More words about heart disease and disappearing

Poetry by | November 21, 2022

We are wading  into the sea again, only me
                                             and my father, his eyes
                                             fixed to the water,
                                             always belonged somewhere else,
                                                                         somewhere far
                                                                               and deep     and secret
                                like the long-ago mornings of looking at him looking
                                              at himself moving
                                in a memory,    in a  feigned future
                                caught in his coffee cup, in the tinkle,
                                                                                                       in the stir.
                He sinks again. I wade       slowly, into the sea-stir
                                               the teaspoon tinkle tricking
                                                  me into the forming whirl-
pool of the Alpine milk he used to buy for me from the Doughboy bakeshop at San Pedro Street
                                                                        on my carsick Sundays
                                                                                     the late-to-church stomachaches.
                                                I drink the memory in
                                                                 and find the milk warm
                                                                 the milk has always been warm enough,

                                                                                                and I’ve been forgetting.

This poem is  part of the poetry collection, “Wild Fire” published by the Road Map Series in 2019. Melona was a fellow for poetry in the 2012 Davao Writers Workshop. She’s currently a lecturer in the Creative Writing Program of the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Leaving Things

Poetry by | November 14, 2022

This piece is included in the English-language section on “Departures” that will be published in Issue 68 of Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine.
             in paralysis:
from my head, strands of black-brass hair
depart in stop-motion style
across my face, crawling
millipede-like and webbing
my eye to my lip, my brow to my nosehole, my fore-
head mole through my front teeth, flossing
the gaps. In the morning there’ll be a nest
waiting under my tongue.
             in between doorways:
a woman tows her baggage back and forth
looking for signs of the exit.
She takes a turn but she’s led back
to our kitchen, swamped with rugs and rainwater, cake flour
soaked and ready for the eggs.
                         When I ask where the sugar is, the woman turns to me
                         and becomes my mother again, the minotaur
lost again in the labyrinth. In the meantime, let the house soak
in the smell of spaghetti sauce, and misua soup
                                                                                                 for long life.
             as they are:
I part an old Bible
and find the small stash of hair,
still black and thin, my mother tucked between
two browned pages of psalms.
                 On my palm, the trimmings weigh
              the sum of my mother’s prayers
       which I now release,           deep into the bind,
                                                         buried yet undying
                 among the names of those in exodus.

Melona was a fellow for poetry in the 2012 Davao Writers Workshop. Her collection of poems, Wild Fire, was published by The Road Map Series in 2019. She’s currently  a lecturer in the Creative Writing Program of the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Meya's Secret

Fiction by | September 8, 2013

Meya knows her Mama likes secrets. Every day after school, her Mama would tell her a secret after she finishes her homework, or when she gets a good grade in school. Her Mama would hide it for Meya to find— in the refrigerator, under Meya’s books, or in the fruit basket. Today, it was another chocolate bar. She found it stuck in their red flower vase, and she jumped. It was bigger than the one she found last Tuesday!

Meya ate the bar with joy and ran fast to her mother who was making something in the kitchen. “Mama, Mama, do you have more secrets?”

“We all carry them curled in our hearts, darling, like sleeping cats. You have yours, Papa has his, and I have my own things to keep.”

“But I don’t know mine,” Meya said.

Continue reading Meya's Secret

Fortune-Telling (1): Love

Poetry by | May 27, 2013

Love, I dreamed of you last night.
We were swimming among crumpled sheets,
drunk with the moonlight.
Drown me deeper, I said in between gasps
but suddenly you were quiet. Ebbing away,
you rested your head between my breasts to sleep.
I woke up to find that your head was just
sunlight on my bare chest, breaking in
from the window. I was borrowing warmth
to fill in for the things I lost to you.
Even the mirror from across the bed,
repeats the fact of my loss,
the fact of my wondering:
why do you leave with the night?

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Ang Akong Manicure

Play by , | April 1, 2012

SFX: Fade in radio program in Bisaya.

Bebeth is sitting in front of a washbasin. There are clothes in the basin, but piles of them are still beside her. She stands up to hang some clothes. She sits. She stares at the laundry. She stands up. She sits again. She does the laundry. She is trying to wash off a stain on a shirt. She stares at her laundry. She strikes the clothes angrily.

Fade out radio program.

Bebeth (shouts) PISTING YAWA NING ANIMAL NING KINABUHIA NI!(Whispers to herself)

Ay, naa ba ang mga bata diri, basin nakadungog?

YAWA GYUD! YAWA! Kanus-a pa man ni matanggal ning mga mantsaha ni, maski unsaon ug kusu-kuso, lubag-lubag, baliktad-baliktad, bleach-bleach, naa pay Xonrox na mulubad gihapon, unsaon! Dili gyud ka matanggal ha?!

Continue reading Ang Akong Manicure

Shadow Master

Poetry by | December 18, 2011

Bedtime calls hurried us to our beds,
every night was an exciting escape
where waking up was to be beneath soft cotton sheets,
and the world outside the room was where we slumbered,
and it was all because of you and your voice that said,
“Wansapanataym…”—that rooster cry that roused us,
and the Bunny, and the Dog, and the Snake
that stretched from the shadows of your hands
to the wall where your shadow play was always staged.
But age has demanded you and us
to swallow bitter spoons of cure we had refused then;
now finding yourself retired on a bed
where we cannot hurry to or escape from,
in a room where walls allow no shadow,
forcing any to retreat into your darkening skin
that has become the stage of a dying theater house,
where the last act is a shadow play
of red rashes and gray spots.

Melona Mascarinas is a Creative Writing student at UP Mindanao.


Poetry by | December 11, 2011

You have remained untouched at the side of the desk
where last night we made love over papers and poetry
and pens that worked and did not work
when held over blank sheets—
their nakedness turned us on,
and you pushed me to push the pen further
while the cigar smoke rose higher and higher
like the dancing of a ballerina
swirling and twirling simultaneously
with the curves of ink that I wrote upon the nude surfaces
that invited words to glide and skate smoothly
and mark forever on their bodies.
But all that is left of last night
is a dried kiss-mark of our last kiss
imprinted on the rim of the cup where you drugged me;
your taste no longer lingering,
now fading; the drug dissolving
into the waking call of the morning.

Melona Mascarinas is a Creative Writing student at UP Mindanao.