My tears have not yet dried
When I thought of writing this poem
I still feel something warm in my eyelids
Something cold in my heart
I still feel foolishly vulnerable
To all the cheats of the world—
How it steals candy from you when you were a kid
How it denies you a father-mother-children photograph
How it hides from you that single piece you desperately need
To complete the puzzle you’ve been longing to complete
It’s funny how even though you never have completed the picture
You clearly see the whole scene
As if nothing was missing

Now you search your home like NBI
Just to find what will accurately complete your art
Go to corners and drawers you never knew existed
Open closets or cabinets you wish have remained closed
Review memories you wish have never happened
Till you decide you like the taste of tears
And the feel of it on your now damp eyelashes
And the fact that it shits your face
And you like the fact that no matter how long you stay at the fan
Your tears won’t dry

Don’t expect tears to come out cold
Because you’re not a refrigerator
Which allows food to survive for days
No, emotions rot no matter how frozen you keep them
Inside you are not ice and stones
Sometimes you pretend to but you’ve not been numb
You’ve not been indifferent all along
You care a lot
There are times when you get a mirror just to see
How you look when you cry

There are times when you just close your eyes
And sense the motion of your tears
Trace where your tears are going
And decipher what letters they form on your cheeks
Do they spell joy
Do they spell sorrow
Do they draw names of people who’ve hurt you,
Names of people who’ve taken care of you
Shadows of those you lost along the way
Faces of people who’ve never let go of your hand
And touch your face every time you cry
Not to wipe your tears out
But to feel the moisture in their hands
So they can understand much better

If tears were not transparent,
Our faces would’ve been impressionistic canvass
Had various blurred hues, hazy tones,
And crazy overwrites of colors over colors
Pains over pains
Joys over joys

Tears are brilliantly transparent
For us to know that no matter how much you cried
You would still be clear to face tomorrow, unblemished
As pure as the first day you were born
Before this life messes you up
And shatters glasses in front of you close enough for the shards to harm you
Life punches you in the nose and waits till you bleed
So it can take away all the tissues you need to wipe away your blood
All the Band-Aids you use to cover the cut in your finger
It will wait till tears are diffused between your eyes
And they flow like a broken faucet
But no matter how long it goes pouring
The sink can flash the water,
Drain it and make room for more
Till you decide to repair the faucet
So you can save water even just for a while

After letting out a lot from your chest
It feels like it is much fuller
And my ribcage is where a bird flew out from



listen to spoken word here:

What I Wouldn’t Call My Mother

If I should call my Mother a name,
It wouldn’t be Mommy
It would be Circle M because in Geometry class I was told
That a circle has an infinite number of points
Like Mother who doesn’t run out of points
Every time she doesn’t allow my choices
Or every time she thinks I keep on forgetting her advice
Or when we have opposing views about makeup and Sunday masses
And things like wearing fitted tops or short skirts
Points that sometimes just pass through my ears without thought
Whereas not a single one of my stories has not been engraved in her mind
There are times when I’ve already forgotten a heartbreak and moved on
But she hasn’t because my pain is not even half her pain

I wouldn’t call my Mother a Doctor
Because she does not treat my wounds
In fact, she lets me be wounded and comfortably watch how I treat them
No, it’s not the cut on my finger or the bruise on my knee
When I would cry after tripping or falling, she would smile
Knowing that I just realized how important it is to be careful
And watch things that may hurt you
Including your own foot which stepped on the cape you wore while playing Superhero

And no, I wouldn’t call my Mom a Superhero
Because she doesn’t save me
She won’t fight my battles for me
She always says I should face my own ghosts
I should lift my own luggage, dispose of my own trash,
Wash my own underwear
She is not a superhero
She doesn’t fly
She can just walk, crawl, carrying us in her back all along
Just to fill in our cups
Dragging her feet with worn-out slippers but wouldn’t stop
Until we reach the finish line

But even then I wouldn’t call my Mother a Marathon Finisher
Because her race never ends
She is there until the time I would tie the knot
She would tie my own gown for me
Like how she would lace my shoes when I was still too small
To figure out how to secure my feet
Even now, after more than two decades of existence,
I still haven’t figured that out
Or will I ever do

My Mother would say yes when my answer is no
And most of us, we don’t believe that mothers know best
Because she doesn’t even know how to turn on the WiFi settings on her phone
Or how to sign in her Facebook account
But hear this:
You should listen to your Mother not because she’s always right,
But because she has more experiences of being wrong

Mother, you are the best guide
But I wouldn’t call you a star because stars lie
Their light has left them long before it reaches my eyes
A shine that can’t be faker, dead stars, but you never are
You never fail to amaze me with the glow of your natural beauty
Those freckles and lines which serve as maps of places you’ve been
Marks that tell me it has not been a walk in the park raising me on this earth
But Mother, I wouldn’t call you a candle
Because your flame doesn’t die
And I don’t want to throw away all your sacrifices
Like how one throws away the melted wax
You are not a candle because your light is much bigger than that
Even in blackout, I feel safe
And in a storm, I feel warm

But Mother, I wouldn’t call you a blanket
You’ve done a lot for me and I don’t want you to be protecting me
While exposing your back to the cold
Let me be your blanket and close my arms around you this time
While my ears are open to hear your cries I know you don’t want me to hear
Because you want to be a pillar of success
But Mother I wouldn’t call you weak
You can cry now
For all the times you would prick your finger with your needles
When altering my clothes
For all the times you would lack sleep because you watch me at night
And would wake up early the next day because you want to buy me bread
For all the times you would teach me how to look with my eyes, not my mouth
But I would refuse to listen
For all the times I would hurt you and would never apologize
Cry now
I’ll hug you tighter


Listen to spoken word here:


Originality is an illusion
Almost impossible
In this world where experience
Is something everybody meets and greets
Like an author whose work is more popular
Than the names of Uranus’s moons
Like that everyday travel buddy
Whose life to you has been a 24/7 open book
Because you do nothing but listen to her stories

Originality is an illusion
Almost impossible
In this world where style
Is a choice and choice is what everyone makes
And choice comes from options
Which means forever having that possibility
That someone else picks the same one as yours

Originality is an illusion
Almost impossible
In this world where television
Is a regular thing
And people sit in front of it
Day and night
Longer than the time
A mother spends to watch her baby sleep,
Watching the same things over and over again
With or without them knowing it

Originality is an illusion
Almost impossible
In this world where music is universal
And music artists are distinct and indistinct
At the same time
Like melodies or lyrics you think you’ve heard somewhere
It’s natural

It’s natural that even mistakes
are never original
You repeat them a hundred times over
Despite knowing repercussions,
Yes despite suffering repercussions

Your story
If you haven’t written it,
Somebody else has written it for you
Maybe he or she is from across the planet
Or just the one sitting beside you on your couch
A good old friend
Or a complete stranger
Your story
It’s never original
Somebody else has had it
A better or a worse story
And you
Must have also written stories
Of someone you haven’t met
Or of someone you will spend the rest of your life with

It’s not at all bad
This impossibility reminds us
How miraculous minds are,
How mysterious this life is,
And Why for the nth time you read your favorite book,
You still find yourself falling in love

A Quick Note in a May Night

Lately, I’ve been writing songs and it’s been magical. I’ve always been a fan of music but these summer days have made me believe there’s more I haven’t witnessed. I’ve also been a fan of poetry and it’s cool to experience both music and poetry at the same time when composing a song. It’s amazing you get to do two things you love to do at the same time. Or maybe I’m wrong. I get to do a million little things at the same time. Love. Hate. Dream. Talk to a special person in the other side of the universe. Jump. Run. Paint. Don’t do anything. Be crazy. Stay crazy. Go on a journey. Fight monsters. Tell someone I love him for the first time. Be blessed. Count stars. Smile.

Every lyric you write is you, and the melody you create is you, and the guitar is you, and the song is just you. I consider writing songs one of the highest forms of art and indeed one of my favorites.

20150504_084058I am thankful to the people who inspire me to create music, people who create music with me, and people who believe in my music.

Villain Instead

I had saved millions
But no, never call me hero
Because it was thoughts I saved
I had let them be miserably safe in the castle
When they should’ve been battle-scarred
In this war ground of words
Fighting for their death
So they could be buried deeply
Into their reader