Franz Ferdinand

I was named after Ferdinand the president. It was my late grandfather’s idea; my parents were helpless about it.

Years later, I regretted such name because it means that, by default, people would call me Ferdie. But I learned how to put up with it, not be melodramatic about it and went on with life.

More years later, I realized I regretted the name only because it didn’t have another name preceding it such as Miguel, Joseph, or this best one yet, Franz.

Just imagine the possibilities if it did. People might call me Migz. Or Jose. Or Franz. Or Ranz. Or Anz. NZ. Z.

Or they might call me by the complete first name.

Franz Ferdinand sounds really awesome.

And it would be much more awesome if it were my actual name.


The gap between what keeps you busy is sometimes dangerous, until you realize that you are again doused in insignificant loneliness.

This feeling washes over you like the tide on the beach, and you’re just there lying, waiting, doing nothing.

Because unlike before, you gather that it would be best to let this feeling, or whatever it is, categorically, complete its course–because you know that eventually, you’ll get yourself together, even though you do not know what exactly is tearing you apart. Or what exactly it is that engenders this loneliness that is crushing you.

You are not okay. You are lonely. But you figure that you are still okay because you are still aware that you are not okay. And that it is okay to be not okay.

This shall pass. And you thinking that this shall pass is a tinge of optimism.

The night ceases when the day comes.

happy friday

It is a Friday, a day on which the working class celebrates the impending momentary freedom from deadlines, heaps of paper work and fastidious bosses. The after-5pm nocturnal hours shall be burned with intoxication under the blinding lights in some party clubs in the city.

But you have a different case: this Friday does not induce any excitement. While you ache from the deadlines and paperwork and difficult bosses, your work does not end at 5 unlike that of other young professionals’; hence, you will continue toiling throughout the night until you get the work done. And in case luck finds you, and you manage to finish the tasks earlier than expected, still, you will not be spending the rest of the night with a beer in your hand because the mere thought of it already creates a bitter taste in your buds – you despise it. Also, the thought of being in a crowd, gyrating, sweating in some party house is far-flung from your idea of fun and relaxation.

Reading a book might do the trick. Or starting your The Flash Season 2 marathon could help you through this weekend. Or perhaps, a movie marathon could provide you the ease you need. But these do not excite you at all. Or probably, nothing does. Nothing will. Sleeping straight twelve hours could be painful in the head, too.

Then you realize how terrible your state has become. You have developed an excruciating repugnance towards work but are also clueless of what to do without it.

But you get down with reason: work feeds you and makes your wallet fat and healthy. Boredom can be painful to a degree but will not kill you anytime soon.

So you retract your conjecture. Your life is not bad at all. The glass is just half-empty.

skinny head

Since nothing is more tragic than a day bereft of purpose, and ideas from the required academic readings will not seep into my dilapidated brain after hours of attempt, plus remaining in bed may only intensify this rumination, which is something I’ve been trying to avoid, I will thus make this day meaningful by feeding the dogs, paying the bills, cleaning my room, drinking cake milk tea, watching Spy, visiting the National Museum, singing Lilac Wine by Jeff Buckley while taking a bath, surviving the heavy traffic, delighting in the summer heat, laughing at loneliness, sporting a skinny head, praying and staying alive.

The day does not need to be lofty. It just needs to be something.

death wish/es

If I die, I would like to die a peaceful death. No blood and gore from an accident. No decapitation. Nothing violent. No pain to be endured as in from cancer or any terminal illness. Perhaps, death by not waking up anymore in the morning would be more than perfect. That peaceful.

I would also prefer cremation to burial. After death, my body should immediately be incinerated. I would not want any funeral service where people gather, wonder who died, grieve of the life lost and of what was in it and what was not. I prefer that people move on with their lives. This process would also save some eulogies since I think they are pointless, seriously. I mean, I would not get to hear them so what’s the significance?

Ashes of my remains should not be perpetuated in an urn but scattered in a river, a clean one of course, because I think it’s cool just like in the movies. And while this is being done, Nessun Dorma by Pavarotti should play on the background. Lilac Wine by Jeff Buckley could be a good alternative. Or this one, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables by Michael Ball.

Once all this has been done, I would like that all my belongings be burnt, except the books, which could be donated to a public library. As much as possible, all traces of my existence must be erased/deleted.

Now in case I don’t die by not waking up in the morning, I prefer that I contract Alzheimer’s just like Alice in Still Alice. But it should be at an earlier age like in my 30s or 40s. Except that I am a man, I am positive I am showing early signs of this disease. Having this illness is like already being dead, thus, a good alternative. Family can just leave me in a free facility once my memories start to wither away.


enero nueve

Note: this was written on January 9, 2010

Maroon shirts donned

and streaked with sweat,

offending nostrils of unmindful passersby.

But flaunting worship.

People, barefooted,

walking on a sun-scorched wide pavement—

burning the soles of their feet

and the callus surrounding

the deep red organ

battered over the last 365-day cycle.

Trash cluttered

(like vendors

selling cheap pieces

of this wooden god’s glory),

but not the faith

they mightily gathered only for this day.

They will not waver.

Candles may flicker,

but their hopes

will remain steadily lit.

Cars and jeepneys struggle

like turtles crawling up the dunes,

waiting on freedom

in the sea.

Men behind the wheel blow horns:

a loud grumble on wasted hours

and coins

that will not clang

in their starving pockets.

Now, the wooden god is revealed.

The long wait is over.

Crowds rush to his earthly glory!


Blood spilt; ambulance wails.

A terminal breath heaved—

a sacrifice, as black as his burned skin,

for dreams,



Glory! Glory to the wooden god!


not this summer

With summer beating down the sanity in me, I decided to launch a countermeasure and save myself: I bathed promptly, donned something appropriate for the scorching day so I could vamoose to the nearby mall and get my fix of ice cold cake milk tea.

With summer beating down the sanity in me and before departing the house, Brother approached me for an extra-allowance on top of what my elder sister usually purveys him daily for his summer classes. The helpless countenance, the rhetoric explanation of unexpected expenses in school won over the currently jobless person in me – that with no hint of doubt, I extracted the scrawny wallet from my pocket and handed him some bills. Brother happy.

With summer beating down the sanity me, I strode, under the protection of my green umbrella, toward the gate of the subdivision where tricycles (a Philippine public transportation) bound for the national highway rank for passengers. Many blocks, several turns, sweat dripping from my forehead down the temples made me wish for a miracle. Heaven listened: a Good Samaritan residing in the same subdivision witnessed my sorry state and offered a ride to the national highway.

With summer beating down the sanity in me, I alighted the jeepney (another Philippine public transportation) and raced against the hurrying crowd, snaking past them toward the entrance of the mall. Among the crowd, an old woman, more or less in her forties, was stopped by a girl, almost in her teens, bereft of any hint of innocence, in shabby clothes, with dishevelled hair, and who was barefooted. Obviously, the girl was after some alms and was very persistent to get what she needed. Her defiance to the no’s of the old woman was very apparent to the point that she seemed more of extorting than of begging. The old woman, losing her ground, finally gave in to what seemed to be her perpetrator. After receiving some coins, the girl gyrated toward her peers, flaunting her plunder.

With summer beating down the sanity in me, I stood in front of the counter, waiting for the cashier to find her luck after several tries: Francis, Frank, Fernando, etc. I grinned and interrupted her litany, “Facundo, my name is Facundo.” The other lady at the counter smiled and corrected the erring colleague. “Si Sir Ferdinand ‘yan!” (He is Sir Ferdinand!) The cashier assisting me smiled and apologized, albeit I found no reason for the apologies since the name-guessing was really fun. Moreover, their efforts to remember the names of loyal customers are already appreciation worthy despite the mistakes. Finally, I got my cake milk tea, ice cold and with extra cake cream, splashing down my throat, quenching my thirst.

Going home, I plunged myself in the jeepney, of course by the driver’s seat. Mechanically, I handed the fare, eight pesos to be exact, which the driver received promptly and shoot in a plastic box beneath the windshield.

Halfway the journey, the driver blurted something about a national news as if uncomfortable with the silence between us: “Mabuti na-delay yung bitay ni Mary Jane,” (It’s good that Mary Jane’s execution got delayed). I nodded.

“Hindi naman kasi niya alam na may drugs yung bagahe niya, e,” (She didn’t know that her luggage was secretly loaded with illegal drugs). Another nod from me and then I fell oblivious to his words.

Usually, when a driver initiates a discourse I would try my best to keep up even if it’s just feigning interest on my part only to prevent myself from offending the person and appearing rude. But not this time. Not this time. I stopped nodding and little by little his words became incomprehensible. What was certain though was he halted from his attempt to lure me into a social-political exchange. He retreated to his driving; I to myself.

So we sat in silence, perhaps, both realizing that not all can be won, alleviated, succeeded in. Not this summer. Not while it beats the sanity in us. Not while it stands and everything that goes with it despite temporary relief provided by short talks, cold beverages, fun days on the beach, or just by mere endurance.

And we’re just only halfway through it.