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DoodleScribbles

Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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humanity

Writers Quote Wednesday: Are there any questions?

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Are there any questions?

To some, this might just be an ordinary statement of inquiry. But to those who have read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, these four words carry too much weight.

Originally published in 1985, Atwood’s dystopian novel takes readers to the fictional Republic of Gilead. It follows Offred, a Handmaid assigned to a high-ranking commander and his wife. In an age of declining births, Handmaids are valued only for their capability to procreate. They are held prisoners — stripped off their past and future. They are forbidden to read, write, or interact with the outside world. They are meant only to bear children for their assigned commander and failure to do so warrants death.

The book ends with Professor Pieixoto’s final line, Are there any questions? To me this seems a rhetorical question asked not to get an answer but instead to emphasize a point. It forces us to question our role as witnesses, both of Offred’s tale and of our own history of oppression.

Do we forget and stay silent? Do we remain neutral and indifferent? Do we stand up and fight?

There is more than one kind of freedom,” said Aunt Lydia. “Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

You! Yes, you. As The Handmaid’s Tale becomes grimly relevant these days, would you ask a question?

Share Your World – Introspections

So, I’ve decided to join the fun at Melanie’s Share Your World Challenge. Here’s for the first week of July.


Would (or do) you stop to help (presumably) stranded folks by the side of the road?

As an empath in nature, I would. Of course this does not mean that I don’t feel a tinge of fear or distrust, but I still want to believe that there is goodness in each of us. That, despite all the negativities, people can be kind to one another.

Do you think the world is less mannerly today than in past times OR are we just more touchy and manners are as they’ve always been?

Truth is I’m morally scarred. I would not zoom out to the rest of the world because even just the current situation of the people here in my country, the Philippines, is enough to trigger my cynicism. There is a prevalent disrespect for women and much more disregard for life in general. All these are led by none other than the head of the state. His brand as a populist leader has enticed many Filipinos. Whatever he says, believes or does, people will follow. His rape jokes ripple throughout the country and his bloody war ensues at the expense of the poor.

The Philippines has gambled for an actual medicine-man to cure the nation but I fear that we might have taken the wrong prescription.

What happens if you’re scared half to death, TWICE?
HA! I wouldn’t even try to do the math but I’d probably end up doing the first thing I always do when something scares me: freeze.

If ALL the world’s a stage, where does the audience sit?
This reminds me of a piece I wrote one the first Monday of July a year ago. Maybe life is one big stage, maybe it isn’t. But one thing is for sure, we all have a part to play. The audience don’t just get to sit.

Share your thankful comments here. It’s a gorgeous day most places, so celebrate!

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I’m grateful to God for surrounding me with beautiful people who keep me anchored to life. My family, for being my strength and motivation; my friends, for reminding me that the beauty of life can also be found in people; and the boyfriend, for sticking through my anxieties, mood swings and existential days.

I’m grateful for the comfort I find in words whenever I read or write. To my books, for taking me to different worlds; and to blogosphere, for allowing me to have my own little world. As most of my friends here in WordPress know, I haven’t been writing much — by writing I don’t mean blogging about my escapades out in nature. What I mean is gone are daily poems and flash fictions.

This is why I am also grateful to Melanie for this prompt. SYW for me is a chance to introspect. It allows me to get in touch with my inner self and my muse. Who knows, one day, writing may come easy. 🙂

i try to bury the pain and blink

i try to bury the pain and blink.
with eyes moving from tab after tab, ears focused on the mechanical tapping of keyboards, i try to forget their names.

The first tab led me to 9gag. A GIF of a “normal night” in an english pub flashed before my eyes. Drunken men fighting each other, brawling for fun. It was supposed to make me laugh— but it didn’t. The images of bodies thrown on burning houses played at the back of my mind. Blood flows to the river banks as the women of Rohingya shout in pain.

blink.

I clicked the second tab that led me to Bored Panda. A list of surprisingly simultaneous historical events that will change the way you think of history caught my eye. I couldn’t get past after the odds of Prisoners Arriving At Auschwitz Just Days After Mcdonald’s Was Founded were mentioned. I felt my stomach flipped at the thought of death camp. My mind traveled back to Syria. What are the odds of living for the displaced refugees? Then to indonesia, will they be handed their rights?

blink.

On a desparate attempt to shun the looming gloom in my head, I tried the last tab. The literature page, my second virtual haven next to my blog. The poetry section listed Edgar Allan Poe’s A Dream Within a Dream on the top. His words pierced me with added force and I plunged into the depths of helplessness head first. Is this life just one big false awakening? Are the endless murders and tortures just part of a nightmare?

i try to bury the pain and blink.
closing the tabs, unplugging the chords, i stared at the black screen
hoping to forget their names.


I wrote this a month ago, on one afternoon I immersed myself in the world news. I did not publish it because I was disheartend with what was happening. Still is. But back then the pain was too raw for me to share it in this blog. The cynic and existentialist in me has taken over my head, asking questions that could not be answered. Or perhaps I just do not accept.

Justice, basic rights, peace.

Will the refugees ever get a chance to live with these? Or are we only good at sulking back to our chairs?

When the Night Warrants Death

I have just spent a night among the trees, out in the cradle of the mountains. I thought I’d carry the memories of that fun night a little longer. I thought I could look at the moon with a smile. But not tonight.

Tonight, anger simmers in me at a constant roil. I want to wail and rail against the world. This heart feels as if it might break through my ribcage from an intense revolt. For the first time, I hated the night. Not because of an American post-apocalyptic horror film but because of something vile and real. They come in uniform with their hands of steel. Filling the night with a staccato of gunfire, leaving men half blown off, fatal wounds in the head or face. I hated the night for they come in it. And they warrant death.

This quiet is piercing. The night is orphaned from the sound of crickets. I wonder if they knew. I wonder if they are mourning too. I wonder if the crickets offer this brief silence to the stolen lives of the dead just as I do.

The night cries justice
A long pause from the crickets—
Can somebody hear?
MS


In response to dVerse’s Haibun Monday: The Sounds of Koorogi hosted by Victoria C. Slotto. This piece might be a bit digressing from the topic but I hope it counts.

Currently, my mind is in rigor from reading about the death of seven men from Antique. They were rebels, members of our local red fighters. The AFP came in the middle of the night to serve “arrest” warrant to two men but it ended with death instead. What really happened, only the crickets know. This shouldn’t be a shock, they say, for the body bags have been pilling up. But it still makes me sad and mad. Especially when I found that one of them goes by the pen name of Maya Daniel. I came across this poet last 2017. He writes poignant and painful poems, each is a cry for freedom, liberation and resistance from oppression. His death marks another voice silenced, another pen deprived of ink.

Head over here to join the fun!

dverse

Snippet: (Non)sensical ruminations

always, beautiful, beauty, boy, couple, forever, girl, hug, love, lovely, night, sky, stars, together

“Death might be life in prison”
I wonder what you’d say when I tell you this.

Last night, I carved a path out of this carnal flesh
Wanting to leave the world behind—
Thoughts, feelings
Images, emotions
Flickering like jeers from far-off constellations

Death, this world has too many body bags
And the irony that prison has become a safer place is a shame

Between us, I was the lesser WHY-person
And you were the one with the bigger questions
Transcending physics to the realm of extraordinary things
While I was lost in poetry and daydreams

Detached from the physical body
Passing through astral planes and realities
Talking about death and life
A skeptic and a believer at the same time—
This is how we’ll make love

“Death might be life in prison”
I wonder what you’d say when I tell you this, love.
MS

 

Memories Sting

beautiful, black, black and white and girl

I wake up with scattered thoughts of you. Memories tossed on my bedroom floor. I tiptoe as I reached for the remote control, aware of what could happen if I step on one of them. A headline flashes from the flat screen. Today the world remembers the 140,000 deaths of the Hiroshima bombing. I can already hear you laugh. You, in your black shirt with that big bold quote that says “Fuck Imperialism”. You like women who can’t spell capitalism and it’s exactly the reason why you held my hand. Because I hated the numbers.

Outside, the world is a limbo. Cars going to and fro in a dull locomotive pace. I remember you complaining how God is a lousy screenwriter. On how this universe has become lopsided because he has rounded animals and humans but fucked up with the food chain. Men killing animals. Men killing men. “What madness!” you used to yell.  God, I miss you and your opinions. Those random sarcasm that turn into a long eurhythmic condemnation.

I calculate my decision as I snug on my pillow. What are the odds of living if I get up on this bed? I remember hands wrapped around my waist, soft kisses on my nape. You gave a scientific inquiry on how long can hugs last. I got up because my answer still has not changed— infinite. Today the world remembers the 140,000 deaths of the Hiroshima bombing. I have never seen the Little Boy’s wrath. I have never washed my face with blood. I have never ran away from death. I have never fought my way to live. But those 140,000 men must have felt far more torment than this heartbreak. And so, with shame, I must carry on this fate.

the wind whispers woes
of the dead and the living—
how memories sting
MS


In response to dVerse’s Haibun Monday: Peace Memorial hosted by Frank J. Tassone and Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #206.

Image Source: Favim

Head over here to join the fun!

dverse

Their blanket is the sky

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Their blanket is the sky.

He listens to their  voices, whispering and laughing as they play with the shadows beneath the waxing moon. A girl, about four, stretches her hands. Her thumbs interlock to form a butterfly’s body, her fingers extend to form its wings. Arms high in the thin air, the shadow begins to flap. She is Haya and her brother, Alan, joins the fun.

“Yanam,” he shouts from a distance and the two dancing butterflies stopped. Colored mats cover the pavement. Linen bed sheets create a makeshift room in the dim space that is now a home. The children race towards their father, laugh as if they haven’t jumped over dead bodies during the day. As if they weren’t chased away and reduced to sleeping in the streets.

Their blanket is the sky.

In a parallel universe the night is undoubtedly romantic. In another world the moon and the stars are poetic. But this is reality. The asphalt still smell of blood. Life is still a ticking bomb. And his wife is still dead.

His lips curved into a weak smile at the thought of his wife. For the first time he was glad she picked their children’s names. Haya means “life” and Alan means “rock.” The woman must have seen it coming.

“Yanam,” he repeats and they all went to sleep.


For the months that I haven’t been blogging, I find myself immersed in the world news. Most specifically with the pains and pathos of Africa and the Middle East. What these people are going through is painful in its reality. It is disheartening in its truth.

I wrote this piece few weeks ago, inspired by an article about Syrian civilians fleeing Deraa. I was half-hearted then but decided now that I should go ahead and post it. Just as Banksy tries to make a voice with his art, this is my attempt with words.

Image source: Favim

Writers Quote Wednesday: Freedom

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Last night, I finally finished reading Rabindranath Tagore’s The Home and the World. I’ve had this book for weeks but didn’t want to rush it to end. It was much more than a classic literary masterpiece to me. Each page was an awakening about the fragility of humanity. 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.

This book resonated deeply, especially with what is happening to my country, the Philippines, and to the rest of the world. What is true freedom? How can we truly heal? Here’s an excerpt from the book that hits home:

“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.”

― Rabindranath TagoreThe Home and the World

And to anyone who hasn’t read it yet, I definitely recommend The Home and the World.  ❤ #makelovenotwar

What Would You Do?

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What Would You Do? 

What would you do
When the thin line between
Right and wrong blurs?

When the outcries of the dead
Scream justice but the world
Responds with more deaths?

When humans refuse to be human
And the border that protects
now destroys, what would you do?
MS


In response to dVerse’s Poetics: Border. Today, Grace asks us to write about borders— physical or imaginary boundaries.

The image is above is a a painting by Filipino artist, Juan Luna, entitled Spoliarium. Our country and the people are in great divide right now with the ongoing war on drugs. Thousands are already dead but counting still goes on. When did death becomes the answer?

Head over here to join the fun!

dverse

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