In a clearing somewhere in the country

Poetry by | August 18, 2019

In a clearing in the middle of a forest
Is a hut, hovering five feet above loam.
A mahogany tree towers over the roof, panoptic.
Millions of its eyes, when plucked by the wind,
lay with soil. When it rains, the air
Smells like freshly-cut cogon, pleasant
Like looming, painless death amidst poverty.


An-Nurhaiyden, born and raised in Cotabato City and known to his friends as JP, enjoys being alone more than he admits he does. He got his Bachelor’s Degree in English, majoring in Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines Mindanao last June 2019.

Fire Eyes

Poetry by | August 18, 2019

Those eyes of fire are gone now.
They crumpled like flowers
in the afternoon sun
And turned cold and heavy
with hollowness
Those eyes, once the home of the stars,
are now orphaned by the light.
Gone are their glitters of inspiration
and their sparks of triumph.
Those eyes are now the moon
In the absence of the sun.


Rhealyn Callao Pojas is a Mindanao-born journalist that is now based in the Republic of Palau. Writing poetry is her freedom from the prisons of facts.

Upon Reading the Time Traveller’s Wife

Poetry by | August 11, 2019

There are moments of clarity
when you see life and death.
And you realize,
that you are not invincible,
that you are not forever,
that the stars wink out,
one by one.

Then, as an epiphany,
you treasure each look,
each laugh,
each embrace.

You try to fill
the in-betweens with grace
and cram it all
in memory’s safe box.

Then, you are like a famished man
who devours and savors
each morsel,
each drop,
squeezing everything
the feast of life has to offer.

Nothing is ignored.


Beulah G. Villaruel was born in Mindanao, grew up in Luzon, and got married in Visayas. She fell in love with literature in high school, and loved it so much she became an English teacher. She enjoys teaching at Philippine Science High School-SOCCSKSARGEN Region Campus on weekdays and revels in mom life on weekends.

Shooting Stars

Poetry by | July 28, 2019

as the Sun retreats
to the horizon
light escapes the walls
of their temporary home
in the heart of a forest.

the little boy tugs on the clothes
of their mother,
the remnant of a decision
that would haunt them
for as long as they lived.

beside aniki, the Arisaka rests
clasped in his arms like a pillow
the comfort of cold steel
is better than warm blood
that isn’t theirs.

the little boy fixates at the cloudless sky
tears start flowing, like the blood
on his knee, trickling to the ground
as the shooting stars
have finally come.

he could hear aniki
murmuring in between clenched
teeth and fists—a prayer,
but the gods
have already left them.


Raphael Luis J. Salise an incoming sophomore in UP Mindanao, under the BA English Creative Writing program. He likes to read poems, plays, and short stories by Filipino authors as he also aspires to someday become a successful writer like them.

i held you at gunpoint

Poetry by | July 28, 2019

we are soldiers, right?
comrades, always there for each other

no one was watching us, right?
it was just you and me in the middle of the night

you said it would be quick, right?
your words were sweating behind my ears

you started leaning closer, right?
a little closer, a little closer

our lips touched for the first time, right?
those crusty, salty peaches bursting with flavor

i tasted your tongue, right?
it simmered with saliva, marinated in alcohol

your hands were all over me, right?
down my hair to my jaw to my neck to my

we peeled off our uniforms, right?
our clothes like shed skin, sinking to the floor

you pressed your chest against mine, right?
the warmth of your touch sent ripples down my spine

your hands slid beneath my trousers, right?
slowly unsheathing the loaded pistol

i held you at gunpoint, right?
you pulled the trigger inside your mouth

but we said we wanted this, right?
heavy breaths as white blood dripped on my skin

we are comrades, right?
tomorrow will just be another day


Julio Jacinto lives in Davao del Sur.

Pag-amin

Poetry by | July 14, 2019

Kung katahimikan ang nangungusap
sa iyo, buong-buong katahimikan,
ano ang naririnig ng mga butáng na nakahinto
na pumipintig mula sa kaniyang mga labi?
Walang salita ang bisperas ng nagwawalang buwan
kahit ito ay kakainin
ng Minokawa,
kahit nagmamartsa ang mga aninipot
sa hangin at naghahalo
ang kanilang sulô
ay walang salita ang maririnig
mula sa kaniya na umuupo
sa umuugod-ugod na salumpo.
Walang salita ang maririnig
sa kumukunot niyang labi
kahit sasapit ang pagbukas
ng pista ng mga santo
na hihimok sa kaniyang kaluluwa na manalangin
para maligtas sa kalayo
at walang hanggang pagdusa.
Ngunit, kay sakit isipin dahil sakit ang nagpapatikom sa kaniyang
mga labi. Banayad na hangin
ang tanging dumadapya
mula sa nakatutok na bentilador,
at isang radyo na gumagaralgal. Binabalot siya
ng kumot ng hapis habang nakatanday
ang kaniyang ulo sa unan
ng luha at hikbi.
Kahit ang paligid walang kaimik-imik, tanging
mata ang umiikot sa bubungan
at sawaling dingding.
Naaalala kong muli ang bána
niya noong daliri na lang
ang bumubulong habang
nakaratay sa higaan. Walang tinig kahit minokawa at osuang
ang kukuha sa kaniya.

Anong pulos nitong nasasaksihan
kong pagkaratay na inuulit
ng panahon sa mga tagpong
walang natutuhan.
Bawat pagbukas ng mga mata
tuwing umaga ay bumabanaag ito.
Habang ang matandang nilalang
ay bumabalik sa kaniyang kabataan,
namamaluktot ang katawan,
hindi gaano naaaninag ang paligid
na parang sanggol sa sinapupunan,
habang tumitiklop ang mga tuhod
ay umaamin, nagsasaksi
ito sa kaniyang sariling nagawa, kung bakit
hindi niya pinakilala ang tunay kong ama.
Tungod doon, nilamon ako
ng huklubang kahihiyan
na parang tutuldukan ko na lang
ang aking búkas. Kayâ para akong tabako
na nauupos sa kirot ngayon, humuhulagpos
na rin ang lakás.


Adrian Pete Pregonir is a Senior High School student from South Cotabato. His works appeared in the Cotabato Literary Journal, Liwayway Magazine, and Pundok Katitikan. He is a fellow for at during the Davao Writers Workshop 2018.

Pagkahuman

Poetry by | July 7, 2019

Human sa paglumpag, human sa mga bubog sa bildo nga sama sa mga nawaning bituon: ikaw ang akong Kataposan, ikaw ang kinaunhang takna sa kinabuhing wala nay orasan, ikaw ang karsada tali sa mga dakbayang wala nay gapuyo; ang ngalan sa kon unsa may mahulog gikan sa mga panganod kay dili na ulan, kon dili Ikaw: tangkugo sa magul-anong undo nga bangason, himno sa pinulongang wala nay gagamit, nag-inusarang suga sa panggabiing bangka sa kabaybayonan—unsaon ko pagdawat nga ang matag pulong mao imong ngalan?


F Alex San Juan writes poetry and prose from—-and is currently on self-exile in—-northeastern Mindanao.

Kung papaanong hindi natatapos ang byahe ng dyip—

Poetry by | July 7, 2019

Babasahin ko pa ang galaw ng katawan ng namamasada.
Ang ikinikirot ng manibela: isang ikot nalang, isang ikot nalang.
Kung sa hindi mabilang na mga pagbaybay sa kalagitnaan
ng lungsod, uubo ng tatlong beses ang drayber malapit
sa flyover sa R. Castillo at maghihintay na namang
matuyo ang pawis sa likod kapag nasa kasuluk-sulukan
na ng Bago Gallera. Kung papaanong hindi ko matunton
ang mapa sa loob ng aking mga diwa, hindi ko pa masagot
sa buwang ito. Baka sa Nobyembre o kaya sa susunod pang taon,
kung sa paglimot sa mga mata mo, mga pisnging
hinahanap ang mga ngiti mo sa labi, mga pagpahinga
ng ulo sa kamay mo tuwing lilingon kang nakaupo sa malayo,
baka mahanap ko na ang sarili ko. Kung gayong hindi ko
masukat ang kahabaan ng Roxas, ang paliku-likong katawan
ng McArthur, ang kurbang mukha ng Marfori, bubulong nalang
ako sa hangin, susulyap sa walang katapusang pag-ikot ng
mga gulong, pipiliting makaalala kung saan ang destinasyon ko.
Kung gayong hindi pa kita mahanap, hindi pa ako bababa.


Nagtuturo sa Ateneo at tumutula-tula si Ian.