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March 4, 2012

Today I looked at my garbage bin

It was full, it was brimming

The flies were all swarming

Dancing, copulating

Right next to my dining table

My table, with the red table cloth

I bought last winter

Where my five-day-old tomato soup was

And still is

To this very moment

I heard a stirring in the library

It was probably the cat

Though I don’t own one



I looked at something else.



I looked at my nails

The ones on my toes

They were chipped and un-cut

My nails

Are different

Like a weird shade of tan

Only murky

Like silver, almost

Only dirty

Like they are dead

Or just ugly

Hey, a voice came from the middle of the house

I heard some of the books fall

On my hardwood floor

Hey! Hey, you! he said in a loud voice



He kept at it while I sat in my corner

My mind is filled with a droning sound

Like my TV in the 90s

On channel 9

At around 3:30 a.m.

While the world waits for the morning news

Bzzzzzzz in my mind

While he kept at it

He shouted at me from the center of the house

Get up!




Bzzzzzzz in my mind



While he bellowed at me

To take out the trash

To clip my nails

To get up

To move

He yelled

He bellowed

He shouted mad







I looked at something else.



It might just be the cat

Though I don’t own one


I looked at something else.

Protected: Black Spots.
May 14, 2009

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I, the Wallpaper.
April 14, 2009

Me, me, me.

Grounded Filipina by Pol Arellano
April 6, 2009

Grounded Filipina

March 31, 2009

By Pol Arellano, 2009.

My cousin loves Mc Donald’s.

He said that if he were gay, he’d marry Rowald McDonald. But gay marriage isn’t allowed here, so they’d have to move to America. Rowald’s an American citizen. He can petition my cousin and they can live in California. But my cousin isn’t gay. He just loves Mc Donald’s.

We live in Molino, very near a Mc Donald’s. Everyday, after jogging, he goes in for a coffee and a pair of pancakes. He fancies one of the servers there, Monay, because she’s pretty and has a slight lisp. She gives my cousin a newspaper with his pancakes, even though it’s not allowed.

I guess she likes him too.

Everyday, my cousin would eat at McDonald’s. He’d jog there for breakfast, walk for lunch, and skip (although he denies it, I swear I saw him literally skip) for dinner.

As Mona’s aura became blooming, my cousin’s pants became tighter, skimpier.

Two months later, they became a couple.

Needless to say, they celebrated at McDonald’s.

Weeks passed and my cousin was beginning to bulge.

He has walking very short distances, even panting on his way to the restroom. His tummy was as large as the Mall of Asia, which used to be more along the lines of SM Molino. Monay, the dutiful girlfriend, asked him to watch his weight. He didn’t listen. He kept on gorging Big Macs and McNuggets and fries and chicken. He washed it all down with gallons of Coke and milk shake.

After only five months into the relationship, my cousin grew to be obese.

Monay’s contract with McDonald’s was terminated, after six months of hard work. But my cousin still insisted on meeting up at McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Monay didn’t want to. But my cousin, McDonald’s obsessed as he was, insisted. And so everyday, they’d meet there. Eat there. Monay was sick of McDonald’s food. She even barfed her Big Mac one time.

My cousin refused to talk to her for a week.

One day, my cousin didn’t go to McDonald’s. Monay came to me, crying. She said that my cousin had left the country. She said that Rowald McDonald petitioned my cousin, and they are now living together in California.

Oh well.

I guess my cousin’s gay after all.
March 13, 2009


February 27, 2009

By Pol Arellano

It’s eleven o’ clock and all the fight ran out of me like a schoolboy being chased by six-foot bullies.

I just had about enough of waiting.

I’ve been waiting for her to come out of her room, that oftentimes putrid and sometimes haven of a room. She stayed in for hours without coming out for air. I ordered Chinese food and waited for her. I ordered hotdogs, hung out, and suppressed my pee. I curled up on one corner and stared at her yellow green door and let sleep come to me.

I didn’t think that apologizing would be this hard. Or this perilous to my health.

It’s my second day outside her dormitory room. Students living on the same floor as hers looked at me like I was a rat whenever they passed by, maybe because I already smelled like one. I couldn’t care less.

I stared at her door for how many tick-tocks now and whenever I close my eyes, her door lingers inside my head. It has become more than a memory. It is now a state of mind; a reality that mocks me and my powerlessness to open it. The yellow green door with the pink knob for me is, at this point in time, the most insensitive thing on the face of the earth.

I didn’t think that falling in love would be this hard. Or this perilous to my health.

Before the second day came to an end, I heard a creaking sound.

The door opened at last. Though not particularly wide enough for me to enter, but big enough for me to peer into. I scrambled to my knees, and stood up. I squinted hard and held my breath.

I went in.

I walked past her kitchen. Roaches were swimming in gray and yellow sink water, jumping on unwashed plates and cups and saucers. The refrigerator door was wide open, the dim yellow light cast shadows on three pieces of eggs, two of which were broken.

Her table was upside-down. Clothes were piled atop her LCD television screen. Her computer was an understatement of a mess, if there ever was one.

Her chihuahua lay stiff on the floor. I watched in fascination as two thousand ants tried desperately to pick the dog up. Saving for winter, I believe. Or probably for a big birthday party.

The house probably looked a lot like hell right now. She must have been really high.

And she didn’t even think of inviting me for a shot.

Women. They’re like freakin’ circles. They’re hard to freakin’ draw. Even when you’re sober.

I went inside her bedroom.

That’s when I saw her lying on the floor. Her eyes were like deep wells, empty and dark. Her arms and legs were moving frantically, moving up and down and sideways. She was convulsing. She was moving rhythmically, fast and violent.

I felt scared.

I felt the color fly swiftly out of me, escaping from my every crevice.

I ran towards her, pulled her head up, and tried to see what was wrong.


She continued to move, almost gyrating to an impossibly fast-paced tune, undecipherable to human ears.

She moved, and moved.

I asked and asked.

The fight ran out of me like a sissy schoolboy, running away from six-foot bullies.

Inside her room, the floor spinned as she convulsed.

She was screaming now.  I held her head and stared into her face, looking for answers in her pale being.

As I peered into her eyes, a scream escaped me, ripping my tonsils out of my throat.  It escaped faster than a bullet train, faster than time itself.

I screamed.

For her deep, empty eyes mirrored my own.

And so I convulsed next to her. Like a pair of coked-up dancers, we gyrated.

As I spasmodically moved, I wished that there were enough ants in the world to carry me to salvation.

Move, a short story.

Inspired by Andres Barrioquinto’s Dead Can Dance Exhibit at the Tala Gallery.

Love, Illustrated.
February 6, 2009


Illustrations by Pol Arellano, 2009.

Inconvenience, Stored.
October 21, 2008

By Pol Arellano, 2008

Hello, sir. Fine morning isn’t it?

Hm, yes, quite.
Will it be cash or card sir?

Card. Here.
I see you’ve found the new 17-in-1 coffee. It’s all the rage nowadays. Haven’t tried it out yet, though. Is it any good?

Uh, I really don’t know.
Oh, good, good. That’s okay, sir. Good. Trying out new things is good. That old brand must have taken it’s toll, huh?



I’ve actually tried this brand of shaving cream and let me tell you sir, it sucks mightily. I’m not punching this in sir. To buy this would be a crime, a heinous crime.

Wait, that’s my favorite brand! What are you doing??
Believe me sir, I’m doing you a service. I’m here to serve sir. It says right here on my button, sir. See?

Yes but please put it back.

Besides, I know for a fact that you’re sick of this shitty thing’s smell anyway.

This is pointless. I give up. Don’t punch the damn thing in.




Ooooh, I see you’ve got the missus’ favorite bubble bath. She hates it when you buy the floral kind. Says it reminds you of your old secretary. Yep, the one you spent ten fun-filled days with on Bo-raaa-cay! That’s her alright.

HEY! How the hell did you know that?

That’s why vanilla’s her preference. It reminds her of your first date.
Who are you? HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?







Well, to be honest sir, I was there.


Sir, you may want to keep it down a bit, my manager is eyeing us. Can’t have the big boss snooping in on us, can’t we?

How could you have been there? What are you talking about?

You see, sir, I was there. Like I told you.


I was the pavement you fell on when you crashed your neighbor’s bike when you were 13. I was the ice cream cone you threw away because it leaked and it didn’t look too good on your first date. The matrimonial bed, that was me, and let me tell you sir, I didn’t enjoy that all too much.


I had been your sink, where you lost your wedding ring, while trying to wash away blood on your hands. You killed a small boy when you were out hunting for geese. By accident, of course. You hid him underneath the velvet sea.


I was the pen you used to sign illegal documents. I was the desk you made love on with your sexy, exotic-looking secretary. I was the sea, the one you skinny-dipped in with her too. Five out of ten days, your dangling sex punctured my aqua.


I was the second-rate bouquet of roses that you got for your wife when a girlfriend of hers saw you feeling your mistress up. I was the bathroom door you waited in front of when she refused to talk to you.


To appease her, you gave her me, for I was a pricey diamond ring. You bought another me and gave it to your secretary/mistress on your anniversary.





You owe me P 2350.50, sir. Let me swipe your card. Ooh, that tickles.

Thank you for shopping at [BEEP], have a nice day!

The Long Trip to Itay’s Heart
October 20, 2008

By Pol Arellano, 2008

Inay woke me up early today.

She wiped the sand off my eyes and told me to get up. She went to my wooden closet and took out one of my prettiest dresses, the ones I wear to special occasions, like when lolo died last summer. My dress is so pretty, so red, like a mad asteroid. Or that yummy-looking apple in Inay‘s old recipe book.

She told me to get up, and stop pretending to sleep already, because she wasn’t “in the mood”. I was a good pretender. She just won’t admit it.

Get up, she yelled, we’re going on a trip.

But I’ll ruin my pretty dress on the trip, I mumbled. Our old car has very lumpy seats. I sometimes think that all my lost things ended up underneath its icky green seats. Like my striped fat cat, Ninglat, and my pink and purple spin top.

It also smells bad. Like bagoong, pandan, eucalyptus leaves and Inay‘s cologne gone wrong.

No worries, the trip won’t be long, Inay said as she pulled me out of my three-legged bed. Get up, she said, her nostril slightly dancing.

Where are we going? I asked.

We’re taking a drive to your Itay’s heart. We’re going to look for something there. Inay said as she fixed my blanket.

Okay. I said. But it sounded like Hohkhaay because my yawn got in the way of my okay.

We got in the lumpy car and drove for an eternity. Inay lied. I guess she was a better pretender than me.

Our car moved like an old man, walking with a stick in one hand, on the bumpy, crisscross road.

Inay gave me a plastic bag just in case I had an “accident.” I made a face and pretended to make puking sounds but stopped when I almost vomited my pan de sal and salted eggs.

After singing “Bahay kubo” a hundred thousand trillion times, Inay told me to knock it off. She said we were near Itay’s heart. Finally. But Inay was a good pretender, so I started to sing a made-up song about pretending. In the song, a black, furry and gassy dog named Jun-Jun was peeing everywhere. In the end he married and got kittens for kids. Inay laughed and told me that I could be the next Lino Kamo. I told her that it wasn’t a very funny joke.

We’re here, Inay said.

I stirred. I fell asleep. I was about to say something but my throat felt scratchy. I looked out the window and saw nothing but darkness and outlines of willowy trees. Their branches seemed to be dancing to the tune of some elegant music. I wish I were a tree. So then I could hear.

Inay went out of the car. I went after her. She held my hand and in the darkness, I saw her eyes. They were luminous than fireflies, fierier than the sun. Inay has very pretty eyes.

We walked. And walked. And waaaallkkkkeeeeddd.

I hate walking.

We saw giant roosters, three of them were dead. The living ones were making noises like a backed-up toilet.

We passed by a row of beer soldiers. Thousands of them lined up the path, with cold piercing stares. But it wasn’t too long before they softened up to us. Their eyes smiled as they sang a song about a man who’s celebrating his birthday. They weren’t good singers.

We went inside a house made of cards. In it was a dog made of chips. The dog was cute but he made too much noise.

After walking, and walking and waaaallkkkkinggg, Inay stopped.

She announced that we were going home.

She pulled her hair back, smiled at me, and led the way back to our lumpy car.

I wish I were one of the trees. I wish I could hear the music. I closed my eyes to make the wish come true. I read that in a nursery book. In school. I closed my eyes. I promised not to take coins from Inay’s wallet. I promised to do all my homework. I promised to eat yucky ampalaya.

I opened my eyes.

But I still can’t hear the music.

The trees, they were still moving lines in the darkness.

But Inay’s eyes looked like dead fireflies. Like a cowardly sun.

I closed my eyes and wished that I were never born.