The Horizon was Made of Glass

It wasn’t a dream.

You and I were standing on a beach.
The distant past was the sun.
The pulsating passion of the city
was the sea.

We stood face to face,
barefooted on the sand,
maybe a little bare-souled too.

I was looking at you,
at the perfection that the light
bouncing off the pristine blue
had created.

And then you spoke.
So I followed your cue.
We pulled stories from around us
as if they were kindling,
talked about previous lives
as if they were soft
enough to be painted.
You even showed me how
to hold the brush.

Our words danced around
in the wind, seasoned with salt
and loaded with so much meaning
it was hard by that point
even for the boats and their
silken, white-as-honesty sails
not to fall in love.

The colors were sinking.
The day was ending,
the breeze had been
emptying the deep and
bringing everything to shore.
Our shared world became
crowded, and punctuated
with voices, and we handpicked
the hawkers from the tourists.

Our silence tasted like cocktails.

You had just arrived
and I was waiting to leave.
Funny how the beach could both
mean a seizing and an escape.
The moments were tied up
in neat little bows made
of paper twine and on the back
side you could see the name
of the island that once contained
your sandy footprints and mine.

And I wanted so much for them
to mean something, but
we would both leave that Paradise,
only at different times
and as different people.

Then the noise of the ocean
swallowed the sun, like it
usually does at the end of dreams.

But it wasn’t a dream.

An Indelible Map of my Sky

I am haunted by roads
those I had danced with
on heavy tread
and carefree feet
on cruising rides
and breakneck speeds
a million times before

like sleepwalking my way home
along edges of places
faces of things
the highways and footpaths
paved towards destinations
I’ve repeatedly arrived at
and once-coveted states
of past minds
a mile at a time

certain bends and smooth turns
of Ikot jeepney routes, for instance,
under the indomitable acacias
the last few manicured blocks
before the stops of the Fort bus
the knotted bridges
and tunnels along historic EDSA,
the gnarled shadows of Dimasalang
punctuated by incongruously bright roses
a view of sooty, disheveled Taft
from up the train
and the steel and glass cradle
that is Ayala Avenue
adorned with little palms
and glitzy billboards

the abused roads
and the preoccupations that made me
blind to seeing what was around me then
taking for granted
those same flames of color
that gleam of once-ordinary light
that unspecial nick on the sun-faded wall

they come back,
like the flipping of old pages
perforations on my life’s
worn rolls of music
so known to the piano’s hammers and pins
so often caressed at the soul
so long ago

I’d enter the Dan Ryan
or emerge from a dimly lit car park
or idle to a pause
in a strange suburban intersection
and there it would be,
a patch of old road
the heart of a young me
unraveling
manifesting
becoming everything
until nothing else is real

and none of these places
this wanderlusting spirit now traverses
is ever new,
only the same music
and glimpses of what
had always been there,
waiting for me to notice.

My Books are Now Available on Amazon!

My first goal for 2014 has just been ticked off the list! (Oh, joy!) I have successfully listed my books on Amazon.com. If you enjoy my work posted on this blog, I humbly request that you check the listings out (just click the images or the book titles) and consider buying your copies.

(And to those who have done so already, thank you so much, from the bottom of my dreaming heart, for your support. Please take the time to rate/review the books on the Amazon pages to help guide the prospective buyers.)

fever_WPpostBeautiful Fever
Read it on a Weekend Afternoon

This book was first published on September 2012, and was launched in a happy and successful unveiling party at Moonleaf Tea Shop in Makati City. Here, I have compiled 88 of my poems that dealt with the complexities of falling in love, relationships, heartbreak, identity and personal evolution. Many of its readers have been brought to laughter and tears from reading this book.

cognac_WPpostCognac for the Soul
Read it on a Friday Night

This book was released at the same time as Beautiful Fever. I’ve always liked to work in twos, and for this particular collection I have segregated the 91 more mature, more risqué poems that explored the darker aspects of love—illicit, obsessive, destructive, and, in the end, redemptive; as well as womanhood and the struggle to balance sexuality and spirituality.

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espresso_WPpostThe Espresso Effect
A work of fiction by coffee lovers, for coffee lovers.

This is still my most ambitious work to date. The Espresso Effect is an illustrated novel (a.k.a. coffee-table novel), printed half in glossy pages and half in luminous parchment. To sum it up, it documents the dialogue between the universe and a girl addicted to coffee. It combines 20 incredible artworks rendered in coffee by the painter Sunshine Plata, with the wondrous tale, half love story and half metaphysical speculation, presented in blog format and made vivid by city life photography by Jin Joson. It was launched at a coffee painting exhibition and book signing event in 2010 at Bo’s Coffee in Taguig City.

The Bellini was Served in a Klein Bottle

I would like for you to kiss me
under the light
on the corner
of Rizal Drive and 29th
the midnight of a drizzly Friday
in the summertime

I saw a couple there once,
at that same spot
so deeply lost in
each other
and that infinite moment

while I stood across the street
unintentionally privy
to their intimacy
beads of light rain
on my hair and warm mist
sticking to my skin,
trying to find a cab
that would take me home

the street lamp illuminated
the nocturnal drops,
slashes of a thousand
silver knives on
the black of night
dancing with gravity,
and them

I was so sleepy that
half of me thought it unreal,
while
the other half thought of you

the same half that
got reminded,
in a fit of déjà vu, how
certain things, like
perfect timing and true love
align like stars and
create a means for
the less than usual
to happen,
such as time folding
upon itself

and if you kiss me
under that light
in that rain
at that hour
next Friday
this summer,
that could be us that
I am watching from
several yards away
right before I get home
to write this poem
and tell you where
and when
I would like you to kiss me.

All The Beautiful Things

My muse knew no other purpose
besides be a sieve for this
rose-colored glass life,
fashionable and chaotic
all at once,
like pineapple margarita
drunk straight into the soul,
to run its lyrical fingers
through the rampant beauty
that passes through me

I’m spoiled, you know,
like a too-loved child
I make sure I get my fill
of romantic luxuries
I secure for my heart
journeys
draped in the softest Thai silk
embroidered with those
cute little golden elephants
on the edges
I run my senses
to a natural high
on ordinary days
delight in the
borderline sinful indulgence
of, say, French macarons
at Sweet Bella
and get away with
the weight gain and
the erratic fiscal patterns
because I deeply,
sincerely, believe
I deserve
all these beautiful things
and my copious archive
of moments I immortalized
will be a proud patch
on the million-acre quilt
that will someday
pay tribute to
the magnificence of creation
and the brilliance of mankind

but ever since I met you
I’ve been revising my opinion
I’m thinking
I’m missing something real
more real
than each taste and texture
each melody and fragrance
each panoramic
postcard-perfect view
I’m thinking I want you
by my side the next time I go
food tripping at Mercato Centrale
or watch the next iMax offering
my first instinct is
to call you every time
I hear a sweet new love song
ever since I started loving you
I’ve been a little bit
more careful,
more frugal
with happiness
thinking I better save half
of everything I have
thinking I haven’t yet
crossed paths with
true bliss
until I experience it with you.

The Soul’s Cul-de-Sac

Here I am, God
Here it is
I’m putting it all
on the line
for the last time
they can say what
they will but
You and I, God
we know the truth
we know if I
fall apart now
I won’t get up
You and I know
which bridges of faith
are broken
which roads to You
are blocked forever
which lines to Heaven
no longer exist
You and I named
this dead end street
together
I will not fail
by Your will
but success
is not guaranteed
and what You’ve taught
cannot be un-taught
cannot be un-learned
there is only this,
now, the visible
end of the road,
the yawning gorge
and the jade stars
of eternity

Light Through Orange Murano Glass

It’s too late now
that I have
put my heart in your hands
to take it back.
Now that it knows
how soft your hands are,
it will never want to
leave the cashmere folds
of its goodness and
the tickling brushes
of the gentle miracle of
the knowledge of you.
This love has overcome me,
finally; I can feel its
patient vines wrapping
its youthful curling
tendrils around the
Doric columns of each hour,
growing ever upwards
in an irrepressible desire
to greet the sun
and thank it
for favoring my heart.
Oh, vulnerability
had been a dirty word,
until I met you.
You made sincerity fit
in the sagging bookshelf
where I have
haphazardly stashed the
riot of volumes on
ambitions and regrets,
fears and five-year plans,
aliases and diplomas,
all those nights I
came home late too tired to
alphabetize and put things
in any semblance of order.
Now I can sleep soundly
in spite of the wind.
I found you
as one finds, finally,
the perfect shade of blue
after seeing it, once
upon a time in a happy dream
letting her feet carry her
while perpetually staring
at the sky waiting
for the light to shift,
and show it the way
she remembered and was sure
she would recognize.
My dreams are encased
in your dreams, now
like the prodigal
daughters of moonlight
trapped in the little square
pieces of Murano glass I wear
as earrings, which I would
like to show off to you,
some time, over maybe
a bottle of chilled Merlot
at the Piazza on McKinley Hill
on the first night
of the rest of our lives.

I Always Think It’s You

When I am grabbed by mimes’ white gloved hands from the navel of a complicated dream and hurtled back into my bed and the coal-black opacity of night in the blink of an eye, and an unnatural silence startles me and I lay listening for the phone to ring or the world to end, and it takes several deep breaths to dispel the suspicion that my pillows and blanket are in some conspiracy with the Russians in a plot to assassinate me,

I always think it’s you,
I always think it’s you, somewhere

When I make good every chance to spend my mornings in front of the closed cinemas because it feels like nobody unpleasant could find me there that early and if I ever ran into anyone who recognized me it would be a good, good friend I knew from way back, and I am always tempted to ask a passerby to snap a picture of me standing in front of the poster of The Celestine Prophecy,

I always think it’s you
I always think it’s you celebrating the serene beauty of my solitude with me
I always think it’s you solitude that, once upon a time,
I always think it’s you simplified me immensely
I always think it’s you and complicated you terribly

When I cut in a straight line across the cavernous lobby of Tower One and pass by its two-storey high Christmas tree and feel an opera-like melancholy like a pioneering UFO must feel after a bumpy landing on earth, and want to have a soft conversation with a Muslim just because all the talk about St. Nick and Bethlehem and thirteenth month pay gets too parrot-like and robs my birth month of its intrinsic beauty, when I zip right under Ayala Avenue and up into the maze of The Enterprise and be spat out into the sky walk hurrying as if the sexagesimal partitions of time were a matter of life and death,

I always think it’s you
I always think it’s you that I’m running towards
I always think it’s you or running from

When I think about those classy bracelets I hastily purchased without thinking from that boutique when I was already half an hour late for Darlene’s birthday dinner and I still didn’t have a present, and get haunted now, a week later, by how much I really want those bracelets for myself and couldn’t for the life of me find that boutique again, when I drop by Fully Booked after work to check whether the Billy Collins book of poetry I want to buy on pay day still hasn’t been bought and I come out of High Street slightly disoriented from the euphoria of being surrounded by so many books and not knowing the way to the bus stop,

I always think it’s you
I always think it’s you who rearranged the world

And when I allow myself the addictive torment of looking at your picture and for a handful of crazy moments feel like writing a poem that starts with, Do you think maybe we can start again… just because your soulful eyes and half-smile are still as disarming as they’ve ever been,

I always think it’s me
I always think it’s me you’re looking at

I always think it’s me you’re looking at when in all probability
I always think it’s me you’re looking at you’re probably far, far away
I always think it’s me you’re looking at from the way we used to be
I always think it’s me you’re looking at and don’t even think about me
I always think it’s me you’re looking at and don’t even think about me at all

2nd through 11th

Look up.
There’s a portrait of you
among the clouds.
The song of your heart
is written
on the skyline.
Your life story
is in every condo unit
lit up from within,
glowing with promise
through the sheer curtains
on the windows.
You know that sun up there?
It loves you passionately.
It longs to watch you
smile and close your eyes,
slowly,
so it can rest on your lashes
and caress your eyelids.
Look up and
there’s a message for you
whispering through the trees.
The birds may be trying
to pass on a prophecy.
The geometric perspective
of the length and angle
of that lamp post
holds a mystical secret
you might be given
the privilege to share.
The next epiphany
could be a blood relative
of the appearance
of the first star,
so look for it.

Take the time to look up,
when you walk
from the office
to the bus stop,
and find yourself.
Discover who you are
exactly where you are
because you may not
be able to afford
the fast and fancy cars
they drive in,
but they can’t afford
to slow down
and see
the scenery
you’re seeing.
And you have to be there
for that beauty.
Give it justice.

Look up.

Like Perfume

You are like perfume
to my days,
your presence diffusing from
its high-concentration source
to grace the farthest corners
of the room,
announcing your existence
unobtrusively
but unmistakably,
branding my clothes
with an invisible stain
I cannot shake off.
The more I move
the more of you
I get on myself.

Like the fragrant amalgam
of oils concocted by
twenty-first century alchemists
with seduction as the new gold,
of fruit and floral essences
gathered from places so remote
their atlas entries sound like dreams
poured into designer bottles
and smeared into
slender strips of cardstock
typeset with elegant names
and handed out to window shoppers,
I carry our ephemeral encounters
in the hip pocket of my jeans
pulling them out every so often
to inhale your memory
as I cross the street or
take phone calls in the living room
and it’s a little like
you’re right there next to me

Your persona is contagious,
playfully tricky,
simulating illusions
of being gone,
making me accustomed to you
until I almost
don’t notice you anymore,
but when your scent disappears
the air suddenly
smells incomplete,
so handicapped
and devoid of beauty,
enough to breathe
to survive,
but unworthy of me

and it’s got me
cursing the fresh air,
the November breeze
for not making me
bold enough
to say something.

Someone opened a window
and I miss you.