nimbus

in a few minutes
it will come
crashing down upon us,
heaving on us
a million sighs
and exhalations,
blurring the borders
between shapes,
dissolving all sense
of distance,
coalescing colors
into a uniform shade
of gray.

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faith

because, in the end,
we can never
imagine what awaits —
it is asking a fish
to dream
of interstellar flight —
and all the colors
wrought by our
triumphs and tragedies
are as limited
as visible light
when there exists
beyond the spectrum
waves and particles
unperceived,
frolicking
in every breadth
of the universe,
the known
and unknown.

and so we ask that you show us.
cause us to discern, even
a sliver of the sublime,
that we may trade
the light that we see
for all that we cannot see

Soliloquy

This will most likely
get ignored
but I’ll do it anyway:

I will make silly
topiaries out of
the trees lining
the boulevard, run
a brush of blue
paint on the walls
of the government offices,
the hospitals,
the universities,
bus station,
and convenience stores,
light up fireworks
that burst in dizzying
fractals everytime
I wake up,
eat my meals,
or entertain
an idea
in my brain.

Nevermind, that
to you, the topiaries
appear as your garden-variety
trees, the paint
is transparent
and the fireworks
non-existent.

Metamorphosis

We are all waiting,
our voices hushed,
our breaths steadied,
our eyes alert
for that moment
when all shall be shed:
these trappings
that bear us down
with gravity
as immense as
darkness, as ancient
as the time
we ambitioned,
in folly, to be like you.

We have been straining
in vestures once
sullied, now cleansed,
eager, exhilarating
for this: when
all shall be light
all shall be air
all shall truly
be like you

Silence

And there was silence.

And in that span, I saw
an ache, like that from
a barb lodged deeply
in the flesh. On good days,
you forget,
as if tissues
and sinews have knit
themselves around it,
now, a part of you
you cannot isolate.
On bad days, it howls,
relentless through the hours,
demanding to be felt,
denying you some rest,
throbbing with ghosts
and words both
sought and unsaid.
There was nothing
I could do, but sit
and share
in your silence.

that sinking feeling

those times when
you see / hear
something and your heart
s
i
n
k
s

(and no, I don’t mean
about those times when
it plunges to abyssal
depths, to wallow
in light-deprived waters
among the tube worms
and blind crustaceans)

those times when
it sinks a few feet
only to bob
up to the surface
and drift
through the rest
of the day

Icarus

we are always
building our empires
mounting levels
upon levels
of concrete,
steel, glass,
words,
volumes, cash,
perspiration,
tears, hearts,
all for a chance
to steal
that holy fire,
that sacred flame
from the stars

but our towers
could never scale
the lightyears,
the parsecs,
the red shifts
but it reaches us,
heat, from those stars
traversing
the red shifts,
the parsecs,
the lightyears
and burning
the levels
upon levels
of hearts, tears,
perspiration,
cash, volumes,
words, glass,
steel and concrete:
the empires we build
again

and again

and again

pa(g)asa

nag-atang
nagpaabot
ug maayong balita

naghulat
sa mga eskina
kay basin diay
matimingan
ang pag-abot

ug kung makaplagan
sundon
gukdon
maski pinakagamay
nga timailhan,
hungihong
sa hangin,
istoryang
nakatago
sa abog
sa dalan,
nagkatibulaag
sa imong
mga lakang

halo

tonight
she wears her crown
iridescent and cold
a massive frame
around her lonely head.

tomorrow
she’ll cast it down
diaphanous and cold
a volley of glass
to drown
the worlds below.

Kullat Nunu

At first I thought a rat did it.

I found out one morning that my passport, which I carefully kept in one of my bedroom drawers, was damp. I suspected some rat must have found its way inside and pissed on my passport. Gross. Against my better judgment, however, I took a sniff of the slightly moist passport, well aware that leptospirosis is often transmitted through rat urine. I’ve read in the news of a leptospirosis outbreak after a terrible flood. The survivors likely caught the disease after wading in floodwaters contaminated with rat urine. Not sure if you can acquire leptospirosis through inhalation though but leptospirosis or no, sniffing the still damp passport, I admit, was disgusting. I did it anyway to confirm my suspicion.

The passport smelled fishy. Like a day at the beach long past. Or more precisely, like some seaweed or seahorse you discover in the pocket of your swim shorts after a day at the beach. Odd.

******

“Once in a few years, a watery planet orbiting around Kullat Nunu would overlap with ours,” my grandma once told me while we were having a dinner of spaghetti bolognese one evening. She spoke as if she was reciting some fact, like the shape of the Earth is an oblate spheroid. Or that a molecule of water has two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen.

“And how, exactly, does that happen?”

“Oh, I don’t know.” She grabbed a table napkin and smeared one of its edges with a drop of tomato sauce. “Suppose this is our world…” She, then, marked the opposite edge. “…and this is that world. A fold in the space-time occurs thus bringing both worlds together,” she explained, folding the napkin in half and bringing both edges together.

I looked at her and smiled. I mean, how would you react to a statement like that? My grandma is well advanced in years and that strange rambling was probably brought about by dementia or somesuch.

******

I dreamed of a song. It was a beautiful song yet alien. The words, incoherent. It was as if it was both there and not there at the same time. As the song went on, it became more sibilant until I was jolted out of sleep by the sound of water trickling from inside my room. I got out of bed and realized that a puddle was forming on the floor. With haste, I turned the lights on and, to my bewilderment, saw that water was pouring out from one of my drawers. I pulled the drawer open and as I did so, there was a massive gush of cold, dark, briny water. My room was completely submerged in a matter of seconds.

Panic rising, I swam towards the door and tried to yank it open but it wouldn’t budge under the weight of all that water. I grabbed a chair and attempted to break the glass windows but it wasn’t of any use either.

This couldn’t possibly be happening, I thought. This couldn’t possibly be happening! I tried to convince myself that it was a dream. That I would soon wake up, sweating yet safe in my bed. But I was almost out of breath and in desperation, I searched for any way out.

Then, I heard the song once again. That otherworldly song. And this time, for some reasons, I understood. It spoke of a distant world in blue, a world all enveloped in water. It spoke of schools of bioluminescent creatures, both great and small, too strange and splendid for me to imagine. It spoke of civilizations rising and falling in the murky depths.

I closed my eyes as I remained floating, my lungs filling with water, and my mind filling with that siren song…