Letter to My Atheist Brother

Nonfiction by | February 8, 2009

What I’m going to do is just share you something because, by having said that you’re an atheist, you remind me of what I was then and the thoughts that I harbored and the journey that I had to go through. Perhaps, your statement is a blessing because it has challenged me to write down and crystallize everything that I believe about God.

But before I start, I just want to ask that you own your statement. It is so easy to say “I believe in God” but it is a wholly different matter to say one doesn’t. To say that you’re an atheist is itself a product of deep reflection and hence must not be uttered in jest or mere fun. I expect that you take your statement seriously because this is a serious matter to begin with.

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A Modern Asian Fairy Tale

Fiction by | February 8, 2009

There was this teenaged princess from Southeast Asia who, tired of all the political maneuverings and killings and dissent and poverty unsolved by parliament, sneaked out of the country incognito by wearing a wig and a tailored suit, her crown in a hatbox as hand-carried luggage. Landed in a small Philippine airport, found a small house to stay in the middle of a coconut plantation, then walked to town to pawn her crown.

The rural atmosphere suited her needs, also it was just like home—the land, the trees, the air, the trade. Helped a farmer by burning coconut shells for charcoal, sold these to the barbecue people out in the stands at the town streets, and saved up her money so she could get back her crown.

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Twilight Memories

Poetry by | February 8, 2009

pale crimson and orange palette
painted in that endless canvas
with the final rays of the sun
sinking over the horizon;
the blades of cogon grasses turn
into dark, dancing silhouettes –
the best twilights, i left at home…
now, i see no velvet sunsets
and no dancing cogon grasses –
just a lone lightpost by the street.

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A Farewell Tanka

Poetry by | February 8, 2009

used to being side by side;
withered bunch of blooms
forgotten by you, by me —
how do we say our goodbyes?

A Lot Like Love

Poetry by | February 8, 2009

a single broken fork,
a couple of plastic cups,
lots of crumpled paper —
and you start to realize
that they’re all just clutter…
yesterday, they’re needed;
now, they’re nothing.
and you squint at the same thought
because it’s a lot like love,
where one is left behind –
broken and utterly


Poetry by | February 8, 2009

out of thick nothingness
you come forth
and strip me bare.
i adore the tears you make me shed.
i despise your guts,
and your pretentious innocence.
my thoughts lick you when midnight awakens
while you play beneath other women’s sheets.
bitter, bittersweet you fall upon me.
my mind chokes you to your sweet death.
i lie for hours as my thoughts skin you,
and taste your flesh.
upon my weary eyes you melt, helplessly.
i’m masked by my deceptive defense,
but you are the sole reality
that brings me to my knees.
you cleanse me when i am clothed with filth.
out of thick nothingness
you come forth
and strip me bare.

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In Thy Glory

Fiction by | February 1, 2009

gloryI start my day with Subhanallah and feel the last bead of my pasbih with Allahuakbar. They agreed to forego the dialaga. The wedding is set a month from today. Baba said the mahr is more than generous enough.

You could give your friends, apart from your cousins and other family of course, their adat. No worries about that, Sittie Mouhminah. How much would they want? Give me your guest list too. We are drafting the probable guests. Your Mama has started on some relatives from her side of the family. Compose yourself, atakolay. This one is way better than him. Bangsa, atakolay. Bangsa.

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You Think It Must Be Worth Heaven

Poetry by | February 1, 2009

You think it must be worth heaven
at the end of the month
when swollen skin begins to heal,
and strings begin to melt.

That first day,
before it rises, is the birth of a lizard
working to delight a scarlet rose
to bear a heavy bulge of pain.

There is heaven
when you play after recovery
from morning woods
to evening calls.

But when your scarlet rose fails
to bear a heavy bulge of pain,
lonely is the heaven
your lizard is worth to fend.

The Girl and the Butterfly

Poetry by | February 1, 2009

Walking in the garden,
I saw you and I asked,
“How does it feel to be a butterfly?”
You said,
“I don’t know”, asking me back,
“You, how does it feel to be a girl?”
Then I answered,
“I don’t know. I’m a boy.”
And as you flew away, you said,
“See. ‘Cause I’m a moth, not a butterfly. Shhhhhh!”

The Third Kind

Poetry by | February 1, 2009

i powdered my nose
you did the same
i applied cheeks’ tint
you followed suit
i swiped mascara
you wanted it too

i painted my lip with rouge
you looked at me and said,
“May I paint mine too?”
i stared back in a second
too dazed to react
but then again i said
“Sure…why not?”

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