10 things i am thankful for

After some weeks of absence, I finally have the time to do another Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Artsy Reader. Coincidentally, the theme for today is

November 24: Thanksgiving/I’m Thankful for… Freebie.

For the past few months, I have written about my forced aloneness (thank you, COVID) in a foreign land. You can read some poems here, here, here, and here.

We may be divided in a couple of topics but there is a sense of unity about the chaos that is 2020. It is, however, I believe not a year lost. For me, it gave me some time to pause. To reflect and find (consciously) things that I should be grateful for despite and in spite of the longing.

So here are tiny but essential things that kept me breathing:

1. I am grateful for the publication of my third poetry collection: In Three Lines (short poems) and to those who have gotten their copies.

It is a collection of more than 100 three-line poems about life, love, and everything in between. From classic haikus, little senryus, and free verses, this book of poetry is a respite amidst the chaos of the human heart.

2. I am grateful that I have Scribd. Scribd is an e-book and audiobook subscription which allowed me to read as much as I want. 🙂

3. I am grateful for the reviews I received for my second poetry collection Poems for S: perhaps volume 1.

Poems for S (perhaps volume 1)

Review #1:

If you love writing poems like me, then grab this book for inspiration and get you to write even more.

Reading Poems for S was like being a third wheel (in a good way) on the author’s journey of love. I was tagged along smooth roads, hard curves, and even bumpy roads where you’ll realize that love is indeed sweet, kind, patient, and sometimes scary and hurtful. I like how these feelings were written, and how she immortalized the person she wrote these poems for and the love they both have for each other.

I also appreciated how the author showcased different poetic forms and even defined and explained them at the end. A goody to all readers who want to write poems.

For me, this book deserved five stars for a writer who was honest and brave to share her love story. 

4. I am grateful for Sara Bareilles’ songs. She has released an album this year and again, her lyrics and voice felt like a warm hug.

5. I am grateful that this year has proven productive for my reading-self. My Goodreads challenge is quite an evidence:

6. I am grateful that I am blessed to still have a job which I really care for and truly enjoy.

7. I am grateful for Facetime, Skype, Messenger and the existence of the internet. These platforms, albeit the “data harvesting” proved to be essential for my 2020 survival.

8. I am grateful for the moments when I was able to fry a perfect fish fry (among the dishes I can now cook).

9. I am grateful that even when I lost a dear loved-one this year and a few friends had COVID, in the end, our family and friends are safe despite the distance.

10. I am grateful for the husband God has given me. He picked me up whenever I stumble. He provided hope when mine is drying. He is quick to count the blessings when my eyes are blurry with tears. He is my anchor. He is my steady fortress. He is my heart’s home, albeit far.

Bonus: I am most grateful for the faith instilled in me since I was a child. Because of this faith, I have hope. And indeed, hope is a thing with feather. It can keep you afloat despite the weight you carry.

What are you thankful for?

11.24.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photos are all mine
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

the year is almost over, and i am still alone

november opened with a door of hope, closing abruptly. now i am again in limbo, unsure of what will happen, what will be. i write this today for my future-self, a written reminder of the patience, faith, and resilience you have learned and gathered for the past few months.

allow me to forget proper capitalisations and grammatical rules. there is no room for proofreading in this writing where i just want to pour my heart out. a ramble, some of you may say, an effort to spill the mess i feel, i may say.

since february, i have been alone, on my own, in a foreign country where tongues speak languages, to me, remain unknown. i last held my husband’s hands almost nine months ago. i last kissed the cheeks of my baby sister more than nine months ago. i have been sleeping on a queen-sized bed, half-filled, for over 200 days now.

to say that it was painful would be an understatement. there are moments when i look out, see cars moving as usual, a scene i may have memorised already. i know that the road outside is busiest around 6pm to 8pm. emptiest around 3am. i wonder where they are heading. home? office? to escape? or to come back to their comforting nests?

i may be alone in my cream-colored room, but i know this chasm is not something unique to me. i am fully aware that there are hundred thousands of families with now empty dining chairs, never will be filled. there are husbands and wives apart, managing their kids on their own. there are parents aching to hold their children again. there are some who are turning and tossing every night, wondering when they can get a job. wondering if there are some tucked penny on their holed pockets for tomorrow’s breakfast.

this year is heavy with grief, those i own and those everyone carry, and sometimes i do not know how to not mourn anymore.

positivity can be toxic when it has no empathy. but allow me to share with you how i find some light in this tunnel, no matter how faint.

this year, i learned that i can cook. i can fix some household issues, like a clogged drain, ant infestation, and more. i can build and screw a bookshelf. i can workout regularly, and i am strong enough to do burpees. i can get off of the bed and grasp the floating hope even if my pillows are wet with last night’s break down. i can allow myself to crumble, i can bend my knees and surrender, i can find comfort in reading Psalms. i can be alone and be with God, and feel enough.

while there is so much uncertainty, i hold and stand still with my request to God for the ending of this aloneness before this year ends. i do not know how and if covid cases are the evidences, i would say the odds are not in my favor. but like my life verse says, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God…”

i will be still. i will surrender my fears. to Him who knows my name even before i was born.

with certainty, i know, years after, i will look back and would thank my present-self for choosing faith in the middle of this storm. for clinging to that one truth He has proven time and time again, that with Him, i am never alone.

11.09.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via Unsplash

come in, June

brian-patrick-tagalog-Zcl9rMwflmw-unsplash

Come in.
I am sorry for the
lack of energy,
would you like
some lukewarm
tea? Well, we
are tired zombies,
avoiding (or wait-
ing) for the wind
of death, we are
suffocated not by
the unseen killer
but the cruel knee
on our throat for
centuries, (we
chose to close
our eyes on) well,
probably you know
what May did, and
all the months before,
yes, there were
some cherry blossoms
blooming, some
midnights with
crickets singing, but,
our muscle wings
are quite rusting, our
tiled feet itching, this
year is a candle
dying, fading like a
half evening
moon, so June, can you
please bring healing

soon?

06.01.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via Unsplash
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

v i r t u o s o

virtuoso, oh no,
i am no ace of (many) no’s,
i am not numb (yet)
against spades of (vicious) no’s,

but I’ve my shield
of self-belief,  just

enough to help me
swallow (sharp) eyes menacing,
(brute) words piercing,
(twisted) life unveiling,

on my own.

03.18.2019
©2019 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Inspired by dVerse Quadrille #77 – Ace of Poems.

A Look Back to Move Forward

blue wooden door

It’s almost two in the morning, I am supposed to be sleeping, probably paddling through the river of dreams this night has to offer. My eyes are sleepy, my body at less than 5% of mortal battery, still I get up, still I write.

The soul would never let this wee hours — when the road outside closed itself to the roars of the rubber tires; when even the nocturnal insects have stopped their midnight jam; when good nights were said, when the world is quiet — be wasted without spilling what’s inside it. Why?

Because today is my birthday.

The nanosecond gap in between two different years has never made me pause, reflect, and think. But my birthdays, oh they never fail.

So tonight, if you have reached this part, forgive my grammar and spelling mistakes, please bear with me as this soul speak out through the method it has always loved — writing.

Perhaps the restlessness roots from the milestones this new year has to offer for me. I am turning 27, and perhaps 2019 is my year of bravery.

This year I will move out not just from my the comfort of my house, but from the land and water territories of my motherland, The Philippines. This year, I will be doing a milestone which for others might be too soon, but for me, is it His time.

This year is the year of changes. Major ones. To say they are not scary is hypocrisy. When I have sometime to think and pause (which rarely happens nowadays), doubts creep in. Did I decide right? Can I really do it? Am I worth their trust? Did I dive too early?

Deep inside I still feel that what I am trying to do is bigger than who I am, greater than what I can, beyond what I used to do.

But that itself is the miracle of it all.

This year is the year of bravery where the old rooms of fears must be locked, securely and tightly, and the keys of them buried six feet deep.

There is no space for fear. There are a lot for faith.

And I write this to remember that yes, my old-self you were afraid. Yes, you probably will fail (both big time and small time). Yes, you probably might cry, get frustrated, reach that brink of giving up.

But you, you must remember that when you heard the first gong of this war, you already  declared bravery, you claimed declared faith.

This ocean might be too deep for someone who cannot even swim in a lake. But you are in a ship where the captain is He who made you.

“Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God.”

Look back. But don’t forget to move forward.

spell poem with an I

I the poet, is me the poem.

With lilting rhymes
marking the thumps
of this, this, this,
travelling heart.

With floating rhythms
concocting mem’ries–
faded and unseen–
by this, this, this,
restless mind.

With idioms and
similes, hiding the
evidences of familiar
melancholy,
and glee.

With verses sweet
oh, so, sweet,
as honey or
stinging like
a suicidal bee.

With shapes and
sizes, morphing like–
may be, maybe,
mountain, or melting
like the salted sea.

With this, this,
ten bony fingers,

with millions of nerves
and bustling synapses,

from the fenced chest,
to the skull-covered
throne of hierarchy,

this skin, this flesh,
these 206 set of bones,

are bleeding, breathing,
living, flowing poetry.

This, the poet; the poem is me.

12.11.2018
©2018 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via Unsplash

Inspired by dVerse Pubtalk: Identity and Perspective.

M o u n t a i n F a b r i c

imgpsh_fullsize

As the battered
wheels climb thousands
more feet above
the unending sea,
my mummed heart
undresses slowly.

My nakedness
embraces the
soft mountain fabric
made by murmurs of
the wind and leaves
of the giant
green guardians of
the endless Himalayas.

I am home.

02.13.2018
©2018 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via my dearest Shubhodeep Roy

In response to dVerse Quadrille #50 using the word “murmur”. This is inspired by my recent trip in India which touched my soul in a different level. 🙂 You can read more about it here.
dverse

#IndianInsights No. 1

27540895_865572310282444_4725594702736058684_n

Hello, everyone! I’ve been out and about for some good reasons. Work. Life. Birthday. and. Travel. Before my birthday month ended, I embarked into a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. A solo trip to India, my first out-of-the-country alone! And I would like to share with you my learnings and realizations via #IndianInsights series. I hope you’ll enjoy reading this, guys!

#IndianInsights No. 1: Bring an open mind. Leave beliefs behind.

Whenever I mention my India trip, people will warn me about two things aside from rape: dirt and stink. The basis? Shared personal anecdotes and travel videos.

Dirt is fine. Manila isn’t as clean as Singapore. But stink is a different story. So I flew ready with Vicks inhaler and a little bottle of oil from my former bossy. Better be ready than sorry. 😁

The moment I got in the plane from Kuala Lumpur to Kolkata, I braced myself and started sniffing (which I’m so good at). They said the flight will be a nice introduction to India’s smell. Thankfully, there is none. Yet.

When my plane landed, when I came out of the airport, when I got in a taxi, when I entered the train which will take me from Kolkata to NJP, my sniffing was in full mode. My hand, ready to grab the oil anytime. To my surprise, a single drop wasn’t necessary.

Yes, Kolkata is not so clean, but it isn’t stinky as it is believed to be.

There is nothing wrong in coming ready. In believing stories. In researching about a new place. But I’ve learned an open mind is more than essential. You’ll never know how a country, a place, a human heart can surprise you.

Like how I thought I can only see a cherry blossom tree in Japan and in South Korea. Then I stumbled upon this lone Himalayan cherry blossom. (Some research says cherry blossoms are originally from the Himalayas. 😊)

What a beautiful surprise, isn’t it? 😊

Endings and Beginnings (2017 Edition)

Oh, what a rollercoaster you have been, 2017?

The leaves of this year’s calendar is all but gone. With Sara Bareilles “December” playing on my background, with the lyrics:

Distill a whole year down into a day
Act like we all start over with a pristine slate
But to get yourself a new life you’ve got to give the other one away
And I’m starting to believe in the power of a name
‘Cause it can’t be a mistake if I just call it change

let me try to write about this crazy year and what I hope for the next.

The text cursor keeps on blinking, my mind keeps on trying to find the beginning of this post. Where should I start?

So… January 2017 I turned 25 (which I kind of talked about in this poem). It is like 1/3-life-crisis as I remember asking myself, “What have you done? What have you finished? What have you created that you should be proud of?”

It’s a crazy state of asking questions no one can actually answer. So in the end of it all, I let it be. (I’ve been so good at letting things be this year. Not sure if that is good or bad though.)

After the milestone birthday, blog world has been silent while I pour all my energy on Instagram. The camaraderie of the poets there reminded me of how it was here on WordPress, when I was just getting acquainted with my poet-self. I remember being around the awesome group of poets who grew and learned with me. Until one by one they left.

Come May, I released my first poetry collection, Between My Bleeding Lines

BLEEDING LINES

It was exciting to see your words printed and published with a lovely cover by my dear Sarah Doughty. I have honestly no high hopes for this one, and true to “what you think will happen, happens”, it did not soar. Does it matter?

It will be a hypocrite answer to say, “No, book sales doesn’t matter.” Because it does. Who wouldn’t want to hit it big in the first try? Who wouldn’t want to be like Lang Leav and Rupi Kaur? Of course, I do. But I’ve got no expectations and maybe has so little faith. And it showed. It doesn’t make the journey of birthing a book a little less exciting and fulfilling, though. 🙂

Publishing is an uncharted sea I was able to try this year. While the reward isn’t as fruitful, the lessons I learned and the people that made the baby book possible are enough rewards for now. 🙂

In between the hullaballoo of the release and the consistent posting on Instagram, are work tasks which eventually lead me to another “first” of the year which happened last October! My first airplane ride, my first beach experience, and my first out-of-the-country travel trip! (Thailand! :D)

20171012_112933

And 2017 won’t let itself end without a bang as after I went to Thailand for a client’s event, a new job was waiting for me. I was accepted. Considering the family and not myself, I have to accept. Here we go. I have to dive into another uncharted sea.

In between these milestones, I have loved and I have lost. I have given a second chance, and right now, I think that battle is another war that I’ve lost. I want to believe that I’m a brave and not a coward soldier, who knows when to give up. ‘Cause I’m laying down my sword and my armour, it’s time to let people go.

Apologies for such a melancholic post, but believe me, I have a tired heart filled with hope. Like a badly wounded soldier, I’m dusting off my knees and cleaning my wounds.

I am ready for 2018 and the amazing ride it will bring. I am ready to swim the strange sea. I am ready to love and be loved again. I am ready to write and try and try again. I am not at my best position right now, but it doesn’t mean it won’t get better.

It is far better to start the year on bended knee, for that’s the best time to call to the mighty He. I know He will be with me.


HAPPY NEW YEAR, everybody!

i am still here

20171012_112933

i am still here,
juggling balls named
work, poetry, and life.

i am still here,
trying hard to tally
the shifting of day and nights.

i am still here,
working ceaselessly to support
those who matter.

i am still here,
resuscitating the heart
of a hopeless dreamer.

i am still here,
lurking in between the blank pages
filled with waiting words.

i am still here,
discovering and hunting
this fleeting life’s worth.

i am still here
to write, to breathe.

i hope, you are
still there.

10.25.2017
©2017 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo of me in Phuket, Thailand