…but should your corrugated splines collapse,
what shall shelter me when it rains?

When wreaths come in the form of whirlpools,
when threats to my sanity and safety become real,

shall I fall in your middling, shall I regard
grasslands as bedding, as ceilings might as well be open sky?

I know how you are good at guiding tears.
How long before you shatter? How long

before you admit to drowning, before
the giving-in to siren song, before

my words no longer echo in the caverns you create?
Such cave-ins in my the chambers of my heart

bring only questions. Is this doubt?
Is this fear? Is this longing, or is this the feeling

of unbelonging? The sensation of not-coming-home,
the none-embrace of arms that non-exist…

then, my fingers shall enjoy your every turn, your every twist,
though I risk, in your sharpness, wounds that ache

not only on the surface but deeper, thorough,
building up on every slice and bruise that once before—

Oh, dear, am I nothing but a broken home?

…should your corrugated splines collapse, I must
be there to catch your fall.

— A. P.

Musings on Love for Burnt Toast

Musings on Love for Burnt Toast

I believe you are the fire that could burn an eclipse,
that could bring me to knee-shaking, mouth-watering highs
with only crumbs as bait. How my tongue
anticipates the velvet
texture of your edges: the mellow meshes repulsive, while
the tempered yellow inviting,

it is akin to
a stalker grazing a gazelle just right
that it could run but not so fast
that it would be out of sight — and the hunter
is actually at the gazelle’s mercy;
a prey merely in play.

I believe that butter is as sweet as sweat on skin;
that oh-so-rough skin that housed needles, that I
but tasted once and stupidly let go.
I believe the brightly-lit field melts as quick
as lightning-emotions that start a heart
racing, galloping through that satisfaction, knowing
that all fullness leads to emptiness.

I believe that you are the manifestation of my hunger,
and that in consuming you, in feeding on you, I confess my need.
I am but a waiting fiend, with terrified eyes and lips,
an old soul privy to what these feelings have in store:

too aware to crave,
too weak to resist,
too untrusting to seek help,
too shy to boast,

too discouraged to begin,
too lazy to move,
too proud to admit
that I have ruined toast.

— A. P.

dasmariñas, '08

Dasmarinas, ’08

where the air is thicker,
the atmosphere heavier than what’s carried
by imus and bacoor.
i vividly remember

the smell of sandwich after school
and youthful laughter.
a denser crowd, background projections
in their starch-white uniforms:
the college kids in checkered shirts,
as coffee brews in styrofoam,
the taste of cigarettes on lips,
deceptive hints of mint.

i loved the bridges and highways, too,
my feet in air suspended, my shoes
unworthy of such little shrines.
‘awaken, my bare feet!’ i would whisper,
my meagre soul,
innocent, unbroken, unsold.

when was the last time i have appreciated smiles?
by lips, by eyes…
my eyes liked the purple flower in her shirt, as well,
and she knows i do. i can tell.
the reddest lipstick compliments the spell. i wonder…
must girls as young be wearing so much red?

a million cities overpass the world, and
a million city overpasses dot the world,
but every single one
i walked on have become
a pretty sea of faces, an ocean of chatter—
where one starts and one ends does not matter.

perhaps you have forgotten i once dared walk
into your dark (the streetlamps warmly greeting me).
perhaps you have forgotten i once walked and
held hands with another, your heart explored.

have you forgotten our laughter, i wonder?
were we mere little explosions,
little seconds of delight,
quick to ignite and quick to fizzle?
‘awaken, my bare feet!’ i would whisper,

only to realize

it’s not only your streets
that could hear me no more.

— A. P.



Please, do not pretend that I can read your mind;
I wouldn’t know how you feel,
I wouldn’t know how you’d want to make me feel.
And if you intend to keep me cold,
while your hands are colored heat,
your digits, as sands in the Sahara, then
wouldn’t remind me of thirst as much as the quenching.
Everything drifts closer, my dear, or drifts apart
or drifts away
— even continents. We cannot stay, we cannot linger
in this stasis for too long, not before
this qualia catches up to us,
and my red is not your red anymore.
Please do not pretend that I can hear your thoughts.
Please do not say “talk”
when what you mean is “quarrel.”
Do not say “dinner”
when what you mean is “argue.”
Just say it out right—
do not say “discuss”
when what you mean is “fight.”

There is a fine line between imagined daylight
and obvious night. There are things that you need to tell me.
There are things that need to be expressed, and not
by the flick of your hand, or the strike of your pen, or
your voice in distress running miles and miles of
electrical wires and some undeserved sentences.
I wonder,
where were your kisses when I needed them?
I need your red to be my red, again,
your pain to be my pain, and your joy to be my joy again,
your sorrow to be my sorrow and your delight as my delight again,
I need to know again. I need you to speak, I need you
to acknowledge that I am still there, somewhere
in the depths of your heart. I need to know that you care.
I need to know that I can still find
myself with each breath you release, with each
heaving of your chest, with each strand of your hair I comb in the
frail little bones that used to be my palms,
massaging every twist, every curl, every
intricacy, like the way you navigate me and my soul.
I need to know that I am not insane;
I need to know that I am not out of my mind.
Please do not pretend that I can hear your thoughts,
let me settle, or let me go, either way,
let me know.

— A. P.

take root! ye mighty form

Take Root! Ye Mighty Form

How I adore you, truer than true,
And mere oceans canot speak of this vastness,
And I have hidden evidence in you,
The things that speak of my tongue in honesty
If you accept, gleefully, readily,
Whatever that is left.

And hurts are seas,
Their intrusion as beautiful as the coastlines,
As the skin are sands:
Let me crumble in you. Let me breathe
What deepest depths might you boast that I may drown,
Let the soles of my feet feel what permeates that darkness,
Let fall what might fall, my eyes awash,
As hurts are seas.

Let peel what might peel
Revealing colors of what blindness hid,
Mark into me as ageless wounds inflict the earth;
You prove me frail. Mere words —
Mere words could bring my very composure to shambles;
Mere whispers could stop this heart; it tires,
But not before racing,
Racing, racing, to keep up, it tries
But no, no human was built for this,
Not a creature created to contain this.

And should you ask me if I felt sadness, my love,
What do you think would be my answer?
By your voice shaped to such inquiry, I
Might be driven to dazed silence,
I cannot respond as such,

But I’ve had my years of feeling broken,
And you made for it with touch.

— A. P.



Welcome, friend, come inside and have a salad.
Have you met this person I haven’t met before this event
but pretend that I do in the event I get questioned by
a curious set of eyes curiously set
on passion fruits passionately set by the tables—
oh excuse me, where are my manners, here is the fork,
you can stab the tomato and the pork anywhere you want,
just avoid ruining the cake for now— we have not taken a picture yet.
What are you doing. Do not loiter around. Get around.
Meet at least five people and high-five them and let us toast
to our friendship and our relationships and let us laugh and let us giggle
oh the music is way too loud I cannot hear you
I cannot hear y- oh here comes Kristine! Kristine, Kristine,
Come over here have you met John nice dress why were you late where have you been
Is the traffic still as bad as it did all these years. I remember you from high school,
oh my god we talked a lot and we made so little connection back then and
we did not like each other. I still feel that way but I hide it because I
am a mature human being and I like being fun. Ths wine is great awesome great
This is a great gathering watch me puke and mispl my txts I think Im drnk
Baby call a cab, baby how about all those years we shared you told me you loved me oh my god
This Pokemon GO thing is great let me get this one thing off my chest—I don’t like you, no—
I hated you since the first time we met I
never liked you and the way you always hung around my boyfriend,
well… my ex but that is not the point oh wow this is great food what is the point of living
I thought you loved me let’s take a dive in the pool. I cannot drive.
Please let me go home…

Oh, cake!

— A. P.