Window Treatment, 6

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Watched this icicle grow and turn murderous over a period of a few days spent hibernating with a couple of historical avant-garde manifestos, a couple of foundational postcolonial texts, and a couple of Frankfurt School philosophers. After a day and a half of cancelled classes and a good three feet of snow on the ground, the snow on the roof came crashing down, knocking the icicle off my window. I still look for it first thing when I wake up. I guess I’d become strangely fond of its company.

Hong Kong Postcard, 2

Apparently, when I travel, either I travel with a man or I travel alone. Hong Kong, for some reason, is the exception to my either-or. The two times I visited, I did both–by this I mean I traveled to and from Hong Kong alone, but spent time with a man while I was there. In 2010 I attended a conference with good friend V, who flew in from Singapore (or Manchester?) while I flew in from Manila. Last November, I attended a poetry festival with my plus one A, who flew in from Manila while I flew in from Albany. Consequently, it is with Hong Kong that I associate The Dramatic Airport Scene–well, not really with V, but with A, and by dramatic, I mean one-sided dramatic, since only one of the pair is high strung (sino kaya? haha.). After living in separate countries for months, there’s nothing like the (oh so cosmopolitan) thrill of meeting again in the airport of a third country for a week-long tryst (and work for me too, but it’s ridiculous to call a poetry festival work). And of course, nothing like having to get on separate planes a week later to make you feel like crap.

But Hong Kong itself with a man, i.e., A, was lovely. It’s much easier to be the anxious person that I am when he’s around–the socials (and there were a number) are more bearable, the public speaking tasks less nerve-wracking (one person in the room is surely rooting for you!), and the pressure to comprehend city maps non-existent (I can handle maps if I have to, but to A, plotting routes is sheer joy). Funny, though, how quickly we absorbed Hong Kong into our travel routine of holing up–a routine compatible with beaches and small towns (our travel lineup so far), but not exactly with a huge city. And yet there we were, spent after a half day of flaneur-ing (granted, we also had a lot of “work” events to attend), opting instead to spend the rest of our free time on languid breakfasts in the hotel and long hours lounging and lazing about in our room. We did spend a good amount of time enjoying our view–a combo of mountains, train tracks, skyscrapers, and a culvert! “Ang ganda ng Hong Kong!” we said to each other whenever we looked out the window.

We did meander some. Photo by A, who took all the photos.

We did meander some. Photo by A, who took all the photos.

More flaneur-ing. Wanted to get more of the funny-quote magnets V and I found back in 2010 (i.e., You Are My Love My Angle Don't Treat Me Like Potato), but no luck.

More flaneur-ing. Wanted to get more of the funny-quote magnets V and I found back in 2010 (i.e., You Are My Love My Angle Don’t Treat Me Like Potato), but no luck.

Tambay-tambay sa kuwarto.

Tambay-tambay sa kuwarto.

Tambay pa ulit!

Tambay pa ulit!

 

Hong Kong Postcard, 1

I met the great Chilean poet Raul Zurita. He was quiet and old, much older in appearance than age. He took his breakfasts alone in the hotel dining hall. He arrived early in the hotel lobby each time our group had to converge for the day’s activities. He sat by himself, smiled often, and said little. He shook when he walked. He struggled with seat belts. But on the night of his reading, when he recited his long poem “El Mar” (“The Sea”), he stood still on the stage and spoke with a voice firm and filled with conviction. I had never felt as moved by an author reading his poetry as I did when I listened to Zurita, an activist who was detained and tortured under the Pinochet dictatorship, and author of the monumental “La Vida Nueva” (“The New Life”), which, in 1982, was literally written by an airplane in the sky of New York City. “I began to feel at one point that in the face of the violence and horror that nature had something permanent. That it existed before and it will exist afterwards,” says Zurita, who has found and ally and irrepressible advocate against atrocity in nature–thus, the large-scale projects of writing poetry in the sky or bulldozing it in the desert or carving it on cliffs facing the sea. Of art, Zurita says that its only purpose “is to make life more humanly livable. In brief, we should keep on proposing Paradise, even if the evidence at hand might indicate that such a pursuit is folly.”
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I could hardly say a word to Zurita during the week I was in his company, which easily made me regret not learning Spanish in college. He was kind enough to approach me after my own reading; he smiled at me, applauded, and said “bravo.” On our last day in Hong Kong, by some stroke of luck, Adam and I found ourselves sharing the same car service to the airport with him. At the airport, as I helped Zurita wheel his luggage cart down the ridiculously steep slope of Terminal 1, he once again turned to me, smiled, and said, slowly, “I like your poetry very, very, very much.” To which I responded by crashing the cart against the railing to our right (the luggage was about to topple over and I couldn’t think of any other solution). We then disengaged the cart from the railing and slowly maneuvered our way to the check-in counters.
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BLTX IV A New Beginning

Save the date! This year’s Better Living Through Xeroxography a.k.a. BLTX, a small press expo, is on December 14, Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm at the Lopez Museum, Benpres Building, Ortigas. Check out new (and newish) books, zines, comics, and more from the following participants: Gener Pedrina, Gelo Suarez & Donna Miranda, Ardie Aquino, UP Writers Club, Heritage Conservation Society – Youth, UP UGAT, UP Grail, Carmeldita, Carlocrazy Clemente, KATAGA QC, Elbert Or, Birdhouse Bakers, Staple & Perk, Zigzag Animals, Patrick Rawrr, Rolf Campos, Makoy Dakoykoy & Ungaz Press, Kubori Kikiam, Pulang Lupa Foundation, The Cabinet, Happy Comix & Alternative Print, Kowtow Komiks, Mina Esguerra, Apol Sta Maria, THE Rob Cham, Moar Books!, Flipside, Paper Monster, Saturnino Basilia, Nine Iron, Mazinger Zine, Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books Book Club, Bomba Press feat. Claire Villacorta, Ricardo A. Guiao Jr., and the Youth & Beauty Brigade.

I’m presuming High Chair and hal. are part of the lineup too, though they aren’t signed up yet. See you there!

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High Chair Book Sale for Typhoon Yolanda Relief Efforts

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Ilyong’s Project 4, November 15 (Friday, 7 pm onwards)
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Lopez Museum Ortigas, November 16 (Saturday, 2-5 pm)
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High Chair Book Launch, October 25, 5 pm

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Saturday Fun Machine

A quick trip to the city to fix my visa to China, hang out with a friend in town from San Francisco, and meet up with college friends for what is turning into a fortnightly routine of beer and bonchon, culminated unexpectedly in the Javits Center for the New York Comic Con. Thanks to a friend with a spare ticket, I was able to go minus the expense and foresight (apparently, tickets ran out way before the actual event). Spent a satisfying ten minutes at the entrance taking photos of people passing by–it’s especially hilarious to watch superheroes et al. observe traffic regulations, looking left and right before crossing the street. Lost the drive to take photos inside the convention center due to the density of the crowd, which overwhelmed my old and weary self. But it was still fun to people watch! Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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