Monday, July 18, 2011

Anatomy of a story, or: The Little I Know About Women

by Ewong.
for the girl across the big room.

Strangeness springs from hospital hours, among first-time residents gone mad from illness, of affairs both of the heart and gut. It was the final week of summer.

Now rains have come, and rains have gone, and summer seems to have claimed upon the earth and its drenched-souled men again. A certain change has filled up the uncertain emptiness, or returned to the old feelings apparently long gone: a change for the better, the elders would say -- but who really knows what's even good?

Someone looks up the book of words and discovers this relationship disparity between a pair -- a lover can be a friend, but the latter can't necessarily stand for the former. Some book, indeed. It is definitely not the dick-tionary. Let me read (it/you) further.

Cut to:

Her sister a few weeks ago she tutored about the reproductive system -- apparently the first topic in grade 5 science class. In her best attempt at sounding clinical, and quelling all malice and awkwardness pressed by such unnerving anatomical concepts, and with the textbook and internet both open, she taught her the mechanisms behind human organs called penis, vagina, scrotum, testes, and fallopian tubes. It was torture, for both of them. There were daunting terms like 'fertilization' and 'menarche.' At the end of her teaching, the fifth-grader was still confused as to who possesses the 'vas deferens,' man or woman? There is a vast difference. But she, the younger one, doesn't need to understand it all now.

Even the older one has not fathom much of it yet.

Fact: The human circulatory system is a better subject. And much more romantic.

Dissolve to:

Something Theatre proudly presents "The Indefinite Pronouns"

Someone wrote somebody a poem. Or poems. Someone likes somebody. Someone, perhaps, is already in love with somebody. Someone fears. Somebody feels. Someone feels something else, though -- like that of being stalked. Somebody hopes for something else. She says, or does. He says, or does:

a) Too much?
b) Too little?
c) Too soon?
d) Too late?

Sometimes someone thinks that somebody is onto something.

Music: Summertime, and the livin' is easy.*

Summer, it feels like summer all over again. Summer, o how it rhymes with forever, but these are words not fit for a beautiful poem, in a beautiful book of beautiful poems that is published in some other beautiful world.

One of these days, someone is going to have his or her heart broken. Or more likely, both of them, only over some other someones. Characters from different books, they are. Or different volumes of the same set of books. Like encyclopedia, a kind of literature which sounds like a dream from the ancient times. But now, encyclopedia that comes back to life -- but in digital format.

Cut back to:

Hospital hours. She will never forget how her own heart beat ever so slowly in her last days in the room. She feared. She felt. As if for the first time. She did not die, of course, but something else died, and something else was reborn. And he, the object of her subtle affection, was somewhere else. In another hospital. In another sense of words, in the vocabulary of the cyclically ill and broken.

There are three characters in this story set in summer that's not really summer. Or shall we better call it the rainy season without the rains?

Metaphor by morphology: Rains are like tears. I hope no one of these characters has cried, or is crying, over the other yet. That would be (too much/too early) a drama.

I would write them in the same book. One that does not have entries (yet) for fallopians or androgens. If I scanned the pages, I would chance upon this word: kiss. But this is like a drunken part of speech. As a back-story, I would write that it was a very short instant, void of any romance or anything like that, certainly one that doesn't count as a 'kiss.' Simply a casual touch between a man and a woman. And this is neither a good time to mention the word 'lust.' Let me annotate on this for revision:

"a very brief, prurient encounter."

She feels that they are on the same page. It's been awhile since she felt like this. She raises her hands up against the bright, blinding incandescent light to count her fingers. She reckons one hand is enough for her counting. Nevertheless, she thinks that he, the present object of her subtle affection, was, or would be, in a significant non-physics-sort of movement:

a) moving closer?
b) feeling weightless?
c) orbiting toward a center?
d) falling a freefall?

Music: We could have been so good together, we could have lived this dance forever.*

There are also some minor characters that, if I may bravely claim so, could be reminiscent of Francois Ozon's brilliant film 8 Femmes, adapted from a play. All the women there loved the man, but who "killed" him?

I have not written a poem for a long time now. (This statement could serve as a clue.) Is it time for me to learn the play? (This statement is not pun-ny at all.)

I haven't read a book lately either. I haven't read much at all. I fear that I can no longer read well. I've been misreading words lately. I've been misreading people too. I could be misreading myself. I need to bring out the dictionary and chew the pages off, from A to Z.

Montage during the internal monologue (voice-over) of a deaf-mute:

Fiction: He would have killed the 8 women, if he had the chance. But that wouldn't be a musical comedy-slash-mystery-thriller anymore. That would be a massacre of hearts.

Art: And then the image of hands. Hands.

Music: My hands are [not] small, I know, but they're not yours, they are my own.*

Melodrama: But you can hold one of mine now.

(...for the other is doing the writing.)

He is on his way to the bookstore to look for this best-selling title published in some other world: Complete Idiot's Guide to End Quickly the Falling Slowly.

He would read it, and then hand it to her as a gift to commemorate their end of friendship.

Excerpt from the preface of a book that must have been either poetry or biology: "It's amazing how testicles and fallopian tubes are so alike and different at the same time. Both are in pairs. Both secrete the gametes. Both have reference to what are called 'eggs.' But the former is outside, exposed to the harsh world, while the latter is sheltered deep inside, lonely and longing. And that is why nature compels them to always meet halfway."

She (from outside, looking in) cannot remember if there was any other male character in Ozon's film. But in this other story, she (from inside, looking out) realizes that there is another man.

Caption of a photo from a book from another world: If (you/he) were an egg, I would break (you/him) into a bowl of hot Soup no. 5.**

And the plot suddenly becomes culinary.

There is no end to this story.

*Lyrics quoted are from the songs "Summertime," "Careless Whisper," and "Hands."
**For the non-Filipino readers, Soup no. 5 is a special dish with cow testicles, sometimes penis, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Food for the taught

by Ewong

What I've been cookin' up and fillin' my tummy with lately:

Saucy spaghetti, meatless but with lots of parmesan

Payless Pancit Shanghai Oriental flavor with chili added

Canned-Laing Sandwich

Saucy spaghetti with diced tomatoes and dila-sausage

Lucky Me Pancit Canton chili-mansi with more chili

You see, no rice for me during weekdays. And I usually eat just sandwiches at work. So my dear friends, stop worrying that I'm sick or that I'm in dire poverty, haha.

Thanks to my housemates for the amazing, un-sung ingredients and left-overs in the kitchen (and the sleeping booze in the fridge, too).

Which reminds me, I need to buy basil soon.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quatre Saisons

by Ewong

There's the drink:

There's the music:

And another music:

And there's those crazy artful stuff I was making then:

Created April 2

March 19

March 5

March 12It's time to finally post them.

For a new season has begun.

Friday, June 3, 2011


by Ewong

*like most unpublished poems i've been posting lately, this one was written in the summer of 2010, when love was high and lust was long... and love was right and lust was wrong...

Friday, May 27, 2011


by Ewong

I take back what I said in my last blog post. Or rather, I am keeping what I said before: summer had been cruel to me. I got hospitalised early this month (for the first time ever), puked my guts out and subsisted on dextrose for four days. A week later, my very sick cousin died. She'd been sick a very long time: complications from the thyroid storm which killed her unborn baby months before, and then malnutrition. A few days before she passed, she told my mum, pointing to somewhere in her hospital room, that she was seeing Jesus in bright light... Jesus, she was certain, and someone she called "S." Of course, my mum told my cousin to stay with the light, go with Jesus. And she did eventually.

And no one must go with "S." Whoever he or she was.

For the next few days, relatives arrived for her wake. Relatives who don't live in the same town (she and her daughter, my aunt, uncle, and my other cousins just lived in a house a few blocks--a tricycle ride--away from ours). Yes, those whom we only see when a kin has died. I'm not close to most of my relatives, so I wasn't really excited to see them. Sometimes I think, and funny it is, really, that the families of my clan are in some sort of a contest of who gets to have the saddest, most MMK-worthy story. This cousin of mine tried to hide her pregnancy from her strict father for the longest time, and they lived under just one roof. She had goiter, hence her pregnancy was downright delicate, but she never went to see an endocrinologist or an ob/gyn. Before this baby, she already had a teenage daughter, with a man who just disappeared before the girl was born. Her new husband, the father of her dead baby, abandoned her after giving birth--

or is it "giving death"?

My own family was in strong competition a few years back. When my dad died tragically, treated like an animal, while my mum couldn't even go to her own husband's funeral, and we, their kids, had to fend for ourselves...

So you could say I planned my visit well to the funeral home: it was during noontime, and like I predicted, my relatives were still out, soundly sleeping in my uncle's house, and I only had to meet my cousin's (now totally orphaned) daughter. Still, I hated scenes like this. Not that I do not care for my cousin, or that I do not mourn her, but it's just that I hate the sight of death, this very solid scene designed with a white coffin, wreaths, monoblock chairs, a guest book, candles lit and blinding bulbs burning all day and all night long. And seeing my cousin like she was already a skeleton, I could see her wrinkled skin sagging from the bone of her arm. She was just about my age. One could not recognise that she was the same fine, pretty lady in the framed portrait on top of the coffin glass. She was my most beautiful cousin. And perhaps that's why I never visited her in the hospital, never in the four months that she was sick, dying ever so slowly. Because I wanted to only remember the beautiful flower that she was when we were younger.

Her name was Hyacinth.

And so, you could further say that I hate being confronted by death. I'd rather all my siblings and cousins have unplanned pregnancies, and then births, every month, every week if they must, but not this call of mourning. I would not want to see my relatives again, if it'd only be on funerals.

But I love the coffee served, and the biscuits from the big tin box. Classic. Later that day, during the wake, another cousin would teach me how to play tong-it, and I'd win three out of the six rounds.

Piso-piso game it was.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bliss of summer

And so my summer wasn't so cruel after all. Well, good things came one after the other: my five day-leave from work got approved, my subtitling gig for a-very-important-Filipino-film-which-should-have-been-in-Cannes paid me extra, my sick cousin in the hospital is hanging on to dear life, and my brother is back at work...

then I had the most awesome summer adventure in Magalawa Island, Palauig, Zambales:

...and while I was busy (lonely-ly) living by the beach, our bitch Tentay gave birth to three uber-healthy pups:

And although I missed another Palanca deadline (because having read the book Six Poetry Formats and the Transforming Image by Edith Tiempo while I was alone by the beach made me realise I hadn't been writing most of my poetry "properly"), and that, practically, I haven't done anything productive and creative in the last couple of weeks, and that now I'm good (or bad?) as broke (after having had to pay for four days in the white-sand-beach far far away)--(and finally, didn't I promise not to talk about heartbreak?)--summer definitely has been so kind to me.

The scorching sunny season is not yet over, and I have high hopes for more good things to come, to me and to everyone. Happy summer, guys!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Regina Spektor's "Laughing With God"

Regina Spektor is a music goddess, and I figure that my favorite "non-romantic" song of hers is just so apt for my favorite hol(y)day: this Lenten season. Great vocals, great poetry, great message:

"No one laughs at God
When their airplane starts
to uncontrollably shake

No one’s laughing at God
When they see the one they love,
hand in hand with someone else
And they hope that they’re mistaken..."

Watch the official music video here.
The full lyrics are here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

(The beginnings of my) Cruel Summer

by E Wong

And so this doesn’t appear to be the bright sunshiny summer I wished it would be—for me. My brother had just lost his job, hence our expenses at home will definitely be tighter. We had already cut our internet connection months ago; I think we have to give up the cable subscription, too. Our cat had given birth to three kittens, and our dog will be giving birth soon. It'll be so heartbreaking to give up—give away—some of our pets eventually. Then even more ill-timed is the need to transfer to another house in the province next month, just one block away, anyway, but the moving and the costs it will entail is huge headache already.

There’s also some “domestic uncertainty” back here in our apartment in Manila, and I really wish things will turn out fine for my dear housemates. My own “certainty” depends on it. Then, my mother had her recent checkup for diabetes, and she is advised of stricter monitoring, thus there’ll be more medications than what she is already on. Worse news is one I just learned this morning: my cousin, who barely made it after her tragic pregnancy “poisoned” by her severe goiter, is back in the ICU, and now the doctors and the family are on the verge of giving up…

This is how my summer appears to be: gloomy despite all this sun. I am keeping the optimism, of course, but I’m really sad, and scared, about how things will turn out. Well, for one, I’m glad that my personal life—the affairs of the heart—has just wrapped up its last consuming chapter. Yes, I am moving on. It was a great experience, but one which has to conclude now. I'm glad I will not be writing so much about heartbreak and unrequited love soon. And I’m glad I ended it with a creative, thesis-like thing, like a student’s final paper deserving a 1.0. Which brings to mind… oh no, I guess I have to postpone (again) my going back to school, given these predicaments…

And my summer plans most likely will remain plans. The Vigan or Baguio trip, the annual beach getaway, the concert I wanted to attend. And the writing “retreat” I’ve been looking forward to. I guess I’ll be spending the rest of the summer just at home, in the hospital, and in the office. I don’t think I’ll have time left to write poetry, or to do some art, which I just recently got back into. That is really sad. I don’t even have the energy to edit and polish this blog post. Here comes the stream of consciousness… Here comes the inevitable ellipses… and the grunts... hmpf... aargh... and the shouts… aaahhh… aaahhh…

So I guess I may not be blogging as often as I want to, and my Facebook addiction will have to be greatly tempered as well. Because summer seems to be extra tough this time. Because I have just lost my licence for procrastination. Now I have to move, move, move! Because I will have to face life once again… in the face! We’ve been through much more difficult times before, that kind of drama which you’d only see in the movies or in MMK, (God I don’t even want to recall them!), but now, why am I so scared of the days ahead? Because I fear poverty striking us again? Because I don't want any more deaths in my family, amongst my relatives? Anyone dying, for that matter!

But so strange it is that when things go awfully rough, it seems easier to accept tragedy or tribulation in the rainy days. Is it because, as the cliched metaphor goes, the rain washes away our tears? Whilst summer, this time of the year, means being happy and youthful and festive, and we should be singing now, dancing now, and having some summer lovin’? Because in this season of sun, we’re supposed to celebrate the dryness of our eyes, we should bask in the utter brightness of our ephemeral lives?

I wish I knew the answer. I wish life would be easier. I hope things will still be sunshiny for me, for everyone… O summer, please don’t be so cruel to me now. You’re my favorite season, you know that. Shine on me, O sweet sun. Shine on me now—

just don’t get me burnt.


Monday, April 11, 2011

The summer sky of April 11, 2011

by E Wong

the noontime summer sky of April 11 is blue
and pure, it is a holiday for the painter
of nature, though bright as it is

she cannot tell whether it is inviting
her out to play or warning
her against the glare

the noontime summer sky is clear
to her, now, so clear it is blinding,
it compels her to sing, but then—

the late afternoon summer sky of April 11 is bleeding
smoke: it paints the screams of people running
rushing crying for help crying for life

somewhere else someone else needs to be running
rushing crying for help crying for love, but how
can she cry with all this charcoal in the sky?

the painter cannot stand this fullness of colour,
she confesses: smoke is that black of that red
that after too much longing had clotted

the late afternoon summer sky of April 11 is burning
still: the smoke may have been extinguished,
but the fire stays within

(Photo: 1 PM sky over Susana Heights exit, SLEX)
(Photo: 5 PM sky over Tandang Sora, Quezon City)

Friday, April 8, 2011

The (electric) bill to kill all bills

Just when we thought five pesos was the ultimate amount (read A bill so electric you'd feel the spark), we were electrified... no, 'twas more like being struck by divine lightning, when my neighbor's bill arrived last week:

Now this one's got to be a killer-bill. And so, let's all chant:

To receive
this kind of bill,
we will...
we will...
we will...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On why there's no exact word for male mistress

by E Wong

[Click on image to view poetry]
written sometime in April 2010

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Saddest booksale ever


Nothing personal, nothing national.

photo taken at the payday bazaar at the office. :D

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On practising the noblest form of shopping

by E Wong

When you hear someone say all my meager annual bonus just went down the drain, you know this is some sort of an all-too-familiar tragedy, but in my case, "drain" is the UP Press's 46th anniversary month-long sale; and thus, needless to say, it is good, guilt-less spending.

So yesterday, the money which I originally intended for an 'unplanned' weekend adventure somewhere up north was spent instead on these eight awesome poetry books:

An Edith Tiempo Reader Edited by Gemino Abad, et. al.
Six Poetry Formats and the Transforming Image: A Monograph on Free Verse by Edith Tiempo
Commend Contend/Beyond, Extensions by Edith Tiempo
Mostly in Monsoon Weather: Poems New & Revisited by Marne L Kilates
The Garden of Wordlessness: Selected Poems by J Neil C Garcia
Passage: Poems 1983-2006 by Edgar B Maranan
Marginal Bliss by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
Onyx by Romulo Baquiran, Jr

All the books above are UP Press titles (with 20% discount), except for Maranan's book which is published by Bookmark (5% off). The student editions of Daona and Baquiran were on sale for only P50 each! I spent more than a thousand bucks for all these--still quite a lot, I know, but I think it's all worth it, considering these are 'real literature' by acclaimed Filipino authors. And also, I feel good being able to somewhat 'help' our struggling local publishing industry. And yes, there's a vast presence of literature in the internet, but nothing will ever beat the intellectual and emotional experience of the book.

Having spent a good hour at the store, I realise that buying books is a therapeutic, even orgasmic, activity. It is probably the noblest act of shopping. Unlike purchasing food or clothes, you don't literally taste the product or try it on... but you do it on a literary level. Book shopping is definitely way way harder than the tough task of choosing the right brand of peanut butter or whitening soap. It knows no hurry; you skim and scan, you browse the pages, read a line or stanza or paragraph. Sometimes you end up finishing the whole poem or story or essay or chapter of a novel. Most likely you'd be going back and forth to the shelves, a Shakespearean question repeatedly arresting you: to buy or not to buy? And when something strange strikes your soul--a phenomenon not defined by even the long years of commercialism--you finally buy it.

Of course it helps if you know the author or if he/she has achieved some fame or notoriety or has an intimidating list of awards and previously published books. Nonetheless, you make your decision not on nutrition facts or expiry dates or newness of the whole package, but on the "promise" of words printed on paper. And who buys "promises" these days?

So shopping for books is a great activity, and this I recommend to everyone (especially on paydays). It is almost as surreal as the act of reading--which, by the way, I am not very good at. My friends have this wrong notion that I am such a bookish person, but I'm really such a slooowww reader that I'd always say it took me a hundred days to finish Garcia-Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. And so with these new titles I bought, I'm giving myself a conservative eight hundred days to finish reading them all.

Being back in the campus halls was another story. I sneaked into AS (sneaking, I realised, was unnecessary as the guards at the entrance weren't too strict after all) and stayed in CASAA for awhile. It amuses me that nothing much has really changed, except perhaps that everyone seems to be using laptops now. But all else is the same. [Well, maybe not the students, for the too-strong smell of the (upper) bourgeois was unmistakeable. How many of these kids came from public schools? From the provinces? Am I in La Salle? Is this Ateneo de Diliman?] But I mean my feelings for, about, and in UP were the same. I could have entered any classroom and just get lost again in the strange 'at home-ness.' Or get found is what I mean?

I remember a friend saying that we should not be working in the BP__ industry, for this is not where we belong. Then the UP thing got into the conversation, and suddenly, we were back in our former selves, well-bathed and basking in the old ideals of the university, perhaps last seen and felt genuinely during the beginning of the past decade, when an academic unit was still just worth P300...

But like I've said, this is another story that warrants another article. Something I better not dwell on for now. :-)

The UP Press anniversary sale is until March 31. The bookshop's new location is at the ground floor of the printing office itself, along E delos Santos St., near the UP Police Station. (Those who try to steal books will go straight to jail!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



To be Born again ::
one must Die first
And this is not about Death
or Religion :: this is not Poetry
What good are Hands whose Palms
Do not have Lines :: Do not Lie
:: Lay your sleepy head in the sky
O sweet Illumination :: You
are not a Supermoon
but a bold figment
of the Sun :: Pigments of Leaves
are not solely Green like envious
teen who's never seen the nudity of ::
Sun sounds somewhat
like Sin :: and the Moon not again ::
why do you always figure in this
scene :: Soon too soon :: Give me
some room
To die Now is to live
Later :: But I would like to munch
on Biscuits now :: Drink
Coffee later :: Play
Cards forever :: Kill kill
And this is not about Murder ::
but Moon hiding behind ghost
vapours ::
Tonight let me kiss
the sun O yes
How Hot
you are :: my Lips
do not sting My lips are flaming
Burn Baby Burn Burn :: The Moon
suddenly :: between :: the Earth
and my Hands
How come
Have we come
so far ::
Where where
we are
Oh yes I said
to be born Again ::
one must die First

But I am ::
being Born
nor Dying
I am ::
but tiny figment
of your sun

Please Please

Look at me ::

Look at me ::

You so Bright
and Beautiful

Look at me ::

Look ::


Creative takes on the recent "Supermoon"
Poetry by Myself
Photography by
Jeffrey Ocampo
Short film by Joni Gutierrez

Monday, March 14, 2011


by Myself

Dear Myself,

You have got to end this certain sadness which had been keeping you “happy” for a long while now. Stop talking about constructs of romance, you must, for it is worthless when put alongside images of loneliness.

Remember, though, that the greatest love is that which is unrequited. Next would be one that’s unprofessed. You are privileged that yours is both. Yours is the greatest. And thus, even if you quit, you can never lose in this particular battle. Quit now, my dear, for this antebellum is most opportune for surrendering.

The sun shines today, as it had yesterday. Tomorrow, if God allows, it will shine again, perhaps hotter, more scorching than before, but always—always and forever—just as brightly as when it first rose from behind the mountains of time. You may live in this melancholy all your life, but the sun would never care for your troubles, as it is blinded by its own brilliance. And we cannot blame the sun for burning like that.

If you keep yourself in this utter darkness you’ve painted with your eyes shut, you may not remember the beauty of light. So I tell you, my friend, it’s high time to open them, your eyes. Love will remain to be called love, as it was in the Renaissance, or during the world wars, or perhaps even in the prehistoric age when man had no use for words: Love has always been called as such.

But tomorrow, if you just open your eyes and see the world again, even if you keep that memory of unhappiness, love may have a new meaning.

With love,

Your Other Self.

And stop pondering concepts of d-----, will you?


Saturday, March 5, 2011

A bill so electric you'd feel 'the spark'

This is the kind of monthly bill you'd like to be getting for the rest of your life:

Unfortunately this is not our apartment's Meralco bill, but my neighbor's (my former housemate's). Nevertheless, "small miracles" such as this is cause for huge celebration, eh?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Mannequin

by E. Wong

                                  Swept   he is
by unbearable malice
in undressing
a mannequin
It was easy finding you
among the throng of strange souls
First off the blouse
and the skirt
then his hand on her feet up her legs
‘tween her thighs to her waist
but she has no
A big red umbrella
between you and the sun
she’s always been the woman
in daydreamings
of a night watch
You want it red

so in the day’s brightness

you’d be blushing
your heart’s breaking
Now seek
such plump breasts touch her
the center
of life impenetrable
Such sumptuous lips kiss her
but she has no
But, my love,
how about on rainy day?
Stunned by
her subtle smile
he brings her back
to her spot by the window
with a new dress
yes, envy
such steady
Do you want the world
to see your bleeding?
*written sometime in April 2010
**For ______ whom I undress with my eyes, always...

***Written on those malling days during summer, inspired by the mannequins in shops' glass windows; the umbrella element I got from my highschool friend ("ka-loveteam") Cherie Keitch, who, I remember Kred saying, loved red umbrellas because she would blush naturally under it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On the utter randomness of things

by E. Wong

how it falls

the further our attempt at measurement
somewhere a faucet cries alone
its drama felt the house over
explodes then be consumed
by mercy of earth always always
without fail almost finally defining
forever this is nature of space you say
what is invisible or abstract
occupies endures

suppress not
voice inside tell me
baby sparrow breaks out
from mother’s shell yawns like sunshine
if too loud
let out like lahar create
ruins beautiful
beaches pristine
I believe you say
humankind’s best friend
God’s greatest invention
so trust again I may
out of everyone in the din
we will be found

when at last a thing becomes an object
we do only two acts of love

we sin
we sing

*artwork: "Number 8" (Jackson Pollock, 1949)
**poetry written sometime in April 2010
***as this is the poem after which this blog is named, this pretty much expresses my consciousness of the world, my concept of love, my faith in entropy, and....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sorry we're close, but I really wanna make out with you now

This is exactly how I feel:

I am--

but I really wanna--

with you now.

Oh how so close we are, but still so far!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fairy Tale

by E. Wong
for Lea, as promised

Unlocked are my doors
as are my windows, nothing
is ever unwelcoming
in this glasshouse—


comes into my home
like an old friend who shares
stories I’ve heard before.
The same light escapes
my translucent walls without

saying goodbye—Oh how
I would like it to shake
hands with me, whisper
to my ear, or kiss my cheek,
but no—light, for all its wild
brilliance, always succumbs
to the announcement
of dusk. And now I wait
for you, my dearest


Are you lost in the woods?
Shall I send you the fireflies
from my red lantern
to show you the dirtroad
which leads to my doorstep?

I want to say ‘I love you
tonight,’ but I do not.
I might have loved you
yesterday, or perhaps,
I would tomorrow.
Sometimes, I love you,
Sometimes, it seems you
love me, too.

O beloved prince,
the tower you erected
in my dreams await
your limbs, won’t you climb
to feel me now, and fill
this emptiness?

Let me hug this tree
while you’re gone
This old folk keeps
me safe and warm,
I step softly on its roots
and then we dance
to nocturnal melody
of its rustling
leaves, its swaying

Who dares divulge
the moon’s dark secret
that her mad brightness
is but affections
lent by the god
of incandescence?

O what could be more
enlightening than to witness
sunrise after a very long night
But light still has not arrived—
my own shadows are lost
in this pitch black

I want to sleep with you
under the stars tonight
But there’s somebody else
in your arms, a woman
who is not me—You caress
breasts that are not mine,
Always, always,
we make different loves
under the same sky.

I shall keep
waiting for you then
in the rain, under the sun,
or in vain. Would someone,
anyone, please wake me
when it’s time to raise
my lantern?

*Artwork: A sketch of Ornusa Cadness by Carl Zeno Manalo.
**Poem is originally titled "Mistress Monologue"
***Poem has reference to the film "Raise the Red Lantern" (1991), directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Handle with Care

by E. Wong
for Plam-Plam, freshly-dumped.

Handle with care this box I wrapped in fancy paper
for inside is my heart—Take it, please, it’s for you,
I had plucked it off my chest, like precious
oyster shucked—

                                   Or do you want oyster instead?
Let’s call the waiter then so he could read to us the French
on the menu. (Perhaps he could read you too?) My head
is splitting, I can’t find the meaning of this film-like scene,
oh, that’s right—(is tonight’s the night?)—there’s nothing
in my head—for I had lost my mind, five seconds ago—
Or five years has it been? And yet we have not—Still,
we are not. Now I smell coffee—

                                                               Let me save you
from this dire indecisiveness in choosing what to order
by having caffeine—yes—and with milk, not cream.
And mister waiter, please, no sugar for this lovely lady,
for I have provided her all the sweetness in the world.
So, my beloved, did you like the movie?—(Did you even
like me?)—Here comes waiter with our coffee. Mine’s
Espresso, sugar-free—(for I have given you all)—Look
at my drink—so black and so pure. And yours,
Cappuccino it is—classic and tasty, yet so frothy
that everyone here could drink from your cup
and still has froth left to line your lips—(oh, baby,
I so want to kiss you now)—but first, I have to go
down on one knee and give you this box—

(And the candlelight burns
                                                                       burns out.)

The lobster on the next table is no longer lobster,
and the champagne bottles—they’re just bottles now...

Oh, baby, are you refusing this box? Or what’s inside it?
Won’t you at least take a peek?—
                See how perfectly red it is!—

                             How tirelessly it bleeds for you!—

I have loved you longer than all my patience would endure,
yet you, my sweet goddess, won’t accept the greatest
thing a man could ever give?—

                                                 And so, won't you please
handle with care this box I wrapped in fancy paper,
for inside is my heart—(Perhaps it’s best for us,
perhaps we’re done)—But take it, I beg you, take it,
for you don't have one.

Read also:
Prayer, Time, The Village II, or Irony.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Weight is Over

(Or, Let's talk about healthy diet, for a change)
by E. Wong

My good friends who know me so well would be so surprised to learn that my current (weekday) diet consists almost exclusively of these two:

Garden salad

Ingredients: Cucumber, carrots, curly lettuce, tomato (sometimes), croutons (I love croutons!!! One of these days I will write an ode to croutons), parmesan cheese, and Clara Olé salad dressing (Asian and Thousand Island are my fave variants; Caesar is so-so; and I hate Ranch!).

Tuna Sandwich

Ingredients: Wheat Bread (I usually buy Uncle George bread; Gardenia is too costly!), curly lettuce, slices of cucumber and tomatoes. For a whole week’s worth of tuna dressing: 2 packs of Best Foods Mayo Magic (not mayonnaise!), 1 can of Corned Tuna (drained), a teaspoonful of super-minced onions, and generous sprinkles of McCormick spices: fine black pepper, basil leaves, and Italian seasoning (thyme, rosemary, savory sage).

Note: The parmesan cheese and McCormick spices are not required ingredients—I’m just really lucky that our apartment doesn’t run out of these.

Photos taken using my age-old Nokia phone.

So why did I say ‘surprised’? Well, I probably (used to) have the hugest appetite ever, and I would lose the little finesse I had left when it was food-tripping time. Before, I would eat just about anything offered me, be it home cooked meal, fast food, or street food. But now, I barely eat rice during weekdays. One of the little personal victories I had since New Year is this simple discipline on food I've imposed on myself: no unnecessary carbs and cholesterol (of course) during weekdays, and I would only ‘indulge’ in ‘sinful food’ during weekends when I get to be home in Laguna and by then would usually go with my little sister to the mall and, predictably, dine out in Jollibee.

And this is not even about vanity (or not primarily a matter of it). During my pre-employment medical exam last year, I was found to be a little overweight and “pre-hypertensive.” Also, my family has some medical history of diabetes (mother’s side) and heart problems (father’s side). I had planned to get back to a healthy lifestyle right then, but it was only at the beginning of this year when I got serious into living clean (and probably try to bring back my Machete body from my college days :-). So aside from this healthy diet, I’ve been doing a lot of walking, I've (semi-)quit smoking, and if time permits (or I’m not too lazy), I workout in the gym at the office.

(Plus, another upside of this diet is it actually saves me more money. Doing the math with the whole week's "healthy" groceries, I spend less than a hundred bucks for what would be worth all my meals per day!)

Of course, I miss those eat-all-you-can’s sessions after work. I miss cooking spaghetti in the apartment almost everyday. I long for those guiltless episodes of taking gluttonous snacks either alone or with friends. I sorely miss my eating-without-thinking of siopao, siomai, pastries from Julie’s bakeshop, Country Style’s Triple Choco Boom, Mini-Stop's cheesy tuna kariman, KFC’s Double Down, isaw, chicken skin, proben, Angel’s cheeseburger, Angel’s cheesy footlong, and all those (mostly greasy) foods that define my simple happiness.

It’s not to say that my happiness now has become not simple, but time has come for me to uhmmm, well, ahhh, I don’t really know exactly what or why. What I know is that there’s no need to justify wanting to be healthy, right?—



(especially when your heart is so sick… And I actually promised myself not to write about love or heartbreak! Tsk tsk…)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

This is not about violence

by E. Wong
for the Zusuaregi drunkards on Saturday night

And so when I stab my chest
it isn’t to kill myself fast
but to prove if rumors are true
that what lies beneath contains
all my yearnings and madnesses
But though a magical dagger
I use, there’s still no

for my brain has long been dead
And so I have to smash my head
against the wall—not cement
but wood, for I like the scent
of varnish conjuring memories,
mostly romantic, the rest
erotic—but what else
on my mind

but fairy tale envisagements?
Yet I am still standing, so I chop
off my feet that had walked towards
your home, which felt like my home
Next gone are my trembling hands
which once upon a time
held your hands

Now with all this deep red dripping,
splattering—you might as well swim
in my sea of blood which tastes
sweet without the bitterness
of the living

And my cadaver: no longer one
body, but chunks and pieces,
little bodies with no sense
of heart or mind, of pain
or hunger or sadness

But then, even without
orchestral music— violets,
yes, violets, and more violets,
fragrant, beautiful flowers spring
from my corpse all of a sudden—

Oh what a lovely night
to die again

Artwork is a painting at the Louvre in France

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feel in the blanks

by E. Wong Martin

Dear _________,

Tonight, on this first night right after Valentine's day, I’d like to tell you that my _______ soars even higher despite not having any memory of being with you yesterday. I hope you had a good one; did someone special give you ________ or chocolates, perhaps?

Well, I have nothing to give you but my _______ which are smooth and eternal. You cannot touch them but you can feel them on and under your ________. You may post them on your _________ or copy them on paper, and you may even memorise them. My words are your words, so please own them like the pillow in your pillowcase.

My beloved ________, forgive me that I could only offer you my stories. You may even call them lies, but I would make them beautiful ones. Who needs truth in this world, anyway, when you are all I think of and talk about? You, my dear ________, are both my sweetest lie and greatest truth.

Please do not believe those movies and soap operas which impose that for love to be “great” it must be measured by time and _______ and tragedies. For though I only met you ________ ago, I know you like I know the taste of water. I know you so well, yet there’s a whole lifetime ahead waiting for us to learn more ________. Won’t you teach me the ways of your people, you pretty ________ from that enchanted island of lovers?

Do you still remember the first time we kissed? It was like—pardon the clichĂ©—fireworks! I hope you can still taste the memory. A kiss is as _______ as our fingerprints. I kissed you, and you kissed me, as if God’s most fascinating creations were not men and women but our lips and tongues. Please do not ______ our kiss, for it is as sacred as the moon, as shining as the midnight stars.

Love is not ______ without the lovers. And love is not blind--we are. So please do not resist this wonderful blindness. Do not betray your heart, my sweet ________. What is the point of all life, if we would not face unexpected deaths such as falling in love?

But if I had to cut this tree down before the seed even germinates, then so be it. Please, my gentle _________, always, always keep safe. And take utmost care of your sunshiny smile and your camellian eyelashes and your ____________ on your left shoulder which I loved to caress.

Reach for those big dreams of yours which endeared you to me even more, but which I cannot be a part of. Someday, when you have climbed the highest of mountains, look far deep onto the valley. Somewhere I’d be there, a tiny speck in the distance looking up to you with immeasurable happiness. For you.

My dear ________, I love you like I love the rain pouring on a summer day. And it hurts so much not that you don’t, or can’t, love me back, but that you don’t, and won’t, know how much I am in love with you.

Though you’re not mine, I’m yours,


Monday, February 14, 2011

How to spell 'Melancholy'

by E. Wong Martin
for Mitsiku

Our lesson for today is about happiness
and how one writes it with a capital letter,
perhaps bold, or do you prefer
italics? The principal says
that it may be found among the piles
of unread books, or the mouldy sandwiches
from the canteen. Now we will give you
ten seconds
and ten years to spell it correctly,
and when in doubt, you may consult
our school janitor—just please do not insult
him on how he always stinks of beer
because it is not alcohol you smell
but the long years of sweeping,
and waiting, and weeping, and cleaning off
semen or dried tears on the floor.
You are not required to turn
to your science books, as they don’t yet
have a theory on fireworks and sex,
or forgiveness
and loss. But when you say
‘one,’ it means ‘two-halves’—simple
as that, really. Do not tell anybody,
but math is the secret spouse
of grammar. Probability (or is it
statistics?) has it:
One day, someday,
you can write it again, perhaps faster,
perhaps with bigger letters, perhaps
in Bisaya or French, or even sign
Remember, left or right
hand, it doesn’t matter, for as long
as you have an eraser ready.
Remember, wrong or right,
we do not deduct points for as long
as you do not cheat.
Do not put any period, too—
now this is very important in all writing.
Most of all, when you do,
close your eyes, but keep
that thing in your chest open…
now what’s that called again?


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You"

You're in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you
And I would still be on my feet

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Village (II)

by E. Wong Martin

And just like that, without any need
for laborious introductions, the hands
of time shake the hands—or what
could be considered hands—of the village’s
two escaped livestock, both beauteous
and precious—goats, or are they sheep?
They are too gorgeous to be called goats,
and their sheepish smiles are so lovely
you will not need to drink milk
in the morning. But now, only one
of them relishes this nocturnal
freedom, as if the other is just waiting
for a scapegoat in the farm. One eats
grass, while the other just sniffs it.

The happy sheep quips: I could eat
this grass forever! But the other sheep—
not happy, but not sad either—
does not recognise the words,
despite being the smartest sheep
in the village. The happy sheep,
despite not being the smartest,
is not stupid either. So he stops
chewing and lays himself beside
the other. The sky is too starry

for them to worry about snoring,
but the happy one knows this much:
when dawn breaks, the lamb
of some god will take away
the sins of the village, and only one
of them furry fugitives will be
pardoned. So while the night
is young and their flesh warm,
the happy sheep gets up slowly,
stares at his partner in crime,
and before running off, he licks
the other’s cheek and says:
this is the taste of sweet grass.

Artwork: "Two Sheep Under a Mountain" (1988, Thorfinnur Sigurgeirsson)
Read also: "The Village"

Thursday, February 10, 2011


by E. Wong

On the day that the cottony clouds in the sky
were actually made of cotton, I saw a grasshopper
looking up, not at me, but to his god above,
perhaps my God, too, there, in the city’s final
green field, staring at the heavens in a regal
posture, and at that moment I thought he was
not the usual crickety creature—my prey—
but a mantis, that bizarre insect bestowed
with the licence for supplication, and so
I told him without hesitation, Hey, Mister,
would you be so kind and pray for me?

‘And what would you like me to pray about,
dear lady?’ the little insect enquired in his ancient
voice. I would certainly hope that it rains today,
so that this heaviness upon me may be washed
away. He shook his tiny head, ‘it cannot be prayed
for as today the clouds are made of cotton.’
He said god, or God, has not yet invented
cotton rain. But it is not a lovely day, I retorted,
despite all those cottony clouds above. I pleaded:

I need rain! ‘It cannot be done,’ the old grasshopper
insisted. ‘It’s a beautiful day, just as when you first
hopped past these grasslands a hundred years ago.’
I started to cry, but without tears, as the sun
was too bright and intimidating in the sky.
Then in my frail frog voice: Can you pray then
on my behalf for the sun to bleed today so the world
can bathe in red with me? But the insect made

no further rebuttal; instead, he chewed on the green
and turned his back towards me, jointed. I jumped off
in defeat towards the core of the city, broken.
But in my deep frog hunger, I leaped back to eat
the insect’s head. But the old praying imposter
had hopped away before I could catch him.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Damien Rice's "Elephant"

This has got to die
This has got to stop
This has got to lie down
With someone else on top

Saturday, February 5, 2011


by E. Wong Martin

Are my hands
Sturdy as a farmer’s
Precise as a surgeon’s
Flexible yet controlled—

Perfect for driving you home,
or where you want to be
But tonight, sweet stranger,
Would you please drive me

Are my fingers
Deft as an artisan’s
Swift as a plumber’s
They’re sharp yet graceful—

Perfect for a Russian ballet
Or late night Thai massage
My fingers like exploring, too:
Could I possibly make a map
Of you?

Are my palms
On which can perfectly fit
A burger, or credit card,
An apple, your heart…

My palms, my fingers,
They are all yours now
As I wish yours are mine
Is it okay if I hold your hand
Just for a time?

Artwork: "Holding Hands" by Angela D. Mathew

Thursday, February 3, 2011


by E. Wong Martin

(1) There was once a story that starts with something like once upon a time.
(2) But I’ve forgotten what comes next…
(3) There are too many once upon a time’s, that’s why.
(4) Or too many princes and princesses. And knights-in-shining-armour and damsels-in-distress.
(5) One of these days, they should all meet up and drink all night until they couldn’t recall anymore who their destined partners were.
(6) There are too many storytellers, too. I am not one of them.
(7) Storytellers are liars. I am not one of them.
(8) They always have ulterior motives beyond the glorification of fiction.
(9) Or fictionalisation of glory.
(10) Storytellers don’t always tell stories about others; sometimes it's about themselves. This is not one of them.
(11) There was once an old woman who lived in a brick tower who had never heard of any of those storytellers’ stories.
(12) Well, okay, let’s say that she had been told just one single tale.

(13) This particular story tells of a young soldier who has won countless battles for his mighty king.
(14) Well, let’s say that the woman was one hundred years old. But she didn’t know it because there was no calendar in the tower, only a clock that had been ticking for a hundred years as well.
(15) Because she was very old, she couldn’t remember the exact tale. Her memory so muddled, she owned the story as about herself.
(16) One of these days, the young soldier would rescue her. But from what?
(17) The old woman thought again, she had lived a whole century just fine, so what on earth would the young soldier save her from?
(18) In the recesses of her mind, she discovered an ancient word: loneliness.
(19) One of these days, she said to herself.
(20) But the days had already turned into months. Years. Decades.
(21) She fumbled that part between her wrinkled breasts, the place that, as far as she could remember, held her heart inside. Where are you, my sweet soldier?
(22) I have been waiting too long, she cried.
(23) With what remains of her strength, she grabbed the clock off the wall and threw it out the window.
(00) The tower was too high for her to hear it break.

Artwork: "Dein Aschenes Haar Sulamit," (1981, Anselm Kiefer)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


by E. Wong Martin

You are such a sad drink,
my hot friend decaf, why
did you let them take

your soul just like that?
Now you do not taste as sincere
or sensual; do you even hear

the protestations of the cup?
You may have earned some
finesse, but baby, you reek

of false bitterness! Swirl
with as much sugar as you can,
but never will you ever be sweet

again. So now, sleep, forever
if you want, I'd rather stay up
with my chocolatey friend.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Village (I)

by E. Wong

The village slumbers in anticipation,
without malice but full of lust, awaiting
the onslaught of desires—dams
need to unload their waters, jungles

must shed off dead leaves: Dream,
you sleeper, as your sleep begins.

The elders wouldn’t concur, but the shade
of poison trees feels like home, doesn’t it?
And would it be too much for one night
to be weaving tapestry that might as well
serve as blanket over feverish bodies?

Now, you may not need to consider
exchanging your sly wakefulness
for the furtive wisdom of the village
idiot. But you must envy him,
nonetheless, as on nights like this,
he is happier than everyone else.

This is not the time to think about drought,
you curious cat, for the dogs are friendly
tonight, as all the members of the Kingdom.
Matriarch also lost her knife in the kitchen,
and so for now, and just for now, your tongue
may speak of any profanity it wishes to tell

the ears, neck, breasts, and other distant
relatives. You may not have enough time,
but you can always say ‘I’ll be sailing off
in an hour,’ yet stay docked in this town
until all drowns in your gentle hands.

The village resists the rising of the light,
but the sun has its age-old job to do.
Won’t you shine a while longer, O shadow
safely obscure in the night? Yet the day

does not forget the dusk: Sleep,
you dreamer, while your dream lasts.

Artwork: "The Starry Night" (1889, Vincent van Gogh)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Belle and Sebastian's "Funny Little Frog"

*Para Kay B(arbie)

Monday, January 24, 2011

To a stranger nice and fine

by E. Wong Martin

Booze: what you are to me,
and a body-tight shirt, perhaps,
or even the stubborn dirt
under my fingernails,
and all other things sweet
that lovers fail to see—
But not now, not yet,
for you are still a stranger,
a beautiful one, and you don’t
even know it. You are all these,
but I will tell it to your face,
a beautiful one, in the future
a beautiful one, I pray

It sucks that I couldn’t go
any closer to you on our “first”
meeting, because booze
and blaring music (a.k.a. noise),
and smoke and drunken
sleep were not in my favor.
But it was so nice meeting you,
though the meeting was not
so nice. And notwithstanding
(what a wonderful complex word!)
that you could break my heart
with a single touch, I dreamt
that you held me, carried me,
to the heights of nostalgia,
nudity and nonchalance, all those
wonderful complex words
in the vocabulary of an occasional

But the lights are back on,
the party's ended, now I’m sober
and a little somber, too. Yet,
the fermentations in my gut
haven’t stopped to fuel what
could have been just a dream
of utter intimacy with a fine stranger
with a smile for everyone. How much
does it cost, anyway? I would buy it
and keep it in my pocket, together
with either sunshine or sweet rain,
depending on the season of (what
could be called) love. And I sing
like Joni Mitchell sometimes, too,
like today, I could drink a case of

Although this early I know
I could not have you so easily,
as you are trapped by this wall
erected by some stupid
love of yours for some stupid
(son of a/b*tch), or so I heard.
But nonetheless, I am thankful
for the little moments spent
on one night: me, you,
my brusqueness, your finesse.
My sleepiness, your wakefulness.
Looking back, I was just a boy,
standing weak in front of
draft beer and cocktails. But you,
you are fine in the nicest way,
and nice in the finest.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Makoy Dakuykoy's "Emotero"

There's an "emo" in all of us.

And whilst I don't get to read and write at all lately, my friend Mark has just released his second awesome book. (He didn't pay me to advertise this; worse, he didn't give me discount for the two copies I bought...)

"Mark Angeles, also known for his cybermoniker Makoy Dakuykoy, releases his 2nd indie book, Emotero.

The book is a collection of 88 100-word narratives inside a story. One day, the main character Karl Mensaje received a package. Its content: a notebook full of stories. Angeles dares us to step into the labyrinth of the book.

He poses, “Is it a collection of stories or a book-length short story? Are the stories drabbles or prose poems?” “I laid down a handful of puzzles in Emotero,” he added. “Start with the main character. Even the book cover design is an enigma. They are all related. You have to read the book from cover to cover to understand the mystery.”

Emotero tells the tales of a prostitute, a bisexual, a transexual, an embalmer, a magician, a prison warden, tollgate keeper, fortune teller, magician, ex-military, sympathizer and member of New People’s Army among others. Even the stories of a cow, a goat, and a sheep.

Angeles’s first indie book, Patikim, a collection of his notorious love poems has been received well by both the academe and literary enthusiasts. He is a Palanca awardee and an activist."


To order: send an email to Or msg me.