by Chris Lim (The Philippines)
Audio: "Jeepney Smoke," read by Laurence Li
Jeepney smoke seeps through the iron rail
to keep him bloodshot. He burrows in the neck
of his shirt, already coughing. A black sauna air
begins to funnel from the roaring exhaust. He feels
a soft burn as Jeepney smoke flows into his lungs.
Turning into a viscous tar that cakes the walls of his neck.
Yet, it all smells too familiar. Throughout all these years,
the Pasig River-scented smoke remains true.
True to all of its people. It is the calming scent
of nickel coins at the dive bars or tire swings near
lola’s house. He no longer sits in the Jeepney. He is home,
rummaging through lola’s bag, thumbing her rosario
and dipping his hands into a pool of crumpled
snowbear wrappers. He opens his eyes to a musing
glaucoma. This is home, where he woke up for the last
seventeen years to the humid rays of the morning sun,
people storming the divisoria streets, the Banaba chickens
cuckooing atop their roosts. This is home, where he sees
children splashing in puddles across slums. Street cats
walking on rooftops, tricycles bouncing on rugged sidewalks.
The Jeepney stops in the flurry of traffic. He steps off
and palms the gray ocher, trickling it through his fingers.
He now sees it all. The iron rail, the dangling banners of
sari-sari treats, the morning sun blending with Jeepney smoke.
This is home.
Chris Lim, age 17, is a high school junior attending The British School Manila. He has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards with a National Medal. Aside from creative writing, he frequently enjoys attending MUN conferences and swimming on hot days.
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3/15/23, 5:10 PM
I am seeing all of your comments, and BLESS YOU ALL, thank you so much for wishing me well on this journey, your kind words will certainly help me get there! ❤️❤️
Here's my linkedin, just in case:
I hope I can do that lol
3/13/23, 3:01 AM
3/10/23, 6:30 PM
You write beautifully and with so much passion. Wonderful writing Taieba,
2/28/23, 3:57 PM
"I am trying to tell you wish I were a boy
but you mis-trans-late the words and hear
wish I were less of a girl." This is my favourite statement from here! A trans-formative piece :)
2/28/23, 5:26 AM
What a wonderful piece of writing! I cannot wait to see how you will change the world for the better with your words! I am proud of you and am even prouder to call you my friend!
2/27/23, 11:43 PM
Fun to read, causing me to want to make one of these creations and the devour the result. Sophia, thanks for sharing your creativity with us
Lilies and Peonies
2/27/23, 7:00 PM
Wow, you have been through so much. What a terrible time to be living through, so many lives broken, lost, or insecure because of the war. I'm praying for you that God would protect you and your family, and that he would keep you until the war ends.
2/27/23, 4:58 PM
Sophia is my granddaughter and I am very, very proud of her and her writings. I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of her written words in the future!
2/24/23, 7:41 PM
How do I add a poem? <3
2/21/23, 6:39 AM
Amazing writing here. I love the force this piece gives. You write so creatively.
2/21/23, 6:37 AM
Congratulations on getting published!
2/20/23, 10:55 PM
This is IT!