Sad Girl’s Love Song

Poetry by | April 19, 2021

She will not ask
you to stay.
Instead, she will ask you
to listen to her chants—
a hymn
of all the things
she will remember you by
when you decide to leave her.

She will start
with how the crescent moon
reminds her of your thin smile.
Then, of the warm glow
of the streetlamps at dusk
when you walk her home
to Obrero.

She will tell you
how the small scar
right below your nose
reminds her of lightning.

She will smile
fondly to herself
when you kiss her.
Your soft kisses
remind her that you could
love the beauty frightening things.

This way, she will not
grow fearful of the storm
that is her. This will make her march
to the thunder of her heart.

And when you finally decide
to leave her,
she will not remind you
how you made her feel safe
when you held her in your arms
as she clawed at her sheets
for warmth.

Instead, she will whisper
so close to your ear
until you hear a ghost of a cry,
that she built a fortress
on your arms
that she still calls
home.

 


Zakiyyah Sinarimbo is a coffee enthusiast by day, a law student by night. She is a mother to five cats.

 

 

 

Gumamela

Poetry by | April 19, 2021

Ang sa susama kong buyog mao’ng gapalipay
sa matag buntag nga paglupad ug sa iyang pagbukhad,
ug akong makita ang kanindot niini.
Samtang gakamang sa iyang gihay,
mga tag-as nga sagbot nga gapadayon
sa pagpanalipod sa iyang ka putli.
Hantod sa kami mag- inilugay.
Apan ako ang makadali-dali og tusok,
suyop nianang iyang duga
nga susama ang katam-is sa gilanay’ng asukal,
ug maoy mohupaw sa dughan kong gahinamham.
Apan sayod ako nga ang gumamela sa pagbukhad
Dili ta mag dugay. Kay kung mongitngit
ang adlaw, kini musira
ug dili na mag tingganay.

 


John Karl Butaslac is a Grade 12 Arts and Design Student (Literary Arts) from Davao City National High School.

Retard Stud

Poetry by | April 19, 2021

“Thrust of the spark that burns
Unbounds, departs, returns
To pluck out of death’s fist
A god who dared to resist”

—Ruben Cuevas, “Prometheus Unbound

Dayag ang dinanghag sa mga namakpak sa tikasan.
Ulipon sa mga atik ug alagad sa tampalasan.
Tiguwang apil batan-on puros nagpalubot sa tirano.
Errare humanum est apan puyra gaba ang nagpa-uto-uto.
Resbakan ang mosupak! Maoy gibagutbot sa ilang diyos.

Tiguwang apil batan-on gitorjak sa berdugong utganon.
Amahan kuno sa nasod, apan bugaw sa mga langyawng pikoton.
Rakrakan ang mosupak! Maoy kuro sa mga tagasunod.
Dayag gyod ang dinanghag ug damak sa mga taga nasod
Samtang sihag ang tingsi sa gino-o nilang tambaloslos.


Lolot is a freelance SEO writer based on Mindanao.

Paingon, Pauli (Part Two)

Fiction by | April 12, 2021

Sukad atong nagsugod og pang-hitch si Bernard sa piggery trak, si ‘Nong Boyet mura na pud niyag nahimong amahan. Mangumusta kada buntag, manghimangno samtang ga-drayb padulong eskuylahan, ug usahay manghatag og pagkaon kon adunay maikahatag.

Dako ra ang balay ni ‘Nong Boyet para sa ilang duha sa iyang asawa, apan sakto ra kini kung naa ang anak niya, si Alvin. Sa mga nakasangit nga litrato sa balay ni ‘Nong Boyet ra nakita ni Bernard si Alvin. Maguwang ra kini og usa ka tuig sa iya. Apan wala na niya kini naabtan.

Grade 1 pa si Alvin katong nalumos kini sa sapa dili lang layo sa ilang Sitio. Apan ang storya, ang lawas nga nakaplagan daw sa mga tanod dili gyod kuno kang Alvin. Mao ra gyod daw pormaha, mao ra gyod daw nawnga, apan sa tinuod, punoan ra daw kuno ni sa saging nga gipuli sa usa ka engkanto sa tinuod nga lawas ni Alvin.

Samtang dili mutuo ang asawa ni ‘Nong Boyet niini, samtang nadawat na niya ang kamatayon sa iyang anak, si ‘Nong Boyet, sa pila na ka tuig karon, halos kada semana gihapon muhapit sa sapa aron pangitaon ang anak.

Dala pirme sa tiguwang ang dulaang kotse nga i-regalo unta niya kang Alvin sa iyang birthday. Naghinaot siya nga mubalik iyang anak alang sa dulaang kotse nga dugay na niining gidahom. Dili sama sa dulaang gigama niya gamit ang kahoy og taklob sa botelya, ang dulaang kotse nga iyang gipalit mularga kung birahon paatras, mutingog, musiga. Sa pagkamatay ni Alvin, matandog ra kini sa butanganan kung dal-on ni ‘Nong Boyet sa sapa.

Ang hutoy ni ‘Nong Boyet mutunong ra sab sa agiik sa makina.

“Muundang na guro kog drayb, dong,” sulti ni ‘Nong Boyet.

“Ngano man, kol?”

“Maoy ingon sa doktor. Dapat hagbay ra daw kong niundang kay di daw pwede mahago. Pero ang ako sad, magtungok ra ko sa balay ani?”

“Musugot man kaha ang intsik?”

“Wa siyay mabuhat. Di man siya ang magpa-ospital nako.”

Naa na sila sa highway. Tulo ka kanto na lang og maabot na sila sa eskuylahan. Ang mga tao nga ilang malabyan manap-ong sa kabaho sa piggery trak. Magpahiyom lang si Bernard ug si ‘Nong Boyet.

Nalabyan nila ang mga classmate ni Bernard kauban ilang mga ginikanan, suot na ang mga toga, bitbit na ang mga garlands, ang mga buhok daw gitilapa’g kabaw.

Gipikpik ni ‘Nong Boyet ang abaga ni Bernard ug gitarong ang kwelyo niini.

“Ayawg katulog sa graduation, ha.”

Nagpahiyom ra ang batan-on. Gi-abrihan ni ‘Nong Boyet ang purtahan og ninaog si Bernard, nagpasalamat.

Mulakaw na unta siya apan nanampit si ‘Nong Boyet.

“Kol?”

Sa glove compartment, gikuha ni ‘Nong Boyet ang dulaang kotse nga pirmi niya ginadala sa sapa. Giabot niya kini kang Bernard.

“Wa koy garland, dong. Kini nalang. Padak-a ni. Pasakya dayon ko.”

Gidawat ni Bernard ang dulaan, nisaka og balik sa front seat, ug hugot nga gigakos si ‘Nong Boyet nga gapugong sa iyang luha.

“Sige na. Ma-late na ka.”

Nagpasalamat usab si Bernard bag-o ninaog. Nagbaktas kini padulong sa eskuylahann ug palayo sa trak, bitbit ang toga, ang kalo, ang kodigo sa graduation song, ug ang dulaang kotse.

Bag-o nisulod sa gate, nihunong si Bernard ug nilingi sa piggery trak. Sa front seat, nagpahiyom si ‘Nong Boyet ug nitando.

Naghulat ang tiguwang nga makasulod ang batan-on usa gipaandar ang sakyanan ug nilarga.

 

***

Reil teaches Calculus. He lives in Davao City.

Paingon, Pauli (Part One)

Fiction by | April 5, 2021

Bisan layo pa ang piggery trak ni ‘Nong Boyet, dungog na ni Bernard ang saba niini. Sa halos adlaw-adlaw niyang sakay niini sa upat ka tuig niya sa hayskul, nasayod na siya sa matag detalye sa saba sa trak: ang kagang-kagang ug tayaong makina nga daw gi-asthma, ang agiik sa ligid nga galugos og subida, ang iwik sa mga baboy sa likod sa trak.

Kon madungog na gani kini ni Bernard, dayon siyang mutindog ug mukapkap sa iyang bag aron siguraduong wala siya’y nalimtang gamit: notebook, ID, balonan, cellphone, ug guna nga hangtod karon ginapadala pa gihapon sa ilang maestro sa TLE aron gamiton sa gardening.

Apan karong adlawa, si Bernard wala nagdalag bag.

Iya rang gibitbit ang pinilo nga toga, ang kalo sa graduation, ug ang kodigo sa ilang kantahong graduation song. Mas puti iyang uniporme, mas plantsado ang slacks, ug mas sinaw ang hinirmang itom nga sapatos nga gisudlan pa gyod niyag kinumot nga dyaryo aron muiho ra gyod sa iyang mga tiil.

Nihunong sa iyang tungod ang piggery trak ni ‘Nong Boyet.

Ang katiguwangon ni ‘Nong Boyet daw sama sa gidrayban niining trak: gaubo, pasmado ang kamot, ug lugos makakita kung dili niini ipiyong ang mga mata.

Ang piggery trak dili iyaha. Panag-iya kini sa tiguwang nga intsik nga adunay dakong babuyan sa ilang Sitio. Apan sa pila ka tuig nga pagdrayb ni ‘Nong Boyet niini, nahimo na pud kini niyang personal nga sakyanan. Naniguwang na pud siya dungan ang trak.

“Oy, Bernard!” ni ‘Nong Boyet samtang gi-abrihan ang purtahan sa front seat. “Pagpagi nang lingkuranan dong kay na, maabugan ‘nya nang imong uniporme. Hastang puti-a ra ba.”

Nagkatawa si Bernard samtang gasaka sa sakyanan. “Maayong buntag, ‘kol. Mao na gyud ni ‘kol.”

“Mao na gyud ni, dong.”

Nilarga ang sakyanan.

“Nagdala ka’g pahumot? Basin manimaho kag tae sa graduation.”

Nangatawa silang duha. Ang katawa ni ‘Nong Boyet natapos sa usa ka hutoy.

Sa paglabay sa panahon, naanad na si Bernard sa baho sa mga baboy. Niadtong una, mao gyod ni ang rason nganong dili gusto makisakay si Bernard sa piggery trak bisan pa og ma-late na siya. Dili siya gusto munaog nga manimahog baboy. Apan nihit gyod ang sakyanan nga gaagi paingon sa ilang Sitio. Ang dyip pirme gahunong – bisan kahoy hunungan – hangtod mapuno kini. Ang habal-habal, dili mularga kon dili kini muguot, hangtod sa lubot na lang ang magpabiling gakapyot. Mahal ra sab mupakyaw. Maong napugsan si Bernard usa ka adlaw nga musakay sa piggery trak.

Si ‘Nong Boyet maoy namugos niya. Sa iyang kauwaw, ginapahunong na ni Bernard ang trak wala pa lang kini kaabot sa eskuylahan. Dili siya gustong makita sa iyang mga klasmeyt nga gasakay niini. Apan kinaugmaan, gihinungan na pud siya ni ‘Nong Boyet, ug kinaugmaan pa. Hangtod naanad na lang si Bernard ug anam-anam nga duol sa eskuylahan ipahunong ang trak.

“Mag-speech ka ‘dong? Naa kay honor?” pangutana ni ‘Nong Boyet.

“Wa ‘kol oy. Usa ra’y ribbon nako. Graduate.”

Nihutoy og katawa si ‘Nong Boyet.

“Duha diay. Naa pay ribbon sa parent diri o.”

“Basta nakagradweyt,” ni ‘Nong Boyet. “Muapas ra imong mama?”

“Maoy ingon niya, ‘kol.”

Apan sa tinuod, wala kasiguro si Bernard kung makaapas pa gyud ang iyang mama.

(To be continued…)

***
Reil teaches Calculus. He lives in Davao City.

Awtopsiya

Poetry by | March 15, 2021

Hindi umiigkas na bala ang iyong naririnig kundi ang kikislot-kislot niyang laman. Hindi laman ang sinisiyasat ng iyong nanginginig na kamay kundi takot na tinutuklap ang lalim ng kanyang balat. Hindi takot ang pumapalahaw sa loob nitong malamlam na silid kundi dalamhati ng inang naulila, napagkit sa kanyang nakatiwangwang na dibdib. Hindi dalamhati ang iyong nadaratnan kundi kanyang anino, kasama mong nakamasid sa katawan. Hindi anino ang natitistis ng iyong metal na kasangkapan kundi kanyang kaluluwa, nanlilimos ng mga mata. Halughugin mo man ang bodega ng kanyang konsensiya, hindi mo mahahanap ang sagot kung sa paanong paraan siya nanlaban. Mababaklas mo ang lahat ng katotohanan.


Leo Cosmiano Baltar studies BA Journalism at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Their articles can be found in Tinig ng Plaridel, while their poems have appeared in The New Verse News, Hong Kong Protesting, Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere. They hail from Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao.

Weave (First of two parts)

Nonfiction by | March 15, 2021

I start to count the years since I came to Manila for work. How the walls in my rented room went through five repaints of eggshell white. The paint can only attempt to cover the fact that I live in a building where my mother used to stay when she went to college. It is a different structure now, having gone through several refurbishing, including changes in the establishment’s name. But it is still situated in the same area as in 1981 when my parents, who were in their late teens, were wed.

 

I listen to Fleetwood Mac, trying to interpret the lyrics of “Landslide” in my head again. Stevie Nicks’s voice has a certain calmness to it that makes me want to sit down and ponder about being bolder in my decisions.

 

I learned to adapt by myself. True, I was born in Quezon City. We left for the province for good when I was going on four after my father completed his degree. However, I have been living on my own these days; no longer the kid that I was when we lived in Lerma Street.

 

I was fifteen when I actually left Malabang for university in Davao. I have never come back home permanently. I carry around with me my father’s enthusiasm and my mother’s prudence. These virtues make me constantly remember who I am as a daughter of Malabang and as a descendant of one of Lanao del Sur’s oldest families. Tucked in my pockets are faint memories of my early childhood in Sampaloc. There are fleeting moments when I cannot decide where to put my loyalties—in the city of my birth or in the region of my heritage. Whatever happens though, I will tell myself I may come from different places but at the end of the day, I remain a Maranao.

 

People say I speak with a Manileño accent now. I say I may have some occasional slips. I casually walk the streets with my hijab on. I can tell when a tricycle driver overcharges fare. I became friends with the LBC attendants in Bustillos. I go to the same street in Quiapo where you can buy sasati[1] at a cheap price. I know when is the best time to leave Roxas Boulevard before you get stuck in the traffic rush. I look forward to January and February when it is the coldest.


 

Basa (Language)

 

My first language was Tagalog, just as it was for all of my younger siblings. It was most likely the environment that influenced my parents to make me speak Tagalog first.  It is quite different for my younger siblings who were born in Iligan City. Three of them still use Tagalog as their primary language so do some of my younger cousins. Although it may not be the Tagalog that is spoken here in Manila, those siblings and cousins still speak Tagalog.

 

I certainly speak Maranao on a regular basis with my parents and the rest of the family, friends, and strangers who speak to me in our tongue. I also speak fluent Bisaya just like everyone in my hometown. In Malabang, we have cultural harmony. Maranaos there speak excellent Bisaya as if it has always been our first language. Our fellow Christians on the other hand talk to you in Maranao so flawlessly you would think they were born as Maranaos.

 

One time, a friend insisted Malabang is “christianized,” and therefore is some sort of a half-breed municipality. I did not understand because I was raised in a town where fiestas and beauty contests are held flamboyantly but the adhan[2] is heard consistently and beautifully at the designated hours of the day. Bisaya was also the same language spoken in Davao and Cagayan de Oro where I studied my undergraduate course and law school. This is perhaps the reason why my “occasional slips” are mostly caused by “binisaya accents.”

 

At the office, the fondest thing told me was that I am a “Bisayang Muslim.”

 

It gets tricky though when I switch from one language to another. For instance, I answer “Oway,” which means “yes” in Maranao to somebody who asks, “Kumain ka na ba?” or “Wala pa lagi,” which means “not yet” in Bisaya. Let me throw in some “Wen ngarud” for constantly hearing some friends and officemates speak Ilokano. I have discovered that some Ilokano words are quite close to Maranao terms, including emphasis on some syllables that sound angry to ears not used to hearing passion and force in phrases and sentences.

 

Language is very much fascinating to me. In UP, I had Nihongo and French as course electives. I can still understand some “hai” and “yokatta” here and there or a little bit of “oui, s’il vous plait.” I wish I pursued learning Japanese and French harder than just getting a passing mark. I am likewise learning Italian through a phone application that reminds of progress by the day. Juggling letters and words in different languages is exhilarating, offering me windows where I can explore beyond the “5 Ws and   1 H” of Lanao del Sur.

 

On the other hand, Arabic is closer to home. It is expected of Muslims to know how to read Arabic in order to recite the Qur’an. I can fairly read verses and scripts, having gone to Madrasah during my elementary years. However, I quit Arabic school too soon to learn diacritics. I rely on familiarity in order to identify phonetics, vowels, and consonants. Mastering diacritical marks takes time.

 

Please do not ask me about speaking Arabic. I have not yet learned to speak the Islamic language. I think it is not too much trouble if I leave it all to my brother, Alrahji, who studies at the Islamic University of Madinah. He mastered guttural sounds and speaks like a true Arab man it makes us giggle.

 

I remember my professors in the UP Creative Writing program who suggested I write in Maranao.      I fear my knowledge of the language is not enough. I cannot even manage to say the “proper” words in specific situations. I gave in to my Omie’s[3] sharp criticism of the expressions I thought were correct but turned out mispronounced or simply inappropriate. Once, I told my Abie[4]of my plans to write in Maranao. He firmly said it would be difficult for me and that I should not venture into matters that are outside my capacity as a writer. Especially not at the expense of the basa-a-Maranao. But while I admit to being linguistically impaired on the subject, it is my hope that I will not be seen as a traitor to my own heritage. When I was growing up, my parents forbade me to read Tagalog materials for my leisure. They instead fed me English books and magazines that filled my stomach to the fullest, I burped with pleasure.

 

When I was around nine, my maternal grandma said in one of her family speeches that Islam encourages continuous learning—one that is beneficial to you and to others around you. I kept that in mind as I consciously left Malabang to satiate my yearning to learn anything that nudges my curiosity.

 

-to be continued-

 

[1] fish nuggets

[2] call for prayer

[3] Arabic term for “mother”

[4] Arabic term for “father”

 


 Arifah Macacua Jamil writes short stories. “Weave” is her first essay.

 

Afternoon Quarantine

Poetry by | March 8, 2021

It was almost dusk.
Filled with lethargy
and sitting on a carapace-themed chair,
I resigned.
I creatively died.

My core muscle aching.
My spirit wasted.
My corporal presence,
a washed, crumpled paperback coupon booklet,
is thrown into a bin.

Dazed and confused,
I look at the octothorpe-themed clock.
(tick, tick, tick, tick)
I then realized that the hours fade away
leaving me motionless and desolate.

As I lifelessly consume chips while on the couch,
An army of ants start their death march from their nest
heading towards my couch in search
for worthless morsels that fall into the ground

My mind feels hollower than an octothorpe on Twitter.
It keeps on numerously bootlegging original yet banal ideas.
I tried to sketch an exact replica of Michelangelo’s ‘Mona Lisa’
But turned out to sketch Kirk Van Houten’s ‘Dignity’.

I further attempted
to reinvigorate my moribund self
by consuming a plate of eggplant omelette
as I believed that through its nutritional benefits,
I will be rejuvenated.

But Alas, it instead turned my mind
into a peristeronic state,
vanilla like a pigeon’s dropping
or eggplant leaves in the summer
that wilt when unnurtured for.

My sense of creative sensibility is watering down
evoking a reverse Cana
turning wine into water
or from Sauvignon Blanc to plain cane vinegar.

I tried to out-muscle my physical limitation.
The atmosphere’s lethargy
however, chewed my motivation,
leaving me mentally immobilized and
also rendering me without a muscle nor a limb
to move or to spare.

***


David Paolo Brigole graduated at the University of Winnepeg with a BA English degree. He grew up and studied in Davao City during his primary years. His passion for poetry stemmed from when he used to play with words as a toddler. He is also passionate about drawing bizarre and beautiful objects and loves to indulge in gastrointestinal delights.