Issue 2: “Winter”
Like snow falling in winter, a writer's pen moves with
such intricacy, carefully weaving the stories of life.
Every character conceived like snowdrops from the
sky, every moment unfolding like breeze of the cold
It's been a whirlwind of a year, mostly not in a good way. To
say that it's been an eventful year is an understatement. Politics,
conflicts, typhoons and earthquakes and calamities...that's just
here in the Philippines! Perhaps it was all due to the unluckiness of
the number 13?
In any case, with so many depressing events going on and, for
some, so much trauma to live through, the holidays just seem so difficult to celebrate this
year. But perhaps it's because of our terrible luck that we need to celebrate the holidays
even more? It has been one hectic year and we all deserve to have fun after all we've
Time flew by so fast! Last time I checked it was only August five
minutes ago. Kidding aside! A lot of things have happened this year
and there were some things that we didn’t expect coming along the
But the good thing is that another chapter of our lives is yet to be
unfolded and it would be an avenue for each of us to start all over
again. The year 2013 though, has both been good and bad for me. I had some failures I
wished I’d avoided, but I had some good moments too. And I think this year taught me
that there are battles in life we’d rather settle with defeat, not because we can’t fight
through it, but because it’s not worth it.
After all, it’s best to consider what would give us peace of mind. What else. What else. Oh,
thank you for yet another successful issue of our magazine and I wish you all the best of
the holidays. Just keep the normal blood pressure at bay. Okay? Good times y’all and I
hope 2014 would be great for each of us. Keep writing!
Christmas has evolved from a purely religious event to a
cross-cultural occassion of thanksgiving charity and remembrance
I might not be that of a religious guy but Christmas still makes me
giddy, with all the food, friends and travels.
This year’s occassion seems to be unusual to me. I walk to the
streets at night seeing more houses having decorations than usual,
and people seems to be more excited. It felt like everyone’s having a more comfortable
shot at life. As I see the christmas lights outside of homes and streets, it felt like hope’s
always there and I have nothing to worry after all.
I could not wait for the year ahead. I hope that for the next set of holidays, I will
celebrating it with a wider smile on my face and that more people will get to share it’s joy.
About the magazine
magazine featuring literary works of
various genre, providing a venue for
budding writers to be heard.
Magcloud (print edition)
Cover Photo by Wilhelmina Ramos
Table of Contents
For the People
in the Gallery
Now You See Me
Saying Your Name
Eishein Fillon Doctolero
by Rainbow Rowell
Jackson Weaver White
Relic of the Snow
Cold Lonely Man
My Secret Wish
Kidnap My Baby
Nothing else will do
Azalea de Guzman
Anne Danielle Vergara
One Night, Endless
20 Good Things in Life 32
Angry Asian Girl
Jackson Weaver White
Hannah Hunt Catherine Flores
flowers bloom. We were two different
beings but somehow, in the short
amount of time spent, we fell
somewhere in the middle.
5th of December, 2012
Cold and frosty outside, a knock
occurred on my door. It was winter,
the snow coming chaotically. An old
friend visited me today, wearing
something new for today’s little
occasion. It was the first death
anniversary of my heart. And it was
not every day that someone
celebrates such event. Only the
crazy ones. And I was that crazy one.
But unlike the flowers and willows
that grew, she made me crawl. She
kept me grounded, like the vines. But
we never intertwine.
5th of December, 2011
“Ezra?” She called me.
About a year ago, Hannah Hunt
declared that she was no longer in
love with me. Sweet, sweet Hannah
Hunt who wore flowers in her hair
and told me she was a weeping
willow. Her eyes were greener than
the grass and deeper than emerald
stones. And nothing, absolutely
nothing, can compare to her beauty.
Snow was slowly and quietly
falling down. We were in this big,
abandoned skating rink about ten
blocks away from her home. Sitting
down on the iced ground, she
hummed quietly. And I smiled to
myself. I flew an ocean away to be
with her tonight, blew off all the
money I had in my bank account and
even disobeyed my parents just so I
could witness all the beauty I had
witnessed that night. There were
lights in her eyes that sparkled
brighter than the fireworks displayed
in the sky. Her lips were thin and dry
and spoke of poetic verses of Sylvia
Plath and Virginia Woolf. I had to put
my coat on her just to make sure she
wouldn’t catch a cold. I didn’t want
her to be sick because of me.
But she was no longer in love
She told me that time played the
very crucial part of our relationship.
Time was the culprit. And she blamed
the oceans, too. While I lived
somewhere in the country, deep
within the country, Hannah Hunt lived
an ocean away, there in the middle of
the busiest city in the world - tall
skyscrapers, grand, lavish lifestyle.
But she hated the city so she would
always go out and travel alone,
somewhere where trees grow and
Of all the times we had seen
each other in flesh (as far as I can
remember, it was five times), tonight
was her most beautiful.
she bent down to kiss me. I felt the
transferring of soul to another soul
happened because I’d like to think
that I was dying and she was trying
to bring me to life again.
“Yeah?” I answered as I squeezed
She looked straight to the
windows of my soul. To be lost in her
gaze and to be found in them was
one of the beautiful things that could
ever happen to me.
But she didn’t. She didn’t even
tell me why she was no longer in love
with me. Instead, she pulled away,
smiled bitterly, and walked away
from me. She walked away from my
Tears suddenly sprung out from
her eyes, like pretty little jewels
rolling down her pale cheeks. I began
to worry. I was always worried about
something. A strange and unhappy
habit I inherited from my Father, who
something that he shouldn’t be
That was the last time I saw and
heard of Hannah Hunt.
5th of December, 2012
“It’s been a year, Ezra. Why
would you wait for something that
you know will never happen?”
“I am not in love with you
anymore.” she quietly said, almost a
whisper to the wind.
I looked at my old friend and
shook my head. Clearly, he didn’t
understand me. He didn’t understand
the heartbreaking and
The lights in her eyes started to
lose its significance and time stood
still between the two us. We were
sitting side by side but for some
reason, I felt that we were oceans
away from each other. She was near
and et so far away. She was at the
palm of my hands but she was also
slipping away. There she was beside
me and yet I was all alone in the cold.
Everything around me began to melt.
The snow, the scenery, the very
existence of Hannah Hunt with me.
bone crushing situation that I
was in. Nobody ever understands you
when you’re going through like this.
They all like to think they do but it’s
so easy to tell someone it’s going to
be okay when you’re not in their
When your heart is breaking, you
feel as if your whole body is breaking
too. From your bones up to your
brain. Then your soul follows and
everything is dead on the spot. It’s
like dying but you know deep within
you, you’re still alive.
I felt myself melting away as
She stood up, returned my coat
to me, and without saying a word,
Barely breathing. Just barely
floor, the roundness of her breast, the
thickness of her thighs, and the fall of
her hair on her back. She was
beyond beautiful. And like how
George Harrison sung his iconic
Beatle song, there was something in
the way she moved that attracted
me like no other lover. And yet she
was not here anymore.
“I know that she’ll come around,”
I almost shouted.
“And what if she doesn’t?”
“She will! You just wait for it!”
But it’s been a year. I’ve heard
nothing from her. No emails, no
messages, no phone-calls. It was as if
she never existed. It was as if she’s
something I’d imagined all along.
She’s gone forever.
My old friend tapped my
shoulder and I looked at him. And I
was surprised to realize that my old
friend was also me.
Did I imagine her?
My own reflection staring back
at me but he was younger and more
handsome. He looked tired but there
was a glow on his face. It was the old
me a year ago. The one that Hannah
Hunt left. The one who was always
worried about something. The one
who flew an ocean away just to be
with someone who was not in love
with me anymore.
And yet she was real. She was
definitely real. I’ve shared countless
moment with her. I’ve held her hands
and captured her around my
embrace. I kissed her lips and even
her eyelids. I talked to her about
certain things, discussed matters,
and debated over silly stuff we could
possibly imagine. We laughed over
corny jokes and dined out to
inexpensive restaurants in the
I was the vine that crawled. And
Hannah Hunt, well, she’s the flower
but also the weeping willow.
We’ve shared the same bed for
two nights and I saw her naked once.
She wasn’t angry about it. And I think
she wanted me to see her naked.
The snow continued falling down
outside. Like little tears frozen in
I could still see it. The curve of
her body, her shadow dancing on the
Urban Love Eishein Fillon Doctolero
Tonight, I figured out what it is that I love most about cities. And it explains my
unquenchable appetite to travel, my need for it, and my constant wanderlust. I
believe cities have personalities, quirks, mannerisms. If I told you that cities have
souls, would you believe me? Because I think they do.
You can see its softness during sunrise, when the sun rises over the buildings,
and you feel the city stir and yawn as the sun tickles the slumbering city. The way
the soft morning glow reflects on windows, and the way birds sing to each other
and at people walking below on sidewalks from tree branches, or perched on
ledges like kings and queens of the morning. The way water droplets sit on leaves
and on the bottom of windowsills as they begin their journey and the way the
morning scent welcomes a new day as children make their way to school and
grown men and women hustle along.
You can feel its fiery passion during rush hours, as traffic lights cycle between
the lazy greens, and commanding reds; as cars honk at each other and as
windows roll down and words are spoken out loud. You can see it as buses rush
through, and trains whine from the loads of people they carry. You can hear it
from the sirens of cop cars and fire trucks and ambulances.
You can feel its emotions during rainy days - when the world seems to slow
down, and becomes quiet as water flows through pipes, gutters, and down
manholes as they make their way to the sea. It’s in the way the rain plays its
rhythm on rooftops, on pavement and on umbrellas and rainboots. You can hear it
as the city takes a deep breath and lets out a sigh of contentment and pride...
You can see its eternal youth after the sun has
If I told you
that cities have
set, lights dim down, curtains close and the
nocturnal side of the city comes to life. Neon lights,
heavy bass, and a night full of invitations of sin and
other versions of passion fill the night, dancing
away until mor/ning comes.
Most importantly, you can find it in the people
- on their faces as you jog down the park, saying
you believe me?
good morning to other joggers. You’ll find it in their
enthusiasm for the football team or the hockey
team, on their cars, and on their bikes. You can see
it in front of stores, a projection of the people that own it, and on garage sales,
and yard sales. You can see it on their faces as they watch the sky fill with
fireworks, and you can hear it in their voices as they talk about the weekend’s
upcoming festivities. You can find it in coffee shops, thrift stores, and in the
crowds of people as they come together for a common reason, holding up
candles, exchanging smiles and laughter and the unspoken word:
I fall in love with people - their souls - all the time, and cities are.. really not
Staleness Lace Milan
Holy boys with unholy fingers dusted with
They’re screaming FALL FLAIL FAIL;
the ash of the parched.
they’re screaming decay.
I can’t look at him not because he is
candlelight, but because he is her anchor.
You’re in a dirty public bathhouse with a
boy who is half-corpse and half-god. He
slips into your pool, gritty chipped nails
mouth: raw wood (insert: aching)
and immaculate ivory teeth and all, and
tear ducts: dried fruit (insert: sweet/rotten)
why are you lowering your lips to the
pores: clogged with the way you clear
You make me feel like a car crash, but I
your goddamn throat
have to stop being so selfish. I have to
—but not so much.
peel myself open and extract the saltwater
toffee from the wounds in your mouth.
“What’s up?” You want to know what’s up?
His sweat on my skin does not evaporate.
There’s a hole in my chest and it’s so
Nothing cools and everything is saturated.
heavy that I stagger.
Swallow his voice, choke it with the
Is that the way you like it? Sometimes his
muscles of your esophagus:
eyes are sulfur, sometimes peroxide, and is
suddenly everything is in black and white
that the way you like it?
there is static in your arteries and it’s
“She will never know how to sail and sink in
threatening to spread
you, and not cry for help.” But that was
you are backed into a cliff.
before you ran with the wolves.
I was going to be his knight and he was
Yes, you have to jump-
going to be my prince, but I forgot all
A choir is approaching and do you think,
in all their heavenly aura,
This is not a parallel universe. This is
Relic of the Snow
The frosted winter snow lazily rappelled
In the silence of snow
off the red plumed sky
Only gravity is heard
Like the bedded escape
onto the mittens you wove for me, fitting
snug like our interlocked fingers.
diving into a rustling sauna
In the silence of cold
Our percolating warmth had melted the
snow on the bench as
Only the wind is heard
Like a sharp intake
A lover’s body slides close
arms of the onlookers
heralding the sneak of icicle digits
In the silence of night
swayed to the tempo of our beats.
I hear only you
I remember, still, the taste of spearmint
Through the cloud of dreams
at the corner of your lips
Our fires lace like fingertips
plucking out a hot chocolate melody
and how they tasted of a slight tinge of
But Father Winter could not stay long,
you said, and with him he took
our footprints - a relic of the snow.
Moving House Jackson Weaver White
It’s the last day of the year as he looks down at the city from his window, as he
fogs it with his breath and wipes a hand through it. There’s no snow on the ground,
it’s just cold and he dresses slowly, grabs a windbreaker from the banister as he
crosses it and sits at the table as his mother serves pancakes that he doesn’t eat.
When everyone else is done he turns from staring at the wall and helps clean the
plates, then leaves out the back door into winter that bites the tip of his nose and
everything far from his heart. He leaves footprints in the grass and breaks ice
from the hinges as he pushes open the gate to the road.
It’s the last day of the year as he walks up the hill, and there isn’t a person out
yet. A crow lands on a branch above him and sends leaves down and caws once at
the clouds, then flies off as he reaches the pile of rocks outside the house. He dips
to his knees and levels his head with one of the cracks, his windbreaker suddenly
lifting and fighting to outline his bones. There isn’t a person out, the street is silent
and everything grey.
It’s the last day of the year as he slides a hand into the darkness, feels the silk
of a thousand spider webs stretching then breaking around his fingers, then the
back of the wall built of concrete, and his fingers scratch and search for a while.
There’s nothing there, though, and he snatches his hand out of the hole
When he hears creaking springs behind him and turns to see a boy bouncing
on a trampoline, staring at him, knees barely even bending. He snatches his hand
from the hole as if it were burning and runs back home, ignoring the stunned look
from his mother as he slams the door and goes up the stairs. In his room he tears
off the windbreaker, the shirt, kicks off his shoes and pants, slides into his bed and
turns to face the wall. He’s crying when his father comes in.
It’s the last day of the year he says to the wall,
I don’t want to leave. We just got here, I don’t
want to leave. I don’t want things to change he
says, and his father sighs and sits on the end of
his bed and runs a hand up and down his son’s
“I don’t want to
leave. I don’t
back above the covers as he shakes and sobs. His
son says “It wasn’t there, it wasn’t there” but his
father doesn’t know what he’s talking about,
doesn’t remember, he just repeats “It’s ok, it’s ok”
until the boy is quiet, then he stands and says “I
love you” and walks away. He switches off the
light before he leaves and closes the door.
It’s the end of the year.
It’s the end of the year in darkness, after he had stopped crying and rejected
invitations to come watch things drop on the television with the rest of the family.
It’s the end of the year, or seconds to it, when he reaches a hand by chance
between the mattress and the wall, and feels his fingers brush against what he’d
left there, rub against the smoothness of plastic, and the warmth it got from
sitting by the vent.
It’s the end of the year, but he holds the toy to his chest and stares at the
ceiling, whispering how nothing changes into the space he won’t grow up in, and
it’s the end of the year as he gives up crying, gives up memories, and gives up his
Book Fantasy Azalea De Guzman
Maybe a cup of espresso will not catch her fancy.
Maybe she’s the type of girl who prefers the smell of worn-out library books over the
aroma of coffee beans. It’s her eau de parfum; she keeps this lovely scent on her fingers,
as she flips through the pages of her books.
There, in the labyrinth of bookshelves, I’ll see her searching for the perfect story.
I’ll see the wonder in her eyes as she strokes the spines of each treasure. I’ll see the
delight on her face when an author she liked finds its way on her hands. I’ll see her caress
it with delicate fingers, as if her whole world lies on the book.
The sight of her will muster up my courage to talk. I’ll ask her of favorite books and
characters. We’ll go on and on about the awesomeness of JK Rowling and John Green.
Then we’ll have an endless talk about our love for fiction and metaphors.
Like a book, I’ll read her chapter to chapter with zeal. She’s the book that one couldn’t
put down. She’s the book filled with highlights and dog ears. She’s the book which haunts
you at night with beautiful words.
Then I’ll take her to Dickens and Fitzgerald and she’ll take me to Austen and
Bronte. We’ll sail the world in the frigates of our imaginations. We’ll be happy and
contented and we’ll wish that we could be stranded in the seas of our minds and be lost in
that world forever.
But in reality, I’ll just see her there in the corner, alone with a paperback.
She’s the kind of bookworm who doesn’t want to be disturbed in her reading. She
won’t notice me as I sit next to her. It will go on for hours and we will be in our own
different worlds. It won’t cross her mind of this magical moment, a deus ex machina,
when the faint sound of the flipping of pages, the catharsis felt of two people, and the
beautiful souls of the books we read, are communicating in ways I cannot fathom.
I’m sad of the possibility that we won’t meet the way I expected. Maybe the only
thing that I could do from this magical moment is by making it into a story. It won’t be a
bestseller or a classic. It won’t even be published.
But it’s mine and it’s hers, and somewhere in my fantasies - it’s ours.
One Night, Endless Destructions Leigh Dispo
The aftermath of the war
Now I come back
inside my head could only
to the kingdom of your heavenly touch
and troubled musings.
I raise my sword,
wrapped around me would
our past buried within
in a matter of seconds.
a chaos within a chaos
within a chaos—then there shall be
My eyes adjusting to the blurriness
of my room, the cold embrace of
cries and screams.
sending shivers down my spine,
How I wish this war
and the soft sound of my breaths
would never be over.
against the dream where
And that these wounds
would stay fresh
until the last drop of our blood hit the
the planet where we met and chose
to increase the extent of this lie.
the night end underneath my cold
the sun shine once more upon
Angry Asian Girl Dani Liu
I am afraid that if I keep writing
less piercing. I am not a pair of slanted
about love all the time you will get the
eyes and dark hair. I am not a silent doll
wrong idea about me, that I am some
you can place on your bedside drawer to
dreamy little girl with her head in the
play with when it suits your fancy. I am a
clouds. That I am constantly looking
killer, but not a ninja. I am a lover, but not
wistfully for my prince in shining armor,
your voiceless Asian maiden. I am here
and I am locked up in some high tower,
for my orgasms, not yours.
waiting for my life to begin.
I have had enough of these restricting
And you couldn’t be further from the
truth. I am no innocent maiden. I am a
warrior, a soldier, a lover and a fighter all
that chafe against my skin like a
rolled in one. I fight for love, and I love to
sandpaper dress. I’ve had enough of
fight. My punches could knock your
people asking me if I’m good at math, if I
teeth out the back of your head, and I
want to be a doctor, if my parents are
could send a kick that would send you to
over controlling. I’m done with you and
the hospital. I am tough, but I’m no
fantasies of sexual liberation. I don’t
need you to pleasure myself. My dildo is
Do not underestimate the extent of my
not shaped like your penis; it’s shaped
rage. Just because I speak softly does
like the inside of my vagina.
not mean my heart does not pound
loudly in my chest. Just because I write
I’m sick of people telling me that I’m
poetry does not mean I cannot scream a
not like other girls. I am like other girls. I
battle cry. Just because I am young and
am like my sisters, who face the same
a woman does not mean I cannot slay
challenges, the same glass ceiling and
you, the dragon, the prince, and anyone
the sexual harassment and the fear of
else who tries to tell me who I should be.
rape every goddamn day. I am like the
I am an Asian woman, but I am no
other women who are called prudes
geisha, no dragon lady, nor tiger mom. I
when they cover themselves up and
am not one of your stereotypes, one of
sluts when they show their skin. I’m like
your stupid caricatures that mock my
the girls who just want to have fun, and
accent, as if the words I speak with a
I’m like the girls who want to sit down
thick tongue are somehow less sharp,
and study hard so they can have a good
future. I’m like the girls who like to flirt
with the boys at the bar, and I’m like the
paternalism, and your sugar daddy
girls who like other girls and don’t want
tendencies. I won’t tolerate the way you
anything to do with men at all. I’m like
laugh at my parents’ accents, the way
the girls who sing in the choir and who
you mock me with that “ching chong”
are on the cheerleading squad, and I’m
bullshit, how you pull your eyes into slits
like the girls who are on the trivia team
behind my back. My eyes may be
and the ones who write in their journals
narrow, but they see a much wider world
during the lunch period.
than your narrow heart.
I hate it when men tell me they enjoy
So stop asking me where I’m really
Asian women as if I should take it as a
from. Stop telling me to go back to
compliment, as though I should be
where I came from. Stop telling me to
grateful to be sexualized and objectified.
that people like me are stealing your
I exist for their viewing pleasure, and I
jobs and ruining your country, stop filling
should be happy that they do in fact find
my head with your white supremacist
me pleasing. I am not flattered when you
bullshit and forcing me to choke down
praise my almond shaped eyes or my
my own internalized racism and sexism.
slim figure. I don’t enjoy it when you
Stop telling me that it’s all in my head
mangle my language with your white
and that I should be grateful that you
colonizing tongue, when you say “ni
even allow me to exist.
hao” and “xie xie” as though I should be
impressed that you would find our
I will scream and smash things and
words worthy of your speech. Take my
apologize to no one. I will take a stand,
beautiful mother tongue out of your
and no matter how hard you try to trip
me, I will continue to march on into a
world where you don’t matter, and it’s
my dreams that count. I will no longer
misogyny that overwhelms me every
see the world through your blue eyes. I
time I walk through the door. I’m through
will no longer hate my nose and my eyes
with the narrow boxes you’ve tried to fit
when I look in the mirror. I will love
me into, the ropes with which you’ve
myself, no matter how much you try to
bound my wrists and ankles, the gags
stop me. I will be victorious.
you’ve placed in my mouth. I’ve had it
For the people in the gallery Frida Jönsson
Those who long for the snow never feel the cold the way we do, my love.
They are inside and we’re out here, a fake fire at our feet that does nothing for the frost in
We are cold and they are hungry for their lives to start.
We are the ones who cannot write for the blood dripping down, destroying the paper in
front of us.
We throw it away with shaky hands and they pick it up.
Using our scraps they create a canvas and after adding color and shade to our blood
they say this is art.
Come look at it.
(One day we would like to be one of them, wouldn’t we my darling? Oh my love, how
happy we would be, how touched by the gold frame and ignorant of the black pain.)
Watching from afar they write about foreign feelings in neat notebooks and they think,
long, wish, dream about the life they could lead if they’d dare to let go.
Let us never say that once you let go there is no way to unsee, unfeel.
Let us never tell them there is no going back.
Let us be silent and wait for the cold to come.
(You might think it harsh, my dear, but less people inside means more sisters and
brothers standing with us out here.)
The winter is coming, the smoke from our cigarettes freeze in the air.
The blood that keeps dripping down in the snow is creating a pattern you cannot take
That is one piece of art they cannot frame.
That is the last shred of our soul they cannot tame.
Saying Your Name Charmaine Louise Escalante
In May, I tried to bury you in ash but
come December, I still remember you.
Spent matchsticks on the kitchen
table. Even now, my mouth still taste of
ash, still feel like sandpaper against my
tongue. I don’t blame you. I try not to.
During the first summer you left, I have
set my insides on fire. For hours, my
lungs were smoldering in embers. For
days, I have coughed dark smoke until
everything was clear again. When the
fireman came to put out all the fire, or at
least what was left of it, he leaned over
me and swore he could hear you whisper
from inside, asking to be saved. But I
said to him instead, I am the girl who
It should not have been this way. You
should have disappeared for every time
I exhaled through my mouth, it should
have gone away the moment all the
towers fell and the ashes had landed
into my stomach.
There is a forest fire inside of me
that could not be put out by just water,
by just the wind. Once, a boy came to
me and tried to save my lungs from
burning, held my hands so tight but got
blisters in his hands instead.
Maybe a fire alarm from somewhere
sounded off, woke you up from your
deep sleep. And even before the flames
could reach you, you’ve escaped to
other parts of me where all the smoke
couldn’t reach. Maybe you ran back into
my heart because there’s so much water
in there, so much of everything to live by.
I wish forgetting was as easy as burning
existed—that we somehow existed.
It is already December. Seven
months from the tragedy and yet there
is still no progress. I can still feel you
move about from inside of me. There are
still days when I catch myself saying
your name out loud in public places.
Some people think of me as crazy.
Yesterday, on my way home from school,
instead of handing out my fare, when I
dropped my change on the convenient
store counter by accident, instead of
picking them up myself and apologizing
for the hold up. When I stepped into the
place where we met for the first time,
instead of simply walking away and
pretending it meant nothing. Your name
escapes my lips in half syllables, in short
vowels. Scratch the inside of my throat
into a stutter, before I could even stop
For so long, I have taught myself to
keep quiet. I have mastered the art of
staying quiet, spending years blending
into the colour of the wall of every room.
I have lived a decade trying to set fire
remorse, and sadness and even memory.
But you—the boy with hair like feathers
and dimpled smile and has freckles on
his nose that look closely like the night
sky—you are meant to be spoken, meant
to be said out loud.
Because you are not a secret; you
are not meant to be. And even when the
air has all cleared out, all the dark
smoke gone, and my organs now
charred black, all the towers in ashes,
you’ll always come back like a spring
Snow Jackson Weaver White
The road fell out before them like an unfinished lie and he looked over to the
boy in the passenger seat. He brought one hand up from the steering wheel and
hung it in the air, over the boy’s leg, and looked around then finally put it down,
but it was no comfort and the boy shook it off angrily. There were still burrs in his
hair, but he didn’t try to touch or fix him again.
It started to snow again, the old, smooth tires skipped to find something solid,
and the boy sat up, only slightly, only just hinting he was worried. He turned in his
seat, reached behind him and found his bag, dirt stained and damp and as filled
with burrs as his shaggy hair still, and he brought it to his lap. The seatbelt lay
slashed beside him, but he grabbed it in his hand anyways as the car slid again
and wind pushed snow from the windshield, showed them for a second where
they were. The man raked a hand through his hair and tried steering somewhere
that wasn’t ice.
The boy looked out to the frozen water, all flat and snow pushed around over
it, and looked over to the driver just as the car found a new axis, heaved over with
intention. Glass blew past his face and cold air and colder water caressed it; he
screamed and there was darkness, and the man reached out a hand to him, but
the car flipped forward and his arm was pushed away.
Time stood as the hood picked itself in the snow and the cabin tilted up, then
down towards the blue grey, and after another scream there was darkness for him,
Wind really does whistle, and the car sat, still and battered, in the storm,
hidden in a whole world at freezing point.
I love you she said, but he was asleep so she pawed at his hair and picked the
plants from it. She coughed once and then again, she kissed the top of his head
and stood up.
The boy crawled over to him in the howling and broken glass, mixing tears
with melting snow, and screamed through the noise, shaking him and crying. He
shook him and cried and shimmied backwards through the window of the
overturned car, stood, then cried and took hesitant steps which fell deep into the
snow and sent him falling over. He went to punch the broken machine in anger but
held back at the last second and went back into the wreckage.
The fire was dead and it was growing colder, the land was freezing behind
them but she was growing slower, when the sun rose there was a flash from the
ice brighter and brighter each day. She woke him up afterwards.
Somewhere south lie a gunshot a tree cracked from the cold, and without
waking he began shivering. Teeth chattering and for the first time in weeks she
saw the breath rise from his mouth, and then her own too. She looked around,
through the trees and dead plants, wanted to cry, and the tree cracked like a
gunshot in the south.
The fire he made snapped and was certain of itself before the boy went back
to the window, cut the man’s seatbelt with his knife, and dragged him through the
snow and calmed weather, laid him out sideways to the fire and searched for one
of the blankets. He sat against the car, watched the man’s face carefully, and took
off his own gloves and jacket and held them one by one over the fire with the
fishing rod. He took a tarp from the trunk and stretched it from the undercarriage
to the ground behind the man and laid his clothes out to stay dry and not be
soaked again by his nervous sweat or tears.
The boy spoke to him, as the wind faded and darkness grew. It was the most
quiet it had been, and he spoke breaking it. The man bled slowly onto the snow
and the boy stopped mid speech when he saw it drifting towards the fire, that
massive blooming thing beneath him. He went back to the truck and took out the
red case and fixed the man as best he could, cried bastard into the night as he did,
noticed a burr in the man’s hair and picked it out.
Flames snapped again and he sat and spoke of how he missed his friends,
looked up at the dirty tarp and spoke about his home, spoke about his friends and
house, so long ago. He spoke words that covered the moments like salve and
spoke about everything he hadn’t for so long.
The makeshift tent grew warm and he took off his shirt, laid it out over the
rest, and showed his scars and skin to the flickering light.
The man spoke, with a thick voice and closed eyes.
The boy stopped, half covered by the blankets, the man opened an eye and
raised his head, looked around, coughed and groaned from the pain, and spoke
I love you she said, knelt down beside him and held his head in her lap. I love
you, and she pawed his head and he slowly stopped shaking, slowly he was still
enough for her to just stare, just watch, to see the blue veins wrapped beneath
skin like cellophane, like wax, like ice.
I love you, she said, and wanted to punch the earth but pawed his hair
Wind picked up and another storm started, as the boy watched the man fade
and slowly die in front of him. Trade winds from the North and South battled over
the dead earth as the tent heated slowly from the fire.
‘I’m sorry,’ but the boy was already gone, rolled out the side into the cold and
running through wind like he had through the trees just a few weeks ago, through
the forest from the man who shouted after him.
Before they’d crashed, burrs had stuck to his hair as he pushed past branches.
He’d pushed farther and heard a waterfall, so huge his chest rumbled with it, and
as he pushed through the last of the trees he came to a cliff, and saw it.
Built up from ice above him, was a ledge so large it held trees. He walked
around it and saw their bones bloom and shrink, walked around it then in it,
through a hollow in the back. Fresh water fell from the top, off the side down the
cliff and he walked through that hollow towards the edge.
When he reached the end of the cliff he stopped, and the man eventually
caught up with him.
She kissed his head and stood up. The sun flashed on the ice and snow off on
the horizon. It was on all sides now, and she took the jacket from her shoulders and
laid it over him, she took the bag slung from her shoulders and left it beside him.
I love you she said, and started walking north.
He knelt in the snow far from the dead truck and dying man and watched the
bits of snow all moving together. They chased and ran from each other, then fell to
the ground and the wind picked them up to slide again.
He’d reached the cliff and the man had caught up to him and they looked at
the terrible beauty of the planet through the waterfall. They saw the white
catching up with them and the man held his shoulders.
‘I’m sure she’s fine,’ he said. ‘We’ll meet her south.’
Now, though, the storm pulled at the burrs still in his hair, wind-made crown
around his face, and he grew warm and tired and didn’t want to run anymore.
Back at the waterfall, he’d taken the lie the man reluctantly gave. The boy
looked up to him, and, gazing from the open cave, spread out to the sky making
echoes, the man pawed the boy’s head and told him happiness, tears and all.
Seasons Hannah Tucker
I saw the first chill of winter
in your eyes,
and quickly turned away,
longing for the warmth of summer
or the rebirth of spring.
a little girl born on winter
embracing warm Christmas lights
and the joy of the holidays
grew up to face the world
with rough winds, cold snow
and dark nights dominating the day
she first saw the world
when the year was about to end
so maybe that’s why she’s so used to
a little girl born on winter
grows older and colder as seasons do
was named December
Nothing else will do Dani Liu
The other day, someone asked me what I do if I get writers’ block. And I
thought about it for a moment, and then I said, “I keep writing anyway.”
We used to have to keep these silly little journals in fourth grade, where we
were supposed to write about our day and stuff. Our teacher would read them
and respond to whatever it was we wrote. I didn’t want to talk about my day,
so I wrote these random stories. I remember one of them was about a king
who turned everything he touched into jello. My teacher got kind of mad at me,
and told me to stop writing stories. She said, “If you don’t know what to write,
just write ‘I don’t know what to write.’” And I rolled my eyes on her, and she told
me not to give her that attitude.
I wrote ‘I don’t know what to write’ for pages and pages, even though I knew
exactly what I wanted to write.
When I was in sixth grade, I got this huge industrial sized journal from Sam’s
Club for my birthday, and I started filling it out. My handwriting was horrible
then. It didn’t fit between the already wide lines, and the letters jumped around
as if they didn’t want to be contained. I skipped half of second and third grade,
so I never really learned cursive. But penmanship wasn’t really my priority. I
was more concerned about becoming the person that I was going to be.
I continued writing in those journals throughout seventh and eighth grade,
throughout high school and a little into my freshman year of college. I
downsized from the industrial journals to journals with wooden covers, journals
with clasps, with pretty covers and lines that were closer together. Keeping a
journal made me feel important in some ways, as though my daily life might
someday be part of an important historical document.
I wrote conversations to myself, weird dialogues where I talked to someone
older and wiser than me. I separated out the parts of myself with sense, and
the parts that wanted to dream. I drew probability diagrams for the likelihood
of ending up with some boy, and I wrote elaborate fantasies where boys would
call and pledge their love for me and I would hang up without saying a word.
Throughout grade school I was awkward and unpopular. I sat at the back of
the bus, part of the peanut gallery that laughed at the jokes of my more
charismatic friends. I clung to a small group, and tried to ignore the times
when they hung out after school without inviting me. No one asked me to go to
their birthday party, and when they did I didn’t go anyway.
I guess things started turning around when I found Power of the Pen, which
was this writing competition for seventh and eighth graders. You wrote for
forty minutes based on some prompt, like “The Third ___” or “The Mouth” or
“Barbaric Yawp”, and then judges ranked you from one to six. I made it all the
way to states, but never to the power round, which was the fifty best writers at
the end of the tournament. I placed a few times in seventh grade, and even
won a best of round, but not in eighth grade.
And this was, I think, the first time I realized I was really good at something, a
talent beyond the typical acquisition of good grades. This wasn’t something
that my parents had trained me to do, like piano or violin or math; it was
something I had developed entirely on my own, by swallowing all the words in
all those books, and then rearranging them on my page. I felt a strange, fierce
joy whenever I finished a story.
My eighth grade teacher had us make a portfolio with all of our stories, and he
put them up on poster boards, and we had a mini-fair where we walked
around and voted on people’s work. Mine performed very well, and at the end
of my middle school career, my teacher gave me the book award for English, a
book of poems by Billy Collins. He wrote in the jacket that Collins wrote with
certain clarity, and that was what he saw in my work. He told me never to stop
And, with the exception of a few months earlier this year, and one of my
depressive phases after freshman year, I really never have. I started writing a
novel on September 25th, and I finished it a few days ago, on the 14th. It was
426 pages, and I have never written anything so long. The last week I
averaged about twenty pages a day, because I could see so clearly what I
wanted to happen, as though the story was playing before my eyes on a movie
screen. And now I am about twenty five pages into the sequel.
My dad keeps telling me to stop writing so much, to focus on my schoolwork
instead. And I don’t know how to tell him that asking me to stop writing would
be like asking me to stop breathing, or walking, or laughing. It’s not something
I have to force myself to do, like the rest of school. It’s not something I can
resist doing really, especially when I get an idea, or I hear a song with lyrics I
really like, the way I did this morning. All I have to do is set my fingers gently
over my keyboard, and we are off to the races.
When I was in high school, my mom wanted me to teach my little brother how
to write. She wanted him to do Power of the Pen too, but he wasn’t really
interested in creative stuff. He was more into Academic Challenge, their trivia
team, and debate club. Which was fine, but my mom kept asking me to teach
him how to write like I did.
And this was really difficult, because I had no idea how to teach someone else
to write. The best I could come up with was just to write the way you thought,
to not force your dialogue or make your character say things you wouldn’t
expect real people to say. I told him that the best way to learn writing, just like
anything else, was to keep doing it. And if he didn’t want to practice, if he
didn’t want to put in the time to learning how to do something well, then he
wasn’t going to get good at it, no matter how many books about writing he
There is something magical about writing, there’s no denying it. How the
thoughts in my head, those electrical storms bouncing around my neurons, can
somehow be transferred magically to yours, across time and space. How I can
make you see pictures, bright and vivid like a diamond mine, without putting a
brush to a canvas. How I can show you parts
are half a world away.
Nothing else makes
There’s nothing similar to it. Nothing else
me feel as human
of myself no one has ever seen, all while you
makes me feel as human as words do.
Nothing else makes me feel as alive as I do
when I write a passage that I’m especially
as words do.
pleased with, when my fingers tremble with
the excitement of touching something that wants to be touched. Nothing else
makes my heart race as watching someone read my work, waiting to see how
it changes them, as all good art will do.
Like a truly beautiful symphony, an essay should strum at your very
heartstrings. It should touch you to your core. You should come away from
staring at these strange lines feeling like a different person, someone new,
someone better. You should shed your old conceptions of the world the way a
snake sheds its skin, and emerge fresh and gleaming. The best writing inspires
more writing, and I hope that, when you finish this, as we reach the end of our
time together, you go to your desk and pull out that journal you got as a
birthday present many years ago. I hope you open its fresh, untouched pages,
and run your finger down its uncracked spine. And I hope you pull your seat
close to the table, and take out a new ballpoint pen, and set it down against
the page, ready to write.
Pluviophile Anne Danielle Vergara
Pluviophile (n) a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy
I’ve always loved rain, though the cold always makes me look like I’d been crying
Quite the contrary, I’ve always loved rain
You’d think I’d feel differently
Growing up in a country constantly at the receiving end of its unforgiving rages
We had our differences, sure. But I’ve always loved rain
They say it’s because I’m Aquarian. Not too convinced. Don’t Pisces take to water more?
But then again, wasn’t I born and raised on a street with the same name?
So yeah, maybe the stars had something to do with it
Speaking of things celestial, my mother told me I was her moonchild once
‘Cos I stared at that thing up there, outside the car’s windows, relentlessly
Convinced I was being followed
Later learning that that thing had something to do with the waves
So there you have it, the heavens decreed I fall in love with water
But rain has always been my favorite
Maybe if l learned to swim properly, or surf, it’d be different
As kids, we used to play in the rain a lot
We quit when we grew bigger but not that much taller
What with my low immune system and the polluted everything?
Also, the idea had started looking silly
But the love persisted
Didn’t think I could love rain any more than I already did
Until that day I stood staring at it, after lunch
Contemplating for a good few seconds if I should just jump in and let it fall, fast, on me
Standing beside a boy, who was proof of all the good life has to offer
Wondering after, if he’d been thinking what I was thinking
Because for a nano of a second, it certainly felt like he’d jump, if I did
But the day was only half over, and I had no extra clothes
Room temperature was already freezing as it was
Silly, it almost didn’t matter
Rain, of course, washes things away
And soon enough, or not soon enough, it washed the boy away too
But not that day, never that day
Because that day I realized, I could always to stand to love a little bit more
And that this is probably the best life has to offer
And it matters.
The 20 Good Things in Life Jake Habitan
We listened to our songs as we tried
We were watching together. I was
to lull ourselves to sleep. We exchanged
lying on your lap, and you were quietly
songs that would speak for our hearts,
watching that film. I know that we were
whenever we are far from each other,
both crying and almost about to cry, on
that film, on that scene.
We both agreed that we wanted to
I pulled you closer. I was not drunk,
get drunk even we have something to do
really. I held your hands, and we danced
the following morning. The next thing
to our slow beat at that quiet night. We
that I could remember is that you were
closed our eyes, and hummed our short
about to cry, and we were debating on
the concept of reality, and we were
bashing the characters on that film that
we were watching.
You introduced me to some of your
friends. They are good people, indeed. I
guess you are really who your friends
We were both reading that pretty
fucked up book, and we both agreed
that our heads did really hurt because
of it. I assure you, I will finish it with my
I cooked you the first lunch we had
sanity still with me.
together. You were quiet skeptic about it
at first, but I believed that you liked it,
too. We started cooking it. And do you
also remember the first fried rice meal I
have cooked to you? Those two were my
And you told me that you love me
very much, and everything went okay.
Our warmth mixing with each other
as we tasted the sweetness of our skin,
of our flesh. My lips get to meet your soft
lips, as well as my tongue gets to meet
yours. The whole night went on forever.
That rainy morning when we woke
up, and we just stayed on bed as we
cuddled for hours and talked about
We shared that passion to bring
smiles to those people.
many random things.
We took the shower together. You
suddenly opened the shower and I
We looked at the starry sky and we
talked about life. I never wanted that
night to end. I never wanted everything
ended up scampering because it was
really cold, and you just laughed.
about us to end.
We would always hop from one
place to another. I love
Before we entered
And you told me that you
the gate, you leaned
because I want every
your head towards me
place to have a portion
love me very much, and
and signaled me to
of you, of our memories
kiss you. I did kiss you.
That is one of the best
everything went okay.
secret kisses we ever
had in public.
realized that home is not
any other place that has walls and a roof
The night was cold, but you hugged
but instead, the feelings we share
me really tight. It melted the ice both
physically and emotionally.
everything as we walked around. I would
You and I, together.
sometimes tell you jokes and you would
get pissed, I know, and I would just laugh.
And I love taking photos of you, of
Sometimes, we tell stories of people that
you doing something, of us together, of
are, or were, in our lives.
you smiling. I want to have souvenirs of
your happy moments while they are still
The Lighter Fran Laniado
Christmas Eve was usually the best night of the year for her.
People don’t do their shopping until it’s too late. Hence there will be always
that one person who had been forgotten, in the mad rush to find gifts for
everyone else. The girl on the corner selling bootleg DVDs seemed like a reprieve.
A small gift for these forgetful people.
Her goal tonight was to buy herself a Christmas present. A motel room for the
night. A cheap motel, sure. Thin walls and questionable sheets. But still, heat- all
night long. A hot shower to wash away the accumulated grime of the city streets.
It would cost her over a hundred dollars. But on Christmas Eve, it was doable. The
DVDs were new releases or things that had left theaters but not yet had an
“official” DVD release. But pricing them at only a few dollars each, she could sell a
lot in a short time.
But tonight there were several challenges. For one thing it was freezing and it
had started to snow. Not the light, pleasant flakes that make everything look like a
winter wonderland. This was an icy, slippery snow that made people want to get
indoors as soon as possible. They pushed past her when she approached and
fanned her wares out in front of them. They’d re-gift something they’d got at the
office if they’d forgotten anyone. It just wasn’t worth it to stand out here in the icy,
The other problem was the police. They made rounds every ten or fifteen
minutes so she had to time herself carefully. Not that night in lockup would be the
worst thing. It was indoors and probably heated. But she was fairly sure that it
would mean a night with the city’s junkies; the drunk and the high. If she wanted
that she could just spend the evening in her apartment.
Yes, technically she had a home. And heat and a shower. And she also had a
father, a brother and their friends. The reeking smoke was always present; the
bitter smell of tobacco and the earthy smell of marijuana. Sometimes, if there was
money, there was also the sickly sweet smell of crack. There were other hazards
as well: she had to dodge the glass from broken bottles, the needles from an
errant syringe left lying about. But above all, the hands. Not her father or brother
thankfully, but their friends’. Their hands were everywhere. Her father and brother
laughed. They told her to loosen up. She’d rather die. If she stayed there it was
only a matter of time before the hands weren’t the problem anymore. She’d rather
take her chances in the cold, wet, streets.
But it was getting dark and there were fewer people on the streets now. She
slipped into an alley where the roof provided an overhang. She crouched beneath
it to count her earnings, hiding the money in her hands and using her body as a
shield so no passing thieves would think her easy prey.
She had a lot, but not enough. She sighed as she pocketed the cash and
considered her options. Not home. Never that. Even if she could find a shelter with
room the odds of her leaving it tomorrow with the money still on her were not
good. She’d find a subway station to spend the night. Tomorrow morning would
be Christmas. There might still be a few last minute gifts needed, as people made
their way to their destinations. She might earn enough for a night in a hotel
tomorrow. She would find a subway station in a minute. For now, she was too tired,
too cold, to get up.
She leaned her back against the building and blew on her gloved hands in a
futile attempt to warm them further. Various litters had accumulated beneath the
overhang. She rustled among it for something, anything useful. Then luck!
Perhaps, a cigarette lighter. She held it up to see if it had any fluid inside but the
streetlight was too far off and the snow too thick for her to see. She tried it. A small
spark and then nothing. On the second try she produced a flame. Result! She
thought gleefully and warmed her cold hands over the small flame. She couldn’t
make a small fire, she realized, looking around her. It was too wet. But she held the
flame as close to her skin as she dared, basking in its warmth.
Her life had not always been like this. She could barely remember her mother,
who died when she was just a baby. But according to her grandmother, it was at
that time that her father began his epic quest to lose himself in any substance
possible, taking his teenage son along for the ride. Before that, her grandmother
had claimed, he’d been a decent man. Not great, but he had loved his family. In a
way the car that hit her mother destroyed him too, and her brother along with
them both. But as long as she’d had her grandmother it wasn’t too bad. She
stayed in her grandmother’s tiny apartment. They both lived on a small social
security check but it was warm and they’d had each other. There was someone to
care that she went to school and was served a decent meal even when times were
Crap! Her finger must have slipped because the lighter went out. Please don’t
be out of fluid already, she prayed. A smile spread across her face as the flame
caught once again. Maybe she wouldn’t have to go to a subway station tonight,
she thought. Churches have midnight mass on Christmas Eve, don’t they? Maybe I
could go to a church during the mass- they wouldn’t shoo me away for looking
dirty- and find a hiding place to spend the night. She’d never been religious, nor
had her Grandmother for that matter. She didn’t even think of a specific religion
but they couldn’t know that in church. Anyway, if asked, she could always say that
she’d recently had a religious awakening.
Her fingers lost their grip once again. She should get going. Find a church
somewhere. Only she was so tired, and this overhang protected her from worst of
the wind and snow. She’d stay for a few more minutes. Just until the lighter fluid
ran out, she thought as she re-lit the flame.
Her grandmother had died a year ago. Old age. She’d come home from
school to find her grandmother on the floor. “No one lives forever”, the paramedic
had told her, in case she didn’t already knew. After that she’d moved back in with
her father and brother. She’d stayed about two weeks. That’s when the hands
started. She was better off sleeping in shelters, in subway stations, anywhere she
could find. Not as bad as it sounds. She still got a hot meal in school every day.
She could shower in the gym most days too. She could even spend the night on
occasion without anyone noticing. But Christmas vacation was hard. She would
graduate in a few years which would be harder still.
She didn’t feel the cold anymore. Not really. She’d gotten used to it. Maybe
now she should get up. It’s just that she was so tired. And the snow and the wind
were brutal out there. Her numb finger slipped from the lighter and she struggled
to control her hands enough to get it re-lit. She was sure that the fluid was running
low. When it runs out, she promised herself, that’s when I’ll get up and find a place
for the night.
The flame caught once again. It was
on nights like this - when she had a week
to go without school, without anywhere to
She was so happy,
go, that she missed her grandmother the
most. Still she had been loved. That was
more than a lot of people could lay claim
so loved, that she
to. She imagined that the wall against her
back was her grandmother’s torso. She
didn’t even noticed
grandmother’s soft lap that she would
crawl into as a child. She could smell her
grandmother’s scent now, the one that she always associated with warm things:
soup, tea, being tucked into her own bed. Her grandmother’s arms were around
her now and she snuggled into them warmly as she drifted off to sleep. when the
lighter went out.
The next morning was icy and cold. Raj brought his partner Adam a cup of hot
coffee from the 7-11, pretty much the only place on the block that was open on
Christmas day. Adam and Raj weren’t usually partners but they’d volunteered to
work on Christmas since neither celebrated the holiday. Not only did working
today mean that the others could be at home with their families on the holiday,
but it made for major goodwill on the force. If either of them needed to take some
time off here or there, they could call in a favor.
“Thanks,” Adam said, as he accepted the coffee from Raj. The hot cup
warmed his hands. Briefly he wondered why gloves seemed to stop working
about ten minutes after you put them on.
The sun shone in the early morning but offered no warmth and the streets
were still slippery from last night’s storm. Raj stepped on a patch of ice and
slipped, and Adam caught him by the arm, and dragged him back up.
“You okay?” Adam asked.
“Yeah, thanks.” Raj replied. He seemed distracted. He glanced into the ally by
“What is it?” said Adam.
“I think someone’s in there” Raj was in the ally now. “Hey get over here!” He
called to Adam.
When Adam saw what Raj had found, he cursed softly under his breath. Raj
had already taken off his gloves to feel for a pulse. He looked up at Adam and
shook his head. “Nothing”
Checking for a pulse had been a formality. The girl’s lips were blue. That was
the only color in her face. A thin layer of frost had already formed over her body.
Adam muttered “Poor thing, she’s just a kid.” and called it in. They’d need to
get a forensic investigation started, though it seemed perfectly obvious to Adam
that she’d frozen to death in the night.
“What’s this?” Raj said.
Adam knelt down beside him, careful not to disturb anything. A cigarette
lighter was clutched in the girl’s death grip.
Now You See Me (2013)
Review by Kryzia Casinillo
Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Directed by Louise Leterrier
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo,
Woody Harrelson, Melanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave
Franco, and Michael Caine
Come in close, because the more you think you see, the
easier it'll be to fool you.
The film starts with four exceptionally gifted magicians
from different fields: J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) an
egotistical street magician, Merritt Mckinley (Woody Harrelson) a smart aleck hypnotist,
Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) a vibrant escape artist, and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) a
pickpocketing illusionist. The four talented magicians answer a summons by a mysterious
benefactor and a year later, the magicians become The Four Horsemen, a Las Vegas hit
sponsored by the multi-millionaire Arthur Tressler.
However, when The Four Horsemen perform a logic-defying magic act involving robbing a
bank in France in front of a live audience in Las Vegas, authorities start asking questions.
And when it is discovered that the Four Horsemen really did commit a bank heist, FBI agent
Dylan Rhodes (Mark Rufallo) is called in to investigate along with Interpol agent Alma Dray.
The Four Horsemen are brought in for questioning but, because of lack of evidence, they
are released almost immediately. Dylan Rhodes and Alma Dray employ Thaddeus Bradley,
an ex-magician who reveals the secret behind magic tricks, for help and the pair find out
that there’s more to the Four Horsemen than meets the eye. As the group continues to
outsmart the FBI at every possible turn and as loyalties and integrities are questioned,
Dylan Rhodes (and the viewer) are compelled to question what is real and what is fake.
Stellar cast. Riveting premise.
One of the movie’s highlights is indeed its star-studded cast. It was fascinating to see
famous stars like Morgan Freeman play such interesting roles in the film. And the primary
storyline itself is enough to get the viewers’ attention. Stage magicians with a vendetta?
Illusionists gone bad? Who wouldn’t be interested? And with breathtaking special effects –
the term ‘movie magic’ would be a tad too trite right now – as well as complex and
mind-boggling stunts is enough to keep the
viewers at the edge of their seats. And let’s not
forget the innumerable plot twists in the film. One
can hardly hold back a gasp by the end of the
movie when the real mastermind of the whole
scheme reveals himself.
In short, the
movie was too
…Now you don’t.
However, because the film was so fast-moving, characterization suffered as a consequence.
Critics have pointed out that most of the characters in the film fell flat and almost no one
was developed. The romance between Dylan and Alma was too forced and hasty.
Now You See Me has received mixed reviews since its debut earlier this year. Though there
are people who thoroughly enjoyed the movie, some felt that it lacked substance and
depth. The movie had too much dazzle but not that much to back it up. Some of the Four
Horsemen’s tricks were simply too complicated for only four people to carry out no matter
how talented they were. In short, the movie was too unbelievable.
Despite all of its criticisms though, it can’t be argued that Now You See Me is a fun and
action-packed film that’s worth watching. As one reviewer describes the film: “Pure summer
magic – literally.” So if you like magic tricks as well as a good old-fashioned mystery movie,
I highly recommend Now You See Me.
by Rainbow Rowell
Review by Kryzia Casinillo
sometimes you have to take
around three things: her
a step outside your comfort
zone enjoy what life has to
sister and built-in best
friend Wren, the great
taking the risk of getting
fictional) Simon Snow,
Fangirl is about Cather Avery,
and reading and writing
Simon Snow fanfiction.
gave Cath magic, and
thoughts and often actively
helped Cath disappear.
But then Wren starts
prefers to be alone with her
Simon Snow fanfiction
Snow fangirl leaving home
grounded, Simon Snow
completely the opposite of
fandom and distances herself from Cath in
an effort to become more independent.
And not only that, the Simon Snow series
is coming to an end, the last book about to
her vivacious identical twin sister Wren.
Simon Snow – an almost-parody of Harry
Potter, complete with a scar-free Harry
Potter and a looming, dark-haired Draco
Malfoy – plays an integral role in Cath’s life.
be published in a year’s time.
The fantasy series helps Cath hide from
The only thing that keeps Cath together is
reality. Though Cath socializes very little in
writing her Simon Snow fanfiction – even
real life, she flourishes as the famous
with the anxiety of going to college, the
fanfiction author Magicath. The book
awkward adjustment to living with a loud
chronicles Cath’s experience in her first
but usually absent roommate, the distress
year of college, from experiencing the
of having a Creative Writing professor
pain of betrayal to falling in love (with a
who detests fanfiction, the constant fear
non-fictional boy) for the first time.
of leaving her eccentric father alone, and
However, eventually Cath realizes that
although being invisible has its perks,
Unlike other coming-of-age novels set in
through obstacle after obstacle but never
college, Fangirl didn’t feel rushed or
once wavered when it came to writing her
insincere or overly dramatic. Rowell treats
magnum opus, Carry On, Simon. On the
us with realistic situations that most of
contrary, Cath got through most of her
us – especially the ones that can relate to
problems by writing (and sometimes
reading) fanfics. She disappears within
experienced at some point in life. Reading
her fanficton in order to get away from
about Cath’s exploits (or lack thereof) was
reality for just a while.
entertaining and seeing her stubbornly
Rainbow Rowell excels in writing realistic
refusing to give up on
beliefs but still be able
She’s the kind of
character you want
characters. Cath was a
to root for because
to grow as a person
quirks and snark and all.
The plot was paced
comfortably but not to
the point of droning on
and on. The story itself
was remarkable in its
you see yourself or
recognize a bit of
yourself in her.
entertaining; you can’t help
but like her for it. Cath is
also a hilarious narrator
whose snarky wit helps her
creativity; the use of fanfiction as a sort of
deal with social situations. Even though
anchor for both Cath’s love for writing and,
Cath is quite an eccentric (and one of the
to some extent, her personality was
most famous Simon Snow fanfic authors
phenomenal. If you’ve ever loved a series
on the internet), Cath feels awkward
enough to spend hours and hours reading
around people and often suffers from
fanfiction written by fellow fans or if you
actually written fanfiction because, let’s
struggling to hide from the world. One of
face it, sometimes even the canon is
Cath’s strongest points is that she is very
missing some spice, then you’ll understand
relatable. She’s constantly paranoid about
just how integral being an active part of
every other thing, something a lot of us,
the Simon Snow fandom was for Cath who
feels the constant need to disappear.
well-written and well-developed; she’s the
Those who aren’t familiar with fanfiction
kind of character you want to root for
will get a glimpse of what life is like for a
because you see
yourself or recognize a bit of yourself in
intensely once the full force of the news
hits. There were also excerpts from the
Simon Snow series and from Cath’s Simon
distinctive in their own way.
boy-from-Creative-Writing-class Nick, the
passages are no more than a page long
and often echo Cath’s current situation in
the story. However, if you’re not quite
interested in reading those brief pieces,
From the outspoken roommate Reagan,
Snow fanfics after every chapter. The
you can skip them without having to worry
about missing anything.
Overall, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is a
terrific read with fluid and clever writing
everyone felt realistic.
Another thing to look
forward to in Fangirl
is the overall writing.
the reader can
actually feel Cath’s
but slightly manic personality perfectly.
The prose was straightforward most of the
time but there was always a tinge of wit
and humor throughout the story. Not only
did Rowell deliver the humorous parts well,
she managed to convey the heavy twists
intense scenes were written so well that
reading them was difficult because the
reader can actually feel Cath’s heartbreak
and anguish. They were gradual, almost
looming over the whole story, which
secure at first but eventually
one encounters hitches and
setbacks often in succession.
Fangirl is a beautiful story
superb. She captured Cath’s imaginative
resembles life: steady and
Rowell’s narration was
trying to figure out life and eventually
coming out of her shell.
“…because nerds like us are allowed to be
Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like
trol-yourself love it. Hank, when people call
people nerds, mostly what they’re saying
is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good
insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic
- John Green
makes the reader feel the pain even more
Cold, Lonely Guy
My Secret Wish
I think the worst thing about the holidays is that people expect you to
have that “someone”. You know, that “someone” who’s going to hold your
hands while you both watch in delight as the kids play with snowballs in the
park. That “someone” who would be willing to spend the rest of the night
with you on the bed kissing you on your cheek, forehead, and neck, that
“someone” who’s going to sit beside you along with your family on a boring
lunch in a fancy restaurant, and that “someone” whom you can be proud of
because you don’t need to join the rest of the other strangers in the world
living the cold season on their own.
Was it really that necessary? There were times when I had to
backpedal a bit or I’ll end up starting an all-out war with my relatives every
time they magnify my lack of company during the holidays. It seemed to
them as if I’m the unlucky guy who never felt the warmth of an embrace
during the coldest time of the year. Was I to be pitied? I’ve looked at myself
in the mirror and saw no desperation or desire to have a girlfriend on my
side as the land turns pale and the cold breeze of the wind hit me real hard
on the skin. . .
But those were back then, when I was still completely fine with my own
The years went by and all this I’m-on-my-own-I-don’t-need-a-girlfriend
became a trepidation I’m trying to put an end to. It felt like hitting myself on
a wall which all those times I have been unaware of. I had to admit I was
living in denial and having another presence on my side is what I always
secretly wish for during those cold months of
December. Maybe just this time though, I
have found the courage to accept that I’m no
longer happy in the company my own
solitude and it has already turned into
loneliness. I just can’t help but feel like there’s
a hole being dug on my chest every time I
company of one another during a heavy
Was I to be
The feeling intensifies even more every time I come across a couple
holding each other’s hands, rubbing their faces to feel the warmth of their
skins. It’s like drowning in the middle of it all.
I have all the reasons to feel how lovely this season is, yet, I am alone,
hugged by the series of the clothes that I wear, trying to live in the hopes
that maybe it won’t feel this way next time. That I am going to find the girl
who will replace this emptiness into wholeness and the No-one-loves-me to
I-love-you-back. And that the next time I listen to the kids sing christmas
carols, watch the lanterns illuminate the street, and feel the snowdrops from
the sky, I am no longer in the company of my own, but happy with her – the
one I hoped for and all those times asked for, to jolly old St. Nicholas.
Kidnap my Baby
Metro Manila Fillet-o-Fish: A Preview
I was thinking of a humorous phrase to replace the FF in the MMFF, then in came
to mind fillet-o-fish, which was actually my childhood favorite. Nice try, Paul.
Such humor. Much wow.
Like my attempt to be humorous in this column, the Metro Manila Film Festival
tries its best to be entertaining and relevant at the same time, but little does it
realize that serious film afficionados have buried it out of relevance for more than
a decade. They actually see it more as irritance since foreign movies are banned
in cinemas through-out the holidays. Well, there’s the entertaining part still giving the masses an escape while allegedly helping the dying local film industry,
when in fact only the big media’s profiting from the windfall.
Without further a-do here’s the horrible things our local cinema’is serving us as a
Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy (Girl, Guy, Gay and Lesbian)
Comedy (Star Cinema)
Here’s another attempt to mask the usual effeminate
gay trope through a somewhat interesting twist. A set
of quadruplets were seperated, with the girl and boy
living under their father while the gay and lesbian
under the mom. And what do you expect than them
meeting someplace sometime, then the big revelation
that turns their lives around. Yeah, the usual soap
conglomerate we get to see the country’s biggest
stars. Vice Ganda (a gay comedian) doing her thing,
while the Diamond Star Maricel Soriano is back in
business after facing several issues regarding her
life. Wow, it’ll definitely make the movie a hit.
And of course, having the usual Filipino gay
character here, we’ll just get to see loads and loads
of stereotypes and prejudice masked as comedy.
Kimmy Dora: Ang Kiyemeng Prequel (The Prequel)
Comedy, Action (Spring Films)
Apologizing if I can’t translate kiyeme since there’s no translation for it anyway.
(Local gay lingo.)
Kimmy Dora was a hit when it was first released in the local indie scene. Being a
money maker, what do you expect but the license picked by mainstream studios.
Allegedly a prequel, we get to see a better view of the KimmyDora twins and the
events that led to the story narrated by the
Eugene Domingo’s a great theater actress and I
would definitely expect a nice performance from
her here, though not as polished since this is just a
mainstream cow anyway.
Pagpag: Siyam na Buhay (Pagpag: Nine Lives)
Horror (Star Cinema & Regal Films)
Of course the MMFF wouldn’t be complete without
a horror flick. This one focuses on the Filipino
superstition called Pagpag (Shaking
meaning that one visiting a wake must not go straight home or else bad luck will
I appreciate that the movie wants to feature a
maninstream movie after all and it’s top-billed by
the country’s top teen stars. If they hired a more
adult (and serious) set of cast, I would be actually
watching this. But what do you expect but them
wanting to make money out of culture in the first
My Little Bossings
Comedy (Octo-Arts Films)
This is one of those movies you don’t want to bother to know the plot since you’ll
know from the poster that this is made only for the box office. You got here Vic
Sotto (comedian), Kris Aquino (TV host/actress), her son Bimby and child
superstar Ryzza Mae and you’ll know this will be a
hit, knowing that the main stars were themselves
successful in their previous MMFF entries.
At least we get a respite from the yearly staple of
Enteng Kabisote fantasies and Kris’ pseudo-horror
flicks. Bimby will get his much-awaited acting
debut while Ryzza’s parents will milk more money
out of her fats (err, cuteness).
Calungsod, Young Martyr)
Biographical (HPI Synergy)
It’s been a while since we get a religious flick in the MMFF. It’s not really a popular
genre in the film fest even if Filipinos are considered to be religious. One has to
appreciate the effort made by the producers to talk about a relevant topic since
Pedro Calungsod was just canonized recently. Now that’s Pinoy Fried and
religious fervor working at the same time.
But then even if you’re not a religious person you get to appreciate Pedro
Calungsod more of an adventure story of a young man sacrificing his life for an
opportunity to serve and reach out. Cultural and political issues come into play:
was Pedro Calungsod really commendable? Or was he just blindly used in
colonizing an island found by Westerners to be barbaric and uncivilized, using the
name of religion to achieve this? Was his death even worth it in the first place?
(But then if not him dying this way we won’t get this movie.) Then again viewers
aren’t watching an MMFF entry to think deeply so we expect the “attack” here to
be more entertaining than reflective.
Pedro Calungsod is one of my
possible bets for the Best Picture
entry, feeling how the judges
might be swayed away by the
appealing topic. After all, it’s
Action (Viva Films)
Now this is a movie I’m really
interested to watch. Action films
are a dying art in Philippine
cinema compared to decades
known action star, portaying the story of a cop-turned-senator loosely based
upon the life of Senator Panfilo Lacson. Lacson, if you’ll remember, has built his
career in the police force, fighting organized crime.
But I have mixed feelings in creating a movie based upon his life, or about
politicians in particular. For me, when you do a biographical flick, the character
must be either too good to be true or too evil. Politcians and their lives seem to be
in a gray area, which only creates confusion similar to how people debated about
last year’s MMFF entry, El Presidente.
One side will just see this as a
propaganda, while another will simply
enjoying learning about his life even if
it could be considered a watered-down,
version of it.
After all, why it should always be that
corrupt politicans will be the center of
local action flicks?
Biographical / Action (Scenema)
Now that’s one horrible poster.
ER Ejercito has made a brand out of
highly-celebrated Asiong Salonga garnered a lot of awards two years ago, so as
El Presidente. But some people still express reservations on how the stories of
these films were written even if the cinematography’s somewhat impressive.
Here we get to see ER again portraying someone way younger than his current
age, which makes me feel he’s just doing this for a throwback. After all, he still has
the charms. KC Concepcion has his partner is interesting too. I never saw her
portray a role of a criminal’s sidekick. And of course, knowing that this is about a
1960’s criminal, history buffs will definitely have a roll with this film.
Romance / Musical (iAct)
With the lack of a romantic film in the MMFF this year, Kaleidoscope World fills in
the void by showing a love story inspired by
street culture, and yes, the famous rapper
I actually have lower expectations to this
than the others since it was only meant to
replace a film that backed out, much more
that we got newbies here producing it. Still,
the fact that they’re making a film out of the
rapper’s legacy is surely interesting. Though
personally, I would find this better if they
haven’t made it too obvious by featuring
hip-hop. You can actually make an awesome
musical by simply employing Francis M.’s
songs as musical score. But then since we
already got this, let’s just be fascinated to
their portrayal of street culture and the lives and dreams of the people behind it.
Now that you already know what NOT to expect in the upcoming film festival,
take some time to reflect not just of your choice of films for the season but of the
state of Philippine cinema in the first place. Let me tell you that MMFF is not the
grand picture of our films as it was long time ago, and it will never be. I just feel
sad that the organizers aren’t promoting the short films or the independent
categories as extensively as this, much more the way we invest in cinema as a
reflection of our view of culture. Culture for money, not for creating identity and
building a historical record of who we are.
Have a happy holiday, folks. I hope you’ll still try to eat fish this season.