I left Nabunturan for a city

Poetry by | October 18, 2021

who does not want me.
The city was a three-hour bus ride
away. The pens, notebooks, and two handfuls of clothes
felt like rocks in my backpack, anchoring me
to my seat. At the city’s terminal,
I had to use all my strength to move. The city
never stopped moving. It never learned to shut up.

I left Nabunturan for a city who does not want me.
I sat on my bed that night, whispering
against the dust on the sheets. The dust—a gift
from the previous boarder, the Engineering student
who had left the fields his father had tilled
in exchange for the city’s comfort.
This city had tricked us. We thought
we were coming home.

I left Nabunturan for a city who does not want me.
My Nabunturan, I chose this city
because my passion lies beneath the battered pillars
of a university who taught me nothing but to miss you.

Now, I am writing this amidst the noise of the jeepneys
in front of Bankerohan bridge, where constructions
of buildings spurt like mushrooms only to be abandoned.
I write this while inhaling scent of the river
and the garbage beneath it. But I am not bothered
at how the scent tugged at my nostrils. In this city,
I am an orphan. I wander the streets in search of things
to write about, finding comfort in the poems the city
has taught me to create. But in Nabunturan,

my Nabunturan, with you I am a child
breathlessly running to see his mother
when he returns home after school:
shoes muddied, hair drenched in sweat,
skin that bore the sun’s kisses. Tell me, again,

why I left.


Ruben Tabalina was born and raised in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley. He is currently a 4th Year student from the University of Southeastern Philippines taking up a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Cultural Studies. He’s a boy in a dress who is born to impress.

Kapeng Barako

Poetry by | October 18, 2021

Giangkon sa nagbilangkad nga lingkoranan
ang akong kabug-aton, ug gihawoy
akong laway og kinapyot
sa gahanggab nga ngabil samtang nalipong
ang kutsarita og tinuyok sa tasa, gilumpag
ang nagtibugol nga kape gikan gilapwaan.

Usahay, mangurog akong dila ug magdilaab
akong alimpatakan… Tungod kaya ni
sa pag-uyon nako sa timpla sa imong tingog
dihang miingon ka kanako, “Magkape ra ta.”

Unsa kaha kon kutawon sa imong dila
ang akong baba, o di ba kaha higopon nimo
ang katam-is sa akong pangandoy?
Bisan sama ra sa aso ang hunahuna,
mabati ko gihapon ang kainit.
Ang kahapdos. Ang kasakit.

Ug wala ko makabalo kon
kanus-a malamian og balik.


Ivan lives in Davao City.

My Mother’s Perfume

Poetry by | October 18, 2021

Wearing a daisy-printed
lilac blouse,
she pranced
around the house
one last time.

Had I known it was the last,
I wished I breathed it all in:

how she smelled like mint
and fresh green herbs,
and tropical fruit
amidst the scent of rain,

and how she smelled like the dying sun
in the afternoon,
a fresh pandesal
in a pugon.

Now, she smelled like lighted candles,
embraced with formaldehyde,
flickering for the ones
left behind.

She smelled like burnt rice coffee,
and patchouli,
and moments—
extended into eternity.


Ruben Tabalina was born and raised in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley. He is currently a 4th Year student from the University of Southeastern Philippines taking up a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Cultural Studies. He’s a boy in a dress who is born to impress.

Karaang Pantalon

Poetry by | October 18, 2021

Gisuong sa akong mga tiil
ang mga langob sa laspag
nga maong. Kada suksok,
magka-anam sab ang kaguot,
magtapok, magpunsisok
ang kahapdos sa unod –
dili kalusot ibabaw sa tuhod.

Naanad ko nga sul-ubon
kining pantalon: ang panap –
tong inampingan gikan gipalit,
hinatag sa akong inahan.

Timaan nga dili nako pugson
og sulod kining mga tikang
sa paghandum arun dili manga –
tangkas ang kagahapon nga
magpabilin taliwala sa kaguot
sa akong gibati human siya
misuong apan wa na kabalik


Ivan lives in Davao City.

Paghulagway

Poetry by | September 27, 2021

Gimingaw hinuon ko makadungog
aning kusog nga katawa,
maklaro na tingali lagos nga puwa
sa gamay’ng bata nga wa nagkandimao
ang singot ug sip-on sa ilahang dula.
Sa luyo sab makita ang ilang ginikanan
nga nag-uma ug kaning tiguwang na babayi
nga nangguna samtang kanunayong miamin
iyahang apo sa tuhod ug usa ka laki
nga nagkaon nagsuwa og tinapa.

Halap man kani, naay uban nga napanas na dinhi
ang kalipay migikan sa ginagmay’ng butang
anaa may mawala ukon mobalik
ang kinaiya gikan pa sa una
nagpabilin sa karaang hulagway
gipilit duol sa bintana nila Lola Dulor
masayran sa iyahang mata samtang gisaysay
ang kalahi sa kaniadto ug karon nga katawa.

 


Mary Divine Escleto hails from Alabel, Sarangani Province. She participated in  the 1st SOX Summer Writing Camp and Davao Writers Workshop in 2019. She is  a member of Writear’s Sheet, Sigaw Heneral and Sarangani Writers League.

May Langit din sa Hardin

Poetry by | September 27, 2021

May paruparong
pumasok sa aming bahay
Sabi-sabi may bumisita raw
mula sa mga nawalay.

Magbigay-galang daw kami
‘yan ang sabi ni Inang,
Hanggang sa lumipad ito
patungo sa aming bakuran.

Sinundan namin ito
nang dahan-dahan sa pag-apak.
Doon nakitang nagtipon-tipon
pala ang aming mga kamag-anak.


Arth Jay Murillo, is from  General Santos City. He is a fellow of the  5th Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio Writing Workshop for Spoken Word (2021) by the Likhaan: University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing.

Tsa

Poetry by | September 20, 2021

Nag-iyagak
sa nagbagang abohan
ang inalisngaw
sa puthawng takuri,
Ug kansang
kamot mihapuhap
sa init-init nga kuptanan aron
hinayon pagbubo—

sa tasang
gitaksan og
dahong laya.

Mihinunob ang gabukal nga tubig
sa naglutaw-lundag nga tinapok
ug ang dalag nga mituhop,
mibukhad og alimyon sa hasmin

nga daw mihangop kanako
samtang nagpabati pud sa kainit
mihayaw nga anago sa’kong panit.

Tuod, kanimo
gikamingaw pag-ayo.

Ug nagpabiling
handumanan
kaning gihay
sa buwak
nga pila ka
tuig nimong
giamumahan,
pagkahumota!
Karon ako nalang
kining ipalutang,
magtuhop
sa akong tsa
nga diria ka
magpabilin,

Kanunay.


Si Niño Jan Pol Dosdos natawo ug nagdako sa Dakbayan sa Pagadian.

 

 

Ayuda

Poetry by | September 20, 2021

Mother babysits her infant. By the bank,
father is trying to catch eels. He throws
the line, worm dangling from the hook,

into the river. Children in do-re-mi’s.
Younger ones sleeping over mats
of milk cartons. No undies. Older ones

playing with rubber bands in the dusty yard.
No tops. The shanty under the Acacia
tree is roofless. On the stone stove nearby,

a kettle is whistling. Its steam signals
the water is now hot and ready for mix
with coffee to fill in their aching hearts.


Raul G. Moldez writes from Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. Author of two collections of poetry, A Day in a Poet’s Life and Other Poems and Mga Taho Gikan sa Akong Uniberso, his works have appeared in Philippines Free Press, Philippines Graphic, Philippine Panorama, Sunday Times Magazine, Crowns and Oranges, Kinaadman Journal, Bisaya, Sunstar Weekend, Homelife, Ani Literary Journal, Bituon, Dagmay, Tinubdan, Red River Review, and Sentinel Literary Quarterly, among other publications.