Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Two Days Sober: The End of a Love Affair with a Saint

I just posted the poem, Alay sa Patrong San Miguel, at the poetry blog. It's a poem that I wrote in 1999 at a time when I was rebelling against authority. It's a very bitter piece built over a one-hour solo drinking session. Posting it made me realize how in times of depression, and frustration, I have usually turned to alcohol.

I never really thought of drinking as bad. Until now. I was initiated into it early, through a game, when I was around 9 or 10 years old. It was the town fiesta and they called in children for a drinking game. Whoever finished their bottle of pale pilsen first gets a prize. I drank it, straight up, and won. I could vividly remember the crowd cheering, and a couple of the older men saying, "Manang-mana sa tatay niyang manginginom ah."

Maybe I do take take after my father who drinks. From my earliest days I could remember him coming home from work drunk. I could remember him and my mother fighting over it, and as a a result of it. Before long, I was the one getting drunk all the time.

In high school, my friends would usually stay over at my house for an all-night drinking session after a party. This went on for me and my high school friends even until college.

At university, I joined a fraternity, where I learned to really drink, if not for anything but fellowship. It was not unusual for me then to come home plastered.

Then I started working, and earning my own (beer) money. Over the years, I consumed hundreds, maybe even thousands of gallons of alcoholic drinks, and my body learned to adjust to the extreme alcohol levels I subjected it to.

Last week, I was out every night for a full week (maybe more). Three times I went home with the sun up. I was unproductive and missed some very important tasks. I was thinking I was on break and was making the most of my "vacation" time, but the last few days were just too much.

So for now, I'm swearing alcohol off. I do not know how long this resolve will last, but in a way I have said my so longs and thank yous to my patron saint and lover of 20 plus years, San Miguel.

Hindi na. Okay na. As far as I'm concerned
tapos na. Tapos na ang gabing ito. Paggising ko
bukas siguro masakit ang ulo ko. 'Di bale.
At least 'yon ang naiisip ko. Hindi ang mga
problema ko. Tapos na rin ang samba.
Nag-uuwian na ang mga customer ng Cafea.
Kasama ko na lang 'tong huling bote ko
ng cerveza, nakapatong sa mesa, naghihintay
na ubusin ko, inumin, lagukin, kahit mapait
kahit mainit.

Until our next rendezvous.


  1. wow. are you quitting ? cge nga cge nga....game ako dyan.! wui ako uminom! haha. di naman ako umiinom e.

  2. it's day 3 and i'm still sober. bwahahaha!

    habagat, my friend, sino ka? :-)

  3. em proud of you glenny! kampay! hehehe! panu sa birthday ko gusto ko inuman tau hehe ng halliwels! temptations temptations!


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The Chronicler's Creed

Where there's water and sun, where there are friends to see or new people to meet, where there's something new to learn, experience, or do, where there's life, there I will be.


Y fue a esa edad... Llegó la poesía
a buscarme. No sé, no sé de dónde
salió, de invierno o río.
No sé cómo ni cuándo,
no, no eran voces, no eran
palabras, ni silencio,
pero desde una calle me llamaba,
desde las ramas de la noche,
de pronto entre los otros,
entre fuegos violentos
o regresando solo,
allí estaba sin rostro
y me tocaba.

And it was at that age... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I do not know, I do not know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I do not know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

- An excerpt from LA POESÍA (Poetry) by Pablo Neruda