paolo and poerty.

(Yeah, the sign was misspelled. Somebody pulled a switch-a-roo.)

Tackling the unknown should be part of everyone’s daily regimen. When you go face to face with the unknown, you find out who you really are. You get to answer questions like, “how do I deal with the unknown?,” “what am I doing here?,” and “is this the bathroom?”

Last Monday, I did just that. I (finally) went to my friend’s poetry reading. Alone. Check. Place-I’ve-never-been-to. Check. Uncertainty what time the gig would start. (Optional, but check.)

Happy Mondays happens at mag:net cafe in Katipunan during the first and third of the month. The fourth of June, 2007 happened to be a first Monday, so there was one scheduled. (P.S. Six years ago, senior year of highschool started. P.P.S. Two days before that, I got the scar on my back, which also celebrated it’s sixth year anniversary.) Unfortunately, when you’re sicker than Christmas and you arrive too early, you find out that the waiting-in-between the unknown bores you out of your skull, and rubs your steadily declining fever the wrong way.

Two mango crêpes, a banana/peanut shake and an hour later, people started arriving. Going one-man-army, I had to find allies. I started talking to the people beside me. Israfel(?), Karl(?) and Tanya. I told them how that was my first venture into the realm of poetry-reading-spectatorship. They assure me that I was gonna get my socks blown off. (I tug at my socks.) It turns out, Tanya was a poet-band-aid, she’s Karl’s girlfriend, and as far as I know, it helps when your moral support is a tall, shapely lady with a pout that won’t quit.

A little later on, a guy in a black The Smiths shirt and a backwards cap declares on the microphone that indeed, the reading was to begin. I spot my friend and her sister. (Hello surprise.) I excuse myself from the trio’s company to join them. My friend leaves to prepare for her reading. A little while later, she’s giving a thumbs-up sign from across the room while a waiter serves me a beer. (Hello, fever!)

And, over sips of beer and puffs of smoke, me and my friend’s little sister listened to poetry (when we could, as sometimes the added instruments make it hard to distinguish a ‘twang’ from a twang) and discussed in the most minute details, why I chose to show up, fever and all.

To note, I did like a few readings, by Karl, Israfel, Kris Lacaba, Nerissa Del Carmen Guevarra and Lourd De Veyra’s (he was sitting next to us). And yeah, in some sick twisted way, I did enjoy the performance with the guy going impromptu while his friend rips apart a book page per page. As for the other poems, it’s either I didn’t hear or didn’t understand. (Mostly the latter, thank you.) For the intermission, Karl played along with his band, Tabloid Lite. (Surprise, he didn’t mention this earlier.) And just after the last reading, the band Los Chupacabras played a few songs. (Surprise, the other guy I met earlier is the vocalist.) Which kicked ass — mainly for lyrics like, “saging na vibrator,” “ever gotesco,” and “sakristan.” (don’t ask. — although I do believe they upload gigs in youtubery)

After five hours in, me, my friend, my friend’s sister and my friend’s sister’s friend step out. While deciding on the next destination, a buff middle-aged man walks up to my friend and asked her how her reading went. Turns out he’s the owner of mag:net.

After showing signs of itching thanks to forgotten medicine, my friend’s sister drove me home.


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June 2007
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