Paolo Tiausas completed his undergraduate studies at the Ateneo de Manila
University with a Major in Creative Writing and a Minor in Literature - Filipino.
He was selected as a fellow for poetry for both the 11th Ateneo National Writers
Workshop in 2012 and the 14th IYAS National Writers Workshop in 2014. His
poems have appeared in Heights, Matanglawin, and The Philippines Free Press.

The Unlikely Version

Not in the threatening sense? Of course.
The noodles are dead cold anyway.
The clock says the train's left.

It's been quite a while, hasn't it?
I start pouring the glass of wine
back into its bottle, I look through

its now-empty state as a telescope
expecting a similar vision as before,
maybe we've had too much to drink.

So we read backwards to no avail
but outside the field sketched by sun
raises a nervous metaphorical hand.

There are no better reminders.
Just a year ago the soup scalded
your entire hand. It was my fault.

I wanted to prove you were there
though I wasn't angry. I was cautious
of the unlikely version existing here too.

Not that any conclusion is arriving.
Ghost trains run on higher chances.
So, yes, this smoke feels just like home.


Think of the park as we were moments ago,
months even, the landscape baring itself as setting.
I wrote a similar story once I tried remembering.


Don't believe in beautiful. What really lasts is hardly
glass, what really arrives is mistaken for exhaustion,
never-knowing answers: you stayed & you left.


Which is really why I'm angry? The bench knows
life as still as this, shadows marking its territories.
Undeterred by words. You proceed calmly.


So we return to investigating today's papers
the incidents and phenomena withstanding us,
and your name remains surprisingly the same.


It is this moment I speak in. Something is off.
My body lies about nonsense like warmth.
Hey, aren't we? Really here?


Upon my capture, your sigh slipped into air
forming a question. Now, the world's in bloom.
Now you've really done it.  

We Both Stayed

Say, you're growing old.
A day passes but never mind.

I look for a creaking fault
in the room where we stayed

honest while the air rests.
This silence must be you.

Past the age of crossing
and into this room of things

it feels as though, unnamed,
I stumbled into a story.

The end of which I practice,
a day passes but never mind.

"Some times are better than others"
is what I write to myself

but all I really wanted
anyway was mostly ash.

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