Waking up at unholy hours

3 AM. A jolt from a weird dream
that I couldn’t even remember.
Instead, I am reminded of
messages- morsels of myself-
waiting to be returned
to my inbox.
Today’s just Sunday.

Yet my body is more impatient,
than how it usually is during a regular work week.
This is not the first time i woke up
at such unholy hours,
disregarding the laws of biology
manufactured by xanax.
I should have been sleeping

4 AM. My friend stirs beside me,
her soft body, a driftwood i cling onto
in these moments when my mind
resigns itself to a hurricane.
Her breath becomes a metronome
as I try to lull myself back between
fragments of memories and dreams:

When i asked my mom what love is,
she told me it was divine intervention.
Like Mary hearing about the future
from a cosmic force
she couldn’t really say no to.
Were you overjoyed? I asked.
She shook her head, and told me no.
Loving your father took a lot of time.
But it paid well in the end.
You just have to hold on
to the word promised to you.

5 AM. My friend shifts into another dream,
Her sleep talk both precious and incomprehensible.
I realized how frightening words are-
They are meaningful and empty.
A tangible collateral that can mean nothing.

My father once told me that the fear
of my mother’s absence
prompted him to fulfill his vows.
Love, he said, is when you realized
you have lost someone
and you couldn’t be the same again
until that person comes back.
When the side of your bed becomes
a vast desert,
you begin searching for water.

All this tossing and turning has made me thirsty.

6 AM. Maybe it was just a mirage,
but I certainly heard the church choir
as the town begins the day
with its series of masses.
I uttered a short prayer
before checking my feed for signs.
A short drizzle starts pattering on the rooftop,
but I didn’t mind.

It was time to sleep, my body says.
Go. Return to the world you are deprived of.
Today’s just Sunday.
No one gives a damn



You told me that this house is too small for us to live in. So I built us
a mansion: this funhouse of mirrors.
Now we live on opposite ends of this vast space, comfortable at the edges of our own loneliness,
merely acknowledging the presence of the other
as a next door neighbour
when there are thousands of uninhabited rooms between us,
waiting to be opened,
broken down and passed through.

I long to breach the distance that traps us in an endless hallway of what-ifs–
possibilities that could have materialised
should one of us break this truce
and step on the shards of existences we have shed behind.

I have left a number of broken beer bottles
at my passing. They carelessly scar on
the thin carpet of my skin, warning you
of every landmine I have set up at my defense.
I don’t know how to undo them
so I just pretend they never happened
but from here, I can still hear the sound of the ocean in your room,
the rattle of prayer beads that barbed your front door–
your lifesaver
from the continuous cry of the phone receiver
you left hanging in god knows where.
I know you are still there- breathing
sometimes floating, sometimes drowning
like I do here at the other side-

Oh how we have baptized ourselves over and under
in salt or in liquor
waiting for the sweetness to come
maybe in some guise of an intruder
who’s insane enough to ignore
all the caution tape we have weaved on our fences.
-I guess we are both insane to still believe onto each other
so we wait for one of us to come willing
to lose her place in the process of finding.
It has become quite a game
we are both patient enough to play.

Maybe on particularly good days
when we are almost sober to feel
the dust on our fingertips, we would be able
to grasp the door handles and turn open
each other’s knobs.
Discovering that we are just in adjacent rooms
with a secret door in between.

When that time comes, I will greet you
with a kiss of thousand words unsaid.
Years of longing and loneliness
cleansed away by this very second.
Tears on our cheeks,
hands in your hair, lips on my ear,
flesh pressing on flesh,
nails scraping skin,
mouth drinking from the wells of another–
We will make mad love to each other
tearing these rooms, screaming
through these swelling walls that made us apart.

Until then, this house becomes intact.
A shell for the winter that brews from within.
A body of fragmented personas


To exist.

To safely arrive from one point to another,

To enjoy the momentary stillness amidst the honking of horns,

To radiate the warmth of sunlight into another person’s hand,

To take advantage of being cold as an invitation to intimacy,

To write without fear, to create without warning,

To look into the eyes of a child, defying demarcations of time,

To impregnate yourself with joy, to be expectant of it,

To partake in the labor of the universe,

To surrender a bit in the grand order of things,

    floating on an endless ocean, finding your breath underwater,

    leaving your children in their sleep, trusting their innate gift,

To live, to swim, to grow their own gills,

To find water wherever there is,

     becoming more aware that the going and returning are just halves,

     of a person I long knew, and will know,

These are graces I continually thank for

An Open Letter To Meme and Vienna

May 29, 2014


May Anne Gorion and Viennalyn Jane San Juan

Two of the Most Important Persons in My Life

Here in My Heart (Yes, this is how cheesy as it gets)



I’m writing this because I have so many feelings from our “despedida” coffee + cake + conversation earlier. A part of me wants to continue this convo that we had and haul you into my room for an overnighter. Alas, it can’t be. Vienna has a TR for the night, Meme has to take care of her CavSu papers/business et.al and I still have to go to work tomorrow. Times have indeed changed. We can’t just ditch our classes like we used to. We have different sets of priorities now and we’ll probably have less time for each other. That is why, I really appreciate it that we have made time for each other today. Thank you for being there. Thank you for pushing it. Thank you for putting a high premium on this relationship.

Actually, I want to thank you for a lot of things: For being there when I’m sick and stranded (even when I’m pretending to be sick- thank you for tolerating it/covering it up for me at times). For being my wingman/parent/brodah/devil’s advocate when situation calls for it. And most importantly, for showing me the world in another perspective…in lots of perspectives, actually. I don’t think I’ll be the person that I am right now if not for the two of you. I don’t think I’ll grow my hair this long or I’ll ever have the guts to go to a high school reunion party (and pull enough courage to talk to the guy that I liked for so many years) if not for your support. I also don’t think I’ll have the motivation to try to find love again and to leave many dysfunctional relationships behind if not for your lives. My thank you’s are not enough, actually. I don’t know any other words to express how much grateful I am for your existence.

I am rereading Kundera [again] and I’ve come across his musing on Nietzsche’s idea of eternal return. Examining it, he concludes that Nietzsche’s idea would render events that happened only once as nothing, bearing no weight at all no matter how beautiful or sublime it is. On the contrary, things that happen again and again bears weight and becomes a burden for mankind. That is why history is given importance (because it repeats itself) and we consider the people who we passed only once, as something that is trivial. But in the latter chapters, Kundera asks- if people try to assign opposite attributes to pairs, what is deplorable and what is splendid? Heaviness? Lightness? What shall we choose?

Connecting these questions into our lives, what are we? Do we recur or are we the-only-once-in-this-lifetime type of friends/people? What is more ideal, more apt to describe this friendship that we have?

I still don’t have a sure answer for that. As for now, I like to tread the gray area and conclude that we are both- lightness and weight. Just like how Meme’s love returned to her through Vincent, this friendship that we share will recur and will return to us, only in a different face.  And with that, I am grateful because you showed me how friendship is like. However, a part of me is still torn because…I don’t know. It’s still different in a way. I cannot imagine myself having this kind of relationship that we have with our other [future] friends. There is something (a 1%) that stays inside the two of you that when you leave out of my life, I know that it will not return to me in the exact way again. And this is not the clingy me talking. In my heart of hearts, I know that will not be this same person without the two of you.

I’m sorry for my messed up understanding of philosophy and for not making any sense at all. But yeah, I know we’ve been through that already. And thanks for hearing me out, despite my inconsistencies, incapacities and dramas. Just a few stuff that I would like to say to [both of] you (in no particular order):

  • Thanks for picking me up when I was helpless and stranded. You were the only persons who did. Now that I think of it, I’ve met many people who respond in times of need. But they are the types who respond when it’s kind of convenient to them. You are the only persons I know of who would brave a storm just to rescue a friend. Thank you.
  • Thank you for teaching me that love is not passive. That it is not as rosy and ideal as it seems. That it fights, it gets angry (but it overlooks and arrives at compromises) and that at times, it also admits defeat. I still haven’t found THE ONE yet, but thank you for believing that I still have a hope in this field. SOMEDAY.
  • Thank you for understanding my Stockholm syndrome with Jason. You know how much I am tormented with my high school shits- and how much I am making a big deal out of it. I also know that at times, you get tired from hearing it. But thank you for lending an ear anyway. And for being my devil’s advocate when I need a whack in the head and a serious reality check.
  • I’m sorry for not giving you gifts. I’m still broke. Thank you for overlooking all our debts to each other (when we can help it). And for being patient when we collect it. BEST FRIENDSHIP EVER. J
  • For the sex tips and sexploits- I’ve learned a lot from you guys. Looking forward to practice it in the future. Please buy my first pregtestkit (KIDDING (but you know what they say about jokes)).
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=450p7goxZqg
  • I don’t think there is a need to reaffirm this, but YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. BEAUTIFUL. BEAUTIFUL. Not even Pau’s beauty could rival to yours, I swear. And that’s saying something.
  • Maan is still the most beautiful in my eyes. Don’t contest over that.
  • Since we will not be seeing each other for a long time, the super attentive nice guy I’m talking about is actually- shit, should I really confess this?– a barista. Shame he’s not on duty when we were there. And aside from the many other reasons why I’m having second thoughts on him, I’m actually quite unsure if he’s nice because he’s paid for being nice. But god, how he notices the little details that either annoy or gratify me. You know that I have a thing for SUPER kindness. Well, he’s the one who pulled the strings just for me to print my resume on time. He’s the one who recommended to try the drink that we had awhile ago. And he has puppy eyes- Ian-like, puppy eyes. ANYWAY, I’m leaving Ortigas so there’s no reason for me not to hold back this piece of information from the all-knowing eye of the internet. I’m doomed.
  • I love you
  • I love you
  • I love you
  • I will never stop nor be shy to say how much I love the both of you because really, I do. I love you more than what the English language could supply for the word “love” because that’s how I really think and feel.
  • Writing to you because we will not be seeing each other for quite a long time is just an excuse. Heck, we know better than to put this relationship into the hands of Fate (c.f. Invictus). Let’s go camping together. Finish that darn checklist. Add more to that. Stargaze while lying in the trunk of a pick-up. I know that you will not be like my other botched friendships in high school because we’ve fought for each other. A lot of times.
  • See ya.


I love you,

Hannah Riesa/Harie/Hannah Abangan

Your Forever Abanger Friend

Even in the Parallel Universes


P.S. I really appreciated the Kebabers stunt. I guess that sealed what I feel for the two of you.




It’s fun to break poetry into little lines

Like this.

I don’t know why, but I guess

It gives one a sense

Of expansion

Or maybe, of growth.

Little sentences, which can barely fill a page

Can now become a WALL

So huge

But lacking in sense and in stability.


I don’t want to be like these empty lines.

I don’t want to leave my words


When they cannot stand on their own just yet.

I don’t want to break pieces of me,

Highlighting the only special parts

And tucking the rest of the mundane into dark long alleys,


I don’t want to lose the beauty of relationships

By leaving so many gaps

Between words and worlds.

I don’t want to build a wall for the sake of building a huge one

But I will build

To safe-keep and to cherish

What I have in my hands.