I remembered the first time I saw you
In jeans and a white shirt,
Sneakers, Converse Chuck Taylor’s
A girl next door kind of thing,
The flowing dark hair
That cascaded over your shoulders,
Just above your breasts
That half moon smile
And those eternal, dark eyes
I was unsure of whether
To approach you or not
I thought about what to say
I love you, the way Jesus loves you
Did you know water can boil and freeze simultaneously?
Have we met before?
You’re the most beautiful woman I met
Those kinds of things
As I got closer to you
My mind wandered to the future
The routine dates, flowers, gifts
I love yous, I miss yous
Meet Mr. and Mrs. de la Cruz, lola and lolo
Broken glass, clothes scattered on the pavement
Just outside the house we built
The mess, the disappointments
I hate yous, I never want to see you again
I kept shirt that you love to wear unwashed for ages
I wanted to feel your essence whenever I wore it
Maybe I’d find a strand of your hair
Or catch the remaining scent of your favorite perfume
I stood right next you, trying to find the right words
Sometimes I prefer the silence
Do I want to do this all over again?
Or do I just want the never ending chase?
The madness of an ideal
I was on the verge of leaving
But you turned towards my direction
Your eyes crash landed on me
A burning wreck with no survivors
I wanted to fall, break into tiny molecules
I swallowed hard, mentally shrugged
Stuck out my hand and said
Hi, my name is
*Ligaya is the Filipino word for happiness
*Lolo means grandfather, lola means grandmother
I wonder what it’s like to live in a city that was
Where only memories exist
The taste of wine
The sound of songs
The clash of swords
The touch of a woman
The once imposing walls
Crumble and left on the floor
Lamassu defending against
Enemies that will never come
I stand on the viewpoint
Overlooking the ruins
Take me to the oldest part of the city
Where ancient feelings remain
Geography of Our Living Room
My twin sister and I used to play in our living room a lot
We hid behind the curtains, under the table
When we were small enough
Inside the closet our grandparents left behind
I remember its musty smell whenever I hid in it
I would open the door slightly and see my sister
Looking for me, the exasperated look on her face
Made me smile
She would leave the living room
To wait for me to come out of hiding
I knew she would wait behind the full length mirror
I would switch the light off and hide behind the shadows
Until mom called us for dinner
Whenever you or I won, we would sit on the couch
I could still feel its leathery skin
Our body’s grooves would sink snuggly
Into its soft, supple cushion
You put your arm around me
I put my head on your shoulders
As we watch our favorite cartoons
It wouldn’t matter what was on
I returned to our house
The full length mirror no longer there
Blinds hung over the windows
The closet moved to our parents’ bedroom
The couch replaced with a wooden chair
I switched the light on and off
To maybe bring back what was.
The god of lost things
A friend once told me God was in the details.
She was an open minded person,
Always looking for something unique
In the minutest of things. A grain of sand,
Ants crawling over on an open flame.
Unafraid of light and the darkness it may bring.
She was like the child fearless of discovery.
Routines bother her,
Its cyclical osmosis of open eyes on closed boxes.
She likes to find the new and the painful.
She watches the seed fall as the tree withers, waiting-
For a flower to bloom. Its petals seep into her hands,
She holds the flower firmly and shows it to me,
Listen to the beat of the scarred heart,
Listen carefully to its music, its truth
The atrophy of its roots
The shriveling petals
Its beauty in blindness.
She plants it back into the land, knowing
That it is capable of life independent from her.
Although childlike she was grown-up.
She shows no animosity to certainty.
She wakes me up from a dream within a dream
Within a dream. Telling me I have to make choices,
Ascertain time to see the lilies fly off into the sunset.
Watch them grow,
Watch them decay,
As silence fills the dead spaces.
She tells me the sunrise is beautiful,
It shows her the barren land, the dust settling
On dead leaves. She shows me the flower,
We water it resuscitating the petals.
There is something in this moment that reveals to me,
The newness just before the familiar dawn.
I’m Joshua Berida from Quezon City, Philippines. I have been a writer for almost a decade and have written poems, short stories and feature articles about travel.