Monday, January 31, 2011


The Calling  
Our Lives  

“These instructions don’t make sense,” I said out loud. “I’ve wasted an hour of my life with this thing and I still don’t see which part goes where.” The culprit: a do-it-yourself dresser with instructions loosely translated from Chinese. The pictures weren’t helping either. A first grader could’ve done a better job.

“Maybe you’re just not looking hard enough,” A said from the kitchen. “Let me try.”

I handed the frail sheet of paper to him. “It says ‘attaching Piece C and take to Piece M with a #3 screw.’ Sounds simple enough.”

He looked up from the instructions to find me in a sea of wood and screws. “Now, problem is… which is which?”

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out,” I said in a gray tone. In my head, I was thinking we should’ve just gotten the ready made kind. I wouldn’t mind shelling a few more pesos if it meant not having to do this. But it was too late to think about that and besides, it wouldn’t really do either of us any good.

He sat beside me on the dusty cement floor as we tried to match wood planks to shaky illustrations. On his face, you could see he was starting to get worried.

And then it dawned on me. These are the moments that make up life. And though forever may seem like a long time, if I were to fill it up with moments just like this- him and me sweating, screwdriver in one hand, blind hope in the other- I’m pretty sure the hours would pass us by.

I got up, unearthed the toolbox from the mountains of boxes the moving company delivered and brought out a hammer and some nails.

“How’s this for do-it-yourself?” I announced as I held the hammer in the air like a madman ready for vengeance. I started hammering the pieces together, trying my darndest to make it look like the picture on the box. When I was done, it looked decent enough despite the fact that we had about three or four orphaned planks with nowhere to go.

“It looks wobbly,” I said, wondering if it would be stable enough to hold our things.

“I think it looks just fine,” he retorted, a smile on his face.

Forever. It’s a really big word. Why am I so unafraid?

Photo Credit: clock

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Breathe Me  
Colour the Small One  

i brought out the large corelle bowl-
the one we only use when we have visitors.
(and in this order) i dumped in
this morning’s sausages,
last night’s lasagna,
tuesday’s fish,
last saturday’s fried bananas
a couple slices of cheese,
oregano, basil, marjoram,
and a dash of salt to taste.

i popped it in the microwave,
watched it rotate,
listened to the sound of oil popping,
of cheese melting,
and a need about to be filled.

i wish you had been there
to see me eat it all.
viciously, selfishly,
like it’s going out of style.
i burned my tongue.

and i wish you had been there,
to watch it go down the toilet
in strange circular motions.
(they say it turns differently over there.)*

but you weren’t. so it doesn’t fucking count.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


ʎonqʎʇıɔ is online.

Hey! So, you gonna write something new today?

Uh, yeah. Trying to but the words don’t wanna come out.

What’s it gonna be about?

This thing I thought about.

Duh. Like, srsly what’s it gonna be about?

I was thinking of how we cope with…

(interrupting) Death? Oh, I so love it!

No, I meant how we cope with…

(interrupting) Loss? Oh, I’ll tweet all about it!

Yeah, loss.

(awkward silence) So…


Where is it?

Where’s what?

The story? When’re you posting it? Oh, I bet it’ll fetch a gazillion comments.

Hmm… I don’t know. It’s stuck in there.

Can I see it?

Sure. (opens brain, comes closer to webcam)

Oh… it doesn’t look that nice.


Yeah, I feel like I’ve seen that before. Like in a movie or something.

You did? (sounds confused) I’m sorry.

Doesn’t matter. I’m still gonna love it.


ʎonqʎʇıɔ is offline.

ʎonqʎʇıɔ is online.

Hey, where’d you go?

Sorry, I got a glass of water.

Is it cold? Like the night that doesn’t want to forget?

Hmm. No.

Why not?

My throat’s soar.

You mean it’s sore.

Yeah. That’s what I said.

Like the pain in the middle of your chest? The void you can’t seem to explain?

No. Like I’ve had too many cigarettes and not enough water.

Oh. Okay. (uneasy) So, where’s the story? How does it start?

A woman is dancing. She’s wearing old clothes. I think she’s…

(interrupting) reliving her past? Escaping from the terror of an abusive husband? I LOVE IT! POST IT RIGHT NOWWW!!!

No, not exactly. And I can’t.

Why not?

Because I don’t know how it ends.

Just say something clever like She could wear the old clothes but it would never be like it was before. He had broken her far beyond repair. I LOVE IT!@


(long silence)

So, where is it?

I can’t write it.

Why not?

Because I hate it.


Because no one will read it. Because it’s not new. It doesn’t sound like me. It doesn’t have the littlest part of me.

And that would be strange because? All your posts in the last two years have been like that.

I know.

When was the last time you wrote something because you wanted to? When did you become such an attention whore?

I’m not gonna even dignify that with a…

(interrupting) It’s almost like you spin one of those roletas on TV. What’s it gonna be today, citybuoy? (mocking) What’re you going to write about? Love? Sorrow? Work shit? Family issues? Money issues? Blogging issues? If you think about it, you have more issues than The Inquirer.

Fuck you.

You know it’s true.


I mean, what’s the point? Why do you even try so hard to write when no one’s even gonna remember it?

That’s not true. I’m sure they’ll remember it.

I bet it’ll only take five minutes before they’ve forgotten all about that story you worked so hard on. Five minutes.

That can’t be true. They say they love it. They say they can relate.

They say that all the time. You say that all the frigging time. You’re not changing any lives with your work, citybuoy. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

(silence) So, what do you want me to do?

You remember that picture I took of you?

The one where I had a wig on?

Yeah. That one. Post it.

I can’t. I look terrible in that shot. Like a na’vi in grayscale.

Post it. I’ll bet you they won’t even read the post. They’ll just comment on the picture.

But I can’t post that picture. That was just for us. It was a joke.

Don’t explain. Just do it.

Fine. (sulking) Let me look for it. (…) Okay, got it. Now what?

Post it.


Uh huh.


Liz Phair  
U Hate It  

When was the last time you wrote something that was just for you?

Friday, January 7, 2011

sorry story

Lisa Hannigan / Damien Rice  
Silent Night  

In the darkness, my hands move. I tap on the walls, feeling, searching for the wooden door. From afar, I can hear a faucet dripping. Its hollow sound is like the beat of a song lost in time. It is almost silent, save for the jingling of my keys. The rusty hinges moan as I open the door.

Story, my prisoner, is lying naked on the table. Her plate of food remains untouched near the window. The moon illuminates her body, her breasts sullen but plump in the pale light.

I close the door behind me, the midnight wind howling through the small cracks. “You haven’t been eating,” I say to her.

“You didn’t come back.” Her voice betrays a pain familiar to me. It is my own, only amplified.

“I was busy.”

“You forgot about me.”

“I came as soon as I could.”

“I could’ve died here, you know. You’re lucky I’m still here.”

“I’m sorry,” I whisper as I come closer. Her face is covered in sweat. I shush her, my fingers running through her hair.

I feel a sharp pain on my left hand. Story is biting me. Her legs tense up as she musters all her strength. I cry out in pain. I beg her to stop but she doesn’t. I slap her with my free hand.

“Story!” I bark. “You weren’t supposed to do that. You were supposed to play nice.” She lets go of me. My ruby blood drips to the stone table.

“Do I repulse you?” she asks without looking at me. “Do you find me ugly?” Her thin hands seem translucent as they run through her body. Her right hand rests on her breasts, her other fondles her crotch.

“It’s not that, it’s-

“You forgot about me!” she interrupts, shouting. “I waited for you. All these weeks, I’ve done nothing but wait. Someone told me you’ve been looking at other stories. Like you were gonna write them again. Have you forgotten that I’m still here, still unwritten?”

“I’m sorry.” I didn’t know what else to say. She was right. I procrastinated too much. As the days go by, it has become increasingly difficult to commit her to paper.

“I was beautiful,” she whimpers. “Now look at me.”

“You’re still beautiful. I still think you’re beautiful. Come, let’s go. I’ll make us some tea and we can write you down.”

“These past few weeks, I’ve been finding hate for you.” She seems proud to say this. It would’ve worked, had she not been crying. My heart breaks as I search for the right words to say.

“C’mon Story. It’s time. I’m sorry it took so long. Take my hand. I’ll help you off the table.” I offer her my right hand. She takes my left, the one that’s still bleeding. I wrap a blanket around her, both of us ashamed of her nakedness. As I help her up, I feel her ribs through her skin. Why didn’t she take care of herself?

“What kept you?” she asked. “It’s been weeks since you last wrote anything. The other stories have already left. They looked for other writers who weren’t so difficult.”

“I guess I was scared. I wanted to prove something. And it terrified me to write.”

“Why were you so scared? It didn’t used to matter if anyone liked us. You would catch a story, write it down, then catch another one and write that down.”

“I know,” I said, exhausted by this prolonged realization. “I wanted them to like me. I wanted it so badly. I used to write alone. Now it feels like I’m in a crowded room looking for a quiet corner. My eyes look through the booths and tables but they’re all packed.”

“They shouldn’t matter,” she whispers in my ear. As we walk out of the dark room, Story sings me a little song. It’s one I know from my childhood but she has changed the words.

Silent night, broken night.
All is fallen when you take your flight.
I found some hate for you just for show.
You found some love for me thinking I’d go.
Don’t keep me from crying to sleep.
Sleep in heavenly peace.

“I’m sorry,” I say when she finishes her song. “It’ll be over soon. I promise.”