Poetry by | April 10, 2011

                      Only once
               I felt compelled
       to pray and repel
the holiday effect
       upon my learners.
               In Jesus name. Amen.
                      Still nobody cared
             about tedious dusts
       I marked on green walls.

Then came
       a reckless command,
               my offhand instruction:
                               form a big circle
                     and throw aimless
             questions to any
       of your schoolfellows
in dignified uniform.

       So the learned girl
             graced first, a query
                     for Ken. She asked
                                 about the face
                            wrapped in satin veil.
                           Sainted. Orphic.
             Like Mariam. Does he
    adore her mystery?

The room, unprepared
       for his nod, uproared
                to dare his guts,
                        to face the veiled face
                                  while he choked
                        on every syllable
                  but managed his phrases
       well. Do you, he faltered
share what I feel,
         he paused and uttered
                   her delicate name:

An absence of sound
         as if all were in prayer.
                   We waited and heard
                                     her faint reply
                         of a restraint smile
                   arched on her lips.

          I faced the next days
with an offhand lesson
          of seeing two seated eyes
                  glancing end to end
                        amidst spiraling chairs.
          Twisted. Back in shape.

Seneca Nuneza Pellano teaches Creative Writing at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan.

White, Brown, Old, Young

Fiction by | September 26, 2010

My name is Ling-Ling and I am speaking from inside a jar. My place is no ordinary piece of container. Back in 1993, when my husband won a small-time lottery in Australia, he backpacked to China and spent a fortune on antique porcelains. One of the precious things he shipped to Australia is this huge Chinese porcelain jar from the 16th century, painted with blue intricate scenes of ancient Chinese life. But I am Filipino inside a Chinese jar in Australia. Is this an instance of globalization? At least I know I have finally ended up in an exquisite and expensive place.

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Tagum Fairy Tales

Nonfiction by | May 9, 2010

I will be the first to admit that as a kid, I never grew up reading fairy tales. The lives of Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood were never stored in my personal memory box. I have often wondered what my outlook would have been had I been initiated into these fairy stories early on.

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