In the Open Water

Poetry by | October 6, 2019

I’ve paddled for too long, have
gotten sucked in whirlpools of grief,
maelstroms that are not mine.
The boat has capsized and my lungs are
life jackets, my tongue, an oar,
my body a raft and an anchor.
There is no telling in the water
where I’m about to go, only,
that I am always going, until moored.

(I was holding the moon inside me
when the ocean had invited me over.
Now I don’t remember why I stay
And yet, like the waves that go back and forth
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do,…)

David Jayson Oquendo is an Electrical Engineer based in Davao City, Philippines.

To the Passengers I Sat Beside with on the Bus Home

Poetry by | May 5, 2019

Forgive me for not looking
or for looking at you too
intensely in the eyes before
I settled myself in, or before I
answered, “no, lingkod lang” when
you asked if I was with someone.
I apologize for letting my arms
graze yours, accidentally,
sometimes, only to see what
it is like, again.

Once, I let myself think you
were someone else, or I
a different person. I hope
you didn’t find my presence
too big, as it often, always, takes
up more space than it deserves.

David Jayson Oquendo is an Electrical Engineer based in Davao City, Philippines. His works have appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, Dagmay, and Cotabato Literary Journal.


Poetry by | April 3, 2016

Your body
is the terrain of stories told,
of valleys and creeks and rivers
on which the sweetest waters flow.
Your mouth
is the temple, where the pulpit
dwells; the gospel is written
on your tongue and guilty prayers
sneak between your teeth.
You are religion.
You are faith.
The unknown is your child and
Your eyes
hold the map of a universe
that only existed in the wildest
of my dreams.
tell me
How is it that I
can lose myself looking at you
only to be found, again, faithless?

David Jayson Oquendo is studying Electrical Engineering at Mindanao State University-General Santos City.


Fiction by | November 15, 2015

The markings on the chest of the old man lying on the ground glowed brighter than the moon that night. Light blue. The light crawled throughout his already pasty skin. When the last drop of blood fell from his head, which was hanging above the rest of his body, he finally spoke.

He asked me what I was doing there and why I was just staring blankly on a dead headless body. I told him I was hurting and that the body, headless, reminded me of my own. He seems to have tried tilting his head in confusion, but failed. He realized he could not tilt his head without his neck. He stifled a laugh, and said, “Sometimes I forget that I do not have a body.”

I wondered if sometimes the body forgets that he does not have a head, but of course it cannot. It cannot even think. Without the head the body could not even function.

“So you told me that my headless body reminded you of your own?” he asked, breaking my train of thought.

I looked him in the eye and I asked him.

“What is that glowing thing in your body?”

He was disappointed when I answered his question with another inquiry, but he still answered my question. Although, he was hesitant at first.

Continue reading Heartless

Eyes That Were Gray

Fiction by | April 26, 2015

The rain still had not stopped. It was already getting dark and my phone’s battery was critically low. I sat, annoyed and wet, inside a small rundown waiting shed a town away from my apartment. I would have been alone if it weren’t for another girl on the other edge of the concrete bench.

The girl had a slender physique and long straight jet-black hair that covered the side of her face. I could have sworn her ears were long and pointed. In the dim light her skin glowed and it was almost translucent. She was wearing a summer dress, as it was summer. But weather was always fickle.

“Ang tagal matapos ng ulan,” she spoke, breaking the rhythmic tapping of water on asphalt and metal.

“Huh?” What a stupid reply!

“Maliliit na patak ng tubig, sinasalo ng simento at bakal,” she said as she stared intently at the curved edges of the rusty roof. She turned to me and for the first time I was able to see her face–for the first time, I was able to gaze upon her eyes, gray, like the rain clouds. She was crying.

She wiped her eyes.

Continue reading Eyes That Were Gray

I am the Universe

Fiction by | February 15, 2015

The sun peeked through the grayness of the clouds, filling the room with enough light for us to see each other. I stare at the sky, dark and gloomy, and then back at her. She was a little sun herself, even if everyone expected her to be a cloud.

“Mama?” she says. I realized she was awake.

“Yes baby?” I said, leaning in closer to her bed. My arms met the metal rod kept up to avoid her from falling and immediately I wince from the cold.

“Haha. You’re scared of the cold?” she said, giggling. I just smiled. I wasn’t scared of the cold but I was scared of the idea of her being cold, lifeless body. I rubbed her hand with my thumb, just above the plaster over the needle.

“How are you feeling today?” I asked her. I really did not want to know. I figured that the hurt she was experiencing was unimaginable. I realized this too late, but I guess it was necessary to start a conversation.

“I’m okay.” She said as she smiled. Her smile was very genuine that I feel myself start to cry, but I force the water back up. I cannot cry in front of my daughter.

Continue reading I am the Universe