two buckets of water, over her shoulders buckets of water, to quench her little ones left at home.
hard labor, a mother does to raise her children, providing for their needs never an easy feat.
two buckets of water, over her shoulders buckets of water, fetched from a distance, not minding the strain over her shoulders.
hard labor, a mother does truly admirable.
i am from the Philippines which is primarily an agricultural country with a large portion of Filipinos living in rural areas and supporting themselves through agricultural activities. there are areas that do not have access to a decent drinking water system like in most urban cities. thus, mothers (who are the homemakers) fetch water from natural sources like rivers, lakes or ponds; which are usually farther from where they live. having clean drinking water is one of the problems Filipinos from far flung barangays and villages are facing.
First Filipino Poet/Writer, Author of the Month on Spillwords Press NYC.
i’ve said it many times, and i will say it again; “dreams do come true.”
i used to be just your ten-year-old girl who once dreamed of getting a byline in a newspaper or magazine. that simple dream became a reality decades later with eight published books under my name, four of which are #1 Amazon Bestsellers. my poems are also included in two Bestselling Poetry Anthologies, “Hidden in Childhood” and “Wounds I Healed.”
i am also a regular contributor to the three most popular and widely read online literary magazines, “Spillwords Press,” “Masticadores U.S.A,” and “Masticadores India.”
my WordPress blog recently crossed the 1 million views status, which is, in fact, very hard to achieve.
today, i would like to especially thank Dagmara and the entire team of Spillwords for their recognition of my valuable contribution to Spillwords Press, making me the FIRST FILIPINO AUTHOR to have won “AUTHOR OF THE MONTH.”
i thank all my readers, followers, poet friends worldwide, and literary editors who put their trust and confidence in my works.
my publishing and writing journey with Spillwords began on July 14, 2020, with the publication of my poem “What if Snowflakes Don’t Fall in Winter?” this was a very memorable experience for me since it was my first publication and was also nominated as Publication of the Month. “Wednesdays of Longing” and “Kiss” were nominated as Publications of the Month. “Holding Hands” won Publication of the Month for November 2022, and “Love Happens” won Publication of the Month for December 2023. to be nominated is already a sort of win because there are over 300 poems published every month, and to win is truly remarkable.
March 2023 came, and i was nominated as Author of the Month, competing against seven other brilliant authors from different parts of the world. to be nominated alone and be part of the magic seven authors already gave me so much happiness because i know that Spillwords has thousands of authors worldwide.
thank you so much, Spillwords, for making me the First Filipino poet/author to win Author of the Month.
i started drinking coffee when i was ten years old. my mother never liked the idea. looking back, i now realize how horrible she must have felt for seeing her ten-year-old daughter obsessed with coffee.
she lectured me about the effects of coffee on our bodies and how bad it could be. (of course, again, i know that now.) she even used to joke about me not getting taller if i didn’t stop consuming coffee. (of course, again, i think she was right all along.) there was nothing my mom could do at that time, though.
and i am not talking about blended coffees which we can now get at some fancy coffee shops. no, not your usual Starbucks caramel macchiato, white mocha, or cafe latte. i don’t remember having Starbucks growing up. it wasn’t a thing then. i meant the black espresso, a single shot with no sugar.
coffee time with my papa was always special. i’d watched him brew coffee using one of the oldest, simplest, fastest, and cheapest ways: the drip method. with the use coffee cone and paper filter, hot water is poured evenly over the coffee grounds in a paper filter. and with gravity, the brewed coffee drips slowly and directly into a cup or pot.
i’d carefully and slowly watch the coffee drip onto the transparent coffee mug my papa and i used to share.
it was a sight to behold. one of my greatest joys growing up.
coffee time with my papa was always special; today, it is extra special.
i am seated at my working table, finishing writing the epilogue of my soon-to-be-released book, remembering my papa.
my coffee is now ready, single-shot espresso, no sugar. as i take my first sip, i feel a sudden gust of wind.
my papa’s voice lingers in my head.
“one day, when you are grown up, and i will be gone, you will prepare your coffee drip; remember that each drip is each of my standing ovation for you, ‘cos i am sure by then, you have already made your dreams come true.”
papa, can you hear me scream your name last night? i can’t breath, i can’t cry; i was unwell that’s why for many years i’ve tried not to want you by myside when darkness comes and sickness is like making a handshake with the Grim Reaper but papa i can’t, for you’d forever be the one who could make me feel better even for just a little while.
“my daddy’s hand, i want,” i’d insist as a little kid a girl with poor health in dire need of medical care no amount of needles stuck in my hand could make me cry with my daddy’s hand caressing my back holding me tight telling me “everything’s gonna be fine, i’d be here no matter what i won’t let go even if they say i must.”
papa, can you hear me scream your name last night? i know it’s been years since you’ve been gone, but i need you most dearly when i am ill, for there’s no better way to make me feel okay, than hear you say “your daddy loves you, don’t be scared,” that sure brought joy in my heart the little girl that i was, just yearns for her papa one more time last night.
“poof,” the Grim Reaper was gone when i screamed of your name, last night papa.
We are writing about fathers, incorporating at least three titles from those given below.
1. Dance with my father: Luther Vandross 2. Song for dad: Keith Urban 3. My father’s eyes: Eric Clapton 4. Papa don’t preach: Madonna 5. Daddy lessons: Beyonce and Dixie Chicks 6. Color him father: The Winstons 7. Daddy could swear, I declare: Gladys Knight and the Pips 8. Baby father: Sade 9. My old man: Mac Demarco 10. Father to son: Queen 11. Papa, can you hear me?: Barbara Streisand 12. Daddy’s hands: Holly Dunn 13. My father’s house: Bruce Springsteen 14. Papa don’t take no mess: James Brown 15. Your daddy loves you: Gil Scot-Heron
i was just a little girl when i started dreaming of becoming a published author. that dream didn’t happen immediately, not even after finishing a degree in Journalism, (a supposed first step to becoming a legitimate writer).
life after college was filled with “hits and misses”. i became a school teacher, (that wasn’t part of my plan nor of my dream). but as a responsible adult, i realized then that we have to make use of whatever opportunity that may come our way. i enjoyed being a teacher. i love educating the young and making them reach their full potential as students with the hope that one day, when they need to live lives their own, they are armed with enough academic and life skills that will help them survive the world.
in my 15 years in the academic world, i’ve witnessed first hand, children who were victims of abused and violence. i’ve heard and listened to stories of abuse and violence from my students, colleagues and sometimes, parents. i’ve witnessed students being harassed by some of our male colleagues in the academic world (sad but true). i’ve heard how some male teachers manipulated and/or took advantage of the innocence and vulnerability of young female students (it broke my heart).
i then told myself; if i am to make my dream of becoming a published writer come true, i’d love to begin, by telling these untold stories and by helping create awareness that women, deserved to be respected; and abuse and violence of any form is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
i decided to resign from my academic job in 2013 and devoted my time as a mother to my four growing up daughters.seven years after, i met the co-founder of Perak Women for Women Society in Ipoh Perak Malaysia, who asked me if i could write an advocacy book in support of PWW, i immediately said “yes.”the first edition of “After Rain Skies A Million Star,” was initially made available in Malaysia. the proceeds of the book went to PWW in aid of all their ongoing campaign to provide shelter and support to women and children who are victims of abuse and violence.
in March 8, 2022 three years after, “After Rain Skies, 2nd Edition” was published on Amazon worldwide. the book debuted at #15amazonbestsellers list, and was #1ebook on Kobo. one week after its official release, it became #1amazonbestseller.now, if you will ask me the secret to my success in book publishing? i’d proudly say, it is because i published my first book, with the sole intention of raising awareness and generating funds to help victims of abuse and violence. i did not publish my first book to make my dream come true. i published it to help victims of abuse and violence and make their dreams come true of one day finding themselves again living a good life for the second time.
i believe the universe will see the good that we do and will eventually reward us with more than what we wished for.
March 8, 2023 is International Women’s Day, together we can build a stronger and better society where abuse and violence don’t have a place.
if you wish to share your own story of abuse and violence don’t hesitate to drop me a message.
let’s eradicate the CULTURE OF ABUSE AND VIOLENCE, one story one poetry at a time.
thank you to Leny and Anthony Sanchez, Jo and Paul Almedilla, Ms. Nancy Baltazar, Ms. Sumathi Sivamany President – Perak Women for Women Society, Ms Yip Siew Keen Co-Founder Perak Women for Women Society,for writing beautiful forewords of this book
i received a text message in the middle of the night from my younger sister saying, “hey, sissy are you still up?”
i typed “yes” and hit reply.
i didn’t expect what she had to say after. my mind went blank. my heart sank. my body froze.
my mind traveled back to as far as i was 10 years old and my younger brother Simon was 9. yes, i am just a year older than him. we were not the best of buddies, but we got each other’s back.
one afternoon, our mama was cooking pancakes for us. we were both enthusiastically watching in awe at how mama could quickly flip a piece of pancake and toss it like it was just a piece of cake for her. so, obviously, pancake time was a fun time for us.
we heard someone knock at the door. “don’t touch anything; you too, behave, ” mama said before she left to check on who was at the door.
and sadly for the two mischievous kids like us, we didn’t listen to what we were told. (yes, i know it was terrible). being the eldest, i said, “i’ll be the first to try to flip this pancake first, then you go for the next one,” my brother nodded as he agreed
i put a piece of pancake back into the pan, put on a slow fire, and pretended i was cooking. when i was about to try our mama’s famous flipping and tossing skills, my brother interrupted me, saying, “hey, what’s taking you so long, give me the ladle; it’s my turn now.” i resisted giving him the ladle as i have not tossed a single pancake yet. what he was about to do angered our mama. he slapped my right hand so hard that it fell through the hot pan. i screamed. i screamed so loud that mama and her visitor dashed to where we were.
up to this day, i still have the scar on my right hand. a remembrance of my younger years with my little brother.
i was looking at my hand on which the scar perfectly found its home for a while now. i cried. i wept. and cried again. and wept again.
how could this be true? no…no…i must be dreaming. but the loud barking of our Doberman outside was more than enough for me to believe i wasn’t dreaming.
my younger brother was fatally wounded and killed in a buy-bust operation.
you see, he always dreamt of becoming an armed officer; who would protect the innocent. he did become one. and for quite some time now, he has made a mark of himself as a notorious police officer who hates drugs.
even before our former President waged war on drugs, my brother was already waging his own war against drug lords, drug traffickers, and drug peddlers. he had his share of a long list of bad guys. and this afternoon was just supposed to be one of those days when after a police operation, he would call us and tell us how he put another criminal behind bars. he didn’t contact us after. well, i initially thought he could be busy or was so tired that he decided to sleep early. “i’d check on him tomorrow,” i told myself. little did i know that i had no one to check with tomorrow.
and now i am struggling between hoping that i am dreaming and accepting that this isn’t a dream.
my phone had hundreds of missed calls and incoming messages. i didn’t answer the call. i didn’t read the messages. but my phone suddenly rang again, and the caller’s name appeared to be “mom.”
i had to get this call, “hello,” i said gently. there was weeping and wailing on the other of the line. i knew then this wasn’t a dream.
“your brother died protecting the innocent we should be proud of him,” mama said.
we were not the best buddies growing up, but we had each other’s back.
i am the elder sister, but he was more of the elder brother to me. he was always there to protect me, ready to punch anyone to shield me.
losing him was definitely very heartbreaking. but losing him this way is making me smile because i know this is how he wanted to leave the world behind; by protecting the innocent and making a difference in his own little ways.
a complete funeral honor was given to him with the 21-gun salute, and police officers carried his casket during the funeral.
hundreds of people from all walks of life attended and paid their last homage to my brother. each of them had a remarkable story of how my brother helped them. he was not just a good and honorable police officer but a very generous and kind man.
as for me, i will never forget him as he sat beside me begging for forgiveness after he unintentionally slapped my hands that afternoon over a fight about who gets to toss the pancake next.
“i’m so sorry, i will not do it again,” he gently said as he wrapped his arms around me.
Although this is a work of fiction, some of the details included were based on a true story.
“i’m sorry, i couldn’t hear any heartbeat,” my doctor revealed after just a few minutes of examining my supposed baby bump. my mind went crazy, and my heart beat the fastest and loudest beat ever. i wanted to cry, but there were no tears. i wanted to shout and curse the universe. still, no sounds were coming out. my doctor knew i was on the brink of losing my composure, so she asked me to sit down and gave me a glass of water. “stay calm,” she said.
waiting for you as i held my tears was the most traumatic part of hearing the news. i could see myself heading in directions only God knows where. i wanted to run away, away from the reality that i would never get to hold in my arms the baby i so wanted to have. “you quietly came into our world, silently, and you stayed shortly. but know that you take up the most room in our hearts.” i whispered.
“i’m here for you, and i don’t care if you need to cry all day long i will stay with you,” you said while i was sobbing.
the dark underground parking area was our sole witness to how we grieve at the loss of another angel. we were both inconsolable, as God knows how much we wanted the child. but at least we have each other.
i looked at you, holding on to your composure, and you began to cry. the kind of cry i’ve never witnessed from you my whole life. the type of cry only a father could upon losing a child he never gets to hold.
The fans of Bestselling Author Michelle Ayon-Navajas will see a different kind of writer as she embarks to a new writing technique for her ninth book – flash fiction.
Flash fiction embraces the techniques of prose narratives and storytelling as opposed to having a poetic sensibility. It is solid prose, and there may be moments of metaphor, abstraction, or elevated language, but ultimately, there’s a sense of a short story.
Locker, is Ayon-Navajas’s first flash fiction book which consists of fifty (50) stories that will surely get the readers hooked until the last page. Each poetic tale is a stand-alone story but as soon as you flip to next page until the last, you will realize there is more to these poetic flash fiction stories than just a simple collection of tales.