Chocolate Cake


You and I were having cake. Me sitting on the sidewalk and you, standing. We had cake on one hand and a can of coke on the other.

“This is almost like a date, you know, you treating me out like this. It’s almost romantic!” I blurted, my mouth full of chocolate cake. Anything with chocolate is my favorite. “This is the first time you’re treating me out.”

“Yeah,” it was more like a grunt what you replied.”Let’s go!”

“But I’m not done yet!”

“Eat while walking,”

“Pull me up!” I extended my arm, smiling like a kid, and you pulled me upward until I was on my feet again. As you walked, you surprised me.

“Ba’t di nalang maging tayo?,  you said (there was no exact English translation to the impact of this line to me).

I laughed, taking a sip.

“Hello! Are you joking? You are not in love with me and I’m not inlove with you. Why should we get together just because? Haha! It doesn’t makes sense! But seriously, are you in love with me?”

Please say yes, I thought.

“Who knows. Maybe.”

“See!,”swallowing a lump in my throat. “Two people should only get together if and when they are in love with each other, right?,” I said smugly. You didn’t respond.

You sighed, ” I just keep wondering if this is it, if this is all for us?” after taking a few more steps, I began to feel uneasy.

“But we have fun. I like the way things they are. You have fun. I have fun. Fun is what we have!” What I’m really trying to say was, if you’re telling me like that; then, I don’t see us going any further than we are. You like me only up to here (gesturing hand across my tummy, palm down). Because you were always unsure of things. Because you just knew what you don’t want but don’t know what you really want. You are a coward.

“Yeah,” you sighed.

Is this my cue to leave before things get tangle up? before things gets messy? before an onslaught of pain gets the better of me? To me, the way you bought our cakes and drinks, what you said, describe the state of where and how we actually are.

“Two slices of chocolate cake please,” you asked the vendor.

“Should I put them in one bag?”

“No, pack them separately and to go.”





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Heartaches are thieves in the night. I woke up terrified from a disturbing nightmare. I was gasping for air, I felt a gushed of acid escaped  my throat, my heart squeezing, pulsating.

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The room is eerily quiet and I can hear the clock ticking. Its 1 am when I suddenly decided to watch a horror movie.
It begins of a 17th century New England family who are excommunicated from a Puritan community and were relocated to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest. Strange and unsettling things begin to happen almost immediately – animals turn malevolent, crops fail, up and until their youngest child disappears. There’s blood, gory, slashes and body parts all over the place. But I stopped, folded my laptop and did not finish the part.
You like horror movies. The last time, I had you snuggled. Now, I feel numbed.
I pressed my index and middle finger gently down from the fold of the wrist. I felt for my pulse.
IT is not well. It’s slow, weak. slow, as if it is bidding it’s time. tarrying, like it’s waiting for something, someone to come back.


On my birthday I’d like to write weeping words and limping letters. Not that I am missing the sunrises. It’s just that my pen trails darker at sunsets. And when I know I am writing better, I know I am getting better, getting happier.

This eccentricity elopes the eloquence of logic. And if I am to chase after the rational, the cerebral; panting becomes an act in vain. This tolerance of accommodating short term pains is a thrust for long term comforts.

I don’t dread numbers. I just hate it when they tell your age. I don’t hate getting old either. What I’m trying to say is instead of saying happy 27th birthday, people will say happy last 73 years more, that considering if we get to live 100 years. It’s forward looking,  gets you to work on something for the future, instead of  being dragged by the past. The problem is we’re a bit sure of our birth day than of our death day.  Yet still to be able to change something or the idea of having the chance to change something is empowering. We just don’t have the powers to change our birth days, we should know.

Life doesn’t begin at 30 nor at 40. Life begins when you choose it to.

In this life I have been a timid social butterfly, a competitive ace student, a pseudo-philosopher, a lifeless party animal, a disgraced wannabee singer. I have lived at the edge, with not a penny in my pocket. I have live an outsider inside other people’s home. An expert urine drainer as much as a novice ECG reader. A lonely library habitue, a master of local politics, a moron of love politics.

Forget about the norms, about the social dictum. They are the encumberances to the potential of greatness an open mind can afford. Temper your sword, sharpen your pen. And in a night like this, when its trails are getting darker and clearer for a white blank page, you know you are getting better.

I am thankful for the many pages of my life more crumpled than the rest, the weeping words, twisted letters, sentences punctuated by a drop of tears. They imbibe my story with footnotes worth revisiting. I embrace 27 with a warmth of a friend long awaited for and the prologue of a great novel that promises a most satisfying conclusion.

Happy many more days on earth.


More than loss, death is a renewal.

I killed a part of myself.  No, it was killed.  It was the type of death you realized you skipped too long a beat until your dead. But i’m not dead, as a matter of fact I have never felt so alive. Searing with ambition. Brimming with hope. Like a tree after it’s branches been cut off, a crown of budding stems comes aburst.

Sometimes we need a little push, even a shove to keep that steam running.  Sometimes it takes a loss to win back something. Sometimes comfort comes after embracing pain.  Because that’s the way it is.  There must be death. The old must give way to a better new.

More than loss, death is a celebration of life.




As these brave souls lined with undeniable fear in their eyes, reluctant courage in their heart, one can’t help but noticed the day to day travails that they share:  mosquito bitten arms framing a frail trunk, intentionally loosely disordered hair maintained on gel, blotched rubber slippers clutching a soul thickened feet, black smudges painting an innocent face. But there they stood, there legs made strong by the tradition held in pious by a combination of superstition and science. The bravest, stood tall as the first unit of the line and bravery is measured by one’s proximity to the door where one won’t miss the sign: the Doctor is in.

“Gin anu kato ni Doc sa sulod?”,  asked the young boy as he wiped his nose with dirt towel.

He chuckled almost from satisfaction. “wla man ah. hala kaw!” the boy an inch higher than the first threatened as he emerged from the door.

The young boy bowed his head and fidgeted his knuckle.

“Next!” a large booming voice of a man you’re sure as the Doctor.

Water up to your chin, tiptoeing the soft sand underneath. The currents sways your body and there is that tightness in your chest as you labor your breath, ventilating in short gasps. Cold  water  squeezing into your body tapping your heart  creating an unknown chill of an unknown fear, that helplessness and doom a you know human spirit will triumph over the flesh. Courage will drag you no matter how strong the friction of cowardice.

“Ok na na imu,” the doctor said convincingly.

After he neatly retracted the extra skin from that brown shaft that emerges from every male’s mid pelvis. After he peeled the skin off the head of that shaft. After a painful silent cry wailed off the boy’s throat, he said “ini dya madutlan anesthesia  Noy ha, agwantaha lng.”

“You’re sure to go.”

Sure to go where? asked the young boy to himself.

In silence, little fingers, toes, hands and feet begin to tremble for that conviction that hovers over the dictates of social norm and the logic of science. He waited for his limbs and the minor limbs that come out of it to be calm. Stillness is bravery, agitation is cowardice.

He’s now sure to go to manhood.

*Paltak Festival of Dingle, Iloilo comes every March. 



your hand falls from the door knob

now locked, now the world is shut

outside this room alone with

only the two of us.

and words fell someplace else in

pit of silence, as they become unnecessary,

as you take a step, another, closer,

the low echo of your footsteps I count in reverse,

ten, nine, eight,

your eyes pierce mine

and knock me into the bed,

into a time when I was naïve and optimistic and

eager to be touched,

seven, six, five,

and your lips, then the whole of your body,

fall into mine. There is something about you

that sadness cannot withstand,

something that makes my body easy and light,

like a leaf falling unto earth.

four, three, two,

You are earth. I fall and you claim,

I crumble and seep through,

to be a part of you,

’till we become



burrowed and caged by her weakness, she lied covered in dunes of sheets and pillows. her expression drought as a desert, her skin lifeless as the Sahara.

but her bed was an oasis made to support  life.  at her left was the mechanical ventilator supported by an adjacent oxygen tank. at her right, hung the Intravenous fluid on a stand  and  a piped in suction overhead.

it is as if air diffused in a manner not suitable for breathing, despite the endotracheal tube anchored by strips of leukoplast unto the rim of her mouth, inspite of her chest muscles that quivers as she inhales.

her right arm kept on trampling the bed sheets. non-purposefully, an exercise in futility. on the sands a camel cutting loose, waggling, writhing, squirming,  from lost limbs. sands storming the air, the heat dissipating across the horizon.

her back was wet. on her forehead were thorns of sweats. a river of saliva swelled beautifully out the mouth guard. She coughed and the mechanical ventilator alarmed. a rambling sound followed and a firework of  yellow sputum streaked the inside of the endotracheal tube.

her right arm groped for the side rail. anchored well, she tried  to pull herself out of the bed. veins bulged in her arms, neck, forehead and on her eyes. like pulsating vines groping for anchorage. like the blue Nile winding the strength-barren limbs weakened by Myasthenia Gravis. the IV catheter pulled from its place, and blood splattered unto the white sheet.

her husband came, along with her little daughter. she spoke to them on paper and pencil. the pencil is a camel and made vague wandering message on the paper. her husband and daughter waited. the pencil fell off her weak grip. but she held it again and the pencil danced the dance of two left feet. a meaningless scribble, a vague Morse code of sorts.

With her husband and daughter standing by the bedside, she was failing miserably on the pencil. she scratched her head. she got tired. she parted her lips but no sound came from them only the beeping of the cardiac monitor, the incessant whooshing of the ventilator.

With her only able arm, she tried to reach for them as they walked passed the door and left. a muffled voice, a drooped eye, weakened limbs, mask-liked face that hid dampened spirit.

grains of sand got into her eyes and tears drop along with her hope that  is a search of an oasis.


We tricked ourselves every time we define others by the limitations of our senses and the unpredictability notwithstanding the non-absolute reliability of our judgement. I’ve known a few who have fallen into their own trap.

The desire to belong and integrate with the greater whole sometimes comes with the disintegration  of the many parts that make us whole. As we dismiss someone who is different and doesn’t fit into the definition of normal we tend to forget that we too our different. And as we disintegrate we tend to see others in many parts and not as a whole. We start to label people by their extra finger, skin color, language, belief, gender, among others.

We derived meaning of these labels from an individual’s distinct character  that sorts them away from what is ordinary and average. Blacks, Midgets, Gays, Rapist are the many stars that punctuate the dark sky of prejudice and lopsided view of a person’s totality. From there, we ceased to appreciate an individual more than the labels that define them. We generalized as the means most comfortable because our own understanding of the world has become limited that we cannot take in something more than what is pre-determined by our set of beliefs. In turn, we have become intolerant,  self-engrossed as we define others on the same standards we set to  ourselves.

To quote from Dane, when you judge someone else, it doesn’t define who they are, it defines who you are.

An artist who makes nude paintings are definitely not satyric;  in the same way, writers who uses words referring to genitals to create beautiful metaphors, aren’t pornographic artist.


The warm light from the lamp shade basked the innocence of your face, your eyes needing, the tenderness I came to know from your half- opened lips, the soft curves of your hips, the lushness of your hair carefully laden on the kneaded bed sheets. Like a solitary cloud,my fingers tips  skimmed through the landscape of your body,  knowing that  this expanse is mine.

I am an artist and you are my sculpture. My hands big and thick. Rough and tough to your body. you like it hard, you said. you like it brutal. you like it when pleasure is an echo of pain. And I obliged. I hammered the clay without hesitation, without comfort, without patience  until it bled with joy. and everytime, you reach the inevitable  there’s the rush, the gush, the lush explosions, the hushed staccato of a singular vowel—the short a, a, a, a, a, a, a  .

I chiseled the mold, without compromise the first lunge severe, deep, devil, wild, underneath within, reaching the inner depths of your being, shattering whatever was inside that ever existed but you know were gone forever after this very night as you grope for them shifting from one surface to another in the metal bars of your closet, in the pillows as you squeezed them , along the lengths of my back as I dig deeper into you as you scream, piercing slicing from below before withdrawing, then suddenly back again, the pain, pleasure never complete and thirsting until the very fragments of them all are gone long with the  many smells of our body sweat, musk, earth, iron, mud clay along with the recurrence  of knots, tangles, moans, aliases, repositions, throbs, shoves, friction, sweat, euphoria, along with my sudden, numbered, small deaths.

I looked up and light exploded. There was heaven.


A shower of sunlight set apart the curtains from the window. It basked the innocence of your face, your eyes asleep, the tenderness I came to know from your half-opened lips, the soft curves of your hips, the lushness of your hair carefully laden on the crumpled bed sheets.

I opened my mouth to say something, instead a big gulp of air came in. I wanted to say thank you but I didn’t know your name.