitely want the audiobook right after reading. At least that’s the case for me.
Have you read Born a Crime? Did you like it as much as I did?
The last time I wrote a poem, I was mad. Angry and frustrated with the world, the people, the reality — everything. And though it feels so good to pour these emotions on paper, I miss the other triggers to my writings. I miss writing about smiles, laughters, tears of joy. Even writing about heartache brings you loving memories. I miss the girl who likes spinning castle in the air. I need to call her back.
So, for now, while the ink stays dry, let’s read. 🥀❤️
These two books of poetry and prose were written by Rod Marmol, a poet here in the Philippines. How about you? What are you reading this weekend?
Short Synopsis: Set on a Bengali noble’s estate in 1908, this is both a love story and a novel of political awakening. The central character, Bimala, is torn between the duties owed to her husband, Nikhil, and the demands made on her by the radical leader, Sandip. Her attempts to resolve the irreconcilable pressures of the home and world reflect the conflict in India itself, and the tragic outcome foreshadows the unrest that accompanied Partition in 1947.
What I liked:
1. The characters. Each POV from the three central characters brought me to their shoes. I struggled with Nikhil in keeping his morals, I lost my way to sensationalism and terror with Bimala, and I breathed in Sandip’s clouded fanaticism. These internal turmoil that each character go through make the story relatable.
2.The depth in this slim volume. It talks about infatuation — one that goes beyond the physical attraction. It weights the pros and cons of being infatuated with an idea. It tackles the concepts of freedom and bondage, pitting rationalism, nationalism and humanism against each other, backdropped by the political scenario of the Swadesi movement.
3. Tagore’s poetic power. I know people did not miss the faulty translations but that did not hamper Tagore’s beautiful prose.
What I didn’t like: None? Haha I’m an easy-to-please reader in general. The only thing I could wish is to be able to read and understand the novel in its orginal language. Perhaps I’m also slightly disturbed by Bimala’s representation of women (her gullibility) but I understand her chosen path of freedom and the form of redemption she received in the end.
Favorite quotes: “I am willing to serve my country, but my worship I reserve for Right which is far greater than my country. To worship my country as a god is to bring a curse upon it.”
“To tyrannize for the country is to tyrannize over the country”
“So long as we are impervious to truth and have to be moved by some hypnotic stimulus, we must know that we lack the capacity for self-government. Whatever may be our condition, we shall either need some imaginary ghost or some actual medicine-man to terrorize over us.”
“Is there any country, sir,” pursued the history student, “where submission to Government is not due to fear?” “The freedom that exists in any country,” I replied, “may be measured by the extent of this reign of fear. Where its threat is confined to those who would hurt or plunder, there the Government may claim to have freed man from the violence of man. But if fear is to regulate how people are to dress, where they shall trade, or what they must eat, then is man’s freedom of will utterly ignored, and manhood destroyed at the root.”
“It is only when we get to the point of letting the bird out of its cage that we can realize how free the bird has set us.”
“I tell you, sir, this is just what the world has failed to understand. They all seek to reform something outside themselves. But reform is wanted only in one’s own desires, nowhere else, nowhere else!”
“To clutch hold of that which is untrue as though it were true, is only to throttle oneself.”
“Only the weak dare not be just.”
Final Thoughts: I first read this book in 2017. It is much more than a classic literary masterpiece to me. Each page is an awakening about the fragility of humanity. This book resonates deeply, especially with what is happening to my country and to the rest of the world today.
LUNES Binukas ang mga mata sa bagong umaga Muling umaasa sa panibagong sana Sana mabigyan ng pansin ang mga hinaing Pakinggan ang mga boses na humihiling
MARTES Itong gusaling umangat sa rurok ng kalingitan Tila biglang nakalimot na kami ang pumasan Bawat suntok sa tagumpay kamao namin ang gumalaw Ngayong kami’y nangangailangan bigla kang bumitaw
MYERKULES Sadya namin ay tinapay, umulan ay bato Hindi ka kumilos, ni hindi kumibo Nasaan na ang bangkang sabi mong lulan natin? Bakit kami lang nakakapit sa dulo ng patalim?
HUWEBES Simpleng mangagawang binulag mo ng pangako Pinaasa, pinabayaan, pinagkanulo Dukhang marapat sana’y dakilain at itanghal Tinanggalan ng pag-asa at natitirang dangal
BYERNES Kaya ‘wag mong sasabihing pantay ang ating halaga Kung hindi ka kaisa sa hirap, dusa’t luha Kung hindi ka nangambang mawalan ng tirahan At naranasang matakot para sa kinabukasan
SABADO Ipikit ang mga matang pagod nang umaasa Tama na ang paghihintay sa malinaw na wala Panahon nang isigaw ang aming bulong Hindi na aasam sa iyo ng tulong
LINGGO Sa mapanghamong buhay makikipaglaro Ang sistemang baluktot dudurugin ng pino Liwayway ng paglaya ay darating din Pag-unlad at tagumpay sa iyong inalipin
For a long while I chose not to write poetry because, with what I’m carrying in my heart, I know nothing positive will come out of it. And I didn’t want that. I would love if my words can inspire or bring a smile to the few readers who take time to notice my writings. So I chose silence for the meantime. Until, perhaps, I genuinely feel happy about life and living again. But the struggle is real. And I need to unload it, even just this one. </3
Here is a great reminder from L.M. Montgomery in these trying times. When all seems lost and hopeless, when nothing seems to go right, when giving up is a lot easier than holding on, may we be reminded to seek and see life’s magic and endless surprises. In a child’s eyes, in a stranger’s smile, in the colors of the sky, in moonlit nights. May these not-so-little things give us reasons to carry on. One day at a time. 🌻💛
He wakes up, beads of sweat trickle down his temples as Valis’ voice scurries to the back of his mind.
It has been three weeks. The freak who sees murder as a work of art has long been dead. But why does he haunt Billy still?
Drink your tea. Tie your shoes. Go to work. Billy thought his mundane routine could stop his mind’s engine from running withershins. But they don’t. He hates the man’s bloodlust but deep in the recesses of his thoughts, he is fascinated with Valis’ ingenuity. On how he staged those gruesome acts. Billy’s grief for that passion are tentacles taking grasp of his sanity.
He stared at the ceiling. Another day, another ordinary life.
The sun sets and the night rolls in. At midnight, his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream — the performance must be done.
Written Neekneraj’s Wordle and dVerse’s Prosery hosted by Bjorn who asks us to write a piece of prose of exactly 144 words inspired by a line from Maya Angelou’s poem, Caged Bird.
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
Today, I finished reading Dean Koontz’s novel, Velocity. This is my twist to the ending of the story.