Ang Bisita

Fiction by | August 26, 2007

Kalit na sab siyang miduaw kanako; walay pahibalo, walay pananghid. Wa´siya mituktok o nag- Ayooo man lang kaha. Wa´siya mi-lamano sa akong kamot o migawad nako ug halok; iyaha lang hinay-hinay dayon kalit nga gikumot ang akong dughan, gisikaran ang akong pus-on, gipuga ang akong mga luha, gikawat ang nahabilin pang nindot nga mga talan-awon sa akong kinabuhi. Kanus-a niya ko undangan o biyaan? Dugay na niya kong gipaantus, gisamdan, gihaplasag asin dayon giihaw diha sa baga sa kasakit. Wa´siyay dagway apan makit-an ko siya sa daghang mga butang nga makapahinumdom nako sa kagahapon. Wa´siyay tingog apan madunggan nako siya sa talidhay nga pag-atras sa mga balud. Wa´siyay baho apan masimhotan ko siya sa asin sa dagat, sa makabuang nga baho sa durian, sa alimyon sa Ylang-ylang. Gani, kalit na lamang siyang mamintana sa akong handurawan dihang makahunahuna ko niining mga butanga. Usahay duawon niya ko sa akong damgo ug biyaan niya kong nagdanguyngoy hangtud pukawon ko sa unang sidlak sa kabuntagon. Wa´siyay kaluoy, sama sa pagpangtortyur sa militar panahon sa diktador, sama sa kanhing mga kauban sa ilahang pagpanglikida. Wa´siyay kasingkasing.

Dugay na nako siyang gilikayan apan kanunay niya kong giapas, gidakup. Maayo siya sa pagpang-ambus. Maayo siya sa sorpresa. Morag usa ka gerilya, lungsod ka nga kalit na lang niyang atakehon ug kubkubon. Ug dis-armahan.

Buot nako siyang dakpon, kadenahan o isulod sa usa ka garapon. Apan nasayod ko nga makalingkawas ra gihapon siya ug moduaw balik nako. Sama sa abat, sama sa kalag. Hangtud buhi ug abli pa kining akong mga samad.

A Flash Fiction Trio

Fiction by | August 26, 2007

Physical Experiment
If there is no net force, there can be no acceleration.

She met him in her Physics class, listening attentively from his seat in the front row. What is there to know about the law of gravity or Newton’s laws of motion? Only abstract concepts made tangible by experiment. But she taught this to her class anyhow. Like she did not admit that opposites really do attract, and that objects inevitably fall, and that bodies of matter do not move unless something (or someone) exerts some kind of force on them.

The net force on an object is proportional to the acceleration that the object undergoes.

The interested look in his eyes made her uneasy. She felt like one of her peers in high school who fell head over heels in love with some cute teenage boy winking at them in the hallway. The boy’s eyes gleamed with admiration and when he smiled, she swooned over him.

For every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

Once, while walking down the pathway alone, he offered to carry her books. She could not even stare back at him as she handed him the books. Both of them spoke sparingly. But he would whistle against the cool, crisp air. And he had such a confident and majestic air about him, so that when they walked side by side, he wasn’t a boy anymore but indeed a full-grown man.

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Mandoliman

Poetry by | August 26, 2007

They say he is my brother.
Of dark brown skin and
curly mane,
he smells of brown earth,
for years living with little water.

The first time I saw him
was for diarrhea.
The second for schistosoma.

The third for worms and diarrhea.
He smelled of yellow earth
drowned in vinegar and gas.

But I like my brother,
template of innocence, alien dreams.
What is your name? I asked.
I’m Mandoliman, but call me Jim.
And your sisters at the bedside?
They’re Evelyn, Margie, and Jane.

I’m Mandoliman Marancing.
I don’t know my father and mother.
My older brother is a bum.
He got killed over a bottle of rum.

I smell the blood and the rum,
the future of little Mandoliman

Dahil sa Isang Libro

Poetry by | August 26, 2007

Minsan sa aking buhay
Ako’y nagmistulang patay.
Humihinga nga na parang tao
Ngunit tumigil na sa pagtibok ang puso.
Pilit kong hinanap ang liwanag
Ngunit balot sa kadiliman ang aking daan.

Tumigil sa pag-inog ang aking mundo.

Hanggang ako’y nagising hawak ang isang libro.

At tumibok nang muli ang aking puso.
Narinig kong muli ang musika ng buhay.
Niyakap ko bawat salita ng natagpuang libro.

Bakit ganuon?
Nagsimula ang lahat nang dahil lang sa isang libro!
Binago ng isang libro ang aking buhay.
Isang librong tanging may larawan
Ng isang lalaking may koronang tinik sa ulo.

Banana Cue

Poetry by | August 26, 2007

Kanina pa kumukulo ang tiyan niya
Ngunit walang pumapansin sa kanya.
Napakadungis ng kanyang mukha’t katawan—
Sindungis ng saplot na basahan.

Isang ale ang naawa,
Inabuluyan siya ng isang piso.
Tumakbo siya sa nagtitinda ng banana cue.
“Makakakain na ako!” aniya sa sarili.
May ngiting gumuhit sa payat niyang pisngi.

Kinaumagahan, nakitang nakabulagta
Ang batang palaboy—
Namatay sa gutom dahil
Ang halaga ng banana cue
Ay limang piso na!

Tulang Tumututol

Poetry by | August 26, 2007

Paano kung ang tula ay may presyo?
Puwede nang pambayad sa bus,
sa dyipni, sa traysikel,
sa eroplano, sa grocery,
sa ilaw, sa tubig, sa kuryente?
Siguro lahat ay makikinig.

Paano kung ang tula ay may katawan?
Magpupursigi kaya itong ibenta
ang kaluluwa sa bangketa?
Paano kung ang tula ay maaari nang
pambayad-utang sa puting may-ari
ng pandaigdigang kalakalan?
Maiahon kaya nito ang Pilipinas sa kahirapan?

Ano ba ang magagawa ng makatang tulad ko
Na hanggang sulat lang ang kayang gawin?

Salut

Poetry by | August 23, 2007

On our sixth anniversary
your parents surprised us
with ice cream and cake.
You cooked my favorite
dish and I brought sweet
red wine. We drank
to each other’s
happiness with a dagger
gleam in the eye. A toast
to a long life, knowing
this would be our last.

Mandy

Nonfiction by | August 19, 2007

The members of the Davao Writers Guild regret the passing of fellow writer Josie C. San Pedro and express herewith our condolences to her bereaved family. In her memory, I would like to publish here for the first time an essay that I asked her to write sometime in 2004 for possible inclusion in an anthology I was then editing with Agnes Prieto. The book, Fallen Cradle: Parents on the Loss of a Child, was eventually published by Anvil in 2006, but did not include her piece on her son Mandy because she was not able to return it to me on time after I gave her suggestions for its revision. It was a loss for the book. Now with her passing, she has taken with her a substantial amount of Davao history yet to be written. It will be some time before Davao will find another chronicler of its peoples and times as fervent and well-loved as Tita Josie.

Ricardo M de Ungria
President, DWG

All his friends were there—during the wake in the house, at the church, and at the memorial park. They had sent him off with an affectionate farewell.

When Mandy left for work on that fateful morning of April 26, 1996, it was with his usual jauntiness on board his prized motorcycle. The next time I saw him was in a corner of the emergency room of a hospital as a doctor and several nurses were to work up his heart.

He never woke up. I wonder if he had heard me imploring,” Mandy, don’t give up. Fight, Mandy, fight. Don’t leave us.” Did he hear me praying to God Almighty to give him a little more time with his children?

His life was just beginning, with a loving wife and three beautiful children—ages seven, five, and three, and with another on the way, still floating at four months in his/her mother’s womb. This one will never see the smile on his/her father’s face or feel the warmth of his loving embrace or taste the sweetness of his kisses.

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