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1.    When the old gods made us, two of them argued about the placement of our noses. One wanted our nose to face the sun, to catch rain. They talked for many days. It seemed the god who wanted our nostrils to face the sky—was winning. Before we were baked, the other god secretly took our nose from our uncooked bodies, and turned it upside down. These days, we are less likely to drown when it rains.

2.    When men piss in public, they wave their penises around like a slow-moving flag. When the water begins to rise during a storm, it smells like piss everywhere in the city. The city is one big toilet.

3.    In our bathroom, there are two drains. One near the door, and another was a gash in the corner that goes to an open canal. Every month, the blood drips down my leg and runs in circles on the white tiled floor. I watch the bloody puddle at my feet before I wash it away to the hole in the dark corner.

The sun sets on a moonlight afternoon
human beings filing themselves
to a corner:
sometimes, singing,
something else
        In   Bloom.

Wings wide open, flying
we find ourselves in gardens
people with mild opinions,
our agreeable neighbors.

Leaves must have sprouted
in place of words
mint basil sativa
greater Saturns, wider worlds.

This is where you belong:
intermittent romance
childhood knowing, music
of our golden mornings.

Never known
under shoulders,
life better
than worlds you're carrying.

Laughter permeates far corners.

fathers are made of foil and straw inside a pencil case. 13-0 and Erap Resign! stickers. a list with red Honda CRV written on a piece of paper, in between a notebook, in an old shelf with books nobody reads anymore. sad, browned Watership Down. sweat trickling down his forehead, sticking pins into planets i paraded into school. all the high school kids saying, i thought they were saying, i looked cool.

they say all fathers are absent fathers. like how Schrödinger's cat, and Pavlov's dog must have gone to the same heaven—different animal, same outcome.

when you are looking at a relationship at a specific point on a plane, point C, and you look again at point H, you will most likely describe the relationship with your reference points C and H. maybe you'll tune in at points U, V, and Y, too. now you have it all figured out, because everything in your reference point is real, as dictated by yourself. but what ever happened to the rest of the alphabet?

when I was young, I called myself Anna. Anna is the name of Freud's youngest daughter. Anna is a Palindrome. even if you spelled it differently, the odds tell you that you will eventually spell it right somehow. the answer is six ways to spell it, and five other ways to have it so close together. any name, just so i will no longer bear half of my father's name.

fathers are made of insulin. second marriages, and salvation.

1.    Silence is a loud knock on the door, somebody outside telling you to work to pay the bills, to confront anger, to forgive your mom.

2.    I once read or heard from somewhere that in conversations, people are only waiting for their turn to talk.

3.    We were standing right out on the street, the midnight concrete glowed orange, wet with rain. He was speaking on the phone, walking in circles. He told us he needed to go. He hailed a taxi, and they sped away to the direction of the caller. Somebody had seen him walking around without a head, but nobody said anything.

4.    Silence is something you can weigh. The most common of its kind is heavy, acidic. The kind that turns into a ball you can puncture during therapy.

5.    Every time somebody says the phrase 'dead air', a bird flies into a glass window and dies instantly.

6.    False. People are waiting to be listened to.

7.    When somebody is on the brink of addiction, don't let a moment of silence seep through during that high. Don't you know–all that noise is for keeping away the big, bad quiet?

8.    A group of people do not talk for a few seconds. They blame it on Jesus.

9.    More alcohol.

10.    What a nosy little bastard.

A boy shouts an unfamiliar word in the middle of a classroom. There was no teacher around, just girls in long, Goldilocks-orange checkered skirts, tidy-white knee socks, black shoes dusty from recess chinese garter. A group of boys were laughing in one corner, cuddling the word like they owned it.

In porn, they called it a different name. The most powerful conversation in porn I ever heard went like this: a woman, with her back arched high up in the air, tells her partner that she was just using you for your cock. I tricked you, she said. Then she laughed.

I was lying on the bed half-naked. My inner thighs were red and hot to the touch. My mother and grandmother were in the room, holding powder and walking fast. The white light bulb behind them formed a halo around their bodies. Somebody put powder between me, patted it on, and put on my panties. Somebody says don't let anyone touch your flower.

Children in a classroom laugh. The word is hilarious.

Originally published on Basura Collective

One of the highlights of my year is watching people smoke crack.

The jokes wouldn’t register at first. Bloodshot eyes. Rapid heartbeat. Not being able to swallow. It must be like cotton mouth only there’s nothing funny about it.

While everyone is getting high, I always imagine men in civilian garb busting through the doorway in classic crime movie fashion. Actions slurred, no exchange that would make any sense. Just the noise of holding life by a thread. Everyone, including myself, gets shot in the forehead.

On Novembers and Decembers, weed stops coming in. The trail that marijuana leaves, in small packets, mini ziplocks, coin envelopes, they just vanish. By the turn of the year, the stuff comes back in droves. A miracle in the middle of March.

Last year, it was the same story. As early as October, people could feel it. Then February, April, June, still nothing. Potheads scrambled the streets like overgrown city rats out of used food plastic to chew. People scraped shelves, old containers, that small space in between the car window and the driver’s seat, in the hope that during the supply heydays, somebody was careless enough to drop a bud in there.

A friend of ours once dropped the last minuscule load of hash while smoking up in his mother’s garden. With great strength of the eye, the hash reappeared pinched between somebody’s thumb and index finger. The smell of smoke in the air was unmistakably waif with the hint of wet earth and dog shit.

With great effort on their part, I received messages from people I met only once, having vaguely mentioned knowing a friend who was a buddy to someone who happened to be a dealer. While all this was happening, shabu continued to power BPO agents, taxi drivers, and the rest of this fine, restless city.

Even down here in ground zero, no one is lining up to the sweat-stinking Barangay Hall covered courts to attend condescending, sectarian seminars on illegal drugs.

But when a famously crackhead son of an unwavering politician with the power to veto slips, we all slip. When a pothead daughter of a man in the ivory tower of the north slips, we all slip.

We are all hanging by something even more delicate than thread.

All our lives begin in the 
middle of things—in medias

res. My cold, wrinkled feet
harden on the soft, damp wood

underneath me; it serves as my
ground. I drifted too far from

the shoreline so I made a
casket out of things the ocean

gave me: a pillar of salt, and
a slimy creature of unknown

variety.  I was adrift, but for the
first time, I was not lost. Years 

ago, scientists found out that
living organisms lived near

underwater volcanoes, with
temperatures reaching to

unbelievable heights of 500 °F.
It is only of recent that we knew

life can be found in unlikely
places. Your mouth is the

graveyard of expectations, my
words vultures trying to

pick out anything that was yet
to die. There are no vultures in the

sea, only microscopic organisms
living in underwater volcanoes.

Filmmaker, Baboy Halas: Wailings in the Forest (2016); Panon (2016)