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With Swollen Tears did my Countrymen commit
In week's Soliloquy request for Aid
And Soul's own Moments whose Sympathy permit
Whilst Sheltered Families pray for more space
Pledge, dear Lord! And Citisens of the World
My People's Wounds soaked in Unwanted Rain
At least in Voice and Gift-Wishes unfold
Would indeed suffice to soften their Pain
Look, Union Jack! The Scenes of Caskets float,
Plastered houses a-washed with nails and wood
Then came the Bayanis, in rubbers and boats
Bore frozen Victims to their Neighbourhood.
It's a Sad Film for anyone to see
Please offer Burnt Roses; Make them Happy.
Louise Jul 17
Here in this castle,
in my tower,
no one and nothing can hurt me
but myself.
Walls are built out of cash that I begged the laws and secrets of the universe for,
I might be the princess that sleeps but will never feel the pea that lies underneath my piles of bed made out of skeleton bones.
Now yes, I lie in them—they reside not in my closet but beneath my frail, sorry body.
Some nights, I am one of the skeletons myself.
I might be the very monster that I am fearing for for the past two weeks.
I might be making the very noises that keeps me up until the morn.
Have you ever seen a fortress with the enemies lurking within?
Gates with the robbers playing cards inside?
Welcome to my little world, welcome to my tower.
Where I can craft deadly words, in here I hold the most power.
Diyan Sa May Mga Nilad #2: Rapunzel's Tower
I can write of Manila at night like the greats do of Paris. Not Manila in the morning, for it matters then, but Manila at night where it doesn't matter if it is new or old or if you are rich or poor, because it all blends into the moonlit darkness and that is when Manila becomes like a love letter. It may be Cebu that I love, but it is Manila that captivates me.

To the farmer, who left Manila for America to escape the war, and returned to see only a burned down church. To the young boy, a hundred years later, who does not see the church, but sees the romance of a concrete city. And to the ill man sitting on the corner of a street in Ermita, who has seen more of life and Manila than any of us ever will or ever can or ever want to. To the jazz bars tucked deep in Quezon where the music is sweetest, and to the congregation of poets who meet at their secret place in Makati on sacred nights to talk of the country they write for. Manila does not end.

But Manila is no moveable feast- it is a grand mystery that is far too heavy to take with you. Paris was loved because it was easy to love. The same way Florence was loved because it was easy to. Manila is far too rough to make for easy loving, but the beauty is there for everyone but the blind to see, and even then it is there for the blind to feel. One just has to try hard enough. It is what Manila represents, for it represents not the American dream, but the Filipino ambition to create their own. It does not become a question of how can you. It never will. It is a question of how can you not be romantic of Manila?
Here's to a city of extremes, and smog, and **** beauty
Louise Jul 17
To my friends whose hearts I'm about to break, know that my left cheek will shatter first before your hearts does.
I hope that's comforting enough to hear.
I've always liked the angle of the right side of my face better, therefore the journals shall see just that.
I hope that's relieving enough to see.
To my other friends whose eyes I will be leaving swollen ugly for days on end,
España's rain and floods shall hydrate you back to life. I know because I have blessed the skies with my own tears on the nights prior.
I hope that's alleviating enough to know.

Over the last month, I have never figured out if I liked España or Dapitan better.
But I suppose it's the former for it shall have my sorry excuse of a body for the very last time.
It's a bad metaphor for a feigned
and forced liberty,
as with this country that I lived in and loved better than the pretentious
and lifeless cities I've traveled to.
Singapore is but a fleeting fling.
Tickles your fancy but will leave you tired and in resentment.
Hong Kong is just another plaything.
Everybody would tell you she's good and all that, but she lost to your tastes still.
Macau is the lover that never gives but keeps on asking,
she was never the safest bet nor can you lie and tell her she's the best.
Johor is just as frustrating.
She would be the hardest question in the test, the one you've thought of over and over but still stood miscorrect.
Bangkok, I have kept her dearly in my heart but ended up forgetting.
My other lover from the farther west, but still wouldn't compare to the best.

But Manila, she lives in me. She is me.
It's a shame, I will never see her prosper and bloom in her waiting heydays, whenever that will be.
But do I deserve to witness that?
I have never done anything to help pitch in her movement.
But it's a bigger, even better shame to have lived in this age of technology.
Forgive me for leaving too soon, Manila.
Welcome me tomorrow around high noon, España.  
Forget about me like you did with your history, my beloved Philippines.
To the headlines, I am diving in headfirst.
To the tabloids, I beg of you to once more tickle the funny bones of a dead girl.
Diyan Sa May Mga Nilad #9: Headfirst To The Headlines
kclantern Apr 2017
i traced my fingers on the ceiling,
coaxing Alpha Centauri
from the corner of the wall.

i dipped my hands into pools of
silver-glassed milk,
forming a droplet of slippery onyx.

i mailed the constellation in a
waxy manila envelope,
yellowed by the moon’s teeth.

i licked the edges with my tongue and
pressed the folds together.

for you
from me.
seconds / I don't even know how to write poems ****
False Poets Oct 2017
does the moon get tired?

~for the children who never tire of moon gazing upon the dock,
by the light of the fireflies,
till the angels are dispatched by Nana,
to sprinkle sleepy dust in their eyelashes so long and fine~


<•>
while walking the dog I no longer have,
a happenstance glanceable up over the River East,
there you were, mr. moon, in all your fulsomeness ,
surrounded by a potpourri of courtier clouds,
all deferentially bowing, waving,
passing past you at a demure royal speed on their way
perhaps,
to Rebecca's northern London,
of was it south to grace of  v V v's Texas^,
in any event,
the cloudy ladies, all bustling and curvaceous,  
all high stepping in recognition of your exalted place,
Master of the Night Sky

We,
the word careless, poets excessive,
sometimes called silly poppies, old men,
left footed, still crazy after many years,
most assuredly poets false all of us,
without a proper prior organized thought train,
outed,
bludgeon blurted,
an inquiry preposterous and strange,
strait directed to the sombre face,
to mister moon himself!

tell me moon, do you ever tire?*

the obeisant clouds shocked
as that face we all uniform know,
unchanged anywhere you might go  to gaze, be looking upon it,
watched the moon's face turn askew.

He looking down at our rude puzzlement,
with a Most Parisian askance,
a look of French ahem moustacheoed disbelief,
while we watched as the moon cherubic cheeks
filled with airy atmosphere,
then he sighed

so windy winding, was it,
so mountain high and river deep,
that those chubby clouds were blown off course,
from a starless NYC sky
all the way past Victoria Station,
only to stop at Pradip and Bala's
mysterious land of
bolly-dancing India,
on their way to Sally's Bay of Manila,
magic places all!

Mr. Moon looked down at this one tremulous fool representative  
(me) and in a voice
basso beaming and starry sonorous,
befitting its stellar positioning,
squinting to get a closer look at the
who in whom
dare address him in such an emboldened manner!

Mmmmm, recognize you, you are among those
who use my presence, steal my lighted beams, my silver aura,
my supermoon powered light, borrow my eclipses,
reveal my changeling shaped mystery without permission,
only mine to give, you tiny borrowers who write that thing,
p o e t r y

head and kneed, bowed and bent,
I confessed
(on y'alls behalf)

we take your luminosity and don't spare you
even a tuppence, a lonely rupee, no royalties paid
to you-up-so-highness,
and we hereby apologize for all the poets
without exception,
especially those moon besotted,
only love poem writing,
vraiment misbegotten scoundrels....

with another sigh equality powerful,
mr moon pushed those clouds across the Pacifica,
all the way to the  US's West Coast,
up to Colorado,
where moon-takings from the lake's reflecting light
so perfect for rhyming, kayaking,
and moonlight overthrowing,
once more, the moon taken and begotten,
nightly,
as heaven- freely-granted

yes, I tire
and though  here I am much beloved,
usually admired though sometimes even blackened cursed,
seen in every school child's drawing,
in Nasa's calculations,
of my influential gravitational pull,
moving human hearts
to love and giving Leonard a musical compositional hint,
and while this admirable devotion is most delighting,
would it upset some vast eternal plan,
if but one of you once asked,
you fiddler scribblers
my prior permission,
even by just, a lowly
mesmerizing evening tide's tenderizing glance?

yes, I tire,
even though my cycles are variable,
my shape shifting unique, my names so at variance
in all your many musical sing-song dialectical languages,
my sway, my tidal currents so powerful a deterrence,
unlike my boring older sunny cousine  who just cannot get over
how hot looking she is,
I,  so more personally interesting,
yet you use me as if I were a fixture,
on and off with
a tug of the chain string,
never failing to appear,
even when feeling pale yellow and orange wan,
and worse,
mocked as an amore pizza pie,
do you ever ask how I am doing?

yes, I tire,
of my constant circuitous route that changes ever so slowly,
but yet, too fast for me to make some nice human acquaintances, especially those young adoring children
who give me their morn pleasurable squeals when they awake and my presence still there,
a shining ghost of a guardianship protector still
watching over them

how oft in life do we presume,
take for granted
grants so extra-ordinary
that we forget to remember
the extra
and see only the ordinary

how oft in life do we assume,
the every day is always every,
until it is not,
only an only
a now and then,
till then,
is no longer a
now*

<>
oh moon, oh moon,
our richest apologies
we hereby tender and surrender,
our arrogance beyond belief,
what can we offer in relief?

silence heard loud and clear,
mr. moon was gone,
a satellite in motion,
so our words burnt up in the atmosphere
unheard

we did not weep
nor huff and puff,
blow those clouds back to us,
for we knew
the extraordinary
would return tomorrow,
we will be ready,
better another day,
to prepare
a lunar composition,
a psalm of hallelujah praise,
for mr. moon
of which
mr moon will never tire,
for filled with the perma-warmth
of our affection
for the one we call mr.moon
False Poets is a collective of different poets who write here, in a single voice,
hence the confusing interchangeable switching of the pronouns.    sorry bout that.


^ HP - give them back the claimed  V name!
arubybluebird Mar 2018
About you
Inspired by you
You've never read them
I've considered compiling them
Hand-written, blue-lined notebook paper
Slipping them in manila folder
Handing it to you
On our last encounter

Yes, I wrote poems for you
And you broke my heart

Perhaps I wrote poems for you
Because I knew you'd be the one
To break my heart

And here you are
As you started
As you'd end with me
Tangled in love and ache and poetry
Butch Decatoria Apr 2017
Overcrowded a hollow sound

In the circumference of birdsong

Rising with the Sun

As roosters crow morning

Wake-up calls

There in Cebu / House

Full of family

Pieces of my other me

Feeding many mouths

That overcrowded feeling / not again

A nest that homes

A clutch of poor

Cuckoos

Consuming, so many babies

Paradise islands

Third world poverty

Not so far away

White man and money

A supposed land of milk & honey

Beyond the tundra snow

Bleak / must speak English

The beautiful broken

The overgrowth of crowding

it's called city life

Unlike Manila

Although artifice and hollow

Full of the fragrances

Colored by Birdsong

Oh beautiful life / I am drowning

In the thicknesses of pollutant

Mouths speaking

ill

Humanity misbegotten / Understood

We connect with nuttin'

“nothing is the cure

When nothing was wrong

With you”

Birdsong in twilight

Xylophone-stars across the ocean blue

Teeth of night

The cold chime

Befallen

In the infinite / magic of you

Oh love I let me

Overcrowd

Still this loneliness

Feels so very loud...

Then I hear / halcyon Birdsong

The soft feelings of truth

Oh love!

Oh god!

Oh my!

*Goodness you.
Revised still work in progress
Kevin J Taylor Aug 2017
Raymond shifted his weight forward on the coffee
shop chair and leaned his cheekbone into the heel of
his palm. A childhood verse chided him in his
mother’s voice of over fifty years ago.

“Raymond, Raymond, if you’re able,
get your elbows off the table.
This is not a horse’s stable,
but your mother’s dining table.”


It didn’t immediately connect to any
pictures in his mind but he had heard it enough
to know it was real. An hour ago he had been
at his mother’s side in the palliative care ward.

She had appeared smaller than he liked to think of
her—had looked almost like he was seeing her at
a distance. She hadn’t greeted him, only closed
her eyes and said, “Feed the cats, will you.” It wasn’t

really a question. “Yes,” he answered, but the cats,
whoever they were, must have left or died years ago.
The only living thing she owned, he suspected,
was the small Christmas cactus someone had brought to

cheer her up. He looked at her again, waiting for
her eyes to open. They never did. Her jaw dropped
and that was that. Raymond hadn’t wanted to be
in the room when the nurses and orderly would

come to take her away. He stopped at the reception
desk to say that he’d be in the coffee shop
waiting for his brother and sister-in-law to
arrive. They were late and he was thankful to have

a few minutes to himself. From where he sat he
faced the open entrance of the café. There was
a couple sitting tiredly off to one side.
A man in a shapeless blue hospital gown and

slippers shuffled in pushing an IV pole ahead
of him. Raymond heard steps echo sharply down
the hallway. Here they are, he thought, hurrying
needlessly. Bill and Marijke had been fast asleep

at 2:30 am when Raymond’s first text message
came in. They never saw it until 5:00 when Bill
reached for his cell phone as he did every morning
right after Marijke turned off the alarm. “****,”

he said, “No time.” Bill, “William” on his realtor
business card, and Marijke, were used to demands
on their time from potential home buyers. But they
usually had early mornings to themselves—

breakfast, coffee, catch up on current events. Not
today. The text had said, “ASAP.” They hit the drive-
through at Starbucks on their way to the hospital.
“Hey Bill. Marijke,” Raymond said. Bill nodded. “Hey,”

he replied and paused to look at Raymond, to see
if he’d say something else, “Is she gone?” “Couple of
hours ago,” Raymond said. “Should we see her?” Bill asked.
“Can if you want, I suppose. Maybe later,"

Raymond said, "Did she have a cat? She mentioned cats.
I haven’t seen any for years. Did you take them?”
Mother might have mixed him up with Bill again.
Raymond looked at his brother who didn’t seem to

be listening and then at Marijke. "She used to
feed the neighborhood cats before she broke her hip,”
Marijke said. “That might be it.” It seemed odd that
Marijke knew more about his mother’s life than

her sons did. “Maybe you’re right,” Raymond said. “What’s next?”
“I’ll call her lawyer and get him on it,” Bill answered.
Raymond suddenly realized that his brother
had been listening. Marijke started to cry. 
 
Raymond pulled some napkins from their holder and pressed
them hard against his eyes. Bill looked down and away.
Over the next few days life seemed to stop. Nothing
more than daily routines and only as long as

they didn’t require much effort or attention.
Coffee, whatever was in the fridge—dishes sat in
the sink. Gradually he began to feel alive
again. It was as though he had been wrapped in blankets,

hearing distant, mostly muffled voices, glimpsing
unfamiliar rooms and spaces when he closed his
eyes to sleep. Marijke had startled him this morning
when she called and said to the answering machine that

Bill and she were coming over with something from
the lawyer and hoped he would be in. She didn’t
wait for him to pick up. She’d have known he was at
the kitchen table. They arrived mid-afternoon.

No knock at the door. Bill was the older of the
two and was the most like their dad. And Dad had not
been the knocking sort. Not with Raymond anyway.
Bill and Marijke each carried a bag of groceries

which they placed on the kitchen counter. “Thought you might
need some things,” Marijke said. “Nice to see you, Ray.”
She took a bag of groceries and made room in the
fridge for its contents: milk, BBQ chicken and

eggs. She placed the bananas in a wooden bowl.
“Saw the lawyer yesterday,” Bill started. “He has
the will but it doesn’t amount to much except
for the house,” he paused, “The equity has mostly

been ****** out of it. God knows what for. And there’s this…”
Bill dropped a large manila envelope in front
of Raymond. “I’ve already opened it. There’s an
envelope for each of us in there. Marijke

says we should open them together because we’re
all the family we have now.” He tipped the envelope
on its end and let the two smaller envelopes
slip out. One each for William and Raymond. Bill picked

his up and tore the corner of the flap destroying
most of the envelope in the process and
extracted what appeared to be several sheets of
neat handwriting. “It’s just a letter,” Bill said. He

put it into the inside breast pocket of his
suit jacket. Raymond waited a moment then picked
up the other envelope, turned it over and nodded
almost imperceptibly. He stood, walked to the

shelf between the window and the back door where he
had made room for the Christmas cactus instead of
leaving it behind. Not sure about the light, he
thought, and leaned the unopened letter against the

earthenware ***. “Not you, too?” Marijke shook her
head. “It’ll be like…” Raymond said, he paused, looking
at her, “It’ll be like not hanging up the phone.”
Marijke understood—he’d never open it.

“I get it,” she said in a softer tone. Bill looked
blankly at his brother. And Raymond smiled a little
for the first time in a while. By six the next
morning Raymond was already dressed and brewing

coffee. Usually he would head down to Timmy’s
Donut Shop for his caffeine fix. “Double trouble,”
he’d say, meaning “Double double,” as he always
did at Timmy’s. It amused him and often made

his favorite server smile. “Too much trouble, you mean,”
she’d say. Human contact. Raymond guessed that some of
the guys at the corner table would be wondering
how he was doing. They’d know what had happened, of

course, but they’d ask just the same. He poured his first cup
and walked out onto the back porch. Still a bit cool
out here, he thought as he leaned against the railing,
sipping his coffee as his eyes wandered around

the yard. He’d have another cup in a while but
first he had something he needed to do. Raymond
sat down on the porch steps and slipped his feet into
an old pair of shoes. He tied them and flicked the loops

with his finger to see how the laces fell, to
make sure he had not tied them backwards and would not
work their way loose. Someone had taught him that a long
time ago when they had seen his laces come undone.

He stood up and walked across the yard to the back
lane and the narrow picket fence, missing a picket
here and there and much of its original coat
of white paint. Some boys had probably pulled the missing

pickets off decades ago and with galvanized
garbage can lids for shields spent a Saturday
morning sword fighting. The gate was leaning and half
open, held there by uncut grass, weeds and neglect.

He stepped out and onto the lane that led between
the two rows of houses that backed onto it. Raymond
looked at each fence, each set of stairs and window as
he passed them by. A block later he turned and headed

home satisfied that he had seen at least one cat,
maybe two. Another cup of coffee in hand,
Raymond sat on the top step. On his way out of
the kitchen and onto the porch he had stopped to

turn the cactus in the morning light, stepped outside
placing a saucer of fresh milk by the porch door,
and sat down.

THE END
.
Not all poems survive. I've lost a few and let others go. My current collection of poems is available on Kindle. It is called "3201 e's" (that is approximately how many e's are in the manuscript which is a very unpoetic title but a reflection on the creation of poetry with common things.)
Dawnstar Jan 15
C.
Manila-bred and mair than stout
inheritant dynamo, sister tan
embodying Ipanema's glory
though mortal, still ye far outshine
we lowly almtakers of Africa.
Marlina Jul 2018
I am THINKING OUT LOUD of the moments your pretty songs and I are sharing.
Whenever I feel empty, there's ONE song of you that will surely change this feeling.
ALL OF THE STARS and I are wondering, how you wrote these beautiful songs, I fell in.
'Cause these are full of AFIRE LOVE, words and feelings are burnin'.
WAKE ME UP from this daydream when I hold a PHOTOGRAPH of you and singing;
Daydream no more, I believe, if I see THE MAN of these songs who's amazing.
In THE CITY of Manila, you'll come and people will see you with their biggest smiles.
I may not be there but I hope THIS humble message will reach you despite the miles.
I thank you for the songs you write and SING, they're wonderful, no kidding.
To live, to love, to care, you DON'T miss these in your songs so inspiring.
So, I have one great wish for you - stay HAPPIER with Cherry's sweet love.
Together, you'll build a LEGO HOUSE, drink a COLD COFFEE, DIVE in the TENERIFE SEA and see the world up above.
I'm not NINA, I'm Ina, I'm a great fan of you & I love your songs genuinely.
I may not know everything about you, but WHAT DO I KNOW? Your songs are just PERFECT, I’m in glee.

-Marlina
#fangirl
"my boy's got me tongue tied in two different languages
he's calling me baby on mondays and sinta 'til sundays
he's got me looking for him in between eskinitas
and cathedrals from quezon avenue to intramuros
all i see are his eyes
and 7,107 islands in the palms of his hands
and i never knew love could be so hard
when your words ran faster than your heart
makata is what they call you
a master of poetry and performance
you called me your greatest work
and you are a master of fiction
manileño is what you are
my boy's got manila's grime and glory
pulsing through his makata veins
he's got makati's lights burning through his irises
he's got the danger of manila beating in his chest
he's got the cries of san juan lodged in his throat
he's got the rhythm of the city in every step
my boy's still a boy
hijo is what you think you aren't
he's got three stars on his back
and he thinks he's the sun
he thinks he can change the world
himagsikan is what he wants
a revolution beginning with him
but tell me makata, manileño, hijo,
my boy
how are you going to save me?
how are you going to love this country?
my boy's tongue tied in two different faiths
my boy forgot to save himself"
Devon Brock Jul 20
The tabs are listening still
manila bent fat folders
past due bills and debt remitted
collected stuffed and sorted
in the freeze of a moment
when I wasn't a friend
when I defiled a trust
when I spent the last
thin dime of integrity
on a dust filed upstairs
with the titles  brittle
invoices and expired
warrantees.

The phone may ring
to renew the service
between me and you
and I'll drop the handle
into the cradle
of a familiar voice
without a word
without a thought
our crisp linen days
pushed away
while a rusting washer
screams another load
and a cabinet drawer
inches out a little bit more
Allison Wolf Jan 19
I.
I thought you were the one.
I imagined us flying to Manila, meeting the entire family,
you proposing on the pristine sands of Boracay or
in the small village where you used to play with spiders.
I thought of possible baby names pronounced beautifully
in both of our families' native tongues.

II.
We grew together, abandoned defenses until you were my only confidant.
I still haven’t recovered from the way you used that against me:
Sealing my confessions into bullets in a magazine and making sure
I was centered in the crosshairs of the scope,
a different kind of target practice.

III.
You were my special kind of poison, the kind that slipped through my veins
unnoticed until it corrupted my cardiac muscle and collapsed my lungs.
I ate away at myself until I was small enough not to threaten you,
and even that wasn’t enough.
I finally got the courage to leave you, but I formed a thick cocoon
around my chrysalis of secrets to protect myself from you
and the next.

IV.
It’s been two years and I still have you, your mother,
and every Carlsbad or Mira Mesa area code blocked.
You realized you could invade my voicemail so you rang in 2019,
screaming whiskey-soaked wishes for a better year for us both.
I honestly believe you want that, in your own way.
I wish you the best too, but
I have outgrown you.
January 19, 2019
12:55:55 AM
Random Guy Oct 28
Ang kwento natin ay binuo sa gitna ng maling sitwasyon at maling pagkakataon.

High school.

Magkaibigan tayo noon.
Nagsasabihan ng problema, umiiyak sa isa't isa.
Kabisado mo ako, at kabisado na rin kita.
Tantya ko ang birong magpapatawa sayo at tantya ko rin naman ang tamang kiliti upang mawala ang galit mo.

Nakahanap tayo sa isa't isa ng kanlungan at hingahan sa nakakasulasok na mundo.

Lumapit at patuloy pang napalapit ang loob ko sa'yo, at ikaw sa akin. Hindi ko na rin namalayan na mahal na pala kita. Taguan ng nararamdaman ang nilaro natin ng ilang buwan. Totoo, laking gulat ko rin sa sarili ko kung paano ako nahulog sa'yo. Dahil ang katulad mo ay isang dyosa na hindi ko dapat lapitan, hagkan, o kahit hawakan man lang. Hanggang ang simpleng tingin ay naging mga titig, mga haplos lang dapat sa kamay ay naging mga kapit, at magkatabi lamang ngunit iba ang dikit.

Napuno ang puso ko ng pagmamahal at umabot na ito sa pagsabog. Naglahad ng nararamdaman, nagbabakasakaling pareho ang 'yong nadarama.

Pero mas laking gulat ko nang sabihin **** mahal mo rin ako. At isa 'yon sa pinaka masayang araw ng buhay ko.

Simula noon ay araw araw nang hawak ang iyong kamay, inaamoy ang iyong buhok, nagpapalitan ng mga mensahe, kinakantahan; ginagawa ang lahat upang mapakita lang sayo.. na mahal kita. Pero higit sa mga pinakita natin sa isa't isa ay mas tumimbang ang mga hindi natin pinakita ngunit pinadama.

Hawak ko ang buwan at ang mga bituin kapag kasama kita ngunit bakit ba kapag tayo'y masaya ay talagang lungkot ang susunod.

Nalaman ng mga magulang mo kung ano ang meron tayo. Hindi ko noon inasahan na ang mga susunod na mga linggo at buwan ay ang pinaka madilim na parte ng buhay ko. Dahil ang kwento natin ay binuo sa gitna ng maling sitwasyon at maling pagkakataon.

Papasok ka sa eskwela ng mapula ang mata at may pasa sa braso. Ngunit ang mas pumapatay sa akin ay ang ngiti sa labi mo. Mga ngiting hindi ko masabing peke dahil totoo. Dahil ba masaya kang makita ako kahit na ang sakit na nararamdaman mo ay dahil sa pagmamahal ko? Hindi nanlamig ang pagmamahal natin dahil sa kung ano mang ginawa natin sa loob ng relasyon. Kundi ang lamig ng pataw ng galit ng mas nakatatanda sa atin. At ang mas masakit ay hindi pa natin kayang lumaban.

Ang hindi mo alam ay walang lumipas na araw na hindi rin ako umiyak sa harap ng ating mga kaibigan, sa harap ng salamin, sa harap ng isang ****, sa harap ng mga matang nangungusap at ang sabi ay...

"may isang pagmamahalan na naman ang namatay."

Pinatay sa gitna ng saya, pinatay sa gitna ng ligaya, pinatay sa gitna ng magandang paglago.

Pinatay tayo ng tadhana. Pinatay tayo ng mga taong walang tiwala. Pinatay tayo ng mga taong ang  tingin sa atin ay mga isip-bata. Oo, tayo'y mga bata pa noon ngunit alam ko, alam ko na ang pag-ibig na 'yon ay totoo.

Nagsimula ka ng hindi pumasok sa eskwela. At kung ilang oras kitang hindi nakita sa iyong upuan ay ganon ding haba ng oras ng aking pagiyak sa likod ng silid. Sinisisi ang sarili sa kung bakit ganito at bakit ganyan. Bakit ganito ang tadhana? Bakit ganyan ang pag-ibig? At makikita nila sa mga luha ko na lumuluha na rin ito dahil sa patuloy na pagpatak, bagsak sa kahoy na upuan. At mas lalong bumabagsak ang luha ko dahil hindi ko alam kung anong nangyayari sayo. Sinasaktan ka ba? Umiiyak ka rin ba? Mahal mo pa ba ako? Kung pwede lang hugasan ng luha ang mga tanong ay kakayanin, dahil sa dami ay kayang anurin ang mga ito.

Ilang linggo pa ay hindi na tayo nakapag usap, pumapasok ka ngunit ang kaya lang nating gawin ay maghawak ng kamay. Dahil kalakip ng mga salita ay patak ng luha. Kaya tinakpan natin lahat ng ito ng hawak sa kamay, patong ng ulo sa balikat, yakap. At hindi ko inasahan na huli na pala 'yon. Dahil tapos na ang taong 2011-2012 ng eskwela. At hindi na kita nakita; ni anino, ni bagong larawan mo, sa loob ng maraming taon.

Ang meron lang ako ay ang manila paper na binigay mo sa kaibigan natin para ibigay sa akin. Na nagpaisip sa akin na sana, sana man lang ay nakita kita bago mo inabot ang pinaka mahabang mensahe na nabasa ko, mula sa pagiibigang pinilit na pinapatay.

Pagkatapos ng mga tagpong iyon, nalaman kong lilipat ka na ng eskwela sa susunod na taon. At parang 'yon na ang nagpa manhid sa pusong meron ako noon. O kung meron pa ba ako non noon. Dahil sa ilang linggo at buwan ng pinaka madilim na parte ng buhay ko ay unti-unti na pala itong nabasag, nawala, at nadurog.

Ilang taon rin bago ito nabuo o nabuo nga ba talaga ito. Ilang taon din akong nagmahal ng walang puso, dahil utak ang ginamit ko. Doon ko nasabi na ang pagmamahal ko sayo ay ang unang pagmamahal ko sa una kong puso.

Ilang taon akong nagpagaling, nakahanap ng kanlungan sa iba, kasayahan, kakumpletuhan, kabuuan.

Sa likod ng aking isip ang tanong na, "Nasaan na kaya s'ya?"

Hindi naaalis sa mga inuman ng barkada ang mga tanong na, "Saan na s'ya? Nakita mo na ba 'yon ulit?" Alam kong ramdam din nila, na kahit ano ang isagot ko ay may marka 'yon sa puso ko.

"Nakita ko s'ya sa Fatima ah."

"Nakakasalubong ko 'yon ah."

At kahit ilan pang pahapyaw ng mga tropa ang magpaalala ng ikaw ay may sakit pa rin. Kahit hindi ko ipakita, ramdam.

Walong taon.

Walong taon ang lumipas ng muli tayong magusap.
Kamusta?
Maayos naman,
Ikaw?
Okay lang din.

At para bang binalot muli ang puso ko ng muling pagkawasak mula noong umpisa.

At tila ba hindi pa pala natapos ang istorya natin sa nakalipas na walong taon, hindi pa pala namatay ang 2012 na bersyon ng mga sarili natin.

Nagusap tayo. Pero 'yon pala ang mali natin. Na kaya pala hindi na tayo nagusap hanggang sa mga huling sandali ng pagkikita natin ay alam nating ang mga salita ay katumbas ng luha, at ang mga salita ay katumbas ng sakit, at ang mga salita ay katumbas ng muling pagwawakas.

Apat na libo tatlong daan at walumput tatlong milya ang layo natin sa isa't isa. Muli, ang parte ng kwentong ito ay nabuo na naman sa gitna ng maling sitwasyon at maling pagkakataon.

At ang pinaka masakit sa lahat at ang punit sa kwento nating dalawa ay meron na akong iba. Dahil alam kong hindi kita nahintay, at sana malaman **** hindi ka rin naman nagparamdam. Ang kwento nating dalawa ay masyadong naging komplikado dahil sa iba't ibang kamalian ng sitwasyon at pagkakataon.

At alam kong sa pagkakataon na ito ay hindi na dapat natin ito sisihin, dahil ang kamalian ay nasa atin nang dalawa. Kung paanong naging sobrang huli na pala, o sobrang aga pa pala.

Ang kwento nating dalawa ay maaaring dito na matatapos ngunit ayoko naman ding magsalita ng tapos, kagaya ng nangyari matapos ang walong taon, biglang nabuksan ang kwento. At hindi ko alam kung ilang taon ulit, o talagang tapos na.

Pero kagaya nga ng sabi mo, ito ang ang paborito **** kwento sa lahat, at oo, ako rin. Ang kwentong ito ay magsasalin salin pa sa inuman, sa kwentuhan, sa simpleng halinghingan, kwentong bayan; na may isang lalaki at babae na nagmahalan kahit pa pinilit itong patayin at makipag patayan. Isang kwentong puno ng kawasakan, at patuloy na pinaglaruan ng tadhana. Tapos na nga ba ang pahina? Muli, kagaya ng nakalipas na walong taon, ang sagot ay oo. Ngunit ang kwento ay buhay pa, at patuloy na mabubuhay pa sa puso ko.
giggletoes
I.

One night at the Troubadour I spotted this extraordinary girl.

So I asked who she was.

‘A professional,’

That was my introduction that on a scale of one to ten

there were women who were fifteens—beautiful, bright, witty, and

oh, by the way, they worked.

Once I became aware,

I saw these women everywhere.

And I came to learn that most of them were connected to Alex



II.

She had a printer engrave a calling card

that featured a bird of paradise

borrowed from a Tiffany silver pattern

and,
under it,

Alex’s Aviary,

Beautiful and Exotic birds.



A few were women you’d see lunching at Le Dôme:

pampered arm pieces with expensive tastes

and a hint of a delicious but remote sexuality.

Many more were fresh-faced, athletic, tanned, freckled

the quintessential California girl

That you’d take for sorority queens or future BMW owners.





III.

The mechanism of Alex’s sudden notoriety is byzantine,

as these things always are.

One of her girls took up with a rotter,

the couple had a fight,

he went to the police,

the police had an undercover detective visit

(who just happened to be an attractive woman)

and ask to work for her,

she all but embraced her

—and by April of 1988 the district attorney had enough evidence

to charge her with two counts of pandering

and one of pimping.

For Alex, who is fifty-six

and has a heart condition and diabetes,

the stakes may be high.

A conviction carries the guarantee of incarceration.

For the forces of law and order,

the stakes may be higher.

Alex has let it be known that she will subpoena

every cop she’s ever met to testify at her trial.

And the revelations this might produce

—perhaps that Alex compromised policemen

by making girls available to them,

—perhaps that Alex had a deal with the police to provide information

in exchange for their blind eye to her activities

—could be hugely embarrassing to the police and the district attorney.

For Alex’s socially correct clients and friends,

for the socially correct wives of her clients and friends

and for a handful of movie and television executives

who have no idea they are dating or

married to former Alex girls,

the stakes are highest of all.



IV.

Alex’s black book is said to be a catalogue of
Le Tout Los Angeles.

In her head are the ****** secrets

of many of the city’s most important men,

to say nothing of visiting businessmen and Arab princes.

If she decides to warble,

either at her trial or in a book,

her song will shatter more than glass.





V.

A decade ago, I went to lunch at Ma Maison,

There were supposed to have been ten people there,

but only four came.

One of them was a short woman

who called me a few days later and invited me to lunch.

When I arrived, the table was set for two.

I didn’t know who Alex was or what she did,

but she knew the important facts of my situation:

I was getting divorced from a very wealthy man

and doing the legal work myself

to avail lawyers who wanted to get a big settlement for me.


Occasionally, she said, I get a call for a tall, dark-haired,

slender, flat-chested woman

—and I don’t have any.

It wouldn’t be a frequent thing.

There’d be weekends away, sometimes in Palm Springs,

sometimes in Europe.

The men will be elegant,

you’ll have your own room

—there would be no outward signs of impropriety.

And you’d get $10,000 to $20,000 for a weekend.





VI.

The tall, slender, flat-chested brunette

didn’t think it was right for her.

Alex handed her a business card

and suggested that she think about it.

To her surprise, she did

—for an entire week.

This was 1978, and $20,000 then

was like $40,000 now,

I knew it was hooking,

but Alex had never mentioned ***.



Our whole conversation seemed to be about something else.



VII.

I was born in Manila

to a Spanish-Filipina mother and German father,

and when I was twelve

a Japanese soldier came into our house

with his bayonet pointed at us,

ready to do us in.

He locked us in and set the house on fire.

I haven’t been scared by much since that.



My mother always struck me as goofy,

so I jumped on a bus and ran away,

I got off in Oakland,

saw a help-wanted sign on a parish house,

and went in.

I got $200 a month for taking care of four priests.

I spent all the money on pastries for the parish house.

But I didn’t care.

It felt safe.

And the priests sparked my interest in the domestic arts

—in linen, in crystal.



A new priest arrived.

He was unpleasant,

so on a vacation in Los Angeles I took a pedestrian job,

still a teenager,

married a scientist.

We separated eight years later,

he took our two sons to another state

threatened to keep them if I didn’t agree to a divorce.

Keep them I said and hung up.

It’s not that I don’t have a maternal instinct

—though I don’t,

I just hate to be manipulated.



My second husband,

an alcoholic,

had Frank Sinatra blue eyes, and possibly

—I never knew for sure—

had a big career in the underworld

as a contract killer.

Years before we got serious,

he was going out with a famous L.A. ******,

She and her friends were so elegant

that I started spending time with them in beauty salons.

They were so fancy,

so smart

—and they knew incredible people,

like the millionaire who sat in his suite all day

just writing $5,000 checks to girls.



VIII.

I was a florist.

We got to talking.

She was a madam from England

who wanted to sell her book and go home.

I bought it for $5,000.

My husband thought it was cute.

Now you’re getting your feet wet.

Three months later,

he died.

After eleven years of marriage,

just like that.

And of the names in the book

it turned out

that half of the men were also dead.

When I began the men were old and the women were ugly.



IX.

It was like a lunch party you or I would give,

Great food Alex had cooked herself.

Major giggles with old pals.

And then,

instead of chocolate After Eight,

she served three women After Three



This man has seen a bit of life

beyond Los Angeles,

so I asked him how Alex’s stable

compared with that of Madam Claude,

the legendary Parisian procuress.

Oh, these aren’t at all like Claude’s girls,

A Claude girl was perfectly dressed and multilingual

—you could take her to the opera

and she’d understand it.





He told me that when she was 40

she looked at herself in the mirror

and said

Disgusting.

People over 40

should not have ***.

But She Was Clear That She Never Liked It

even when she was young.

Besides, she saw all the street business

go to the tall,

beautiful girls.

She thought that she never had a chance

competing against them.

Instead,

she would take their money by managing them.





X.

Going to a ****** was not looked down upon then.

It was before the pill;

Girls weren’t giving it away.

Claude specialized in

failed models and actresses,

ones who just missed the cut.

But just because they failed

in those impossible professions

didn’t mean they weren’t beautiful,

fabulous.



Like Avis

in those days,

those girls tried harder.

Her place was off the Champs,

just above a branch of the Rothschild bank, where I had an account.

Once I met her,

I was constantly making withdrawals and heading upstairs.





XI.

We took the lift

and Claude greeted us at the door.

My impression was that of the director

of an haute couture house,

very subdued,

beige and gray, very little makeup.

She took us into a lounge and made us drinks,

Whiskey,

Cognac.

There was no maid.

We made small talk for 15 minutes.

How was the weekend?

What’s the weather like in Deauville?

Then she made the segue. ‘I understand you’d like to see some jeunes filles?’

She always used ‘jeunes filles.’

This was Claude’s polite way of saying 18 to 25.

She left and soon returned

with two very tall

jeunes filles,

One was blonde.

This is Eva from Austria.

She’s here studying painting.

And a brunette,

very different,

but also very fine.

This is Claudia from Germany.

She’s a dancer.

She took the girls back into the apartment and returned by herself.

I gave my English guest first choice.

He picked the blonde.

And wasn’t disappointed.

Each bedroom had its own bidet.

There was some nice

polite conversation, and then



It was slightly formal,

but it was high-quality.

He paid Claude

200 francs,

not to the girls

In 1965, 200 francs was about $40.

Pretty girls on Rue Saint-Denis

could be had for 40 francs

so you can see the premium.

Still, it wasn’t out of reach for mere mortals.

You didn’t have to be J. Paul Getty.





XII.

A lot of them

were models at

Christian Dior

or other couture houses.

She liked Scandinavians.

That was the look then

—cold, tall, perfect.

It was cheap for the quality.

They all used her.

The best people wanted

the best women.

Elementary supply and demand.



XIII.

She had a camp number tattooed on her wrist. I saw it.

She showed it to me and Rubi.

She was proud she had survived.

We talked about the camp for hours.

It was even more fascinating than the girls.



She was Jewish

I’m certain of that.

She was horrified at the Jewish collaborators

at the camp who herded

their fellow Jews

into the gas chambers.

That was the greatest betrayal in her life.



XIV.

She was this sad,

lonely little woman.

Later, Patrick told me who she was.

I was bowled over.

It was like meeting Al Capone.

I met two of the girls

who worked for her.

One was what you would expect

Tall

Blonde

Model.

But the other looked like a Rat

Then one night

she came out

all dressed up,

I didn’t even recognize her.

She was even better than the first girl.

Claude liked to transform women like that.

That was her art.

It was very odd,

my cousin told me.

There was not much furniture

and an awful lot of telephones.

“Allô oui,”



XV.

I had so many lunches

with Claude at Ma Maison

She was vicious.

One day,

Margaux Hemingway,

at the height of her beauty, walked by.

Une bonne

—the French for maid

was how Claude cut her dead.

She reduced

the entire world

to rich men wanting *** and

poor women wanting money.

She’d love to page through Vogue and see someone

and say,

When I met her

she was called

Marlene

and she had a hideous nose

and now she’s a princess.

Or she’d see someone and say

Let’s see if she kisses me or not.

It was like

I made her,

and I can destroy her.

She was obsessed

with “fixing” people

—with Saint Laurent clothes,

with Cartier watches,

with Winston jewels,

with Vuitton luggage,

with plastic surgeons.



XVI.

Her prison number was

888

which was good luck in China

but not in California.

‘Ocho ocho ocho,’ she liked to repeat

Even in jail, she was always working,

always recruiting stunning women.

She had a beautiful Mexican cellmate

and gave her Robert Evans’s number

as the first person she should call

when she was released.



XVII.

Never have *** on the first date.



XVIII.

There will always be prostitution,

The prostitution of misery.

And the prostitution of bourgeois luxury.

They will both go on forever.



“Allô oui,”



It was so exciting to hear a millionaire

or a head of state ask,

in a little boy’s voice,

for the one thing

that only you could provide

It's not how beautiful you are, it's how you relate

--it's mostly dialogue.



She was tiny, blond, perfectly coiffed and Chanel-clad.

The French Woman: The Arab Prince, the Japanese Diplomat, the Greek Tycoon, the C.I.A. Bureau Chief — She Possessed Them All!



XIX.

She was like a slave driver in the American South

Once she took a *******,

the makeover put the girl in debt,

because Claude paid all the bills to

Dior,

Vuitton,

to the hairdressers,

to the doctors,

and the girls had to work to pay them off.

It was ****** indentured servitude.



My Swans.



It reached the point

where if you walked into a room

in London

or Rome

as much as Paris

because the girls were transportable,

and saw a girl who was

better-dressed,

better-looking,

and more distinguished than the others

you presumed

it was a girl from Claude.

It was, without doubt,

the finest *** operation ever run in the history of mankind.



**.

The girl had to be

exactly what was needed

so I had to teach her everything she didn’t know.

I played a little the role of Pygmalion.

There were basic things that absolutely had to be done.

It consisted

at the start

of the physical aspect

“surgical intervention”

to give this way of being

that was different from other girls.

Often they had to be transformed

into dream creatures

because at the start

they were not at all



Often I had to teach them how to dress.

Often they needed help

to repair

what nature had given them

which was not so beautiful.

At first they had to be tall,

with pretty gestures,

good manners.

I had lots of noses done,

chins,

teeth,

*******.

There was a lot to do.



Eight times out of ten

I had to teach them how to behave in society.

There were official dinners, suppers, weekends,

and they needed to have conversation.

I insisted they learn to speak English,

read

certain books.

I interrogated them on what they read.

It wasn’t easy.

Each time something wasn’t working,

I was obliged to say so.



You were very demanding?

I was ferocious.



It’s difficult

to teach a girl how to walk into Maxim’s

without looking

ill at ease

when they’ve never been there,

to go into an airport,

to go to the Ritz,

or the Crillon

or the Dorchester.

To find yourself

in front of a king,

three princes,

four ministers,

and five ambassadors at an official dinner.

There were the wives of those people!

Day after day

one had to explain,

explain again,

start again.

It took about two years.

There would always be a man

who would then say of her,

‘But she’s absolutely exceptional. What is that girl doing here?’ ”





XXI.

A New York publisher who visited

the Palace Hotel

in Saint Moritz

in the early seventies told me,

I met a whole bunch of them there.

They were lovely.

The johns wanted everyone to know who they were.

I remember it being said

Giovanni’s Madame Claude girl is going to be there.

You asked them where they came from and they all said

Neuilly.

Claude liked girls from good families.

More to the point she had invented their backgrounds.



I have known,

because of what I did,

some exceptional and fascinating men.

I’ve known some exceptional women too,

but that was less interesting

because I made them myself.



Ah, this question of the handbag.

You would be amazed by how much dust accumulates.

Or how often women’s shoe heels are scuffed.





XXII.

She would examine their teeth and finally she would make them undress.



That was a difficult moment

When they arrived they were very shy,

a bit frightened.

At the beginning when I take a look,

it’s a question of seeing if the silhouette

and the gestures are pretty.

Then there was a disagreeable moment.

I said,

I’m sorry about this unpleasantness,

but I have to ask you to get undressed,

because I can’t talk about you unless I see you.

Believe me, I was embarrassed,

just as they were,

but it had to be done,

not out of voyeurism, not at all

—I don’t like les dames horizontales.



It was very funny

because there were always two reactions.

A young girl,

very sure of herself,

very beautiful,

très bien,

would say

Yes,

Get up, and get undressed.

There was nothing to hide, everything was perfect.



There were those who

would start timidly

to take off their dress

and I would say

I knew already.

The rest is not sadism, but nearly.

I knew what I was going to find.

I would say,

Maybe you should take off your bra,

and I knew it wasn’t going to be

beautiful.

Because otherwise she would have taken it off easily.

No problem.

There were damages that could be mended.

There were some ******* that could be redone,

some not

Sometimes it can be deceptive,

you know,

you see a pretty girl,

a pretty face,

all elegant and slim,

well dressed,

and when you see her naked

it is a catastrophe.



I could judge their physical qualities,

I could judge if she was pretty, intelligent, and cultivated,

but I didn’t know how she was in bed.

So I had some boys,

good friends,

who told me exactly.

I would ring them up and say,

There’s a new one.

And afterwards they’d ring back and say,

Not bad,

Could be better, or

Nulle.



Or,

on the contrary,

She’s perfect.

And I would sometimes have to tell the girls

what they didn’t know.

A pleasant assignment?

No.

They paid.



XXIII.

Often at the beginning

they had an ami de coeur

in other words,

oh,

a journalist, a photographer, a type like that,

someone in the cinema,

an actor, not very well known.

As time went by

It became difficult

because they didn’t have a lot of time for him.

The fact of physically changing,

becoming prettier,

changing mentally to live with millionaires,

produced a certain imbalance

between them

and the little boyfriend

who had not evolved

and had stayed in his milieu.

At the end of a certain time

she would say,

I’m so much better than him. Why am I with this boy?

And they would break up by themselves.



Remember,

this was instant elevation.

For most of them it was a dream existence,

provided they liked the ***,

and those that didn’t never lasted long.

A lot of the clients were young,

and didn’t treat them like tarts but like someone from their own class.

They would buy you presents,

take you on trips.



XXIV.

For me, *** was something very accessoire

I think after a certain age

there are certain spectacles one should not give to others

Now I have a penchant for solitude.

Love, it’s a complete destroyer,

It’s impossible,

a horror,

l’angoisse.

It’s the only time in my life I was jealous.

I’m not a jealous person, but I was épouvantable.

He was jealous too.

We broke plates over each other’s heads;

we became jealous about each other’s pasts.

I said one day

It’s finished.

Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and say:

Break my legs,

give me scarlet fever,

an attack of TB, but never that.

Not that.



XXV.

I called her into my office

Let us not exaggerate,

I sent her away.

She came back looking for employment,

but was fired again, this time for drugs.

She made menacing phone calls.

Then she arrived at the Rue de Boulainvilliers with a gun.

She shot three bullets

I was dressed in the fashion of Courrèges at this moment

He did very padded things.

I had a padded dress with a little jacket on top.

The bullet

—merci, Monsieur Courrèges

—stuck in the padding.

I was thrown forward onto the telephone.

I had one thought which went through my head:

I will die like Kennedy.

I turned round and put my hand up in a reflex.

The second bullet went through my hand.

I have two dead fingers.

It’s most useful for removing bottle tops.

In the corridor I was saved from the third bullet

because she was very tall

and I am quite petite, so it passed over my head.



XXVI.

There were men

who could decapitate,

****, and bomb their rivals

who would be frightened of me.

I would ask them how was the girl,

and they’d say

Not bad

and then

But I’m not complaining.

I was a little sadistic to them sometimes.

Some women have known powerful men because they’re their lover.

But I’ve known them all.

I had them all

here.



She will take many state secrets with her.



XXVI.

I don’t like ugly people

probably because when I was young

I wasn’t beautiful at all.

I was ugly and I suffered for it,

although not to the point of obsession.

Now that I’m an old woman,

I’m not so bad.

And that’s why

I’ve always been surrounded by people

Who

were

beautiful.

And the best way to have beautiful people around me

was to make them.

I made them very pretty.





XXVII.

I wouldn’t call what Alex gives you

‘advice,’

She spares you Nothing.

She makes a list of what she wants done,

and she really gets into it

I mean, she wants you to get your arms waxed.

She gives you names of people who do good facials.

She tells you what to buy at Neiman Marcus.

She’s put off by anything flashy,

and if you don’t dress conservatively, she’s got no problem telling you,

in front of an audience,

You look like a cheap *****!

I used to wear what I wanted when I went out

then change in the car into a frumpy sweater

when I went to give her the money she’d always go,

Oh, you look beautiful!



Marry your boyfriend,

It’s better than going to prison.

When you go out with her,

she’ll buy you a present; she’s incredibly generous that way.

And she’ll always tell you to save money and get out.

It’s frustrating to her when girls call at the end of the month

and say they need rent money.

She wants to see you do well.





We had a schedule, with cards that indicated a client’s name,

what he liked,

the names of the girls he’d seen,

and how long he’d been with them.

And I only hired girls who had another career

—if my clients had a choice between drop-dead-gorgeous

and beautiful-and-interesting,

they’d tend to take beautiful-and-interesting.

These men wanted to talk.

If they spent two hours with a girl,

they usually spent only five or ten minutes in bed.



I get the feeling that in Los Angeles, men are more concerned with looks.



XXVIII.

That was my big idea

Not to expand the book by aggressive marketing

but to make sure that nobody

mistook my girls for run-of-the-mill hookers.

And I kept my roster fresh.

This was not a business where you peddle your ***,

get exploited,

and then are cast off.

I screen clients. I’ve never sent girls to weirdos.

I let the men know:

no violence,

no costumes,

no fudge-packing.

And I talked to my girls. I’d tell them:

Two and a half years and you’re burned out.

Save your money.

This is like a hangar

—you come in, refuel, and take off.

It’s not a vacation, it’s not a goof.

This buys the singing lessons,

the dancing lessons,

the glossies.

This is to help you pay for what your parents couldn’t provide.

It’s an honorable way station—a lot of stars did this.



XXIX.

To say someone was a Claude girl is an honour, not a slur.



Une femme terrible.

She despised men and women alike.

Men were wallets. Women were holes.



By the 80s,

if you were a brunette,

the sky was the limit.

The Saudis

They’d call for half a dozen of Alex’s finest,

ignore them all evening while they

chatted,

ate,

and played cards,

and then, around midnight,

take the women inside for a fast few minutes of ***.



They’d order women up like pizza.



Since my second husband died,

I only met one man who was right for me,

He was a sheikh.

I visited him in Europe

twenty-eight times

in the five years I knew him

and I never slept with him.

He’d say

I think you fly all the way here just to tease me,

but he introduced me

by phone

to all his powerful friends.

When I was in Los Angeles, he called me twice a day.

That’s why I never went out

he would have been disappointed.



***.

Listen to me

This is a woman’s business.

When a woman does it, it’s fun

there’s a giggle in it

when a man’s involved,

he’s ******,

he’s a ****.

He may know how to keep girls in line,

and he may make money,

but he doesn’t know what I do.

I tell guys: You’re getting a nice girl.

She’s young,

She’s pleasant,

She can do things

she can certainly make love.

She’s not a rocket scientist, but she’s everything else.



The world’s richest and most powerful men, the announcer teased.

An income “in the millions,” said the arresting officer.

Pina Colapinto

A petite call girl,

who once slid between the sheets of royalty,

a green-eyed blonde helped the police get the indictment.

They really dolled her up

She looks great.

Never!

What I told her was: ‘Wash that ******.’





XXXI.

Madam Alex died at 7 p.m.

Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,

where she had been in intensive care after recent open heart surgery

We all held her hand when they took her off the life support

This was the passing of a legend.

Because she was the mother superior of prostitution.

She was one of the richest women on earth.

The world came to her.

She never had to leave the house.

She was like Hugh Hefner in that way.


It's like losing a friend

In all the years we played cat and mouse,

she never once tried to corrupt me.

We had a lot of fun.


To those who knew her

she was as constant

as she was colorful

always ready with a good tidbit of gossip

and a gourmet lunch for two.

She entertained, even after her conviction on pandering charges,

from the comfy depths of her blue four-poster bed at her home near Doheny Drive,

surrounded by knickknacks and meowing cats,

which she fed fresh shrimp from blue china plates.



XXXII.

She stole my business,

my books,

my girls,

my guys.

I had a good run.

My creatures.

Make Mommy happy

Oh! He is the most enchanting cat that I have ever known.



She was, how can I say it,

classy.

When she first hired me

she thought I was too young to take her case.

I was 43.

I'm going to give you some gray hairs by the time this is over.

She was right.





XXXIII.

I was fond of Heidi

But she has a streak that is so vindictive.



If there is pure evil, it is Madame Alex.





XXXIV.

I was born and raised in L.A.

My dad was a famous pediatrician.

When he died, they donated a bench to him at the Griffith Park Observatory.



I think that Heidi wanted to try her wings

pretty early,

and I think that she met some people

who sort of took all her potential

and gave it a sharp turn



She knew nothing.

She was like a little parrot who repeated what she was supposed to say.



Alex and I had a very intense relationship;

I was kind of like the daughter she loved and hated,

so she was abusive and loving at the same time.



Look, I know Madam Alex was great at what she did

but it's like this:

What took her years to build,

I built in one.

The high end is the high end,

and no one has a higher end than me.

In this business, no one steals clients.

There's just better service.



XXXV.

You were not allowed to have long hair

You were not allowed to be too pretty

You were not allowed to wear too much makeup or be too glamorous

Because someone would fall in love with you and take you away.

And then she loses the business



XXXVI.

I was pursued because

come on

in our lifetime,

we will never see another girl of my age

who lived the way I did,

who did what I did so quickly,

I made so many enemies.

Some people had been in this line of business

for their whole lives, 30 or 40 years,

and I came in and cornered the market.

Men don't like that.

Women don't like that.

No one liked it.



I had this spiritual awakening watching an Oprah Winfrey video.

I was doing this 500-hour drug class

and one day the teacher showed us this video,

called something like Make It Happen.

Usually in class I would bring a notebook

and write a letter to my brother or my journal,

but all of a sudden this grabbed my attention

and I understood everything she said.

It hit me and it changed me a lot.

It made me feel,

Accept yourself for who you are.

I saw a deeper meaning in it

but who knows, I might have just been getting my period that day!



XXXVII.

Hello, Gina!

You movie star!

Yes you are!

Gina G!

Hello my friend,

Hello my friend,

Hello my movie star,

Ruby! Ruby Boobie!

Braaawk!

Except so many women say,

Come on, Heidi

you gotta do the brothel for us; don't let us down.

It would be kind of fun opening up an exclusive resort,

and I'll make it really nice,

like the Beverly Hills Hotel

It'll feel private; you'll have your own bungalow.

The only problem out here is the climate—it's so brutal.

Charles Manson was captured a half hour from Pahrump.



I said, Joe! What are you doing?

You gotta get, like,

a garter belt and encase it in something

and write,

This belonged to Suzette Whatever,

who entertained the Flying Tigers during World War II.

Get, like, some weird tools and write,

These were the first abortion tools in the brothel,

you know what I mean?

Just make some **** up!

So I came out here to do some research

And then I realized,

What am I doing?

I'm Heidi Fleiss. I don't need anyone.

I can do this.

When I was doing my research, in three months

I saw land go from 30 thousand an acre

to 50 thousand an acre,

and then it was going for 70K!

It's urban sprawl

—we're only one hour from Las Vegas.

Out here the casinos are only going to get bigger,

prostitution is legal, it's only getting better.





XXXVIII.

The truth is

deep down inside,

I just can't do business with him

He's the type of guy who buys Cup o' Noodles soup for three cents

and makes his hookers buy it back from him for $5.

It's not my style at all.

Who wants to be 75 and facing federal charges?

It was different at my age when I

at least...come on, I lived really well.

I was 22,

25 at the time?

It was fun then, but now I wouldn't want

to deal with all that *******

—the girls and blah blah blah.

But the money was really good.



I would've told someone they were out of their ******* mind

if they'd said in five years I'd be living with all these animals like this.

It's hard-core; how I live;

It's totally a nonfunctional atmosphere for me

It's hard to get anything done because

It’s so time-consuming.

I feel like they're good luck though....

I do feel that if I ever get rid of them,

I will be jinxed and cursed the rest of my life

and nothing I do will ever work again.



Guys kind of are a hindrance to me

Certainly I have no problem getting laid or anything.

But a man is not a priority in my life.

I mean, it's crazy, but I really have fun with my parrots.



XXXIX.

I started a babysitting circle when I wasn't much older than 9

And soon all the parents in the neighborhood

wanted me to watch over their children.

Even then I had an innate business sense.

I started farming out my friends

to meet the demand.

My mother showered me with love and my father,

a pediatrician,

would ask me at the dinner table,

What did you learn today?

I ran my neighborhood.

I just pick up a hustle really easily,

I was a waitress and I met an older guy who looked like Santa Claus.



Alex was a 5' 3" bald-headed Filipina

in a transparent muu muu.

We hit it off.

I didn't know at the time that I was there to pay off the guy's gambling debt.

It's in and out,

over and out.

Do you think some big-time producer

or actor is going to go to the clubs and hustle?



Columbia Pictures executive says:

I haven’t done anything that should cause any concern.

Jeez, it's like the Nixon enemies list.

I hope I'm on it.

If I'm not, it means I must not be big enough

for people to gossip about me.



That's right ladies and gentlemen.

I am an alleged madam and that is a $25 *****!

If you live out here,

you've got to hate people.

You've got to be pretty antisocial

How you gonna come out here with only 86 people?

That's Fred.

He's digging to China.

You look good.

Yeah, you too.

It's coming along here.

Yeah, it is.

I wanted to buy that lot there, but I guess it's gone?

That's mine, man! That's all me.

Really?

I thought there was a lot between us.

No. We're neighbors.



He's a cute guy

He's entertaining.

See, I kind of did do something shady to him.

I thought my property went all the way back

and butted up against his.

But there was one lot between us right there.

He said he was buying it,

but I saw the 'For Sale' sign still up there,

So I went and called the broker and said,

I'm an all-cash buyer.

So I really bought it out from under him.

But he's got plenty of room, and I need the space for my parrots.

Pahrump will always be Pahrump, but Crystal is going to be nice

All you need are four or five fancy houses and it'll flush everyone out

and it'll be a nice area.

They're all kind of weird here, but these people will go.

Like this guy here,

someone needs to **** him.

I was just saying to my dad that these parrots are born to a really ******-up world

He goes, Heidi, no, no; the world is a beautiful garden.

It's just, people are destroying it.

I’m looking into green building options

I don't want anything polluting,

I want a huge auditorium,

but it'll be like a jungle where my birds can really fly!

Where they can really do what they're supposed to do.

There were over 300 birds in there!

That lady,

She ran the exotic-birds department for the Tropicana Hotel,

which is a huge job.

She called me once at 3:30 in the morning

Come over here and help me feed this baby!

Some baby parrot.

And I ran over there in my pajamas

—I knew there was something else wrong

and she was like

Get me my oxygen!

Get me this, get me that.

I called my dad; he was like,

I don't know, honey, you better call the paramedics.

They ended up getting a helicopter.

And they were taking her away

in the wind with her IV and blood and everything

and she goes, Heidi, you take care of my birds.

And she dies the next day.

She was just a super-duper person.



XL.

I relate to the lifestyle she had before,

Now, I'm just a citizen.

I'm clean,

I'm sober,

I'm married,

I work at Wal-Mart.

I'm proud to say I know her. I look into her eyes

and we relate.





I got out in 2000,

so I've been sending her money for seven years

She was…whatever.

Girlfriend?

Yeah, maybe.

But ***, I tried like two times,

and I'm just not gay.

She gets out in about eight or nine months

and I told her I would get her a house.

But nowhere near me.

I didn't touch her,

but I'd be, like...

a funny story:

I told her,

Don't you ever ******* think

about contacting me in the real world.

I'm not a lesbian.

Then about two years ago, I got an e-mail from her,

or she called me and said, 'Google my name.'

So I Googled her name,

and she has this huge company.

Huge!

She won, like, Woman of the Year awards.

So I called her and I go,

Not bad.

She goes, 'Well, I did all that because you called me a loser.'

I go, '****, I should've called you more names

you probably would've found the cure for cancer by now.



XLI.

No person shall be employed by the licensee

who has ever been convicted of

a felony involving moral turpitude

But I qualify,

I mean, big deal, so I'm a convicted felon.

Being in the *** industry, you can't be so squeaky-clean.

You've got to be hustling.

Nighttime is really enchanting here

It's like a whole 'nother world out here, it really is

I’m so far removed from my social life and old surroundings.

Who was it, Oscar Wilde, I think, who said

people can adjust to anything.

I was perfectly adjusted in the penitentiary,

and I was perfectly adjusted to living in a château in France.



We had done those drug addiction shows together

Dr. Drew.

Afterward we were friendly

and he'd call me every now and then.

He'd act like he had his stuff together.

But it was all a lie.

Everything is a lie.

I brought him to a Humane Society event at Paramount Studios last year.

He was just such a mess.

So out of it.

He stole money from my purse.

He's such a drug addict because he's so afraid of being fat.

He liked horse ****, though. He did like horse ****.

This one woman that would have *** with a horse on the internet,

He told me that’s his favorite actress.

Better than Meryl Streep.



XLII.

The cops could see

why these women were taking over trade.

Girls with these looks charged upwards of $500 an hour.

The Russians had undercut them with a bargain rate of $150 an hour.

One thing they are not is lazy.

In the USSR

they grew up with no religion, no morality.

Prostitution is not considered a bad thing.

In fact, it’s considered a great way to make money.

That’s why it’s exploding here.

What we saw was just a tip of the iceberg.

These girls didn’t come over here expecting to be nannies.

They knew exactly what they wanted and what they were getting into.

The madam who organized this raid

was making $4 million a year,

laundered through Russian-owned banks in New York City

These are brutal people.

They are all backstabbers.

They’re entrepreneurs.

They’re looking at $10,000 a month for turning tricks.

For them, that’s the American dream.



XLIII.

If you’re not into something,

don’t be into it

But,

if you want to take some whipped cream,

put it between your toes,

have your dog licking it up and,

at the same time,

have your girlfriend poke you in the eye,

then that’s fine.

That’s a little weird but we shouldn’t judge.



She was my best friend then

and I consider her one of my best friends now,

because when I was going through Riker’s

and everyone abandoned me,

including my boyfriend,

I was hysterical,

crying,

and she was the one that was there.

And, when somebody needed to step up to the plate,

that’s who did, and I have an immense amount of

loyalty, respect, and love for her.

And if she’s going to prison for eight years

—that’s what she’s sentenced for

—I’ll go there,

and I’ll go there every week,

for eight years.

That’s the type of person I am.
humanpluto Sep 24
Manila calls me
Asks me if i could go back
To where we used to be
I know i'd be lying
If I'd say I'm not in love with you anymore
And I'd be lying
If I'd say I'm doing all i can to be with you

Manila's missing us
She's searching for our footsteps
We became remarkable
To the place we were once alone
We marked our prints there
Left laughters and stories
We do not usually tell to everyone

On the busy streets we wandered
With your hands clinging on my arms
Our skins touched
And i was invincible by the rays of the sun
On that moment i felt like a fool
Coz i cannot stop smiling
It feels like im drugged or something
Intoxicated by your touch
Ecstatic by your smile
Euphoric by the entity of your soul

It seems so crazy to be in love with you
But the moment i saw you being so peculiar,
I started to question out if the existence of other people is even necessary
I am quite fond of making extravagance
But you give me reasons everyday to include your name on my yearnings
And even on my planned future
You exist without failure

Maybe i am stupid
But if stupidity means loving you wholeheartedly,
Then i guess that makes me the dumbest humanbeing on the planet.
I still love you since the 11th day of July 2018. And i will never forget that 1st day of December. I feel so insane.
Louise Jul 17
As I breathed the taint Manila air in,
I knew I was about to fall in love again.
Oh how I craved for the smoke belching out of the jeepneys, how badly did I want that signature smog to have me begging for precious air?


Ah, nothing would beat the musky, filthy smell from the streets and the constant fear of being pickpocketed that no feeling in the world would ever compare. The last time I felt my heart beat like a wild beast was when I was walking alone down Raon to fetch my first few vinyl records.


Commuting is a breeze. Except that breeze is in the apple of the eye of the storm that I would gladly, willingly look straight into. Quiapo is but an irony; the only place in the world where you would feel safe and protected by the church and the very same place you would feel fear of being mugged or robbed or both.


But the food, my god, is incomparable. The blood enemy of my melancholy. I find peace in Binondo, a haven that makes me forget all the political dysphoria going on with our good old neighbor China. Let's take a breather and bask on our shared heritage and cuisine instead, shall we?


Manila. Her chaos, her charm, her history and the dreams she holds for me—these are what I will always come back here and battle death for.
Diyan Sa May Mga Nilad #1: Lagusnilad;
Lagusnilad Series #1

— The End —