Ang Kaisa-isa Kong Sandal

Nonfiction by | June 21, 2009

Kahirapan ay di hadlang sa ating buhay dahil lahat ng panahon ay nasa ilalim tayo. May pagkakataon namang nasa ibabaw.

Sa Cebu, naaalala ko pa nang ako’y nasa haiskul. Nang dahil sa mahirap lang kami, hindi ako nakapag-aral ng tuloy-tuloy. Kusa akong huminto dahil naawa ako sa aking mga magulang. Pito kaming magkakapatid at isang manggagawa lamang ang aking ama. Naghanap ako ng trabaho. Nag-aplay at napasok sa isang Printing Press bilang cutter ng
mga cellophane. Ipinagpatuloy ko ang aking pag-aaral sa gabi. Maghapong tumayo ako sa limang taon sa pagtatrabaho para lang matustusan ang aking pag-aaral. Sa awa ng Diyos, nakatapos ako ng haiskul sa University of the Visayas noong 1979.

Ibig kong ipatuloy ang aking pag-aaral sa kolehiyo ngunit parang madilim at mailap pa rin sa akin ang pagkakataon. Ngunit para sa akin hindi natutulog ang Diyos.

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Taglamig

Poetry by | June 21, 2009

Tulad nang ipinataw ng taglamig
Sa mga pontanya ng syudad,
Itinigil niya ang pag-agos ng galak
Sa katawan kong sabik sa init-araw.
At kung may gunita mang pangahas
Na dadaloy sa isipa’t
Liligwak sa mga labi’y
Sasalukin niya maging
Ang madalang na mga patak
Upang pagkatapos ay papagyeluhin,
Patutulising tila mga estalaktita
At iuumang sa pandamdam.

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Lubid

Poetry by | June 21, 2009

Inilagak ako sa isang sulok
Na walang bumibisita maliban
Sa mga kakilalang alikabok.
Sa pag-iisa, isa-isang inuusisa
Ang mga katangiang humuhugis
Sa kabuuan ng aking pagkalubid:
Bawat makintab na hibla’y
May isang libo’t-isang saysay;
Ang mala-daliring diyametro’y
Pansilo sa mga payak na damgo.
Kaya di ko ikinamangha minsang
Sa aki’y may paslit na dumampot.
Bulong ko ngayon sa palibot:
May silbi na ang aking eksistensya.
Ngunit nang sa leeg ako’y ipinansabit
Wala akong ibang dalit na nasambit—
Sana ako na lang ang n
         a
         p
         a
         t
         i
         d
         .

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A Study in Bliss

Fiction by | June 14, 2009

It is youth’s felicity as well as its insufficiency that it can never live in the present, but must always be measuring up the day against its own radiantly imagined future.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, “A Diamond as Big as the Ritz”

For now, Rico is rinsing the soap out of his freshly-washed sheets. He puts on a particular effort into wringing each blanket and bedcover so that the muscles on his arms become perceptibly taut and sinewy. He is aware that his guest, a Jane, is nearby and is giving him as much concentration as her sideway glances would allow her. Sitting on a monobloc chair, she is making a show at pulling a hangnail using her teeth.

The fact that he is earning a comfortable income writing online had given him the confidence to invite her over to his apartment; that he has never spoken to her before – except to remind her of a deadline – made her accept. As the inviting was done via text messaging, prompted by Jane’s unpleasant lunch with another boy, they are now at the rooftop of Rico’s apartment while on the none-too-romantic task of laundering.

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Empty Spot

Fiction by | June 7, 2009

I went back to her house and banged on the door. She opened it a little. She looked surprised.
“I’m a woman,” I said, lifting up my shirt and risking the catarrh.
She smiled.“I know.”
I didn’t go home.I stayed.

– Jeanette Winterson, “The Queen of Spades”, The Passion

Empty Spot

She finally came into my stall that first night of May, wanting her future to be foretold. She wore a soldier’s uniform, stolen from a man’s wardrobe, hiding the soft form of her body. When I revealed to her that she would meet a love she would regret, she reached for my mask and peered into my eyes.
“Green,” she said, “like turbulent body of water.” She walked away without paying.

When the fairground closed down, she was waiting outside the cobbled street. She didn’t mind the cold air. She followed me home, tailing distances behind me, hiding in dark alleyways. On my door, she knocked only once, twice. I opened it. I asked her to leave if she was only looking for fun.

“The carnival has ended,” she said.

That was when the real night began. She entered and she stayed.

But she won’t stay that long. Her body says so.

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Love Letter for No One

Fiction by | June 7, 2009

I’ve been waiting for a long time.

I used to imagine that when I’d meet the one, I’d be dumbstruck and helpless. I’d be gaping at her as she’d say, “Thanks for waiting. I’m home.”

And then I met you.

I thought it wouldn’t matter. That things wouldn’t change. That maybe I need to wait just a little longer to find the one. But then, things have gone strange lately. I’ve been thinking about you a little bit more today than I did yesterday. And I’m sure you’ll visit my thoughts without permission tomorrow.

That’s not all.

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Cotabato

Poetry by | June 7, 2009

We might not come back home for awhile to Cotabato
because there are more things to do than catch a bus
and travel a tedious 6 to 7 hours. Imagine the hassle
of having to stop by a terrible total of 10 terminals
and all for what? Once there, we’ll probably waste our weeks
on good-for-nothing visits to former classmates’ houses,
old friends, and dozens more of other people we used to know
so well, but now find hard to even barely recognize—
as when we chance upon them whenever we buy
our fruit shakes and burgers at Manong’s, or when we shop
for overpriced stuff at South Seas, or at nights when we party
and waste ourselves at Pacific Heights.

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