top of page



published in Rambutan: Journal of Southeast Asian Writing (2017)

Fragment Footnotes of Once-Upon-a-Time Footprints Running Barefoot in the ________


1. beginningless conditions:

            (under) solar heat,

its presence &    absence

            radiating ,,,

 refracting , , ,

            a feedback furnace,

         clouding smoke shadows,


          echoing a cry,


  back-to-back  walls



bliss blows out  paradise ---

(a human home without a dome 

      eats    its insides      out,

     primordial imprisonment

     keeps  its outsides      in,

     until    it        explodes.)


2. pioneer transcendent directions:

plant wild islands of meteoric rock matter

bloom algae blue-green seaweed grass

float fireboats between water worlds

 fly, fly,           fly,

            like ancient bird’s dinosaur feather buried in fossil fuel

            like sister snakes’ scales weathered age in climate change

            like an extinct species speck dust in sunken sand dunes

            like an island’s edge resisting end in elemental skies

its demise:

escape physics,

escape hell

    first fall,

stand up again & against

    sail across ocean’s distance

    voyage        void of sirens

    manifest destiny      spirit-

            materialize residensity 

    machinize propensity

            vortex     speeeeeeed

    until magical equation reads           [breathe]

(human habituation = cosmological cardinal direction

or, ‘we worship we worship we worship we worship we worship we...’)


3. this is a [portmanteau] story, telephone re-told:

this is a story about you. /

this is a story about me. /

this is a story about love. /

this is a story about journeys. /

this is a story about journeys to the other side. /

this is a story about journeys to the other. /

this is a story about rebirth. /

this is a story about samsara. /

this is a story about life on planet earth. /

this is a story about life in the underworld. /


(This is a story about human life in a synthetic seashell, growing its (a)symmetrical limbs in spirals, grounding sub-dirt’s grid in I's prosthetic extension, polar contours of calcified, plastic contradictions. This here became that there and that there became this here (ribs to limbs: am I repeating another genesis?), back & forth & forward, like media’s me-mirror miming/mining carbon (.com)motion, wheel-ward spinning ‘truth’ in fool’s merry-go-round loop notion of now news, webbing world’s war waves w/ blind surf rider’s smile, forgetful of shoreline limits...



[ [ [[ as live primetime memory suddenly record stops coming storms’ fresh riptides,

flesh-skin shield morphs home, (de)code suspends composed hurricane center ]] ] ]



Only until multiple punctures immunize post-tempest trauma, tear-water filling/filtering fluid of mind eye’s, can shiny visions of sandy voyages, beyond blur of half/horizon's structural-logical geometry, open up, as a pearl, to gloss glimmer sur-face/subvert compositional flux(us) from imperfect curves. Not until this life seeizes the light in circular /diffraction/ does our story end,

to begin, again, anew (we).)


To Sea Deserts


[To the Land of Wirikuta,

to all sacred space-time points

oriented to holy plant spirits,    



The desert, once under the ocean,

escaped earthquake’s tectonic tempest,

decided dirt’s disguise before ridge demise.


Once, this desert is an ocean . . . . . .

When we step on spines of spikes, 

we grow like seaweeds or saguaros,

taking prick of tick-tock-ticking,

phytonutrient passing passage of we-me-moments,

minute-by-minute action into algae growth acceleration,

surviving by slipping into skins, thick by water’s war storms;

Callous from a cactus is foot’s souvenir of sovereignty, like a flag of victory fluid in the sky.


Once, this desert is an ocean ..............

When we voice cosmos untamed hourglass vacuum,

we hear our echoes stir cries lost on other side underworld,

screaming mirrors of madness spit sinking primal slime in pirate pilgrim ships;

I try to speak silent to spirits but they’re too many or too loud, like gushing rivers

whispering for a tiny swish of attention as a colony of fish waves sea/scales with sailor swords.

Shiny jewels of wet clouds slash coastline’s chest like stolen treasure’s descent into coral reefs;

What more to matter than to submerge alone & alive in divided dimensions above destiny.


Once, this desert is an ocean .. .. ..

When we pride in Singular Present Tense Divine,

we pray to the Capital(ist) Logics of Conditional Statements, like Humanity’s Limitlessness:

That the shared Tree of Life sings in our staged Theater of War, of Bodydrama’s Battle Reel,

That which is as forgotten as Atlantic Slave Trade or forgiven as Colonization’s Sins,

            now forges a self’s (s)kin,      X         (oxygen hole) rippled & inhaled

       like a lung puncture Politics to Prana,

            like a So-Realist Play of Gendered Toybox Trauma,

       like a Distant Pacific Vortex of Plastic Trash,

            like a Disneyland Ride into Dread’s Paid Dreamtime,

 like Penelope’s Odyssean Desires of a boat’s crash on the coast on the course to change herstory. 

                        You wonder yonder, but the story is the same:

                                    You swim; you drown. You float, you flourish.

                        You pick your poisons & they prick you. 

Once, this desert is an ocean ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


Sip Sleepy-Time Folktale Tea

Over the dinner table,

a mother tells her daughter a story:


Over the ocean on northern continental bedrock,

a widowed grandmother and her daughter-in-law

meet beside once again to nibble-giggle whisper

diaspora’s distant pacific island goodnight gossip:


“A daughter of a neighbor and a relative

by less than six.666 degrees of separation

became sick with stomach pains for six months.

And do you know what they did to cure her conditions?”


“Well, will I believe if I knew trouble’s truth?”


“Before last summer’s tempest of radioactive torment,

she got a full pipe pull of incense puff smoke

blown down her belly by a she-sha/man healer

from the flip side of the old sea-boat bog...”


"Yawa Pahawa!"

"Yawa Pahawa!"

[“Devil, get out!”]

[“Devil, get out!”]


      [or more accurately, “That evil thing doing tricks, get out of here!”]

      [or more arguably, “That dirty-devil’s thing doing tricks inside, get outta here!”]


An exorcism?

A laugh (& a half).

“And not too long later, the young girl went into labor;

her baby died soon after, so did she...”


A 15-year-old third-year high-schooler,

            child of XY in relative to Z,

                        kid giving birth to kin,

by swamp witch’s wish-whip of words,

by swapped spit’s lust-spun DNA spell,

by some dull & dumb gang member no-gooder neighbor boy,

by some curse conjured alive from secret sorceresses of inherited misery given birth

by some sperm from her no-good-doin’ adulteratin’ adulterer fisherman father,

by that karma-comes-back-as-bad-luck kisses of his many bitter child-bearing mistresses,

scattered like ass biting fire crabs slave laboring family love on far islands             across

heavy eye’s horizon sea - - - subsurface wounds truth:telling*


*(As if tropical sun’s story ever ceases at liquid edges of seashore lips: homesick heartbeats pitter-pattern matter on re-union ritual-reproduce repeat-repeat conditions of embodied storms, coded in cloud mouth messages; life lingers on in hole’s loop)


The morale?: ‘A spirit is born, killed, and re-risen’


Like night’s shadow, or today’s tomorrow,

lurking below the bedsheets:

a tucked monster

under water blanket

of daydream’s




Swim from Sinking Islands


Once upon a pleasure’s time,


bathtub of ocean gap traps 2 islands,


            [like tako dako ug tako gamay

                  (big ‘tako’ and little ‘tako’)]


through wide-eyed distance this divide desire glistens,


            [“let’s go beyond borders of order,

                  swim further off shoreline of fear’s edge,

                        off end of lolo’s seawall backyard fence!”]


lust daydreams of floating flesh like mermaid fish,


            [spinnin’ star system’s grip,

                   kin family’s hips,

                        dna trippin’ trauma’s drip,

                                    alien heart’s tight lip; creep creatures of belly’s deep]


like we 3 witchy women who glide high tides hollerin’ wildness,


            [hollow plastic water gallons grippin’ our thighs afloat,

                 locomotive body masses buoy like masted sailboats,

            spine serpents slivering moon’s rising liquid,

                 face-space perception swells self-picture lizard vivid;

            bit by daredevil’s goddess guts of glory]


below us, slowness of sea muscle-suspended like leisure bicycle ride,


            [in echo’s listening distance, your cousin repeat screams for your return.

                        to swim to that visible island beyond & back, dis believable whim.

            no one’s ever done this before, wide wade swim.

                        to swim into that invisible void back & beyond, sans shark attack.

            no one’s ever gone there before, tugging their behinds on wastebasket water jugs.

            ‘do you KNOW (not) what death-by-drown be in that beyonder???’]


paddlers peddle compass wheel to weave collective destination,


[underneath weightless knees kicking air gravity, feet feathering fluid’s light waves,

smell of heated seaweed salt, sweet skin’s fruit shell prune prickly lines, clear signs sense

crystallize colonized contradiction bloom colors sea-saw filtering mobile limb’s glimmer:

blue-purple / plum purple / sky violet / violet-blue / violent bruise-blue /

tropical-true-blue / skylight blue / plastic pen ink blue / blood-fusion-blue /

flash flood blue / plundered-paradise-postcard blue / between-green-blue /

hidden hues radiate transparent blue’s muse-eum]


‘til finally, multitude body momentum pendulum portals other alien planets of possibility,


            [fear is unknown’s underwater flash of fate,

                        spit/swap’s splash in face of surreal idealism;

            fear is lost myth of mind’s friction/fiction,

                        first idea bridged by mind’s eye, imagination;

            fear is what stops writing stage screenplay,

                        chills reel to press pause/play like dead film;

            fear is a pilot program of chaos control,

                        if corrupted captive; free unconscious fins (endings)]*


there is no end*

“sink your fears, float like a feather”**

-from future word play & past passage pleasure****




*This is a true-tale auto-flashback of prior storm stored memory from a seasonal stay on the Visayan island of my family’s Philippine origins, hit by the eye of Typhoon Haiyan [Yolanda] in November 2013, at written time, the strongest tempest to strike land in modern recorded human history.


**This is an afternoon where three women went swimming to a nearby island from my grandfather’s house along boat coast, on the whim of midsummer wind, self-buoyed with plastic jugs between our legs.


***This text is a tribute to an island’s survival, when the people and waters rise together.

bottom of page