Runners in the morning
a Diaspora of hopefuls in pink
coming from nowhere
defying traffic and weather
to wherever ten kilometers may take them.
Their message and memories
are fastened to the numbered bibs
that they hang close to their chests,
careful not to lose it
to the slippery road.
What started out as a cause
to raise awareness for breast cancer
had become an uncertain run for their own lives,
as they keep their lungs from failing,
and their legs from falling.
Runners in the dawn
wet of sweat, mud, and dew
had only pride to eat and rivals for company.
And the gray sky and passing cars
are their only spectators.
The random hundreds brave
against time, like salmon in heat
fighting the currents
of the river, to warmer waters
they may never reach.
Like the herald Pheidippides
running from Marathon to Athens,
they hold on to the hopes that once
they finish the race,
they will have spread a message,
Over Persia, over cancer
Over the currents of the waterfalls
Over the slippery stretch of the ten-kilometer road.
See how they run, the runners of daybreak
noble and foolish they may be
as they surrender everything they have left on the race line
so they may finally reach the end
recover from the dark
renew their youth
and touch the Sun.
Fred graduated from the Creative Writing program at the University of the Philippines Mindanao. He likes to keep himself fit.
Whenever I ride the jeepney these days,
I always sit in the front.
It pisses me off when I get to sit with the other passengers
Where I get to forward the fare and the change back.
Once, you handed me your fare.
That was when I met you.
I hate sitting at the back
where I can’t help but hear the same, tired talks.
The same stories we shared whenever we’re in the same jeep heading home.
Except that you told them so well and repeated them as if they were new
And we could ride through kilometers in seconds
only to end them with “Here is my stop. See you.”
I hate sitting at the back of the jeep
when it is bent on breezing to the ends of the fast lane,
While I sit next to the lady with the long damp hair whipping my face.
If it was your hair, I would let it whip my face
until the scent of your shampoo sticks on my collar
so I would wear it like cologne.
I wished to see you not only in the jeep.
I wished we could have sat somewhere more comfortable.
on the grass perhaps, with your friends perhaps
So we could burn through a thousand topics.
So we could tease, laugh, and touch. And maybe,
while we head home, we could let our emotions take a different route.
I settled instead with sitting at the back of the jeep
Waiting for something to happen.
The second-to-the last time we rode together, We ran out of stories.
And the last time that we did, we no longer knew each other.
That is the thing about riding jeepneys. Nothing really happens
Except for waiting until you reach your stop. Or miss it.
Whenever I ride jeepney these days,
I always sit in the front, safe and comfortable.
Not because I do not want to remember you
but to reject the possibility of sitting next
to someone who looks like you or
of touching another’s fingers when she hands me her fare
and forgetting what yours felt like.
Fred Layno is a graduate of Creative Writing from UP Mindanao and an emotional commuter.
Demi felt quite lucky with her job at the gym. It was relatively easy although there were, of course, the occasional problems with the members (a missing baggage, a terrible schedule). It was sort of boring too as one had nothing to do but sit down behind the counter and watch the same types of people go by. The beefed-up, the obese, the bony, and the curvy. Nevertheless, it still turned out beautiful. A pretty job where pay, privileges, and chances of meeting cute guys were all high. What else could top that?
She deserved this, she had always thought. And she worked hard to maintain all of it.
Everyday, she would come to the workplace with a frappe in one hand and, on the other, a fresh bouquet that she had bought from Agdao. She would then boot up the computer, check each itinerary—the services that had been bought, the fees of the members, the other important schedules—and rechecked them again. She had to make sure that throughout the course of the day she accomplishes her schedule so that she wouldn’t have to postpone anything.
Continue reading Sometimes She Forgets
Guro, lalake, 23, payat, Religion teacher.
Mommy, 39, manikurista na liberated at matalino.
Ang guro ay naghihintay sa Prefect of Discipline’s office. Siya ay nakaupo sa harap ng kanyang mesa. May crucifix sa nakasabit sa dingding at bookshelf sa kaliwa ng mesa.
Mother: (sisilip sa opisina) Ay! Ang cute! (lalapit sa guro at sisikaping maging pormal) Teacher, ano ba ang problema ng anak ko? Diyos ko! Nagmamadali pa naman akong pumunta dito, yung mga customers ko, iniwan ko pang basa ang mga kuko.
Teacher: Good afternoon, Mrs. de los Santos.
Mother: Ms. na lang po. Teacher,ano nang nangyari sa anak ko? mababa ba ang grades niya? Natutulog ba siya sa klase? Binubully ba siya o siya ang binu-bully? Binugbog mo ba siya o ikaw ang binugbog niya?
Teacher: Ma’am, relax lang po. Ahm…sit down, please. Can I offer you something? Coffee? Orange juice…
Mother: (Uupo) Masyadong pambata ang juice. Beer. Pwede ba ang beer dito? Ay! Oo. CATHOLIC SCHOOL. Sige, iced tea na lang (kukuha ang guro ng baso) Teacher! With ice.
Continue reading Mommy, Ipinatawag Ka!
So she is my meteor who I foolishly follow
Through the longest nights.
She teases and leaves me a trail
Of all thoughts about her
Till the morning.
A fiery line of promises
Flashed and unfolded
Before my eyes
The moment she crossed the sky
And I saw what could be mine—
She loving me fully,
I making love to her fullness.
The wanting just grows stronger
And the raging desires are just
Depressing me with the fact
That I am left unloved.
So I’ll never get that star
For me to selfishly own.
I won’t ask for more.
I won’t bother God a little.
For a complete love
Will only bring hurt to both of us.
I resolve to keep everything as is.
My heart won’t fear.
It will always be loud and musical.
It will continue to eat all of me
And I will always feel good.
That’s the way it will be.
That’s the only way she’ll get
To love me.
Freidreich C. Layno is a junior writing major in UP Mindanao.
Grandparents are just dreams
Fleeting and passing each night;
though they’re mysterious, you won’t care
once you wake up.
Grandparents are only stories
Fleeting and passing every time,
Though wonderful, you won’t care
once you carry on with your routines.
Grandparents are mere bubbles
Fleeting and passing as they float
though they shine against the light
you won’t care, once they pop.
I never met my grandparents,
long dead and fled, like the stories
mother told about them.
I never cared.
But each time she told those stories,
I saw hurt gleaming in her eyes.
That’s why I started to care.
Continue reading Grandparents