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joanna carlos
joanna carlos "California here we come/ right back where we started from." – California, Phantom Planet

IT WAS recently this afternoon the 14th of July that during my only perceived form of physical exertion (dog-walking) I badmouthed a slatternly neighbor, which I muttered under my breath and cleverly hid in a catcall to the wind while she was with her alaga or son, both ahead of me as I waited for them to overpass me by the road and so I could watch them with narrowed eyes and flaring nostrils. The seething emotion remained for a moment but I noticed their awkwardness as yet again (I used to sit back in classrooms), I had the advantage of voyeurism though I am not a back-stabber. Do not judge me so harshly, I am merely oddly in need of trust funds and social welfare advice but it was the woman, a harlot in blue (her son in a blue striped shirt that looked like prison wear) who was behaving that particular way -- hair-tossing, increased personal desire to overcome my own attractiveness -- who irked me as such women are threatened by a bigger Queen of Prostitutes around our foreigner-riddled village in Angeles. They had found their place traipsing in high-riding Daisy Dukes, wielding half-breeds, stepping out from a minor part in a movie where they had just worn red leather wedges with studs and though I am not wearing make-up they take second glances at me in curiosity and the bon-bon in them rages fiercer than their intellect as it is to me and to all Literature that they had found a formidable opponent.

I know about this; there was this old painting and this girl -- her name was Mildred and she was a waitress -- who on the back cover of the novel Of Human Bondage by W.Somerset Maugham was described as “pale, slatternly.” I was confused by the latter term which I interpreted as fragile and having the effect of a Monarch butterfly so I promptly purchased the book from an obscure Booksale branch somewhere in a fraction of Manila. It would inspire me with that age-old story arc; it is one of those most human connections we can have, always interesting as it had something to do with me which is basic Humanities for you. The girls would remain the same; I supposed they needed me to tell them what they truly were, which was “disheveled.”

I don't know what period in my life I had figured out that prostitutes (who should be stopped like viral infections) actually read books; I had seen some at bookstores but the tell-tale sign that they do is the obvious fact that they behave whatever they like because they live in the happy land of Assurance where no one would point them out as stupid even if their submission to their special temperament shows zero knowledge about Politics and a powerful, perpetual, pandemic inclination, endearment and physical attraction to all boys and men, especially if they are foreigners or if they are wealthy. This shows that they are just like everyone else who would easily give up their secrets to monied Joe; they are different in the sense that, normally, girls would care very much what the opposite sex thinks of them so the fact that you fly around in maroon velvet and golden trinkets waiting in 7-Eleven for men (who knows what they'd look like) to take you home means that you're a rampaging psychopath who needs private counselling for serious sex addiction and for a desire to be the Reyna ng mga Patutot so that all your soul-crushing fantasies come to life in your naked world.

I'm mad because of the way you will always regard me, my treatment of you can simmer but it's always you, tart, who would be defensive in this shoe-stepping dance.

Excommunication Exhortation of the Exes

I've seen every single time that you are threatened by someone of my appearance and though I don't give a rat's ass what men think of me, you behave in low low ways, not passing for human, because that is what you think that they want, isn't it? You're right, they want that indeed, you've had millenia to perfect this art. You'd read this and you'd be adjusting to make yourselves even more tragic, telling sob tales about your abused childhood or your poverty so why is it that only I see that you do not want to be loved but simply want the satisfying sex, preferably backed up by useless reading on your part (considering the mindset pok-poks have, they simply want the immunity from being ostracized by people who know about Hedonism yet have better minds and better bodies: the tragedy about their disease which they immediately feel, the fact that they will always be there as long as dichotomies exist, forever, as women enslaved by passion)? Stop it! You want that one big love but when you settle down, you are mired in your delusions and you will never cease to be hostile to someone who has everything to love; after all these positions that is the one thing you cannot do.

It was that place by the smooth curve of the road, right by the gasoline station where multiple times I had called out “Para” by the park fruit stand. I usually bought melon shakes when it was humid, a watermelon I smuggled once, but the tropics were simply beckoning a day in the blue room which was better ventilated, being cooler over-all and it was the only other painted room in our house (the other was a furious pink). I realized in the sweltering heat of my bedroom that I was involved with an Art movement where people are making sense of their Lives and using their media to discover subconsciousness and arrange the ideas which they live; they have in its entirety the old-fashioned, nostalgic, universal classicism of an artistic temperament (vegan, listening to instrumentals, sensual), varyingly talented. There are those like me who have thought of death while they are alive and these are brighter-colored than anyone attired in mauve and swathed with beckoning, but no 2 people are alike no matter how close.

So I do, but I see gray areas in this world. They're flashes of dull concrete on the road, punctuated by large, beautifully bending trees and the sporadic exclamations of the yellow lines which crop up like everyone else's mortality, like whisps of smoke in the air. By the time I turn a sharp left down 5, 6 blocks from the main gate, the melon shake is over; though the taste is gone, I feel the cold and even I, with all my kindness and surprising shrewdness, have to think what that taste was as I cannot piece it from the debris of my memory.

I'm in a rut, my writing is different so I rely on the things that I see and feel to answer Life's trickiest questions as I really am one formidable gamer.

[About the author. Joanna Carlos considers herself Kapampangan, having grown up in an atmosphere in which the dialect was distributed freely among locals and expatriates here and abroad; thereby she ingested it like the smell of dying sampaguitas, the sound of cicadas by moonlight, and the sight of lanterns, ablaze in the sun, that decorate the city. She is dedicated and compassionate, and is interested in many things. After leaving the KSA, she has then immersed herself in the folkloric society of Pampanga. Joan is kindhearted and generous. Yet she has her pet peeves, her Lilith moments, so don't be a "cold-hearted capitalist" and irritate her, because even then you wouldn't realize who you are up against. Her writing was honed throughout the years and so has she. Joanna, then, is an amalgam of the child and the present, accepting, just..]

-Posted: 10:30 AM 8/13/14 | More of this author on eK!