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Jedd Ong Sep 2014
The State of My Tagalog:


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.

Because language
After language
After language

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

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

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


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,"

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


Ang Kalagayan ng Aking Tagalog:


'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.

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.

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,"

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: Stop by—you won't be disappointed.
15.3k · Jul 2014
Kalayaan Avenue
Jedd Ong Jul 2014
Porous asphalt,
And bandaged, quilt
Homes puncture the
Which reads like a tattered
American flag; all
Coke Ads and weight loss

Half-burnt houses slant,
Like the hills of San Francisco—
Our own makeshift cable
Carts, limping up
And down the inclines.

We are slowly being burned
By our once golden sun—
Having been taught to
Bleach ourselves
Pale, tucked shamefully
In the shade.

Makeshift shanty towns
Which smell of mildew
And processed laundry soap,
Flimsy tin roofs
Tied with Kleenex and
Pizza Hut tarpaulins.

The fact that this neighborhood
Was christened "Freedom"
Strikes an empty pang.
9.0k · Jun 2014
Jedd Ong Jun 2014
I come clean about the night,
How the moon sets
In the morning and parts
To reveal the light,
And with it
My scars—below the eyes,
On my lips,
My perfection all but blighted.
5.2k · Sep 2014
Jedd Ong Sep 2014
dustv  eils
swi   ftly
ayo  uthful
lens;  legions
of serra  atesight
scarcely  tempered
Again, idea from  The prompt was "introduce yourself."
Jedd Ong Feb 2015
I can name you
The exact date
On which he was shot:
June 28, 1914.

Who killed him?
Gavrilo Princip,
Member of the Bosnian Nationalist
Movement: The Black

Suddenly this montage
Of bullet chambers
And dead wars
Shift -

Hands. You. Me.
Your fingers,
Which I long to hold.

Your voice,
Which I long to hear.

Which I have forgotten -

Sometimes it is hard
To trace the annals
Of history. Our
****** pawprints

Make the trail of
Arms and hatred
Harder to keep straight
Than sin and so

We walk backwards.
****** trail of footsteps
Perhaps stepped

By a meandering
Mao, or ******,
Or Tojo. Muddied further
By the presence
Of an Alger
Hiss -

Your voice
Is a whisper,

It sings to me in
Secrets - I do not
Know you but I
Am in love,

You are beautiful and
I don't know why
But there's a
War. In my heart.

A war of attrition. Subtraction
Of causes. And the Archduke,
Well the Archduke
Is glad to see you.

Hear his dates blur
Into yours -

History tests,
And love notes
Crumpled away folded
And stored
In the same junk

I imagine his hands
To have folded
Quite slowly,
Searching for something
To latch onto.

Like mine.

Empty palms flickering
Amidst a trail of
Blood and dust -

Oh, and yeah
The history lessons
Of course.
3.7k · Apr 2014
808s and Heartbreak
Jedd Ong Apr 2014
In a cosmopolitan world where
Yeezy reigns supreme on our
Speakers, loathed for loving
Genius-acknowledging, we

Have set a standard of beauty
So surreptitious, soulless—
Unattainable in this number-
Crunching world so pre-

Occupied with symmetry and
Egotism—structure—black and
White dominated by rawness and
Robotics: steampunk screams echo-
Ing from the rooftops of skyscrapers

As lightning continues to strike the highest point.
Ain't no way I'm giving up. I'm a [sic].
3.4k · Aug 2014
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.
3.2k · Mar 2015
Jedd Ong Mar 2015
Muelle de Binondo Street,
Barangay San Nicolas,
Old Manila.

My dad's fate
Will always be muddled
With nostalgia:

The mid-afternoon
Traffic of fruit vendors,

The toothless strains
Of my grandfather's voice,
Bouncing off
The warehouse walls
Like folding cardboard,

The ceramic gallops of horse-
Drawn kalesas taking him
From school to
My grandfather's offices,
Every day and back,

Up and down
The cardboard box river
To Tondo. There, he hurriedly
Buys ten
Asado buns
From a stall across the
Street from their
School - a voracious
Forever late for class, forever

Putting on basketball jerseys
Too wide for him,
Basketball shorts too
Short; body
Always too gangly,
Too long-limbed, wide eyed
And fleet footed
For his dreams to catch.

He once could dunk.

He is still a baby boomer -
Scared of firecrackers,
Weird penchant
For popped collar shirts,
Pointed shoes, and
Sequins - he, was an avid

Lover of stars - his old
Dust-strewn bed posts
Giving way, I imagine,
To iron bars caging
The luminous starry night,
Floating high above
The sewage
And the freight trucks
That weigh him so.

They sang to him.

In the tune of
My mother's voice -
The only album
He ever possessed.

Song set from
His favorite band.

"Apo Hiking Society."

His favorite word,
Was "leap."

A disciple
Of MJ, Dr. J,
And Magic,
Samboy, and Jawo,

Icarus on hardwood
And leaping
From the free throw line.

"Son," he once told me,
"You gotta leap
"If you wanna live."

He was always afraid of heights.

It wasn't until 41 that
We made him ride a roller-coaster,
That he had even seen a roller-coaster.

"You gotta leap
"If you wanna live."

I think my favorite
Memory of my dad
Is still him wringing my fingers
At Space Mountain with
Eyes so tightly shut
That we forgot
Our fears,
And screamed instead:


Is how the stars look like
When unbolted
By folding cardboard,
And iron bars.
3.1k · Nov 2013
Jedd Ong Nov 2013
Two fathers
In black and white

About daughters
And sons,
Dark clandestine robes
Billowing next to

Gravel oceans:

Eyes glazed over
At shadows
That drown.
The most beautiful temple.
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
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

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.
Jedd Ong Feb 2016

the poem has a beginning exactly as you’d expect it:
pa in sweatshirt, ma with purse; the funny thing is
i never used to call them those names:
always found them too cowboy-ish,
too un-me, un-like

us: who held chopsticks before dinner time and shared
stories of how grandpa came over from china.

ii. (at the dinner table)

there is no symbolism here. there has been none
for a while now. this household eats and
eats in quiet. my grandmother is a poet but their
books all burned down

back in ’45 when mao stormed into fujian and
all her uncles could eloquent on was that
“the communists were coming!”
“the communists were coming!”
and instead of poems took with them their
children, and their gold to pawn

and their clothes on their muddy
mortar-stained backs

and the japanese


my grandfather now comes twice a week to the
hospital for chemotherapy. it is a nice hospital.
good view of the cleanest part of our *****

city. there are lights and white folks now. two things
my dad said did not used to be there. they

used to be spanish. they tilled
our rice fields and spent the money on living rooms
with lots and lots of space to sleep. we on the other hand,
worked. he claims.

your grandfather and his grandfather and i


awake every sunday morning at precisely 8:30.
made to go down to the temple in kalesas
and told to fetch the office paper for
noontime reading. see we weren’t spoiled: grew

up just next to the pasig river which back in
the 70s did not smell as bad as sin only

and the sweat we soaked them in we reeled along
steamed fish heads and chopsticks for picking at them with
and bowls of rice we never really ate with spoons.

v. (back at the dinner table)

i listen to my mom and dad
sweat profusely in the evening heat only we can have here
he in his sweatshirt and she
with her golden purse,

preparing to leave - a wedding party awaits -
an jacket draped over his shirt just like grandfather used to do it
in a sense,
but gripping the chopsticks delicately for all us
to see:



it is not cowboys that give us our names.
2.8k · Feb 2014
The Athlete's Prayer:
Jedd Ong Feb 2014

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can never control,
To accept the things that I can control.

To understand that we come together in fellowship-
And what a fellowship!

To not fear the game but respect it,
To not shoulder its burdens, but share it

To start every set with a prayer,
And honor each player

To be sporting and true-
Always giving the glory to You

Two games tomorrow. To Him be the glory. Not a poem.
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
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,
Basketball and frisbee,

And the screaming.

Oh, how I miss
The screaming.
2.6k · Sep 2013
Jedd Ong Sep 2013
Sometimes you close your eyes,
Hoping for Nirvana

But then you realize
Kurt Cobain shot himself twice:
Once with ******,
Once with a shotgun.

You figure that if
Buddha can't save you,
Who will?
2.5k · Nov 2013
Jedd Ong Nov 2013
The only story I have of you is when dad told me
You used to be so cheap,
That you used newspaper to wipe your ***.

When I made the trek to
Abad Santos to visit your grave,
I found myself staring upward at
Brows knotted permanently
In a scowl.

I associate your scent with
The smell of incense and
Burning candles,

Your touch like that of
Cold marble.

Even in death,
You eclipse my grandfather.

He has your eyebrows.

I hope you noticed.
On a heritage built on bitter tears.
2.4k · Nov 2014
From Brown to Binondo
Jedd Ong Nov 2014
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.
2.3k · Sep 2013
Jedd Ong Sep 2013
Somewhere in the slums
A little brown kid
With threadbare shorts
And bullet hole

Like the perfect
Fred Astaire wind up toy.

He grins like a brightly lit jack-o-lantern.

His cheeks are muddy
He grins
Wider and wider

Looking gratefully
At the sky.
I just need to be reminded that the world's ratio of hugs per gunshot wound is still very, very high.
2.3k · Mar 2015
Oh, Mango Cake
Jedd Ong Mar 2015
Nice to see you again. Our paths were supposed to only intersect once. Yet here we are. You and me. Lost in a sea of other friends and volleyballs. Whenever we meet, it feels like I'm drowning.

"Long time no see!"

Or sea. There is always something vast and new to you - perhaps a hint of peanut brittle, or the slightest hints of sea salt just enough to keep me wondering. Or perhaps, keep me talking. You see those bright red Bang and Olufsen speakers in the corner - well they cost about five thousand US dollars. You see that cake broken open on the balcony floor - well that cost about a fraction of that. But you should have seen the look on Andrieu's face when they threw it at his face. Andrieu over there - well when I first tasted coach's angry spittle on my teeth, he was the only one brave enough to stick out his hand for me to shake. Nice to meet you, he said.

"It's your lucky day."

There's a mango cake coming. So maybe you ought to stick around.
2.3k · Mar 2015
Selecta Ice Cream Anthem
Jedd Ong Mar 2015
These streets they
light into us like
waffle cone whipped suns
reeking permanent
reprehensible dawn of
afternoon trade -

carnivore carton carts
brimming blue rolling red
their way down the
coarse grain streets.

Their wheels brown wood
sandpaper rubbed
brown smoke
elbows smooth prattling
bells bellowing for

ice cream dark cookies
ice cream and cream
ice cream quite rocky,
we are

a road rising mellow and marsh
dreaming mallow yellow lazy
Sunday evenings.

Street lamps dinning bright white
cloth white ringing
church bells gold
smooth bells pure

not cloying nor uneven
pouring down
levelled pavement catching
its taste but forgetting its
waffle cone
crumbling -
2.2k · Jun 2014
Jedd Ong Jun 2014
Breathes through
A broken lung,
Gray air slithering in like
A snaking, sneaking
Through the street gutters
And down into a seedy underbelly.

From above,
You can see overpasses sprawling
Like swollen organs—
Cracked pavement,
Wet cement,
Heavy traffic.

In the thick of things
Is where the real soul

Children playing hide and seek in
Thickets of rain and mud,

Damp yellow teeth brightening
Ashen faces,

Light feet doggedly dancing.
Not my best, but it reeks of home, so...
Jedd Ong Dec 2014
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

It's not okay.


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

We try to find words for it
And collapse.
1.8k · Aug 2014
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,

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,

1.7k · Jan 2014
As You Are
Jedd Ong Jan 2014
They sing songs
Of desert gypsies
And chain smoking bulls,

Of mirages that kiss
Your throat
And linger quietly

While you quickly catch
Your crumpling breaths,

Drunken wisps
Of sandpaper snow
Flickering and coarse—

Palms warm to the touch.
1.7k · Nov 2013
Little Drummer Boy
Jedd Ong Nov 2013

The pen
Against my leadened desk,
All reverberating echoes and
Roaring staccatos:

Something to keep the soldiers
In the chalkboard trenches alive-

A cackling reminder of


Peeled away is the blissful world of
Morphine-addled haze
And round edges

The smell of pine trees
And Monday Vendetta.

Up in smoke.
Offered to the gods.
The great big furnace in the sky—

I carry them with me in an ashen urn.

As the days pass
A rhythmic stutter
At the bottom of my throat.
School's back. No real inquiries, just anxieties. And a whole lot of longing.
1.6k · Oct 2014
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.
1.6k · Feb 2014
Glorious Ruins
Jedd Ong Feb 2014
Through His mercy we have survived.
Wrath sparing
Temple and parthenon,
Synagogue covered
In moss,
Castles ****** but unbowed
For us to

Allowed us to keep
Corners of

A bedroom wall slathered
In picture frames,
A front porch dusted with snow—

We tore away with

Tears clouding our eyes.
1.6k · Mar 2014
Hazle Weatherfield
Jedd Ong Mar 2014
Only when the rain is as
Sharp as a torrent of Central Park ice
(Y'know, where the ducks are!)
Would I blink,

Not willing for anything
In the world
To miss the joyous songs of a
Still sunny carousel—
Chorus of 10 year old laughter, falling

Much like light spring rains
(Though none befalls me here)
Trickling down my face

Like a second baptism.
He never hunted with the red hunting cap. Revisiting old stories.
1.6k · Jan 2015
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

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.
Jedd Ong Dec 2016
(i see) two scions dance in traffic: sun and moon,
sky and stars; God’s two heirs
dancing in traffic as if they weren’t demigods but
small maya birds - transfixed
mortals, fighting to keep away from the blinding
might their status affords them.

as His children their world and its light is for their taking,
of which they can feed - or not:
they go on instead like hungry wolves, next to I, rising
(sidelined, falling) flagging down jeeps
in the thick of the Vinzons Hall jeepney stop. They bark loud
and cheerily to keep idle; from unravelling
their wax-worn strings. They are birds guided by concrete routes,
those yearning to feel its bleakness

in each syllable creeping up their gold-and-marble throats:
the soft choke of exhaust smoke
and the rosiness of their gaunt in the face of all-knowing fate:
that of snatching from death
a world not theirs. They declare: “Perseus we are not, and
Janus we choose.” They shuttlling
commuters obscure and without fuss and without end
to and fro, where they come

they spit on the universe in baggy basketball shorts
1.5k · Jul 2015
Jedd Ong Jul 2015
A silver pipe strikes me on the left-hand window,
breaking the dullness of these grey hospital walls.

Granddad, you’re due for your umpteenth colonoscopy,
and here I am thinking about how your IV’d wrists
strip away light like a prism.

They bandage the hurt leaking from your eyes
and let rainbows clog up your insides.

(Is that why you can't go, you old geezer?)
(Smile a bit more, will you?)
Jedd Ong Mar 2015
Dear Sarah,

I think I got lost a bit there in the patterns of your dress - stars splattering over the hems of your skirt like a never-ending physics class.

You ever studied the constellations? Because speaking of, I think I've gotten lost too in the way your voice sounds like a nebula cracking open. Your eyes travel at speeds laced with infinite decimal points, each glint and blink slowly chasing down light particles - which is to say I cannot seem to grasp how flustered I really am by you and how your poems always seem to leave my lungs screaming for more air.

Staring at your face makes me feel like I'm trapped in a vacuum.
Project Voice. Sarah Kay. They made me write a letter. Hate the fact that I didn't get to read it. Well more of relieved.
1.5k · Sep 2013
Of Many Death's, I'll Sing
Jedd Ong Sep 2013
Gliding o'er all, through all, Through Nature, Time, and Space, As a ship on the waters advancing, The voyage of the soul—not life alone, Death, many deaths I'll sing.*

Sometimes sprawling leaves just don't cut it.
Sometimes, you gotta be a badass.
Grow a beard
Cut the grass.
Get some shades,
Get a hat.

Sometimes a song isn't adequate
To express what you're feeling, y'know?
Sometimes "myself"
Needs a happy fix,
Blue skies,
Stuff blowing up and
Flying sparks.

Every now and then,
The learn'd astronomer
Brandishes a smoking gun.
Jedd Ong Jan 2016
For volleyball games with our kids*

and the grit of dirt slipping through your teeth
like a pancaked hand flat on cement surface.
Ball. Court. It is a good morning and
the sunrise rises to give life to the game. This game:
ours. We run and jump and sing; old bones

made to jog its memory. Bounces the ball and we run
again. Laughing like children. Next to the children.
Leaping after them. Watch as the ball rises high
in the sky next as outstretched arms give chase
to them: its hands caked with dirt; gravel on nails
from the swept cement rock and line paint. This we

share like a communion, a church service. Young
and old, here and not here we rise and we
fall prostate next to the prayers of the net, the brush of fingertips
against fabric against rubber, each palm
of the ball a Sunday chorus stretching, congregation, religion,

swept from the sky and made to kiss ground where
the gods of our sweat and grit belong.
1.4k · Aug 2014
Juan de la Cruz
Jedd Ong Aug 2014
Scares even the
Moonlight away—
His only friend
The artificial
Sun of street lamps
Marking "X"
His position.

I'm quite sure he's
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
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.
1.4k · Nov 2013
Jedd Ong Nov 2013
We drown in petty sorrows.
Wish for floods-
For rain
To wash away all our iniquities.

Wash our robes white,
Our hands clean
Of any thistles or weeds that
Cling to our fingertips.

We cry:
Begging for some kind of
Materialistic reprieve
For all the
Very hard work
We've done.

God called us to build arks.
I too am guilty of wishing for rain. And I'm sorry.
1.4k · Jul 2014
A political poem
Jedd Ong Jul 2014
I think
I've seen it all:
****** turbans,
Mosques riddled
With bullet holes,
Bus stop bomb shelters,
Bad aim.

I've been out of the loop
Had the time to
Stop and smell the
Newsprint on

The coffee table but,
I see pictures.

Paper maché
Leg casts,
Hello Kitty bandages,

Slit wrists,
And a ground out cigar.

Lonely engines,
Browning fires,
And balsa wood.

Gas masks,
A judge's gavel
And traveller's checks.

House of cards,
Plane ticket,
Ukrainian flag.

Smoke bombs,
Sandpaper flares...

Rocket ships filled
With bags of sand.
And cups of coffee:

Wake up.
1.4k · Mar 2016
Iron Giant
Jedd Ong Mar 2016
"Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

O wait for us, Colossus

as we wait - and throw you
to earth: from heaven’s gates judge you
unworthy - to hades’ lands assign,
where your iron limbs make mincemeat out
of anguished homes - by tyrants
you were thrown but floated aimless past

the drifting realms where once lay hell,
and fired you your rocket boosters - apollo’s gift

blinding still your eyes -

next, awake: the visage of the Child
in your face - languishing, affronted:
two vast and trunkless legs of iron glare, only to grow
rigid still - slumping at His feet: with heart-engine smoking,

eyes hollowed-black,
lying in slumber with giant's knees bent,
in grasslands rest and where hearkens the plain - He cries out:
’tis you!

though dwarf, He is - he kneads your iron
by grass, and your wounded legs the earth
now christens, snd blesses still your sleep.

He moves forth with grass blades and twigs,
crown you a nest; and bear stones unrolled to where

your feet first kisses ground.

An attempt at "sketching" a cartoon. Originally a photo piece.
1.4k · Oct 2013
Pushing Daisies
Jedd Ong Oct 2013
The flower is
Somewhat bleeding,
Bowed stem crippled,
Greeting me a
"Good evening."
Jedd Ong Oct 2013
There are songs that just
Make you want to
Up your running shoes and
The morning sky as it

Think Julian Casablancas
Of the "Is This It" era.

Think "Last Nite."

As your aching feet beg you to
Stop, the flowers around you
Beg you to

Think a whole spectrum of colors.
Think Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,
Except with less
Hallucinogens and more...
Orange juice

Swirling around like
Some fruity whirlpool of life
Which you're too scared to
Fully jump into because
It has teeth
And because
It reminds you of
Those other

Instead you crane your head forward
To see how goofy your face
Looks in the reflection,

How the ripples seem to
Endlessly badger you to just

"Come on in!"
1.3k · Dec 2013
Notes on a Cannibal's Paris
Jedd Ong Dec 2013
A world of desolation
And romancing sewers:

Rotting animal carcass
Compacted in art
And praised for its realism,

Curators drawn to its
Intricate textures and
Cobblestoned streets—

They sprawl,
Like a cannibal's playground.

A street map
Spilling over

Like their stomachs.
In memoriam.
1.3k · Nov 2014
One morning, senior year
Jedd Ong Nov 2014
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 Feb 2015

on the
           of theknown
           world aren't stars        
but rather:


val - leys,


to the


1.3k · Dec 2014
The Kids'll Be Alright
Jedd Ong Dec 2014
They flex slowly.

Come up tails.

Coin flips floating down the
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

Breaking through the sea


They'll be alright.
for my grandfather. may you rebel without a cause.
1.3k · Dec 2013
Jedd Ong Dec 2013
The trot of kalesas,
Temple shack stores and
Hastily scrawled calligraphy—

Fruit cartons
And rice sacks
That litter
The clay streets
Itching to emerge from
Asphalt skin—

Browbeaten Angkongs shivering
In the December chill,
Decked in hawaiian shirts
And worn sandals—

Dirt-tinged air
Which goes down my throat
About as smooth as grandpa's beer—

Bitter but clean,
Swelling my chest with pride—

It tastes like home.
I've been meaning to write about Sto. Cristo for a while. It's where I grew up, see. It isn't perfect, but home has always been one of those places that's hardest to really capture. It's the farthest I've gone so far.
1.3k · Aug 2015
Jedd Ong Aug 2015
You are full of deluges,
thunder lips and
lightning eyes,
footsteps punctured by light claps,
voice parted by turbulent
winds, You
are the last light in this
greying darkness,
the last calm before these endless
howls, the eye of
the storm.

You catch me in this mud-tracked
ground battered
by wind and rain,
umbrella turned and
turning out-inside, and
inside-out like the butterflies fluttering in
my stomach. You watch
my knees begin to shake
and steady them
with your glance.

You make me wish away
the rain dances,
the raincoat choruses caroming
the river-ran streets
in the middle of day
like a colourful charade,
the desperate
songs and car horn honks
and fog-lit buses and street lamps
piercing through this
watery veneer.

Am I lost in Your sea of silence?

I don’t know,
but I know that I have drowned in
these storms before.

And I know, that my cheeks
run with Your rainwater now.
1.3k · Dec 2014
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

river run
and remember
where you came from.
Too many essays on home.
1.2k · Aug 2014
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.
1.2k · Jan 2016
Jedd Ong Jan 2016
“And he was one of the bravest men I ever met."

Wands raised, we sing for thee who bows to death,
And greet him well hello with such a smile,
Whose smile bade such farewell we shan't forget,
A teacher - always, now - who loved beguiled:

His potions dangling coloured on the walls,
The marks of darkness shroud by hidden sleeve,
Who glided quiet, blue through hallowed halls,
And stared down pupils green like daybreak’s Eve.

The dawn she, and her forlorn chaser you,
Who sought her out as kin seeks too for kin,
Who found instead her brood, and harshly knew
Her steadfast love kept just by scars within.

Pierced sharp, his wounds knit twice from serpent's pain,
Now wakes to see, and leaves this world no blame.
Rest in peace. Always.
1.2k · May 2014
Jedd Ong May 2014
I'm not sure how this works
Out, you and me,
All twiddling thumbs and
Awkward hair twirls unsure
How to properly
Out a greeting,

"Oh hello."

And what comes after,
And what should come after.

We try our best to
Veer away from each other,
Afraid that the other would
Smell the
Rancid blue cheeses on
Our tongue,

Or the cliches displayed for all to see,
Like spinach in our teeth.

So we nod.



With chin up and hair
Tangled somewhere behind
Our ears,

And ice breakers stale
In the backs
Of our jeans pockets.

Noses crinkling in
Silent prayer as to
Never have to ask the person

"Sooo, how's the weather" or

"Sooo, how much does a polar bear weigh?"

(Enough to break the ice, by the way.)
1.2k · Feb 2016
reverse engineering:
Jedd Ong Feb 2016
reverse engineering:

i will know still your voice,
how your silence splits words
into pieces, as you break me
with your collared sweaters and polka dot
socks: tell me i am floating,
question my Gods, forbid me
from touching your church elders; your parents’

i will know your laughter, a tad frail:
the voice of an unsteady
deity - your fingers - never stilling a pen,
nor sketching a hand - whittling
my own: your chin trembling as you chide me
for their largeness; i show you their erasures:
your lack of wayward lines; your work
of an artist.

i tell you to sing, you tell me not to -
you arm yourself and lock away in your room,
say your poetry terrible,
wrong, un-joyful, cross-averted; they cracks
in all the wrong places like your flimsy
hands, like your hopes massive-disintegrating
like the feebleness in your dust-allergic bodies; your lack

of lungs: brittled long by heavy-handed
words and thin brushes: you with death -
the un-wayward stroke: You
who are sickly, whose quiet breaths reach
where we cannot find

and find the places where
our gods long to be touchable.
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