at ten years old, we
climbed skinny trees, and
scraped knobby knees, saw the city
bird’s eye, and listened to the rustling of
leaves, ten years later:
in place of trees,
we lego brick stack concrete
pancake layers: higher and
higher until we need elevators, and
then, maybe they fit the criteria for
skyscrapers. maybe, this time, we’ll find
what we’re looking for:
peer through the glass shoe
window on the top
floor, and won’t feel the need to axe
hack this cityscape down, won’t feel the
need to bring the sky closer to the
ground, to fill our hands with news
paper that says we’ve reached the clouds.
sixteen years ago, there were red winged
butterflies morning greeting
kisses before moving
onto someone else’s plant box—the
all organic liberal player, heart
breaker—we learn from their pollinating patterns
we are all thieves, mercilessly
taking nature’s nectar—let’s army knife carve out a space for
summer pavilions and
canopies, uproot these wide mango
trees and use them for
fire, their bodies are good for
keeping us warm, and this
Nara: sturdy for shelter, and it is human
nature, instinct to reach
peeking through the clouds, and we
soak it all up through bare
burn instead of tan. there are no
butterflies now, because there are no
an urban concrete lego-land on life support, the Pasig
river a clogged up IV line and we try to
scrape at the sides but don’t you
remember, we sent away the
guys who could do it
better on their last
payroll, now the land
rolls down the bank of the
river, where we put dams in place of
trees—as if we knew any better. and maybe I’m a
girl who wants to teach her future
daughter how to climb a tree. If I’m
lucky, she’ll learn to do ir better than me.
Below is what a hippocampus ought not look like. You have been warned.
My hippocampus has classified you between
remember and forget,
has synapsed intermittently
You had spiked up hair then,
now, it lays flat under pressure:
stuffed information we try to trap in
to porous jars flowing outward.
You plan a couple of years down the line, indirectly
ask me if we can walk this road together—still,
I classify you as intermittent,
between transient and permanent—still
daring you to say it, to
spell out the letters I read
in between the lines
me to find.
I’m working on a hypothesis:
eternity never ends, keeps
going within bounded
time you give me.
I think I’ve found it:
cosmic burst happiness
you break me.
I think I believe in
The older I grow, the more I realise that many of life's questions do not have definitive answers. More often than not, they're questions that float about in space, and I shoot answers at them with the hopes that I've gotten it right somehow. Certainty is rarely the aim anymore. That's hardly what I often hope to accomplish. Rather, it is the courage amidst uncertainty which I wish to embody. I suppose that's more than I could ever hope to achieve in this lifetime, or the next.
Here it is: the last poem of the Cityscape collection.
I scribble down answers
To non-existent questions,
Gulp them down with water,
Drown myself in peaceful solitude,
Intoxicate myself with pitch black nothingness
That drinks bestow so eagerly.
Like liquid nitrogen,
They smokes up my throat,
And I puff white clouds out again.
The cold winds echo
In my hollow soul,
Asking to be satiated
With fenestrane windows,
Asking for light
The sky cannot give
After receiving my white cloud puff gifts.
Asking for light
Called up from distant glances of memory,
Sparks that have long since died down.
My lungs fill up with water,
And exponentially grow my answers,
But they do not fill my hollow holed soul,
Not when they only ever pass through.
Solid brick will find its way
Down the path I’ve hidden so well
To fill the gaping space
Oblivious to matter.
Perhaps the lingering question
I’ve repressed with metal locks
Shall emerge presently
To coax in the puzzle piece that fits
Once rust licks the strength off the chains.
Perhaps if I’d swallowed more oxygen,
My questions would emerge faster,
But my hands drift to carbonated soda cans
And shrug off the rust that has crusted,
And fortify chain after chain.
It's been a while, but here's the almost but not really last poem of Cityscape. I've always had a fondness for paradoxes, and this poem is filled with them. The idea of being right next to a person and yet feeling as if they're miles away intrigues me. The detachment is all too common, and yet there seems to be no solution...
On plastic platform stages
That sit hundreds of people on weekend games.
Today, we’re the only bodies there.
The coral paint I’d smudged against his cheek
Is long gone,
But he smirked
As if he hadn’t rubbed it off.
And he smirked,
Dropping another coin
Into one of my piggy bank lockers
Labelled with his name in bold black letters,
The piggy bank lockers
That fuel the cyclist of my chest,
Pumping blood through the streets
That branch out through my body.
It pumps to by brain,
And I feel wings sprout from my plantation back,
But his butterfly wings
Flutter for someone else
In tighter jeans
And higher food chains,
And I am the dragonfly pest,
The kind farmers perfume with pesticide,
The kind kids lock up in a bottle,
The kind that kids don’t punch air holes for.
On his plastic platform stage
With the sun casting his shadow
Across the grass stadium lake.
My eyes wink at the sun,
And its orange gaze propels my shadow
Next to the one with bird’s nest hair
Our shadow selves swing with the clouds,
Hands centimetres away,
The way maple leaves never seem
To touch their neighbours.
I remember the chicken wishbone from last Easter,
And make my wish three months late,
But I’m still here,
As far from him
As the sand and the sea.
He’ll be standing
On foreign platform stages,
His shadow swinging
And I will believe
That wishbone wishes come true,
When the sea strand no longer separates white from blue.
The internet allows me to feel so connected with other individuals. Granted, I don't spend much time on social media, but I've been able to share my work online and have utter strangers read what I've written and give me feedback.
This poem is for the friends I've met thanks to the internet.
I ride the waves of the triple double-u dots
And find myself finding you,
Making friends with your creations,
You'll be finding me,
And you do,
The space between us spans oceans,
But we talk as if across coffee shop tables,
Hoping they sail to the other's ears.
And we sleep
To the other's daybreak.
Unaware of the other's latitude,
Or time zone,
Dreaming of silent conversations
And the clacking of fingers against keys,
Hoping to compose a subtle soundtrack to our silent movie.
In your waves I'd most likely drown under,
Because mine are gently lapping the stone shore,
Unwilling to go very far
Without smashing rocks and dam walls.
I wonder if our online streams
Shall ever interlock
Like friends going to the movies,
Or schoolmates catching each other's glances
Where words are expensive.
Perhaps I’d rather we didn’t.
I’d keep whispering melodic messages into bottles,
And creating beautiful maps of your picturesque city
Though you may never hear my echo
Across the continent calling.
The weather in my little world bubble was bipolar today (or I might have just spaced out when the sun suddenly ran from the clouds).
The rain came, and oh did it pour.
I love rainy days--irrationally, might I add--and wrote this for the occasion.
Morse Code Windows
Sends me morse code messages
That go tap tap against my window.
They’re meant for me,
And anyone who will listen.
I decipher his whispers,
But the thunder joins in,
And I can’t hear the rain above all her noise.
The rumbling makes the rain glitter
Like falling stars
That plummet into my hands
But dissolve at my fingertips.
Cannot touch me properly,
Unless he uses his tears.
So, the rain
And I can’t seem to keep up.
He sings in rhythmic beats,
Melodic pounding against the glass panes.
I say wait,
But he doesn’t listen
And does as he pleases.
I sit here
And hope I got it right.
I tap the window,
Tap morse in reply.
“I’m right here.”
I, admittedly, have abominable phone habits.
I scarcely reply right away (unless it's got something to do with homework, but even then, I could go for hours without seeing my text messages).
Please don't misunderstand--I don't ignore my messages with malicious intent. I simply have other priorities--other activities that preoccupy me. And I'd much rather have a decent conversation with someone in person (or through well crafted e-mails/letters) rather than through text. It might just be my world view, but texting feels so... impersonal...
Apparently, not all my friends think this way, and I have offended certain people for not replying early or not putting smileys in my messages.
So, I wrote about it.
Satellite Text Messages
I pretend to fall asleep
When your message rocket launches its way to my phone.
My head is hazed
With powder blue clouds,
Keeping me dangling between sleep and waking silence.
I try to tip the balance one way
But realise I’m leaning the other.
And the scale growls at me,
Asking me to make up my mind.
Your message buzzes next to my ear,
A bee sweet-drenched in nectar.
I clamp my petal eyelids
And beg you to understand.
My thoughts are ICU weak
And my fingers clumsy.
I can’t possibly reply.
Wait for the morning’s coherence to shower me.
After I take a cool rain bath to begin the day,
And fight sleep in the car-ride to where I ought to be.
Then, maybe I’ll read your satellite message from space.
May your oxygen tank last you the night,
Because I am terrible at CPR,
My skills work like an old model CPU.
I tend to blow in CO2.
You and I both know
That I could undoubtedly kill you.
Still, you rocket launch text messages
At eleven PM
Knowing that I can’t always pretend to fall asleep.
If you've ever been a student and have never ever had a 'bad day' in class, then I can assure you: you're the minority.
This poem is about one of those bad days, when not one part of the lessons seemed to stick. Don't worry, though: I've been working on understanding my lessons the whole weekend, and... I think I'm getting there...
Us In Inorganic Chemistry
We shove elephants from our thoughts
And convince ourselves to stay present.
Our flute blown laughter disrupts the class,
But we don’t notice.
With our twitters ringing in our ears,
And we’re gone.
But we can’t
We shove elephants from our thoughts again
And convince ourselves to stay present.
But I’m scribbling again
Filling the margins with words
That have nothing to do with the present.
The blackboard is a mess
Of chalk fumes and diagrams.
With our webbed hands,
We try to throw our brains to the front of the room,
Hoping something will stick.
We leave with vague concepts playing themselves on repeat
And hope we know enough to get through.
I grew up reading about women who never needed saving. They didn't need a man to 'save' them. They were their own knights in shining armour.
Sidenote: Whether you be a man or a woman, you can't possibly be completed by another flawed human being. (I'm sorry if you disagree, but I am adamant about this.)
And as I grew older, I came to understand that some of the worst villains didn't have horns sticking out of their hair. They wore helmets to hide them.
Side-sidenote for all kinds of folk: watch out. There are real predators out there.
Poem 4 dwells on this idea.
He rides an i8
And fancies himself a knight.
With his broad sword
And his whiskey glass shield,
He slays dragons
Only to watch their limp forms transform into maidens.
My friends and I
Wear walls of armour,
And smash empty bottled brains against rocks,
Shattering hearts without meaning to.
Guilt ridden, we carve wooden swords from tree branches,
And fend off the nasty lies the shattered brave broadcast.
We practice our swordplay on the beach by the bay,
Our words curling into blades.
We laugh when we bruise.
We taunt when we lose.
And he stands at the edge of the cliffs,
His eyes a sea kissed blue
From the time he ran from the rain.
He watches us
And sees us breathe fire.
Not comprehending that we swallow the sun
And spit Helium bubbles for fun.
We are our own knights now.
In dresses of mail,
We slam against the pavement infested streets as we walk
Down to the alley
To slay the i8 monster.
When I go out with friends, sometimes everything's happening so fast around me that I get left behind in my own thoughts as the conversation turns elsewhere, or something.
This is a poem that plays with that idea: the idea of being left behind, the idea of being with people but at the same time feeling alone.
Here it is: poem number 3.
The hatter's table
Sat five of us down.
We were all sane and well.
As sane as the next person, at least.
I wore a crown
Of flower shaped roots
To keep my feet on the ground,
But the others
And the wind blew them to the clouds.
Anna kicked and screamed,
Knocking over teacups
Filled with liquid smiles.
Knocked them over
With her feet.
Those that chipped
Had the grass-like carpet to break their fall.
Gregory was clawed by a crow,
And fell back down,
Landed somewhere near Ireland,
Somewhere near the sea.
Carrie could hardly stop laughing,
Could hardly see where she was going,
And got herself tangled in telephone wires.
Orion had his eyes
Firmly set on me
And I wished he didn't have to go.
But the wind blew,
And Orion flew
So it was that I sat alone
At a table for five
Wishing I wore feathers too
Last night, I slept early thinking I'd wake up early too. Apparently, my body does not work that way, so I'm sticking to my late nights and late starts. Since I'm working on some very exciting projects, I'm pretty sure I'll be up later than usual these next months.
Without further ado...
To the Night and My Fellow Owls
To the Night and My Fellow Owls:
Good Early Morning
When there are few of us left
To roam the streets
Or lay on our beds
And avoid sleep.
The grey sky has infected our hands
And our eyes
And our dreams
Like the poison we willingly drink
If we should hoot
Into the twinkling night
Shall our call pierce the silence
That has so long accompanied us?
Shall we rest our heads
And find sorrow in sleep?
Shall we remain awake
With our eyes devouring
The soft glow of our world?
I've been compiling a few concise poems I've been writing lately. I wrote it primarily to get some poems out on my wattpad account, but I figured I'd get them out on this site as well.
The basic vision I developed for these poems is how mundane life in the city isn't as mundane as it feels.
All it really takes is seeing everything in a new perspective.
And it does become increasingly difficult to see the city in a positive light when I inherently dislike the place. (My personal take on it, don't feel offended please.)
So, that's what I'll be exploring for the next few posts. I realise I've got a lot of things on my plate for this term, so I'm trying to balance this whole site thing with my studies as well as my other writing projects.
It's quite exciting, and it keeps me off Facebook. (I say it like it's my drug.)