Lyres and Dolls

Poetry by | October 22, 2017

One long toot and two short toots
The mother blows the whistle
and the rest of the dolls move.
The drums are beaten
and the lyres begin to sound
left, right, left the leather skirts
swoosh, swoosh, swoosh
The dolls dance to the sound
of the lyre
They move smoothly at each
ting of the lyre
But as the lyre changes the
melody the mother commands
the dolls to a different groove
two long toots, and one short toot
the lyre demands their move
and the dolls follows its groove


Si Joyce Duhaylungsod ay nagtuturo ng Panitikan at Sining sa isang Senior High sa lungsod ng Dabaw.

2017 Davao Writers Workshop Fellows

Editor's Note by | October 16, 2017

The Davao Writers Guild is pleased to announce the fellows to the 2017 Davao Writers Workshop.

The fellows for poetry are Marc Jeff Lañada from General Santos City, Jay Yañez from Iligan City, Jan Vernix Atis from the Island Garden City of Samal, Innah Alaman, Ian Derf Salvaña, and Marie Crestie Joie Contrata from Davao City, and Diosel Uyangoren from Maragusan, Compostela Valley.

The fellows for fiction are Mubarak Tahir, Mivida Gabrielle Garcia, and Angelo Lenard Yu from Davao City, Ralph Jake Wabingga from Sulop, Davao del Sur, and David Jayson Oquendo from Polomolok, South Cotabato.

The fellows for creative nonfiction are Charmaine Carrillo from Cagayan de Oro City, Hannah Rae Villarba from Davao City, and Erlyn Piolo from Surallah, South Cotabato.

The 2017 Davao Writers Workshop is organized by the Davao Writers Guild in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

The 2017 Davao Writers Workshop runs from November 30, 2017 to December 4, 2017.

Workshop sessions are open to those who are interested to listen to the discussions.

Coffee Prince

Poetry by | October 15, 2017

My early memory of
My mother is her
Breasts smelling like
The ground coffee
Rich and dark like the earth’s

I remember sucking on to
Her for milk lazed with
The coffee smell of her skin
And in the morning hours thereafter
That earthly aroma fades

Only the clink-chank of my teaspoon
As I stir a fresh cup of brewed coffee
Brings me back into the days
When I sucked for milk
Lazed with the coffee memory of her.


May Mundiz is a senior high teacher and a part-time Arts appreciation professor in Surigao. She writes, paints, and acts.

Kipil and Paksiw for Mamay

Nonfiction by | October 15, 2017

My first memory of Tupi, South Cotabato was of a small room beside the kitchen of the old ancestral house. The kids were not allowed to play or make noises near the room where my grandfather Sotero, lived. The only time we would enter during visits was when we would mano upon arriving in the house and to mano again before we leave for home. Sotero was my mother’s father and the only grandparent I had the chance to touch, talk to, and serve meals for. My other grandparents died before I was born. We call Sotero Mamay because he was from Batangas and that was how grandchildren there called their grandfathers.

After World War 2, Mamay, together with my grandmother’s family, decided to move south to Mindanao where apparently things were safer and progress was more feasible than up in Luzon. Mamay was in his 20’s when they moved south. Back then, accumulation of land properties was easier and needed less legal processes. My grandfather found a land in South Cotabato just beside Dole Philippine’s pineapple plantation. During his time, hectares and hectares of vacant agricultural lands were there for the taking, no one owns them except a handful of huge companies including Dole Philippines.

The land he discovered looked more like a jungle compared to its neighboring pineapple plantation. He decided to clean the entire 18-hectare land with the help of his family. They cultivated the land, cut off unnecessary vines, and planted vegetables with their own bare hands. By simply cleaning the entire area that no one owned, it was implied Mamay was taking possession of it. It was that easy back then. But Dole Philippines saw how much potential the cleaned area had for their business, so they decided to plant pineapples on some specific areas that Mamay cleaned. They did that several times.

Continue reading Kipil and Paksiw for Mamay

New Axis

Poetry by | October 8, 2017

I.

You don’t even have to force
Your mouth to open
And talk to me
Your throat might look like
A narrow street now
With so many words
Like crazy drivers in the city
Who won’t give way for little cars—
Racing, bumping into each other
Scars against scars
On numb walls
That will never show their pain,
They all want to come out
And escape the bumpy tunnel you built
Inside you

“Please take care of yourself”
“I’m leaving” I say in disgrace

II.

She had erased her fingerprints
On the world your hands have molded together
But left her breaths with yours
In the roots so you could live
With enough air to breathe
When you miss her
When you look for her face
Behind the shadow of your bedside lampshade at midnight
When you want to kiss,
When you feel alone,
When you want to be loved, again
By the love (you thought) only she can give you

III.

Years after,
The woman you have loved
Who has waved you good bye
Has come back
She has a face of Regret,
And you’re frozen
With mouth closed
And eyes locked
Your throat might still look like
A narrow street now
With so many words (That you wish you could tell her)
Like crazy drivers in the city
Who won’t give way for little cars—
But you reminded your gates
Never to open for strangers
So you didn’t say any word
You didn’t speak

Your eyes could not almost recognize her
The sparklers in her eyes are gone
The color of cherry on her cheeks have faded
And you can even see
The alcohol running through the veins of her
Calm hands
She has become a stranger
But your heart,
It never forgets her
She was supposed to ask you
If you could let her burry
Her fingertips once more
On the word she left

But she knew
That yesterday has died
And the air you breathe isn’t anymore
Her breaths
And the world you built together
Is now revolving
Around another axis


Ellah is a fourth year BSE major in English student at Capitol University, Cagayan de Oro City. She loves the taste of cold coffee in Sunday mornings and enjoys the smell of old books.

Itik Nga Walay Balahibo

Fiction by | October 8, 2017

Subo palandungon, wala damha sa akong higala nga kalit mawala ang iyang kauban sa balay nga iyang igsoon,iyang bilas og duha pa ka tuig nga bata nga si Ronron. Tungod kay mag- unsa man sila sa syudad og walay diploma og grado, hinoon makakaon man sila, kay pareho man naay trabaho ang igsoon sa akong higala.

Nanguli sila sa ilang yutang natawhan; ang nahitabo, nag-inusara na ang akong higala sa iyang balay. Nagpoyo si Joseph sa tiil sa Mt. Talomo; mogawas siya sa iyang balay arun motrabaho, Samtang gi- ilog na ang kangitngit sa adlaw, og sugaton siya sa mga sitsit sa langgam, timailhan nga nagsugod na ang lumba sa kinabuhi, og sa likod sa Mt. Talomo, ang baga nga gabon maoy telon sa dakong entablado. Matag buntag sayo, mao kana ang programa sa kinabuhi ni Joseph.

Continue reading Itik Nga Walay Balahibo

Sa Jeep nga Akong Nasakyan

Poetry by | October 1, 2017

Sa jeep nga akong nasakyan
Gikan Claveria paingon Ecoland,
Karon hapon lang,
Ako ng natestingan,
Didto ko milingkod sa unahan
Kini nga lingkuranan,
Usa ka balaan.

Sa jeep nga akong nasakyan
Hinay ug kusog ang dagan,
Ang break ni angkol,
Isa lang ka tadyakan
Pero kani nga jeep
Usa lang akong namatikdan
Ang maulahi ug sakay
Sa tumoy iyang paingnan.

Sa jeep nga akong nasakyan
Ang maulahi ddto sa unahan,
Pasahero musakay ug una
Taas-taas iyang adtuan,
Usahay hasul
Kay daghan masaghidan
Basta musakay ani nga jeep
Mao ni ang kamatuoran.

Sa jeep nga akong nasakyan,
Mao ni ang kamatuoran,
Tama jud diay
Ang giingon sa mga katigulangan
Ang bibliya gaingon
Usa ni ka balaan,
Ning akong gilingkuran
Mao ang kaluwasan.

Sa jeep nga akong nasakyan
Dinhi sa dakbayan
Kung naa ka sa unahan
Daghan kag suklianan,
Mahimo kang kundoktor
Ug piso-piso lang
Mahimo kang agianan
Sa kwarta
Ug sa kadiyot
Makwartahan.
Sa jeep nga akong nasakyan
Ang naglingkod
Sa unahan dunay
Gikahasulan
Sa mga pamalihog
Sa mga plete sa kadaghanan
Sa mga pasaherong mga buotan,
Usahay intawon, munaog
Way plete ug mudagan.

Kini akong nasinati
Sa jeep nga akong nasakyan
Gikan ug Claveria
paingon sa Ecoland
maayu ra pud ning
akong jeep nga nasakyan
iya kong gihatud sa akong adtuan.

Salamat sa drayber sa
Akong jeep nga nasakyan
Sa mga pasahero nga
wa nako mailhan
sa ilang dagway,
dunay pobre’g adunahan
diri lang ko kol,
lugar lang
amping sa imong padagan.


Jovanie Garay is a graduate of BSED Major in English from Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology, in Mati, Davao Oriental. He is currently teaching English subjects in the same institution.

Buoyancy

Poetry by | October 1, 2017

Love starts
as a drop
of water.
It stays still
until it gathers
more of itself
to flow, to gush,
to become a force
that no dam can contain.

You are a body
of water.
Love will claim
every inch of you, too.
It is pointless to resist its rapids.

(Even time stood witness
on how the tallest of mountains
have lowered their bodies
before the crashing waves of
untamable oceans.)

Love submerges,
drowns us deep,
but it is the same thing
that keeps us
afloat.


Koko is a BSED-English graduate Ateneo de Davao University. He teaches in a public school in Davao City.