Showing posts from August, 2020


Introduction:  At one point I thought I was going to write a novel where an ambulance driver was witness to many people’s end-of-life confessions or life stories. From that impulse, here are three sketches that remain.  -Eugene Lim Fragments from  AMBULANCE , an abandoned novel.  The Ambulance Driver Several minutes ago two sedans collided on a fast road behind the soccer stadium. When I arrived I ran up to the crash site, ignoring the spewed designs of glass and blood. The entanglement of now botched metal, inside of which you can see the deployed airbags sitting like flaccid jellyfish, enthrone two immediate victims. The driver of the domestic make is dead. The driver of the foreign model is nearly dead. I'm the ambulance driver.             The woman who is nearly dead flutters and then opens her eyes. She says, “Even if loved ones hover about in a weepy way, or if tender words are exchanged with one’s one-and-only while kneading hands, I've always believed


INTRODUCTION: These poems are from an in-progress novel-in-poems about two aswang (mythical Philippine monsters) in the 1930s who fall in love — Clara, a manananggal vampire, and Santiago, a werebeast who shapeshifts into a huge dog — and try to live like normal people, in plain sight, in the US, where they have migrated to escape people trying to kill them for being aswang. The married couple promise each other they will foreswear aswang ways, in order to protect their newborn son, about whom they worry because they suspect he may also be aswang. During WWII, Santiago joins the service to fight (though really to kill as aswang) while Clara, left behind in San Francisco, wonders about her husband’s motivation. Aswang Love , a novel-in-poems, is different from a verse novel. The verse novel is, quite simply, an extended narrative written in the poetry genre, broken into poetic lines, such as an epic in earlier literary periods. The novel-in-poems is instead written in established


Introduction: S torms and Dead Angels is a work in progress. It is set in a remote location in the Bicol Region, north of Manila, at the tail end of Cory Aquino’s Total War Policy against the Philippine insurgency, and is told from the perspective of dead twins and a young revolutionary who was their elder brother.  From  STORMS AND DEAD ANGELS II. By the Rivers of Ambon, I Sat Down and Wept One late afternoon, after the fourth day of eating only boiled sweet potatoes and roasted coconut for lunch and dinner, I took my sister for a walk. Mama was in the kitchen, scrubbing pots and pans with ash and sand, and my brothers were either lounging about or loitering in the yard, waiting for Papa to arrive, hoping for a slight change in our evening repast. It was a highly ordinary day. The afternoon light was unremarkable because the vegetation did not cast shadows on Ambon’s famed red soil, and the animals made no sound. There were no smokes and savory smells emanating from k


Introduction : This is an excerpt from a novel  on the verge of progressing , Notes From the Upper Rooms of My Mind . There is a church somewhere in the novel, a site of trauma, and an imagined trauma.    from Notes From the Upper Rooms of My Mind Recently, I followed a memory from California on 34th Street. I was convinced it was her. My Jezebel from high school. She breezed the sidewalk with pride and ease, like a model for high-end tote bags. Or maybe I was seeing things, courtesy of the alcohol in my system. I should’ve ignored André and Matthew’s text messages that evening. In the end, I gave in. I gave in to the spirit and pressures of male-bonding. I let them console me at this bar, when they heard the news. The email in question was from my girlfriend. I would’ve preferred a phone call. But her fingers love the keyboard too much. The event is now archived in my inbox, that we’re over, just like that, over, kaput. It was cold. I haven’t replied. You were cancelled. Matthew


Introduction:  Wrong Answers Only  is a novel attempt currently accumulating from a scattering of notes composed at the onset of July, 2020. I am feeling out where it goes, feeling it out through a distillation of untethered fragments. Where might it be heading? I like that I don't entirely know. I am deliberately attempting to further some threads from previous works of my fiction, from the published novel Missing Persons (2009) to the as-yet-unpublished short story collection, "On Beauty." There are times that even a finished story is worth checking in on, after the fact. But for the reader to notice, one has to be paying attention. For more on novel-writing as "accumulation," visit rob mclennan's blog . from  Wrong Answers Only, or “in all their wounded particulars” * Stella plucks blueberries and raspberries from the mess of bushes that grow wild up the hill, beyond our small cottage. Her mother is working. Upstairs, our spare bedroom no