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Kubo and the Two Strings. I have a few words. It is a story that makes you cry from the inside. What it never tells is what moves you. I didn’t watch it in 3D or 2D or IMAX or with any cinematic paraphernalia. The experience was raw, down-to-earth, as the film itself manifests, it brought me closer to home.

But beyond the symbolism, the mythology, the haiku, the origami, the shamisen, the kabuki, the Edo period, cultural sensibilities, and all, Kubo and the Two Strings spins strings of flashbacks that may bind us to long forgotten roots. As the shamisen pulls on the heartstrings, embedding a kind of unspeakable yearning for the departed, the plot went on reeling the thread of immortality as it did the mundane. Indeed, death benumbs itself.

I’ll leave this piece with my hat off to Laika because, since Coraline, it’s guaranteed that stop motion animation will never again lose its way inside our memories. So before you head to the theater, here’s a beautiful cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” for your listening pleasure.

 

Mini musing:  Life is a matchstick. The end.

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The room lifted up to the sounds of footsteps and a can opener. The day has come. It was only for a moment when she recollects her scavenging days five years ago in an abandoned parking lot. I wish someone would take me home, she whispered. Her wish was granted.

Welcome home, Koultessa!

She had reclaimed her birthright, Koultessa S. Grugwiv, and in the next few years she’d be sharing a room with three more abandoned individuals who would eventually become her adopted siblings.

Fast forward to the not so distant future, she’d be welcoming her nephew, Klyntzo F. Zacona, whose mother, Lunifah, expecting a baby, found a pair of tiny, almost paw-like, cuddle generators amidst the bustling night life of Kuwait City three years ago.

It was on that same dreadful day that she saw herself wandering off famished under the scorching daylight; a youngster living on fastfood scraps and cardboard, pleading for snuggles. But she’s anxious to blot out all memories of those hostile days…

Happy birthday, Koultessa and Klyntzo! Her thoughts popped out like bubbles. It’s the cuddle generator dangling a freshly caught artificial prey. I love you!

It is, indeed, one fine, ordinary day.

Happy Birthday Klyntzo-2016-Blog

Left: Young Klyntzo inspects his alter ego. Right: Adult Klyntzo realizes he’s no Richard Parker.

 

Happy Birthday Koolit-2016-Blog

Left: Young Koultessa poses for a photo. Right: Adult Koultessa poses for a photo.

 

~ O ~

 

Mini Musing: Not all scientists are linguists, just as not all doctors are nutritionists. – AM

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I’ve spent a couple of days redesigning my blog and didn’t follow through in order to file this entry.  I’ve been quailing at Ma’  Rosa for weeks now but missed the chance of watching Jaclyn Jose take home her Best Actress trophy from the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on Youtube. There’s no doubt that Ma’ Rosa’s hard-edged impromptu style social realist narrative could flush out the Philippine k-pop-culture-obsessed mainstream media in a jiffy. Independent filmmakers and thespians alike have been craving for keen attention from local moviegoers for a long time now but to no avail. It’s high time. Directed by Brillante Mendoza and initially released in May, the film premiers in the Philippines on July 6.

 

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Speak wide. Mouth of a tunnel.
Brush shoulders like we’re comrades.
Beat the beats of cult fiction.
Believe friendship is a staple.

It’s a dirt we share.

Ever barefooted the huddles of the city?
Our eyes both swallowed the disease.
“Life is a currency, yes?” Experts say.
“Agony is business.” Ibid.

Let’s talk culture and drink beer.

VIPs don’t buy words. Not from copper pages.
A brown woman is a brown woman.
A black woman is a black woman.
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

It’s a rhetoric they teach.

And yet, we brush shoulders. Anisometric.
Like when we’re tots. You are winter. I am summer.
Eyes fixed on one TV screen – Big Bird groupies.
Fastforward to adulthood – export materials.

A stock market ice cream cart.

Give me a tree to trust. A forest.
Who knows who’s on top of the food chain.
Words are taxed with blood. Or enjambment.
Our silence is their weapon, anyway.

Or maybe just encode another poem.

On bed bugs.


Armineonila M. 2015

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Lost in real-time.

Scour.

A fortress of clouds.

And there sat xyr.

Troll-feeding, uploading.

A gigabyte collective.

Cranking up the keyboard, xe.

Bid me sniff this diffusion.

Upgrading.


Armineonila M., July 2015

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Body Bag

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Mga Sangkap ng Langis (Ped Xing, KM Writers)

Mga sangkap ng langis

ni Armineonila M.

 

Mga sahog sa pagluto:

Isang ginagad na diploma

Walong sakong ari-arian

Pitong tasang tinimping luha

Tatlong basong pangarap (dinikdik)

Limang pirasong dignidad (tinadtad)

Sampung kilong pawis (sinala)

Isang kurot ng pagkutya

 

Mga hakbang sa paggawa:

 

Tunawin ang galon-galong

kaluluwang nagsakripisyo

para sa pamilya’t bayan,

kaluluwang ikinahon

ng globalisasyon

at nanlilisik na pangil

ng kapitalismo

sa kawaling disyerto;

 

Tustahin ang dating musmos

na hele ng Nanay at Tatay

na nagsibak pa ng panggatong

pangmatrikulang niluto

sa palasyong de-kalawang;

 

Tunawin, haluin, kayurin

hanggang sa lumapot

ang ‘di makatarungan,

ang pag-aalipusta

upang maitayo ang gusali

na’ng siyang hugis ay ganid;

 

Timplahin, lunurin

ang pangakong hindi na

lalayag pa at tatatakan

ang pagkatao ng alyas,

yaong tunog “bayani”

upang hindi malasap

ang pag-alingasaw

ng amoy pang-aalipin;

 

Paulit-ulit na timplahin,

haluin ng kalyuhing palad

ang pagkauhaw ng iba

sa likidong-yaman at parangal

kahit salat sa bayad

na ginhawang pasalubong;

 

Sundin ang patakarang ito

nang walang pag-alma

o pagkuwestiyon man lang,

bente-kwatro oras.

 

 ~o~



Translation:

The Recipe for Oil 
by Armineonila M.

The ingredients:

1 forged diploma
8 sacks of property
7 cups of whimper
3 glasses of ambition (chopped)
5 pcs. Of dignity (shredded)
10 kilos of sweat (filtered)
A pinch of nepotism

The procedure:

Slowly melt a gallon of sacrificed souls
Of family and country
Souls inside the box
Of globalisation
And the piercing fangs
Of capitalism
In the desert pan.

Cook until brownish
The infantile lullaby
Of Mama and Papa
Who chopped a forest
Of tuition fees from
The palace of rust.

Melt, stir, scrape
Until condensed
The unjust, the vilification
Built in a fortress
Of which shape is greed.

Mix and drown
The promise of immobility
That’s impressed in the self
An alias that sounds like “hero”
To cover up the stench
Of subjugation.

Mix over and again
With calloused palm
The thirst of the other
On liquefied riches and recognition
Even by poor earnings
That take home a dream.

Simply follow these steps
Without objection
Nary a question 
24 hours a day.

________________
*The original text in Filipino first appeared in the chapbook published by KM64 (Kilometers 64 Writers Collective) titled Ped Xing: Tula’y Tawiran (First Issue: Labourers), ed. Stum Casia. May 2014, pp. 23-24, Philippines. 

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