On A Cliff

Poetry by | June 8, 2020

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 Salvaña 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.

Sang Bangin

Poetry by | June 8, 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.


Ian Salvaña 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.

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.

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.

Kung papaanong hindi natatapos ang byahe ng dyip—

Poetry by | July 7, 2019

Babasahin ko pa ang galaw ng katawan ng namamasada.
Ang ikinikirot ng manibela: isang ikot nalang, isang ikot nalang.
Kung sa hindi mabilang na mga pagbaybay sa kalagitnaan
ng lungsod, uubo ng tatlong beses ang drayber malapit
sa flyover sa R. Castillo at maghihintay na namang
matuyo ang pawis sa likod kapag nasa kasuluk-sulukan
na ng Bago Gallera. Kung papaanong hindi ko matunton
ang mapa sa loob ng aking mga diwa, hindi ko pa masagot
sa buwang ito. Baka sa Nobyembre o kaya sa susunod pang taon,
kung sa paglimot sa mga mata mo, mga pisnging
hinahanap ang mga ngiti mo sa labi, mga pagpahinga
ng ulo sa kamay mo tuwing lilingon kang nakaupo sa malayo,
baka mahanap ko na ang sarili ko. Kung gayong hindi ko
masukat ang kahabaan ng Roxas, ang paliku-likong katawan
ng McArthur, ang kurbang mukha ng Marfori, bubulong nalang
ako sa hangin, susulyap sa walang katapusang pag-ikot ng
mga gulong, pipiliting makaalala kung saan ang destinasyon ko.
Kung gayong hindi pa kita mahanap, hindi pa ako bababa.


Nagtuturo sa Ateneo at tumutula-tula si Ian.