by Jumarvin Ridulfa


We say cheers to the coming

Here is an imperative to hum.
Forget concepts of yule become written as tune.
If I am asked at what part of tree lighting,
the arrangement of yellow bells, I expected the beginning
of clutter, I would have answered all of it.
To wrap this wall clock inside a box.
Brew a rush-hour jam with a last-minute sale.
Notice cinnamon adrift in the air indefinite
and I bound appropriate
in the middle with you. We say cheers
to the coming and what has come.
Us, the most somber, trying at most: be less
heart-sick, further blissful.
Barely wanting to hurry home —
more exist in this warm afternoon.
Keep in the vicinity of parching raindrops.
Wait a neighboring lamp post flicker apricot.
But the expectation is non-negotiable.
Requisite to the nativity is a spirit
filled to the brim unwavering, aware of fever and necessity.
Only because we get to exist in one breath.
See your eyes glint rather to lull. Reach, hold hands
stand within a crowd of other hand-holders.
We were long over gift-giving and pleasantry.
To remain elsewhere, run against the snow-red lights.
The holidays were never merry.
Having you around was just enough to make me.

From Agnes, the day of the apocalypse

If I knew I would be with you this time last year, would I have changed a part of me — the morning lady who begins her day while the rest is asleep. Measure out the ingredients for the perfect quick bite. Make sure each doughnut is light. I hear a bird chirp; I look outside the window and make an estimate. A warbler should be circling at any moment now. For the next eight hours, I clean, wipe, fry, cup, turn, sweat, pour coffee. Say hello. Don’t forget to mention the secret is in the jelly. Even when it is store-bought only. Because when I told you everyone has a past, I meant I didn’t have one. I meant this pink dress, these beige shoes is a label. I meant there is nothing more to unlace. Never taken a day off, or thought of disappearing completely. But it did not matter. You took me as what I am and it is enough. Today, I am taking things slow. We have the rest of our lives. I feel there is enough time for everything.


Desire : Choice

To answer which came first is uncertain.
Should we appeal in return, does it even matter? asks

better suitably, aptly. We favor what we yearn
and we yearn what favors us.

Perhaps the only assurance we have
of preference is variance, or the lack of it.

Perhaps when we say we love who we love
it should be meant as it is spoken.

It is a non-sentiment. Rather, a prayer
to our hunger: I prefer the angular

ribcage against this ribcage, arms pronounced
to envelop, nestle grittily.

I prefer the flaw protruding, the rugged edges
one that misses the absolute fitting of fingers.

I prefer the quiet, to exist completely a non-entity
only visible to his naked eye.

And yet whichever comes knocking
I will still welcome, hands open already

as if longed for ever since.
When autonomy is the only definite

choice becomes discretionary.
Which difference is significant comes mostly trivial

at this point – because in all honesty
there is less to nothing I prefer

more than being cradled, endless nightly.
No given attention to anything else.

All hands on me.


Writer’s BIO:

Jumarvin Ridulfa, graduate of BS Computer Engineering in Adamson University, is a writer based from the Philippines. His works have been featured in The Philippines Graphic, Philippine Daily Inquirer, TEAM Mag, among others. In his spare time, which is not that much, he tries to write poems about distance.