Trilingual Blues 

Poetry by | April 8, 2018

It’s beyond codeswitch—it’s an acceptance.

I decode a full Cebuano phrase, as though

it’s a tourist I have been encountering since

last year who never gives his number.

In American English, Niel and I would bicker

about Philippine politics, its idiocrasies,

the double standards, our accents swaying

between mother tongue and the academic.

Never do I stop reasoning that my mouth

becomes more slender and amiable when

speaking in Tagalog. What kind of Tagalog?

Manila Tagalog or Davao Tagalog? Oh, there’s

a category? Then mine’s the GenSan kind.

I rendezvous people in the crossroad of my

languages, and I oftentimes show up late or

not show up at all. Will there be an objective

understanding for apologies or forgiveness?

I tell the driver lugar lang, also reminding

of my fare’s change and where I came from.

Tell without translating how lost I already am.

Marc Jeff Lañada studies BA Communication Arts in UP Mindanao.

By the time you hold my hand…

Poetry by | June 18, 2017

It might be too late.
There’s a sore already squeezing my spine,
Budging every disc, perhaps, still disobeying
My brain’s commandment: imprison the memory
That summons the tenderness in my eyes
That’s been sleeping, happily dormant,
For centuries
Slightly more but never less.

Too late, the vultures bathed too long
In puff clouds, spiraling and hovering
Through the voiceless storms
Hates dead deer for supper.

Too late, the daddy longs legs
Garrisoned in our ceiling’s corner
Made a colony out of its eggs,
Spawns growing larger than the other.

Our fingers in cold blanket
Tips locked in, skin-to-skin, pulled apart
Still feeding the beak of an aircraft
Left alone in an evening trip, blissed
With nothing but the distant supernovas
Wrecking no havoc, but screeching for company.

I sink deep in the raggedness of your palm
prints. Breathing your exhales
My illusory longing now appears thin
Together with the soft flesh wrapped around

My hand,
electrified. As the clock’s hands clap
For this, I might as well forget
For this should dwindle my sharpness
in retracing back my footsteps.

All roads are painted in pitch,
And, also, are, ironically,
caused by the same one
Who burnt a lamp
That led to this

Marc Jeff Lañada was born and lived almost his entire life in General Santos City. He is an incoming 4th year BA Communication Arts student in University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Laughing At The Savior

Poetry by | June 4, 2017

A black, stripeless tiger crowned
with a headdress adorned with ferns
Locally sewn, nationally stolen

Rests on the cliff overlooking
The majority of his den. He stays in his reign

With a booming roar that deafens everyone’s
Sight, numbing everyone’s ear, and blinding
Everyone’s taste. No one knows this

But Him, the foul-mouthed tiger tending,
Licking the blood spots dried in its claws.

All of you, this is our savior—

A beast pampered to a spoon heaping
With empty bodies, void of soul
Helpless in this land, better in the afterlife.

He who continues to gloat at every successful hunt
(…quivering wind chimes, we had some good times)
He who used to yammer inside our screens
(…wooed by his offer: the fountain of youth)
He who now prowls deviant of nature’s law
(…silenced, we are silenced)

The gallant born of iron fangs

Marks its paws among his prime possessions,
Looking like a fool as he dances

In high-fashioned bravado—
Must never be touched nor questioned.
If tested,

Welcome the gun on your head
A splatter in one of the city’s many tongues
You won’t be remembered,
Yet a roar will be heard,


As a victor
of (t)his land.

Marc Jeff Lañada hails from General Santos City and is an incoming 4th year BA Communication Arts student in University of the Philippines Mindanao.