Mr. Webster, Spider

Fiction by | November 22, 2015

Be careful you do not get an appetite for words or you may end up like Mr. Webster, a hopeless word addict, helplessly becoming every word he ate.

There was once a spider with a round gray body covered with yellow stripes on the upper part of it, fuzzed all around with tiny feathers, even on its thin wiry legs. He wore eyeglasses that were so tight they stuck to his head even when he climbed up a steep wall or walked upside down on a leaf.

Mr. Webster was his name. He was always collecting words. He would scuttle onto a book shelf when nobody was looking, go into the loose pages of a book and read and read and read. When he came upon a word he liked, such as “refurbishment” or “incantatory” or “felonious” or “derelict,” he would stop to think, rocking on his long legs while he thought about the word, what the word could mean, and try to use it in a sentence over and over in his mind. He was quite a genius, this Mr. Webster.

And sometimes where there was a word he particularly liked, he would cut the word out of the book or magazine with his little sharp jaw cutters and eat the word letter by letter until he digested it. Then he would climb up to the rafters or ceiling of the big library where he lived and there weave a web house where he could sleep until it was time for the next meal.

After a while, he got to be master of the printed word, so that when he wanted to fall asleep, he would go into a book and look for the word sleep, eat it and instantly fall asleep. Or if he wanted to taste something sweet, he would go into a loose-leaf recipe book, look for the word honey and eat the word.

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March 2011

Poetry by | April 10, 2011

the color of blood
is black
the heart is an open book

who did you love
before we were forever entwined
   irrevocably
the color of blood is black
the heart is an open book

I cover my head with a hat
to keep my thoughts from
   spilling over

the color of blood is black
the heart is an open book


Tita Lacambra Ayala’s Collected Poems was recently published by UST Press.

City Poem

Poetry by | November 28, 2010

The city is the loneliest
      place in the world.
It is full of people
      who do not know
      each other.

—-
The Collected Poems of Tita L. Ayala will be published by UST Press this year.

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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Love Poem Macabre

Poetry by | November 2, 2008

The chico brown feel and
scent and taste of you
keep me shamelessly honeyed
honeyed for hours after and
I can taste you even more
in my midmorning coffee,
even when you have been gone a week.
I taste you everywhere.

When are you returning from the
restlessness of our travels?

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When I talk

Poetry by | September 2, 2007

When I talk
To you and you answer
With a sigh or
Asterisk I am at
A loss

For words just
As well
And then we converse
In long
Or short
Silences and a smattering
Of footnotes

You and I
We do not talk anymore
And all our asterisks
Are turning
Into flowers.