Sometimes she thinks the only thing tying them is the sadness they grew in the brambles of the past: a string that sewed itself into stone – ground and turned to sand and buried in the pages of a book they both read together in a bookstore all those years ago. They took to a decade of drifting apart – the kind of drifting that is neither slow nor quiet, even if she adored that, perhaps far too eagerly (oh but she was young and what was there to do but be foolish in that age, fold your hands later on when the consequences arrive in chains, offer up your wrists in penance) – instead: the divide that drew them into pieces was a knife with uneven, hungry teeth, painting their promises into shadow and hushed tones until they learned well to unlearn secrets – weave whatever memory remained into the skin of others they would try to love along the way: the girl he swore he loved had she not lied too much; the boy who taught her how to map her way across the bowels of the city, how she opened the door to him one midnight, only to send him away too soon; the girl he gave the world to, only later realizing how some things couldn’t be outweighed by an offering of the world – over and over, finding a different face to fill in the form of that old feeling and one morning she hears news of his leaving, makes a list on the absence of goodbyes between them, the abundance of rainwater each time they walked then and dreams: somewhere a book opens to a page marked by a single red string, she begins reading, resting her head on his shoulder, he mouths out the words, all without sound.
She dawdles over the shelves
like she had all the time
in the world, squinting
her eyes (glasses on, from too much reading
at night), impaired as predicted,
while the shopkeep asks, “Are you looking
for anything?” She pauses, momentarily,
finding her way back
into this page – answers, shaking
her head: “No,” she says, her grip tightening
its hold on the half-opened book, now used
to the feel of her fingers – “I’m just looking.”
of words, let me tell you
I have tried to find
fixtures to fill the gaps laid between us:
corridor, coffee shop, library – landscapes
supplanted with stone, shared
sips, and spines
older than our own, only
to later see how I have nothing left
to give. Only this silence,
and a memory: watching the first slits of sun
wiping the world anew.
The only productive thing I managed to make the entire day despite trying to write a story, revise another, and start a poem.
I’ve been really having problems falling asleep the past few nights (conking out only at 3AM) so, here’s a redo of an old meme that sort of went viral back a million years ago. Because it’s fun!
1) What author do you own the most books by?
After having relinquished my Goosebumps and Archie comics collection to my younger sisters, I think it’ll either be Neil Gaiman (growing up on the Sandman series, I pretty much bought all his other books) or Bill Willingham (because I eventually moved on to Fables), graphic novels-wise. I’m just missing one book from my Jonathan Safran Foer collection now. I also have a lot of Murakami, Palahniuk, and Atwood (give or take, equal amounts). For the art books it’s James Jean’s (I’m only missing Process Recess 1). Poetry-wise… it’ll have to be Chingbee Cruz’s.
2) What book do you own the most copies of?
Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated. I have THREE different editions of it. First print (got it back in 2005 or 2006), second (the yellow one, with a different ending), and the new red one (where it’s in a single book along with Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close). One of my favorite books. Go figure.
It only felt right to put this in my writing blog.
Following graduating last year, I realized that distance is something that catches up to people faster than we can actually catch up to them. So, eventually I developed a way of keeping track of people, without well, the incessant telephone calls (albeit I still do call people up once in a while)/text messages/emails/ etc.
Easy: lend them books.
Like a book closed,
creases turned clean, shelved back,
left to wait or wilt.