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papa osmubal
oscar balajadia (a flash version of the poem of the same title)

I APPROACHED him and asked what he was doing.

"Thinking," he said straightforwardly.

I nodded. I paused, facing the coming breeze.

"Like a puff?" he said, handing me a stick of cigarette and a matchstick in between his fingers.

I grabbed the offer; and though hesitant, I asked him another question. Or rather, questions.

"What connection do thinking and smoking a cigarette have? Can one think without smoking? Or can one smoke without thinking?"

He looked straight and deep into my eyes and said nothing. He puffed his cigarette and contemplated on the smoke that hovered around us like ripples and memories, like a desert full of voice.

[About the author. Papa Osmubal is Oscar Balajadia of Magalang (Well, don't get fooled by that name), now a Macau resident (Sorry, where?) and married to a Chinese local (How? How come? Why?). He has been a Catholic seminarian (OK, he once opened a book at an exam in Latin and Romance Languages---but who in frigging hell did not?), a Catholic missionary (Oh, the rosary is the answer to our country's economic problems and to your alcoholism and addiction to nicotine!), a bookstore staffer (Yes, sir, listen here, we know it is urgent, so your book is on its way from Guangzhou and will be here in 8 months!), a librarian (Oh, it's Friday the 13th and I am not putting 666 as Dewey call number on this bloody book!), and a teaching assistant (OK, pal, I know you prepared for the exams so I will check and mark them!). He is currently a teacher (yawn) and has an M.A. in English Studies (yawn even more, nod off, and then snore) from the University of Macau (sorry again, where?).]

-Posted: 8:13 AM 2/25/09 | More of this author on eK!