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We're literally verging on death and no one even bothered to properly orient us on what it would be like.

There's the West Valley Fault, ready to strike a fatal blow that will make buildings crumble and set an entire city afire. There is always the Tokhang, a ruthless method that could practically annihilate and gun down anyone through gossips and word of mouth. There's the brewing tension between the North Korea and the US, the possibility of nuclear war and bioterrorism breathing at the back of our necks.

Earlier today, a friend of mine witnessed an accident. A death, I hazard. Broken bones and crumpled body. A loud explosion, a worker coming face to face with electrocution. He fell from the roof of the footbridge, she said, near Session road. Mortality is easing up on us, she said.

So before any of these befall on us -- any of these dooms -- as it inevitably will, I would like to ask you to go out with me. We'll go anywhere, anywhere at all. Everywhere, nowhere, wherever we want. We'll talk and dance and scream and exist all at once. We'll build bonfires and watch the stars and roll under the moon beams and in silence and anticipation, we will wait for the arrival of the morning light.

We will savour the last sliver of our days and we will hope. We will carry the splinters of our bones and we will find our way out of all these harms, into sea mists and sunsets in indigos and golds. We will never cease hoping. We will go on living and with each breath we draw against everything that happened to us, each beauty we make out of our sorrow and uncertainties, we will mock this grey, grey world.
Some prose for the pesky new layout of HP.
Lately, all I want to do is stare at the ceiling and let my consciousness descend in the cellar of perpetual dreaming.

It happens, I guess. Friends vacate their spaces and walk quietly out of your life. Without warning, and sometimes, when we need them most.

All those times you've spent together, those nights you've skipped sleep just so you could drag them out of their loneliness before sunrise, all those they've buried in the farthest corner of their memories, to be left forgotten and cold like ordinary days.

I will let you be. It's your prerogative to leave. I cannot make you stay, I can only give you a piece of myself as a parting gift -- last cup of brewed coffee, a sleepover, random snack, crackling laughter, secret language, and a silent, desperate plea for you not to decamp and disappear.

If you do, do something for me, please? Walk away without noise. Leave a breath of your memory under my pillow where my hand would find them in the morning. Let them live on, in my mind, as you were, as we were.

I will plant trees and seek solace in the uninhabited forest of our bygone days. The olden times will no longer be drifting in exhaustion. In each leaf, I will build a cabin and a home and I will remember the time when you never asked questions, when you never judged, and when you were just kind.

I will remember the look of understanding in our eyes as I unraveled my thoughts and bled out. I will remember, always, when you reassured me that it is human to be vulnerable.

One day, we will find a way out of this harm and regain a kinder hope. And perhaps, in an unloved hinterland, a miracle will happen and the rain will dance, dearly, in barefoot.
~To S, my favourite person in the world so far.
My internal landscape was once a wetland. Grasses and herbaceous plants sprout from the ventricles of my heart. My rib is a birch tree, a deciduous hard wood crowned with thin leaves. My veins are wild ravines. Inside it is the torrent of rain water that keeps me alive.

My heart is a beating water lily, eternally blooming on the lake of my blood. I was a sullen mist, and I loved it that way.

But they mistook my solitude for loneliness, the crowd, the clever engineers. So they loaded sands on their trucks, sacks after sacks. They opened me up, covered my wetland, and built a city inside me. They paved roads. They constructed buildings. They opened cafes and pubs and restaurants. They turned on their neon lights.

A rave party is inside me at night, and they won't stop until I am filled with cigarette stubs and empty bottles and used issues and half-eaten plates -- litters and grime that I have to clean every morning of my life. My gutter is overflowing and they call this happiness.

I call this wreckage.

I moved close to the bed, pulled the sheet and laid down. I tried to remember my by-gone world -- my birch trees, my herbaceous plants, my wild ravines, my water lily -- before I was converted into a rattling shell called Happiness.

You wrapped your arms around me and press your face on small of my back. My spine was a hard wood once, and every October it shed its golden leaves. "What do you want?" you asked.

The neon lights and the avalanche of noise from everywhere drowned my thoughts, and all I can do for my defense is curl my mutiliated body.  "Love me until the end of everything," I whispered. "And understand that this is not a plea."

This is a burning desire to have my wetland back.
I now see my
succeeding days and
weeks and months and
possibly years as a ball
being handed to me and
my singular impulse is
to run as fast and as far away as
I can
in the shortest possible time.
The TV contains budding romances
and break ups
and new lovers and mistresses of
hundred celebrities that made you
believe that the world
is a merry place.

You made songs for your lover
and poems and recited and sing those
on the platform in a social media before an audience
who would believe that
your relationship is a
merry go round one.

But the world is not a merry place
and relationships are not actually spotless like
plates in a dishwashing liquid commercial
on a TV that does not exist for the people in Bakwit
who fled their lands and walked three hours
under the scorching sun as their
three month old infants dived in
thirst and hunger and mothers
and fathers were murdered and gun-fired
in brazen daylight.

The TV contains budding romances
of celebrities that made you recite love poems
and hugots on this very platform
as you continue your quest of finding
a fling or lament on your unrequited love.
You do this
while out there
the world does not revolve in a merry go round ride.
This poem was performed in a slam poetry event in Quezon City, Philippines. I dedicate this piece to the minorities, to the indigenous tribes, to the bearer of timeless cultures and ancient traditions.
Could ever dictate
the course of our days
and nights
on the serrated cliff
where we bid our love
and dissolved our selves
our distinctions for
the parallel altar
of sublime affection.

No demons, no gods
could ever dictate the
color of thistle I will
crown on your hair
before you turn your back
and I finally walk away.
All I desire tonight is
to lay down and
read some raw poetry.

Nothing more.
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