First sign of land

Poetry by | March 1, 2021

It’s not the flight
nor the landing, not
the wind
slightly fried slapping
at a chapped lip. In the upwind,
the hawk hovers
over new ground
for opportunity, the tides
of its lonely heart bared
against the elements. No,

not the humidity, the sudden
bright but the body. The skin
prickles like a tropical fruit
ripe from sun and swelling
of earth. It is, first,
the tongue flexing,
inside its shell, remembering
the brine that bore
its atrophied heart. From memory,
it calls green by names familiar –
lubi, tanglad, alugbati.
The kamunggay sheds gold
confetti in the rising winds,
home, land
at first sight.

Zola Macarambon is a professor at the Language, Humanities, and Philosophy Department, Capitol University in her hometown Cagayan de Oro City. She has fiction and poetry awarded, commended, and published in various national and international publications.


Poetry by | April 29, 2012

The chess tables start to crowd in with old men in pillbox hats
on that hour when the sky turns the color of dishwater.
They repeat heroisms of ancient wars here on tiles, the focus
in their eyes pronounce as wattle under their chins. No sooner
than when a thousand lanterns are plugged on, hanging
like diamonds from knobby branches, vertical eyes prepared to drop
before the tears, the drifters come through the green gaps of bush.
They weld into the concrete around the trees; lean on the spray
of a three-tiered fountain, lay their heads against the thighs
of a whore who will later give massages in street corners. Now,
the old are fixed in permanent stoops like black birds
eyeing toppled carcasses of wooden kings. In the bygone sun,
the trees wear patches of dark like second skin, thick wedges
of quiet, unmoving but for the vagrant wind looking for dead
leaves on low branches. They crackle like eggshells under shoes
or the slow fire of cigarettes. Stray starlight sieve irregular
through a tree ceiling, liver spots on the skin of earth,
signs of lost manners, leavings of light, dirty grays below the brows,
signs of sun gone without telling.

Zola Macarambon heads the CDO Writers Bloc and has just given birth to a baby boy.

A Million Feet Scurry

Poetry by | June 6, 2010

inspired by “Curtain,” mixed media on canvas by Ivan Macarambon

It’s the millipede burrowing through the threads of a rug
that did it. A sign of wet weather, I’ve seen one or two
this afternoon, racing down the elbow of wall
and floor, the grout between tiles its tracks.
Where are they heading, punctual
little trains heading for a wreck under my heels,
or against the wall under the handle of a broom,
little, black, rusty nails bent in the middle
like a sloppy strike from an untried wrist?
Appointments wait in cold corners,
behind toilets, the inevitable,

Continue reading A Million Feet Scurry

This is How you Find the One

Poetry by | January 17, 2010

So one day you stop worrying about
whether your thighs look like two separate entities
under a short skirt,
you decide to bite the damned day to a drunken end
and drive off to where everybody else is-some gala or opening
or show, whatever, of things
you cannot take anymore of. You swing into the place,
like a broken gate banging against a wall,
scan the crowd, cluck a tongue against your cheek ‘cause
everyone’s sitting in even numbers or standing around
talking about
that thing you all talked about just last night.
You find yourself in a unisex room
where you fluff out your hair around bare shoulders ‘cause
you forgot to pretend to care about
the growth under your arms. You put on an eyebrow as you listen in
to cubicle doors slamming shut, and the water running-
to drown the secret sounds of ladies rooms.
Outside, your friends sip on free colored drinks and you are tired
just looking at them, and you sit with a stranger, look at a point
on the wall behind his head,
and ask for a cigarette right before
you forget to ask his name.

Zola Gonzalez-Macarambon is a poet and visual artist based in Cagayan de Oro.