so is spicing up demon children

Cooking Lessons

1992
I dreamt that I was being cooked by monsters
inside a casserole big enough to fit
a five year old. I woke up upset, crying.

My mom told me to stop. It is all in your head.
You are creating your own demons.
You are scaring yourself.

Confused, I asked my older sibling why
mom would say something so horrible.
Adults say things like that when children cry.

I think I still don’t understand how creating
my own demons could help me get less upset
but I think I understand a little more

why yesterday when I skinned my knee
and started crying my dad told me to stop.
Nothing happened. The pain is imaginary.


2006
It was my turn to cook breakfast for my family and I served them a hard boiled truth. They got offended with the presentation. It wouldn’t taste anything. They wanted it flavored: sugar coated or seasoned or spiced up. So I poured hot sauce and chili, vinegar and black pepper, wasabi and chutney and mustard and honey and sugar and salt. The resulting mixture looked and smelled terrible, but they jumped at it, coating the hard boiled truth with the disgusting dip.

Quickly, without chewing, they swallowed everything whole.


1996
My family recipe for disaster: invite everyone to dinner.


2001
Dos and Don’ts:

1. Pray before eating. You will definitely need divine intervention to get through unscathed.

2. If you want to skip the appetizer, make sure you have the chops to pretend that you have appetite. Everybody hates a slouch.

3. Hold your spoon with your right hand, and the fork with your left. That is the only way to eat.

4. Everyone is required to eat everything on the table. Even the nauseatingly putrid ones. If you don’t like something, pretend. Take everything in. Break it down into smaller portions. Gobble up with lots of water.

5. You will be attacked. No matter how indirectly, you will be attacked. You will think of retaliations and I am sure you have the proper amount of flair to spew it out. But please, don’t talk while your mouth is full. If you hold back, there is a good chance that you wouldn’t need to wash your hands after eating.

6. Don’t vomit. If you do, swallow. If they see any sign of vomiting, they will feed you the same thing that made you vomit in the first place. “But you have to eat”, they will insist.

7. Do not use the table napkin. Messy person = messy eating = messy table napkin. Everything messy, throw it under the table or sweep it under the rug.

8. It is not all bad. I’m sure you will find something delightfully fit for human consumption. But when you do, compliment the food, but never the cooking. The cooks don’t like it when their cooking process is being figured out.

9. Eat the desserts last. And eat lots of it. Too much sweetness can mask the fishy smell of your own puke.


2007
The morning after I told my mother that I have a boyfriend, she told me that she dreamt about me. Lumalangoy ka sa putik ng kasalanan (You are swimming in a filth of sin). What else could I do but chuckle? Hormones can fix this. We can talk to counselors. Believe in the lord’s mercy. There is still salvation for you.

In less than a year, my mother changed her religion. She believes that god made me wrong so she would find the right faith. She prayed really hard to change me. I didn’t.

Why don’t you understand me? You used to be a kind little boy. What happened?


2010
Sometimes, our home smells like burnt meat on forgotten pans.


2014
Last week      my father remembered me
helping 4 others      carry my grandmother’s
coffin      I was only 6      when she died
but he insists      she just died      last year
He would get mad      when corrected
Don’t distort      the truth      then cry
like a 7 year old girl      He will only regress
more and more      and forget everything
Try pictures      Make lists      Retell his life
But he is very happy      with his memories
imaginary      or real      he is too far away
for that to matter      The only truth
that is important      is that he is delighted
when he tells stories      He smiles a lot
when I listen      He likes it      when I say
Of course       I remember      It happened


1988
Father: The puppies, when the grow up, they become bad. That is why we needed to send them away.

Son: When I grow up, will I become bad?

—Mark Dimaisip


note/s:
It was long overdue but finally it is done! Thank you to all the bloggers who were patient with me in this project. Your critiques and words of encouragements mean the world to me.