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The squalid honey of this urban hive
that sways and quivers in Escolta's arms
assaulting viscous currents, I've survived
to witness time dissolve in waters warm.
     When monsoon whispers calmed the fev'rish night,
hyacinths surren'dring to kundíman songs
seduced I was to words meant to ignite
another's lust. But still 'tis I that long
     In time, desire has rotten into liquor
and putrid nectar spoiled in unloved lips--
this rancor that I spit into this river
to curse the farewell of your westward ship
     and centuries have passed, yet here I bathe
Manila's vein that bursts with restless hate
Madelle Calayag Jan 2020
Maaga kong nilisan
ang lupang sakahan
Tinahak ang lugar
na maingay at magara,
ito pala ang Maynila.

‘di napigilan ng tirik na araw
ang aming pagkukumpulan.

kaming magkakabrad,
Simula na ng himagsikan.

Sariwa pa sa alala
kung pa’no
kami inagrabyado.
Ginamitan ng dahas.

Sa plano ng gobyerno
kami pa rin pala ang talo.

Paano pa kami mabubuhay
kung wala ng lupang mapagtatamnan?

Akala ko sa bundok
o gubat lang may ahas
-yun ay sa akala ko lang pala.

Sa’ming magsasaka’y
Kumukulapot ang putik
sa inyong mga nakabarong,
walang duming nakabahid.

Sa inakala kong
tubig lang ang maaaring
pala nami’y pwede ring
Tila ba ang gobyerno’y namamanhid.

Nasaan na
ang pinangako nyong
libreng abono?

Ginawa nyo na bang pataba
sa mga bulsa nyo!?

Sa pagpunta
ng mga imperyalistang bansa,
pa ba kaming mga dukha?
Makatatayo ako
sa aking pagkakadapa
ang bayan
kong nakalugmok ,
makakaahon pa kaya?
I wrote this four years ago for the Filipino farmers
Louise Jul 2019
To my friends whose hearts I'm about to break, know that my left cheek will shatter first before your hearts does.
I hope that's comforting enough to hear.
I've always liked the angle of the right side of my face better, therefore the journals shall see just that.
I hope that's relieving enough to see.
To my other friends whose eyes I will be leaving swollen ugly for days on end,
España's rain and floods shall hydrate you back to life. I know because I have blessed the skies with my own tears on the nights prior.
I hope that's alleviating enough to know.

Over the last month, I have never figured out if I liked España or Dapitan better.
But I suppose it's the former for it shall have my sorry excuse of a body for the very last time.
It's a bad metaphor for a feigned
and forced liberty,
as with this country that I lived in and loved better than the pretentious
and lifeless cities I've traveled to.
Singapore is but a fleeting fling.
Tickles your fancy but will leave you tired and in resentment.
Hong Kong is just another plaything.
Everybody would tell you she's good and all that, but she lost to your tastes still.
Macau is the lover that never gives but keeps on asking,
she was never the safest bet nor can you lie and tell her she's the best.
Johor is just as frustrating.
She would be the hardest question in the test, the one you've thought of over and over but still stood miscorrect.
Bangkok, I have kept her dearly in my heart but ended up forgetting.
My other lover from the farther west, but still wouldn't compare to the best.

But Manila, she lives in me. She is me.
It's a shame, I will never see her prosper and bloom in her waiting heydays, whenever that will be.
But do I deserve to witness that?
I have never done anything to help pitch in her movement.
But it's a bigger, even better shame to have lived in this age of technology.
Forgive me for leaving too soon, Manila.
Welcome me tomorrow around high noon, España.  
Forget about me like you did with your history, my beloved Philippines.
To the headlines, I am diving in headfirst.
To the tabloids, I beg of you to once more tickle the funny bones of a dead girl.
Diyan Sa May Mga Nilad #9: Headfirst To The Headlines
Louise Jul 2019
When was the last time you've wondered what's out there waiting for us two?
Was it last year? Or the last time I thought I left again only to return and redeem myself from you?
How cruel must it be if we really are meant to be together?
We always chase and tug between time,
bet and roll dice on distance and its false promises.
Where do we even go from here
Further away from the winning streaks
or closer to the losing games?
When was the last time we made wishes for each other?
Will I even ever find another whole crazy person to share all my little victories and enormous troubles with?
Someone who would not keep record of all my wins and losses,
someone who would meet me in the middle of the plays and pauses.
Someone to run across continents with, chasing chances and begging for nuances.
I'd rather chase and run with you between countries and cities and stolen moments than between life and death.
But as I reckoned the chase with you right here is nonexistent,
my own life and my own death would be chasing each other instead.
Diyan Sa May Mga Nilad #8: Redemption
Louise Jul 2019
As if on cue, on my second step out,
one bell rang; that of the sorbetero's cart
and on my sixteenth, that of the bell by Dominican.
I sighed "yes, I know, I'm going."
I appreciate the practice.
I appreciate the background music.
Diyan Sa May Mga Nilad #7: Two Bells At The Two Castles
Louise Jul 2019
This isn't home to us, just an illusion thereof.
An illusion we love to play in, eat in, sleep in.
And when it rains, it doesn't pour;
it is but ever dry.
When it's dry, all I do is die.
I die. I die. I die.
Only to live tomorrow and yet again
play, eat and sleep.
This isn't love, just an illusion thereof.
An illusion we love to pour in, die in and live in again.
Diyan Sa May Mga Nilad #6: Two Castles Playhouse
Louise Jul 2019
For every gaze,
old wounds open once again.

For every unanswered SMS,
scars freshen up like new from yesterday.

For every unintended graze of your fingers,
the old wounds heal themselves.

For every shared laughter on and offline,
scars from yesterday springs back to years ago.
Diyan Sa May Mga Nilad #5: Romance  In The High Time Of Tech
Louise Jul 2019
I can't see them, can't hear their chirps even.
They can see me, best believe they can hear my cries in the teasing of the morn after eleven.
Maybe they even hold my secrets as tightly as they cling onto that tree next to my tower;
a tower I've built out of the very secrets they know of and keep.
Secrets as dark as the Manila night sky in the middle of the week can be.
They are but wary visitors, as I am myself.
Stuck in between a new world and old,
roaming restlessly in an uncharted territory.
Only one can see the other
but we can both smell fear on each other.
Swinging and lounging across but we're never parallel, we're unnamed.
We're untamed, in the detachment from the grounds do we bask and dwell.
They're not out to get me;
they don't even have to try.
They get me better than my friends ever would.
They get my sleeping habits better than the planks of my bed.
They understand my poor diet better than the plastic utensils that ever touched my mouth,
they've memorized my routine
better than all those cigarette butts.
Diyan Sa May Mga Nilad #4: Migrating Birds
Louise Jul 2019
Rain was pouring hard when my cheap, fastfood coffee was full,
my cold sweat does the same as soon I finished the cup.
Bringing an umbrella in Dapitan is not necessary.
At least that's what I said before I was all soaked and in dread.
Diyan Sa May Mga Nilad #3: Dapitan
Louise Jul 2019
Here in this castle,
in my tower,
no one and nothing can hurt me
but myself.
Walls are built out of silver that I begged the laws and secrets of the universe for,
I might be the princess that sleeps but will never feel the pea that lies underneath my piles of bed made out of skeleton bones.
Now yes, I lie in them—they reside not in my closet but beneath my frail, sorry body.
Some nights, I am one of the skeletons myself.
I might be the very monster that I am fearing for for the past two weeks.
I might be making the very noises that keeps me up until the morn.
Have you ever seen a fortress with the enemies lurking within?
Gates with the robbers playing cards inside?
Welcome to my little world, welcome to my tower.
Where I can craft deadly words, in here I hold the most power.
Diyan Sa May Mga Nilad #2: Rapunzel's Tower
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