Friday, July 29, 2011

Fat People...

I am a fat man. People would probably tell me that I am just big bodied to be politically correct, but I would differ. I am fat: jolly good fat. And though sometimes, it makes me self conscious, there is no denying the fact that twenty five percent of my body is made of the soft mushy material that I would rather do without.

I am not proud of it. There are points in my life when I was not body heavy, years when I thrived in the healthy weight area. My choice of lifestyle is perhaps to blame. My sedentary choice of living would account for majority of my fatty tissues. Add to that, my healthy appetite and my penchant to avoid manual exertion makes the perfect recipe for oversizing my body. Given the choice I’d want to be smaller but time and time again, my resolve to do so gets swallowed by my lethargic nature.

I should make one thing clear, however. Despite my size, I am quite comfortable with my body. Save for some moments when I wished that my body was a bit more responsive, I am perfectly at ease with the body that I have grown with. Of course, there are moments when I become a bit frustrated. Like when I am trying to catch the attention of one of the opposite gender and I get the feeling that I am being sized up. Or when I am trying on a good pair of pants that just won’t get buttoned up the middle. These are frustrating times which makes me wish for a leaner body. But aside from these, I’m rather ok.

Some people look at fat people with certain distaste. They consider fat people as lacking of determination and decorum: undisciplined people who neglect themselves at the expense of a greater good. They feel that being upsized is an affront to their rigid and ordered lives. After all, if they can maintain a healthy lifestyle, why can’t fat people do the same? Fat people, in their eyes are the representation of the grossest violation of their way of life. For this reason they hate them. Fat people would say that they are just envious and would merrily smile if they are presented with this logic. After all, if you spend your whole life watching what you eat, you tend to miss out on a lot of things. Life is too short to waste away calculating calories.

Fat people are jolly people. The happiest clowns are the fattest of clowns. Thin clowns are comic reliefs, relegated to supporting roles. Fat people are happy because they realize that the many things in life thin people pursue are not worth pursuing at all and thus have less to worry about. Fat people realize early on that there are limitations to life and the best way to approach life in general is to look at the bright side mostly. They don’t mind the dark corners and would tend to ignore them. They know that they are there but they would choose not to dwell upon them, unlike normal people. This is the reason that they are perceived to be jollier. They are optimists; that is the secret. But fat people can be sad too. They can cry and be in pain; and contrary to popular notions, they shiver under the covers when a cold spell comes so when you’re out with both fat and thin people, don’t give your jacket to the thin ones, give ‘em to the one shiverin’ ok.

Fat people don’t rush things. Unlike thin people who are always rushing back and forth between tasks, fat people realize that time is relative. If a thing can be done in a day, why finish it in an hour. The satisfaction of a job is not about how fast it is done, it is in its completion and the leisure by which it is finished. Thin people would probably puzzle over this logic but fat people would just smile and share a wink or two between themselves. They know. After all at the end of the day, a task is still a task.

Fat people don’t grow old. People always tell them that they would never reach the twilight of their years. Statistics may show that fat people tend to die earlier but if you compare the lives of the thin ones and the fat ones, you will realize that those who really grow old are the thin ones. After spending their long lives in huffs and puffs as obedient lackeys of society they spend their retirements huffing and puffing again like busy ants as if there is no tomorrow. And by the time, they realize it, they are haggard spent remnants of themselves, old stick people finally realizing the lost years of their lives. Fat people, in contrast don’t grow old. They spend full lives, exerting themselves only when necessary, enjoying their lives at a leisurely pace. True, they might not live longer, but they live better. They never really grow old, and when the time comes to hit the ground, they are often the ones that go out with a bang.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Ramblings 1: Dreams

I am about to go into my thirties. In a few months, like all of my generation, I will become a true adult. I will have to shed, albeit begrudgingly some of the attitudes that had defined my twenties. I will have to reflect on my future and determine what I plan to do with the remaining years of my life.

I am not getting any younger. My body tells me that I have reached that inevitable plateau where the decisions I’ve been indulging myself with in my youth have now caught up to me. Or at least they are slowly catching up. My joints ache with the cold weather and my body no longer rebounds as it once had when faced with stress and illness. Bit by bit, it is losing and this will continue to battles the ravages of age as the years roll by.

Thirty years. Its just a number, they say. Maybe…

Six years of innocent childhood, fifteen years of education and under nine years working. That about sums it up. Time sure flies so fast.

I came across a note I scribbled fourteen years ago. It was a page from a forgotten notebook which somehow made its way back to me from a nearly discarded mountain of paper trash. It lists the dreams I harbored at that point in time. It is both funny and rather tragic looking at it now. 

The list goes like this.

(The first number is the age.)

16: graduate secondary school (Done – it was a breeze)

20: finish a four year course (I was in high school at this time and I was contemplating whether to undergo accountancy leading to law or pre med. By a series of coincidences, I ended up in engineering.)

25: finish law degree or medicine (with allotment for board exams)

28: Stable job by then (though I never did go into law or medicine, to a certain degree, I did achieve this goal when I finally became a permanent employee of my company)

30: A vacation perhaps to the US mainland (ROFL. Yeah right? At this point in time, I am barely solvent financially. And to consider the financial requirements and time needed to get a US VISA, this is way off the mark. ROFL Although, this particular dream is achievable as the US border is a few miles near my current address.)

32: Have a child by then. (I look at this part with certain sorrow. Sadly while I am probably qualified to be a family person with my job and all, I am unfortunately unprepared for this decision and thus I must defer. But who knows? It may happen. If it were up to me though, I wouldn’t commit. And I fear that I’ll be alone for most of my days… it would seem)

33: Have a business. (The sad reality of the economy is this: rarely does one reach success as an employee. We end up devoting the majority of our lives to employment and end up with paltry retirement benefits which barely make ends meet when we reach the twilight of our years. It’s an unfortunate truth. The best way to insure a good retirement is to take risks and business offers one of the best options out of this rut. I am rather proud that the young me who wrote this all those years ago recognized that. However, the depressing truth remains. To do business, one needs capital. And if my current state of life continues on its present course, this has the making of another pipe dream. But I am committed to achieve this.)

40: Early retirement. (Let me clarify this one. If this plan works without a hitch, this means that when I turn 40, I should be resigned from my job, my business is doing fine to support me and my family. I’d probably have a farm somewhere down in La Union where I spend my days in idle introspection, writing books and taking life as it comes. I still aim for this for I could not see myself spending my thirties to my early sixties still slaving my ass off for some employer. Life is too short to waste on eight hour five day workweeks. If I allowed it, I’d probably retire in my sixties with probably a few things to show for it. I will not spend my life shackled thus.)

50: My first born is probably on a job and I can finally devote myself to other matters. (No comment. I’ve accepted the reality that I’ll never be a father…)

Reading this list made me realize how awfully short life is to realize ones dreams. We often end up drowned by the tribulations of life and we compromise our dreams for something lesser. When we realize that the road to their accomplishment is fraught with many trials, we surrender. We dream big at the start and then we start to whittle it away until we convince ourselves to make do with what’s available. It is a sad tragedy that keeps being repeated. 

There is but one life that is sure: this life. While we hope for the promise of paradise, it remains as something indeterminate. No one can say that he is worthy of a second life in paradise. That is in God’s hands. He alone judges. So man like me is left with one sure thing: this mortal life.

I’ve often wondered what the purpose of life is. Why do we have 60+ years of existence? To what end will we use it? The first twenty years often moves like a breeze, spent in the carefree world of youth. The next ten years are spent in limbo: the gray area between youth and adulthood. The next ten are used pursuing the dictates of society and it also passes faster than the blink of an eye. Life begins, truly begins they say at 40. When that stage arrives one has at least attained the sensibilities of true adulthood and has experienced enough of life to know wisdom. Before the malaise of old age sets in, one is given the chance to live a life.

The tragedy of life, at least one of them, is the fact that most people realize that they pass their golden years without really realizing they did so. I see their spent haggard forms from all walks of life, from the paupers of the street to the eccentric misers from the ranks of the rich. They don’t present a pretty sight. 

I decided that while it is within my power, I will not become like them.

I may risk being called selfish or a coward but I am determined to live my life as I see fit. I won’t take the road most travel and pin my dying hopes on unborn children which would facilitate the continuing movement of the wheel. No, they don’t deserve that. I won’t commit to marriage in the hopes that it is the panacea that would cure all that is wrong in my life. Marriage is not the means to an end, it is a contract to a means and nothing more.

Do you know why I envy the life of a vagabond artist? They live day to day, moment by moment, unshackled by societal norms. They are often penniless and drift from place to place sleeping in strange commodes and relying solely on the vagaries of fate for their daily existence. They often live short lives yet I envy them.

Why? One reason. They lived.

While the security of eight hour day jobs and the stability of a nuclear family are exemplified as the pinnacle of one’s success, it is not often the case. For most, it is a fa├žade that hides the emptiness within. It is a thinly veiled excuse of mediocrity, teetering in the precipice that divides madness and despair. For many people, it is a lie tolerated only because there are no other alternatives available.

Most people, they never really live. They pass life like creatures of mist, barely making ripples where they pass. They end their lives in resignation whether they end up realizing it or not.

Life is a series of decisions. I have decided now to turn my back on the life I’ve been living up to now. I will turn my back on a sure thing: a job and a lifestyle that would have merited me a middle class existence in my current world. I will risk it all for a possibility, a risk.

That would mean that I would have to let go of certain dreams. I’ll have to sacrifice having my own family; sacrifice the stability of my current job; sacrifice the social circles I’ve established till now; sacrifice my current path: all for the possibility of being true to myself.

I want to live. I don’t want to join the status quo living upon the strict boundaries set by culture and society. While the price maybe great and I may end up regretting it later in my life, it is a decision that I have to make. And I will live with it.

I want to live for myself. If I want a steak that cost a $100, I want to do it with a clear conscience. I want to go to Nepal with only my backpack and a thousand bucks when I am in my forties without facing financial recriminations from someone. I want to live in a jalopy and traverse the continents living on the road. I want to go to Africa and do some volunteer work without the guilt of leaving someone behind. I want to be a wandering artist and see my portion of the world as long as I’m able.

I want to live free and die free.

It is a selfish, selfish dream.

Of course, there are obligations that must be fulfilled yet. I am a son and a brother. Debts have to paid in full to move forward. This is why I must pay them first. That would take the next ten years of my life. I will stick with the status quo for now, in greener pastures and when everything has been paid in full, then just maybe, when life truly begins, I can dream again.

Bucket List #4

Bucket List #4: Own a digital photography studio kit
If there is anything I consider to be my one indulgent vice, it would be photography. From the time I held my grandpa’s SLR to the moment I touched a DSLR, I know I’ve found one of my life’s vices. There is something quite exotic holding a camera, finding a subject and capturing a moment in time. I probably would remain an amateur and I harbor no illusions of ever becoming a professional. I leave that to others.

In particular, I am interested in nature photography. The natural world offers a more honest face that bears a more candid subject matter. And being a poet at heart, I find my inspiration in the ruggedness of wild nature.

For the camera, I need a body that allows full manual override of any automatic function. After all, one cannot always rely on the automatic settings set by the manufacturer. That is nice for click and shoot persons but if one really wants to be immersed in photography, if one wants to be called a photographer, one must know how to set his own settings. After all, aperture settings, shutter speed, focus add to the variance that makes each photograph unique.

If finances allow it, I’d like to have a complete set of lenses: a 28 mm wide angle lens for landscapes; a 200 mm telephoto lens; a short telephoto 300 mm lens and the lenses in between. Hehe, if only I can afford them later.

A tripod would be necessary as well as some filters.

I have no inclination to make photography as my job. While the allure of being a portrait or wedding photographer has its attraction, when the time comes during which I have the freedom to indulge in taking photos, I wouldn’t want my time to be occupied by such commercial pursuits. I want to be free when the time comes, even if such a freedom has a price.

Bucket List #3

Bucket List #2&#3: Own a tricked out 1600 VW Beetle/Hybrid Pickup

I am not a car buff but my introduction to the VW bug has made me lust for the sleek Beetle. Hehe. It was love at first sight.

As of the time of my writing this, I actually have one being refurbished for me. The only downside: I probably will have to bid goodbye to it as soon as it lands on my hands. I am loathe to be apart from it. I’ll probably leave it with some relatives and hope that they would take care of it until I come back for it when the time comes.

First off, I’ll offset the wheels to extend half a wheel out. Then convert it to a convertible (for cruising mode man.) I’ll probably never get to the point where I can afford a sports car so as consolation to myself, I’ll make my beetle a convertible (it would be much cooler too). It would be painted with a flaming phoenix which surrounds it (a nod to my car designer who’s building it for me). The engine would be turbo charged (maybe modified to become water cooled in the future or maybe not). 

The original drum brakes will be replaced with front disc brakes. The original steering wheel would be replaced with a smaller detachable wheel assembly to thwart those car thieves (Hehe, ala Mr Bean). I am tempted to have it converted to power steering but my builder is recommending that I stick to its old manual steering which would preserve its original state.

The stock seats would be replaced with racing seats and upholstered richly.

Oil shocks for the front wheel assembly and low-pressure gas shocks for the rear wheels.

I’ll probably have to upgrade the distributor to an SVDA distributor to improve the mileage per gallon of the fuel. I don’t know if there are suppliers for this part here in the country so this depends upon its availability. Then maybe add a CDI and an oil filter to the assembly.

The exhaust is being changed to adjust so aside from maintenance, I guess I’ll stick with the modified one.

An upgrade for the carburetor is probably needed later as recommended by VW builders but I wouldn’t opt for a dual carburetor setup since I have no intention of making it a racer.

Hehe. If there would be money, I’d want to convert it to a Baja bug. Now that would be sick and it would beat any modern car.

And did I mention that it would have a kick ass sound system inside, power windows and carbon fiber body works? Hehe. It would be one hell of a ride.

Now, why would I indulge in such a car, you might ask. By the time I get to enjoy it, I’d probably be on my fifties or sixties. So it wouldn’t be a girl magnet. Nope. 

But it will be a substitute of sorts. One of my wives, to enjoy until mortality finally takes its toll. 

We’ll have many adventures running the mountain roads. Together with my telescope and photography kit, my trusty laptop and an easel, we’d have many memories. I hope to have fifteen fruitful years in her company or maybe more. Now, I could probably write it on my will that I be buried in her but that would be unfair to her.

When that time comes, I hope to leave her to another who would love her as I did or maybe love her even more so.

Even now, I have a smile on my face imagining her resting in her corner in the garage, demurely taking a nap while her old man shuffles around arthritic legs dreaming dreams of winding forest roads and blissful adventures among the clouds.

As for the pickup, one must understand that a VW beetle is not really a workhorse. For long distance endurance jobs, one needs the workhorse of cars and that is the pickup. It has enough room to accommodate passengers, has a truck bed for hauling stuff and has the horsepower and suspension to withstand the ruggedness of mountain passes.

 There is just one caveat: I probably won’t be able to afford a pickup truck during my lifetime, much less a hybrid one. But it bears mentioning. After all, a man is allowed his dreams even when they are impossible to achieve. LOL

Bucket List #2

Bucket List #2: Own an organic farm

As I’ve said, I don’t see myself working my ass off when I reach sixty years of age (or maybe fifty if I’m lucky). Now, I’m not really a born farmer. I recognize the back breaking work of a farmer and its one of the reasons I have chosen my way of life: to avoid it. However, as a leisurely farmer merely interested in growing things and not doing it for commercial purposes, I think I can make a fairly decent one.

I  aim to be self – supporting when I retire. If the current trend of social security checks would continue on their current course, I cannot expect to fully be supported by that measly social pension. The best solution: be self sufficient and food being the foremost reason for expenditures, what better way to save on money than to grow one’s own. And it’s healthier. 

There would be sweet potatoes (I need their leaves for my two native pigs); pechay; Baguio beans; leeks; red onions; some bell peppers; cabbages and womboks. And yeah some potatoes and tomatoes (I need to learn how to preserve them later on in my years). A small clump of lacatan bananas on the edges and a small stand for sayote and squash on another side would round it off.

It being organic, I will build a small livery on the edges. There would be two pigs, a few egg-laying chickens; three goats and a horse. Their manure will be enough together with the earthworm bin to reprocess the soil over and over again.

And yeah, before I forget, there will be a small fishpond there with tilapia. Now, I am not really a fish person. I only eat fish if they are barbecued/fried. But I want to fish and the rivers by the time I get old are probably devoid of life, so my only chance to indulge in fishing is to build my own fishpond.

That would probably offset my food expenses for a long time. Now, if you notice, I won’t be putting up a rice paddy. Yup, I know enough of farming to know that rice paddies don’t really yield any results that will compensate the effort you’ll exert. Rice planting is time consuming, financially draining endeavors. I’d fork over a few thousand for a cavan of rice willingly rather than toil needlessly for a few kilos of rice.

Now, you might say that I know nothing about farming. Hehe. You’ll be surprised. I belong to the generation of students who had farming as their THE (Technology and Home Economics) subject in school so unlike you modern students who are taught meaningless skills in elementary and high school, I have experienced first hand how to work with plants and the earth. And, during childhood, my parents had to tend a garden to supplement their income to support us, so I know farming. At least enough to say with confidence that I can do it.

And I’ve taken a course on organic farming (hence, the earthworm bin stated above). If you still doubt me, someday when the time comes, remind me to invite you for a vegetable salad when I have a harvest.

Bucket List #1

Bucket List #1: Have a house on my own name less mortgage

I’m a Northerner. In order to say that I have made something out of my life, I need to have a house under my own name. That’s the number one priority of a true northerner. Everything else is secondary. Without it, one has no right to do anything else. Or rather, everything else is a pointless indulgence that borders upon the fringes of madness.

Let me clarify this. A house is the foundation upon which we build our dreams. If you don’t own your abode, you will always be faced with Damocles sword hanging perpetually over your head. After all, you can be evicted from your residence upon the mere whims of your landlord. And when old age comes; when your body can no longer work for your monthly board and lodging expenses, where will that take you. An old infirm invalid cast to his lot upon the cold gutters of nameless alleys left to rot in some dank city somewhere? 

Everything fades but a house is one of those things that we can find solace in. Even when we are spurned by society at large, within the four walls of a residence we call our very own, we are kings. If we are denied this, we are nothing more than pitiful creatures left to the mercy of an unforgiving world. And the world is a scary one that cares for nothing but its own concerns. It has little room for those who cannot ride with it.

Unfortunately for me, the cost of building a house is beyond my reach. As of the moment, despite my rather nice middle class salary (which is way above the average salary for professionals in the country);  I am painfully unable to afford even a lot (at least in the city). That’s the unfortunate truth and it sucks, big time…

In retrospect, I am rather thankful that I am unable to afford one right now. I’ve realized that I am not really prepared for the next steps that will come inevitably after the owning of a house. And, I am really not a city person. I am more of a rural, pastoral kind of guy. I have no intention of devoting my life to the rat race inherent to city living. I prefer the slower pace of the countryside. And I crave the anonymity of wide empty spaces still ruled by nature.

My dream house is not that ambitious. I will probably remain alone till the end of my days and thus the need for a large abode is unnecessary. I envision a small house nestled in the middle of a pine tree grove somewhere in the mountains. If possible, I’d like to build it myself (save for the foundation laying and the walls as well as the roof). There would be a spacious porch raised above the earth where I can place a rocking chair in. Upon opening the door, you will step down to a cozy warm den with worn down comfy sofas and bean bags. 

A driftwood coffee table overflowing with magazines and printed papers is found on one side. Above the fireplace, you will see a large abstract painting I’ll sit down to paint someday flanked by grotesque sculptures of nameless creatures of fantasy. A ‘gusi’, my sole inheritance from my grandfather would be right smack in the middle. Scattered around in no obvious order would be pedestals holding anime figurines and tribal art pieces sourced from bargain bins and flea markets. The huge dormer window that lets in the light during the summer months would be draped with heavy indigo curtains that keep the cold wind during the ‘ber’ months.

If you continue through the book lined hallway, you’ll come into the study, a gloomy room with books for walls and unlighted display cases for more anime figures. Ruling that room is the huge mahogany desk piled high with unfinished manuscripts and half filled crossword puzzles. A PC workstation and a low lying lamp are the only concessions for modernity there. It would be heavy with the smell of ink and cigar smoke (if I take up that indulgence during old age which is probably unlikely since I gag at the inhalation of tobacco smoke) and crisp paper. On one side, there would be a violin stand (whether there would be a violin there or whether I would be able to play it would be subject to debate).

If you go back to the den and proceed to the right, it will lead you right into the kitchen which also doubles as the dining room (after all, being alone would probably make it the smallest of all the rooms). A few cutlery, an oven for that rare pudding and roasted chicken and a retractable dining table should do the trick. There is a stairway leading down on one side. If you follow it, it will lead you to the basement slash laboratory and of course the john. Despite whatever may happen, I will always be a chemical engineer at heart. I once did not appreciate the nuances of this profession but the years had made me fall in love with chemistry. No, I don’t harbor any illusion of becoming a renowned chemist but that laboratory would be serving as a small diversion for my mind from time to time.

Going back to the den, you will notice a small stairway leading up. If you follow it, you will come to two rooms: the one on the right is my room which out of decency, we shouldn’t enter. The one on the left, however, is a guest room slash store room during those rare instances of having a guest call over. If you follow the small corridor to its end, you will come out of a small secluded veranda facing the back. Another Lazy – B would be there for warm summer months. Stashed on the side is a small astronomer’s telescope (If when the time comes, I can afford one). This veranda overlooks a small clearing down slope which is my little organic farm.

Oh yeah, the hot tub. One of the indulgences I’ll give myself. Who says that its only women who love lazing around hot tubs? Men too (although not as long as women do). During those rare instances where I accompanied field trippers and I got billeted in four star hotels with hot tubs, I’ve found one of my indulgences which I promised to give myself when I reach the twilight of my years.

If we go out of my small house, there would be a small workman’s shop at the back. There, you’ll find a carpentry shop. Now, I am not really a carpenter but when I grow old someday, I need to have a source of exercise. Aside from the farm down slope, the carpentry should do the trick. There I will fan my delusions of being a wood artist (wherever that will take me).

This dream would probably cost me around two million pesos (including the farm, the land title, the house and all its contents). That would be around forty five thousand dollars ($45,000) which is fairly manageable (I hope) for the next twenty years of my life.

And the good thing about it: It would be all mine. 

All mine…

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Prologue to a Collection

©2011 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved

(This is the prologue to a poetry collection I've written five years ago titled: Of Life, Love and Fools. It's actually the continuation of another collection I made in high school of which an excerpt is also found here - it starts on a bit of a tragic note of love failing but the end of the collection deals with a rebirth and a fresh start with life. Unfortunately, I can't post the whole collection here due to copyright concerns - enjoy!)

Life goes round
Destinies change like the seasons…
Love rolls back, sorrows flow steadily…
Onwards. Time ticks on eternally like
Infinity. Faces flutter in the memories like
Ghosts. Images swim in one suspended
Dance. Like dreams they go to
Fly and vanish with each waking
Up. Life goes round –

Victims of life they are
Shadows that wander in the dawn of Day
They listen in silence and they dare not speak
Through they should wish, they go
Wretched are their lives, their pain
Without question, they are commanded
Vile are their works, their hands wallow in filth –
Yet though each heart yearns to break free
The bars that holds them bars
They have no hearts –

What life is made
If made from the wasted rubble of dreams lost
Of hopes crushed from the lashing fury of life itself
When the chasm that holds one back is deep
 When the cries one make echo only to ones ears
What is life? –

The wheels of Fortune glides on
Like a river flowing –
Like the waves forever churning, changing –
Like the eternal winds playing the earth
Life goes on –
Powered by man and his searching desire
Reasoning. Thinking the ever flowing parade
Of Thought. Each moment their breaths
Are wasted. Denied the nurturing care
Love fails –
Fails and…
Life starts anew.

Domingo, Domingo I Excerpt

©2000 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved

(This is the first collection I've made in high school for some friends - somebody, however forgot to return the notebook where the original composition was made so I had to scavenge my old originals to salvage what I could. Currently, I only have a fraction of the original one - some sections are lost forever unless that notebook somehow finds its way back to me. This is just a part of it, unedited and raw from high school)
The sun is shining in the azure blue skies
The clouds ablaze, fairy ships in disguise
I silently walked and breathed a sigh
For the beautiful day made for me to die

I slowly walked towards the pleasant glen
When suddenly a blinding flash, unwanted came
I was blinded and then terrified I found out
The sky once so pleasant now wrapped in black

Blinding flashes of lightning darted to and fro
That in this bleakness, they’re the only light to glow
A fright’ning presence crept across to me
Unwanted, unneeded, terror riding suddenly

I could not see it but I could feel
The hairs of my body soon stood in fear
When suddenly I felt it on my back
Biting cold – yet mystic hot

It soon engulfed my body whole
In paralytic embrace, so hot yet very cold
I tried to move but my body could not obey
It had detached itself, control is thrown away

Piercing pain soon shot across my legs
I clenched my teeth trying to suppress a shout
It soon engulfed me and I could not help
But howl to a punishment beyond the human me

An eerie laugh boomed across the dark
Haunting, a terror far worse than Cerberus’ bark
Hands, stone cold then grasped my arms
Breaking tendons as they pulled me apart

Numbness soon came beginning from my toes
Making them stone stiff, unfeeling their life lost
It crept slowly, gnawing at my thighs
To my middle heedless of my cries

Suddenly a numb cold jolted me in pain
As it slowly climbed to where my heart is lain
My heart tried in vain to keep it at bay
But it crept unstoppable, ruthless in its way

My heart beat fast trying to draw heat to fight
But even though it gave a valiant fight
Sputtering and trying hard to its last beat
It slowly slipped defiantly in death

It was that sudden moment that I woke up again
Perspiring, gasping, yearning for a friendly tap
I curled myself up lying on the grass
As I slowly cried with the sunlight on my back


©1997 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved
(This is another high school poem written for a classmate who left school. I managed to find this in some of my old notes. Most of the poetry I've created at that time are lost because the notebook where they were written were never returned back. They say that I am good at writing in Filipino - I don't know really, I find it too flowery for my taste so I rarely write anything anymore in the vernacular)

 Sa pagdaloy ng agos sa ilog ng panahon
At pag-ingay ng hangin sa malalagong mga dahon
Di ko mapigilan na muling gunitain
Alaala ng kahapon, sa dulo ng mga pangitain

Sa panahong ganito at di ko maatim
Na muling pagbuksan mga pintuan sa dilim
Ay muli’t muli alaala mo’y nananawagan
Mula sa mga bagay bagay na pilit nililimutan

Kaibigan, sa mga panahong ganito
Pakiwari ko ikaw at ako’y napakalayo
Di ko man sa isip ikaw ay maiwaksi
Pakiramdam ko’y ako ang walang silbi

Nagdaan na’t lahat ang mga galaw ng orasan
At huli na ng ating malama’t matanawan
Na tayong dalawa , magkaibiga’y lumihis na
Ng landas na ngayo’s hinigop ng kawalan

Di ko man alam ngayon ang katagang sasabihin
Para ika’y bumalik sa ating dating pagtingin
Ay di ko maiwaksi ang mga alaalang naiwan
Mo, kaibigan, kailanma’y di ko malilimutan

Kaya saan ka man ngayon naroroon
Isaisip mo ang nagdaang mga kahapon
At kahit tayo’ng dalawa’y tuluyan ng malayo
Minahal at mahal pa rin kita kaibigan ko –

Park Bench

©2011 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved

There is laughter all around me
A child’s giggle, his fathers laugh
A play of catch, such precious pictures seen
A family on a picnic, a toddler stumbling in the grass
Illicits a laugh and concerned mothers
In the lake, lovers row in gay company
The benches are filled with the young who gaze
In utter wonderment at life –

A cool breeze blows gently
Wafts the grass in soothing dances
A wildflower flaunts its beauty in the green carpet
Yellow with a hint of orange, its petals glistening
The water murmurs gaily as it laps the stony shore
Shares secrets gleaned from youthful lovers –

An old man ambles silently through the park
His face is flushed with life, his skin bronzed
He watches lovingly at the burst of life he sees
He is in his memories, lost in thought
In his mind, his youth is there, his eyes are moist
He is young again –

A young woman comes up, face aglow
A young adult making her steps in the world
She appraises the grass with bemused looks
Picks up a space and draws a gentle breath
Sits down gently and lets a peaceful sigh
Sets her gaze to the lake and draws a silent song
Deep in memory, an escape in silent prayer
Kicks off her shoes and breaks into a smile –

A bird swoops down in front of me
She falters briefly as she sees me
And then for a moment she decides there is no harm
She hops around, and with its weeny head surveyed her price
I felt its gaze and we locked eyes
And for an instant she holds the gazeand then she flies away
In silence, she spoke not; but I could hear
The words she says
I am left alone again –

The Novels I Write

I fancy myself as a writer. I’ve started writing novels when I was in second year college because I had a friend who loved a girl and he voiced out his interest on creating something unique for her. The usual story of adolescents. While others might have bought flowers or inserted a love letter on a borrowed notebook or some other cool stuff, I got my ballpen and started scribbling. The result was the first chapter of the Aeglestar Saga which began my love affair with words and stories.

I am however, extremely unfocused at times. There are moments when I am inspired to write and the words just start flowing out and I get to start a particular story. I lose track of time when that happens and end up just writing my ass off. Unfortunately I get distracted easily and more often that not, I just stop writing and what I finish is left on folders on my files, waiting for their time again in the sun. And since I usually am hard up continuing a particular line of thought, I start another story.

So I end up creating a lot of novels with nothing ever finished. Now, however, it would seem that I need to start again and attempt to finish a few. Listed below are some of the novels resting on my hard drive and some of the background of each.

Genre: Scifi/Fantasy: This is my first attempt at a novel. The title was drawn from the name of the Scout Patrol I was a member of in elementary: Patrol Eagle with the letters rearranged a bit. As I’ve said above, this novel was started out of a friends desire to impress a girl. I actually wrote it in jest as a parody and it was never intended to be taken seriously. It is filled with mechanical boars and flying shoes and kings and queens, haha. About a group of five heroes who go about their business saving damsels in distress and winning the hearts of men.

When I got to college, however, I realized how stupid it was so I scrapped most of the original story and reinvented it as a Scifi novel about a group of men still based on the original five heroes in a vast and deadly universe. It became a full-fledged scifi novel. Unfortunately, I also realized that I need to do a lot of research to create a scifi saga and I didn’t have the time to do that so I left it alone for about eight years now. Someday, when I have the time, I’ll resurrect it and I hope that time comes someday.

Genre: Fantasy: Iitaw is an applai term meaning dream. As the name implies, it starts as a dream I once had about waking up in a parallel world that operates on a set of rules that defies what we know. It started as a supposition: What if you wake up alone inside a cave naked and bleeding and then you walk outside and find out that you are in a strange world that defies your logic. Do you imagine you are crazy or will you accept the illogical as truth? What defines reality? Those are the questions asked by the novel.

This novel is one of my favorites and one of the most advanced novel I have. I don’t want to share it actually at this moment because I am particularly possessive of the story and it’s very personal, I mean the story is personal. Not in a realistic way or anything but it is my first serious novel and I am protective of the characters. I am actually hoping that I will get to finish it someday and I hope it is the novel that will start my writing career. Someday I will share it with the world but not on this blog post. Hehe

Genre: Fantasy. This is the real Asaas or Whisper novel. It is another fantasy novel which is relatively new. I started it two and a half years ago from this date. It is also a fantasy novel this time dealing with a character who is wondering about his place in his world. The character is a man who is asking himself about what his life is. It is more or less a novel about a man looking for his purpose in life. Why live? Why die? What is life for? What do I live for? Those kinds of questions.

And it’s also a love story about a man and three women (roll your eyes ladies, haha, that’s every man’s fantasy to be loved by women – plural) but it is not an immoral one, mind you which asks the question about the human need to belong.

Genre: Fantasy: Batawa is the novel that I am planning to finish whose excerpts I will be posting on this blog. It’s a rather ambitious undertaking actually. Batawa is a saga about a mythical world and its history. The Road of Thorns is just one of the novels envisioned under this premise. I think that in a way, Batawa novels are some sort of autobiographical writing that is set on a fantasy setting. So I sometimes I talk in the mouths of the characters.

The Road of Thorns in particular, is my personal favorite. I will not state why because it is rather unusual but a reader would probably get my meaning someday. I started writing The Road of Thorns about a year ago and I haven’t made any headway as yet but I’ve chosen to finish it as the first novel I will attempt to finish. The reasons are diverse, some personal like the fact that I need to prove to myself the ability to finish something I have started, and also to have reason to believe that I have the ability to write.

Genre: Fantasy: Biag is an epic novel. It is a novel about a ruling dynasty of a mythical world whose descendants both created and formed a world. It is envisioned as a series of novels encompassing different characters at different eras of the world’s history. I want it to be a testament to life. I chose the fantasy genre because I can create my own myth in the process and not rely on research which would take valuable time and resources. Biag is my tribute to human life and it’s tribulations. I don’t know if I can even finish it. So far I have the beginning of the Third Age novel, when the world was still broken among many kingdoms and races.


Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy: Bound is a dark fantasy novel set in modern times. It explores the moral quandary of a man who made a pact with a demon in order to find meaning in his life. I know it is kind of unusual about a professed Christian writing something about demons. Be rest assured that it does not glorify demons in any way. It is a parody of human psychology and about a man’s moral choices. It is adult themed which will make people squeamish. And if ever I finish it, I hope that it will make people question themselves and emerge better for it.

Genre: Romance: Conversations in Red is a romantic novel. But let me warn you, I am extremely fatalistic about love.  It’s not a Harlequin novel filled with kisses and romantic stuff. Conversations is about a lost man who is living an empty life without any regard for his future and a salesgirl looking for a dream. Together, these two people who are in the lowest point in their lives find love and redemption.

I started writing this six years ago but after a few chapters, it became too painful to write so I could not find the courage to revisit and continue it. Someday maybe or in the near future, I’ll muster enough strength to write it. It’s not for lack of inspiration that I haven’t finished it but rather, the subject matter cuts too close to the bone if you know my meaning.

Genre: Fantasy: Maskara is an epic story about three Seekers, three strong individuals trying to make their mark in the world and the people around them. I have posted an excerpt somewhere here. Like all novels I write the main character is a sad man, lost in the world. I don’t know if I will be able to finish this one. So far, it is far below my list.

Genre:Fantasy: The Fallen is an epic saga which was once my favorite but lately I haven’t  been able to focus on it. The Fallen is a series of novels built upon a moral question about what matters in life. It explores the depths of human yearnings and depravity; about desire and power; it aims to ask the question about whether man alone can find fulfillment… topics that are often ignored by most of us.


Genre:Memoir. The Life of Liam is an unconventional novel that is recently hatched. One might say that it blurs the difference between fiction and nonfiction. It is unconventional in a sense that it doesn't follow a specific plot or the usual setup of a novel or story for that matter. Instead, it is a series of thoughts manifested by the central character: a fictitious man named Liam. I won't be expounding so much on who he is, I hope only that he remains coherent to the readers who would be able to read him.

There are still other novels that litter my hard drive but these are the most advanced among them. Someday, I hope to get one or a few of them published. I don’t know if I will be able to reach that dream, though. Maybe it will… the future is wide open.


It’s time to be serious it seems.

I’ve always lived a carefree life. I never had roots, so to speak. I lived like a twig cast adrift in the raging river, going where the current pulled me. It may sound crazy coming from me but that’s the truth. Everything that I did up to this point in time was done because it was the easiest, most logical thing to do and required the least resistance.

I transferred high school to avoid a sticky academic situation. I chose engineering because it was a hassle to go to the dean to change my course to accounting. I chose chemical engineering because the department head had a beautiful disposition as compared to the mechanical engineering head. I accepted the university teaching post because I had no desire braving the summer heat at the industrial heartland of the lowland plains.

When I fell in love with the technical work in TI, I didn’t fight for my employment because I didn’t want to risk confrontation despite the fact that I loved the job. And I went back to teaching because it was there (though I loved it and would never regret it) and I left teaching because it was becoming unbearable to weather misplaced jibes despite the fact that I really, really loved it. 

I chose to leave the country because I grew tired of its politics and sloth (when the idealist in me wanted to make a difference) and I won’t be going back any time soon because it is easier to ignore the past and its ills rather than to face it head on.

I chose Calgary for undeclared reasons. Actually the reasons are myriad and complicated. It had a thriving oil and gas industry for one (though I wonder myself if I truly want to go into this field now that I am here); I had friends there (which is also true in Toronto, which was my first choice). I don’t know the real reason behind this decision and I probably never will. Maybe I am just following a Greater Power's will.... maybe or maybe not…

I came here without any specific dream in mind to be honest. 'Greener' pastures was a generic term. I had a good job with ample compensation back home then and money, though important was not the primary driving force for all the choices I’ve made so far.  It was interesting and a bit enticing to look at my original salary tripled and quadrupled but the figures are more of a distraction than anything. I can probably buy what I want now, afford a house in a few years and get the material dreams I once longed for: but these are empty aspirations – yearned for because otherwise I’d be purposeless in life.

I got an application to work my license, went to mentorship and immigrant groups to explore my options. I got excited for a bit, went to seminars and workshops but then I got bored… I got lazy. My application is sitting beneath a growing pile of papers now, untouched and unfiled as the time rolls by. My assessment papers are hidden somewhere in the folders that languish at the bottom of a drawer somewhere in my room. The motivation I had before was lost and I am gradually satisfied with my current life, working four long days and loitering at home or at Fishcreek for the other four days. 

I have no purpose, no dream to reach.

Even my writing… which I wanted to pursue has slowly faded. I blog, yes out of boredom, nonsensical compositions at best which might be considered childish and juvenile. 

What do I want in life anyway…

I’ve wondered that myself.

I was ok with being an old bachelor with a small cottage in the mountains with a mountain of books lining the walls and a small farm, an orchidarium and a carpentry shop. I was ok with the notion of dying alone in my bed relying only upon the mercy of strangers and relatives. In fact, to be honest, I entertained the idea of taking my own life when I reach the ripe old age when I can no longer get myself to the bathroom. Heaven or hell, I didn’t care. Though I loved God and wished for heaven, I was also ok with just fading away into nothingness. I’ve got nothing to lose.

Having a family was a luxury I could not afford. Yeah, at certain moments I wanted to have a family and imagined having a family but that was the extent of it. The women I want to spend my life with didn’t want me for a variety of reasons so I believed that perhaps it was not for me. I contemplated on adopting when I grow to be thirty eight to have a reason to live, maybe save enough money to pay a girl to be artificially inseminated to conceive a child (that’s how my mind worked).Foolish dreams, they are...

Romance, or the notion of romance was a lot of work. Truth is, I am afraid of women. After getting rejected for superficial reasons as far as I could remember, one tends to get scared of them. I don’t know what is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ anymore. I am probably the most stupid and ‘dense’ man in the world and I would not be surprised if women get turned off by my lack of initiative. I am gripped by terror at the mere notion of love. I can’t follow through even if the pain and desire grows to the breaking point.

And I probably would never confess if I liked someone. I’d just be smiling and watching and see them go to other more courageous men. I’d probably even congratulate them on their marriage even when what I want is to say ‘I object!’. That’s how I am. A stupid, cowardly fool…

So I guess I’m gonna be alone…

But it’s time to be serious, it seems. 

I will still probably be afraid of women. And I’ll make stupid decisions to this end that will drive women away. I’ll regret it, of course, in silence. I’ll wish for their… your happiness… in this life.

And maybe my decision to be serious will be fleeting coz I don’t know how I am as a serious guy. But I’ll get that form out of my files and send it on its way. I’m completing my documents for university assessment. I’m no longer satisfied at working my ass off in a lab for the next twenty or so years just because it has good pay.

And I have opened the folder in my files that contains my unfinished novels and I’ve chosen one that I will strive to finish. In time, I will attempt to become a full fledged writer and a poet.

And that’s your legacy to me. I will always have you to thank for that.

I don’t know where this road will take me. I don’t know whether you will be in it or you’ll be somewhere else. Whatever happens, I want you to know this. Of all the people in this world, you made me rethink my life and for that, for better or for worst, you will always have my thanks and you will always be special in my heart.

We don’t chose who we like or who changes us for the better. We don’t have a say in it. It just happens… one cannot teach a heart to love… It is maybe too much for me to write this now and it will probably present a terrible predicament for you. If I hurt you, I am very sorry. If it is too sudden, I am again, truly sorry. This, this is probably my confession of sorts (I know that I should be saying it to you in person, but I can’t do that… because I’ll melt…)

I won’t ask for your answer. As much as I’d love the finality of a formal rejection (or the remote possibility of the opposite), allow me to be left with the knowledge of not knowing. Take pity on a fragile poet’s heart and pretend that you’ve never read this.

Give me friendship at least and share a few smiles and a few walks in the park. Give me the illusion of being part of your life. 

I’ll be crying in silence when you will get married someday (and you will). When the priest will ask ‘Does anyone object?’ I’ll be trembling in my seat but I won’t be standing up.
But know this: you are and will always be truly loved… until the last of my breath and my existence. 

Live a good life. Life is chaotic and also frighteningly beautiful. Someday you will meet a man who will be what you are to me: a gift from God who will make you feel alive. You will love him and God willing, he will love you. You will be happy and have great kids together and spend the rest of your days in happy contemplation. I want to be that man, of course but I know my limitations. But someday, he will come, your knight in shining armor.

I pray that he does.

Poets are tragic creatures. They live and die with only their words and their compositions. They have in their minds a nameless lady who inspires them to write such great lyrics and pieces. Once, that lady on my mind was nameless. Now, she has a name. Someday, when and if I get to publish something and you look at the dedication page and you see a name emblazoned for all to see and it says after ‘for giving me the reason to live in full’, know that it is referring to you even when the name before is imaginary.

This post will be buried in other posts that will come later until it is forgotten by all who read it except for me.

And this is not a work of fiction…

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