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Wonderfully weird 美 HR guy. Musician. Writer. https://tinyurl.com/y9hnfsw4

Every generation has an artifact that can be attributed to them. The sixties kids banner the counterculture through music; the seventies had their fashion. The eighties started the digital revolution, with the rise of technological powers in the far east making electronic appliances cheaper and more mainstream. Nineties kids like me received the initial boon of this boom: it is during our time when nearly all chores were made automatic.

With this technological transformation also came a change in how we consumed media and enjoyed ourselves. One of these is gaming. I harken back happily to my youth when an…


Isang araw ay sisibol muli ako at yayabong, at sana sa panahong iyo’y magbalik ka upang sumilong sa aking lilim.

(PHOTO | AVEL CHUKLANOV)

Matagal na rin kitang kinukubli.

Natatandaan ko noong bata ka pa. Mahilig kang makipaglaro ng tagu-tagoan sa mga pinsan mo tuwing nagagawi sila sa tahanan natin. Hindi man sing-gara ng mga tahanan nila sa Maynila ang bahay natin, matibay naman ito. Maipagmamalaki ko na dahil gawa sa aking punong-kahoy ang mga haligi at pundasyon, hindi ito madaling matitinag ng kung ano mang peste o sakuna. Matibay ata ang narra!

Noong una tayong magkita, batid ko ang pagkamangha sa mga mata mo; hindi naman kita masisisi. Maganda ang pagkakalilok sa akin. Ang mga kurba’t disenyo sa aking mga pintuan ay wangis…


Ang totoong pagsamba ay wala sa tahanan ng Ama.

(PHOTO | AARON BURDEN)

Sa saliw ng tunog-latang gitara
at kalansing ng barya
umaawit na patawarin
mula sa makamundong pagkakasala

Sa bawat palakpak at indak
at wikang di-tiyak
hintaying diwa’y lumipad
sa mga bathalang huwad

Sa harap ng mga banal na istatwa
Mamutawi ng mga salitang kakatwâ
nang sapian ng espiritung banal
Diyos ng mga hangal

Kapatid, kailan ka ba makalalaya
sa tanikala ng kasampung
pananampalataya?

Tuloy ang ngawngaw ukol
sa huling paghuhukom
ngunit sa pagkitil sa
karaptang-pangtao’y tikom
na tila bang pinutulan ng dila

Hamo na, ipikit mo na ang iyong mata
bilang ika’y bulag naman na —
Kapatid, ang totoong pagsamba
ay wala sa…


Like any god, it seemed he wanted my faith too, after all.

(PHOTO | JOSEP CASTELLS)

Meet me where the lightning strikes twice.

This, among other strange things, was what he told me before he disappeared off the face of the earth.

In retrospect, I thought he would be one of the multitudes of people who ghosted me. That is how it was in the dating app world anyway, and I always felt like an outsider. I, the starry-eyed hopeless romantic, lost in the sea of one-night standing, chiseled abs-having Adonises, just living for the moment.

Even among them, he was different.

A few months ago while swiping on Tinder, I came across Thor. That was…


counting days until I finally see the drops of August rain

(PHOTO | GEETANJAL KHANNA)

Hey April, cruel mistress, you
just had to come and play
We were happy one time, too
’til you took him away

Hey April, in your niceties
did you ever think of me?
I’m a prisoner of this empty shell
now that you’ve set him free

Cold summer nights by my lonesome
Got myself drunk in this pain
Counting days until I finally see
the drops of August rain

to wash away my sorrow
that I’ll no longer pretend
That with his passing, my love
for him will ever…


Aren’t you glad, my love, in our little make-believe?

(PHOTO | CHERRY LAITHANG)

On bare feet and naked soles
You took my hand in earnest
as you wrap your arms around mine
a moment in time —
to be remembered forever.

My naïve lips against your knowing kiss
never knowing that all we had was this
moment to create the wedding we never had
Aren’t you glad, my love
in our little make-believe?

In the tune of white noise, we swayed
our broken bodies, slow dancing
in silence. Your heart a lonely metronome
telling me “I am home”
I am home, too.

How I…


I guess that is why this grief, while devastating, felt familiar. I have been holding it, cultivating it as early as then, waiting for its rightful time to bloom.

[IMAGE: UNSPLASH/LUC DOBIGEON]

My love,

Today, we celebrate the forty days since you have left us.

It might be weird for most to hear that people celebrate someone’s passing. But all we are celebrating is the depth of our gratitude that you are no longer in pain, and our belief that after today, you will finally be free to join the Great Beyond.

In truth, I feel like it would be difficult for me…


for Toffee

(PHOTO | MARIUS CARLOS, JR.)

Parting with you is not like
when the sun says good night
for even the moon gives way to
a morning after

It is not when the sea touches shore
for even if the waters blanket the
shell and sand
They come back once more

Parting with you is like
losing my preferred hand
That I need to relearn
everything I know

Losing you is like going blind
For my eyes only know your beauty
Without your colors
all I see is gray

Like fallen leaves
that can no longer join their tree
You have departed,
and won’t go back to me…


for Toffee

(PHOTO | VICTORIA STRUKOVSKAYA)

The day you go away
the songbirds will no longer sing
for your life was music
And there is only silence after

The day you leave
the sun will hide in grief
For your soul was the starry sky
and without you there is no light

The day you die
is when my Life will hold no meaning
Because you are me, and I am you
We are one, my darling

The day will come to pass
that I will no longer hear your voice in this earth.

But the songbirds will sing about you
And the love we shared…


for Toffee

(PHOTO | JAY-AR PALOMA)

I love you in sickness
holding hands that are too hot
too cold

Sleepless nights, awakened by
a symphony of coughs
listless moans caused by stomach in knots
Hyperacidity in overdrive

Yet you are still beautiful, my dear
with your fevered brow and
the cracked skin on your lips,
rough against mine

Your body, twice I can wrap my
arm around, feeling all fragile bones,
as strong as they are brittle
I hold you against me as you shiver

Because the air might be too hot
Or too cold
Your heart cannot tell the difference anymore;
And all that stands…

Jayz Paloma

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