I have always been honest

except for the times when I have to obscure

emotions into lines like these.

The amount of poems I have written

are also the number of times I lied

by fitting half truths into shells

of acceptable excuses.

We both know my words are dead

Bodies at the bottom of the lake

Without soul, without ships to anchor with.

They stare back at me, eyes without light

I couldn’t look away from them.

Tonight, I let the waters claim another victim.

Flushing blood from veins, disintegrating organs

Into solubles. I bathe into my own essence

Sweat and fragrance carried into ripples

Briefly glistening then disappearing

Preserving a memory.


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.



Jenny Joseph: Warning

Image Notes: This piece is a bit like Louise Erdrich’ “Advice to Myself.” But the struggle in this poem is more external. Both have the same underlying theme of revolt against the norm/expectations but the revolt that Joseph is trying to make here is not really an introspective one but more on persona vs. society.

I love how empowered the persona is in this poem. She is already at the point where she knows what she wants. Unlike the “Advice to Myself” persona who still has to pursue and decide what’s authentic, the persona in Jenny Joseph’s poem  has her truths laid out before her. The problem now lies NOT with what she thinks is genuine or not BUT on how the people around her will accept the genuity that she has.

The thing is, social acceptance for “weirdness” has an age bracket. If a child exhibits a different behavior/outlook than his or her peers, it can still be considered cute (at some point). But continuous expression leads to lab tests, meds and reprimands. Even more so if one is already at the peak of adulthood. Suddenly, one finds himself thrown into a factory of deadlines and responsibilities where everyone gets hammered into a small box of sober people, always rushing to their businesses.

The respite only comes during old age where “weird behavior” is excused for senility or Alzheimers. I think the persona in this poem is looking forward to that- hence, the warning. If this is the case, then one can say that she has already accepted the fact that there are responsibilities that she needs to answer to- thus, she has to bottle everything until the right time.

And this is where, I think, the struggle takes place- The persona stops and asks, does she really have to wait until she reaches old age (a.k.a. “the right time“)? And her answer cements the point: She’s going to rebel against the order- NOT when she’s old already BUT NOW.

Far more important to the persona is the need to be true to herself.

Derek Walcott: Love After Love

Love After Love

Notes: The reason why I discovered this poem is because my all-time bias, Tom Hiddleston, has posted this in his official facebook fanpage. Of course, coming from no other than Hiddles, I made a quick right-click and selected ‘Save.’ Little did I know how this poem would carve out a niche in my heart.

I don’t know about you, but there are times that I just hate myself for being pathetic. I mean, I know I’m not perfect but I also know I have both good and bad qualities that make me an interesting person. There are just times, though, that I feel so inadequate…so inferior compared to those “true blue beauties” that I know and meet on a regular basis.

I’ve been doing a lot of self analysis on as to why I feel that way and I found out that the answer is really simple: I always think that I’m just the second best. I know because I’ve been hearing this a lot from the people around me: “She’s kinda pretty but she’s fat.”, “She’s nice but (insert friend’s name here) looks more appealing.”, “She’s smart but she’s the only one in her peers who doesn’t have a boyfriend.” and all other things. For years, I grew in an environment where who I am right now is not enough- I have to be something more. I have to be better, to be prettier, to be more charming, to be slimmer…there are tons of things I should be. And it’s frustrating.

Of course, I’m not placing all the blame on the society I am in. I’m chiding at myself too, because instead of confirming my own self-worth FIRST, I’m trying to seek the affirmation of everyone else just to ensure that my identity has a considerable value in wherever I’m in. What’s even more stupid is that as I try to get their affirmation, I lose and drive myself away in the process- I grow up hating the current version and dreaming of a better one in the future: sexier bod, more charming disposition, a higher social status, a boyfriend…the list grows endless.

I am not saying that it’s wrong to dream. There’s nothing wrong about self improvement. What I’m pointing out is just wrong with me is that I’m dreaming because I’m angry and discontented with what I have…with who I am right now. I am trying so hard to become the person that I want to be that I fail to accept myself for who I am right now.

Where does Derek Walcott’s poem fall in this?

“Love After Love” tells that wholeness only comes when I will look back and see that, hey, I wasn’t inadequate after all. I was already made complete. And so do I am right now. I don’t need to use references- those love letters from the bookshelves, the photographs and the images of models posted on my mirror. I don’t need to try so hard to earn their love. Instead, I just have to feast on my life, on my own image that God has given me, and everything will close to a full circle.

Adequacy comes when I’ve forgiven the mistakes I did in the past and when I’ve loved my past self- all its glory and all its flaws. Who I am right now is not a failure neither who I was years back.


Never seek me inside secluded coffee shops. It’s a place where I cry my heart out.

Just wait for me outside with an umbrella at hand. It might still be raining.

Look for me around bookstores and libraries- the attendants already know me by name but you’ll only find me if you know me by my favorite titles.

Just in case I’m not there, a short text would cover the distance between you and me.

Send me quotes of your favorite paragraphs. I’ll reply with poems where the verses serve as little landmarks of where I’ve been.

It’s one of the reasons why I always complete the letters in my SMS. I don’t do so often with my sentences.

You see, sentences are like the gaps in between my fingers. It’s there for you to fill them.

Remember that I’m not into postscripts. But when I do, know that they are more important than the actual body of my text.

Don’t panic when I don’t answer my messages. Attempt to call.

Because sometimes, my body is just too slow to pace with my feelings; but oftentimes, I’m just plain broke.

Don’t be self-assured though. There are times when I decide not to answer your calls. If that happens, just put your phone on stand-by. Remember that I’m no Superwoman. But I’ll return in good time.

While I’m away, don’t use my profile picture as your cellphone’s wallpaper. Don’t even print it as a poster to wallpaper that gaping hole in your room. You’re only shortchanging yourself for the real deal.

It’s better that I vanish into thin air than leave you a concrete memento of my existence. For when I do, you know that I’m not coming back- I’m already off to somewhere more magical. Follow my scent like how you tell me to follow my heart. We’ll see each other again.

And when you finally find me, don’t double-check by trying to fit into me those glass slippers. I’ve thrown them away for a good reason.

Know that the real me is always barefooted.

Open the car door for me even if my feet are muddied. For I am not made of steel and concrete.

Actually, there are more places that we can go to without that fast car of yours.

You can take me to the seaside, for example, and we can build and repair sandcastles for us to live in. It wouldn’t last long though. But it will be enough for what a moment requires.

During that time, I’d let you buy for me presents- NOT from luxury stores but from animal charities.

For like stray cats and street dogs, we have both been bruised and battered. And once upon a time we also dared to dream for a place we would like to call home.

I’d name the pets after our forgotten childhood nicknames- an attempt to redeem the things we have lost back then.

And when they die- for we will surely outlive them- send me paper cranes folded from old newspapers, reminding me that I’m still dreaming in this present reality.