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Aug 2021 · 1.6k
Sofia Paderes Aug 2021
When news broke out that the glorious White Building
was to become dust to make way for a high rise
that would displace both bones and ghosts,
we were standing in a parking lot, my friends’ fists
clutched tight around their motorcycle handles,
their rapid Khmer lilting with each syllable
as they quickly planned a memorial service
for another shard of history that once did not have
blood dripping from where it had been broken.

My nickname was Country Girl, clueless and silly,
full of questions, songs and dances, a patched-up mess
with the face of a Vietnamese, the laugh of a Filipino,
and the pride of a maybe, sometimes, almost Khmer.

We left just as the city was starting to wake again.
In journalism school, they never taught us
how to grieve for ourselves, so we tried
in the best way we knew how -- a funeral procession
of worn rubber shoes and checkered polos,
in our backpacks the cameras that would write our eulogies for us.
I was the stranger whose connection to the deceased no one
understood, but still let in,
taught me a prayer,
offered some porridge.

That afternoon, I whispered a prayer.
White Building, who stares death in the face,
once a mother to the hands that had colored
their age gold, please welcome me.

Do not let your skeleton
collapse beneath the weight of this stranger.

Please, welcome me.
It was sometime around June 2017 when my classmates and I found out that the historic White Building in Phnom Penh was going to be torn down to make way for a 21-storey high rise. My friends quickly organised a photowalk, and we made our way to the remains of what used to be home to many Khmer artists in the sixties. We spent the entire afternoon exploring the building— capturing corners, faces and stories our feet would never be able to return to again.
Oct 2020 · 1.8k
Sofia Paderes Oct 2020
At first break of darkness blanketing the sky,
my chest anchors itself to my bed,
a paralyzed prisoner in the war that wages in my head.
I am attacker, defender, and bystander.
Always the victim, never the victor.
Taking the first, the second, each and every hit.

I am filled with the emptiness of a sunken ship.
Nowhere to sail to but the depths that surround.
In this deep I call home, I’ve not learned to breathe.
With every heave, I am dragged further into all I wish to leave.

Here, it’s all tunnel and no light.
An endless race with no finish line.

Before me, unknown.
Beside me, nothing but questions and fears.
Behind me, darkness chases. Shame clutches.

There is no ear to hear me,
I am surrounded.
No arms to save me,
I am surrounded,
I just need to learn that I
am surrounded, and this
is how it always will be.

Darkness surrounding.
Before me, beside me, behind me.

Some days I dare to dream of a day
where my heart isn’t wrung out,
torn out, twisted up, mangled and left
to bleed its anxious beats dry,
and some days I try.
I swear I try.

But when the thoughts you battle with
are all just your own, truth is a shapeshifter.
Fear, my commander; insecurity, my shield,
I hold a weapon that pierces who wields it,
having no one else but myself to blame.

Do not speak to me of light,
do you not think I’ve tried?
But though I see, though I reach,
fog and mist are all my hands hold,
besides I’ve been told that hope
is just a lie to keep the weak alive,
protecting them from the reality that
all light does is deepen the dark.

Before me, unknown.
Beside me, nothing but questions and fears.
Behind me, darkness chases. Shame clutches.

There is no ear to hear me,
I am surrounded.
No arms to save me,
I am surrounded,
I just need to learn that I
am surrounded, and this
is how it always will be.

Darkness surrounding.
Before me, beside me, behind me.

Or maybe, I’m just too afraid to seek.
Too broken to face
whatever it is that could be
something much stronger
than everything I feel,
than everything I see.

But even when I've let go,
there is something that doesn't,
and I am no match for Him.
He dares
to look me in the eye when I
refuse to see Him, when I
can barely lift my head
Love has decided
that I'm not too broken for healing,
that I'm not too lost for seeking,
that Love is that something much greater
than all the darkness surrounding.

Hope breathes its truth
into my dry, brittle bones,
makes itself known,
now I know that what I know
isn't all there is to behold,
and now I'm told that my
reality does exist but it isn't

My pain is real, but so is peace.
My trials overwhelm, but so does grace.
My heart weighs heavy, but it's
nothing that can't be carried.
My mind is in constant battle, but in a
war already long won.

Darkness did its best to veil me,
to make sure I didn't see
all the light surrounding
before me, behind me, beside me.

At first break of dawn,
I find the storm calmed by
no other than the One who
breathed out stars, the One who
breathed out my heart.
Jesus, my King.
All this time, You've been

Higher than the walls I've built,
deeper than where I've fallen,
stronger than the waves that beat me,
This is the peace You bring.
Whole, pure, true.
And in this peace I'll stay,
every moment my mind is fixed on You,
every second that I trust You.

This peace sheds light on what's
before me, a path.
Beside me, still some questions, but no more fear.
Behind me, goodness chases. Mercy embraces.

There are ears that hear me,
I am surrounded.
Mighty arms to save me,
I am surrounded.
I just need to learn that I
am surrounded, and this
is how it always will be,
and I will choose to see it.

A perfect peace surrounding.
Before me, beside me, behind me.
Wrote this spoken word poem for a church event addressing anxiety, and how we can find perfect peace in Jesus.
Sep 2020 · 1.5k
Lumad Hymn
Sofia Paderes Sep 2020
You have carved for yourselves a home
in the crooks of my arms,
where the beats of my chest come steady,
in the spaces reserved for my 2am thoughts,
your laughter echoes over and over and
my dreams have turned red, yellow, black.

I don’t know much science, but I do know
that no thick-rimmed, burnt-brow whitecoat
could have formulated a theory
quite like the night when you told me:

God breathes in your mountain.
Speaks morse code in the night skies.
Tastes like clear, running waters.
Dresses you in deep browns, floating gold.
Smells like first harvest, grass just rained on.

Honest and wide-eyed, you tell me it’s
all too intricate, all too alive
to be woven by a wooden fingered god.

Your tongues dance the languages
that you’ve conquered but not colonized.
I am unafraid of stumbling on their steps
when I am held by hands that build bridges
where walls have been torn down.

You have always sent me shaking,
crying, braver,
with how you,

wake to gunfire instead of alarm clocks,
choose to wield pencils and paints and bamboo song,

how you,

who have seen the flesh of your flesh
wrapped in a red not made of beads or cloth,
walk hostile streets with your fists and prayers,
hearts welcoming a shattered sky.

How you,

have never met strangers
without bombs in their back pockets,
yet aren’t afraid of my nakedness
sharing soap, sharing soup

with you,
a people,
our people,
my people.

Born of sun, born of earth
beaded bodies native to heaven,
your eyes constellations, maps
for the lost feet
finding roads to forgiveness,
finding roads to forgiveness.
Jun 2020 · 1.2k
Sofia Paderes Jun 2020
Don't fight the thunder when it comes,
let go your brick and brush.
Sop up the graying clouds with
every bit of lung, step
away from your paint.

Your labor
has always been in vain.

Surrender your body to the wind,
trust its wings, trust its landing.
Watch closely
come the tearing of the torrents,
don't be afraid
of what washes ashore.

Allow every strike of lightning,
let your bones shake themselves brittle.
You will not die.
You will not die.

Breathe in the roaring waves,
slowly sink to its depths.
Avoid the struggle if you can,
and let it be so.
Let it be so.

And when all has billowed over,
keep open your eyes
keep open your fists
and know that all this
is where spring begins.
Prompt: A poem your younger self needed to read.
May 2020 · 1.1k
Sorry, we're closed
Sofia Paderes May 2020
Could it be that, for every year since
the day you stopped knocking

I have noiselessly slid in
a stopper, a stone, a slipper

Mistaking your reaching for the key
as a challenge, not a warning?

I've patted myself on the back
for making it out (but with a foot by the corner)

Just in case you one day decide to swing wide
and that I'm worth a thank you, come again.
My friend JM and I are back to our weekly poem challenge! This week's prompt was doors, a poem about a lost friendship.
Apr 2020 · 1.1k
Sofia Paderes Apr 2020
Tell me once more that my faith is blinding,
and I will show you the shadows
that have stayed by my side all these days,
recite to you every word
Fear has whispered in my sleep,
point out every drop of rain, yet

my eyes will still gleam with the dawn I see
breaking behind the clouds.
Feb 2020 · 988
Sofia Paderes Feb 2020
Even though the rhythm
of your footsteps has left
in my mind echoes resounding,
I did not so much as flinch
when I heard you breathing
in between beats.

I'm sorry for shuddering, but
blood has boiled
my nerves numb
muddied everything I see
dried out my tongue
and though I launder
your shirts every week,

I still don't know what you smell like.
Prompt: Losing one of your senses. This poem is about a time I wasn't okay with one of my parents and as a result, I'd become immune to their expressions of love and affection.
Feb 2020 · 874
Sofia Paderes Feb 2020
It is numbing to stare at the ground,
seeing nothing but my own weatherbeaten ankles
each footprint evidence of steps half-taken
in between neckbreaking pausing
to squint at starless skies.

But where there is water,
there is life
and maybe, just maybe,
maps are of no use here.
Prompt: roads. So, life, where to next?
Feb 2020 · 738
Sofia Paderes Feb 2020
Maybe I would have
been able to keep you
if you had been a lake.
Waters whisked by wind,
softly stirred in its sleeping
faint scent of flowers following
wafting, over my head, hovering.
Nothing to resurface. Your skin,
salt-and-pepper hair, veins
peeping from your wrists, squeaking
yellow rubber slippers, small mouth
taking sips of turmeric tea, all that I
remember, embraced by the waters.
For always.

But your heart has always been the sea.
So there's nothing I can do to stop how you
are more saltwater than I'd like, or how your
comings and goings are more waves than streams.

Still, I'd rather have you
crash over me sometimes than never,
swallowing me whole.
Stinging my sight.
Leaving my lungs
gasping for air,
just as long as you don't
drift too far for my feet to follow.
Prompt: Kakalimutan na kita. (I will forget you). I wish my memory allowed me to keep every sense as alive as the days you still were. Lola, I wish I could miss you like I did before.
Feb 2020 · 631
Welcome (Don't come again)
Sofia Paderes Feb 2020
You did not look like the knocking type,
but I found you standing at my door
just as I was about to shut it, knobby knuckles
ready to softly announce his arrival.
You never made much noise.

Your footsteps were whispers
on the creaking living room floor.
I never let you upstairs.
You might have stood at the
staircase a few times, but I wouldn't
remember. You never looked long enough
for me to see you.

Just like how you did not
so much as glance at the curtains
your fingers found their way to,
carefully caressing every inch of cloth
as if you had sewn them yourself.

How noiselessly your body
nestled against the hollow walls.
I can only be grateful that they
did not collapse beneath its weight,
or leave an imprint of your chest
on its peeling paint.
Prompt: Your body as a house. A poem about being touched without consent.
Feb 2020 · 838
Chicken adobo
Sofia Paderes Feb 2020
They say it depends where you're from
as long as you don't miss the meat,
(sometimes I prefer pork)
soy sauce and vinegar,
garlic (as much as you can peel)
bay leaves (a couple, maybe) and

They like to tell me where I'm from
as long as they smell the added sugar,
the occasional potatoes, the mix of
chicken and pork. And through my teeth,
I tell them that there is nothing that different
about me.
Prompt: Adobo. Depending where in the Philippines you're from, the taste and ingredients change, but it's still adobo. Kind of like people. I may not look it, I may not always sound it, but I am Filipino none the less. Through and through.

Sorry for the late upload! Was incredibly busy last week trying to adjust to a new part-time job. I also had a really hard time with this prompt, haha.
Jan 2020 · 139
Sofia Paderes Jan 2020
I do not know
which one of us nestled here first.

All I know is a darkly blanketed sky,
glowing red tongues flickering,
a you and an I, wondering

if your open palms seek solace
in its warmth, or if
your scorched fingers have decided
they've played with too much.
Prompt: Two people watching a fire.

Sometimes I don't know if the help I try to give the people I love helps them or harms them.
Jan 2020 · 100
Cleaning Day
Sofia Paderes Jan 2020
Years ago, this would have been fine --
coming face to face with the dark, damp places
my own messes embedded in between tiles
the little dirt lines and pockmark-shaped stains
stark against the cool white floor.
But here I am now, with one too many thoughts
and not enough time. All I have is an hour,
a brush, some cleaner,
to scrub this grimy self-portrait away.
Prompt: bathroom.

Mundane tasks used to be a lot more fun back when I had a lot less mistakes to think about.
Jan 2020 · 679
UP Campus - Katipunan LRT
Sofia Paderes Jan 2020
Before me
is a brave queen of war
slicing her enemies' heads with the sharp,
cutting edges of the liquid eyeliner
she so expertly paints upon her skin,
unshaken by her rusting metal steed's
sudden jolts and halts.

Her long hair
whips forward with the wind, but
she, unscathed by its clawing
at her freshly powdered cheeks, tosses
the strands away, tames them. Stains
her lips with a blood-red shade, sits
in her own silence, away from the earsplitting
clanging and screeching and thundering chaos
of the battle that rages around her.

It is hard not to stare.

I can only admire her from where I cower,
behind a beaten-up backpack with fraying straps,
pushing my dusty glasses to see her better,
already defeated. Already surrendered.

Funny how the only thing I know
about the stranger beside me
is that our kissing knees and shoulders,
snug against each other,
is the warmest thing I've felt in a while.
Prompt: Commute thoughts

We've all admired those daring women putting makeup on the jeep, looking fresh and clean despite being squeezed in between other sweaty humans. We've all been so tired that a gentle touch from a stranger when you're both stuck together in a crowded jeep feels like the kindest, nicest thing in the world.
Dec 2019 · 565
A Ship Story
Sofia Paderes Dec 2019
I'd like to think otherwise
but this ship is aimlessly afloat,
maybe her sails do whip higher
and her anchor does cast deeper
but when being stretched both ways
where does that leave her?

Port and starboard
have never looked more the same
but this ship is still starbound,
still hopes to anchor herself to the moon,
still keeps her crow's nest
a little weatherbeaten, but with better navigation
more aimless than she'd like, but still afloat
not sure where she's going, but still she runs
never seen it before, but she knows it's North
oh, she knows. now she knows.
Prompt: Growth

Not sure where I'm going, but I am going.
Dec 2019 · 635
as rain
Sofia Paderes Dec 2019
her small arms hold back storms,
but there come days that
no weatherman can tell of.
some days she bathes the earth
gently, colors cool, sharp, clean
some days her soft taps become
claws on your windowsill, your branches
bending over the weight of her downpour,
of all that she is, not drizzle, not shower,
all of her.

and she wonders if you
are okay with sometimes gray, if you
have a raincoat on hand, if you
will still be standing there in her aftermath.

if not,
she will tell you it’s fine
she will make sure you stay safe and dry,
and she just might build you a shelter
(without you realizing)
you will sit under its roof
looking out the glass doors
smiling as her torrents fall, thinking oh
how well you know her
Prompt: A self-portrait as rain

I still can't believe I'm actually writing every week! I hope this becomes a habit.
Dec 2019 · 553
Impossible Thing
Sofia Paderes Dec 2019
The first time I asked for an Impossible Thing
was not in the lazy summer afternoon lull when
Lola was cutting out my newspaper sword and you said
yes, you would be my dragon. Yes,
you would be my horse. Yes,
you would be my prince.  Yes,

I may ride your stiffened shoulders
as many hours as I like. Yes,
you'll buy me chocolate covered marshmallows
and chocolate kisses and chocolate bars. Yes,
you'll laugh at everything I say,
listen to my songs and stories, watch me dance, but


You will not stop poisoning
your lungs, but yes. You will
give me chewing gum, ask me
to step outside, while I watch
another second of your life leave
as your chest heaves, phlegm
piercing your throat like shards.

I can still smell the smoke, Lolo.
Ashes to ashes.

I can still smell the smoke, Lolo.
This week's prompt was "a childhood memory not a lot of people know about".

My lolo was a chain smoker. Almost everyday I'd come into his study to ask him to stop smoking. He'd laugh, hand me gum, and send me out of the room. He died of lung cancer when I was six.
Dec 2019 · 566
Sofia Paderes Dec 2019
on wooden planks,
murmurs turn into movement
a tangible, silk rhythm
where the mute find their voice
in leaps and spins
in the brush of a heel
in between kneecaps
i am a little more me
and a little less She
This week's prompt was "dance".

I don't think I will ever be able to completely let go of dance. Though I don't dance professionally anymore, I will always find comfort in expressing myself in this wordless form of art.

When I dance, I feel less and more like myself at the same time.
Nov 2019 · 547
an ode to my heart
Sofia Paderes Nov 2019
the years have turned gray your thickets
tangled your vines, shaken your roots
you've made many a home in your glen
shadows surrounding, shadows keeping.
tell me how it feels to be pulled out
into the clearing, to have the sun
light leaves enough to bring veins
to the surface, revealing, revealing

does this scare you?

to see marks on a once empty map
footprints in the soil
thorns on the ground
and a nest being built.

tell me, does this scare you?
My friend JM and I are pushing each other to write again because we've gotten really rusty. We're sending each other prompts every week to get back in shape. Please bear with my messy, rushed poetry for now hehe.

This week's prompt was "an ode to your heart", taken from the Winter Tangerine zine prompts.

The theme of this poem was inspired by a section of another poem I wrote called "Thank you, please come again" about my sister not being a very open person. I wanted to expound on that some more, then realized... I am the same. Haha.
Sep 2018 · 2.9k
Thank you, please come again
Sofia Paderes Sep 2018
She dreamt about you last week.

I nibbled on my breakfast today -- bread and a thinly sliced orange. It seemed enough at the moment, but I snapped somewhere. I let her tell me off for being unreasonable while her hands did dishes the way you taught her to. She never wastes water.

She said you were both running.

This morning she had tiny baby dolls dangling from her ears. Being seen doesn't bother her anymore as much as it used to, but that doesn't matter to you because you always saw her. And I'd like to think you still do. She was beautiful today. And always.

She laughed softly. "Imagine her running," she said. But somehow, I could.

Last week, she got a bright red alarm clock with a built-in radio. Old songs as much as possible, please -- the soundtrack of our late nights. The first night she figured out how to work it, I lay on the bed the same way you used to, one leg crossed and one arm over my eyes, laughing. Did you laugh? I can copy your laugh too, you know.

She said you both knew why you were running.

It's a jungle in there, and I'm not always allowed to explore. But sometimes, she lets me cross a river. Lets me through some vines. And I tell her, "Baby, I'll stand out here with my little torch and wait out the rains. I'll help you map this place out. I'm a little lost in here, but I'm not leaving until these footprints I'm following lead me right next to you." She just smiles. Did you know that your footprints are there, too? They're all over the place.

She said you made it into each other's arms.

I hadn't cried over you in a long, long time but that Sunday morning I drew her in close and we dampened each other's shoulders. Laughed a little. Cried some more. Got dressed. Carried on.

I miss having you in my dreams too, but it was nice of you to say hello. Know that you are always welcome. Maybe next time you'll stay a bit longer. We'll have your coffee ready.

Thank you. Please, come again.
Her gravestone says "You will always be loved". Miss you, Lola Chichi. Just when I thought I had nothing to write about you anymore, this poem came.
Aug 2018 · 2.5k
Watch this woman
Sofia Paderes Aug 2018
Watch this woman.

See how she comes in with the sun on her face, every wrinkle is a mark made by golden drops, each line a story of a time she laughed, stories she probably can't remember but will try to tell anyway.

See those hips and how they sway. Those hips are strong enough to carry centuries of culture, and she's closer to a hundred than she is to fifty, but if you ask about her dancing days you'll see those hips still know exactly where they're supposed to be. Believe me, I've asked. That afternoon, we spent a good hour twirling our wrists to invisible Spanish-sounding guitars, feet darting across imaginary bamboo poles, gracefully closing the gaps between generations. I wonder if this is what she'd like to do in eternity.

Watch this woman.

See her hands, how they are always so full yet also always so empty. What she's holding never stays with her for long. This is how she loves. Her hands know nothing else but to love. Her hands love me when they pack my favorite food into plastic Tupperware for me to take home, her hands love me when they do their magic mending on the rips and tears in my clothes, her hands love me when they insist on doing dishes so I don't have to, her hands love me when they show me which ingredients to pour into a bowl so I can have her bread pudding anytime. This woman's hands could feed armies and she does it like everyday's tomorrow is a final battle.

See her eyes, how God must have placed diamonds instead when He made them. See how they twinkle whenever someone she loves enters the room, how they glitter whenever someone she loves speaks. See how clear are the tears that so easily flow from them, how all it takes is a single tug at her heart for it to become a spring. See how pride gleams from them whenever she travels miles north to watch this woman.

And Lola, this woman wants you to know that she watches you. And she sees you and her love for you often leaves her without words, except right now. And this woman wishes she's got numberless days left to watch you, but for now she says let's keep watching each other, until the day comes we are both dancing before the face of eternity.
Happy 80th birthday, Lola Sony. Your bones are strong but your heart is stronger.
Jan 2018 · 2.8k
Sofia Paderes Jan 2018
It’s not just on sunny days that I thank the saltwaters for washing you ashore. But it was sunny that day I was walking barefoot on the beach, thinking it all looks the same.

Sun. Sand. Sky. Sea.

But then,
I saw you.

It could have been anyone else. Do you realize how much you look like the rest from afar? But in my eyes, the light seemed to only bounce off you. I could have walked on, but for some reason I stopped. And I’m glad I did stop. Long enough to pick you up, long enough to feel every rise and every fall, long enough to run my fingers over all the places sand somehow found its way into, all the edges, sharp and rough, that sometimes hurt the hands that hold you, and you sometimes hurt me but

Don’t wish to be washed away just because you have.

I know you wonder why on earth you’re still ashore. I know you love the sun, but sometimes its rays cast too much shadows that whisper darkened daydreams of blue embraces, and you’ve tried resting in its arms once or twice. I know you get tired of the ocean and how the waters break against your back day after day, but know that each time they do, a piece of your past chips off. A bit of weakness is made strong. The ocean is shaping you and it isn’t done with you just yet.

Don’t forget this.

I hope that you don’t see yourself as leftovers. Who hasn’t had someone leave them before? You are more than something that was left behind. You are not its ghost. There is beauty in the way you’ve kept your shell, in the way you still hold against the currents, in the way you refuse to let wind and weather steal your colors. But maybe you don’t know it. Or maybe you’ve been waiting for another pair of eyes and hands to see it for you.

But I see it. I do. I’m not the perfect pair of eyes and hands, but I hope you’ll let me help you make it through.

There are still so many sunny days we’ve yet to walk in.
Dec 2017 · 4.2k
night divine
Sofia Paderes Dec 2017
(o, holy night)
sweet carols ring throughout the dark
echoing joyously — warm words
wrap their arms around us
with our hearts aglow
we know that we sing
of mercy and goodness
and fulfilled promises

(the stars are brightly shining)
we dance in peppermint winds
against skies ablaze with colored lights
spinning on the water’s surface
but none shine more brightly
than this dawn breaking in me
for come has the One for whom
this weary world’s been waiting

(it is the night)
the air is thick with symphonies of spices
cars glide past us, eager to make it home
children laugh, there are strangers no more
baby born, God of angels and galaxies
distant no more

(of our dear Savior’s birth)
how beautiful this truth -- that
thrill of hope became tangible in a manger
love itself swaddled in cloth
the cry of this child
broke centuries of silence
His eyes bright with a promise
of all things new and glorious

o, how divine
how divine is this night
Oct 2017 · 1.3k
Sofia Paderes Oct 2017
she slips in silently
seeking sanctuary, and
every step is a prayer.

father, forgive me for I have sinned.
father, forgive me for I have...
deaf god, dead god.

too many horizons hold his heart
he is hardened and headstrong, yet
every step is a prayer.

father? forgive me for?
father, forgive me for...
deaf god, dead god.

we won't wake to weeping
walking with our veils pulled tight
over eyes, and we know it. maybe
every step is a prayer.

father, forgive me.
father, forgive --
do you hear me?
deaf god
dead god
do you hear me?
Assignment for my creative writing class. We had to write a poem using different sound devices and base it off an artwork. This is my poem for Noberto Roldan's installation, "Archangel".
Oct 2017 · 1.5k
when the river runs
Sofia Paderes Oct 2017
hold me when the river runs
don't let go.
watch it wind,
see me sink.

hold me when the river runs
to wherever it can't wait to be
rushing, roaring, rigid flowing
sudden stops -- please,
give me warnings

hold me when it all floats up,
when the bones pierce through,
when the gold is birthed,
when my palms fail to release,
when they fail to keep.

hold me when the river runs
let go.
I'll learn to follow echoes.
Assignment for a creative writing class. Picture poetry. The picture I got was of my friend and seatmate Kristine as a baby being carried by her dad at the entrance of the Underground River in Puerto Prinsesa.
Aug 2017 · 1.5k
Till the Day of Denial
Sofia Paderes Aug 2017
For the days we have known each other,
I have come to the conclusion that there
Is something wrong with your eyes, because
Where you see brokenness, I see strength
Holding all your pieces together.
Where you see scars, I see tattoos of triumph,
Stories of how you fought,
Stories of how you lived each battle through.
Where you see ugly, I see beauty in places
You refuse to turn your head to, why
Won’t you turn your head to see
How I see you?
See, you have seen far too many hellos
And even more goodbyes to believe
That I am here to stay.
And I
Am here to stay.

Brother, my hands are here to catch
Whatever falls out of your storms.
I myself have been a storm far too many times
To run away when your rains start to pour.
My feet are ready to come chasing after you
When you stray too far away from home,
And as long as there is breath in my lungs
I swear I will never let you stay lost.
Because I
Am here to stay.

Till the day the world runs out of will to spin one more round,
Till the day the waves stop running back to shore,
Till the day mother and father and sister and brother forget each other’s faces,
Till the day of judgment,
Till the day of blood and trial,
Till the day of denial,
I will stay.
I will stay.
I will stay.
A poem written for my cousin Jaime Morados' short film, Till the Day of Denial.
Sofia Paderes Apr 2017
We will always have the same sky.

Brother, I have always been afraid to write about you. I have always been afraid that you would somehow find my poetry, my prose, whatever you call these letters I stitch together and see that my embroidery looks kind of a lot like you.

I visited the place where we first met last August, and there I found out that you can still make me cry. And to think it's been three years. Crazy, right?

I used to love that city. I still do, but last August I also discovered that there are landmines under almost every sidewalk. Those places have traces of the ice cream we ate, our laughter on the train, echoes of all the poetry and music and stories we gave each other. Bittersweet landmines. Each time they exploded a smile onto my face but the dark smoke would choke it out and take its place.

I only cry for the dead. But you saw how I cried over you at the apartment elevator that night. I think you told me to stop, but I'm not sure. All I remember is street lights, the taste of wet salt, and you looking like you were having a hard time breathing. Know that I felt the same. Or not. Sometimes I wonder why God never let me lose as many people as you. Maybe He knew that I would barely be able to handle losing you.

I haven't heard you breathe in years. All I see are your pictures and posts, intangible you. I can see you have grown in some parts... I hope you have. But I also see a lot of tiredness. And pain. And change. I don't think I can make you laugh anymore.

I don't know what your plans are now. I don't know if you still want to make films, if you still want to make things, if you still want to go everywhere you said you'd go. But I hope you know that my door is always open. And even if I will never hear you knock again, somehow I am comforted knowing that we

will always have the same sky.
Mar 2016 · 3.2k
Inexpressible, Glorious Joy
Sofia Paderes Mar 2016
There is something about knowing that your heart
has finally found its place, that the peace you have been searching for
now knocks at your door.

That the storm that has left you in pieces,
that has you so used to the darkness you had
forgotten you once walked on sunlit paths
is finally over, and you remember that the moon and the stars still exist
that hurricanes, no matter how huge, lose their speed
and there is still such a thing as clouds
that don’t bring death with each fall of rain.

I know that there is something about knowing that
there is hope, and not just any kind of hope,
but the hope that is alive,
and knowing this… you know what it does?

It makes me feel like spring,
every fiber in my being so alive and kicking
and suddenly every part of me knows
how to dance, I lose control of my body
and even I don’t know how to stop me,
my mouth seems too small to contain the smile
that is breaking across my
face is flushed pink
like I’m in love, I am in love, how can you not be in love
when you know that a hope like this is living and it
overtakes you and kind of breaks you and
makes you feel like this, makes you
forget how to form words on your tongue,
even the simplest things are now indescribable
brings you to your knees, waterfalls of tears on your cheeks
and you’re not sure if they’re from laughter or amazement
but then it hits you, the word to describe it is

An inexpressible, glorious joy.

And this joy does not fade.
Even in my hardest nights, in the corners of my heart
there it resides.

How can this joy go away, when I know
that every ugly part of me
every mistake
every failure and every fall
has been taken and exchanged?
Darkness for light
death for life
sin for righteousness
mourning for gladness.

How can this joy be silenced,
when God Himself shamelessly proclaimed
His love for me, an unworthy being,
announcing to the world
that I am now His through the nailing of His body to a tree?

How can this joy be destroyed,
when even after accepting His love into my life
there are times my heart still strays far
but then, again and again and again, His love goes further?

It cannot.
And it is with this joy that my heart has been filled,
more than when all the blessings are flowing
and I am not lacking, this joy
goes beyond this world in which we are living,
pointing us to the only possible source for a
joy like this.

There is something about knowing where the source
of such a joy comes from,
and knowing that your heart has finally opened its doors
and finally found its place there.

And that source is Jesus.
And my heart has opened its doors to Him and
found its place in Him, and I am filled with joy.

An inexpressible, glorious joy.
Written for the invocation of UP Street Dance Club's Street Fusion 16: Doors.
Mar 2016 · 3.2k
Goodbye (Outline)
Sofia Paderes Mar 2016
You might not remember my goodbye, but there were white walls. Around 9pm, a handful of other people, and the beating of a silent angel’s wing.

You might not know this, but that wasn’t a goodbye. It was too rushed, too ******, not enough space for letters to form, full of run-ons, no commas, no semi-colons, very messy, no— that was the goodbye in my head, but what I actually managed to whisper was full of commas, full of semi-colons, had too much pauses. But no stops. No periods. My goodbye was unfinished.

It went something like,

“I love you… I won’t let anything happen to the place you love most…. I will write about you, about your family; I won’t let them forget about—”

See? My goodbye was an outline. With Roman numeral number one being "I love you..." so,

I. I love you

   A. I love you; what more is there to say?
   B. Here it is: I love you
   C. And I will continue to love you

       1. long after my tongue forgets how to say your name because I know I won’t be saying it out loud anymore

      2. long after your bed exhales the engraving of your body on its sheets and I forget what sleeping beside you feels like

      3. long after the sound of sirens and wars and famines and earthquakes try to push the sound of your radio out of my mind (I will miss that radio)

II. I won’t let anything happen to the place you love most

   A. where is the place you love most?

      1. I hope the place you love most is within reach and not somewhere I can't go to

      2. or maybe it’s the place you call home, or maybe it’s who you call home

      3. I hope the place you love most is somewhere where I’m next to you

   B. I hope I can keep this promise

III. I will write about you

   A. how you
      1. once ate tortang talong everyday for two years — simply because you loved it

      2. keep everything — that eleven year old bar of Safeguard you once showed me, the children’s picture book Bible you’ve had since you were nine, and my letters you never replied to… I remember always writing apologies for snapping at you, now I’m writing eulogies and I don’t know how to stop

   B. how you love

      1. not with your words —  maybe words tired you because people don’t always remember words exactly as they were, but they do remember the way they were looked at, and when you’d look at me like that, I was suddenly fine with the way you kept your I love yous to yourself; they spill from your eyes anyway

      2. with your hands — you liked to fix my messes: from algebra equations to broken picture frames; you liked to answer my questions: where is north? who were the other men on the moon? what did you say when you had to say goodbye? I never asked you that last question, but maybe I should have so that I would have been more prepared for this moment and not would not have to have said goodbye to you in the form of an outline

   C. about your family

      1. I will start writing about them once I’ve figured out how to stop writing about you

      2. so I guess I might never be able to write about them

IV. I won’t let them forget about

And here ends my goodbye because I decided that I would be undecided about what I won’t let people forget. Let me remind them freely, without a guide to follow, just things about you I only realize later on actually meant something. And now I realize that that goodbye holds a lot of promises, and I need to tell you honestly… these days… I don’t write about you and I don’t think about you and I don’t see you everywhere anymore. And sometimes I don’t miss you. And I don’t know if that is a sign that I have healed, or if I’ve just simply chosen to ignore the symptoms of something much worse. But these days I swear I’ve been trying. Trying to let you in my dreams again. Trying to write more fragments and phrases and outlines and fulfilled promises. Trying to let you make your way into my words again, until my goodbye becomes a see you later. Until I someday write you back.
I've always regretted not writing about my grandmother more. So here's me trying to write about her again.
Jan 2016 · 6.9k
Sofia Paderes Jan 2016
Mahal, minsan napapaisip ako...
Ang laki masyado ng mundong ito, ang mundo ko.
Gusto kong hawakan ang bawa't bato, yakapin ang bawa't puno, pero hindi ko kaya dahil nadadala ako sa tinig ng mga iba't ibang boses na humihila sa aking puso at hindi ko alam kung alin ang susundan ko.
Nakaktakot ang katotohanan na marami pang mga lugar na hindi pa natatapakan ng aking paa, marami pa akong hindi alam, marami pa akong hindi nakikita.

Pero minsan, ang katotohanang ito ang nagpapatibok sa aking puso, at nais kong pasukan ang lahat ng mga pintong bumubukas sa harap ko,
nais kong mahalin ang lahat ng taong dumadaan sa buhay ko,
nais kong maranasan ang lahat ng pwedeng maranasan ng isang tao.

Pero minsan talaga, hindi...
Hindi talaga alam ng aking puso kung ano ang gusto nito.
Kung isang mundong malaki o mundong maliit ang gusto niyang tirhan.
Pero yung nag-iisang bagay na kung saan ako'y sigurado, ay...
Na gusto ko na sa gitna ng kaguluhan,
iyong boses ang madidinig,
at iyong boses lamang.

Balik mo 'ko kung saan tayong unang nagkita,
kung saan tayong unang nagkakilala.
Balik mo 'ko sa panahong iyon,
yung unang beses na hinawakan mo ang aking puso sa iyong palad
at nagpangako na hinding hindi mo ito bibitawan.

Halika, balik tayo sa ilalim ng iyong puno.

Habang ako'y nandito sa ilalim ng iyong puno,
hindi na importante sa 'kin kung malaki o maliit man ang mundo.
Basta't kayakap kita dito kung saan walang kahulugan ang oras,
alam kong iikot lang ng iikot ang mundo.
At sapat na yun para sa 'kin.

Dahil sa iyong pagmamahal,
lahat ng takot ay nadadaig.
Spoken word poem written for Risen Collective's first event, Silakbo. This was a collaboration with Coeli, an incredibly talented songwriter and musician. This piece was performed as part of her song, Puno.
Jan 2016 · 25.6k
Di Niyo Ba Alam
Sofia Paderes Jan 2016
Di niyo ba alam
na nang pasimula ay nilikha ng Diyos
ang langit at ang lupa?
Na ang mundong ito'y
Kanyang binigyan ng hugis at anyo
gamit lamang ang mga salitang
dumaan sa Kanyang bibig?
Na nung sinabi Niyang, "Magkaroon ng liwanag!"
Nagkaroon nga.

Di niyo ba alam
na kaya Niyang humarang
sa agos ng dagat,
ipaawit ang mga bituin,
ipaluhod ang bulubundukin?

Di niyo ba alam
na ang kapangyarihan na ito,
ang kapangyarihang ginamit Niya
para ibuo ang mga planeta,
ang kapangyarihang ginamit Niya
para tigilan ang pag-akyat ng buwan
nung lumalaban sina Joshua,
ang kapangyarihang ginamit Niya
para bigyan muli ng buhay ang yumao
ay nasa

ang Kanyang pangako:
Na tayo'y binigyan ng kapangyarihang
tapakan ang mga ahas at ang lahat ng kapangyarihan
ng ating kaaway

niyo ba
alam na
may kapangyarihan sa pagsamba
sa Kanya?

Di niyo ba alam
na nung ikapitong ikot
sa ikapitong araw,
mga trumpeta at boses ng Kanyang mga anak
ang ginamit ng Diyos para ibagsak ang Jerico?

Sumigaw na tayo sapagkat
nasa atin na ang tagumpay
Sumigaw na tayo sapagkat
sa Kanyang pangalan ang pag-asa ng mundo
sa Kanyang pangalan,
lumiliwanag ang dilim
sa Kanyang pangalan,
lahat ng takot ay nadadaig

Sambahin natin ang Panginoon
ng buong galak
ng buong puso
nanginginig at mga demonyo
sa pangalan ni Hesus
tumutumba ang mga harang ng impyerno
sa pangalan ni Hesus

Tayo'y magkaisa,
itaas ang mga kamay
tayo'y magkaisa,
itaas ang iyong boses gaya ng mga trumpeta
tayo'y magkaisa

Sambahin natin ang Diyos na buhay,
ang Diyos na dakila!
Written as a call to worship during our church's prayer meeting. First Tagalog spoken word piece.
Sofia Paderes Nov 2015
Note To Self:*

If the world were to end tomorrow, today would just be today. Lunch would just be lunch, depending which day, the sun would rise and the sun would set and I would probably be leaving a lot of things unsaid, because how am I supposed to know the world is going to end tomorrow?

If the world were to end tomorrow, I would leave the idea of tomorrow to gather dust ‘till the sun’s fingers came to pluck it from my grasp, and I would not mind letting it go.

For if the world were to end tomorrow, tomorrow would be the most beautiful thing to ever happen to this world since God first sang, “Let there be light.”

And there was light. And tomorrow, again.

Things To Do:

1. Cook some hot, sticky rice for breakfast. These little legs of mine will be needing all the energy they can get for some spontaneous visits and last attempts at trying to save the child who dug his own grave and is now standing at its mouth asking himself if this is what heaven looks like.

2. Make my way to the resting place of the one I loved the most.
Smile. I don’t know if it would be wide or not.
Leave a note in green ink —
“See you soon.”
Hug the stone angel that used to give you comfort when you had just lost your mother.
Hum a hymn on my way out.
Leave the gate unlocked.
Let the street children pour in.

3. Run back to the walls placed in my path,
dance around seven times while singing psalms
until they fell
they fell
or maybe I would stumble around seven times
while crying and screaming mercy
until they fell
they fell.

4. Love harder. Carry around words of fire, vomiting flames of spirit and life to keep the virgins’ lamps burning, remind them that their groom is returning, He just needs to make sure that everything will be pure in time for their vows, and they need to remember that death is not the final destination, but only the beginning of a new journey in which everywhere you go, your car window view is a valley of dry bones coming back to life, and if still they refuse to listen, I will only love them harder.

5. Pretend as if I’m dying then whisper stories of hope into the ear of the kind stranger that kneels down to help me. For some people only listen when shouts have become echoes.

6. Ask around for directions and instructions on how to finish off this list I am making. Take the hands of whoever has the right answers or of whoever has at least one of the same on their sheet of paper, run to any place we can call shelter and sing praises. Quietly. Loudly. Sing with nasal tones and chest tones and head tones, sing until our lungs collapse beneath us, sing like our shakey notes can pierce the darkness, sing like the moon is still shining and the sun isn’t darkened and all the stars haven’t yet fallen, sing until we see glory bleeding from the sky and

7. Weep with gladness. For here comes God singing for the second time,

“Let there be light.”

And there was light. And today, again.
Another spoken word poem written for Sali Productions' event, What If: The World Ends Tomorrow.
Nov 2015 · 1.9k
Sofia Paderes Nov 2015
Woman, you have the backbone of an earth
and a faith that Abraham would have marvelled at.
You walk and you follow with your eyes above ground,
your feet leave imprints of peace.
Woman, you laugh at the sun
You bathe in rays that scorch because you know
That pain only lasts through the night.
You of all people know what it's like to have beauty rise from ashes.
Oct 2015 · 1.6k
Sofia Paderes Oct 2015
We speak the same tongue.
I have never seen eyes move the way yours does
they dance
almost as well as you do.
With every step, every flick of your wrist, you
tear through barriers with your eyes and that corner of your mouth that
overflows with joy everlasting.
May you find your place soon.
Oct 2015 · 1.3k
Sofia Paderes Oct 2015
Did you know that love is a tangible thing?
I felt its warmth in your touch
saw it spill from the corners of your eyes
to the apples of your cheeks
if you continue to love the way you do,
Indz jan,
you will shake strongholds.
I feel your love even in your Viber stickers.
Oct 2015 · 1.6k
Sofia Paderes Oct 2015
You have a gaze that imprisons,
the kind that no one would ever want to leave,
yet they dart here and there, don’t
you see your purpose?
He is not your purpose and he doesn’t see it
Do not let his gaze imprison you.
One day, you will no longer see yourself inside a prison. You will learn that you are exactly where you should be and when that day comes, I will teach you how to make a piano sing, just like I promised.
Oct 2015 · 1.8k
Sofia Paderes Oct 2015
I miss the boy who sells fruit in a place where people say no good comes out of. I miss his shorts that look like fields ripe with harvest and his ocean of a t-shirt.

I miss his little mop of wavy black hair, his green eyes that become crystals in the sunlight and deepen in its absence.

Is your name Garik? Or is it Garo? Or am I getting you mixed up with someone else? I may have forgotten the symbols for which represent you but I will never forget what made you you to me, here:

Your smile as wide as the watermelons you sell. Your heart warmer than the strong coffee your mother makes. Your scrawny legs that always made their way a little closer to me no matter what time of the day it was and your voice that crossed oceans with a melody that sang "We are here."

And we were.

We were two people-- you of pomegranates and fresh sunflower seeds and I of mangoes and mangosteens, two entirely different shades of earth, you with your snow flakes and I with my sun rays, you with your black robed monks and I with my white clothed priests, yet there we were.

Oh brave little boy, I love how different doesn’t scare you.

My slanted eyes did not seem strange you, nor did you question why my skin looks like the browned sides of baked bread compared to the floury white of your arms. You did not find it funny that I must be at least five years older than you are yet must be at least half a head shorter. It did not matter to you that the only words we had to give each other in the same tongue were “Hello!”, “How are you?”, “What is your name?”, “Where are you from?” because sometimes those words are all it takes to make your way into someone’s heart and stay.

As for mine, stay you did. Language, cultural, socio-economic barriers were nothing to you.

Instead, you simply played the boy who wanted to know the girl. And so I played the girl who responded, the girl who saw the boy's clouds of smoke in the sky spelling out "We are here.”

And we were.

And it’s been three months.

Now you are there.

And I am here.

But to you, it's the other way around. Because here is a matter of who is telling the story. Maybe we will never again be characters in the same chapter. Or maybe we will be. And maybe I am counting the pages until for us, here is right where we both are.
Aystegh. Here.

For everyone who's ever missed someone they never really knew-- whether it be that school guard who was transferred somewhere else or that cashier at a fast food restaurant who was there every time you went.

This poem is for that little boy I met in Armenia who sold fruits in front of my friend's house. He would greet me everytime I passed by him. I hope you still remember me the next time I see you.
Oct 2015 · 1.5k
Sofia Paderes Oct 2015
You are so much more than a pair of green eyes.
Your heart is golden but sometimes your thoughts dull its shine.
It might take some rain and maybe even a thunderstorm, but I promise you,
It will be worth far more than the pain
to see you
see for the first time.
And you are nearing that day.
One day you will fix more than just people's teeth.
Oct 2015 · 1.5k
Sofia Paderes Oct 2015
I will always remember you, too.
You must be so beautiful in autumn,
You, with your golden brown smile
and clear blue laughter.
Someday, I will hear it again, and I will listen
with my heart as your fingers glide across continents.
She messaged me in her native tongue, "I will always remember you." This is how I would have replied, if only I could speak the same tongue.
Jun 2015 · 2.1k
Sofia Paderes Jun 2015
Some say there is nothing more beautiful than the sunrise, and how the sun's lips lightly spin over the face of the earth and bathe it in soft colors, a gentle reminder that the darkness is over.

Some say there is nothing more beautiful than the ocean, because no matter how far they're swept away, the waves always find their way back home to shore, healing it over and over again.

Some say there is nothing more beautiful than galaxies, and how no star tries to outshine the other, every form simply coexisting in a dance of unnamed colors; in space even death is a sight to behold, a firework display of moondust and leftover breath from the mouth of God.

Yet I have to disagree, for I have never before seen anything as beautiful as love in its purest form--- conquering death, every sliver of fear, every earthshaking storm.

For loving you is sunrise, we have seen each other's midnight yet still we choose to forgive, knowing that when light breaks it covers even the places we thought were beyond love's relentless reach, and

Loving you is oceans of pushing and pulling, hurting and healing, but we have promised to be there through high tides and low tides, because I know your moon will always draw you home to me, and lastly,

Loving you is galaxies. I have never before felt anything so alive, so vast that even after claiming we know all the coordinates and all the corners of our maps, we still are only brushing the surface of our solar systems, and there are still so many colors, so many flames, so many meteorites we still haven't named, but that's okay because loving you

is only the beginning. Thank you for choosing my hand for yours to hold on this crazy, everlasting journey and maybe one day we'll find the right words to compare what loving you is like, even if we both know there aren't any. Oh, there aren't any.
A spoken word poem written for the wedding reception of two very good friends of mine. Congratulations, Kuya BJ and Ate Lai! You were both already beautiful as individuals but even more so now that you're finally together.
Jun 2015 · 5.4k
Sofia Paderes Jun 2015
We’ve been walking on this journey for years now, and I’ve held your hand long enough to know that when I slip into quicksand or miss a step, it is not you who lets go. Your fingers aren’t the ones coated in doubt or in selfishness, gripping firmly only when it feels right, when it feels necessary. Your hands are not made of brittle bone, shivering and breaking when the cold starts to show. Teach me to never let go.

We’ve known plenty of good weather. Safe landings. Skies full of stars and days of endless wind. Scraped knees were never a problem, we always seemed to be in fields of yellow and green, surrounded by miles and miles of running streams. There were times when I would purposefully stumble, thinking that it would be okay, I’d land elbows first in the faces of dandelions anyway. Other times I’d stray, not because of greener grass, but because I was too caught up smelling that single flower to see that you were calling me to the next meadow, where petals of a sweeter smell and prettier colors stretch out like a seascape. Teach me to give up my little treasures and desires, for yours are far better.

Sometimes I get a little adventurous. I tell you I want mountains. I tell you I want to climb, that I want the strain and the adrenaline rush, the thrill of letting pieces of hardened sand and pebble carry my whole weight, the challenge, the sweat, the blood. I tell you I want to see things from the eyes of God. I tell you I want to struggle and overcome. I tell you I want the soul of a deer, to plant my feet firmly on the narrow heights, I tell you I’m alright but when I’m actually in the process of the climb, in the process of the waiting, wondering which rock do I grasp next, which path do I trust with my steps, I tell you I’m not ready for mountains after all. But you did not bring me here to watch me fall, so teach me. Teach me to keep my ankles strong, and my hold on you stronger.

And when we tire of mountains, you take me to oceans. You know how much I love the saltwater mysteries, how my heart sings when I get to feel clumps of wet sand beneath the soles of my feet. And you know how much I don’t know about the waters, you know that it’s hard for me to tell when an undercurrent comes sweeping like thousands of tiny *****, that I can’t spot the difference between high tide and low tide until the waves are lapping at my door, that I still swim after jellyfish no matter how many times I’ve been stung, and how I forget that not every beautiful thing has beautiful intentions, and especially how oceans also terrify the breath out of me. One of my deepest fears is to die drowning, but still you row us out in a weathered boat into the middle of the sea, no life vests or whistles, nothing. We’ve had calm waters and dolphin mornings, we’ve had rough rowing and storms brewing, and each time you managed to put the thundering and rumbling in my chest to rest, and each and every time you’ve gotten us back to shore. But honestly, there are days I want to jump ship, sail my own boat, find my own sea, and some days I do. Those days I lose my way, those days I’m half drowned, but I turn around and find you there. Teach me to trust the one whose voice the waves and wind know.

Now here we are in a different kind of sea, the kind without water. This pit is abundant in ***** yellow devils, illusions and false promises, but all I have are questions and weary feet. Why are we here? Where are we going? Why did we leave? How am I going to shake off this mirage? When is it going to rain? After all we've been through, this is where you're taking me?

My path is an endless circle, a cycle using my sight, my heart, my feelings, my stocked up wisdom to judge my situation and I come to the conclusion that you have deserted me. But you haven't. And I don't understand how you stuck with me through hills and valleys, and never once thought of leaving, but you haven't. Your shadow is cast on me and peace overflows. Maybe I've been asking the wrong questions. Maybe instead of asking you where the stretch of sand ends, I should be asking you to teach me.

Teach me to love you in every season, whether it be the harshest of winters or the wildest of heats. Teach me to understand that deserts make me thirst for water, that I need to be lost so that I may be found, that without a battle there is no victory, that seeds die before they grow into trees. But before anything else, teach me to let the sound of your voice to be what guides me through winding paths and roaring winds, not which road looks smooth or which sky looks dim.

We've been walking on this journey for years now, and I've held your hand long enough to know that all this time you have been teaching me to fall in love with my eyes closed.
A spoken word poem written for Sali Production's benefit concert for Resources for the Blind, Mata, last month in Ortigas Park.

Also, I can't think of a title. Help.
Sofia Paderes Feb 2015
Summer, Day 1.
Do you know how much I love you?
One day you will.
One day you will.
I haven't even seen you yet,
but I am so in love with you.

When the time comes for us to finally be together, I will drive us somewhere outside this concrete jungle to ask you that. Then I will tell you to look at the stars, and you will try to count them, even if you already know that not enough stars were created to compare it to.

Darling, I dance and I sing and I shake in delight at the thought of being with you. I'm a morning person now, because I know that every waking moment is one day closer to forever.

Summer, Day 2.
I have sworn to save every part of this heart for you. I've loved before, but not like this. Not like this. My stone-heart now made flesh beats as if I'd just been born, as if I'd been made to love and to be loved by you.

Summer, Day 3.
I can't believe you chose me. I can't believe I'm going to get to marry you. We've got quite a long way to go, but I'm already preparing, making sure my dress will be as white as snow, every hair in place, this heart pure and this body untouched until the day I put my hand in yours. I can't wait to see your face when I walk down the aisle. I promise to be the perfect bride, your perfect bride.

Fall, Day 1.
I might not write as much as I did during the summer. Life has been getting busier and busier, but I want you to know that I still love you as much as I did from the first day.

Fall, Day 46.
I've been spending quite a bit of time with someone. He's clever and says the most interesting things. I feel like we will never run out of words to say to one another. We talk everyday, and the funny thing is sometimes I feel my day isn't complete yet if we haven't spoken. Don't worry, my heart is still yours. Just thought I'd let you know.

Fall, Day 52.
I think I love him, but just a little bit. I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to cut an inch off of my heart to give to him. It's just an inch less. Surely you won't mind.

Fall, Day 80.
He's been with someone else this entire time. It's a good thing I gave him only an inch of my heart, but the rest is bruised. Don't worry, darling, I'll have it fixed in time.

Fall, Day 100.
It's still beating, but barely. Maybe I should love a little again. Maybe some warmth will do this heart good.

Winter, Day 15.
I think... I gave a little too much.

Winter, Day 50.
My latest disaster said my heart was something worth waiting for. Apparently his second hands tick faster than the usual. He left, taking more than I expected he would.

Winter, Day 65.
Is a heart supposed to look like this?

Winter, Day 90.
I can no longer hear it beating steadily. Some parts have frozen. I have tried to stitch pieces back together and they hold... if you would call it that. There are scars and cuts that haven't healed, swollen bits from the wounds that were infected because I tried to save the poison only to have it lash out and bite me in the back.

Winter, Day 104.
What have I done?

Winter, Day 135.
Look at it. No wait, don't. There isn't anything left to give you, anything worthy enough to even stand in your shadow. I promised you everything now I give you nothing. You waited for me yet I pursued others, consumed by my lust and my pride, where can I hide that I myself will not see this mess of a heart I've created? Where can I run to that I will not have to see the look on your face when you see what I have left to give you? Do you still want this, this broken vessel, this torn up heart, all the pieces that don't fit, all the stitched up parts? Do you still want me?

Spring, Day 1.
You do.

Spring, Day 3.
You do because you knew what you were getting yourself into long before you met me, you knew I would break your heart yet you still asked for mine, you do because you are love itself. A death defeating, grave shaking, forgiving, full of grace and mercy, life and righteousness kind of love. This is the love that chose me. Now I choose you.

Spring, Day 5.
What have I done to deserve this? As far as the east is from the west, so you have cleared my offense. When others asked for me, they knelt on one knee but you asked nailed to a tree. Now here you are. Despite what I've done you want me to return to you, want me to still have you. And you know what?

Spring, Day 7.
I do. And I give my heart to you in absolute surrender and total abandon. Here, though broken and torn, take it and make it new.
It was yours all along. I was yours all along.
A piece written for Logos' Vessel under Fringe Manila.
Jan 2015 · 2.4k
Hello, Hurricane
Sofia Paderes Jan 2015
Let me tell you of earthquakes
and how each fracture spreads
like bronchi so perfectly placed
so lovely to look at depending on
where you stand let me

tell you of typhoons and where
they choose to stay where they
choose to brush past where they
choose to skip sideways
altogether and where the eye is
and how you can get there

Let me tell you of tsunamis and
what each wave no matter how
small can do and what kinds of
shadow prints they leave and
what happens when you don't
watch the sand then let

Me tell you of me
Let me tell you how badly I may
wreck you or
build you the decision is right
there your fist is clenched now
open it. I am weather you cannot
predict so take cover and
remember how
I warned you and how you
ignored or chose to watch the
signs and how I secretly hope
you'll be there to help me fix
whatever mess I'll make so

see you when it's over, maybe.
Hello hurricane, you're not enough
Hello hurricane, you can't silence my love
I've got doors and windows boarded up
All your dead end fury is not enough
You can't silence my love, my love

- Hello Hurricane, Switchfoot
Dec 2014 · 2.0k
every single one of them
Sofia Paderes Dec 2014
love you
and all the colors
of your skies, watch me
dance in your thunderstorms
drink in your sun, catch every bit
of rain, be it acid or mountain-tears,
every snowflake and speck of hail, mine
will be the sunflowers and buds of baby's
breath, the fresh soil and dew-dipped leaves
mine will be the aftermath - may it always
be something worth staying five minutes
longer for; but please remember that
even wildflowers need some
sort of care, so I hope
you'll love me
too in all the
colors of
Dec 2014 · 1.4k
If we only tried.
Sofia Paderes Dec 2014
Four fingers.

for the time I
walked in circles,
unsure if the long walk would be
worth it.

for the people I met --
long live the brief moment
I had to plant something in you.

for the best ***** ice cream
I ever had;
combining cheese with strawberry
and avocado was a beautiful decision,

for the empty stone chambers.
I am here.
One day I will fill you
with wayward ones come home.
"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Nov 2014 · 4.0k
I'll Tell You Mine
Sofia Paderes Nov 2014
Onward, soldier.

That’s what they all
tell me, but
let me
slow down for a moment.
There’s a little something I gotta

Thank you.

To that swing set in Greenhills Music Studio
San Juan City,
without you,
I’d never have learned that sometimes
it’s the other way around—
feet in the sky and head on the ground.

Mrs. Arambulo, the swing set’s owner,
who made sure I was well versed in
sonatinas and arpeggio scales
before I found out they’d already made
a piano that didn’t need tuning, and

Ma, who’d test my memory by
asking me if I
could recite
whole paragraphs at age four,
she’s why I remember things like
the smell of pilmeni,
the color of our first house’s carpet,
and nine page spoken word poetry,

to everyone behind that old kids’ show, Bayani,
watching it in my
second grade HEKASI class
would bring me to tears each time — no kidding,
you all paved the way for my homeland’s history
to make its home in my heart,

my English teachers from
sixth all the way to eleventh grade,
who all believed and still believe in the words I put down on paper
and spew out on dark stages armed with imagery and the Spirit,
you made me fall deeper in love with the way words can be waves
or flames,

Dad, who taught me
to climb mountains, to read books,
to let myself run free among the nations
but to always remember to leave a part of my heart at home,

to the four little boys I met in Hong Kong,
if we meet again, I owe you a better explanation to your question,
“Why do you dance?”
thank you for asking me that, and I’m sorry for my cowardly answer back then
but I’m braver now, and
I promise it’s for more than just fun or exercise,
it’s for this God I hope you get to know,

and to every Philippine history teacher I’ve ever had,
keep teaching like that,
we need more young ones who’d be willing
to die for their homeland,
you taught me that there is so much more to this country
than its own people tell me, so
burn on.
and make sure they catch fire.

Onward, soldier.

I’m not sure where I’m headed,
but I’d rather be uncertain of the road ahead
than forget
I started.
I’ve told you mine, now

tell them yours.
A poem I wrote for the #TellMeYours challenge. Video here!;
Nov 2014 · 2.7k
Sala sa init, sala sa lamig
Sofia Paderes Nov 2014
Sumisigaw at
Sumisipa ang mga
Awit at tulang
Nilalabas ng iyong
Daliring nanginginig.

Ganito ang pag-
Ikot ng mundong ito:
Tuloy-tuloy lang.
Jedd challenged me to write two haikus--- one with the 5-7-5 form and the other 5-7-5-7-7.
Oct 2014 · 3.1k
Sofia Paderes Oct 2014
I have hands that won’t keep
to themselves.
They are always rummaging
and dancing and clapping
and snapping and opening
and closing and trying to fix
broken thing they can find.

And that includes you.

My heart is a bottomless pit for aches.
Not mine, but yours.
It’s almost a cursed thing, how
despite its size being only that of my fist,
my heart always finds a way to squeeze in
some new hurt into the spaces that
before you,
I never knew existed.
There they stay;
and like all things that stay,
with enough time,
become part of their surroundings.
I can’t tell whose cut is whose anymore.

Put me in a room full of people.
Blindfold me.
Spin me like a tornado.
Make me stop.
My outstretched fingers will be reaching
for the most broken souls in the room.

Call it compassion. Kindness. Empathy.
Whatever you like,
but there is a fine, fine line between that
and the way I bleed.
how I bleed.
Forgive my boldness when I say
I won’t even try to make you understand
the fact that I do
Think of it this way: ripples.
And I always get the last one.

I’m still a child.
I like to play pretend.
I’m a doctor.
I’m a superhero.
I’m the one with all the answers,
all the weapons,
all the magical cures.
Take that!
And that!
Ha! Aha! Ha!
As the years wear on,
I see that my tools aren’t right,
and that my cape is too tight around my neck.
I don’t have all the answers.
No weapons.
No magical cures.
I’m just a girl trying to play the part that was never hers.

And it’s taken me three volcano boys,
a couple of glass-bottomed hearted girls,
and just about the rest of the world to realize that I
am not
the Savior.

My hands were not made to heal
every heart they rest themselves upon,
or to fill that vacuum inside every man,
one that nothing,
nothing in this world will ever

So here.
I let go of every burden that’s been
causing me to stoop and to stumble,
every pressing weight that’s been
keeping me from keeping faith,
every heavy yoke that’s been
causing me to choke on things
I never should have let in
in the first place.

Yet I will continue to love you.
I have come to learn that love
has a lot of ugly before it becomes beautiful,
a lot of hurt before healing’s arrival,
a lot of you before any of me.
My part is done.
These fidgety fingers no longer carry suffering.
Here, let me see yours, though battle scarred and bruised.
You’ve been bearing more than you were built for, beloved.

I think it’s time to surrender.
A spoken word poem written for Atlas, The Polaris Project's event for Imaginarium Manila. We were asked to write a poem of three to five minutes with the theme "Weights: Literal, Figurative, What Have You”.

video link-
Oct 2014 · 1.4k
Sofia Paderes Oct 2014
This hour last week, we kissed the stars alive.
With you, there were no walls and no far seas,
No reason to doubt or to just survive,
My heart was with you, and yours was with me.

How cruel the souls of the gods above,
That they should mind our paths and our crossing,
That we should be the ones who fell in love,
A fate that led to a war-torn ending.

This hour last week, we danced to life the moon,
But we forgot that seasons come and go,
And now the red sun bleeds-- it bled too soon.
We can no longer love; I am the foe.

You hold your people's hate in your strong hands,
You shake and the gun sings of God's near land.
My first sonnet. Another one of Jedd's challenges and by far the hardest. Based on a true story in 1940s Philippines. When the Japanese occupied Manila, every Japanese person was labelled a spy. There was a Japanese nurse who served in an American camp-- and was also the crush of nearly every soldier there. She was sentenced to death, but none of the soldiers wanted to be the one to **** her, so they drew lots. She ended up being executed by the soldier who was the most in love with her.
Sep 2014 · 2.0k
sa dibdib mo'y buhay
Sofia Paderes Sep 2014
m hmm hmmhmm hmm
the tune is yours to carry
in this wounded city with its
cr    a    cked        ribcage
that is trying to hold its heart the same

stillbreathing, still breathing

m hmm hmmhmm hmm
gawing sa 'yo ang himig na ito
sa isang bayang dumudugo
kanyang tadyang may  la  m a   t
ngunit nais pa ring hawakan ang puso

humihingapa, humihinga *pa
Again, idea/challenge from
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