From north to south, I ride the lines
chasing the horizon
you’d think the trains move fast enough
but this is the only rocket I know

I feel the depths of every street crossed
each neighbourhood telling their story
a longevity reaching far before I have touched these grounds
you can hear the dust from years past whisper in the winds
There is more history that I will never know
and have yet to know

The streetlights flicker,
a sign for me to keep my eyes open
I remember to look up this time –
high rises looking down at me
apartment buildings glaring at me
foliage inviting me
This is all a subtle reminder of how we all make up this city

I continue to coast the lines as the breadth broadens wider than the edges of the Bluffs
eyes wide open, I feel the air around me sigh
a formal welcoming to whoever dares to pass each borderline

I am finally home


Peanut Butter

To my favourite,
a secret ingredient,

A sweet and sticky situation
your name always stuck to the roof of my mouth whenever I thought of you
perhaps that’s why I get tongue tied whenever I’m with you
That is something a simple taste test can fix

Whether or not you have a bite to every chew,
you always come on so smooth that I forget about the crunch
packed punches that I am never ready for but I seem to catch every single one
I block the rolls with a bite of my own
each jab stinging of honey
sweetness soothing each blow,
we both kept fighting for more

We eventually end up sticking, never stuck
but I got you sandwiched
surrounded by walls that you could easily escape
but you held me close
close enough to feel your texture,
a consistency that would continue to spread for as long as we craved

You never tire me,
your effects are what I have an appetite for
and I am full every single time.
The satisfaction you give is more than enough to last me
yet I find myself wanting to open your jar
to dive inside
because I want more.
I want more than just your taste.

Flavours strong enough to puncture my senses
and soft enough to caress me for the rest of the day
I grow curious of your versatility with each dish
something I’ve secretly and selfishly desired
Dining alone never bothered me because this meant I never had to share
I had every component of the experience to myself
each element of your essence to myself
now I just want you all to myself

But are you ready to add honey to your life?
I felt a hint of hesitation after your last bite
they say some cravings run deep
I just hope yours does too

I fear for the day that I forget what peanut butter tastes like
I fear for the day I no longer crave for it,
long for it like it is the only meal I have yet to try
Yet I still try to make do with you and the crumbs you give me
because you are my best kept secret,
my favourite ingredient



Letter to Lola

As you rest in power, I can’t help but to think of a string of apologies that I’ve kept at the back of my throat
The strength in holding them weakened my voice
So I apologize for staying silent for so long,
I’m sorry I’ve missed you

I’m sorry for my absences
I never thought my attendance would matter in the long run
I skipped quality time for time that ticks money
And now I’ll never be able to share my wealth with you
The times I’ve spent while away
While paying my dues
While making sure that I was okay, first and foremost
If there is one thing university taught me, it’s that skipping classes will have you miss out on key lessons – and most times they’re not from the textbook

I’m sorry for being selfish
It was so hard for me to see you suffer
I watched you carry my sister, my younger cousins
As I am sure you have carried me, Chris, Jas, Kuya and Ate too
Your arms spread like Nike’s wings, you carried us to victory
Up until you no longer could
Up until we ourselves learned how to fly on our own
And had to look down to see you laying with all of your strength confined to your bed
It hurt to see you incapable
It hurt to fly without you
I promise the clouds will comfort you more than your bed ever has

I’m sorry for letting go too soon
For the times I’d see you and not hold your hand long enough
For not constantly reminding you who I was
Who I am
Anak si Pidong. Anak si Meren. Capatid si Melissa.
I will never forget the smile that shone when you remembered
It was the brightest 10 seconds before memories faded back to black

I’m sorry for not being by your side in your last moments
But I promise you I celebrated life
Especially yours and its freedom into eternity
I felt the supernova of your soul touch the atmosphere
Maybe that’s why it was scorching outside that day
I felt the heat of your steps catching every beat
I swear you were with my friends and I
You let me know that you can walk again
That you can sing again
That you remember who the fuck I am

And I know you can see and hear me better now
But I’m sorry that this is not in Ilokano or Tagalog
Though I recently developed a craving for it
I still yearn for my mother tongue
An opportunity for a seat at the table
An opportunity for a seat with you
I wanted to know your story
To capture the beginning of as far as I knew the Toquero’s ran
The start of Tita Rose’s crawl
It was the beginning of us being rooted to you
We are the fruits of your neverending labour
Though we are not your end
Your legacy will transcend generations


the start of the words i’ll never say

I wish I was in love with you
that way I have a reason to be sad
a reason to cry over you

But I’m not
[if this isn’t love, then what is it]

yet I’m sitting on waterfalls
wondering how I got here
how I got this far up
when I knew the fall will be much harder
but this hurts more than I anticipated
water crashing all around me
I’m swimming in my own pool

Tales were meant to be tales
yet this one is coming true
the one disappearing act I thought nothing of
until days rendered deserted
I was slowly becoming the ones I claimed to not be
the ones you left in the dust with no regard
when I once was held to the highest degree
and now it’s


sending daily reminders
when I know you’re no longer there
when in fact I was reminding myself,
“Hope you’re good”
I hope I’m good, too

I’ve lost count of the days
perhaps it’s been weeks
I think months now,
and I still wonder
if I am going to get the same ending
the same ghost-like hello’s after having dissipated from my periphery

But this time I won’t know for how much longer



broken telephone

“Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

I always find myself tracing calls back
although I’ve cut my line one too many times
I swear there are no strings attached
yet my phone is still in service
all its plugs further intact
I promise I have no complaints

this time.

Reception always commonplace,
our phones more common than I thought
until notifications became a regular memo
thoughts to self, I’d call them
since my ringtone stopped hollering
for me to answer
I just answered to myself

This connection never required to dial up
upgrading the probabilities
the ignition of the right spark
networks flying in every direction
leaving marks within this circuit
a clear switch incapable of prevention
misconstrued signals skipping switches
messages slipping through the cracks
we now face a disconnection

Sorry I was under the wrong impression.

But for the times received,
the sentiments initially intended
I believed the service peaked
always a hit, never a miss
the alluring hum of the dial tone
laughter as a filler for hold music
a consideration for options
this deal almost felt exclusive

I forgot about the fine print.

Now complaints start to pile as I
secretly tested the circuits with other lines
even tried an old one just one time
the attempts to find a comparable connection
led to the discovery of inconsistent reception
yet the results are consistent enough
I stayed because you are the only exception

Though contracts are temporary
your company will always be
my favourite