we made the universe we strung together worlds typeset in cursive we connected continents with letterhead we clattered keys on boards and reset our processors at the dawn of each new thought we made the universe we skated passed pages chased conclusions reached ends we turned to beginnings we made the universe
- Melani Grace Tiongson
editor’s note: Little godlets, we! Struttin’ our stuff ‘tween Caps Lock and ctrl-alt-delete. - mh
In my twenty-someodd years of existence, only a handful of my poems, short stories, vignettes, and bundles of word excretion have been recognized. I’m not bitter about it in the least — rather, I delight in the almost virginal excitement whenever someone tells me they like my work.
How did people stalk before Facebook? Was it really just like this? Where I visit your shop daily, during your shift, and eye you "innocently" as you drift between tables in your plaid white dress? Your beanie bobs as you fervently nod at your customer’s requests, “Oh sir, really, really! That pie’s the best. And with this coffee too, it’s simply divine—” your dimpled smile making me wish all the more that you were mine. But how does this work? Do I just chat you up? Ask, “How do you do?” Do I give you my number, and a big tip, too? I don’t want to pay for "services," mind you, but I do hope you’d spare a few minutes of your time. But I really don’t know how this goes…I mean, I’ve seen it all the time on day-time soaps and TV shows…but real life and scripted life are not one and the same. But I digress, I digress…oh? Twelve already? I must be on my way.
So…Until tomorrow, coffee shop girl. One day, I promise, I will ask you out far beyond this coffee shop world.
I am here across the sea praying for my brothers in calamity. Our home is a war zone, with roofs of tin littering the streets, with endless tears falling at the feet of those who walked for miles and miles, one mile for every grain of rice to feed a country nearly running short on dreams.
They say relief will take days, and reconstruction — decades.
But we’re called Waray: not because we have nothing to lose, but because we won’t stop building and rebuilding because
to lose. Ang bayaning nasusugatan, nag-iibayo ang tapang.
there was that one night on the couch. it was winter, i was wet
from the slush on my jeans to the sheen of ice on my head. you almost didn’t let me in.
"i’m cold," i told you. "take off your shirt," you said. “you’re dripping everywhere and as much as I want you to sit, I’d rather you not stain my bed.”
so there we were, on the couch. there the lamp was, in the corner. there were voices, barely audible whispers. and fingers that traced contours ever-so close.
"it’s ok," i assured you. "i don’t mind staying the night. the snow’s piled high and being here feels right. i’ll be gone in the morning. i don’t want to get in your way—”
"it’s all right." you said. "by all means please stay. I hope you know I would never rush you to go. it’s cold out there, so take your time. take all the mornings, evenings, minutes of mine.” you smiled and laughed with me, descended into sleep and despite sleep, protected me.
then morning came and still i stayed, that one night turning into eternity.