Kahayag sa lipstick ni ate

self-assured and young

that woman in grey-sepia

giant neem tree



tiguwang nga beautifully carved

by age,


sama sa neem tree,

fire tree

ug uban pang matang sa kahoy

sa Lahug-Gorordo route

Ga-away sila kuya

gikan sa jeepney madungug

ang lalis sa kumu,

sa pagtukmud,

sa tinan-awan nga

hait pa sa sundang

nga wala sa ilang kamut.


An ode to that sprawled man who I had to see one sunny day

Your key-chain doll is not wearing panties

You dislike confined space (but you’re on a public utility vehicle)

The fire trees lit the blue skies orange

An old man lay sprawled in between opposite lanes

Atop the footbridge were onlookers,

in each side, on the jeep

But we speed away because

our hours continue to tick

screaming, “LATE!





You could’ve been my grandpa

old and graying in my head

Or that old map-vendor in Fuente

who sold overpriced maps to foreigners who

will get lost




Tell me: could you be next?

Yes, you white-haired man who

wears pants and bares a chest,

who talks and swears to himself,

who incites my demon (called indifference)

I can look at you only from afar,

for fear of your gaze or restless eyes will

burn me

so, I look away.

No, you don’t exist.

Please, don’t exist because I have no pity left for you,

the sprawled man ripped it off


My Hesse


In my aggrieved state, I turn to look at the thin canopy of trees outside the university perimeter. Hesse. Yes, I’m calling for his name knowing full well that he won’t hear me. Who cares?

We share a love for trees. Before falling for this (via Michelle Lara Lin’s The Stranger blog), I had never fully expressed my strange affinity for trees. Perhaps, this is why we, “people of the present”, need to read the works and biography of the “people of the past” more often. Reading their stuff poses the potential for unleashing our unnamed desires, in my case, a regular view of the trees.

I love the way they looked from my standpoint. Feet planted in the soil of which beneath its roots are splayed. When I crane my neck to examine the span of branches and leaves, it makes me wish of impossible things. I remember the vampire Cullens’ scenes (yep, the Twilight series) that involved climbing or leaping from branches to branches, trees to trees. Yes, I fell for that moment. 

I’m a petite who loves high places. Now, I could see myself again on the hanging bridge of Singapore’s MacRitchie Reservoir Park. I could smell that fresh perfect scent among the canopy of trees. I could sense that sharp adrenaline out of being somewhere dangerously beautiful — amplified by the swinging of the hanging bridge. The metal parts of the bridge would rub against each other, singing a song that entices me to take one more step and another.

Hesse, if you were with me on that bridge, I bet you would weep. I bet you’d struggle to hold your balance as the immense stretch of tree canopies assault your eyes. Every space at the bottom of the bridge is occupied by these canopies. The spaces in between will look out of place as is for every abyss. Perhaps, your knees will weaken as the shudder of the metal vessel disrupts your quiet reverie. … But you weren’t with me.  

And I am no longer on that hanging bridge.


Hermann Hesse is the author of Poems.

magsalin on page 166

“It’s a logical fallacy to mistake the parallel with the teleological–it’s not clear that God exists between parallel lines. I mean, if you are going to steal my idea, at least make something useful out of it. The question, it seems to me, is how to keep the incident from recurring. I mean, what the fuck is the point of knowing history’s loops if we remain its bloody victims?” 

Magsalin on page 166

Manila Noir (2013)