A Rebirth Story

“I want to be reborn,” she said decisively.

So she plucked the moon and marinated it in poison;

she ground oleander and water hemlock,

and drank the decoction from her porcelain tea cup.

She gathered the stars—near and far, and far and near—

into her bosom, burning her skin

until she was stripped to the bone.

Then she swallowed the sun

and let it burn her further,

until all her wishes, her desires, her hatred,

and her attachments that had been deeply engraved in her bones

became nothing but whispers and ash,

carried by the wind

and scattered into nothingness…

“I want to be born again…”

Then she woke, and became a butterfly.

A Darkness

Sometimes, the ghosts you’ve hidden come to haunt you.

Despite your continuous practice of meditation and tuning them out,

they catch up eventually


They latch on to you with a death grip, refusing to let go.

And even when you bury them deep,

they’ve already learned to howl,

and their screams echo


bouncing off walls like a ricocheting bullet.

Their shrieks grow louder


as they crawl, and writhe

like a group of crazies struggling to free themselves

from the straitjacket that confine their limbs.

Your ghosts have grown forceful,

as they bang their heads against the door

that prevents you from losing your grip on your rationality.

You hear them scraping their nails,

leaving bloody trails along the walls

—chipped nails scatter on the filthy floor.

And along with the thudding on the door,

you hear them twisting the knob one way and then the other

—clicking, clickety-clack…

The sounds combine into an almost catchy rhythm

with an unforgettable beat.

And you find yourself grooving along.

There is no fear…only a realization

—You’ve fallen too far for saving.

The Transience of Clouds

Clouds often dot the blue expanse that is the sky

on bright summer days,

during gloomy typhoon seasons,

during the dreamy spring season, on bleak winters,

and cozy autumn days…

Sometimes, they drift gracefully,

like wisps lightly passing by, dissipating

without much resistance

—like a wanderer walking through a quiet town

without any plans of staying much longer than


Sometimes they look like lumps of the softest cotton,

the fluffiest pillows, and the puffiest marshmallow

as if you’d have the sweetest dream

if you nestle between their folds

and blanket yourself with some of their fluff…

but they too eventually dissipate after a while,

—like tourists that come to visit a scenic town

staying for 3 days and 2 nights, visiting tourist spots,

and taking photos for memories…

Sometimes they tower above, billowing

into the highest reaches of the troposphere;

they remind me of mothers that sacrifice much more

than what their husbands or their children can see…

they carry the heaviest of burdens—on their shoulders,

on their backs, and on their hips, until the soles of their feet

and their ankles become sore…

they carry rain, like the tears they shed behind closed doors

or never shed at all…

they bring with them thunder and lightning as if to say

“Listen to me…look at me…I am here…I was here…”

just like our mothers or our fathers

as they shout and holler when they’ve lost all patience

and get angry…

But they too eventually dissipate

—but far longer than the stranger or the tourist…they stay

just a bit longer, like your family and your truest friends

that come to visit and sweep through your house…

sometimes, even overstaying their welcome.

The transience of clouds remind me

that regardless of whether we were once like

the intimidating cumulonimbus,

or the ominous supercells,

or the carefree cirrus,

or the ethereal stratus clouds

and the undulatus asperatus clouds that bring a sense of mystery,

we are but a speck in the universe…

our lives are but a drop in the ocean of time

—we are but an impermanent existence…

The Faithful Lover

The faithful lover remains steadfast in their love;

Constant, in their trust;

Fearless, and generous in giving,

without regard for gains and losses

—until they themselves are spent….

They accept what they are given

and never ask for more;

Sometimes, the faithful lovers

forget themselves as they continue to forgive

their lover’s sins of commission,

yet not forgetting; not because they are keeping score,

but to remind themselves

in the moments when they are alone

—perhaps during their countless monologues in the shower;

perhaps on nights that are too quiet

with only the chirping sounds of crickets left for company—

that love is real,

and that every sacrifice will be worth it in the end

—until they are numb, and no longer recognize themselves….

Oftentimes, the faithful lover deliberately

ignores their delicate boundaries,

breaching the fine line between compromise and blind submission….

However, when faced with the universe’s disenchantment,

even the weak can muster up the courage

to walk away;

shedding off their mottled skin that has lost its glow

—eroded by their endless abandonment of their old self

to accommodate and adjust to their lover’s demands,

continuously forgiving…

Yet some who manage to walk away

forget to also forgive themselves;

they carry the blame on their shoulders,

asking what they lacked,

how or why or where they failed,

why they weren’t enough….

Some faithful lovers eventually find their peace, with time

—they are fortunate enough to heal, and find lasting happiness

amid the chaos and their struggles;

But sadly, some aren’t as lucky, and the blow pushes them

deeper into the mire

—losing themselves and never finding the strength

to look inside themselves and examine their scars,

instead they let it fester, and bleed…

and they bleed on others…

settling for dysfunctional affection and dependence….

Love begets love, and the faithful lover deserves a faithful lover too.

Things I Never Told You…

Or maybe I did, but I’ve forgotten and just wanted to say again;

I remember the days before you left

How I bit my tongue so much and swallowed these words

a bitter aftertaste still lingers in my mouth…

[That] I’d already given up on trying to hold us together;

I’d already let you go, even before you left on that gloomy July afternoon two years ago;

I stopped loving you at one point in the years that we were together;

I regret taking you back and trying again…

I felt suffocated too, and I also wanted to run away from the life we had together;

You’ve become a burden too heavy to carry…

And I’ve grown tired of trying to understand your fickle nature;

Sometimes I wish I’d stayed away when I told my friends that I would…

I should have followed everyone’s advice;

I should have listened to my intuition when it told me you’d never change for me;

It’s been such a relief…

Since you left, everything seems to be falling into place and I struggle less each day;

I’ve had more breathing space;

Thank you for leaving…

I hope you’ve finally found what you’ve always been craving for all this time;

In spite of all the hurt and the betrayal, I genuinely want you to be happy.


In my childhood days, my lola would wake up before the roosters crowed and before dawn breaks over the rice paddies.

After saying her morning prayer and going through her morning rituals, she’d scoop a handful of rice

And roast them in an old wok, placed on top of a wood-fire stove occupying a corner of the kitchen…

The nutty and toasty fragrance of rice grains roasting slowly, always brought such warmth in the morning…

After roasting, my lola would steep the grains in boiling water until the roasted grains lends its color…

her preferred hue of coffee was the darkest shade of brown, you’d almost think it’s black.

She always – to this day – takes her coffee unadulterated; no sweeteners…no milk…

Once, over at the breakfast table, she told me as I curiously gazed at her taking a sip of that bitter brew

that the bitterness reminded her of the sweetness of life…

and my juvenile mind could not comprehend such contradicting words until i experienced some harsh realities of life…

One can only truly appreciate life’s sweetest moments after going through hardships, heartaches and life’s bitter moments…