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
Until our next rendezvous.
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