Poetry by | January 29, 2024

On a bed of grass,
I swallow this scene:
The sky is an ocean.
The clouds, sailing across
the canvas. I drown its white
spaces in shades of blue.

You called it skygazing,
a word that rolls on my tongue
like candy with a sour aftertaste.
I lift the canvas to the heavens
and watch it lodge
perfectly into place.

Then the scene changes:
The sun starts to retreat,
hours turn to minutes
turn to seconds turn to
an oil spill across the horizon,
fishes shimmering in moonlight.

I sink my brush again
and begin to repaint history.
My hands, cold in your absence.
My eyes follow the colors
rowing back and forth,
a lullaby calming the tides.

That night,
I look up once more
and echo your name,
hoping that the waves in the sky
would carry my voice
back to your shores.

Raphael Salise is a Creative Writing graduate from the University of the Philippines Mindanao. He likes to read poems, short stories, and essays by Filipino writers as he someday aspires to become successful like them. Raph is currently taking up Law at Ateneo de Davao University.

Notes on Distance

Poetry by | September 26, 2022


I promised myself not to write about you
not to cage you in metaphor
not to staple you on paper
not to say the word
promise, without keeping it

But here I am:
bleeding ink until it dries
bringing sunlight into this room
borrowing words until they lose their
meaning, I run my pen in endless circles.


And just as I plunge myself into the depths of thought, I hear your voice again. I find myself holding on to your intonation, your stutters in between, and the cadence that fades into silence.


I wish I could keep you like a present, like what photograph is to memory:

The last glimpse of a sunset.
Landmarks and mementos, souvenirs.
The clearing on a mountain peak.
Plating before consumption.
The six-petaled santan before it wilts.
One last glimpse before I leave for Dumaguete.

On nights when the sky refuses to stop
crying, take this sweater and feel its embrace.

Take these words, and the spaces in between:
the weight of waiting, the price of a promise.


The call ends, and I find myself staring at the ceiling.
Nights have been long with longing, cold like distance.

Perhaps if I stare at this screen a little longer,
the image in front of me becomes less of an image.

Perhaps if I hold this phone a little longer,
I could finally feel the warmth of your touch again.

Raphael Salise is currently taking his Juris Doctor degree at Silliman University, where he “tries” (emphasis supplied) to write poems in his free time.