Long, meeting-filled day, which ended with me rushing off to a friend's book launch to read a couple of his poems, but not before cooking pochero for the hungry husband and daughter.
The book launched was Joel M. Toledo's Ruins and Reconstructions; the launch, at Mag:Net Katipunan. The place was packed. I saw many people in my (feeling) literary past--Ruey de Vera, for example, who sat on the couch just left of the stage (he it was who interviewed me for the Filipino staff of Heights, the old school's literary magazine), and Khavn--then Khan de la Cruz, sans the hat--whom I interviewed for the same Filipino staff three years later. Also present was Pete Lacaba, who edited my copy at the Sunday Times Magazine (and who gave me a private lecture on libel, on the occasion of my writing a series of articles on victims of violence in the mid-1990s). He and Marra PL Lanot both read selections from the book. Their son, Kris, emceed, together with Nette Vizcocho, recent Philippines Free Press Literary Prize winner. Jimmy Abad was there, as were Noelle Leslie de la Cruz and Waps San Diego. I thought I saw Ayer Arguelles in the crowd. Dumaguete people Gino Dizon, Ceres Abanil, Peachy Paderna, and cousin Gian Lao were all there. And just right before I left, I saw Eva B. Gubat.
I'd planned on reading not only the poem Joel had requested me to read ("Asian"), but also a translation I'd made of his poem, Molting. While waiting to be called, I realized that I was standing beside National Artist Virgilio Almario.
Which is why, after reading "Asian", I hesitated before reading the translated poem. I didn't want to embarrass myself before Rio Alma.
But I went ahead anyway. Joel had seemed happy with the translation.
I made my way back to where I was standing before the reading.
Sir Rio asked, "Ikaw ba ang nagsalin ng tulang binasa mo?"
Awwww.... Salamat, Sir Rio! <3 <3 <3
(Pero maganda't magaling din naman talaga iyong tula ni Joel.)
Too bad I had to rush back home to the husband and little one. When I got home, I still had butterflies in my stomach. But there was still some pochero left over from dinner to calm the tummy.
And it was still hot.