READ: Dark Hours; elsewhere held and lingered by Conchitina Cruz 


For trips to bookstores and people lending books have become increasingly scarce, Twitter became a lifesaver with two tweets that linked downloadable PDF files of two poetry books: elsewhere held and lingered and Dark Hours, both by Conchitina Cruz. 

Poetry is good when the answer is yes to all of these: did it make me think? Did I have to read a line or a verse twice and know that it was to haunt me for nights on end? Did I feel a weight that made my heart seem heavier; was I breathless because of incoherent emotions? Did I wish I had this writer’s hands and mind; did I wish I was the poem’s creator instead? 

With Conchitina’s poems – all of these questions were answered with a resounding yes. 

I was literally whispering the words under my breath as I read, and felt entirely enraptured by them. Instant imagery forms itself in your mind as you read her poems. What concept I spend sentences and paragraphs on to fully embody she does in a few spare lines and I am entirely blown away by how powerful it is.

In Dark Hours:


You  never  know  when  somebody  will  walk  away  from  you  on  a  bright  day  on  a  busy  street,  never looking back and you  cannot  believe  the  slow  disappearance,  cannot  believe  what  is  moving  away  from  your  reach until the busy street no longer needs its presence to look the same, because it is the same. 

And  the  city  offers  you  its  fruits  and  fish,  and  the  churchgoers  lift  their  veils  as  they  step  out  into the open and you know the picture is incomplete but it can stand for itself

and who are you to ask for more, who are you to insist on hunger?

In elsewhere held and lingered: 

It should be enough

It should be enough to wake 

from the dream

and find

the doors still opening 

into the wrong rooms,

the keys still hanging 

like tongues from keyholes, the staircase still 

leading nowhere, the shelves 

still infested 

with indecipherable titles. It should be 

enough, the eyes

in photographs restless, 

the birds tugging themselves 

off  the surface

of  teacups, the curtains 

poised for migration, the roaches gone 

to the neighbors. And still, we insist 

on staying, flicking the switches 

on and off

in the dark, 

heating the leftover rice. 

Stay we must,

nodding our heads, 

our fingerprints on every object, our signatures 

on every page.

Passages where I am held breathless; passages that are like gossamer strands of spider webs that lure you in and traps you inside it. All I can say is that I cannot wait to discover more of her work. 


Share the awe with me! Download Dark Hours here and elsewhere held and lingered here. Tell me what you think!

In frame: Conchitina Cruz


WATCHED: Ang Larawan (2017)


In the city of Intramuros, the Marasigan house – stately, even if decaying – is visited frequently by reporters, students and curious folk alike. They come for one thing: Don Lorenzo el Magnifico, rival of the world-renowned painter Juan Luna, and his recent masterpiece, entitled Retrato del Artista como Filipino or A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino.

Continue reading

The Moon 


She is the sole witness to the whispers in the dark,
The fire of guns, the shadows and silhouettes Hidden from sight – growing 
Larger, advancing on a victim –
And the blood that stains the streets
That reeks to the heavens;
She is the sole witness to the cries of children
To the wail of a mother, to 
The panicked scream as a door is struck 
Down; bodies clad in blue sworn to
Secure the safety of the masses after 
Their lives, heroes of a society
Broken, never to be mistaken; to the 
Sick and innocent dead by the hand of 
Their own people, their lives reduced
To a statistic and scorned as the
Disease that rots away civilization, 
Better off dead for progress, the 
Hypocritical progress that is supposed 
To grow but kills and is lost in the
Lines blurred between justice
And ethics and the rights of every 
Human being turned into a punchline instead of a priority and
By God, she watches every night,
She does, she counts the minutes till
Dawn, she wishes the clouds were 
Thicker to hide her,
To stop her from giving them light 
That aids them – but in darkness too in her Absence they are all the more aided,
And the glowing streetlamps of the
Country bathing the pavements in orange
Are brighter than she is – and she 
She desires,
For the sun
To rise.

VICE: Duterte’s Drug War Has Now Killed 54 Children

What went wrong with bloody Mandaluyong shootout?