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Jan 2015 · 491
Treatise on Physics
Jedd Ong Jan 2015
In the beginning
Was a reboot. God

Running his fingers
Over the 1s and 0s
Of our artificial minds
Bending

Its language
Backward. Let himself

A small grin; Einstein

Founded a theory for the way
Light bent
Through
And not

Ran
Ramrod straight
Into hardened walls.

Called it,
“Quantum,” traced,
With the tips
Of his numbers
The merciful

Fragments
Of our misshapen
Universe,
And too smiled

At our salvation.
Jan 2015 · 869
Why I Hate Apologies
Jedd Ong Jan 2015
I will tell you a little story
About mountaintops,
And how despite being

Six-foot
Nothing
I have always had a fear of
Heights, and rollercoasters,
And falling.

Somewhere in here
Is a love poem.

Good timing too.

I was about to talk
About how my greatest fear
Is not the crash,
The tightly knit crunch
Of rock on
Shattered bone,

But rather
The limbo that hangs between
You, and inevitable
Ground
Like a poorly written apology.

One you could never
Find yourself
Reciting
Out loud

For fear
Of having your voice catch
Just as
You hit

The earth.
Jan 2015 · 372
Untitled
Jedd Ong Jan 2015
You ask me
To write poetry
And I will tell you
To draw a face.
Any face.

Because the poetry
Is in your lips
Believe me
I've tried
To run away from it
But you,
There you are.

And when you
Ask me
To write poetry
I will ask you to sing
Because the poetry
Is in your voice

And believe me
I've tried to stop hearing it
But you,
There you are.

When you ask me
How to write poetry
I will tell you
To draw a wall.

Because this barrier of words
Is the only form
Of my love thin enough
To escape the crevices
Of your glance.

You are poetry
My dear.

The preservation of
A voice brushed away
And left to the
Winds of time.
Jedd Ong Jan 2015
I fell asleep
To the smell of antiseptic,
Sterilizer, biogesic,
And the cold touch of metal
Rods that only seem
To grow colder
With the touch of hospital
Left in the student's
Ward - a whistle

Permeates the silence
Of seniors
Painlessly sleeping away
Hours upon
Hours until graduation -
A coming of age -
An escapism from past papers
And teachers who have
Themselves given up
On them.

And the lights you
See are as bright
And as empty as those blinking
Feebly
In that of the school doctor's
Office, one not really
Blinking more of
Washed, and supported
Wobbling by daylight
Seeping in through peeling blinds,
Unable to see too much -
The headaches and stomachaches
Have rendered him numb
To the feeling.

And lunch comes
And out blows the whistle to
Signify the end
Of playtime for
The young ones, start
Of playtime for
The older ones,

Whistle blowing muffled
By the septic tank glass
Doors of this sacred outhouse,
Wards muffling the cries of children
As they flee the quadrangle,
Once mad, twice elated,
Still innocent, untired,
Not needing to fake sick
And rest their heads softly

Upon thin soft beds with
Towels wrapped haphazardly
Behind their backs,
Nostalgia, it was

Laughter, I swear it was louder
When we used to run,
When our eyes lit up like
The sun petering in through
The doctor's orifices,

When our bruises and bumps
Smelled like betadine,
Not sleep
And cups of sterile water downed
To mask the scent of
Fake cough syrup,
And cuts gotten from fiddled syringes,
Bruised ankles
Bent over undersized beds,

And not running over
Uneven pavement,
Ankles brushing tablecloth,
Schoolbag,
Basketball and frisbee,

And the screaming.

Oh, how I miss
The screaming.
Jan 2015 · 369
Asphyxiation:
Jedd Ong Jan 2015
A swallow
Only ***** its wings
As it falls
To earth.
Well, I need some practice with brevity.
Jan 2015 · 1.5k
The Fundamentals
Jedd Ong Jan 2015
running away
strengthens my legs.

and so does planting
my feet firmly on the ground

after a fresh lie—

trade the volleyball practice
for physics textbooks

and i grow exponentially
happier.

grow exponentially freer,
i guess somewhere along the line

i decided

i preferred calculations
To spiking *****.

is all
really, i guess the court

instilled in me a queer
fear, that of

bears clawing shut a cage,
i prisoner, appeaser,

so I played.

but the longer I stayed
The more i prayed,

prayers of numbers,
velocities, angles,

and realized that
maybe the running

was more a way to measure
my footsteps

than to play less

a game.
Trying to write more honest. If the topics are shallow, it's because my life is pretty sheltered. Haha. Volleyball practice and Physics books, how radical.
Jan 2015 · 464
Reclassifying Hokkien
Jedd Ong Jan 2015
“Guttersnipe.”

Now I need clarify that I
Did a lot of white man pandering
When I told the admissions
Officers from Brown that

My grandfather’s
Language is quite
Smelly.

It isn’t.

And I am done romanticizing home
When there is nothing to.

Our language was but
Brevity,

And it got the job done and
**** I can’t
Explain all that in 150 words
That’s why I chose
“Guttersnipe”
For some dramatic effects I don’t
Know to be true.

Their language was dinner table,
And it brought food home,
And it brought smiles on faces
To kids that grew up knowing no other home,
And to men and women not knowing
Where home was and

Providing some level ground as to who what where
When how and why we were as we were:

Quietly walking,
Chinese settlers in
The Philippines.

It was our way of remembering
Who we were.

It reminded
Us that we

Weren’t greater than
Where we came from,

And that doesn’t make us
Any less great.

Hokkien is Hokkien:

My family still uses it
At the dinner table
To kick off conversations.
And pass the food.
I dramatized my college admissions essay describing where and how I grew up. Or rather ran out of words to do what I really wanted to say justice. Whatever. The point is that my life isn't as poetic or dramatic as I'd make it out to be sometimes - and that I'm still struggling to come to terms with that in the way I tell my stories. I mean, they're no less beautiful after all.

Oh, and for those who don't know - Hokkien is a Chinese dialect mainly spoken by residents of Fujian, which happens to be the origin of many Chinese-Filipinos, of which I am one.
Jedd Ong Jan 2015
He did not crow
For cooler coals or
Shorter flames.

To him, murderer's row
Was but a lifeline knit
From Virgil's careless brow.

Little did he know
That purgatory's final blow
Was covered in snow.
Jan 2015 · 477
Lost On Harajuku Street
Jedd Ong Jan 2015
There is a forgetfulness
To pride that
Will never be cured
By stop signs,

Cold-culled footsteps
Telling you to
Step back,

Traffic stops pointing you
In opposite directions.

"Pride"
Is but a matter of here
And hearing—
Of hear and now—

Of watching the tail ends
Of mufflers blow
You off with exhaust
Smoke and choke
On their spit—

Honking at your pride
And unsure gait,

Leading you into alleyways
Sprawling with brightly
Colored graffiti,
Pink painted faces, misfit

Tongues and a silence
Uncharacterized by
The glamour of the city—

Only this
They deem yours.
Dec 2014 · 457
December 24
Jedd Ong Dec 2014
We will
Wrap
Our fingers
Around these gifts
Like ribbons,
And unknot them
And unclasp the
Thoughts
That hide beneath them,
And find the joy
That comes with
Giving.
Dec 2014 · 944
river run, river run
Jedd Ong Dec 2014
river run like a song.
watch the joy
leak from the wells
in your eyes,
and let it spill over like
ink and write
the pages of your story
in the history books
of heaven: oh,

you will be remembered.
you will be remembered.

an amalgamation
of all the blood that
runs through you:
the pasig,
the yangtze,
the pacific,
the sewers of manila,
john the baptist's,
tracing down your cheeks
and down your throat and
slowly you begin to choke:

the saltwater sticks to your
throat. you do nothing
but breathe,
breathe slowly and
try not to choke
but slowly swallow
the birthrights
that remain river
run,

river run
and remember
where you came from.
Too many essays on home.
Dec 2014 · 624
There is a Jesus
Jedd Ong Dec 2014
And he sleeps
Amongst the fisherman,
And the cab drivers,
And he's with me at midnight
Where the devil's hour draws
Closer to the lone sidewalk
And we are all ghosts
And I'm on the edge
Of a proverbial cliff and he's
There with me.

And he is no longer
Jesus of the Chapel
But of the slum dwellers,
Of the motocycle bikers,
Of the sodomites mentioned in
Howl and thought to
Roam the nights unsatiated.

That God.
The one I'm looking for.
The savior with an armsling
And an extensive knowledge
Of *******,
Every position every crack
Every twist and turn.

That God
Who baptized needles pinned
Freshly to tattoos
And made theologians
Out of tax collectors
And Jesus

Whose nails
Were used to tattoo
The words "King" grisly
On his forehead
And he was chiseled
On a cross,
Not hung.

Spurs on his feet licked
Like lapdogs by tongues
Hungry still for love,
Laying at the foot of the
Memory Jesus,
Crying,
All adulterers and profaners
And cheaters and liars all,

Who laugh
And sneer and snipe
In disbelief at his memory.
Ours.
At his clean, pierced hand
Slowly turning to ash
At the weight of our
Ink, face turning to bulletholes
As the chests decay
Into some kind of
Gang war amalgamation,

Tongues swollen,
Organs numb,
***** pierced with rose thorns
And rubbed with alcohol
And lubricant and
Sharp fingernails.

And we weep
As we are transfigured in return,
Each wound a closing scar.
Jedd Ong Dec 2014
Thugs
Go to Stanford.

And the construction workers
I've seen
Are more likely to spend
Their downtime playing
Video games
Then smoking the ****.

And I've seen my
Fair share of manic,
Wide-eyed young Filipinos
Like myself,

A little browner,
A little more beautiful,
I'm a little more racist
But

It's not okay.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

I guess what I simply want to say
Is there is a simple joy
To watching fingers
Of all kinds
Mold and shape futures,

Whether it be in the form
Of softened concrete slabs
Or the hard writ
Of word,

Whether it taste
Of exhaust smoke
And leather

Or orange juice
The school
Is the sky

The blue sky and the
Fields and university
Is a gold-ringed
Fist and in this

Respect we all have
Our PhDs.

And as for this sheltered
Unsheltered rooftops
Holed like ozone
World we've all built together
Well,

We try to find words for it
And collapse.
Dec 2014 · 697
Final reminders
Jedd Ong Dec 2014
Eat your
Vegetables.

Pack the wheelchair.
You don’t need it
Anymore.
Dec 2014 · 356
In Limbo
Jedd Ong Dec 2014
Tonight is but a smattering of hooves,
A suspended dance hanging
High above the half-moon forest
Dripping with bravado and sleep.

Tonight is but a quiet lake,
Awake after the storms,
Overflowing with tears,
As the children fade into the forests.

Tonight is but a dragged axe,
A momentary fear of scythes
And hooded faces with eyes
Barely peeking above the lids.

Tonight is but a withered lamp,
Flickering in-between death, life,
Lamps that utter silent prayers,
That glower at the vast Unknown

And wake
And wake
And wake.
Sick. And Over the Garden Wall.
Dec 2014 · 600
Rosetta
Jedd Ong Dec 2014
There is a pathway to the stars
Mapped out for us by
Tiny cherubs—faint, pulsating
Trail of constellations scattered:
The universe is

Vast

And I’m out here,
Stuttering to find the words
By which to capture
The very ends
Of our corner of the world

Lost

In this sea of light,
Transmissions,
Pulsars beating its heavenly
Drum as a sign that maybe

God

Has not left us for dead
Yet. God has not left
Us for dead

Yet

This noise we run away from:
These nauseating horns
And screams of
Wounded children
Have a heaven, God bless you.

Have a heaven
Transmitting
Its “love yous”
And “miss yous”
And “thank yous”

Singing

To a sky beyond our corner of
Dec 2014 · 1.2k
The Kids'll Be Alright
Jedd Ong Dec 2014
They flex slowly.

Come up tails.

Coin flips floating down the
Riverbanks,
Past the fountain pens
Dripping with fresh
Ink and short-armed knives.

Laughing hard
At their ridiculous leather jackets,
Brandishing bug eyed grins
Above all other
Deadly weapons,
Just as disarming.

Souped up
Vintage cars and hats
And stowed away
Overcoats and canes
Somehow soaked
By the groundwater rain.

Coming up
Aces,

Breaking through the sea
These

Kids,

They'll be alright.
for my grandfather. may you rebel without a cause.
Nov 2014 · 1.1k
Today
Jedd Ong Nov 2014
has died

And tomorrow brings
Forth a helping
Of ham sandwiches
And chorizo rice,

And a cold glass of milk,
And vitamin pills,
And sleepy morning sunlight
Clinging to baby eyelids.

The world unraveling,
Yarn by yarn to reveal
A cracked expanse:

Dingy suburbs alternating
With shiny metal subways,
Flimsy straw huts,
And highways,

Schoolbooks once mandatory
Depicting every one of them.

The bell rings and
Suddenly footsteps seem
To linger if but for a second,
Encasing its victims
In a universe where time stops—
Stood—still

Still enough to wrinkle,
And feel the soft nudging

Of naked wrist against
Wrist-watched wrists,

Breakfast crumbs against
Crumpled lips,

Rotting umbrellas against
Sweating hips,

Oxen straining against
Grass-strewn rifts,

Coal dust against
Swollen lids—

So tolls the bell
And ends
Nov 2014 · 2.1k
From Brown to Binondo
Jedd Ong Nov 2014
God
Might move the deadline
For our Chinese script
But I'm still mad at him
For keeping me up
At the grand hour of 11

In the evening graphing
Over (and over)
Again business charts that
Have crooked smiles almost
As blank and bleak

As their returns on investment.

And speaking of which,
This extra eighty grand I spent
At this school, ogling at textbooks I could
Never work up the courage to read,
Is finally starting to break my back.

Weakly, I'll tell you
How much I hate school—
How her consonants sound synonymous
To "scoliosis,"
And peel off my shirt and prove it to you

But that would be careless.

And careless is something in me hand-bound
By iron clad futures and
Graying dreams,
Perhaps that of a dead stock broker
Feet dangling off the roof of
The Philippine Stock Exchange,

And even then that's
Straying too far from home:
A cardboard box business
Resting by a
Tuberculosis-riddled sea.
Nov 2014 · 1.3k
One morning, senior year
Jedd Ong Nov 2014
Daybreak
Is a daily baptism:

Small town bubble bursting

At the seams
To find young schoolchildren
Heaving their bags
And heading off to school,

Soft rooster crows
Slowly replaced by the
Smiling whistles
Of traffic guards

Who know each of us
By face.
Jedd Ong Nov 2014
It's true, what they say:
Time turns back
In dreamland.

Hair, somehow
Thickening,

Beard,
Oddly thinning,

Belly
Obscured handily
By a small, thatched pillow.

The man

Looks clumsily
Like his father:

They share the same
Squashed nose.

But
His breaths,
They reflect not

The heavy-handed heft
Of his ancestral chest
Rising deeply,

But rather the lighter airs
Of a simpler time

Resting gently
On his eyelids.
For Saki. Hehe.
Jedd Ong Nov 2014
I.
gravity
helps me realize
where exactly
you are.

and newton,
well newton
for all his
hang ups on
the temptations of
eve,

i guess got
it right
first:

what separates me
and you
and the rest of the world
is not
hope or magic

but rather
the pendulum swings of
chance

(arbitrary force)

the oscillations maybe
of a rickety train platform
on which our
footprints
converge, diverge,
and resonate

like naturalized frequencies.

II.
frankly,

i

don't want to talk
about the physics of it all.

i just want to sit
alone,
on the steps of this train
station,

and gently soak in the
clickety clacks
of these intersecting lines.

i

just want to
watch
as their doors open
and close,

and feel the rhythms
of their machinated dance,
and

sort the footsteps
that sift out
according to shape, color,

distance.

III.
as we speak,
i have already begun
to count
how many
stops

still separate

you.

and i.
Nov 2014 · 636
Empty Palms
Jedd Ong Nov 2014
Each date line
Is a future stained
In pencil marks,

Each grand crease
Of the palm
Another corrupted
Image—

Cuts upon cuts upon
Beautiful, minuscule cuts.

Each intersection,
Each fine line

Telling a story.

Skinned pavement,
Pencil callouses,
Oven burns, or perhaps

Bruised thumbs,
Stray rebounds,
Sharp-edged comic books

Candle wax,
Rose thorns,

A tightly clutched hand...

I think I'll trace
The origins of that
Last one.
Nov 2014 · 332
As Night Stands Still
Jedd Ong Nov 2014
An envelop of darkness
Draws in quiet.

There is a sweetness
To the silence,

To the chorus
Of sleeping children

Humming away
Hymns of brighter tomorrows

And far-away dreams
That shield them from aged lines

That once-upon-a-time
Plagued their fathers and mothers.

And oh, there will be
A time for them too to grow old,

But I will take solace
In the fact that even

As we grasp for words and songs
To grip our smiling pasts,

There will still be nights like this:
Full of silence and God and poetry,

And swinging songs of self and serendipity,
And quiet mornings wrought just

Light enough by street lamps
Which hit pavements like bits of gold,

Waking the dew and painting our grounds
Smooth and bold.
As requested by Sofia: no approval. I can't sleep.
Oct 2014 · 568
Dawn's Intersection:
Jedd Ong Oct 2014
Day
Crisscrosses
With night,

Somehow manages
To touch the other's hand
Even if
One is allergic
To the heat
And the other,
A fear of the dark.

There's a striking
Balance in the
Muted gray
Of the groggy sky—
A scenery
Not very much unlike
That
Of a slumbering owl
And a waking wren,

One creature
In cahoots
With the darkness
And the other
Perhaps too
With light.

Both,
Sing very
Different songs—yet
Both
Seem to arrive
At the same purpose:

Which is to see
What the other
Really is made of
Beyond the light
And shroud—

Touch maybe even
Forbidden wings and
Quietly
Sing some more;

In this habitat
Of shadows
They—we—will not be bothered.

So sing, wren,
Your truest of songs:

"Good morning,
"Good morning,
"The day is
"But coming,"

So sing, owl,
Your truest of songs:

"Good evening,
"Good evening,
"The night is
"But leaving."

And so now kiss, night,
The plodding day.
Jedd Ong Oct 2014
Today I learned
That God kicked my ***
At poetry,
Among other things.

Not that
It wasn't a given,
But still.

Adds to the list.

Mile long,
Mile wide.

And here
I'm simply stuck
Making mountains
Out of molehills.

And over there
He's making molehills
Out of mountains.

Would you look at that.

My God can
Take apart
Put together
Break, fix, turn sideways

Even the largest
Of his creations

And I sometimes still
Can't figure out
How to open a
Bag of potato chips properly.

The elephant
In the room,

Well no seriously,

The elephant in the room
Has ivory
For teeth
And a sinewy trunk
Made out of some
Neat little fiber to
Take in water and nuts.

God's
Given our world
The closest thing
To a walking gold
Animal

And here I am talking
About his poetry
For crying out loud.

Gotta love him man.

Gotta love him.
Praise him. I feel humbled and ready to write again.
Oct 2014 · 1.0k
Untitled
Jedd Ong Oct 2014
The only thing that ties me to this quilt-patched land, is memories of a flag: red, white, yellow, and blue.

Red is the blood used to paint our doorways—protection from ghostly wolves that sought our firstfruits. It is fight, even if our weapons are terribly flimsy. Bamboo tinted spears, mashed with berry paint and maskara on our brows is our arsenal. We fight in, and with the shadows. Light chases them down. Memories of GomBurZa, Noli Me, Balintawak, Tirad Pass and even EDSA remind me of how the wounds are slowly closing. Red is the color of our scars.

White is the gifts we received from our conquerors. The plow and the print: an awakening of consciousness new. White is the color of skin that polished us. White is also the gift of void, bleakness and forgetfulness. In exchange for the new, we shafted the old: our language, our anitos. A gift of disconnect: resolute Babel collapsing, burying us in tongues filled with sorcerous lisps. We curl in vain our own lips to fit their shapes. We speak gibberish now. The ghosts scoff at us in an even newer language of their own invention.

Yellow is the sweet sun which kissed us tenderly—even as we were surrounded by bolo, spear, sword. The sweet sun fights to give us light, and reaches out to us misunderstood. It shaped our land—softened our soils and gave it fruit. It is mangos, and papaya skins, and ripe bananas. It gives us joy and sweetens our sweat.

Blue are the lakes beneath which linger our roots. With the water is our identity: our hearts, our gait, our dance: the light shuffling of feet, the sway of brown hands, the wind waving at the rice buckets bobbing on our heads. We were never a warlike people. When we are wounded, we seek refuge in our seas, in the saltwater wounds that so painfully clean us of dastard memories. They sting like a freshwater song. Like the harsh howling of the monsoon rains, and the tides rising and falling with our chests. Humming.

We forget and we remember, like the ebbs and flows of the shore, the coastal highways that we leave in peace, like a languid dance. They float in and out of history—as one hops in and out of bamboo rods as they dance the Tinikling. The songs, they string us well. String names like humble Rizal, larger than life, and manic Bonifacio, who looked us straight in the eye. Names that sing of the prairie wind—softly massaging the hard grains that we till quietly in the fertile soil.

Soil—what ties us together is our history.
Oct 2014 · 660
A Love Song for the Deaf
Jedd Ong Oct 2014
To be one day performed in sign language*

Perhaps
You could call it
Music—
A gentle guitar
Solo,
Or even a piercing
Voice clear
And high.

Silence is a song.

I know
And you do too.

Well,
Perhaps I don't
As much as you would.

There is a cadence
To the way
Our pens
Twist and turn
Like my grandfather's
Heyday.

There is an art
To the way
Your fingers
Seem to curve
At the slightest
Twitch
Of your lips.

Your body's language
Is like an evergreen
Dance—
Eyes, hands, feet wide
Open to the
Rhythms of the world.

And what a stunning
Beat it drums.
Oct 2014 · 381
a reminder to life
Jedd Ong Oct 2014
remember marjorie,
and how her footsteps

pattered quietly
after the rain,

how she rarely smiled
with her lips

but always let you know
what she was up to
with her eyes.

with her, came the day.

in this darkest of nights,
i remember

the sweetness
of her laughter,

the bold redness of
her moon-like cheeks.

her sweetest
smiles come not

off wide-eared grins but
rather the slightest

twitch
of an ear,

the gentlest slant
of her lips.
oh maggie and milly and molly and may...
Oct 2014 · 427
Untitled
Jedd Ong Oct 2014
Row stubborn, Lord,
Row stubborn,

Resist the violent
Crashing of the waves—

Sleep, savior,
Sleep, and do not wake,
For wake means winning,
And the devil is in the details.

Do not fret,
For dear, you are never one to.
Please, stay true to
The full moon that draped you
In the tomb,

The stars that lit your path
As you made your way
To Golgotha
And back,

The stars that light
My darkness,
Today, as I find myself
Barefoot
For the first time,
Unsure how
To move about in this
Velveteen black—

A lot of glittering,
Glass, perhaps, gold,
God, I know

This rawness in my heart
Is sensitive and
Incredibly quick to chaff
But row stubborn Lord,
Row stubborn.

My journey has only begun
Sep 2014 · 444
Junks
Jedd Ong Sep 2014
The yellow sun
Seems to have shied
Away from my father.

I take one hard look,
Cut
His figure like cardboard,
Paste

Him in the throes
Of the Great Wall,

The seaports of Guangzhou...
It fits him like a glove.

My grandfather
Still thinks it's 1937.

He came here
On a boat
That collapsed
Kissing
Our blueing shoreline.

And I'm not sure if he has
Any memory
Of home but
If so, he seems determined
To live as a straggler.

Forever caught in between
His beloved red-ink
Chinese newspapers

And the fact
That he swears
Quite fluently in Tagalog.

My dad
Always forbade me from cursing.
Rarely did himself.

When he did though,
He'd do it fluently
In Chinese,

His beloved
Local newspaper,
Black and white,
Folded
On his lap.

...sometimes I wonder
If the boat
Truly made it
At all.
Sep 2014 · 4.5k
eyeglasses
Jedd Ong Sep 2014
dustv  eils
swi   ftly
ayo  uthful
lens;  legions
of serra  atesight
scarcely  tempered
Again, idea from http://hellopoetry.com/sofia-paderes/.  The prompt was "introduce yourself."
Jedd Ong Sep 2014
The State of My Tagalog:

Stuttering.

Guess that's what you can call it.

The insecure prose that curls downward
On my notebook.

It reeks of bit
And piece
And syllable.

Singular
Because language
After language
After language

Enter my mind
And slip it
Just as quickly,
Leaving only
Fragments.

Oh, the frustration
As I ask
For loose change
From
My sister cashier.

I can't even ask for
The right amount
In Tagalog nowadays.

"Singkwenta."
"Bente."

That adds up to 75, I think.

Passing score on my
Report card too.

My self-graded Filipino class.

Don't even know
How I managed
To spell "Ibarra,"

"Tanikala," "himagsikan,"
"Liwayway..."

I'd sing and not spell,
If they never caught
At the bottom of my throat.

-------------------------------------------

Ang Kalagayan ng Aking Tagalog:

Nauutal.

'Yan ang pwede **** sabihin sa ‘kin.

Walang tiwala sa sariling gawa,
Patunong pababa ang mga salita
Sa aking kwaderno.

Ito’y sumisingaw ng piraso
At bahagi
At pantig.

Nag-iisa
Dahil wika
Bawa’t wika
Bawa’t wika

Ay pumapasok sa aking kalooban
At umaalis
Ganun ding kabilis,
Naiiwan ang mga
Kaputol lamang nito.

O, kay inip
Habang ako’y humihingi
Ng barya
Kay Ateng Kahera.

‘Di ko nga kayang
Humingi ng tamang halaga
Sa wikang Pilipino ngayon.

“Singkwenta.”
“Bente.”
Ito ay pitompu’t lima, ata.

Pasang awa rin
Sa aking report kard

Sariling pagmamarka sa Filipino.

‘Di ko nga alam
Kung paano 'kong
Naisusulat ang “Ibarra.”

"Tanikala," "himagsikan,"
"Liwayway…"

Nais kong kantahin at huwag lang sulatin,
Kung ‘di lang man silang sumasabit
Sa ilalim ng aking lalamunan.
Thank you to Sofia for the amazing translation. She is found here: http://hellopoetry.com/sofia-paderes/. Stop by—you won't be disappointed.
Sep 2014 · 323
salvation
Jedd Ong Sep 2014
i remember the cut
on my knee
that God once kissed,
and how it tasted
agonizingly bittersweet:
like the start of time,
the stars exploding
as my wounds closed
up, like fire and rubble
and rock spinning aimlessly
around the great wide galaxy,
and i closed my eyes
and suddenly
i could see stars again
and i could see
You again.
Sep 2014 · 911
Ode to a Grecian Ernie
Jedd Ong Sep 2014
The puppet strings
That light
Your banana yellow
Face strikes
A hollow pang.

Your roommate
Speaks with the gloomy
Eloquence
Of a Greek tragedy,
Or an American vision
Of a corrupted Greek tragedy,
Or maybe a lonely English
Counterpart well you get the
Point—

Two lovers
Wrought in silk and wool
Sweaters
Forever unaware
Of the fact that no matter
How devoted
They are to each other’s
Well-being,

Their eyebrows will forever
Never touch.
Read more John Keats! That's a personal reminder too.
Jedd Ong Sep 2014
If we
Stepped back far enough,
I bet we could
Fit the Earth
In the far corners of our hand.

If we measured
The heavens just right,
And picked out the exact
Magnitudes, I bet you
We could do it.

Because I know.
Whether we know it or not
The distance between
Our hearts
And the very center
Of the universe
Isn't all that far.

We just
Have to find the right
Measuring tool for it,
And no,
The telescopes,
It won't do this time.

The galaxy we are shooting for,
It exists only
On the pinpricks of our fingers.
Its standard unit
Is that of closeness and
Of vast quiet.

I'll show you.

On the count of three,
I want us both to close our eyes
And whisper.

1...
2...
3.

See there?
There is home.
And you hold it
In my palms.
Hopefully to be one day performed.
Sep 2014 · 444
Untitled
Jedd Ong Sep 2014
Somewhere
Deep inside me
I can tell you the reason
For why

Pawikans escape to the sea
Only to fiercely
Return home knowing
Imminent death—

And why minted Simoun
Returned home with weakened
Hands and shakily digs up
The remains of his young
Grave—

It's because
The heart that will not rest
Until it has cleared
Our good name
In the annals of history.

The name of a nation
Blotted with such
Scattered pride.
Paying my respects to a beloved book of mine—Day of Valor by Pauline Lacanilao.
Sep 2014 · 442
Awkward Death
Jedd Ong Sep 2014
I will go.
And I will know.

The comeliness of night,
The futility of fight,
The fickleness of might—

I will go.

O vainglorious combat,

I will go.

Go gracefully, I hope so.
Go brightly, I don't know.

Go gently, I will go.
I hope it will be so.

Well, no.
Sep 2014 · 489
Untitled
Jedd Ong Sep 2014
We will grow old,
You and me,
Grow back in time,
To where the bicycles
Were lopsided
And the streets very much
Old brick road,

With the oil lamps
And quiet nights spent
By candlelight,

With the weeping parchment
Blown to dry,
Scratched meticulously
By a dancing feather, oh

We will grow old.

And come back to the little
Park bench where we used to
Sit. Count the cracked, granite
Pillars that paint the
Pathways of the Champs Elyseé,
Or Bagumbayan,

Dance alone,
Along the Great Wall,
And sing, you and me,

With a Grand Piano and
Giant mandolin and everything.

And we will wear coats and ties
And flowing skirts
And hike our way down
To the cul-de-sacs of Venetian Manila,

Where the bridges are still
Shores of sea, on which
Young lovers, friends, students, artisans
Still comb for pearls,

Yes, indeed, we will grow old.
Jedd Ong Sep 2014
I fight quietly at dawn's
Candlelight, fight softly
But surely with genteel
Fist—heart—

Softly beating—ticking—
Like a clock—dancing—tik—
Dancing—tok—hammering
The ghosts that frequent
These halls—
The white washed walls—
Which shrink at the sight

Of dawn—beautiful dawn!
And day—O luminous day!
Aug 2014 · 489
Untitled
Jedd Ong Aug 2014
Two crows
Perched on an entanglement of cables:
The universe signaling her
Twisted approval—
Like barbed wire only not
As ending of things.

They stand side by side,
One mute,
And the other lame,
Both hard of hearing.

Their claws cling tightly
To the promise of an electric
Jolt—transcends mute,
Transcends lame—a message
Of life—something like
Its mathematical proof.

Two black crows sat perched
Side by side waiting
For a physics lesson:

Namely, the one that stated
For every action,
Is an equal and opposite reaction.

Their light, feathery wings
Brush against
Each other as if by
Chance.
Aug 2014 · 773
Cartoon for Heavy Days
Jedd Ong Aug 2014
I’ve been hauling a lot of baggage lately,
And they strike me as quite useless.

It’s like how Patrick brought a suitcase full of rocks
To the Krusty Tower just so that he’d have
Something to bring to the hotel
With a useless employee elevator.

The things we carry around with us
Are a lot like that—unnecessary
Backbreakers that threaten to unhinge us.

And days like this make me feel like Squidward:
Stuffy nose, heavy suction cups for feet.

Days like this make me want
To sit down.

Days like this make my food taste like they’ve
All been covered in cheese, toenail clippings,
And nose hair, which by the way reminds me—

“We shall never deny a guest,
“Even the most ridiculous request.”

(Days like this only lasts an episode.)
(Which is like, thirty minutes.)
(So keep going.)
Aug 2014 · 1.2k
Juan de la Cruz
Jedd Ong Aug 2014
Scares even the
Moonlight away—
His only friend
The artificial
Eight-pronged
Sun of street lamps
Marking "X"
His position.

I'm quite sure he's
Undocumented—
Perhaps a new age
Nightcrawler only,
Not powerful at all.

I can see
His hands—
How they yearn
To clutch something more
Than the cigarettes
And the rosaries
That line his left and right
Ring fingers—
Shapeshift and
Solidify—
Take heart.

Behind him is
The old Senate,
To be converted to
A museum—

His name swallowed up
By the hollow grandeur
Of a once great Nation's
Emptied stronghold.
Aug 2014 · 498
Awesome Mix Vol. 1
Jedd Ong Aug 2014
Somehow, despite all the flowing music
Streaming from the tape recorder,
It’s as if someone’s knocked out all the light
In the night sky, and left only these wispy notes.

They run deep through my veins,
Traversing darkness—you could call it “Growing Pains,”
Though it feels more like a chilly field—each note
Like a wayward crow

Stripping away slowly each song, chord by chord,
Till they begin to distort
The words themselves, turn hail to howl
And carve into the fields, their scowls.

Already the field fills with their breathy chirps,
Chipping away at the rhythm that
Gives each song its cadence—
Stripping the whistle from each hum of the wind.
Aug 2014 · 1.2k
Entrance exam song
Jedd Ong Aug 2014
Fight, fight! Through these hallowed halls,
The chalkboards that seem to scream,
"Rah, rah! You're trapped within these walls,
And all is not as they seem!

'Brilliant!' You may say, and 'Brilliant!' you may be,
But the cramping hands, begrudge,
And no match are you for these cackling C's,
And a brain that just won't budge—

Oh hark! Hear! Oh the scribbles far and near!
Watch your own blank page!
And know why white is the color of fear,
My dear, where is your sage?"

" 'Tis here!" Cry I, and gnash with my teeth,
The grit that lies wherein,
For what shall be, my God will bequeath:
The writ that lies within.
Aug 2014 · 1.6k
Ode to Janitors
Jedd Ong Aug 2014
Their eyes were so bright,
The whites of it dancing
Like the moon in the night,
Alive, as they stood there,
Crouching.

The oppressive evening
Brought a cave of shadows,
Heavy footsteps leaning
Towards a hallway bare,
Or so deceiving.

They carried themselves
With a regal air,
Their sunburnt fingers—deft,
Clutching their scabbards,
And in them,

Mops.
Jedd Ong Aug 2014
We aren't very different.

Konkretong kahon ang tawag
Ko sa eskwelahan ninyo,
Na puro sikreto,
Silaw—dahil sa napakaputi
Ninyong mga balat, paa,
Malambot, makinis, na halos
Binasbasan
Ng mga kayumangging kerubin—
Ayaw basagin.

Sila, ang taga-tayo ng mga
Gusali ninyo, puro pawis.
Puro naka-long sleeve, ang
Init! Noo nila’y sunog,
Kumikilabot, kumaladkad,
Kilay itim sunggab ng
Araw.

Ngayon,
Nakikita ko sila—puro trabaho,
Balikat bumabagsak dahil sa
Bigat ng mortar, laryo,
Ulo baba-taas-yuko na parang
Kumakadang sa luad,
Tapak kasing bigat ng mga konkretong
Tipak—taga-buhat ng mga
Pintang maputla.
SORRY FOR THE GRAMMAR
Aug 2014 · 3.3k
To be read at midnight
Jedd Ong Aug 2014
The night grows cold.

I don't think I will ever tire
Of the nights growing cold.

The moon seems to almost
Fix itself at the center of
The universe—I guess,

The center of my universe:
Papers, upon papers,
Upon scattered papers and
Paperclips and paper dolls
And paper hearts,

And I,
Indian sit-kneeling at its
Paper center.

Hugging my schoolbag to sleep.
Humble me further, Lord. Further, further.
Jedd Ong Jul 2014
I met Grandfather at a Taiwanese bookstore.

For some reason,
We were the only ones staring
At the decrepit
Poetry section
In this, brand new
Four-story library.

He was grinning as if
The teeth in his mouth
Was real again.

And I couldn't help but
Smile with him too, this
Old man

Who stuck his hands in
His pockets and slouched
Over books just like
I once did.

Who couldn't speak a word of
English, but who

Over and over again muttered
The name "Auden,"
As to signal to me

That he knew exactly what
Was going on here.

Nodded vigorously at me—
Told me he'd met him once, before.
In a book.
Probably in Cantonese—
I wonder how it sounded to him?

I wonder how I sounded?
Peering over him
Like a sprightlier shadow,
Also muttering to himself
"Auden, Auden,"

As if trying to remember.

I think,
When I grow up,
I would like to be
An old man someday.
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