John Rey Dave Aquino


His father knelt and held his shoulders with both hands, looking at him from head to toe, his large hands growing heavy on Lyon’s shoulders. Uneasy under his father’s stare, Lyon observed his father in return.

– from “Padre de Familia” (2022)

I understand that there’s no escape from the structures that determine the popular and the relevant in K-pop. They involve capital and business (‘soft power’), render in/visible certain facets of fandom and identity (e.g. queerness), and have the potential to disturb normative structures (e.g. a new form of masculinity). I believe that it’s important to understand these structures because the meanings I extract from a pop cultural text are rooted in a distinct underlying construction(s) that governs the text’s workings and futures.

– from “Before we ride the wave, some notes” (2021)

The mango tree had started flowering. Fatima always said that the tree was strange because it flowered just a little later than the others. Most of the neighborhood agreed about this oddity of a tree, which is the reason Jeremy’s mother always told him not to climb the mango tree, but he didn’t really care. He liked how the tree flowered differently, off season.

– from “A Boy, Inarticulate” (2021)

Sa paggapang niya, napansin niya ang paggalaw ng kung anumang bagay sa harapan niya. Tiningnan niya ito at nakilala ang hugis ng palaka, kasama ang madulas at mala-putik na balat nito. Nagkatitigan sila ng palaka nang matagal hanggang sa kumokak ito, at iyon ang unang beses na narinig ni Javier ang kokak ng palaka sa loob ng ilang buwan.

– mula sa “Blockade” (2020)




‘Riding The Wave’ (2021—, Headcanon Magazine)

  1. Before we ride the wave, some notes” (2021), August 15.

  2. The empires wave back” (2022), June 14.

  3. “The idol’s visage” (forthcoming).

John Rey Dave Aquino writes from the Philippines. His writing frequently surveys childhood, familial relations, queerness, and his personal & critical convictions.His works have been published in different literary venues, including Katitikan: Literary Journal of the Philippine South, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and Your Impossible Voice. He was a fellow of the 17th Ateneo National Writers Workshop (2019), and the 14th Palihang Rogelio Sicat (2021). He was also a participant of an International Writing Program class on Entrepreneurial Tools for Creative Writing (2021).He is a MA student in Language and Literature at the University of the Philippines Baguio, where he also earned his BA in Language and Literature (2019). He works as the senior office assistant of Ugnayan ng Pahinungód Baguio, the only volunteer service program of UP Baguio. He also reads as a junior literary editor for Novice, a magazine for creatives.


Works online you can read.

  • Ng Yi-Sheng, “Datasonnet for Prince Giolo” (2022). Strange Horizons.

  • R. Joseph Dazo, “Somniphobia” (2022), tr. John Bengan. Anomaly 35.

  • Abner Dormiendo, “Ang Pagwiwika ng Bakla, Ang Pagbabakla ng Wika” (2021). Katitikan 4.

  • Emily VanDerWerff, “How Twitter Can Ruin a Life: Isabel Fall’s Complicated Story” (2021). Vox.

  • Gus Moreno, “How Horror Mirrors the Irrevocability of Grief” (2021). Literary Hub.

  • Joel Vega, Mycelium and other poems (2021). Likhaan 15.

  • Michael Aaron Gomez, “Antigo Mokayat” (2021). Ilahás 1.

  • Christian Jil R. Benitez, “Sapagkat Dapat Sumapat sa Kalungkutan ang Lalabing-Apat na Taludtod” (2020). Agos 1.

  • Ivana Brehas, “The Queer Art of Sitting” (2020). Kill Your Darlings.

  • Kim Ae-ran, “No Knocking in this House” (2020), tr. Rachel Min Park. Korean Literature Now 48.

  • Lee Heejoo, “Phantom Pain” (2020), tr. Rachel Min Park. Korean Literature Now 47.

  • Mack, “An Open Letter to Stans: We Must Divest Ourselves From Celebrity and Fight for Liberation” (2020). Wear Your Voice.

  • Noor Hindi, “Fuck Your Lecture on Craft, My People are Dying” (2020). Poetry.

  • Glenn Diaz, “Bakla in the City: Towards a (Reluctant) Queer Poetics” (2019). Likhaan 13.

  • Kenneth Yu, “Cherry Clubbing” (2019). Heights 66 (2).

  • Kim Bong-gon, “College Folk” (2019), tr. Kyoung-lee Park. Words Without Borders.

  • Pedantic Pedestrians, Bionotes in Negative (2019).

  • Sigrid Marianne Gayangos, “That Distant Shore” (2019). Likhaan 13.

  • Tania Fordwalker, “The Blackthorn Door” (2019). Reckoning 3.

  • Ibong Adorno, "Poetika, Pulitika, Palanca" (2018). Kult: Journal of Cultural Studies 2 (1).

  • Jaime An Lim, “Confessions of a Battered Parent” (2018). Likhaan [email protected].

  • Conchitina Cruz, The Filipino Author as Producer (2017). Youth & Beauty Brigade.

  • Shane Carreon, “Father’s Birthday” (2017). Kritika Kultura 28.

  • J. Neil Garcia et. al., “Lines of Flight: The Practice and Limits of Realism in Philippine Fiction” (2016). Likhaan 10.

  • Lakan Umali, “Notes on the Permutation of Prayer” (2016). Kritika Kultura 27.

  • Kerima Lorena Tariman, “Manggagawang Pangkultura” (2015). Bulatlat.

  • Robyn Ochs, “Finding Bisexuality in Fiction” (2009).

  • Gelacio Guillermo, “Espasol vs. Nilupak: Ang Direksyon ng Modernistang Panulaang P/Filipino sang-ayon kay Virgilio S. Almario” (2003). Bulatlat.

  • Marco A.V. Lopez, “Bi” (1999). Likhaan.