A Love (Triangle) Story

Fiction by | February 17, 2008

When I first met Charlie at a young writers’ summer conference in Baguio, he and Winston had already been the best of friends. This was not surprising, because both of them came from the same town in Pangasinan and had gone to school together – from elementary to college. Charlie’s mom and Winston’s mom were best friends in college. Charlie and Winston were both first-born. So it was sort of natural they would be close to each other.

Charlie was a poet, Winston a fictionist, and both had been hailed as “the newest stars in the literary firmament,” as a campus review would put it. Both of them belonged to the exclusive Inner Circle, a select group of campus writers in the university. Charlie looked like a young Dylan Thomas (who happened to be his favorite poet): somewhat pouting lips and curly locks tumbling down forehead and nape. He was lean, fair and frail-looking. His eyes were his best features: saucer-shaped and brooding, dark with secret passions and what he would quote as “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower.” Winston was completely different. He was dark and husky, his kinky hair close-cropped, a crystal stud sparkling on his left ear. He was almost a head taller than Charlie. From a distance, they would look like a man and a woman together: a striking pair.

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because e.e. cummings said

Poetry by | February 10, 2008

e.e. cummings said
since feelings are first
we really shouldn’t bother with the syntax of things

allow my verbs to crash and spin
let my nouns collide with other nouns
allow my modifiers to dangle and get misplaced
let my words multiply and fly
allow my sentences to fall and rise

towards you
into you

but

we really shouldn’t bother with the syntax of things
since feelings are first
e.e. cummings said

After Eden

Poetry by | February 10, 2008

They both bear the burden of the fruit.
Each day they toil in this marketplace
steaming in the morning heat, here
where there are too many ways to know
good and evil, life and death.

His strong back strains under the heavy basket,
her arms keep steady as she eases the weight.
It does not matter now whose wrong it was,
why each drop of sweetness comes from pain.
Grace still fills the smallest gestures of being.

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In the Car that Straddled Me and Father

Fiction by | February 10, 2008

Father and I were in the purple car handed to him for the nth time; where n is equals to the infinity of the fathers who drove their daughters to the JS Prom. For years, the tinted windows of the car and the strangulating seatbelt have created an artificial intimacy—between me and the world outside the car, and him.

The suffocating airconditioner made the car windows misty, and I traced escape holes with my thin fingers. The traces made me recall my tongue, carefully parting the hairs of his stiffening chest that night we lay awake.

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To Build Fire

Fiction by | February 3, 2008

When I was sixteen at the old house, I used to sit on our wooden chair behind her and watch how she built fire with kerosene, wood, and pieces of folded paper. She would bend low enough, reaching for the fireplace, and I could see her spine arching downwards like a bamboo on a windy day, while behind her white head where I could not see much what happened, a light-blue smoke rose up to the sooted roof along with some ashes flying for escape through the slits on our wall.

She had told me once how to do it when Tatay was not yet around from work. We were alone inside the house and she began preparing rice to cook for dinner. Nanay Pacita sat on bended knees and looked for dry sticks under the fireplace. Tatay had split them outside days ago when there was still no job for him downtown. He had busied himself repairing the old electric fan, pounding wooden shelves for my books, and carrying large containers of water from the nearby pump. He preferred walking alone and whistling his own tunes of the sixties and once in a while, I would hand him a glass of water, which he would down in a single gulp and return to me.

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Badjao

Poetry by | February 3, 2008

they shun him just because
his hair is golden like the sun
skin painted with bright hues
like the sky scent reminiscent
of the earth’s elements
they close their ears on his songs
the silent and sad sea melodies
his music a sound of the breeze
sweeping through deaf streets
each drumbeat a heavy knock
on a door swiftly shut behind him
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Noodles and Expiry Dates

Poetry by | February 3, 2008

I wish love were just like instant noodles –
that it came with its flavor written on its pack—
   sweet or spicy,
   nothing too strange for the tongue;
that it came with instructions:
Cook in briskly boiling water for three minutes.
Mix special seasoning of secrets and soy sauce into a paste.
Drain noodles of unnecessary water. Mix well with the prepared paste.
ENJOY.
That it could be consumed,
   whether a little half- or over- cooked,
‘til hunger is no more;
that it would warn
   every starving boy and girl
   when it will expire.

Night Out

Poetry by | January 27, 2008

Tonight’s no night for stories and poems
The moon’s fair, witches are out leaping
from eaves to twigs
I paced about; heard them sing
“Come catch the moon about to fall.”