Secret Wounds

An Elegy to Childhood


Death crept in as blood spilled out of her. Flesh disengaged from the bones as skin an muscle swelled into mounds. Hair emerged from her pores, grew and thickened. The natural flush paled. Pink powder appliqués replaced the blush on her cheeks. Her cells were speaking a secret languagen she couldn’t understand.

She died when age shook her awake and out of her Utopia. She started to have use for words because crying at seventy decibels didn’t seem to do the trick. Her muscle of a heart beats for another. Tears sprang out from an invisible wound. Her brain started to wonder

Look, now, this is what’s left of her – a decapitated plastic hollow doll with thick blonde braids, wearing a blue jumper, with a stomach slit for coins; her name sprawled in blue ink on the blank after This book belongs to; her voice, recorded on a cassette tape, reading her favorite story.




My Rizal


My Rizal was without eet and without legs. For years, I glanced at him each time I played in the children’s playground. Each time I slid down big Pawikan, down her back and its chapped green paint. Pawikan taught me a lot. She taught me how to patiently paddle my way to where I want to go and to realize that there’s always a shell one can come home to. She saw me looking at my Rizal once and told me he was quite a ladies’ man but lost his legs when the earthquake struck.

My Rizal stood guard at the entrance  of the Municipal Hall with a book in hand. His full lips almost smiling. We never talked out in the open for he belonged to the whole town. But he wrote me letters and poems. I knew him differently.

I moved to Manila to study. He hovered everywhere, his face on coins, paper bills, and books. His signature sprawled on a website. One day, I saw a Rizal at a park in Manila guarded by soldiers in white. He looked sophisticated and rick. He had a book in hand, just like my Rizal back home. But they were different even if they looked exactly alike. A golden trail led me to anoher Rizal. He was sitting down and writing in a very dark room. A faint light from an old lamp flickered on the corner of his desk as he wrote Mi Ultimo Adios. I couldn’t touch him. It was forbidden.

The Rizal in the park was made of bronze and the Rizal in the dark room of wax. But my Rizal back home was made of cheap cement and stood on his knees. That’s how I’ll remember him, even if the last time I visited he already had a pair of legs.




Red Shirt


Does it matter

That in this red piece of cloth

Lingers the mingling of our smells;

The scent of your sweat

And mine combined,

Odors, distinct

Yet complementary?




The Games He Plays


He begins to swim towards your direction waving his hand up in the air and gulps a breath of confidence as he proceds to dive to you. He’s clever and tries different styles but his favorite is breast sroke to win. His eye stares at the price waiting out there when he touches the finish line.

When that isn’t enough he boards his ride and paddles his way to the curved roads, up and down the hills and into the fields for you. He paddles hard and do not rest as his mind creates the image of the finish line.

If that wasn’t enough he lets his muscles do the trick and run as fast as he can to you like crazy. You begin to feel for his forlorn athlete, persistent in his quote for your love.


Then just like that the battle was won. He won, you lost. Like a chess grandmaster, he is always three moves ahead of you.




a fish for a fish


We are bonded by destruction. We drink love until we see pink elephants walking the street of Manila. We even hear the same song like the faint clinking of the xylophone next door. We are indeed two of a kind: a fish and a fish, slimy yet beautiful. We both reek of sadness so we seim and circle each other in a dance. Do you agree?

No. We are an abomination. I am donninga tee with a picture of strawberry milkshake which I wore to school today. You’re wearing you slacks and your black polo from work. I talk, you listen. You neve talk at all. I never listen. Do you see us together in the future?

Last night, chills came up my spine as you came closer. My body was cold with sweat and my breath stank of spaghetti and orange mints. You hugged me never wanting to let go. And I didn’t leave you, did I?

The click of the clock was like a sawhill grinding me to pieces. The sand drifted away too fast. You never left but you were also never there. The fish doesn’t always end up with a fish.




Musings at Starbucks


I’d rather have it in a mug than a plastic cup. I like how the heat slowly penetrates my skin ad stings my fingers as I hold the mug between my hands. I’d rather have the bitter aftertaste of carefully selected beans freshly ground and brewed for five minutes than coffee mixed with ground ice, whipped cream and caramel. The ice bites and excites but the patience of pressed coffee slowly marrying itself to hot water is mysterious. I’d rather have steam rise up and tittillate my nostrils with te aroma of the earth than get a brain freeze. I’d rather have a hot coffee with lots of milk than a choco frappe.

He is hot brewed coffee and you’re frappe.

You are a wild foam party at some basement in Libis on a crazy Friday while he is like reading a newspaper on a lazy Sunday morning. You are a wall of graffiti on a wall while he’s a white picket fence. YOu are a disco ball while is a desk lamp.

I sit on the couch alone now near the glass wall as I toy with my pen. My tongue embraces the bold rich taste of coffee. My shoulders sway to the jazz song as I close my eyes. Then he hovers over me and savors the bitter taste of coffee on my lips.

I went home with my hot brewed coffee.




The Broken Angel


I don’t shiver. I’m never cold. I never fear. I do as I’m told. But I saw you stare at me as you fought for your life. I could never forget the look in your eyes.

I need to pick, pick up my broken pieces and put them back together.

Can you see the thick clouds of air escaping my mouth? My body feels. I become human.

You left. and I had to live. I need to pick, pick up my broken pieces and put them back together.

I take my hail tears ad make a mirror. I don’t like what I see. My lids are bulging and my eyes are sunken. I’ve grown fat with worries. My hair disheveled and not washed for days.

I need to pick up the pieces. Pick up those broken pieces.






These howls and bawls are for Frances

Hollywood was crazily in love with Frances.


She was kidnapped from the stage she adored.

Tormented, jailed but not deceived. No, not Frances.


Her wit and her humor were sharp as a sword

But Mama knew better for her sister, Frances.


Sent to a sanctuary of bizarre minds…

Those in white poked and wired Frances.


And I, Gisela, shed tears for her decades after

She died as she lived – alone – Frances.




He Walked in the Wind’s Eye


The wind blew hard on the man

As he tried to remember where

His buddy once lived.

The scarf tied to his neck

Was flapping carelessly

As he tightly held on to it.


But the wind blew hard on him

Making him walk to the east

Where he saw crossroads,

“When will you wind down?”

He shouted to the wind

The wind blew a song

“When you reach

Where I want to take you.”


The man didn’t get wind

Of the wind’s plan.

Countless times

He was shoved to the ground

Blood trickled from his cuts

So he decided not to go

Against the wind.


And he walked in the wind’s eye.

The wind blew its last strong gust,

After grueling hours

Of tossing and winding

The man found himself blown

In front of  familiar house.


He rang the bell, crossing his fingers,

And the wind carried the sound

To a woman

Standing in her kitchen,

Peeling her potatoes,

Cooking for one.


“How did you wind up here?”

She asked as she opened the gate.

“Where have you been? How are you?”

The woman had lots of questions

And so did the man

“How have you been? What have you been up to?”

They laughed because they realized

The questions kept on popping like popcorn on a hot pan.


Now they were staring at each other,

Thinking almost two decades had passed

Since each saw last their first love.

The man thought

“I traveled with the wind

And she brought me home.”

The wind blrew on the chimes.




 Come and Go



He comes

Looking like a hero


He shouldn’t have come at all


“I’m sorry for being late.

I can’t stay long.

I have to go and catch my plane.”



She comes

Dressed in blood


Such an innocent one.


(She cried the whole night

And grew silent

As the morning arrived.)



They come

One after the other.


Will they come again?


“Mom and Dad,

We promise to visit you.

Stay healthy.”



You come

To take me away.


It’s my time


Take my hand.

Let’s leave at once.






The color yellow is what I use when  I color the sun and the flame of a candle. The world news tells of heatstroke killing Californians. And in the local news, fire consumed forty houses and killed three because one left a candle burning.

The five hundred peso bill is predominantly yellow. It is the color of the peaceful revolution that toppled a dictator.

When you graduate from th intermediate pad, the next in line is the yellow pad. It’s bigger because they assume you have more things to write.

Yellow rhymes wiht mellow and marshmallow. Who wants some burnt mallow? Post-its are yellow. Ripe mangoes and bananas are yellow. Such an expensive color, yellow. The longest river in Asia is Yellow but it floods during monsoon. Smileys first came in yellow. Sinister smiles hide behind innocent smileys. A band once sang a sad yellow song, “and it was all yellow… ooohhhh.”




Confessions of a Reluctant Murderer: Thoughts on Revisions


My darkest hour came when I found out you existed. But, I believed you to be beautiful because you came from me. I made you. Then the commanding voic said, “Kill it!” Could I? Kill you? Am I Abraham and you Isaac?

So I killed you with my eyes closed with the bloody dagger on my right hand. You just morphed into something else, a ghostly existence, flimsy, fog-like. You’re not gone, I know. One day, you’ll come to me again, cross my mind, brew inside me, born and hopefully you’ll live.


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