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.”

Halimaw sa Dilim

By Adrian B. Arendon

“Tulong! tulong! tulong!”
‘Yan ang naisambit ko kahit namamaos,
Bago nangyari ang akin sanang katapusan.
Pinilit kong mabuhay ulit nang normal,
Ngunit hindi mawaksi sa aking isipan
Ang mga pangyayaring kay brutal.

Sa aking pag-iisa sa madilim na eskinita,
Bumubulong siya sa aking tainga,
Ipinahihiwatig sa paraang hindi kaaya-aya
Na ang buhay ko’y walang halaga.

Sa aking mahimbing na pagtulog,
May dumudugong mga kamay na gumagapang
At unti-unti akong pinalilibutan at sinasakal.

Sa aking malalagim na bangungot,
Tumatakbo ako nang paulit-ulit at walang tigil
Palayo sa isang nakaputing t-shirt at nakamaong na shorts.

Habang papalapit siya nang papalapit,
Namukhaan ko ang kanyang mukha.
Bigla akong nagising at tumingin sa salamin,
Nakatakot siya pagkat mukha niya’y mukha ko.


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?