Media Gallery


Photograph Curling

My Ates, red hibiscus
in their mouths,
& my Kuya, a distant
mirror, who am I
among you,

outside? Beneath
a Manila sky
forever bleached, or am I
imagining it so:


a certain sadness
bearing down
on our little, brown


Aldrin Valdez



na a a la la
u ma a poy
bu mu bu lak lak
pa nga lan
Na nay
gu ma me la
u ma ga
ga bi
ma di lim
la ngit
pu so



Her voice, an image,
whisper-round, close
my earlobe,
cochlear, deeper, below
my eyes. Then
nowhere near
me, removed
from me.

It is removed.

Who moved it?

Where did it go?



Aldrin Valdez


It’s June 6 again,


My mother, newly returned after eight years,
is taking us back with her to New York. I’m at
the doorstep shouting goodbye to a neighbor.

My grandmother is behind me, on the sofa.
Just arrived from the hospital, she can barely
stand. She’s here to see us off.

Her voice is the softest ligature, unthreading.

Why are you saying goodbye to everyone except for me who raised you?



“Photograph Curling” from ESL Or You Weren’t Here. Copyright © 2018 by Aldrin Valdez. Used with the permission of Nightboat Books,

“Inside Space (Nanay)” 2012, mixed-media on paper 11 x 15 in. and “Inside Space (To Jax)” 2012, mixed-media on paper 11 x 15 in. used with permission of Aldrin Valdez.

Aldrin Valdez is a Pinoy writer and visual artist. They grew up in Manila and Long Island and currently live in Brooklyn. Aldrin has been awarded fellowships from Queer/Art/Mentorship and Poets House. Their poetry & visual art appear in The Felt, Femmescapes, Nat Brut, Poor Claudia, and The Recluse. Aldrin has also presented work at Dixon Place, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Poetry Project. Collaborating with writer & organizer Ted Kerr, Aldrin co-organized Foundational Sharing (2011-2015), a salon series of readings, performances, & visual art. Most recently, they've co-curated two seasons of the Segue Reading Series with fellow poet Joël Díaz.

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