to the boy who gave me flowers

outside the apartment lobby where the stone benches and worn grass and oak trees were, with acorns nestled in beds of waiting dandelions, where people went to take the air and watch the world pass them by.

i was wondering why you and your mom and brother were wearing good clothes stepping out of the wilson rocket, walking to the flimsy iron gate. didn’t realize at age six that you were coming from the mosque downtown, not the church across the street.

i was wondering why you looked up at a tiny human in stolen tank top and shorts, swatting at bugs and tossing acorns up at the sky, and stepped onto the grass yourself. i saw you from the corner of my eye, but i thought maybe you wanted to play catch or something. i didn’t look at your mother’s face, didn’t look at mine.

but maybe if we both did
we would’ve seen
that they agreed
hijabs and butterfly sleeves
were never meant to be.

i was wondering why, as you tugged on one of the dandelions, there was tension in the air, for one brief moment i was never able to experience while i was in it. but a dandelion lay in your hands, and then you came over and smiled.

i’m sorry i didn’t smile back, i can’t look at people in the eye very well, and definitely not at age six.

i was wondering why you pressed the decapitated flower to my grubby hands and giggled, but i waved back as you ran back to your mom and walked away, and i sat there, stupefied, with acorns scattered around me, and i stopped wondering, and i wanted.

i wanted to follow you into the lobby and up the elevator and maybe to whatever number your door was at, play cars and legos the way that kids usually do in 2011 in the complex, and tuck the flower into a straw and leave it forever and we could be good friends and maybe you could come to the park and then had someone to play with in my own floor.

i wondered why the mother gave me a face of stone and told me to drop the dandelion into the ground. her eyes darted from the street beyond the fence to the guest parking lot where the window washers were having lunch and she was in fear. she said to wash my hands with soap and tugged on my back, stomping the flower beyond recognition. we waited to take a different elevator, and we didn’t go out to the grass for a long time.

and i wondered why.

i tried looking for you, but i think you moved. that’s for the best, a couple years after there were alerts in the neighborhood for people who looked like you, and nobody was sorry about the older boys who stepped on grass and never came back, and i wondered and wondered and i haven’t stopped since.

i’m sorry i didn’t ask you for your name. i didn’t know that was something you could do.

i’m sorry i couldn’t form words to thank you. i’ve been grateful all this time.

i’m sorry i didn’t give you an acorn. they were my favorite thing because they were so prickly and i think maybe you would’ve liked how they spun as they plummeted toward earth.

if you gave me flowers now, i would keep them, all cultural clothing put aside. i would’ve given you a really cool rock. because flowers wither. but i bet you know that.

wherever you are now, kid, i hope you’re at peace. and i hope we step on the same grass soon.

if not, well.

i’ll be wondering why.

roof

 

I am a monster of my own choosing. I let the cracks split open and show. I am the one who caused the ruins. I raised my hands to poison my soul.

“Now that’s cheery,” a thin, slippery voice murmurs in the darkness.

The sound of a notebook dropping is immediately followed by surprised cursing, some stumbling upon the cold cement, and the shaky attempts of a terrified child to stand up.

It is night on the rooftop and two shadows lie on the ground.

“W-who are you?” she whispers. Whether she is hyperventilating or not remains to be seen. Her hands dust off on ripped jeans and brush against matted hair, trembling.

The source of the longer shadow stands in the brightness of the moon, face unseen, cane in hand, hat on head. As if this was a quintessential noir film, he drawls his words and walks forward, propping his weight on the balls of his shiny leather clad feet and his arms on his knees.

“Shouldn’t be up so late sweetheart, it’s bad for your body,” he says gently, grasping a shaking wrist. “Shouldn’t be writing such drastic words, it’s bad for your soul.”

In a swift motion he tugs her to his feet, tucking some stray hairs behind her ear. She doesn’t flinch, but she does step back, hands tightening around notebook.

“Do I know you?”

“You should.” He nods at the book. “That holds a ton of powerful words. You’d wanna be more careful with what you will into existence. Maybe try something like the weather, eh doll?”

The girl takes a good look at him— what she can of the darkened figure before her— and furrows her eyebrows.

Will into existence?

Her hands think for themselves and flip the pages of her book to an earlier list of words, just as disastrously written as the latest. The wind turns a chill as the light shines brighter on an old piece of work written long ago. Where, the memories refuse to say.

If I could will into existence. A friend with whom to live with. I would hardly care what they are. The devil seems a good place to start.

The.

What.

“Babe you gotta stop speaking your thoughts aloud so often,” He chuckles, watching the words make little pangs of realization pop on her tired, worn out face. “You okay there?”

She takes an eternity to respond.

“I’m going mental. This is schizophrenia. Or- or something. I’m hearing voices. They seem so real.”

Her words run over themselves and run them flat, shallow breaths working themselves out of her system as she claps her hands to her forehead, the night seeming to swallow her alive. Perhaps it already has.

Another pair of hands wrap around her own. “Now, could a voice look this good in eighty degree heat and a suit to match?” The moon was bright enough for a wink to appear.

“But you’re not actually the…”
“No.”
“Thank God.”
“And you’re not actually a monster.” He places the smaller girl on the ground, sitting as casually beside her, enveloped in darkness.

“What are you then?” She doesn’t address the last sentence. Probably too shocked to believe it.

His coat ruffles in the wind. “Have you heard of guardian angels?”
“Uhm…”


“That, but evil.”

it’s beginning, it’s beginning, it’s beginning

“tell me about it,” my sister asked a few weeks ago.

i responded by mumbling and laying dramatically on the kitchen chair, which by the way, is the hardest thing to sit on for days at a time. “i don’t know how.”

“well you’re gonna have to figure it out if you’re posting about it.”

blah.

“it” in this case is referring to a very cool person’s book that’s coming out in a couple days or months, give or take, and by now you should know that cool person’s name, which is weez, and her book, the lightest heaviest things, or at least heard *some* kind of iteration of the concept known as subpar art. if you remain oblivious, well. i feel sorry for you. and will probably enlighten you by yeeting a copy at your face.

anyway, weez must’ve made the mistake of entrusting me with something, because she asked me to help her out with throwing books at people’s faces getting tlht out to the people, whoever the people may be. and i must’ve made the mistake of assuming i could, because the next thing i knew i was swiping through a copy for review and going “what what whAT” for an hour.

so anyway, here’s me figuring this out and here’s the book of potential cult classic status, per weez’s interview with clara (read that or i will fight you).

roll film.


“The trees are tall, and the giants are not actually taller than the trees. You told me that the giants aren’t real. I don’t know if they’re real. They look real, to me, but they also don’t seem real. You don’t see them, either.”

Peri, alone in her house, has spent a lot of time observing the silent, strangely sad giants that move just on the edge of her vision. They never speak. They never laugh. They are always alone. Drowning in her own loneliness, Peri doesn’t think much about where the giants came from, or what they might need from her.

When Peri’s best friend Wink starts seeing the giants too, though, they decide that they need to find out why the giants are so sad and alone. This sets them off on a quest that neither of them is quite prepared for, through the woods and up the mountain.

Magic, melancholy, and myth collide in their lives, showing them a world both worse and better than they ever knew.

It’s beginning.


liked

the atmosphere. HHHHH. i’m a sucker for the ambience of a place, and the lightest heaviest things did not disappoint in that regard. there’s many ways the stereotypical country story can go stale, but the way this one went was refreshingly simple and yet heartwarming, like a place you’ve seen before but don’t really know. the instant i read through the first few pages i remember thinking “yep. i wanna explore this place a little more.”

the characters. peri, the main character and the newest fictional love of my life needs a HUG. i admired her complexity and really connected to her fears and thoughts and the way she saw her world. the little details weez spun along the journey and the way she revealed peri’s story bit by bit was very cool, to say the least. wink is a fascinating best friend/foil character that has a lot of pluck and nerve and also needs a hug. she reminds me of samwise gamgee’s character but with childhood angst, as we all tend to have. ull, my dude, is a friendly hungry magic kid with excellent rhyming skills, and i would’ve liked to have met him. his arc is bittersweet, and i think it was very well done. all of the kids have a lot of story that gets revealed through the people they meet, that for a moment it’s like they could be real kids.

the dialogue. the oneliners and quips and back and forths were hilarious. to prove my point:

“we’re going to save the giants.”

“we’re on a quest.”

“we’re hungry.”

*chef’s kiss* i rest my case.

this banter and the humor behind it carries on throughout the story in a very endearing way, and i simply don’t have enoug hwords to say how much i like it. it’s just that good. go read it for yourself.

would’ve liked

more backstory. i think the plot is solid in terms of how engrossed can you get in a book and end up crying a few dozen times, but could’ve done with having more exposition, more details, more development into each character and the world they interact in and with. there’s so much for potential and if anything this feels like a teaser of being so close and yet not close enough to actually entering paper and ink and living in that world ourselves.

giants. i say this because even though the giants are peri’s catalyst and a big part of the book, and even though we get descriptions of them and why they’re here, i didn’t feel like i saw them exactly? that may be something left to each reader, that may be something that comes with rereading, and that may be because all that needed information will come somewhere else. who knows?

just more in general. everything in this book was great, full stop. no denying that. but i think in the way a bunch of little kids want to know what’s next when someone tells them a story, readers of this one will be absorbed enough to demand more, simply because it’s at a level that can only get better with more of it. so go read it and get weez to write another one because i won’t be able to rest otherwise *nods seriously and gets attacked with incoming pillows*

overall

this book feels like childhood. it feels like growing up and adventure and food and friends and running and bravery, sadness and pain and fear and all of these elements of our younger selves woven into magic and fantasy and it feels nostalgic, and it feels foreign, and it feels right, and it feels like this search for home, like coming home.

but in many ways, it’s a beginning. not just for these characters and the story, but also for the indescribably talented weez phillips and her not-so-secret superpower of making me people cry. i really think that ability and the creations that come from it will only grow, and how amazing to be at the start of it all watching it happen. i also can’t believe i’d lasted this long without realizing the periwinkle pun. dang.

i’d recommend this book for people who enjoy filling in the blank details of a book with whatever their imagination gives them,

readers who enjoy growing up stories and adventure,

and kids who feel alone, and scared, and just need a little shot of hope to go bravely.

it’s a feel think hope kinda thing, and this book presents that wonderfully.


click here to preorder The Lightest Heaviest Things on Kindlehere to add it on Goodreadsand here to see the Redbubble merchandise collection. (and leave reviews and posts wherever you do that so weez has to write another one : D )

(also. that merch. hhh.)

did i do it? was it okay?

~been running for so long, jo~

^^ that song reminds me of this so go listen to it while you read it

w

assorted bottles on display in store

w

walmart shopping after work, after the end of the day and everyone’s ready to grab their frozen pizzas and go home.

“uhhh.” you stare at your camera, and then you stare and the rows of mini backpacks that hang before you. your sister slings an arm around your neck and pats a sleek looking black half pint.

“see anything you like?” panic. how are you supposed to choose anything? the idea of getting something absolutely brand new is foreign, almost dirty. everything you’ve ever possessed with the exception of your precious camera has either been stolen from dumpsters or carefully picked from thrift store racks. there’s something thrilling about getting something for your very own, something terrifying.

“the marvel ones look cool,” you mumble, eyes a captain marvel one in the kids section. you’re still a kid, after all.
“unless you wanna explain a flaming superhero on campus, i’d settle for something more discreet.” they rest their arm on your head simply because you’re short and you glower. “or not. whatever catches your eye.”

you pause. “do you mean that?”
“always.”

the walmart is left with one bobbing brown leather backpack and a jojo siwa balloon punched in the face.

i

two persons playing hockey on ice field

i

“i can’t keep TRACK of all of you,” the skate guard laughs as a bunch of little kids push them around the ice, tiny handmedown skates running against the cold to push this giant human around, for, you know, practice.

it is the second to last week of the skating season, and you wait for your friend to finish wrapping her scarf around her head as you have a small conversation about skating.

“i like it, i just wish i had lessons,” she sighs, staring over at some other girl on the ice whose teacher cheers her on as she does a cool one-legged spinny trick and doesn’t fall over. on the other side, the little kids have all fallen into a heap and their adult takes turns picking one up and dragging across the ice, giggling as they feel the sensation of floating on cold air.

“me too,” you agree. you take off your coat and step onto the ice, carefully pushing yourself off. you skate for a while, it feels like forever.

“hey, hey kid!” the skateguard comes up to you and the other children on the ice. “this is how you make a stop the hockey style, okay?”

without question everyone stands still and watches as they dart across the ice, sharply leaning on one side and letting a spray of ice fly across the rim. someone applauds. they come back proud.

“now you try it and see how it goes.”
“in figure skates?” you protest.

they throw their hands up in the air. “they’re all skates, aren’t they?”

t

poor lighted hallway

t

“…therapy?” the nurse asks kindly, handing you flip flops to walk in instead of the strange cloth sock contraptions they give upon arrival. you take them shyly, you’re not used to being offered anything, you feel guilty, you need to be tough, you have nearly died.

“is it expensive?”

the nurse laughs. “maybe, but your mind’s worth it.” they sit down and explain a way of healing you’d only ever heard as a joke, as a taboo element of life nobody wants to hear about, as something you never thought you needed. it sounds… it sounds good.

“we can set you and your family up for a session after you’re discharged,” the nurse finishes. “or… just you,” they add, watching your face crumple from passive to pained. “do… you want to talk about it?”

“uh, can i take you up on your offer another time?” you might be sidestreet, but you have manners.
“okay.”

when another time comes, you talk, and for the first time, you are listened to.

a

brown wooden framed white padded chair in between green indoor leaf plants inside bedroom

a

aftermath. an invitation. “let’s hang out!”

you’re suspicious. you should be, the people who you trusted stabbed you in the back and forced you to thank them for it.

still, a way out is a way out is a way out. you’ve stopped questioning the morality of a situation and just accepted it regardless of whether it’s right or wrong. what’s that to you anyway?

her apartment’s small, you’ve never been here before. the fun, artsy cousin from christmas and thanksgiving dinners holds her baby with one hand and with the other, pulls you in for a hug. you stiffen, you relax, it’s calm for a while, and then she asks you the question.

“how are you?”

it is then, slowly, surely, you feel like maybe you can heal.

k

photo of pendant lamp turned on

k

kitchen island at 10 pm, sitting cross-legged as your brother fishes for spoons in the utensil drawer.

“how’s it going?”

you answer by nearly falling off the island in exhaustion, but thankfully your hands grip the side in time and you give a sheepish grin. “oops.”

the truth is that daily mundane life is so freakishly different from living in a state of survival, and you’re not used to waking up to do, to be, to thrive. to running, to being free to run, to interacting with other humans, to do normal daily mundane human stuff. you are used to playing mind games you never win and cussing the person in the mirror, to locked doors and dark windows. you love it and you hate it and you don’t know what to do with it.

“ahh, sounds like you need some sugary motivation for your troubles.” the brother places a bowl in front of your regrettably small form, tucks a spoon into your tired hands, and lifts a giant carton of ice cream from the freezer.

“you’re tired too, aren’t you?” you say, propping the ice cream scoop against the white cardboard to dig into the heavenly coldness.

the brother simply winks and asks for two scoops of chocolate.

if you fidget long enough the hours literally fly by

i woke up around lunch time. the fact that i fell asleep around 5 am should evoke sympathy.

ogrhulkjarehngiu what do i put next


oh, i got to wear my favorite shirt today. it’s grey and it’s supposed to be xl and i stole it from my uncle’s clean laundry stash and it’s my favorite and has cool words and i like how it feels and looks and don’t tell my uncle because he won’t stop teasing me for being a midget and i am *not* a midget, i’m just really good at picking out everyone’s best items and then taking them


“there’s only the Vibe” a friend once typed in our group chat after i sent in some workings for an oc that will never see the light of day. my character is both a stereotype and breaks all of them, and i was thinking her ambiguousness would be fun to portray, the way that pinning “background character of your favorite show” to your shirt (the grey one, with green accents) automatically makes you very cool. maybe i’ll talk about my oc sometime. maybe i won’t. ambiguousness, you know?

and that’s that on doing everything and nothing all at once.


i don’t know. that’s what i do know.

i don’t know why my mind is firing off in the distance. i don’t know why i enjoy walking around singing ben platt songs at three am to an empty house, i don’t know why marvel makes disappointing filipino superheroes, and i don’t know why rice noodles and spaghetti don’t work well together. maybe because spaghetti is more wheatier. who knows.


and then i think about the concept of borrowing. how everything that makes me me was taken from someone or someplace i don’t remember, long ago.

i live on borrowed land, i’ve grown up on borrowed culture, i dress in thrift store clothes and things saved from ending up in the trash, i wear bracelets passed from person to person, the shoes i wear were carefully stored as its previous owner moved on to better things (better feet? no) and i write these words knowing that its abstract wildness didn’t stem from me, and i wonder, what can i truly call my own that i came into?

nothing. perhaps that’s the beauty of it.


it’s not like people seem to keen on saving their little mannerisms, their stories, their things. it all goes to the trash. and that seems very sad. little objects and tools and knicknacks are little and tiny and should be saved at all costs. why just chuck them away?

there’s a reason i grew up interested in dumpsters. there’s others. i’ve told a few people why. idk, i like the idea of being the catchall for everything unwanted. it’s cool.


like, you know, here? in the islands? trash is like… treasure. depending on where you are and what time is it and can the aguirres’ tattletale lola watch you lug one of the hotel’s discarded speakers away, or is she busy chasing the newest dogs off her chickens? important stuff. and plastic and spare things like that are all kinda important. i was out on the beach yesterday and there were so many plastic bottles. like the little ones. they seemed so lonely.

and there were no dumpsters for them to go to.

sigh.

but here i am, spewing nonsense like the water from the sink on tuesdays. nobody here cares about trash. but then, what do you care about? sunsets, mugs with coffee, fries and onion rings, friendship bracelets, polaroids, stories, people?

they all go one place in the end. trash just happened to get there first.


and maybe that’s okay.

like weeds are only weeds if you see them that way. it could be an happy little flower, like bob ross and his happy little trees that technically don’t need to be there but they certainly don’t hurt anything by existing. and that’s all they need to do. exist. it must be terribly difficult to assign roles and purposes for every single organism on earth to feel like everything is there for the greater good.


maybe this is the greater good. to stare at the wall above the stove after yeeting a gecko out of my bedroom (little son of a tax collector made a mess out of my shirts. not nice, mr. gecko, beGONE) and see stars appear out of nowhere. to slide into the kitchen with a piece of cloth that we’ll pretend is a cape, holding a mug in one hand and singing ben rector songs. to dress up as heroes and actively save the world in my mind. imagine. a hero. can you imagine that, wall? heroes.

i wonder what the wall’s favorite shirt is. bet you lunch it probably has green accents and is softer than my roommate’s blankets.

~i wanna eat pancakes for dinner, jo~

everyone here was all about that superhero life

OMG Groot Is Actually Dead And Baby Groot Is His Son
groot? me
the fire? everything else

why am i doing this?

for *fun*. obviously.

Avengers Bucky GIF - Avengers Bucky Falling - Discover ...

anyway.


How were you introduced into the MCU fandom?

iron man, 2008, at a very tender age. the rest goes downhill from there.

What’s your favorite Marvel film?

the winter soldier. the love of my life and also the only thing the-brothers-who-don’t-deserve-any-award-whatsoever did right.

Top favorite Marvel character?

daily bucky barnes on Instagram: “💥: strikeforce #1 . . . . . . . . . [tags]  #buckyupdates #captainamerica #buckybarnes #steverogers #sebastianstan #marvel #wintersoldier…”

<– i rest my case.

actually no i don’t do you Know how much bucky was robbed the man has 47 lines total in the franchise and whose fault was it that he’s reduced to “pew pew pew punch” (despite being the winter soldier and being trained to fight hand to hand combat but no let’s forget that hahaha here give him a gun and make him a basic brainwashed assassin) and also just steve’s long lost friend like no he has one of the richest character arcs and wouldn’t even be in the mcu if it wasn’t for ed brubaker literally bringing his fanfiction to the comics like are you Kidding me steve isn’t bucky’s world he’s just a big part of it bucky has so much more he has an amazing relationship, a kid he adopted from another mission and a whole organization dedicated to helping people like this was all in the 2016-2018 arcs so how. dare. you. just call him a sidekick and honestly the russos lucked out with tws because ever since they!! have just CONTINUED TO MESS HIS STORY UP and i will die mad about it

If you were transported into the MCU and had to trade places with one of the superheroes, who would you choose?

ehhhhh wait i can’t use comics? dangit. uhm. probably skye johnson from aos (also she counts fite me)

What are some of your favorite quotes from the films?

“you’re repeating yourself– you’re repeating yourself”

“your mother’s name was sarah… you used to wear newspaper in your shoes”

“i’m, uh, gonna hit you in the head with a peanut butter sandwich”

“i am groot!” “NO

“… and i have a bow and arrows, none of this makes sense.”

“you’re taking all the stupid with you”

“everyone went on a life changing trip with zuko, i want—” hold on that’s not marvel heh

Which crew would you want to be part of the most: Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, or Revengers?

the thunderbolts; all of these groups are chaotic and have too much drama to deal with.

Favorite and least favorite ship?

fave: scott x hope. healthy, based on partnership, a relationship of equals, they don’t just share love, they admire and respect each other and that plays well into everything they do. idk i just like the idea of a relationship being more than just pure romantic attraction, what’s the point of keeping it otherwise?

least fave: nat x bruce. NOT because it doesn’t work, but because the way they wrote it was terrible. if you *want* to write an out of canon ship, at least write it well add some character development, don’t play with your audience’s feelings, don’t reduce one person’s past to specifically prey on their gender (i’m looking at you, whedon– there are SO many worse things other than infertility and you KNOW nat is stronger than that) and don’t just grab the nearest guy available. shame. i could write something better and i am ace. this had potential and they Messed It Up.

Favorite and least favorite villain?

fave: you know what, i’m gonna say hydra as a whole, because i find it fascinating how easily their ideals, their people, and their poison is spread throughout the captain america films and the powerful analogy that has today. (what? i’m a nerd. get over it.)

least fave: the vulture and mysterio. ALSO not because they’re not evil enough, but i don’t think it’s a good idea to villainize working class people who have to resort to less than acceptable means to provide for themselves and their families. it just makes us sympathize with the elite and rich when they’ve done literally nothing to earn that love.

Unpopular MCU opinion?

sharon carter is *not* a bad character– her writing and everything about how marvel handled her was wrong. her arc is so detailed and amazing, her relationship with steve was really sweet and not just that, it made sense, and the mcu just ignored all of that and messed it all up. even with how her actor was treated, they just reduced sharon to this character that came out of nowhere. i hope tfatws gives her the proper development she deserves.

(hold on i just remembered that people ALSO do this for my girl captain marvel and gihukjgfhngieukjrhgniujfkn i’ma deal with you buffoons later)

What’s your favorite Stan Lee cameo scene?

*inhales* *exhales* *cries* mr. lee, sir, the world kinda needed you rn

Do you like Marvel?

it’s problematic and troublesome, but absolutely.

Thor: long hair or short hair?

thor: any hair (why is this a question)

What was the first Marvel movie you watched?

iron man 1, we go allll the way back.

Toby Maguire, Andrew Garfield, or Tom Holland as a better Spider- Man (there is only one right answer)?

hah, you’re all WRONG, the best spiderman is john mulaney and i will say that to my gRaVe—


well. that was fun. thanks kenechi. 🙂
i think the thing with hyperfixation is that sometimes you move on from your interests, and the fierce passion that kept you awake for weeks eventually channels away to something else–

but everytime something comes or a reference is made, it comes back again, and that little rush of oh yes this shaped my childhood and helped me become the person i am now is always one little blip of good?

so yeah. i won’t be this calm when the black widow movie comes out, appreciate the somewhat coherent ramble you got today.

~he’s really good at that, jo~