Day 11: the letter from connecticut

November 20, 2009


Dearest Jon,

Slouched here on my couch, peripherally staring at the sedentary and mute vacuum cleaner on my right, I write to you with hopes of acquiring your mirth, enthusiasm, and fondness for face-to-face conversations with people who actually have different social security numbers and live, beating pulses. Outside, it’s cold enough to freeze a robber in his tracks and I wonder if the wintry breeze can make time stop – say, a deer-in-headlights-stop – and stay that way. Stay that way till spring comes with her beautiful green dress and red, bouncy hair to thaw frozen time with her luscious curves and velvet shoes. I ask you, dear, just how are you in your neck of the woods?

I am constructing images in the carpet, listening to The B-52’s with my friend Catherine, hallucinating, touching lightly on psychedelia, looking at a giant velvet couch to sit on, as I pass my lighted marijuana to her, “without wings without wheels, without everything but the love we feel”.  I can see our Japanese wagasa spinning around our red-painted lair.  I try to catch it, anime-simulated, chasing after the puddle of words around it.  I am venomous in the midst of our musical shrieks – love shack, baby, love shack !!! – as I jump up and down my emblematic trampoline, hoping, somehow, a half naked, bearded, Rennaisance man ensnare my psychedelia and help me net these words with wings.

Ah, such a pleasure to hear – or is it? Pleasure is, after all, so subjective, so mod, so surreal. Tell me, what is pleasure?

Pleasure, for me, is a multi-faceted man, who drinks red wine for breakfast, sits in the park the whole day watching people pass by; the fat, nauseated pervert, the shiny red dressed prim doll, the toddler in the stroller, the goth teenager with her piercings and Swastika tattoos, the decadent, the geek, the religious, the sad and the happy.  Rummaging through life’s  Sarcophagus of Contentment through the years, I have unearthed the realness of my pleasure man.  In love, in sex, in happiness, where pleasure stems appropriately as its prefix, he veils the alternating veracity of his contentment and comes out as a hermaphrodite.  A double edged sword of a man whose basic instinct is to make reality a little less tragic.  Had I been a serial killer and murdered 25 women in one year and got away with it, that would give me pleasure.  If I was a competitive businessman who exceeded my sales target for the month, that would give me the biggest orgasm in my life.  To me, currently, pleasure means arousing people to smile even more. Pleasure watches everyone.  He is liquefied in form like sexuality.  Once revealed, he screams unfailingly from the innards of his discontentment and looks into the horizon of happiness.  Happiness, on the other hand, is always short-lived.

Pleasure, yes, she comes in many forms. But before you became a fully-formed maiden likened unto Madonna (herself), what were you like? Channel Jon the Child and give him the floor.

Jon the child is Hilarion Verzosa III.  People call me Jonjon and my folks call me Nana.  I like playing in the rain, hovering over pornographic magazines under my parents’ bed,  reading the adventures of Niknok in Funny Komiks and making paper dolls for my younger sisters, Kit, Angeline and Noreen.  I have an addiction for insects, particularly, for ants.  There have been numerous makeshift ant farms done to my name.  I like the notion of ants being little people and me, as God.  I like bicycles and pigeons.  I love walking from school to the house, especially crossing the wooden bridge and throwing paper (of all) in the river!  I hate mathematics.  My mother keeps flashcards of the multiplication table at home to do rehearsals to us.  Every night, my sisters and I would steal a card or so (line of 7 and 8 which are the hardest to memorize) until one day, my mother gawked in disbelief when she discovered that only ones left were from line 1 to 5.

I am a first born, the stubborn first born as my grandfather Gavino used to say.

I understand that Jon the Child may have been busy as a youngin’, trying on his sister’s shoes and daydreaming of playing house with someone like Kafka. So now I’m giving him the chance to say whatever random thing he has to say, as an innocent little boy in the beautiful, magical land of Zambales.

The Zambales house is a few hopscotch away from the beach.  The town’s cemetery divides the two.  I sleep my childhood nights with the coo of the sea air and the crash of the tide.  Rural legends of sea ghosts, the ghosts that came from the graveyard to live on the beach is something I am so scared about.  A family friend, who just passed the medical board exam, was found dead two days after he walked to the beach one morning to sunbathe.  He was lying ashore, the same spot where he basked under the sun that morning, not bloated, with no sign of even drowning.  It is believed that the ghosts took his life, well, for the heck of it.

Just the same, I live for the beaches of Zambales.  It is where enchantment resides.

I live in trees.  I am a mango tree climbing monkey.  I eat green Indian mango everyday.  I don’t peel the rind as my taste bud glorify the sour and the bitter.  I also like talking to my grandparents.  I am very close to them.  They transmit subliminal messages to my curiosity with their stories of family scandals, the World War II, the aswangs (most feared mythical creatures) of the Visayas islands, folklore and dozens of secrets that my parents will never tell me. 

Growing up, this child has opened windows and doors that inspired him to become the delicate siren he is today. So tell me, who or what represent these windows and doors?


I mentioned this before but I will say it again.  My mother’s father, Gavino was a published poet.  He told me to read anything that is available and never to reduce my taste to one genus.  My father’s father, Hilarion Sr, played at the vaudeville as a lead guitarist back in the 50s.  Our entire family owed our musicality to him.  Gavino’s wife, Angeles, was a strong dominatrix of a woman whose vernacular taught me my earliest metaphors.  Her red nails and dynamic tongue was something I enjoyed interpreting as a child.  Hilarion Sr’s wife, Zenaida or Shanang as she is called, businesswoman, a loud palengke girl, is the most loquacious among the four of them.  We share the same birth date, hence, we shared impassioned banters on infidelity, work ethics and money.  These four fundamentally fiery people – my grandparents – were the earliest figures who opened my eyes to life.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m an old soul. I refuse to use barbaric, ill-shortened words for already short words (or heck, even long ones) in text messaging. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t smile. Okay, I smile, but only when sarcasm gets the best of me. I believe in modesty, in the calming effect of the ocean, and the power of home-cooked meals. How about you, Jon?

YOU are an old soul Pauline.  I, on the other hand, have grown older.  LOL.  Did that one just infuriate you?

Kidding aside, I am someone who dances from one tropical plane to the next.  I like summers.  I like the feel of heat and sweat coming out of my scalp.  It’s a ocean curse that was imparted by the Zambales seas .

I smile.  I smile a lot because, in a lot of ways, a smile inspires.  Cheesy as it may sound, but a smile, like the gush of tide, is a missive of peace to the spirit.

For the record, I drink.  I smoke.  I love to eat and I yearn to work as Tori Amos’ masseuse.

If you could destroy anything in this world, what would it be? What will you do it for?

Fame? Family? Fornication?

Fame.  I will do it for the lesser hero whose magnitude have diminished in this century.  We are living in a discipline of fear.  We fear the unseen and not the becoming.  Fame have entertained our lethargic minds that we actually forgot the formation of the self.  We sensationalized sensationalism.  We worshiped the trendy and the illogical.  Moreover, we have forgotten the value of compassion by being greedy and selfish. There are times, in rare times of enlightenment, when I tell the universe to curb man’s compulsion to addiction and start building bridges than spending more time being self-conscious.

The cinema is a box of bliss in a child’s warm hands. What movie will you liken to your life’s story?

An Angel At My Table by Jane Campion.

This is New Zealand.

This film is about a writer’s triumph over herself.  Dodged to work as a teacher, in a very unliterary commune, Janet Frame, surged on to conquer her dreams, leaving everything behind, to become the woman who became one of the more prolific writers of her time.  I would like to think that this is my movie.  For the meantime, dreaming big is on cue.

And of course, the inevitable Tori Amos question must follow. It simply must. What is your favorite tune amongst the many beautiful ones Lady Amos has given us? When would be the perfect time to play it?

It took me 15 minutes or so thinking which Tori Amos song, indeed. There’s simply a lot to name.

I think it is Father Lucifer from her 1996 album Boys For Pele.  It tells of Lucifer, the god of our darkest emotions.  It is about confronting the things that are bottled up inside of us.  Of being on a poignant journey inside our self.  To reconnect with the exploration of the bigger self – the self that doesn’t speak up and scream, the self who has not boogied to the beat of life and the self who is implicitly voiceless.  To quote (and to be withdrawn from the thought of Satanism that has submerged many times with this number), “Father Lucifer you never looked so sane.
You always did prefer the drizzle to the rain . . . “

Perfect time to listen to Tori Amos is between 3 PM to 9 PM, alone and over red wine.

Exercise. Tell me who Jon is without exceeding 140 words. This is to commemorate how Twitter has taken over the world.

Jon is a cat.  He has nine lives.  He is currently on his fourth.

Jon is an ex-fatalist who is beginning to be hopeful.  He explores the power of words not because he wants to defy reality or pontificate his own version of the gospel but rather, he widens the broadened gap between expression and impression, if not beseech a trivial bridge to walk on between the two.  In his early 30s, he has outlived doubt and has recycled his cat life many times by either passing out drunk with hatred or running barefoot with the underdogs, singing No Woman No Cry, and still dreaming of coming to India one day and waste one year of his life to volunteer for The Mother Teresa Foundation.

Jon is a walking misinterpretation.  Please forgive him.  He is a resilient manager by day and a moaning pen pusher by night.  Like Pauline, he has other selves and oftentimes, there is no party in multiplicity.

Jon still believes in poetry.  There are days when words are unyielding – stubborn – and the language of poetry is the only way to get to the thought.  The dimensions of thought, as Ayn Rand would have articulated it, should always core to reasoning.  In poetry, however, the reason for thought must always be dimensional.  I think that rocks!  It becomes seduction.  The seduction to play.

If you could be anything or anyone right now, who would you be? Mind you, you can’t change back till the clock strikes 12. It’s the law. So pick a character you could bear to be for at least six hours.


There is nothing more blissful for me than to be the goddess of the underworld for six hours.  It excites me to have the pleasure of inhabiting the ambiguity that ravaged my bantam head.

I have always been fascinated by Greek mythology.  I have affirmed in my latent readings that it did not just shape the lawful political system of our time, but also boosted man’s curiosity for the powers that be and the fiendish magic they epitomized.

Right now, I would love to be the person who would drink coffee with you on your balcony. But before that could happen, life must go on – yours will revolve around the exotic and orgasmic outskirts of Dubai, and mine, if only for a while, will move at a snail’s pace in this cold and barren world of Connecticut. Enchant me with your last words. Dance, and take me with you, if only for a short verse or two.


is an upscale.
under the soil comes
a roar.  my feet,
Vaselined and jealous, opens like drought
as my lungs, where hurt nestles,

i am a new man,
i am a mother.
i grab my slacks and remembers their sounds.
kill yourselves, i teach.  with yellow eyes
i watch
while they trip with their big words.
behind them, their curses.

i like you, one says,
you paint my hair blue and you feed me Ceylon noodles.
yes, i say, my teeth smiling,
i will always be your Delilah.

your ring calls to me
like the sound of nearby mosquitoes
going round and round like Eugenia’s Sappho.

am i your subject?
last night you said you like this catty nurse
while i faked tears, crawling back to Leaves Of Grass.

i am still

your happy amphibian,

soaked in your mud.

brains make man – i make magic
but magic

show me a very wet tongue
enclose a funny little spit –
yes, right there.
your cologne and university language did not define
i am a meat potatoes boy
(and i like my steaks rare).

it is a mess, this side of town where
multicolored balloons – God’s thousand moons
touches praying men
mouthing bulldozed verses
under splattered breaths –
a birthday – to me –
inching towards my spot.

where is God?

what am i doing here?
i see flames everywhere, thousands,
letters and tossed words.

am i the subject?

Tonight I shall dream a merry dream. I hope to see you there.

Peripherally staring at my other selves,


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