I, Elon

You are built by a grand design
to have eyes filled with kindness
Like the mechanical gears
that control a machine’s movements
or the sound one hears
at the opening of a chamber
Your mouth is programmed to smile
at your caretaker
But there is no automation
in the daily mothering I perform
Nor motorization involved
in the momentary pause
my heart makes
at the thought of your neck’s weakness
against my unsteady hands
You move, creak, and cry
And I fly, speak, and try
to soothe your soft eyes
begged by a definite Jacobian determinant
And though maternal instincts
may wrap themselves around me
at nights when I my eyelids refuse to flex
this dexterity is a byproduct
of a more abstract notion
that cannot be defined
by the hands of science.

Poems for Daddy’s 70th birthday

1.

I lost my voice, Daddy

The surgeon took it with him

when he took your toes away

These words have escaped the space

where they used to be

I don’t feel capable of giving life to them

across the oceans

And like the pain that you must feel

The inspiration to create

remains a phantom.

Still, I reached out and grappled for

whatever is left

and in the spot I found

Memories of you

With all my courage,

I took a pen and sat down

And here we are.

Happy birthday.

 

2.

Many decades ago

we shared a meal

Just the two of us

sitting in our small dining table

You took two fish

and plated them before us

My bewildered voice asked you

“Is this whole thing mine?”

Of course, you retorted.

And there I saw your generosity

and the disparity between

Mom’s kitchen rules

and yours.

 

3.

I was ten years young

in the sweltering heat

you finally took me

fishing

after my relentless begging

“I’ll be good.”

“Promise you won’t annoy me?”

“Promise not to ask to go home right away?”

“Promise you’ll wait till I’m done?”

Yes, Daddy.

But fifteen minutes into it,

you must have felt my gnawing fear

of the deep water beneath our

rocking boat,

and decided to paddle back.

I kept my promise to be quiet

But you kept a promise

that you didn’t have to make

or even say out loud.

You just did the right thing

and be a father.

 

4.

“Take care of my child.”

These words fall out of your lips

and landed on the groom’s ears.

Your visible tears give away

how much you love me.

Today, I am a bride.

Today, I am happy to witness

you crying

tears of worry

tears of happiness

tears of resignation

But in this moment,

and forever,

I am your child.

 

Romeo + Flora, 44 years and counting

Forty-four years ago, a love that had a certain form of certainty saw two young souls tying the knot. Amidst a hundred pairs of eyes, they, who only had eyes for each other, stood at the altar with hearts passionately and nervously beating out of their chests. His black hair matched his suit, handpicked for this special event. Her gown and headdress embarrassed Cleopatra’s. As he took her by his arm, he promised her the world and she her love and devotion, till death do they part. They didn’t know it then but their union would bring forth a handsome brood of three who would later produce gorgeous children themselves (ahem). After that holy hour, there have been were 385,440 more hours to this very day. They still have eyes only for each other. They’re still together. And they will forever be.

Happy anniversary, Mommy Flora Javier​ and Daddy! We love you! 

Wardrobe

While sorting two big buckets of clothes from four to five years ago, I realize how much my taste has changed. Much of it has colours of pink, purple, teal and blue as well as patterns that tiptoe between loud and subtle. Florals, stripes, even bears. I grabbed a few dresses and tops (that may or not fit me, shhh.. that’s beside the point) and hang them in my wardrobe next to my recent purchases, which are a boring sea of greys, blacks and whites.

It’s as if I was seeing my past self meet my present self. And I’m still unsure what to call this feeling, but it’s an…interesting one to say the least.

Every piece of clothing I have ever owned has a memory attached to it. Some detailed, some vague, but memories regardless. For example, this halter swing dress took me back to my prenuptial photoshoot in the hills of Tagaytay (Philippines) and to feeling nervous and excited about getting married a few days from that point. I remember feeling stressed under the burden of planning my own wedding partly because I was such a frugal control freak. 🙂 My present self would have advised my old self to just take it easy because in the bigger scheme of things, details don’t ultimately matter .

I kept various piles today. One for donation. Another for the bins. Yet another for clothes that fit me now, and another one for clothes that don’t fit me now but are too good to throw away or donate. I am not ready to part with them just yet.

The prospect of wearing old clothes that fit me five years ago is my takeaway from today’s activity. It may be futile, but I’m going to die trying. And if I fail, what’s the worst that can happen? Resorting them will be another trip down memory lane and a welcome one at that.

My Uber Story: Before Uber Becomes A Thing of the Past

The first time I tried using Uber in the Philippines, my driver drove to my destination without me. I simply wasn’t ready to go, having only woken up a few minutes before my “conyo” Uber driver turned up. Apologies were given of course and I said I’ll definitely pay for the ride, I didn’t have a choice anyway, but in order to do that, he had to go to my destination. Some GPS related stuff. Up to this day though I still don’t know if it was my fault or my toddler’s for messing with my phone when I wasn’t looking. My husband and I were staying at my sister’s place in Manila and we thought we would try Uber to get to SM South Mall which was only about 10 minutes or one hour away (depending on traffic).

Going back home from the mall that day though, we successfully rode our first (technically second) Uber and it was a breeze. Thanks to the star system, our experience was a textbook Uber one; i.e. polite driver, clean car, seamless payment. We did tip him on top of the payment that’s taken automatically from my card.

Since then, I’ve used Uber only maybe four times in the Philippines and each one proved to be a pleasant riding experience. We always talk to the driver to try and siphon stories from him (I still have yet to meet a female Uber driver). One was a former OFW who worked in Dubai for 15 years or so and is now driving with Uber full time. Another is not only driving for Uber full time, but also Grab Taxi and that other service that picks up and delivers packages. Yet another called Uber “You-ber.” I’ve always find their stories fascinating.

It was only a couple of days ago when I had my first Uber experience here in Australia. I had a pregnancy appointment that I was late for and a host of car and keys issues to deal with. So I left my son with my husband and went to the city by myself. My driver welcomed me in his car using my first name as listed on the app. “Personable,” I thought to myself. I decided to sit at the front next to him thinking it was the polite thing to do. I will later find out from my husband that this was not necessary but also not a bad thing either.

“I just didn’t want him to feel as though he’s my chauffeur, or something,” I explained.

The Uber driver-rider dynamic is unique. As a rider, you readily associate this driver to a real person who has back stories, to a former job other than being an uber driver, or to a product of modern technology. It’s one or the other, or a mixture of all those, but whatever it is, it’s definitely no taxi trip.

My uber driver and I talked about what we used to do in our past lives. I shared that I was a teacher for 10 years before coming to Australia and my plan when I’m ready to work again is to dabble again in graphic design or something totally different such as culinary arts.

“Oh I’m a qualified chef,” he humbly stated.

I was floored when I found out that he used to work at none of other than my favorite Indian restaurant here in Geelong.

“Wait, so are you saying that you have cooked my meal sometime ago?!” I mean of course I get it that there are people preparing food for me but how often do I get to meet in person and in a different capacity?

Having been in Geelong for 5 years, I feel it’s highly likely that he indeed has at least once or twice. Small world indeed. And an amazing one at that. I told him I imagine he still prepares those beautiful dishes at home at his convenience. But to my surprise, this is not the case. At home his wife runs their kitchen. He even claimed that he considers her to be a better cook. As he desribed this stuffed bread they had for lunch just before he picked me up, I was definitely looking forward to the weekend so I could order some Indian takeaway.

And there it was. Another uber nice uber pleasant Uber experience.

We meet new people even for a brief moment, or indirectly without ever meeting them in person (through food we order online hehe), and that may be enough to change our perspective even momentarily. And while I don’t enjoy public transportation, I wouldn’t mind Ubering my way to my destination even for just the chat.

Jungle thoughts

I’ve been watching I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here (Australia), a milder version of Survivor, wherein a pack of wolves… er…celebrities are thrown in the middle of the jungle away from luxury and comfort.

In between tasks and trials, I imagine it can get boring. Small talk can only go so far, indeed, so after a while they start sharing personal stories. The aftermath of course is depth. When there’s so many minutes to burn and no technology to while away the time, we default back to our own minds and just…think.

I can relate to bits and pieces of that. After the daily motions of doing household chores, there’s nothing much to do but think, and this is where my thoughts took me today.

When I’m in the Philippines, I get to be in my own jungle sometimes thanks to the unreliable power supply. When it goes out, we tend to come out of our homes, or at least sit on the front porch, and talk to each other, or whatever is left of us in the compound. My cousins call this “session” except the only agenda is anything and everything hilarious. When we were young, Kuya Gerry (RIP) would lead the boys in firing up stories better than any stand-up comedian. The girls would join in laughter. The parents would observe in glee from what I can only imagine was pride and joy in knowing that everyone got along. No social media or cellphones. All we had was each other’s company so watching movies or reading comic books that we rent  are our main forms of entertainment, and are therefore always shared. Lovelife, Aliwan, Hiwaga, the works. With movies, we re-view our favorites such as Top Gun, and recite our favorite lines along with Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer.

Sadly, everyone of us grew up and moved out of our respective homes for one reason or another. What’s even sadder is that the next generation, the millennials rarely meet as well and when they do, they would almost certainly be staring at their own gadgets, isolating everyone around them. I guess I can’t blame them. Such is life and times. They  change.

It is clear where my thoughts naturally flow when I momentarily pause. Family and memories of childhood. And maybe a little of resentment towards the generation that’s losing its grip on what’s essential.

I’m keeping my thinking cap on.

Of eating and dreams

Six months in: it’s that period in pregnancy when I’m not a big fan of eating anymore so I have to force myself to eat, what with the baby expanding its territory in my belly and claiming spaces that used to belong to the natives.  The baby’s movements are much more recognizable now that I’m able to share the joy with my husband as it happens. A few weeks ago, I feel like a fool wasting his time, insisting that there’s movement when there was none.

Meanwhile, my dreams are becoming more and more detailed. Last night it felt so real that I was glad to wake up to reality. In my dream, I was in a skyscraper home where an android bird as big as car hovered over me. I waved at it as if to know for sure that there was a man behind it and sure enough, he perched himself on the tip of the tower on my roof and had a conversation with me.

In a different scene, I was caressing my belly, then suddenly the baby’s head emerged from right under my belly and fell into my arms. And just like the legend of Lam-Ang, he spoke and walked right after birth. He looked exactly like my first child.

There is a sense of gratitude in me when I do recall my dreams because it’s like having to throw away rubbish and keeping an accessible inventory in my head.

But I’m sure they mean nothing.

 

 

Amalgamation, Complete

Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve assumed different voices in blogging/writing, in that my perspectives have become more specific and interest-oriented, creating what I thought was the need to have various clandestine blogs. What I’ve done thus far is combine those various blogs into one big mess that is tetkelly.wordpress.com.

A few highlights:

My first 90 Days in Australia. This blog is special to me because it was the only time I’ve ever completed a daily blog challenge for this length of time. Click here. 

Pregnancy Blog NEW. This relates to my second and ongoing pregnancy. I was aiming to write everyday as well but fatigue and travel got the best of me. Click here.  It was originally hosted here.

Vegetarian Blog. This was originally called Broccoli Bulletin  and was meant to be a secret blog until I came to visit the Philippines and show off my new figure. Down the drain my new diet went because the cravings kicked in and soon, I was eating KFC like no one’s business. Click here to read. It’s mostly pictures of my daily vegetarian meals.

Hope you enjoy the new stuff as well as the old, the random, and the obscure. Thanks for stopping by.