N. Mozart Diaz
Filipino. Oscillating between navigating and wandering;
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©eberhard grossgasteiger

Do you still remember how you felt when you were still hopeful? When you were young and all the world was fresh and new and everything felt so exciting? Do you remember how it was when you could simply be and not feel any pressure to be anything other than what you are? It felt so easy to believe, to think that the world was conspiring for you and not against you. …


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©Stacey Resimont

Skimming through shelf after shelf in the bookshop, I realize that I’ve had enough. There was a time long ago when I would look at these bookshelves with wonder and excitement as I imagined a book with my name across the spine perched on a shelf, eagerly waiting to be picked up and read. It was a dream, more than that, it was an ambition that I felt was reachable. All I needed to do was buck up and write my soul out and the world would come to love it and I would change the world with nothing more than a laptop and a dream. That was long ago, so very long ago. All I see now is the difficulty of life and how I was so young and so naive imagining that I could place a book on these shelves. …


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©Lisa Fotios

I sit myself down at my desk and begin typing, hammering down key after key after key, stringing letters into words and into sentences in hopes that it would make sense. I stop and stare at the sentence that had just formed, reading it over and over again until every word contained within no longer makes any sense. I remove a word, rephrase the sentence, and destroy it altogether, wiping it from existence as it had never occupied a moment of time in my mind. …


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©Photo Collections

When I was a kid, one of my teachers told my class a story about two lumberjacks who worked in the same forest with the same kind of ax. One of the lumberjacks would show up late to the forest and work lesser hours than the other lumberjack who would show up early and work harder. Things were going great for the lumberjack who showed up early every morning and worked harder than the other one who kept showing up late. …


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©Burst

I feel tired.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this kind of tired before with the way it seeps to the bones like the cold on a rainy, windy day. Except it is more than the bones within, it seeps into the mind and the soul, and all the essence of my being seems to be the tiredness that has calcified deep in the core of my person — a malignant tumor pulsating with the deep dark tar of exhaustion.

I am tired. I am tired of the daily comings and goings of the world that refuses to tire of its own awfulness, of its own injustices, of its own stink and filth that we are forced to stomach or relish in. Can I rest, oh dear please, let me rest? But how can I rest when I need to keep moving to survive? But please let me rest, let me rest, let me rest, it’s all that I’m asking for. But it’s all been rest, hasn’t it? …


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©Miguel Á. Padriñán

The pandemic seems to be happening unevenly throughout the world. While we can all agree that it is happening to everyone, it seems to be happening to everyone differently. It’s the same storm, but everyone has a different boat. For those of us living in the Philippines, we have spent half of the year 2020 in quarantine with endless reiterations and prefixes to the phrase ‘community quarantine’. The times before all this seems so long ago — like an actual lifetime ago. …


Fiction

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©Alex Fu

“It’s going to rain later,” Alfonso said, settling himself onto a thick tree root and taking a drink of water.

“It’s clear all around, how could you tell?” Tomas said in reply, staring deeply into the sky and the far mountains noticing only the white puffy clouds moving across the pale blue sky of noon.

Alfonso shifts and leans back on the slope by the tree they found themselves resting on as the sun screamed its hottest of the day. His shoe crunches against the dry leaves and snaps a twig as he moves and he takes a deep breath.

“I’ve spent so much time alone in this forest that I’ve learned to tell. …


Fiction

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(c) Karl Solano

I swear these people were vampires with the way they tried to sniff blood on everyone.

I shuffle uneasily in the restaurant, rubbing my worn sneakers against each other and making them squeak against the sleek ceramic floor of the restaurant we were sitting in. I look across the table and see Antonio sipping coolly from the glass of cold water he asked a waiter to bring to the table. I stare at mine as the moisture clumps up and drops down to the placemat. I’m thirsty, but I’m in no mood to drink anything.

The restaurant is filled with noise. There are people laughing, talking, and whispering, while the porcelain, glass, and ceramics clang and ting sharply throughout the room. A waitress notices my unease and comes forward to us and as she is about to open her mouth, Antonio waves his hand and signals that we still aren’t ordering, that we’re still waiting for another guest. My head swims as the people around me talk. I can hear them laugh while covering their mouths, I swear they’re laughing at me but they’re speaking in an accent my friends and I used to mock — now it seems that I’m the butt of the joke. …


Reflections on the Graduating Class of 2020

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©Adrien Olichon

The news broke and the final list of graduating students from my University was finally released. I will be graduating this year. It’s been five years since I wrote a post on going to college and how anxious I was for entering a University that was both so familiar and so strange to me, I never imagined that leaving the University would conjure up more anxieties especially with the world that they’re releasing us to.

As of this moment, grad photos are filling up my news feed on all my social media, and soon enough there will be essays and write-ups about the journey that was college — we all have our stories to tell and thanks and gratitude to give. I suppose that this is a write-up too and I would love to tell people of all my deep gratitude and relay how the University has molded me into the person I am now but given the present circumstances I find it extremely difficult to celebrate. …


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©Vlad Chetan

The clouds forebode a coming storm in the dark grey heaviness that scraped along the tips of the mountains. Thunder comes rumbling in from a distance as the winds pick up the dampness of the clouds and sweep it into your nostrils. Faint flashes of lightning, cold winds blowing, and the ominous approach of fog. The trees sway with the wind and rustle their branches, knocking loose dead leaves from the boughs. A stiff wind picks up the leaves and blows them across the pavement.

Then, a trickle of water hits you on the nose as the thunder rumbles closer and closer and more frequent. The lightning grows brighter and the trickle turns into a drizzle. The kids in the neighborhood are still playing, laughing and cackling, oblivious to the rain. The fathers snore in unison, deep asleep in their couches as the mothers bring in the laundry to dry and to avoid the rain. Another roll of thunder comes and with arms filled with blankets, shirts, pants, and coats, the mothers call out to their children to hurry back to the house lest they wish to be rained on. …

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