Let the record show

30 04 2016

Let the record show:
Flowing waters almost always
Climb uphill.

This ‘retreat’
Is no small matter;
Walls and pillars have formed,

Architecture water
Could never have;
An unrecognisable animal

It’s aggression
Pull fish away
From the lonely sea shells

Standing at full height
The sun gave it
Colourful, everchanging tattoos

Bright light blinding
Small passerbys,
With soothing pain.

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Let the record show by Cheyenne Alexandria Phillips is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.





An Open Letter to University Freshmen

30 04 2016

Dear Freshmen,
When you meet someone you don’t know in the corridor
and you are both waiting for the same class,
Introduce yourself.
At least, when you enter the tutorial,
you’ll have a new friend to sit with.

Dear Freshmen,
If you don’t find your life partner at freshman orientation,
it’s okay.
That doesn’t mean you aren’t going to.
And if you are jealous of the other freshmen,
the ones that got together right after camp,
just remember: people break up.
Just because there is a goalkeeper
doesn’t mean you cannot score.
Just don’t be too vindictive about it.

Dear Freshmen,
Don’t ask me which classes are easy,
or which lecturers are lenient
or which classes don’t have exams.
If you wanted something easy,
you should not have come here.

Dear Freshmen,
Don’t plan your classes so you can
go clubbing Thursday nights
still be in class on Friday afternoons.
It’s not worth it.
Trust me.

Dear Freshmen,
Don’t take year four classes thinking you can prove yourself
Don’t take year four classes because it fits your schedule
Don’t take year four classes because they are interesting
Don’t take year four classes. Period.
Or at least until you are year four.
May be not even then.

Dear Freshmen,
Don’t abandon group projects. Ever.

Dear Freshmen,
Don’t post angry activist rants on your facebook,
you probably don’t understand the whole story.
Dear Freshmen,
Don’t post anonymous angry rants on facebook
unless you want to be tracked down
and humiliated on the social media of your choice.

And while we are on that:
Dear Freshmen,
Just because you are smart and opinionated,
doesn’t always mean you have smart opinions.

Dear Freshmen,
Taking one engineering class does not make you an engineer.
Taking one computing class does not make you a hacker.
Taking one theatre class does not make you “cultured”.
Taking one psych class does not mean you can “read” me.
Stop trying to read me

Dear Freshmen,
Don’t take freshman year so seriously,
Instead,
Hold the door open for someone.
Smile because
there will always be someone more stressed than you.
Don’t worry about what you wear,
no one is going to care anyways.
When you meet someone you don’t know in the corridor
and you are both waiting for the same class.
Introduce yourself.
At least, when you enter the tutorial,
you’ll have a new friend to sit with.
It makes everything alil less scary.

Creative Commons License
This work by Cheyenne Alexandria Phillips is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.





Two Sisters

30 04 2016

Once, there were two sisters: Tradition and Technology. Tradition was quiet and patient; her beauty was subtle enough to be ignored. Technology, on the other hand, was outgoing and exciting; she was known to be everyone’s best friend.

I visit the sisters often in their quaint HDB 3 bedroom apartment. Their living room is an interesting mix of wooden furniture housing up-to-date appliances, neon-coloured cushions Tradition made on the ratan sofa frame that Technology helped pick out. They always served me funky fruit teas in chipped porcelain cups.

Sometimes Technology gets called out for an event. She picks up the house phone, the one that attaches to the wall, with the long chord springing to life. She speaks enthusiastically, says ‘We’ll be there’, hangs up and rushes to her sister’s side to tell her all about the party. I watch her try to convince Tradition to come out for a night, just one night. She can borrow her clothes, her shoes, and they will never be out of each other’s sight but Tradition merely shakes her head. She kisses Technology’s cheek, wishes her a fun time and reminds her that she will leave the light on.

Technology hesitates before leaving, lingering at the door, commenting on how the new trendy heels she bought are too complicated to put on. Tradition offers her pair of flats knowing that her sister will never accept the offer. Technology promises she won’t be home late and disappears from the doorway.

Tradition puts her cup down and smiles softly at me. She apologises for her sister’s abrupt exit but I tell her to think nothing of it. She goes to the kitchen to make more tea, while mine is still steaming.

Creative Commons License
Two Sisters by Cheyenne Alexandria Phillips is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.





Untitled

30 04 2016

1.

Hold on

Hang tight

Sit patiently

2.

Look on

Be ready

Anticipate

3.

Plan more

Consider all

Be excited

4.

Wide eyes

Racing heart

Adrenalin rushing

5.

Breathe

Breathe

Breathe

 

Creative Commons License
Untitled by Cheyenne Alexandria Phillips is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.





Anthropology

14 07 2015

7 children

5 boys

2 girls

1 dream:

Education.

Mum Basita is the wife of a barangay captain in Bohol, Philippines.

She used to work in Singapore because being a maid for a day paid more than being a farmer for a week.

Now, she makes 80 pesos for one kilo of brinjal.

That’s $2.40 SGD.

We were there to visit her barangay,

To understand their efforts of reforesting their land

To understand their reasons, their benefits, their personal stories.

But still, I didn’t expect to meet Mum Basita.

She walked us to her farm

And pulled out a stack of paper from her pocket

She had written her whole speech to us out, all seven pages

So that she wouldn’t forget.

She trembled. She couldn’t face us.

She didn’t want her tears analysed by foreign students

She didn’t want her feelings explained in academic language.

I held back any questions I originally had.

I forgot them all.

But my peers were still curious, still studious

Insisted she tell us more.

They scribbled her broken English down.

Her rough voice hit my ear drums in the same way

their pencils scratched at their note pads, desperately.

I’ve never had science fail me before.

Anthropology, I realised might be the study of people

But it is meaningless if we do not realise

that Anthropology is really the study

of people.





Rain

8 07 2015

(inspired by the Bohol Manmade Forest)

I mistook it for rain.
I’m so used to impending storms,
I put my rain gear on.

Only after that
did I raise my hand to see
how heavy it would be.

But there were no raindrops.
Instead, there were these tiny white flowers
pooling in my palm.

I looked up at the canopy
And watched them fall from the giant trees
It was raining flowers.

But it still felt like rain.
Sometimes, when we’re so used to the storms
We don’t recognize anything else.

It’s better to be safe than sorry
And when expecting the worse becomes a habit
Protection becomes routine.

You will not look up,
not until you’ve assessed its severity
and plan your escape route.

Any minute now,
your shoes are going to get muddy
and you will be drenched

from head to toe.
You are mentally preparing yourself
for the thunder and the lightning

You wait for the crash.
But it never comes.
But it still feels like rain.

Until you look up.
Until you see what is there,
it will always feel like rain.





Love is not enough

29 01 2015

in thanks to my cousin, Carmel Phillips

What does it mean when he says he loves you
but does not trust himself not to hurt you?

I never thought I could go to her with this question
but she gave me the best answer anyone could.

Last night, in your drunken state of mind
you held me tightly, barely awake

Answering questions I don’t remember asking.
The next morning you told me that I can’t hold

A drunk to his words. Her answer was simple.
Her answer was ‘Love is not enough’

It is not an isolated entity. It is a lame word
the false pillar for lazy people to

Lean against in the bad times because
they do not want to be alone at night.

He called it love, but it is not a magic word
and with the wave of a wand will everything

Be perfect and magical and wonderful.
There is no abracadabra

It is four letters. It is the most overused word
in the world, regardless of language; love

Ti amo, cinta, laska, te ahora, pag-ibig
we’ve heard it all before.

Hey sooner we realise, we cover ourselves with lies
well underneath we’re not so tough, oh love it’s not enough

Love comes with values you share, with
goals you should work towards, with

Beliefs you are in agreement with,
His actions have to match the content

Of his speech.  So when he said that
I couldn’t hold a drunk to his words

What he really meant was that
I shouldn’t hold him accountable

for what he had said to me
the night before.

That he loved me, but did not trust himself
not to hurt me. It was his escape route.

So she is right.
Any old fool could fall in love.

But a wise man knows that
respect, commitment, faith and dignity

Are the real supporting pillars to the
heart-shaped coliseum we build for ourselves.