Bamboo Raft

Poetry by , | March 22, 2020

he owns the place. Daboy,
a child who only dreams
in a bamboo raft
that moves within a limited space
while the rope tightens the grip,
the ocean current wants
the bamboo raft to separate. like Daboy

who told me about living in the slums – their roof
allows the rain to penetrate the fragile floor where
they pile at night to sleep.
their food never changes – a monotonous menu
of instant noodles with its taste drowned
by an enormous amount of water,
and canned sardines with the help of the pressure from the fork
to make it look like
they never lacked something on their table.

if only Daboy knew Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,
and could speak a language afforded as a privilege,
he will surely scold at Maslow for his logic.
he would probably argue that life
isn’t a linear staircase; but, a spontaneous battle for space,
survival, freedom, and love. life is a labyrinth, instead.
its uncertain exits and entrances
will either turn you numb of the challenges
or force you to believe in the enduring hopes and dreams

just like Daboy sitting at his bamboo raft – his possession.
while allowing the chaos of the slum remains a backdrop,
he sits at the carefully woven bamboo poles, looking at the horizon
he can never touch.

he always wonders when
will the ocean stop scoffing
his bamboo raft that gradually loses its strength.
the salt from the ocean thins the bamboo poles,
and its current cracks the ropes. it’s becoming more vulnerable.

every day, Daboy becomes the bamboo raft.


Jupiter Cabig Jr. is a graduate of AB Psychology at Ateneo de Davao University with units in Sociology. He is the former editor-in-chief of Atenews, the official student publication of AdDU. He has a mixed-breed dog named Foucault.

 

Sang bangin

Poetry by | March 22, 2020

Dugay da ako wa too
sang ginoo na ag magtago sang mga panganod.
Sang dagat, yang langit na yahigugma sang tubig
yakita ng kanaan kaogalingon na yaboak.
Onan yang kanaan piyagahanap ngani haw doon?
Gapatoratoy siguro pagtuog yang ginoo sang sod
ng tiyan ng kadagatan. Yasayod ako san-e
kay yakita ako ng suga na yagkidlap-kidlap gikan
ubos. Ihuna-huna ko yang pag-indog sang kilid ng bangin.
Ibuhian ko yang hawid ng hangin. Ibuhian ko
yang pagkita. Yalapdos yang mga buhok sang kanak pisngi.
Yakorosob usahay yang mga bowa ng dagat.
Dugay da ako wa too sang kasakit.
Ampan misteryo na makapasabot ng kagool ng otaw
na ama isab ng yalahi sang iban pa
na gaginhawa na kinabuhi. Kung awon agaw ginoo,
kung yang ginoo kay yang dagat,
nasa kinahanglan pa naan mangatik na awon kapunaw-punawan?
Bahala da, awon kataposan sang madaig na butang.
Ihuna-huna ko yang pagbuka ng kanaan mga mata sang pinaka-una na higayon
sang kadaig ng yalabay na tuig. Ikita ko yang way kataposan na asul.
Ikita ko yang kalawom pero ikita ko isab yang kababaw.
Awon siguro kanak kiyalingawan, kiyamingawan,
doon na matignaw da yang kanak abaga.
Awon kaha yahawid san-e sang-awon?
Siguro kay tungod ipakyas ako ng kanak edad,
pero bata pa sa ako.
Kung awon agaw ginoo, basin yasayod pa yaan
ng mga kiyalingawan da na panumduman.
Pero dugay da ako wa too
sang ginoo na ag mamalandong,
usahay sang bangin sang taas ng bungtod
o sang yagkalahi-lahi na itom ng lawod,
piyagalumos yang kaogalingon. Kung ampan
gayod agaw ginoo, magpabilin yang kalibutan
na boak. Yagtagad yang mga batan-on na tatigowang
para lang malanta, para lang makalingaw ng gugma.
Onan kaha doon ngidtong yagda kanak ngani?
Dugay da ako wa too ng kinabuhi.


On a cliff

I no longer believe
in a god hiding behind clouds.
In the sea, the sky a lover of the water
sees itself fragmented.
What does it search, here and then?
God must be sleeping inside
the womb of the ocean. I knew this
as I have seen light sparkle from down
below. I imagine standing at a cliff’s edge.
I let go of the wind’s touch. I let go
of sight. Hairs lapping to my cheeks.
Sea foams crashing occasionally.
I no longer believe in pain.
No mystery would explain human sadness
like it is different from any other
breathing life. If there is a god
and god is indeed the sea,
why does it need to fake horizon?
Regardless, ends exist in so many things.
I imagine opening eyes for the first time
in years. I see an endless blue.
I see depth but I also see shallowness.
I must be missing something
now that my shoulders are cold.
Has someone touched them before?
My age fails me one more time,
but I am still young.
If there is a god, maybe god knows
all memories forgotten.
But I no longer believe
in a god who contemplates,
either on a cliff high above
or within many shades of abyss
drowning itself. If indeed god
does not exist, the world remains
fragmented. Young people wait to be old
only to wither, only to forget love.
What is it, then, that brought me here?
I no longer believe in life.


Ian, 23, is currently doing his MA in Political Science at Central European University, Vienna and Budapest. His poems have recently appeared in New Contrast: The South African Literary Journal. He hails from his ethnic Mandayan hometown of Cateel, Davao Oriental.

Moths

Poetry by | March 15, 2020

He came in one morning

through an ajar window.
I should have kept him as my pet
and watch his carcass decay.
I should have cut off his wings

and frame them, adding

to my collection.
I should have burned him—
left him in ashes.
I should have caught him,
fed him to birds,
ended the chase in my favor.
But he knew well to keep his distance.
So he flew in all corners of my room,
sprayed his scent and warded me off
suddenly and without remorse. He just left

as he pleased. But on his way out

I noticed a flutter of hurt and uncertainty

in his blinking eyes.
I should have just warned him away.
When he left, he left trails of honeydew

on my pot of flowers. A reminder of our undoing.

***

Krizza Jan D. Ceniza is an undergeaduate studying AB Interdisciplinary Studies minor in Media and Business in the Ateneo de Davao University.

Inside the library reading Camille Rankine

Poetry by | February 23, 2020

Sunlight creases through my face.
I look at it, robbing myself of sight,
Loving blindness.

One more time, day ends.
One more time, I’m still a day alive.
And I breathe, thank god.

But not of fresh air.
The rooftop now is chilly. Bodies
can’t be sunning in winter.

Inside the library, books eat me.
I know they will outlive me.
But now I will outlive the sun.

In summer, my black hair
Becomes the golden rays of the world.
And the sun will already sleep

to gain strength in the coming months.
I let it crease my lips, sip my own
youth – whatever it wants

before it leaves. I refuse to refuse.
Books eat me and yet no knowledge
knows all of me. Maybe only the sun.

And maybe the sky. Whatever I want
they still can’t give, as books too.
Maybe someday I want to fly

or sleep inside the Danube. Maybe
I will write stories, still mind babbles.
Maybe I would outlive myself,

in the form of dying, as I become
a book, a paper, a word. Maybe the sun
would remain bright, even if evenings

rob me of sanity. Maybe I would dream
tonight of losing sight – I would dig
my own eyes and then face the sun.

 


Ian is an overseas Filipino student. He misses home.

Bangka 

Poetry by | February 23, 2020

Gatuya – tuya ang bangka sa naga lumpat nga indak sa balod,
Kauban ang tugtog sa gadumbol nga habagat sa kiliran.

Sama sa kakiat sa mga gasalom nga isda,
Padayon kining nakigbisog sa tubig sa wa mailhing dagan.

Samtang gasakay, gahangad ang ulo sa kawanangan,
Mata galurat sa mga gasidlak – sidlak nga mga bituon nga nakigtigi sa kahayag sa dakbayan.

Sa imong pagpangisda sa buntag, na murag pagpanghabol nimo sa akong nipis nga lawas
Inig kagabii, dagat ang habol mong gagakos sa akong gitugnaw nga kasing – kasing.

Pa? bangka pod diay kong dili makab – ot ang imong panganod.
Ang imong gugma.

Ang kahumot nalang sa zonrox nga nikapyot sa imong kamot
Ang magpabilin nga baho nga pangitaon sa akong ilong sa matag kabuntagon.

Tingog mong gadahunog sama sa kampana sa San Pedro
Ang mudu – aw sa akong dunggan sa unsa ko nimo patulugon matag udto.

Naglaroy – laroy akong huna – huna sa imong dagway
Busa ang kabuluyagun sa gahuyop nga habagat

Ang nisagpa kanako arun halukan ang samarang adlaw.
Dili nako mapasanginlan ang inosenteng sulog sa dagat.

Busa, kabalo kang mubalik ko kung asa una nakit – an nato ang matag usa.

 


Ivan Ridge Arbizo is a grade 12 student from Davao City National High School.

 

 

 

 

Ning Ika-pulo sa Pebrero

Poetry by | February 23, 2020

Katingad-an ang kabugnaw
ning napulong gabii sa Pebrero.
Makalisang, kay di nako masuta
Kon diin kini nagikan:
sa bugnawng huyohoy sa lasang
o sa mapanglimbawot nga taghoy sa kasingkasing?

Makalisang!

Pero usa ra akong nabantayan,
Gapangurog ang akong kamot.
Igo sad nga makatagik tag balak
Samtang gapaabot
Sa iyang mainitong mga halok.

 

 


 

Si Angelito Nambatac JR usa ka lumulupyo sa Dakbayan sa Iligan ug kasamtangang naghuman sa kursong Masters in Culture and Arts Studies (MCAS) sa MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology. Sakop sa sumusunod nga hugpong sa mga magsusulat: BATHALAD-Mindanao, Himugso Kolektibo , ug Tigsugilon.

One Wash, One Dry

Poetry by | February 9, 2020

The box was too small for the bulk
Of clothes made to fit inside its enclosure.
Stuffed, like marshmallows shoved onto
One’s mouth, pushing the walls of the cheek.
Barely holding, barely holding, clinging
Only to their brothers
Who share their filth.
Water flowed from all sides—gushing,
Seeking refuge in cotton,
Finding solace in polyester.
Then, the water swirled,
Banging the clothes to the edges—slamming
Them against the transparent wall. Circling.
They would shout for help
If they could.
But the stain was not removed by the white grains
Rubbing its soul.
Not removed, only transferred.
Red, purple, green, yellow—it was a masterpiece
Had there been no pain, no injury.
The water stopped swirling
And it was time to dry the clothes,
Forced out the water in them,
Then locked in unbearable heat.
For this is the only way
That clothes get cleansed and dirt gets scrapped.
Grime is removed with pressure, with heat, with torture.
And when the clothes get out of the tiny box,
They are purified—cleansed, birthed once again.
Then they’re welcomed
To the brotherhood.

 


James Limon is a beginning writer from Davao City and is currently a second year BS Psychology student in UP Diliman

 

Pit Senyor

Poetry by | January 26, 2020

Pit Senyor!

This is your thirty-first
candle this month. Your fervent hopes
of being with her,
walking in the rain,
sharing one umbrella,
trudging a journey,
together.

Your candles vary
every day. Some days, you lit them
golden and warm.
Some days, the wind
blows them stone cold.

You always say that once I light a candle,
Sto. Nino will eventually hear my prayer.

“Believe me, the unlit candles
are wishes in a state of sleep.”

But, do I need to light one?

Perhaps.

In silence,
I am with my prayer.

In silence,
I burn,
I melt,
I disintegrate
everyday,

alone.


Henrietta Diana de Guzman is a graduate of Creative Writing at UP Mindanao. She was a fellow for poetry at the 2009 Davao Writers Workshop and at the 2nd Sulat DULA: Playwriting Workshop at Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan University). Some of her works have appeared in SunStar Davao and the Best of Dagmay anthology.