In Extremis

I’d leave my corpse in your hands and my name on your skin,

so you’ll never forget that I’d live there

I’ll house you in a graveyard and bury you like roots and coffins,

for you to feel how it’s like to be left alone

With frost and rain, I want to efface your memory

and I’ll teach you my name

it will be the only words your lips will kiss, the only tale you’ll tell

I hope you fall like rain, forced in its downfall, lonely and shapeless

with nowhere to go, nothing to do, but fall

Because when you leave, you used the windows and leave winter to sleep in my bed

and now sunlight is a stranger touching my skin

my body is a map of your lost expeditions but I’m the only one presumed lost and

you, the only surviving member

Now I dream, cloth with the memory of your face

enduring what remains of my withering self


Dear Unexceptional Inhabitant

It’s eight o’clock in this chilly  evening. Even with the windows closed, my room feels like a frozen hell. The red flickers dancing in the fireplace seems to be offering respite from the winter storm but failed. The wind outside was howling like you do when you’re angry except that you’re not howling. Only gnashing your teeth. (See, even the wind reminds me of you.) When I woke up today at six in the morning, I was certain that I’ll spend the rest of the day in this solid bed with a cup of strong coffee, a warm blanket, and a  Twain-book in hand but then I remembered that today your mail may arrive. So my certainty was ruined because of you. With my small feet, I scurried to the mail box in my blue nightwear and the risk I took was not wasted. (Did I just heard you smirk?)

I read and re-read your letter. The first time, reading your idiomatic message. The second time, agreeing with your opinions and at the same time disagreeing with them. And the third time, adoring every words and finding you in them.

And I see, you wanted to know why I am so punctilious when it comes to my affection. And why I chose you, out of all the sly foxes out there. Well, I can always resist my feelings but I am absolute that it will do you no good. Am I right? Well, let me tell you a story and I hope you find answers to your inquisitions.

In this seemingly vast universe, there was this woman who created her own world. For centuries, astronomers and philosophers wondered how her solar system and its planets came to be. They have seen the end result of the planet formation. They have looked at the general image she represented. They perceived the iceberg afloat her waters which is only 10% of the whole of its size. Even with the knowledge gained about her solar system, they were left to wonder, are there other planetary systems out there, and did they form like hers?

For years, they have studied the mysteries of her world, but they have only gone as far as reason would take them. But what they didn’t know is that sometimes reason cannot even explain itself. And there are things which even reason cannot comprehend.

But there was this average occupant. Not an astronomer, or a philosopher. Just an unexceptional inhabitant. This occupant did not only look at the end result, but at the process of formation itself. Instead of accepting the common image, he studied the particular details that made her world. Even though he knew that he cannot possibly determine the depth of the iceberg, he goes beyond the 10% of what is observable and explore what’s underneath the surface. He wondered and still is wondering about her world but he was sure of one thing–That no other planetary systems out there form like hers.

He has studied the mysteries of her world by going beyond reason. There were times when he scratched his head, crossed his eyebrows, and gnashed his teeth because he was unable to fathom her world. The woman once asked him why he never gave up and he gave her the answer she never knew she’d hear. Because for him, she is the mystery he would never be able to fully understand, but will love to live with.

That’s the story. Did I answer your question? I hope I do. Did you notice that I never answered your last letter about man and woman’s equality? I’m feeling generous today to not argue with you about that matter. But in my next letter, I will. Be patient, my dear. Now, I’ll leave my pen in this wooden table because darling, my hands are numb from the cold. I just wanna lie in bed and hear your sweet lullabies through your fancy words. Goodnight my uninvited occupant.




Ten seconds. I’ve been staring at her for ten seconds without blinking.

“I might melt if you keep gazing.”

Ashley said while trying so hard not to meet me in the eye. She held an old white book between her fragile hands. ‘One Rainbow at the Duration’ was written on the book cover.

“You won’t,” I said. “If that’s possible, you should have melted a long time ago.”

She raised the book up to her face. Just like a country setting up defense to hide its most priceless possession.

Thirty inches, I estimated, is the space between us. Thirty inches? That’s too big for a measure. The library is too quiet for my perky thoughts. This wonky table between us is not helping either.

“What’s the book about?” I asked.



“I never knew you’re interested in books.” She teased.

I’m only interested in the books you read, I wanted to say.

I crossed my hands and leaned at the table. Her freckles are more noticeable, her milk chocolate eyes more striking, her hair’s scent more detected. Perfect. I leaned a little closer.

“Tell me about it.” I urged.

“It tells of a bittersweet romance between an American soldier and a Flipina during America’s unending fight for democratic principles. It’s war between countries. And love.” She explained.

War and Love. Ironic. I nod in understanding.

“So how does it end?”

“I’m not even close to the ending. I’m in the middle, you see. But the beginning’s a nice ride.” She smiled.

She continued reading the book. She looked so drowned and absorbed like she’s living 200 years before today engaged in the bloody peak during World War II.

“Why do you read books like that?” I asked.

She eyed me as if asking.

“I mean, why don’t you read books like everybody reads like John Gree–”

“I’m not everybody, Elis.”

There, she does it again. Firing bullets in my heart that heal rather than destroy. Ash and her smart mouth, I surrender to it. Elis, a greek warrior in Trojan war, will despise me knowing I, a bearer of his great name, accepted defeat.

“Yes. You’re not.”

I looked at her in astonishment.

She raised the book to hide her face again but I caught a glimpse of the dimple peering in her left cheek. The country has a hole in its defense.

“Don’t hide your smile.” I uttered.

She put down the book, crossed her hands and lean at the table.

“How sure are you that I smiled?” She grins.

I know I should be ready for endless questions. That grin should annoy me but it does the opposite. I’m up for this war.

“Because I saw it.”

“How did you see it?

“Because I have eyes.”

“You do?”

“Yeah, I feel them.”

How do you feel them?”

“I have senses.”

“Why do you have senses?”

“Because I am human.”

“How are you a human?”

“Don’t you believe I’m human?” I asked back.

“Not unless you prove to me you are.” She teased.

I smirked. I lean much more closer. One inch, I estimated, is the space between our faces. Five seconds. She was shocked. I, too. She was red. Thank God, I’m not capable of that.

She pulled back and looked around her.

She whispered to me ” Why did you do that? Now, people are staring.”

“You said prove to you and I just did.” I defended.

She sighed. “So teasing me and leaning closer makes you human?”

“No,” I began. “But when I leaned closer, I felt it. The cells in my body that randomly collides with each other. My breaths racing with each other to come out. And whatever this thing is throbbing in my left chest behind the ribcage, It’s throbbing in an extremely odd way. I feel alive. And that makes me human.” She’s been staring at me for twenty seconds successfully breaking human rules by hindering involuntary blinking.

“I might melt if you keep staring.” I said.

She laughed in a breathy, gleeful way. And the unending fight is now ended. The country’s defense was destroyed. Its most treasured possession revealed.

She smiled.

“That’s impossible. I wonder why you haven’t melted a long time ago.”

Poem for a Mother

Perhaps I will never know

How you cradle me in your arms when I was little

Perhaps I won’t always remember

How your eyebrows crossed when I sometimes rebel

Perhaps I will not understand

Why you get into serious fights with a girl who just teases me

Perhaps I can never comprehend why

When I wanted to swim farther, you quickly reached for me.

But likewise, you’ll never know

That I constantly asked God to guide when you’re afar

Yes, you won’t always see

That I appreciate your settling for bread crumbs to buy me a nutella jar

Also, you’ll never hear

My loud mind singing you songs of adoration

And truly, you’ll never think

But I do sleep late at night waiting for you to come home from your Saturday devotion.

And Mom, I’m not good with words when they were spoken.

That’s why I settle for the best I can do — that’s why this one’s written.

I know you’ll try hard even if you’re lost in translation to understand my language

Every out-of-the-blue thing you do for me, for us, is a beautiful outrage.

This mushy, goofy things, some might call it lame.

But I’ll forever be proud I wrote this

For you I’ll take the blame.

And when my words fail me when I grow old,

Remember that you are my ‘Space Shuttle’ ride.

You’re crazy, insane, terrifying and bold.

And I’m awfully mad because I gladly tried.


At times, you asked me why I’m  quiet, tight-lipped.

Well, I’m not quiet.

My mind is roaring and booming thoughts of you and I’m terrified that my lips might betray me and it might tell you how much I adore you.

Like when I look into your brown eyes, I see the North Star.

It makes me believe that whenever I looked into your eyes, I could find my way out of the tangled woods and back to safety.

Like when your cold face etched a smile, my insides are bursting, erupting and colliding over and over and It makes me wonder why I’m still breathing and why I’m still alive.

And when your warm hands caress my cheeks, I’m scared you might scorched because my face is burning like hell and I never thought I’d love hell that much.

And when your gorgeous eyes, your beaming lips, and your soft hands do their things at the same time,

I felt like I’m a million times more beautiful than Helen of Troy.

And Greece’s golden age is just a petty history.

For you are the greatest history never told.

I just hope you never, ever asked me if I love you.

Because I might I say I do and regret it later for It’s an understatement of how I felt for you.


I keep crossing out word, lines, whole passages

until nothing is left

except  you

I keep deleting names, dates, events and images

until nothing stands out

except  you

I am singing the songs, dancing the beats, painting the pictures

that would remind myself

of  you

I am furnishing my thoughts, putting them together

creating a poem out of loose words

to portray the feelings I have

for  you

But I knew that everyone will read this,

and everyone will notice,

everyone will know

except  you

Emmy Claire and Love

Emmy Claire is punctilious when it comes to gifts and paintings. Just like how she’s punctilious when it comes to love.

Emmy Claire doesn’t fall in love with looks for like the season, it changes. She doesn’t care if your hands are too big or too small. Or too rough or too sweaty.  She won’t mind your freckles. She’ll think they make you lovely. She doesn’t really wish for hard muscular arms and six-packed abs. Because seriously, She just needs a warm soul.

Emmy won’t mind how round, almond, droopy or headed your eyes are. She’ll see through them. Even if your nose is turned-up or unsymmetrical, in anyway, she’ll still kiss them. Your lips – they may be large and full, sharp, small or uneven, oh it doesn’t bother her. It’s what comes out in them that do.

Your chest may be hairy, or your thighs too short. But do not worry, Emmy won’t look at them the same way anymore when she falls in love with you.

And the thing is, what really makes her heart swell and her soul melt is How you want to know her better everyday. To know her dreams, to discover her fears, to reach within her soul. How you love her passion, respect her opinions, and support her talents. Somebody who makes her grow, wants her to be happy and pushes her to be better. Emmy wants somebody who’ll truly, deeply listen when they asked about her day. She finds it charming when a man won’t offer solutions when she’s having a rough time, but Instead will hug her and tell her that everything’s gonna be okay.

Emmy doesn’t need you to always be there, because she wants you to have your own life like she has hers. She doesn’t need you to give her your world because she already has her own.

Emmy won’t ask you to change. Because she believes people don’t really change. She’ll accept you for who you are, flaws, weaknesses and all. “Perfection is imperfection“. That’s what she said.

An attractively-wrapped-gift is not attractive until she sees what’s inside it. She’s extremely attentive to details. Her own definition of detail. Her eyes are not meant to see the painting itself,  It’s made to see what lies beyond it. She’s not into how the painting looks, she’s into what it’s made of. Emmy Claire is punctilious when it comes to gifts and paintings. Just like how she’s punctilious when it comes to love.

That’s how she is. And how she will be. That’s Emmy Claire and Love.