• Marías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by Noreen Ocampo

Self-portrait as reasons I write


because I can’t do math or science or play piano

anymore or remember & that means


I’m running out of options. because I like

the impossible sound of a typing speed


that isn’t going anywhere. because

I want my pens to drain of ink & to decorate


my room with unopened books.

because I’ll need to eat


eventually. because I promised my mother.

because I stutter when I talk, but I have


things to say sometimes. because I like to read

out loud to myself when no one else is


listening & nothing feels more trustworthy

than knowing what’s coming next.


because someone once told me I could.

because I was foolish enough to believe them.


because I love it. because I love a lot

& often. because I have to put it somewhere.




Noreen Ocampo (she/her) is a Filipina American writer and poet based in metro-Atlanta. She studies English, film, and media at Emory University and currently writes for COUNTERCLOCK and {m}aganda magazine. She is also a regular contributor for Marías at Sampaguitas. Say hi on Twitter @maybenoreen!

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