Cautionary Tale

By Jermaine Dela Cruz

She was
or so they thought.
Woods fired, engines chugged,
they sailed her West in fair majestic pride
unknowing of a tragic ending, a harrowing recollections.
In a blink of an eye, she collided with a tip of the ice, a thousand lives and more swallowed by angry tides,
cries of mercy resonating, woes fading into the familiar shuttered countenance one by one.
Debris floating back and forth, a horrifying spectacle of bodies buoyant, breathless,
as salty waters sing a lullaby consoling souls from a sudden departure.
The ship of dreams, the unsinkable, in all her vainglory
a grand exit on her first and final journey, but not
before a farewell kiss pressed on her lips—
She, in a trance, breath withdrawn,
her limbs weak and weary.
Slowly she plunged
but not before
looking back
one last


Fairy Tale

By Roi Marc P. Labasan
Spoken Word

Hey, I’m really sorry to tell you this, but you will never be the fairest, you will never eat a cursed apple, and you will never ever be kissed by some random bastard prince for you to cheat death.

You will never fall into an eternal sleep after you hurt yourself with a spindle. You will never have a prince armed with “the sword of truth” and “shield of virtue” to fight a dragon for you. And a kiss will never ever awake you from an eternal coma. If you’re dying, go get a doctor, not a creepy prince.

You will never have a fairy godmother to dress you up, provide you elegant things from a garden, and make a golden carriage from a pumpkin. You will never be sought by a prince after leaving a glass slipper because of your clumsiness, and you will never ever be queen after you attend some shitty ball and dance with a prince named Charming.

You will never be a mermaid princess bestowed with legs by some crazy female octopus. You’ll never meet a guy named Eric who will battle that octopus for you, and you will never ever fall in love in just three days, for god’s sake!

You will never meet a beast with living “things” as his servants. You’ll never be saved by the huntsman ordered to kill you. You will never ever marry an evil hairy creature who hates Christmas, and accept a rose as a gift from him. A monster will always be a monster.

Lastly, you will never be a girl with magical blond hair and be locked up in a tower; you’ll never meet a good thief nowadays and will never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever have a happily ever after.

When your death is near, you’ll realize that humans don’t even fear death after all. For the real fear of us humans is to realize that after all the years of existence, we have never really lived. So wake up and quit your fucked-up fantasies because life is not a goddamn Disney fairy tale.

When the Old Paints the Youth

By Julius Marc Taborete

wakes up at dawn to sweep
the brown multitudes of the Fall.

Youth plants the fertile soil, reaping
the withered land and pours
spite of rise on gray expanse.

Youth is the pollen of our prime—
disperses through the sky,
never pulled back from ancestral gravity.

spews parts of our best days;
swooping the flesh of fading ritual
in a feast of the age of rising sun.

does not heed the silence
of vestige; in scaffolding of the melody
of the Sun and Stars.

is just our history,
a mirage in distortion of reality; an induction
to the surreal slums of life. Ancestors,
as they would say,

is the gift of nature but age
is the work of art.” Hues of

cascade from the canvas of tradition,
depleting the fountain
of the past.

has not stepped on the shadows
of 1972; the freedom we once
now has the brimful of the

As mirrors reflect the wrinkle
of time, old is still new. Has

been the roots of The fallen bough?
Ah! The dawn has come
and so as the

comes to sweep the last
leaf to plant a
new tree.

Tinted Nails

By Allan Ace Dignadice


Woke up early
to go

to fall in line
to look for
a name

that should be mine
with hundreds of
people that

I don’t recognize
unfamiliar faces
for the first time

I sat
I pondered

and caught a glimpse
of a sacred ballot

I sat
I pondered

I remembered
the bills
that now are in
my pocket

a kilogram of rice
that will help
my family

my children
to get through
the week

I sat
I wrote his name

I sinned
I don’t—

I didn’t care

if he wins
if they suffer

at least not me
not my family

all we get in
the end is
a couple of bills

just tinted nails

My Shadow

By Erron Marc A. Hallarsis

I woke up and remembered I cried myself to sleep last night.
While putting my suit and shoes on, I heard murmurs at my back:
“Don’t worry, I’ll never leave you by your side.”
I thought: How ironic that I don’t want to be alone
Yet I want this one out of my life. My very own shadow.
Wherever I go, it always follows me.
It makes me feel the world is on my shoulders.
I begged and begged for it to go away
But it just would never leave me.
Then I thought how I could ever live my life like this.
Ah, maybe, I’ll get used to it.

Dark Adaptations

By Mary Antonette P. Fuentes

Rain falls, stacking in the gutter
Not a single sound I hear nor a mutter.
Aside from the drips,
Silence resonates with me in this four-cornered room
Accompanied by thin and hard-to-breathe air and gloom.
I am deprived by darkness.
He’s the only companion I’ve got.
He’s with me through this lonesome time of bad luck.
He’s with me when the world seems in love.
Good luck about that.
I’m not a hater of love
Nor a lover of hate.
I’m a believer before.
Well, I guess fate must’ve changed.
It took me some time before I could see
How reality plays us in its hands of fantasy.
I became dependent on this so-called forecaster.
I’m a voyager in this sea of invincible monsters
That have the face of enlightened angels.
Monsters that say, “In here, sweetie, let me take care of you.
I’d be delighted.”
Promising as it may sound
Every sweet thought has its bounds.
Never fall to this betrothal trap
Devilish deed.
I say, “You are not a rat.”
You can’t blame me, though.
All my life I’ve been living with this blinding light.
I grew with such great thirst
To know how mighty the dark is.
Dilated pupil? Maybe not.
Increased sensitivity? Somewhat.
To put it simply,
The eye adapts to conditions of reduced illuminations.
I’d like to call it “dark adaptations.”


By Xaña Angel Eve M. Apolinar

To you,
Please don’t ask me about monsters
And my sadness
They exist together and sometimes are
Just the same.

To you,
Please ask me to stop
Writing sad scribbles, monsters
Trapped inside my soul
Ready to devour those who are willing
To fight
The dragons and rescue the damsel in distress.
My fingers only lingers
On the letters that form these monsters,
Splitting them wide open and making you
Vulnerable in front of vultures.

To you,
Please take my palms and close
The fingers to form a fist and open them again
Until the venom slips off
The tips of my fingernails like a swift river.

To you,
please stay
until my monsters devour you.

Mother Kept Me Awake

By Yumi Ilagan

Mom said I should keep the lights on
Even when I need to go to sleep.
I have known that and have always tried.

Mom knew that I drift into another world in my sleep.
She did not like it.
So every time she sensed that I was drifting away,
She would shake me awake.
I did not like it.

One night, I saw her keep and lock the knives in the drawer.
She never gave me the keys even if I politely asked for it.
She had also kept my medicine in a cupboard
And kept it locked until it was time for me to take them.

Mom said I should keep the lights on
Even when I need to go to sleep
Because she said I loved the dark too much
And she was afraid that one night the dark would take me away
And that I would gladly go.

Mom knew everything, except one
Or maybe two
Or maybe three.
Mom didn’t know that the dark already had.
Mom didn’t know how I feel when the dark consumes my mind,
When oblivion falls into my thoughts,
When death lingers in my conscious thoughts,
Just enough for me to crave the sensation of them.

So I kept the lights on, even when I needed to go to sleep.
Well, at least I have tried.

Now, I am looking for the keys my mother has kept
Because the dark has come once again,
And I am afraid to go back.

The Rose

By Reylan Gyll J. Padernilla

Have your ever loved a rose
And watched her slowly bloom?
As her petals unfold, you grow
Drunk on her perfume.
You swear every night to let
The memory fade.

Have you ever seen its dance?
It quivers catching the dew
And with the passing of the wind.
You swear every night to let
The memory fade.

Have you ever loved a rose?
You can bleed by touching her thorns?