Inner Angels

To You, All Those Years Ago

Little one
Do the yelling voices paralyze you?
Just a while ago, she was singing you a gentle lullaby
As she cradled you in her arms
He was imitating a steam train from your favorite cartoon
As he brought to your lips a spoon
That carried something delicious you couldn’t pronounce
Now they are screaming at each other
And you wonder why they do so
When they can be heard by the neighbors in the next house

Many, many years later
I learn that a broken home
Is not the way all my friends grew up
Shouting was not the soundtrack
Of every other day in their childhood
And their mothers only sang gentle lullabies
Their fathers only made silly noises
To accompany a healthy serving of Gerber

And that was that

I look in the mirror, sighing as I realize
Your wounds have become my scars
Your fear of raised voices, mine to overcome
Your nightly tears, the stains written on my cheeks
Spelling out an unheard plea
“Let’s live normally”
I suppose, after all, it is up to me

I’ll turn your pleas into some grand dreams
And I’ll make those dreams into a life you and I can live
The light at the end of the tunnel
Will be your flame

To hold a light between your fingers,
A warmth behind my chest
A sparkle behind your eyes,
A torch that lights my way
A sun that shines
For us both

Tripping by the Road
(after Zbigniew Herbert)

I’ve never stepped on a crack on the road

My mother raised me by her lonesome
She took me away from the jaws
Of a messy childhood surrounded by substance and booze

In its place, the years that followed
Were surrounded by tubs of ice cream
And campy cartoon horror movies
That always put a smile on my face
That was the road she set me on
It was warm, and it was safe

“Step on a crack, break your mother’s back”
So with a hop and a skip across Manila’s broken roads,
I do my best to give back in any way I can
Making sure she’s healthy and safe
Making sure I’m walking

On the right side of the road

One hazy night, I’m caught off balance
It’s my first year of university and maybe
I’ve had too much of… I don’t even know
I trip on my shoelaces
Foot landing square on a concrete slash
The guilt overtakes the streetlights, blinding
Tears well up in my eyes, blinding

Those we love, those we thank
Even them, our reckless nature
Does sometimes hurt

Radio 7.7

Faith is a song that plays
Everywhere, always, all at once
Is there a tune that plays without Holy Hands?

I speak not of the upbeat pop jam
from this morning’s radio,
although, perhaps, even that.

What of the roosters that sing a new dawn
Or the ancient winds that hum life between new lungs
A newborn’s first cry decrees
A miracle is complete

From Cebu, I heard my 102-year-old great-grandmother’s
Voice on the phone
And in her sprightly laughter
I heard God sing me faith

Enough to last 100+2 years


Miguel Agcaoili
Miguel Agcaoili
Miguel Agcaoili, known by his friends and family as Migs, grew up in a family of writers, actors, and directors. From an early age, he was interested in exactly those things that surrounded him growing up. Much of his life has been spent in writing, acting in theater, and occasionally in TV specials as a kid, as well as directing in small-scale productions. His heart, however, has always been in writing. After all, he believes that there is no movie, song, production or play that can truly stand on its own without a bit of good writing. These days, he’s spent the past few years writing for TV specials and major live events while finishing his studies as a Creative Writing major at the Ateneo de Manila University.


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