Sunday, May 27, 2012

ARABY by James Joyce


ARABY by James Joyce

North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers' School set the boys free. An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbours in a square ground. The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces.

The former tenant of our house, a priest, had died in the back drawing-room. Air, musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms, and the waste room behind the kitchen was littered with old useless papers. Among these I found a few paper-covered books, the pages of which were curled and damp: The Abbot, by Walter Scott, The Devout Communicant, and The Memoirs of Vidocq. I liked the last best because its leaves were yellow. The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple-tree and a few straggling bushes, under one of which I found the late tenant's rusty bicycle-pump. He had been a very charitable priest; in his will he had left all his money to institutions and the furniture of his house to his sister.

When the short days of winter came, dusk fell before we had well eaten our dinners. When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre. The space of sky above us was the colour of ever-changing violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed. Our shouts echoed in the silent street. The career of our play brought us through the dark muddy lanes behind the houses, where we ran the gauntlet of the rough tribes from the cottages, to the back doors of the dark dripping gardens where odours arose from the ashpits, to the dark odorous stables where a coachman smoothed and combed the horse or shook music from the buckled harness. When we returned to the street, light from the kitchen windows had filled the areas. If my uncle was seen turning the corner, we hid in the shadow until we had seen him safely housed. Or if Mangan's sister came out on the doorstep to call her brother in to his tea, we watched her from our shadow peer up and down the street. We waited to see whether she would remain or go in and, if she remained, we left our shadow and walked up to Mangan's steps resignedly. She was waiting for us, her figure defined by the light from the half-opened door. Her brother always teased her before he obeyed, and I stood by the railings looking at her. Her dress swung as she moved her body, and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side.

Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlour watching her door. The blind was pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that I could not be seen. When she came out on the doorstep my heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her. I kept her brown figure always in my eye and, when we came near the point at which our ways diverged, I quickened my pace and passed her. This happened morning after morning. I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.

Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance. On Saturday evenings when my aunt went marketing I had to go to carry some of the parcels. We walked through the flaring streets, jostled by drunken men and bargaining women, amid the curses of labourers, the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard by the barrels of pigs' cheeks, the nasal chanting of street-singers, who sang a come-all-you about O'Donovan Rossa, or a ballad about the troubles in our native land. These noises converged in a single sensation of life for me: I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.

One evening I went into the back drawing-room in which the priest had died. It was a dark rainy evening and there was no sound in the house. Through one of the broken panes I heard the rain impinge upon the earth, the fine incessant needles of water playing in the sodden beds. Some distant lamp or lighted window gleamed below me. I was thankful that I could see so little. All my senses seemed to desire to veil themselves and, feeling that I was about to slip from them, I pressed the palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring: 'O love! O love!' many times.

At last she spoke to me. When she addressed the first words to me I was so confused that I did not know what to answer. She asked me was I going to Araby. I forgot whether I answered yes or no. It would be a splendid bazaar; she said she would love to go.

'And why can't you?' I asked.

While she spoke she turned a silver bracelet round and round her wrist. She could not go, she said, because there would be a retreat that week in her convent. Her brother and two other boys were fighting for their caps, and I was alone at the railings. She held one of the spikes, bowing her head towards me. The light from the lamp opposite our door caught the white curve of her neck, lit up her hair that rested there and, falling, lit up the hand upon the railing. It fell over one side of her dress and caught the white border of a petticoat, just visible as she stood at ease.

'It's well for you,' she said.

'If I go,' I said, 'I will bring you something.'

What innumerable follies laid waste my waking and sleeping thoughts after that evening! I wished to annihilate the tedious intervening days. I chafed against the work of school. At night in my bedroom and by day in the classroom her image came between me and the page I strove to read. The syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me. I asked for leave to go to the bazaar on Saturday night. My aunt was surprised, and hoped it was not some Freemason affair. I answered few questions in class. I watched my master's face pass from amiability to sternness; he hoped I was not beginning to idle. I could not call my wandering thoughts together. I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child's play, ugly monotonous child's play.

On Saturday morning I reminded my uncle that I wished to go to the bazaar in the evening. He was fussing at the hallstand, looking for the hat-brush, and answered me curtly:

'Yes, boy, I know.'

As he was in the hall I could not go into the front parlour and lie at the window. I felt the house in bad humour and walked slowly towards the school. The air was pitilessly raw and already my heart misgave me.

When I came home to dinner my uncle had not yet been home. Still it was early. I sat staring at the clock for some time and, when its ticking began to irritate me, I left the room. I mounted the staircase and gained the upper part of the house. The high, cold, empty, gloomy rooms liberated me and I went from room to room singing. From the front window I saw my companions playing below in the street. Their cries reached me weakened and indistinct and, leaning my forehead against the cool glass, I looked over at the dark house where she lived. I may have stood there for an hour, seeing nothing but the brown-clad figure cast by my imagination, touched discreetly by the lamplight at the curved neck, at the hand upon the railings and at the border below the dress.

When I came downstairs again I found Mrs Mercer sitting at the fire. She was an old, garrulous woman, a pawnbroker's widow, who collected used stamps for some pious purpose. I had to endure the gossip of the tea-table. The meal was prolonged beyond an hour and still my uncle did not come. Mrs Mercer stood up to go: she was sorry she couldn't wait any longer, but it was after eight o'clock and she did not like to be out late, as the night air was bad for her. When she had gone I began to walk up and down the room, clenching my fists. My aunt said:

'I'm afraid you may put off your bazaar for this night of Our Lord.'

At nine o'clock I heard my uncle's latchkey in the hall door. I heard him talking to himself and heard the hallstand rocking when it had received the weight of his overcoat. I could interpret these signs. When he was midway through his dinner I asked him to give me the money to go to the bazaar. He had forgotten.

'The people are in bed and after their first sleep now,' he said.

I did not smile. My aunt said to him energetically:

'Can't you give him the money and let him go? You've kept him late enough as it is.'

My uncle said he was very sorry he had forgotten. He said he believed in the old saying: 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' He asked me where I was going and, when I told him a second time, he asked me did I know The Arab's Farewell to his Steed. When I left the kitchen he was about to recite the opening lines of the piece to my aunt.

I held a florin tightly in my hand as I strode down Buckingham Street towards the station. The sight of the streets thronged with buyers and glaring with gas recalled to me the purpose of my journey. I took my seat in a third-class carriage of a deserted train. After an intolerable delay the train moved out of the station slowly. It crept onward among ruinous houses and over the twinkling river. At Westland Row Station a crowd of people pressed to the carriage doors; but the porters moved them back, saying that it was a special train for the bazaar. I remained alone in the bare carriage. In a few minutes the train drew up beside an improvised wooden platform. I passed out on to the road and saw by the lighted dial of a clock that it was ten minutes to ten. In front of me was a large building which displayed the magical name.

I could not find any sixpenny entrance and, fearing that the bazaar would be closed, I passed in quickly through a turnstile, handing a shilling to a weary-looking man. I found myself in a big hall girded at half its height by a gallery. Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall was in darkness. I recognized a silence like that which pervades a church after a service. I walked into the centre of the bazaar timidly. A few people were gathered about the stalls which were still open. Before a curtain, over which the words CafĂ© Chantant were written in coloured lamps, two men were counting money on a salver. I listened to the fall of the coins.

Remembering with difficulty why I had come, I went over to one of the stalls and examined porcelain vases and flowered tea-sets. At the door of the stall a young lady was talking and laughing with two young gentlemen. I remarked their English accents and listened vaguely to their conversation.

'O, I never said such a thing!'

'O, but you did!'

'O, but I didn't!'

'Didn't she say that?'

'Yes. I heard her.'

'O, there's a... fib!'

Observing me, the young lady came over and asked me did I wish to buy anything. The tone of her voice was not encouraging; she seemed to have spoken to me out of a sense of duty. I looked humbly at the great jars that stood like eastern guards at either side of the dark entrance to the stall and murmured:

'No, thank you.'

The young lady changed the position of one of the vases and went back to the two young men. They began to talk of the same subject. Once or twice the young lady glanced at me over her shoulder.

I lingered before her stall, though I knew my stay was useless, to make my interest in her wares seem the more real. Then I turned away slowly and walked down the middle of the bazaar. I allowed the two pennies to fall against the sixpence in my pocket. I heard a voice call from one end of the gallery that the light was out. The upper part of the hall was now completely dark.

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

posted by rosevoc on iwrotefiction

A Fiction Story in Filipino: Takas

Ilang ulit kong tinangkang umalis.  Ilang ulit kong tinangkang lumimot.  Ilang ulit kong ipinanalanging maglaho.  Ilang ulit…
Mahabang panahong pinatay ko ang aking pakiramdam at mabuhay sa paniniwalang pilit kong isiniksik sa aking malay.  Hindi na ako babalik…
Kahapon, sinamba ko si Gabby.  Kahapon, buhay ko si Gabby.
“Ano ba ang nangyayari sa iyo Ate Michelle,  mukhang maputla ka yata?”  tanong ni Aiko.
“Wala.  Mayroon kasi akong mestruation ngayon.”
“A gano’n ba?  ‘Kala ko may sakit ka.”
Kung alam lamang ni Michelle ang tunay na dahilang kagagaling ko lamang sa doctor kasama si Gabby.  Katatapos ko lamang iniksyunan ng isang matabang karayom sa pigi.  May impeksyon daw ako sabi ng doktor.  Nakuha ko raw sa swimming pool.  Paano nangyari, ‘yon? E…
Noong isang lingo ay kaarawan ni Gabby.  Ibinigay ko ang lahat sa akin kay Gabby para sa kanyang kaarawan.  Ang aking Oo, and aking pag-ibig, and aking pagtitiwala, and aking katawam, hawak sa kamay, halik…
Sa parking lot ng Aristocrat Restaurant sa may Dewey Boulevard kami nag-date, August 22.  Pagkatapos
inikot namin and Cultural Center  at kumain kami.  Nag-order kami ng chicken barbecue at Java rice.
Nagayuma yata ako ng pagkain sa Aristocrat.
Sa kagustuhan kong mabigyan ng kasiyahan si Gabby, ay ibinigay ko ang hiling niyang regalo.  Regalong tulad sa isang makinang na salaming kahon, regalong parang tumama sa lotto.  Ni sa panaginip ay hindi ko inakalang mangyayari ang lahat ng iyon sa Datsun pick up.  Sa magarang pick up ni Gabby na tinted ng itim.  Dumaplis ang ilang sandali at una kong naisigaw ang aking pagkababae.
Nang gabing iyon, ay sumuko ang buwan.  Makulimlim ngunit makulay ang langit.  Umuwi akong bawas sa katauhan ngunit may pag-asa sa alay na pag-ibig.  Ang akala ko, ang pag-ibig ay walang wakas.  Ang akala ko, ito ay hindi maaaring magkaroon ng lamat.  Hindi pala.  Anuman ay maaaring magbago.  Tulad ng pag-ibig, na maaring bugso lamang ng init ng katwan at ng panandaliang pangangailangan ng pagkalinga.
Sa magdamag na iyon ay sumakit ang aking tiyan.  Ngunit hind na bale – mahal ko naman si Gabby.  Nilagnat ako at kinailangang dalhin sa doktor.  Pilit kong inilihim ang aking nararamdaman sa aking mga kasambahay.  Papatayin ako ni TiyaPatria at aatakihin sa puso si Inay.  Naghintay ako ng bukas.
Kinabukasan nga ay dinala ako sa doctor ni Gabby, sa isang clinic sa Pasay.
Ang impeksyon ay makukuha sa paliligo sa swimming pool o kaya naman ay sa pag-gamit ng public toilet,” sabi ng doktora.
Binigyan ako ng mga gamot ni doktora.  Antibiotics at supporitories.  Kung paano ko gagamitin ay hindi ko alam.
“Isang suppository sa bawat gabi.  Sa isang lingo ay magaling ka na!”
Pagkatapos ay ang iniksyon sa aking pigi.  Pagdating ko sa bahay ay tinabunan ko ng mga yelo sa freezer ang mga suppositiories.  Tiyak wala nang makakasilip niyon.
Ito marahil ang tinatawag nilang pag-ibig.  Ang pagbibigay ng lahat, ng tiwala, ng sarili.  Hahamakin ang lahat pati ang mga pangarap.  Kakalimutan pati angkan.  Ang tanging makikita lamang ay ang larawan ng minamahal, ang tanging iisipin lamang ay ang iniibig.
Ilang ulit kaming kumain sa Aristocrat.  Ilang ulit ko ring nakalimutan ang aking mga pag-asa.  Ang pangungulila ko kay Itay ay nakalimutan ko na rin.  Marahil akala ko si Gabby ay si Itay sa dahilang siya ang tanging lalaki sa mundo na aking ginagalawan.  Masaya at mala-bahaghari, ang mga sumunod pang mga araw, puno ng pag-asa hangang mapansin ni Michelle ang kakaiba kong mga kilos.
“Parang lagi kang wala sa sarili, Ate.  May dinaramdam ka ano?  Love hurts?  Huhuhu…”  Hindi ako nakapag-sinungaling.  Sa lakas ng kabog ng aking idbdib ay naisuka ko ang kinain kong chocolate cake at barbecue.
“Ano ka ba Ate?  Bakit hindi mo kayang pigilin ang sarili mo?  Susuka ka na rin lang di ka pa tumakbo.”
Napahiya ako.  Ngunit masidhi pa doon ay binalot ako ng takot sa titig ni Tiya patria.  Mabilis akong tumakbo upang kumuha ng basahan para linisin ang mala-tsamporado kong kalat.  Nang malinis na, umakyat ako sa kuwarto.  Para akong lilipad.  Ngunit hindi bale, basta masaya ako dahil kasama ko si Gabby.  Lutang pa ako sa alapaap.  Sabi ni Gabby ay mahal na mahal niya ako.  Sabi niya hindi niya ako iiwan.  Ako raw ang tangi niyang pag-ibig.  Ang kangyang mga pangako ang aking nagging pag-asa.

Lumipas ang mga araw, nakiuso ako sa mga artista.  Kinailangan ko ang “rush na kasal.”  Hindi napigilan ng Levis jeans ang pagbabago sa aking katawan, at hindi rin kayang isuman ng girdle ang pag-lobo ng aking tiyan.  Sabi ni Tiya Patria at ni Inay ay pa-check up daw uli ako, pilit umaasang hindi ako buntis.

Nagmadali kami ni Gabby.  Pareho naming gusting takasan ang mga tao sa aming paligid.  Sabay kaming walang muwang na nakipag-sapalaran sa maraming bakit at paano sa murang silakbo ng aming kabataan.  Hinahanap ko si itay.  Sinasakal naman siya sa mga responsibilidad ng kanilang negosyo.

Walang natuwa sa aming kasal.  Hindi ang pamilya niya, lalong hindi ang pamilya ko.  Sa motif na dilaw, misa sa Filipino at barong Tagalog para sa aming mga abay ay nairaos ang kasal sa isang malaking simbahan at ang piging sa isang sikat na restoran.  Masaya at malungkot, sapagkat noong oras ding iyon ay maraming tanong na nabuo sa aking isip – pag-aalinlangan, at walang katiyakang bukas.
Hindi ko maipinta ang larawan naming dalawa sa altar.  Hindi kaya pareho kaming napilitan lamang upang takpan an gaming kahihiyan?  Mayroon akong pagaagam-agam.  Marahil si gabby rin.  Marahil pareho kami.  Dumating siyang huli ng 30 minutos sa kasal.  Naghintay ako sa kotse ng 30 minutos.  Nakakatawa.  Nakakahiya.

Sa Simbahan.
Pangalawang beses na aking piging sa simbahan.  Ang una ay ang binyag.  Pangalawa ay ang kasal.
Sa aking kasal ay hindi ko alam kung bakit di ko tinakpan ng belo ang aking mukha sa pagpaso patungong altar.  Ininhatid ako ni Tiyo Waldo, ang kapatid na abogado ni Inay.  Ang mukha ni Tiyo Waldo ay lukot tulad ng kanyang hitsura minsang natalo siya sa isang kasong hinahawakan.
Sabi ng pinsan ni Gabby ay takpan ko daw ang aking mukha ng belo dahil iyon ang kaugaliang Pinoy.  Espesyal ang belo para sa okasyon, sagisag na ang nobya ay birhen.
“E anong takip-takip ang kailangan?” tanong ko.  Kaya nga kami pakakasal ay sa dahilang may kailangan kaming saguting responsibilidad.  Kaya bang sagutin ng belo ang tunay na pagmamahal?  Parang gusto kong isigaw.  Batid ko, ako ay birhen kaya nga ako pakakasalan ni Gabby.  Taya ko ang aking sarili.
“Makiuso tayo,” ang patukso kong sagot sa pinsan ni Gabby.  Moderno na ngayon.  Gusto ko talagang makiuso.  Sa kasal na ito ay ako ang masusunod.  Abot-langit ang aking ngiti parang masayang-masaya.
Pagdating ko sa altar, at sa paghawak kamay at palitan ng aming mga singsing ay nagdilim and langit.  Kasabay ng aming mga Oo ay kumulog ng malakas!
Kodakan.  Maraming bisita.  Mabilis ang mga pangyayari.  Parang gusto kong maglaho.  Sa ibang ikinakasal ang dasal ay huwag matapos ang gabi, sa akin ay sana matapos na.  Nagsabuyan ng bigas at mga confetti ang mga bisita.  “Mabuhay ang bagong kasal!”  Sa mga pagkakataong iyon ay hindi ko alam ang aking gagawin. Simula noon natuto akong ngumiti kahit hindi kailangan.

 Ang Rehas.
Maraming taon kaming nagsama ni Gabby.
Masaya.  Malungkot.  Iba’t-ibang drama sa buhay.  Sayang.  Hindi pala kami para sa isa’t isa.  Ngunit iyon ang guhit ng kapalaran – marahil may ibang dahilan ang langit.
Puno ng inggit ang puso ko sa haba ng mga taon naming mag-kasama.  Inggit sa aking mga kahati.  Pagsisisi ngunit pagwawalang-bahala.  Pagtanggap sa katotohanan.
Sa mahabang panahon tumira ako sa loob ng rehas.
Nabuhay akong puno ng takot na baka ako ay mawala o kaya ay maligaw.  Nabalot ako sa takot ng pag-iisa.  Hanggang minsan sa paghihintay ko ng gabi nang madama ko ang matinding pangugulila sa loob ng rehas ay kumawala ang lahat sa aking pagnanasang lumaya.  Binagtas ko ang dilim at humanap ako ng liwanag.
Inakyat ko ang matarik na nakakandadong gate na aking nabuo…  sa bawat araw, sa bawat taon.  Hawan ko ang mga tinik sa paligid nga mga rehas. Ang naisip ko, mahulog man ako, dala ko ang bendisyon ng langit.
Alas tres ng hapon:  Sa pagod kong bunting-hininga, tiniyak ko, hindi na ako babalik.

Ito ay fiction story; ang mga pangalan ng mga tao sa fiction story ay gawa lamang ng imahinasyon.

First published in Tinig 4. ng Katinig, 2005

Katinig Writer's Workshop, Salamat

Edited by: Danilo Meneses and  Reynaldo Duque

Guest Panelists/Writers: Dr. Domingo Landicho
                                     Frank Sigua
                                     Ireneo Catilo

 reposted. may 28, 2012. rosevoc2 on iwrotefiction

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In Your Rogate

Before I go, let me tell you –

how much you mean to me and that,

I will miss you in the waters I will sail.

Equidistant to where we live -

it is the same water from one rain

and same drops falling from one sky.

I will miss you, miss you everyday

of the trek, of which we don’t know

when we’d touch hands again. I will

leave you with your apricots and plums

raisin and wafer, the spring for your

thirst, the falls for your bath. As you

wait for me, every new day in

solace, that foamy face of blue

and white blinking stars and rainbow

mouth, open with hope, remember -

how I touched your face, lived your gaze,

how I kissed your mouth, your tongue

oiled your hair, your hands – everything,

you wished for in my womb – white light

of grace loving God, O God, our God!

Nothing could be over, because

we are meant for each other.

As the stars and its constellations

amuse the earth, we couldn't draw

miracles, only live it, and

offer the harvest of the earth:

blooming flowers in the garden –

fruits that feed babies and us all.

oh beautiful sky of clouds -

pineapple and melons are the

favorites in the meals we partake.

Don’t forget I love you, as always...

Every time you drink the cup,

every time you chant and praise,

when you bow and clasp those hands,

don’t forget, I love you sweetly.

I love you so much, when those knees

bend down and you look up the sky in peace.

Don’t forget I love you - so much.

In all that you speak, I adore you.

In your “Rogate,” I adore you.


RoseVoc2 on May 22, 2012. I'm surprised, as well. I thank the Lord for the zeal.

St. Hannibal, pray for us.

Send O Lord, holy workers into your church.

Blessed John Paul, pray for us.

Also on

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Air In Tanks

Air in Tanks


Free air is paid in tanks

sustaining the last lung of the earth,

seeking some more hours to live here,

forward the trek.

Life is short like

the fire in the wick.

As nature bestows to others

it takes back in bulk.

Beautiful space stark as

meteors, heat, and ice -

Scent of a baby,

fragrant as dew,

cuddling as a lover.

The rage is poison

from nuclear mess.

So the air is paid in tanks

for some more hours to live here.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Goodbye Dear Grandmother

Goodbye Dear Grandmother

When I was younger, I thought you would never die

I thought you were an immortal

You were wonderfully healthy

You were morally good

You were a virtuous woman, always in the mood.

Once I asked you, “Why do people work? ”

And then you answered, “Because to live is to work! ”

Then I said, “Life is tough, we need to stop and rest.”

“No! ” She told me, “Life is beautiful; it is a test.”

And now you lay down

Destined for a peaceful town

“To live is to work… To die is to rest.”

Goodbye Grandmother,

Goodbye for now.

/rosalinda flores martinez

also on / one of my oldest poems;rosevoc2

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In May 2012: Our Prayers Like a French Kiss / RoseVoc2

God, Let Your Holy Spirit Be In Us

How everyone worries

With all that happens now -

How like rags we kiss the ground

How like water we would flow

And unstopping, lend our thoughts of kindness.

And because we're all imperfect, and we want to help,

Our prayers and good wishes sent to One God unite

Like a French kiss, like humans do, full of passion.

Maybe, we are serious

Maybe, we are not.

These troubled times, truly, there are no tags

Just the naked body

No color, no gender, no status, no country,

Just life, solemn as light popping clouds of hope

One precious creation, the earth has suckled

First milk from breasts dropped in pain and sweetness

A concoction only Heaven brews, for us

We are all fed, nature above and below us feed.

Our minds grow, heaven's gift to nourish our lands

And from time to time, we learn our lessons

That man has limits

That man needs man

That man finds truth yesterday, now and tomorrow

That man must respect each other.

That man must love, and

That man must pray

To seek God's will everyday,

And in all the aspects of our lives

Our God of Goodness will never abandon,

Us, His children

Us, He created for His Kingdom.

Let Your Holy Spirit come now to us

O God, let Your Holy Spirit be in us -

On earth, as it is in Heaven.

rosalinda flores martinez.05.02.2012
/also on

Hansel and Gretel9