Poetry by | May 6, 2018

  • as the afternoon breeze

    gently brushes the reflection
of the early moon on
the surface of this puddle

  • as it distorts the image

    which is the face you make

    as you held your breath

    when you came

  • as we made love
in the yellows and oranges

    golds and silver linings

    painted the treads

  • as you slowly crawl

    out of bed with the sun
you finish this affair
almost eagerly by yourself

Be still, katingon.

Rory Ian Bualan is a physics teacher at Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan. He is from Mati, Davao Oriental.


Poetry by | May 6, 2018

in the dryness of the morning,

you hurled the blanket

from the clothesline

onto my shuddering

body—your kind of bromance

like the gábi leaves

watered by the

rain: fleeting

and has not drenched

the plant

Jan Vernix M Atis is from the Island Garden City of Samal, Province of Davao del Norte. He was a fellow to the 2015 Ateneo de Davao Summer Writers Workshop and 2017 Davao Writers Workshop. His works have been published and are forthcoming in Dagmay, the Online Literary Journal of the Davao Writers Guild, Sunstar Davao, Bukambibig Poetry Folio of Spoken Word Philippines, Sakayang Papel: Anthology of Binisaya Poetry, and in the Woman, Create 2018 Planner.

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.

Thoughts as a hermit crab passes

Poetry by | April 8, 2018

The hermit crab drags its shell through a patch of grass

drenched by a passing shower.

The drops of rainwater stick to its battered home,

slowing it down until it hardly moves.

But a hermit crab is not a bird that stops flying

when rainwater soaks its wings;

a hermit crab is a hermit crab.

He scratches the ground with his claws,

crawling with his shell looming behind him.

How tiresome must it be

to have your world’s weight upon you all your years,

to have everything bear down on your shoulders

like a hermit crab’s shell.

But how wonderful must it be

to never have to leave home again.

Jade Monteverde Baylon is a BA English (Creative Writing) graduate from UP Mindanao. If you know of a house for rent around downtown Davao, please email him.

In Media Res

Poetry by | April 8, 2018

/ɪn ˈmiːdɪˌæs ˈreɪs/

suspended between

parallel worlds of



what is,

she shifts precariously

between contrasting



of the cacophony of noise,

(not hers)

she flings herself out of the chaos

(not hers)

runs to where her truth is,


for the first time

allows herself to


a symphony of



angry cackles –

anectodal of a beginning

that is singularly hers.

Jearvy R. Lanohan teaches at the Philippine Science High School – Southern Mindanao Campus where she weaves meanings while alternating between academic writing and literature. She was a fellow to the Davao Writers Workshop.

Modern Meat

Poetry by | April 8, 2018

If the pig could talk, we’d be best friends.

Sadly here I am in the diner, partaking

of his broken flesh in solitude. Amidst

the frying rain and cooking oil

leaping from the pans in the kitchen

the afternoon chatter comes the way

it always has, the slow familiar haze

melting into noise I’d later find

once again in sleep. Hearing

has its downsides that no one says

are real or ever tells you, the least

of which that you must listen, use

what you have or let it fade away.

I might meet a word in my dreams

and ask if I could join the others,

or maybe melt their waxen wings

or even pluck them off their backs

to give to those who couldn’t fly,

by themselves or otherwise. Gladly

I’d give my own and sink to mud

if it meant that even pigs could see

that vast cerulean sky, or even my mind,

not that I’ve used it much these days,

that those sent to the slaughter could scream

before facing the blades,” Wait!”

And maybe lesser beings could rise,

could ask their biped overlords

to give them what was theirs by right.

Give them time. Give them life.

John Oliver Ladaga hailed from Iligan, but calls Davao his home, and UP Mindanao his alma mater. He memes in a desk.

Su Mga Ngiyawa Kanu Inged / Ang Mga Kaluluwa Sa Bayan

Poetry by | March 18, 2018

Begalibuteng, begkalibuteng su sambel sa laya
Laya na minenggay sa ngiyawa kanu manusiya
Manusiya ang pakapanadeng sa kambayabaya
Kambayaya siya kanu pangingedan a dala den ngiyawa.

Begkukuyog, bedtapuk, begkaleg i kabedsila
Bedsila su gadong a bangawidan sa laya
Laya a pinamulan sa umani inam nu isa
Isa su inged nami a tidtu a nabinasa.

Siya kanu atag nu inged a pakagedam sa kayaw
Kayaw na inilagid sa naraka a mana nin sindaw
Sindaw na ngiyawa nu inged a Magindanaw
Magindanaw na inakes nu inam a migkatenggaw.

Kanu dala pan matay su inam nu inged
Inged a pibpipiyanan nu umanu susuled
Susuled kano kapatot a bagadatan sa pened
Pened bon i kasakit nu inam a natebped.

Sa dalem nu puasa na saksi su ulan-ulan,
Ulan-ulan na kabedsimba salkanin a kadnan
Kadnan a labi a pakataw sa gatamanan
Gatamanan a ibendua umanu gasimpitan.

Su mga bamedtulog a walay na inisayog
Inisayog bun mambo su embabatay a bedtog
Bedtog siya sa didalem u malong a mana ibembedtog
Ibembedtog sa kabegakgilek sa semakwil a midtudtundog.

Mimbaba su mga mama a nakagadong
Nakagadong a aden matalem nilan a pinadtitimpong
Pinadtitimpong su mga Magindanon a midtetendong
Midtetendong sa nadtatanggit nilan a malong.

Limalag kami den siya kanu mga benday
Benday a niya bu gasandeng su natagak a walay
Walay a nambabamatan nu umani embabatay
Embabatay a nangatagak su suled nilan a isa den a bangkay

Nangalimod kami siya kanu ludep nu padiyan
Padiyan a nabaluy a walay a gapagalaguyan
Gapagalaguyan sa timpu nu kasimpitan
Kasimpitan sa kadala nu kalilintad nu pangingedan.

Isa aku kanu Magindandanon a wata
Wata a migkasela sa inged a Moro i bangsa
Bangsa nami a malagan den madadag kanu mapa
Mapa nu Pilipinas a di kami galinyan pakambamata.

Malipedes kanu pamusungan nu isa su kabenalan
Kabenalan na dala sa makatagu sa kanu pagitungan
Pagitungan a midtaman siya kanu talasilan
Talasilan na umanu ngiyawa na aden tudtulan nilan

Niyaba su tudtulan nu ngiyawa nami a bamangeni
Bamangeni sa dua sa kadnan a di kami lemimpangi
Lemimpangi sa kadsususleda endu kabpapagari
Kabpapagari siya kanu kalilintad nu inged nami.

Continue reading Su Mga Ngiyawa Kanu Inged / Ang Mga Kaluluwa Sa Bayan

Ekphrasis on a Baguio Hilltop

Poetry by | March 18, 2018

Crest a hill in the city of pines just after an evening meal, one with an overview of another incline. It doesn’t matter if the other hill towers over the one you are on, it’s the hillside that matters.

Pick a light, one brighter than most; not the gilded glow of sodium street lights, the ones lining the main roads for traffic, nor their silvery residential counterparts, and definitely not the ones that are in motion, staying either ahead or behind the vehicles carrying them, as they all will fade and wink out, as if the world were trying to forget this part of it, as you soon shall see. Pick one that stands out, like a construction site’s floodlights, or maybe one from a steeple or belfry, one brighter than necessary.

Continue reading Ekphrasis on a Baguio Hilltop