A City of Words

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I have not the language of writers
Born from distant mountains
Children of the fields and the sky
For their words reflect the river they came from
Slow, languid, and flowing like waters from pools
Where sleepy banana trees recline on banks
Blessed by the ancient rain
And where needlepoint of sunlight never fades
But shine brightly even behind closed eyes

No, I am a daughter of the asphalt
Of the long and winding streets of this city
Where a million feet never rests
Even as the moon rides high across the midnight sky
You can hear hundreds of souls shuffling
Making their way through narrow alleyways
That lead to houses upon houses of dreams
Nestled under a sea of tin eaves
Separated by weathered roads
Where jeepneys reign and sputter at standby
As their barkers, in unison, heave and cry
A crescendo of sound, a concert of destinations
To attract the people passing by
“Come now, come now. Just one more. And we are off.”

Off deep in the city. Off to reality. Off to the daily grind.
And my words run
Letters spilling on top of one another
Like buses racing against each other
And my words intimately know the cracks on the pavement
My syllables fit snugly into every pothole
Forming neon lighted sentences beside shanties
Furiously carving out their existence,
Punctuated with the rise of every building
Reflecting the red sun against windows of glass
And all the while, people stand and fall
Just like a crowd of words, pushed and pulled
Shaped and molded into steel and grimy concrete
Never knowing rest, always changing, sharp and knowing
Tenacious, street-smart, no sugar added attitude
Dripping from my tongue like the acid retort
Of vendors and pedestrians alike
Fighting for space, fighting for life
And my words, are born out of them,
Blades of phrases, bound together
Cutting deeply into city-bred flesh
And all the while,
The sunlight shines through
Manila’s open bloodshot eyes.

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Deliciously Dangerous

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For the girl I saw crossing Taft Avenue today, you with tongues of fire in your hair, I wonder what it would have been like to be you. Thank you, for inspiring this poem.
Photo was taken from IG: krissyelisabeth

I like girls with flaming hair
Spirals of rainbow in the sky
Reflected in their souls
Shining through the endless wonder
In their fascinating kaleidoscope eyes

I like girls who can hold their own
Who are not afraid to stand alone
Raise an eyebrow at every misogynistic act
Unafraid to adamantly dish out facts
While calmy shaking the mud off their boots
Never losing sight of what’s true and good

I like girls burning with an inner fire
Unabashedly vocal about their desires
Creating miracles where ashes were born
Tirelessly rebuilding souls that are torn
Ready to take the leap in order to fly high
And triumphantly trample down hurtful words and lies

I like girls who have daggers in their gaze
And can cast Mona Lisa smiles from purple lips
Bruised from their ongoing quarrel with this world
Gaining strength and wisdom, beautiful and bold
Carving their own paths, never doing what they’ve been told

I like girls with tattoos on their skin
Canvas of ideas, goddesses of ink
They will keep you on your toes and make you think
Until you get lost in the intricacies of their thoughts
And fall madly-in love and be forever caught
In indelible dreams of the goddess you vainly sought

So be careful now, they will take you to the edge
Push you over your limit, leave you dangling in the ledge
Yes, be careful now, see that sparkle in my eye
Never accuse me of telling you lies
Come if you dare, girls like me, will strip you bare
We’ll leave you bleeding and we won’t even care
Until you cannot get enough of us
You’ve been warned, so hold on fast
Think twice, before you take my hand
Do you believe you have what it takes to last?

August Rain

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The rain cascades like a curtain of memories
Each drop, whispering distant forgotten stories
Bringing us back to quiet places in our life
Where jeepneys sputter to a standstill
And aspins drowsily snuggle in a dry corner
While cats sleepily open one eye
As the cold delicious wind blows by
And all the while, hot coffee warms our soul
Reminding us of one carefree rainy day of old
Awakening the soothing memories of childhood
When swirling puddles seemed like raging rivers
Meant for racing paper boats to cross and conquer
And San Pedro is causing thunder to roar
As he strikes again and again with his bowling ball
As you and your friends dance and cheer
Laughing and bathing under the rain
Unmindful of life, fear, and pain
And all the while Mother’s chicken soup is slowly cooking
Over the faithful stove, where food and memories are forever simmering
To be replayed again, once again, gratefully tasted and regained
Under the spell of this gently falling blessed August rain.

Within the Rain

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With her heart in her lips
She turned away and said,
“Did no one tell you?
You cannot love
And walk away unchanged.”
He looked up into the sky
And his eyes closed
Against the honesty
Of the falling rain.

At the Stop Sign

While eating lunch and thinking of possibilities …. #stillraw #poetryislife
Note: Manong is a Filipino term that would refer to an older man that one may or may not personally know. There is a sign of respect in the use of that term.
Streets
Grey canvas of possibilities
Of chanced meetings.
I see multitudes passing
From where I am sitting and waiting.
Yes, indeed, waiting ….
See there, Manong is waving
To a friend passing by
And his grin was brilliant
As a stoplight on-Go
While colorful jeepneys
Going everywhere
Carrying hopes and dreams
Roar by towards destinations.
Yes, indeed, destinations ….
And I wonder where you’re headed now.
You – always moving, always dreaming.
I wonder …
If one day, as I whisper a wish
On some busy street-corner
Would you suddenly appear?
So I could wave, smile without fear
And without the hint of loneliness and tears,
Welcome you back and say,
“So, will this just be the end
or the beginning of our hello?”

My Neruda Goodbye

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You’ve heard it said
“If you forget me, then I will forget you too”
Finally, we exhale
In sadness? In grief? In relief?
For now, we look at each other
Not with the intimate fire of lovers
But with the warm comfortable glow of friends
Yes, now, finally, we have reached our story’s end
We have gone past the hurt, the drama, and pain
We survived driving each other insane
And that period of time
Of years upon years were not totally worthless
For by the pale strands of moonbeams
Under a multitude of stars reflecting our young dreams
We smiled then, with the tender light of lovers
Whose souls opened up in acceptance of the other
And created life so precious, that would seal our bond forever
And the magic of that night drew our fates and dreams together
But the moon, ever-changing
Her faint silver face forever shifting
Knew that earthly love will always have an ending
So let go, why linger?
My dear friend, can’t you see?
We have gone past restoration
And I extend my hand to you in grateful appreciation
Of the times we’ve had, of the memories shared
Of the hardships we endured
Of the risks, with eyes shut, we took and dared
In that brief moment life and love allowed us to walk together
Arms thrown wide to the sky, we ….
Laughed and cried
Fought and made love
Triumphed and lost
Cheered and criticized
And above all, yes above all,
We did fall in-love
So it wasn’t all bad. Won’t you agree?
But now, well now
Both our hearts can clearly see
It is time for both of us to become free
So hold my hand, one last time
Smile into my eyes
In friendship, in acceptance
With the moon’s blessings
By the constant light of the glowing stars
We will end, the same way we began
Under the same evening sky
My once-beloved, with my heart in my lips
In silver, let me now say … goodbye

For Love of the Word

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I had a wonderful time sharing the meaning of poetry, its healing power, and the social responsibility of the writer to UST students last January 31, in their event entitled, “Pilantik: Anong Berso ng Puso Mo?” I also had fun with my fellow panelists from Spoken Word Manila. I can’t wait to team up with them again. Thank you Lord for that wonderful experience 😊

Kintsugi

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There is beauty in broken things

Shattered pots, slivers of glass

Jagged little edges, shaped like razor teeth

Grinning from the floor

Ready to strike and take a bite at life

As if to say,

“Here we are. Cast aside. Discarded and torn.

But, oh no, we are not through, not undone.

For our shattered pieces will be reshaped and reborn!”

And the sunlight glinting off these fragments

Lit them up, like a multitude of diamonds shining

Under the celestial fire, they are shimmering

And somehow, I can see myself reflected in their depths

A thousand me within a thousand facets, sparkling

With possibilities, I can feel tiny broken pieces within, reforming

And for the first time

I took hold of the sun and felt myself breathing.

Silver

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I am starlight
Born of ether and endless wonder
I am what you dream of
In moonless nights
When the dark skies swirl
With the infinite knowledge of galaxies
Hidden in my eyes
While silver cords of desire hold you
Closer in the luminous circle of my arms
And my smile, mysterious as the cosmos
Has you fixed, in orbit, around me
Held not by the gravity of my hands
But by the irresistible undefinable energy
Of fascinating constellations
Pulsating, coursing, radiating
Within and through me, burning like sunlight
Making you come to life
Giving meaning to your existence
In the unfathomable universe of my being

(Image from Smite Forums)