Fate was Late.
She came out from the store and into the street. He walked past her, trying to catch the bus.
From across the street, Fate tried to catch her breath, tried to will the traffic lights to change, so she could let the two know to turn this way and not that.
The girl turned at the corner. The guy rode the bus.
At that moment when their paths crossed, but their lines of sight did not, the ground grumbled from underneath, a cloud passed, the stars dimmed a little and a slight drizzle fell from the sky.
Fate finally crossed the street, but the two were nowhere to be found.
Jotted down this morning while on the train, listening to Train’s (as in the band) I Got You.
And what would you suppose the answer is, when you’re too afraid to even know the question?
That was the last thing Monique had said before she left for New York. That was the last thing she said to me, ever.
I loved her. That’s what I told my best friend, Danny. That’s what I told my family—and even people I barely knew. I loved her. But did I really?
I’ve been asking myself her question since that day, ten years ago, when she asked me to come with her to the airport. So she could spend her last morning in Manila—in the Philippines—with the one person she’s going to miss.
I was her friend.
I friend-zoned myself.
Because thinking about her as more than a friend made me queasy. It brought about feelings that I was in no way capable of understanding. But that’s what love is, Danny had said to me one time. And I believed him.
So I told everyone that I loved her. Everyone, that is, except her.
Did I love her?
Really love her?
A lot of my friends have gone and faced the unfathomable horrors of relationships. They’ve fallen in love. Emphasis on the word ‘fallen.’ They’ve done the cheesiest things for their significant others.
And yet I wasn’t even able to tell Monique I love her. I wasn’t even able to ask her if she felt the same way.
It’s been ten years and Monique is coming back to the Philippines. She arrives tomorrow.
My flight to New York is tonight.
it gets harder
it gets harder
to get a smile and
you should be alone.
1:07 PM 2/2/2011
i’ve always been
the type to deal
on my own
so when you
turn your back to me
i know you won’t stop
to think that’s not how I feel
hear me out
hear my muffled cries
and my silent tears
when i say it’s okay
(when i say it’s okay)
when i say i’m okay
(when i say i’m okay)
can you please, please, please
and turn back around?
when you close that door
i wish you’d stop
and turn back
to ask me
ask me, please
all i need
is for someone
and save me
The Chief said
To the ranks below him,
We cannot see
Where we are going, we cannot know
What to do.
We cannot have, we cannot
The ranks below open
Their mouths, but realize
Is to suffer. It is
The Chief who calls the shots.
There is fear
Trembling in their Chief’s voice,
In and among themselves.
It was here
Before. Several times.
The ranks below wonder,
The words burning
A hole at the back
Of their mouths;
Might it be time
Finally, for mutiny?
It’s dead: the one ticking over
My wrist, and yet the shadows
On the street grow
Longer, blacker, steadier.
There shall always be
Time to think, to plan, to dream;
Never any to be ready for when
Time rears its tuft’d head .
The now is here, but we gain
From the actual sight, the actual sense,
Every thing is moot until
The present moves to past.
We fail to recognize experience
During the experience: Useless sign
Readers, failed finders
Of the signifier before the signified slaps
Us in the face.
Mindlessly, we march
To the ticking and the tocking –
The reducto absurdum: fighting
A battle that is never won,
A battle not even fought.
We must choose. Act. Carpe Diem. Seize
It by the forelock hanging
Over its head. Subdue it as it subdues
All others. It’s about
A Mother’s Love
She wanted nothing else in the world than to cradle his head with her hand.
… and twist it until she can hear that gorgeous popping sound of her sleeping child’s neck.
Some things refuse to die
Her eyes smiled, bright, like the blade coming home in his neck, her voiceless laughter echoing (so fun! again!) in his head.
He shouldn’t have tried to burn the doll.
Inside is You
Inside me, wild, it hisses for release.
—and red, suddenly, from a throat (softwhitebroken) I never held before.
How to Lose a Bread
His name is Arvin, 17, a child trapped in a young man’s body. He approaches with a coin in his hand and shoulders hunched upon himself, his body unconsciously clinging to his remaining possession. His voice is earnest, his eyes bright in rising hope against despair, his words firing out in rapid bullets of desperation. He’s been there since 10 in the morning without a means to call home. He lives far away, nearer to a province than the city where we are. He’s pleading, he’s hungry. He wants to go home.
He reminds me of my siblings.
I look longingly at the bread shop, a few steps ahead, and to a fastfood restaurant that is right behind me. He tries to explain but I cannot hear his words, only his tone, his pitch, his bright bright eyes. I turn and grab his wrist, pull him to the fastfood with its redwhite neon. He begs. He just wants to go home, he doesn’t need to eat. I cluck my tongue and pull him inside, grip tighter, more insistent. I order for him and we wait on our table. Two pieces of chicken with rice and an exta one, a large Coke with straw. I ask a waiter for another glass and I take some Coke from him. I give him a paper bill.
He and his classmates have a project. Some time while going to the mall he lost his only paper bill, and his classmates pulled a prank on him by leaving him in the restroom after making him wait. He asked a guard to page for them, carefully recited their names. None came.
Throughout the day he only managed to eat one measly donut.
He’s a working student. He studies in public school, a member of its varsity team. He wants to take up Hotel and Restaurant Management - he’s the one who cooks at home, his mother too tired from working, and his parents are separated. He has a younger brother and they hardly ate the week before because both he and his mother got too sick to go to work.
He does not finish his meal so he can bring them home to his brother.
I tell him to study. To forget his classmates, they are a worthless lot and he should not hang around them anymore. I tell him to use a wallet, to carry an ID always because it is important. I tell him he’s terribly unlucky to have approached someone who does no have a mobile phone. I tell him I want to buy bread.
He thanks me, profusely. He apologizes, incessantly. I tease him, are you going to cry? No, he says, and I nod and say good or else I would punch you.
We reach the terminal and we part ways. I remind him to contact me, to look at the paper I gave him with my information. He nods. He’s smiling.
I hope he gets home.