Deedle Rodriguez-Tomlinson
was born and raised in the Philippines. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Incompleteness Book and The Incompleteness Book II by the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP), Science/Art Network (ScAN)/AAWP, the Silliman University Journal, the literary journal Tomas, the online journal Wonderlust Travel, Mom Egg Review Vol. 20, and Under The Storm: An Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry. She is Project Manager for New York Writers Workshop and lives in Brooklyn with her husband Tim.

I see unbloomed blue iris … beautiful blue iris like the ones I saw at a flower shop

on Second Avenue near my apartment years ago … so many years ago yes, blue iris tips wrapped in orange tissue paper … the ones he promised to get me he promised you know because of what he did the night before but he got blue-dyed daisies instead at the corner bodega because that was all they had that was all they had he said when he handed them to me here these are for you I’m sorry about last night okay I wanted to get you blue iris but there weren’t no blue iris today okay honey no blue iris but that’s okay right honey what what you don’t like ‘em tell me hey what’s with the long face c’mon gimme a break yeah yeah I know you wanted the ones up the street in that fancy flower shop but come on honey the price it’s outrageous look you know I don’t have the money be happy I took the time to get these so take the goddamn flowers okay they’re blue flowers same difference take the flowers honey I said take ‘em before I grab ‘em and throw ‘em in the garbage you want that huh is that what you want is that what you want ‘cause I’m going to do it god help me I’ll do it ‘cause you don’t deserve flowers you don’t deserve me and you should be happy someone loves you cause no one else will. Now put the damn flowers in water and get dinner ready I’m starvin’ over here and – what what you’re cryin’ again?! Look I said I’m SORRY okay— now can I have some dinner PUH-LEASE!!! Look I asked you nice okay I said STOP CRYINGGGGG look at you blubbering you disgust me! Okay— THAT’S IT! Gimme those damn flowers I said GIVE IT TO ME!!! NO? Okay outta the way – Boom! – down the garbage they go GOODBYE to no good piece o’ garbages. There – no more flowers no problemo so no more cryin’ okay awright okay you know what forget about it forget dinner forget I even came home. I’m going down to The Marlin. You better be done cryin’ by the time I get back. Ungrateful bitch.

Yes. That’s what I see— blue iris tips in orange tissue paper.

Dreaming in Color
Recently I dreamed I was

watching a feature on TV about

the phenomenon of tall sea green grass

woven into human forms

waving in the wind.

A man in a red, white and blue

shirt turns to the camera and says:

I can cure your disease.

In another dream, a man who reminded me

of a gay friend back home in Manila

had canary yellow hair streaked

with the natural jet black of his own.

Monarch butterfly colors.

In the dream we were helping

each other escape.

To where, I don’t remember.

From whom, I can’t recall.

And in a dream not my own,

a medium said she

spoke with my friend who had

perished in the North Tower

of the World Trade Center

on 9/11 and had a vision of possibly

the last thing he saw:

A steel white wing coming out

of a bright blue sky

glinting in the hot September sun.


When I am lost
in thought
find me.

Peel back the
top of my head
and find me

back in a dream
I had last night
of being in

water, in a
boat on water
just before a storm  

and then recalling
something a
Hawaiian poet

Ola i ka wai—
Water is life.

Find me back in
2015, standing on the
edge of the northernmost

tip of the Philippines,
on the shores of
Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte.

Seen from outer
space, the Philippines
is a dog lying
on its side.  I am
standing on its
head, my feet

buried in
wet sand, waves
breaking then

receding. My father
is watching from
a van behind me.

Even now my father
watches, but from
a higher place.

Spirits, they say,
use water to speak.
My father lives

in dreams, his
voice somewhere
above the

hiss and sizzle
of sea foam. If I
listen close enough

I hear him. Still.