Friday, September 28, 2012

Unfinished Symphony

I had a strange dream last night:
about you, me, and how I tried to write a symphony.

First the strings:
haunting, serene. Gently breaking the evening silence.
Followed by flutes, clarinets, and the rest of the wind instruments.

But somebody dropped the baton! And the notes resonated within my veins
as you turned into a comet, blazing across the G-clef sky, turning into a purple streak
until no longer in sight.

Now I just remember you as a fading melody, leaving traces of sighs
among cobwebs on the piano in this empty studio.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2011

[Thanks to Gianna Omenetto for the photo, entitled Solo Piano]


Just for tonight
I will be a firefly:
I will dance among trees
To the humming chorus
Of frogs and cicadas.

Just for tonight
The moon sits in bliss
As I flicker and glitter
And frolic in mid-air
Casting random neon patterns
Amid grass and flowers here and there.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2010

[Thanks to Masahiro Miyasaka for the photo, enitled "Firefly which looks at Milky Way".]

Ten Years, Five Letters

Dear E.S.,
I enjoyed being with you.
You were thoughtful and I appreciated everything so dearly.
But I was too young when we met, and I did not realize your effort to win my heart.
Forgive me for my selfishness.

Dear G.C.,
You brought me joy and I loved you passionately.
But I failed to help you move on from your past.
Thus the distance between us grew immensely through time.
I apologize for leaving you during the lowest point in your life,
because I thought you did not love me, only to find out I was wrong.

Dear M.A.,
Thank you for your devotion.
You were kind and gentle.
Your smile lit up the sky with the promise of tomorrow.
But I was too unsure of myself, too afraid I might hurt you, too naive to care.
I regret letting you go.

Dear C.P.,
We had so much in common and you are aware of that.
We had a world of our own, and we lived in it for love.
But your pace was overwhelming, my wings were not as fast.
You were too strong for me.
I wanted you to carry me but I was afraid I would slow you down.
We knew we would part someday, but we did not expect that day to come suddenly.
Now I just admire your wisdom for understanding me.

Dear M.R.,
You knew I was a foolish wreck when we met.
But you loved me for what I was and you saw the good and beautiful in me.
Then you left without saying goodbye, because you were lost in the labyrinth of your own confusion.
I tried to reach out but you were never really there.
How could you do this to me? My angel! The retribution for my sins.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2007


I am he who loves you from afar
Reaching for your shadow
Embracing your trail
Caressing the wind
That whispers your name
I kiss the footprints
That you leave behind
Run if you will
But where can you hide
I close my eyes
And you become mine.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2007

[thanks to jordan k for the photo]

Goodbye, Mr. Anonymous

Goodbye, Mr. Anonymous
You said and I just smiled
So long, Mr. Nameless
And thank you for the ride.

Farewell and take care
Whoever you may be
The crazy night is through
And sadly so are we.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2005

[thanks to manuel atienzar for this photo]

With A Sigh In My Heart

These are the cries of my heart
That may never be hushed
For we have to part
For the rest of time
I feel so sorry for myself
To realize that I
Am once again alaone
I love you with a sigh in my heart
Because I know
You can never be truly mine.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2004

[Thanks to elliot23 for this photo]


I kept your memory
In the ruins of my heart
A colorless portrait
On fragmented canvass
Your hazy eyes
Stare at empty space
Your misty smile
And your lovely face
Haunt me in the shadows
Of utter loneliness
But when all portraits
Have crumbled to dust
I shall be strong and fearless
As I make a new start
I learned the lessons of love
From the ruins of my heart.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2004

[thanks to Michael Shepherd (aka PixelDaddy) for this photo]


Once in a while
I think of you
And the road
We have gone through
Then helplessly
I become surrounded
By a cloud
Of overwhelming sadness
As the road ends
In pitch-black emptiness.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2004

[thanks to Ed Arquiza for this photo]

Perfect Love Affair

I tried so hard
To make myself believe
That there was such a thing
As a perfect love affair
That there were knights and princes
And castles in the air
Then I came back to my senses
With the closing of a door
This is were the dreaming ends
I don't love you anymore.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2004

[thanks to jamie wilmott for this photo]


I shall wait for you in my dreams
Hoping that your presence
Would break the moonlit silence
Of my solitude.
Let your demons be gone!
Take away the spell
You have cast upon my heart
And stop this longing
That imprisons my soul.
I shall wait for you but until then
I keep believing that in my dreams
I am sure to see you again.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2004

[thanks to rhoel alcantara for this photo]

I Never Prayed For Love

I never prayed for love
That would last a thousand years
I never hoped my life
Would be ever free from tears
I never dreamed of gold
To conquer all my fears.

I never prayed for love
That would never ever die
But just to love and be loved
With a love that is true
And would last for as long
As there is me and you.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2004

[thanks to jordan_k for the photo]


So this is how the story ends
The flame just died
And it doesn't make sense.
As I now lay in darkness
Torn, bitter and cold
I will remember love
As a distant shore
Stretching out forevermore.
But mostly, among all things
I will always remember you
As the beautiful flame
Who burned my wings.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2004

[thanks to aixcracker for this photo]

Dreams And Lovers

Think of us in a dream
And how we play this game
Like lovers do
Then think of us not waking up
Hoping it will last
Forever true.

I think of you as a dream
A misty shade of white
Against the blue
Then just as quickly as you came
You start to fade
Like lovers do.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2004

[thanks to maureen shaugnessy for this photo]

Accidental Haiku

I thought I would die
The day I saw you with him
But then I did not.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2004

[thanks to rickp3rd for the photo]

The Message Of My Tears

With the last drop of rain
I held my wounded heart
As I promised myself
Never to be hurt again.

This is the messge of my tears
That my lips dare not say:
Be my never ending rain
Be my never healing pain!
Come back and stay with me
And never leave again.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2003

[thanks to Irnirjhar for the photo]

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I Had A Strange Dream Last Night, #2

December 30, 2010. Nanaginip na naman ako kagabi.

Nasa MOA (SM Mall of Asia) daw ako, nakatungtong sa malaking globe sa harap ng mall. Kasama ko daw si Joy Viado. May nagpatugtog ng gitara, at kumanta kaming dalawa: "Walang Hanggang Paalam" [by Joey Ayala]:

Napakaganda ng blending ng boses namin ni Joy. Mababa ang boses niya, at ako naman matining. Lalo na sa part na,

"... ang pag-ibig natin ay walang hanggang paalam, at habang magkalayo, papalapit pa rin ang puso...."

Umikot ang globe, at kasabay ng pag-ikot nito, unti-unting nagbabago ang kulay ng langit: araw... gabi.... araw... gabi.

Nag-holding hands kami. Nagputukan ang mga fireworks sa kalangitan.

Pero unti-unting nagbago ang boses naming dalawa. Siya naging boses lalaki na parang si Rey Langit. Ako naman, naging kaboses ni Nora Aunor.

Pero lalong gumanda ang blending ng boses namin. Napaluha ako dahil sa palakpakan ng mga tao: "Kiss!!!! Kiss!!!!", sigaw nila.

Nasa akto nang mag-li-lips-to-lips na kami ni Joy, pero lumakad siya papunta sa ilalim ng globe, hanggang nakatayo siya sa ilalim, upside-down. Naiwan akong mag-isa sa ibabaw ng globe.

Pero tuloy ang pagkanta namin:

"... kahit na magkahiwalay, tayo'y magkasama sa magkabilang dulo ng mundo..."

Yun na yata ang pinakamagandang performance ko. Ang-ganda-ganda daw talaga ng boses ko.

Hindi ko na alam kung ano ang nangyari kay Joy Viado sa mga sandaling yon.

Basta ang alam ko, hangang hanga sa akin ang mga tao, hangang hanga daw ako sa sarili ko.

Nagising akong may masidhing pagmamahal at pagmamalaki sa aking sarili.

Nangingilabot ako sa paghanga, hanggang ngayong sinusulat ko ito.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, MD

[photo from wikipedia]

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Air That I Breathe

I am not afraid of love!

For to fear love
is to fear life itself.

How can I not love you
When each thought of you
Becomes every ounce
Of air that I breathe?

Let me love you now
Until the end of forever.

Let me never fear love
Let me hold you in my heart...

I will never let you go.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2003

[thanks to Ranier Icasiano for the photo]


We can't be talking about love!
But in a world of infidelity
Where you have a lover
And I have another
What difference does it make?

I still believe this is love
Hoping you would stay
Long after common sense
Has prevailed.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2003

[thanks to marjutsha1 for this photo]

Rush Hour

The train rushed
From one stop to another
Filled with people
Wearing different faces
With minds locked in dreams
Of home, fortune and love
While you in your stance
As if in a trance
Slowly glided a finger
To touch my hand
And as our eyes met
We secretly smiled.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2003

[thanks to Rodney Jimenez for the photo]


I woke up crying last night
Embracing the pillow
That cradled our dreams
And for the first time
My lips trembled in fear
For I began to realize
That you are never to return.
This is where it is going to hurt
For now I understand
How frail a heart can be
And I was too blind to see
There was never you and me.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2003

[thanks to paranoidmonk for the photo]

Funny How The Rain

Funny how the rain
Resembles human tears
As it falls from the heavens.

Funny how the wind
Reminds me of the lips
That used to kiss mine.

An eternity of loneliness!

Please send me a message
That I may be reminded
Of your existence.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2003

[thanks to Gonzalo Saenz (gonzalo_ar) for the photo].


It's raining once again
And nights like this
Only remind me of you
And your promise to return
On the last day of summer
Come back soon my dearest
Before my heart starts to forget
Come back soon my darling
Before your memory fades
In cycles of summer and rain.

- John Emmanuel T. Manalo, 2003

[thanks to Arturo Alessandro Dinardo for the photo]