ISBN 978-3-00-066354-3

Limited edition, 100 copies

Publisher: Augustine Paredes
Year: 2020
Pages: 50
Dimensions: 5.8 x 8.3 inchesCover: Paperback with Dust Jacket

Binding: Perfect Binding

Process: Digital Printing
Printed: Color


I started thinking about mortality when my friend died all of a sudden. It was not a heart attack; it was a strange and untimely death in the middle of July. He fell on the floor, got up, went home, and then the hospital. On that same day, he died. And then my grandmother whose health worsened over time, eventually, passed. I barely turned 25, and it was supposed to be the start of the beginning of my life.

Then, I would think about my ephemerality as a human body. With every cigarette I smoke, some say, I take away a few days of my life. My grandmother never smoked. My father did. My friend did. And I counted the number of cigarettes the people I've lost smoked, and then I started counting mine. It felt like counting wishes and blessings and prayers. I was talking to an abyss, or the same god I recite Psalms to when I was a child. And then I think about my mother.

My mother who put a lifespan on her hopes and dreams for her children, sleeps alone at night, exhausted from all the work she does. Sometimes she goes to my father's grave and asks him questions the same way I talk to an abyss. Maybe she knows the god I recite my Psalms to since it was she who asked me to memorize the verse she had cross-stitched.

"The Lord is my shepherd," she would recite after me.

There is a valley of the shadow of death and I walk through it, back bent over, exhausted from carrying the prayers and sins I pray for the ones I love and the ones I have yet to love.

Every step is a celebration and a silent song is prayed.

The Peachness of Peaches

The Peachness of Peaches


The Peachness of Peaches

What does the softness

of the peach remind you of?

Oh, but, it is sweet first before it is soft,

and then something else.

Elsewhere, someone else

is thinking about the same peach

and its pinkness before its orangeness

and then, finally its taste.

Like a love that sprung in summer:

sweet saliva,

sweaty skin,

tangy tangled hearts.

This peach is imported from Lebanon.

Where lovers kiss freely, yet loving

comes with a cost.

There, there is a revolution happening

and it does not taste like peach, sometimes.

But maybe peaches take time,

Before they become actual peaches.

For now, here are apricots.

Here, they have come

after endless promises of tomorrow.

Finally apricots are here.

Peaches will take time

but for now, apricots.

New Flames


My First Memory of Insulin

My First Memory of Insulin

My mother's mother knows no pain,

she deals with grief when she has time.

At dawn, many, many moons ago

she was shot with a bullet

on her left calf, leaving her walkless.

For months she sat down looking after, over

everyone she loved and unloved

until she could finally walk again.

Her hands would tremble and shake,

as she pokes the needle through her skin.

In between hypoglycemia and diabetes,

she and I would share a glass of Coca-cola.

I would hold her hand and ask her,

be strong enough so I could sit on your lap,

like how I did during somber summers

in the north of Cotabato.

My mother's mother knows no pain,

she only prays to god when she has time.

Sixteen times straight, before Christmas,

she would wake up at 4 in the morning,

make her first cup of Nescafé,

start walking to the church and sit at the back.

I wonder what she prays for when she prays,

but only god knows

for they speak the same language of acceptance,

forgiveness of sins and cheating husbands,

greedy daughters and violent in laws.

My mother's mother knows no pain,

she only suffers when she has time.

For All The Nights

I Danced With You In My Sleep


For All The Nights

I Danced With You In My Sleep

I will be honest,

I have forgotten your face.

But there are days when I feel

your eyes follow me to the dark.

Your gaze—It is not light.

It does not have hands,

but it guides me somehow,

it embraces me in ways that do not

make my tiny hairs stand.


Did you see me kiss that boy

in the alley at Södermalm?

Did you see me dance the night away

at SchwuZ with the love of my life?

Were you there when I cried

on the way home to Mintal

after a boy told me I was not enough?

Because somehow, you were there.

Like magic, like an enchantment


In my dreams,

we were all in white and I was held —

your hand on my back, and your mouth

darkened from all the cigarettes you smoked,

your breath vibrant of alcohol —

you were vibrating a radiance

that only you could give.

In my dreams,

it was Christopher Cross, singing Sailing.

A song that came up in Saless

when I first kissed a boy in public.

A song that played on your dying day.

A song that Mama cried to, singing.

In my dreams,

we were dancing

until the morning came and

you had to go.

Using Format