To My Bereaved Beloved

Poetry by | February 10, 2019

I want my body to be cremated.
Weigh my ashes as against my flesh.
The difference would be of my soul’s.

Much of my leaving soul is water
from each of my cells after the long years of lingering
edema. Much of my soul would be water

gushing like geysers above my earthen remains
in the form of vapor trying to escape
from every crevice of the cold kiln.

And my soul would become clouds.
Find me in the sky, a tiny turtle in the sea
swimming among the flock of flying fish.

Later at night, it would rain
seawater from the sky.
Bathe in my soul.

Dance with me in the rain while all of my soul
would trail every inch of your tender skin
sealing with moist kisses the wounds you left hidden.

And in the morning, while still drenched
reach for the urn and mold my ashes into a rock
to be thrown into that stream at the back of our house.

A plop would signal the happy reunion of my remains,
and my soul, while freely flowing, would await another skyward journey
To reappear up above as a tiny turtle in the sea.

And we shall dance together again.


Paul Randy P. Gumanao hails from Kidapawan City and teaches Chemistry at Philippine Science High School-SOCCSKSARGEN Region Campus. He was a fellow for poetry at the 2009 Davao Writers Workshop and the 2010 IYAS Creative Writing Workshop. He is currently finishing his MS in Chemistry from the Ateneo de Davao University.

The New Moon

Fiction by | February 10, 2019

Many many years ago, in a little town not too far from here, it was known that a crocodile lived in the sky. He was feared among the people because he relished the taste of children who misbehaved. He came without warning, descending only when he was hungry. On each return, he acutely picked off the children whose discipline faltered during his absence. And after this, he would slowly weave back to the darkest recesses of the sky and stay hidden behind clouds for an indefinite period of time.

The crocodile ate children who did not do their homework and children who were too lazy to make their beds. He ate children who enjoyed playing tricks on their elders and fibbed to get out of trouble. This crocodile was so particular with his food that he could tell the difference between a naughty child and his good-natured twin.

He refused to eat cats as was suggested by some of the townsfolk, although they argued that a cat could be just as naughty as any child. The crocodile declared that cats were much too small to satisfy his hunger and were, besides, not worth the trouble of being scratched in the eye. And crocodiles, as we all well know, are incapable of crying but are sufficiently replete with sensations of pain and such emotions as grief.

One day, however, all the children were indoors. It had been raining all week and the rapidly rising river caused concern among townspeople. Livestock was taken to higher ground and harvest was picked earlier than usual. Each and every home was quiet save for the busy sounds in the kitchen, where mothers could be found boiling jams and jellies, pickling, and curing meats.

None of the children were sent to school; and the teachers, who had now been given a rest from their troublesome pupils, spent their days in animated gossip and speculation of the coming flood. Nobody gave a thought to the crocodile that lived in the sky. Even the old people, who normally recalled to the children stories about their childhood friends who had been eaten by the crocodile in the past, were preoccupied with the pounding rain. They fretted over their illnesses and worried that their families would forget about them in the haste of moving to elevated areas.

Some of the children stayed in bed with the flu. Others played board games or painted, quietly sipping cups of hot chocolate. Others, still, were kept busy helping with one task or another. The crocodile roamed and hovered around the town eagerly waiting for misconduct. He went upstream, and then down. He went to the school hoping to chance on mischief but found it empty.

Continue reading The New Moon

Home by Sunrise

Nonfiction by | January 27, 2019

Its tongue twister of a name born out of the B’laan tongue, “Flom’lok” means “hunting grounds.” When I was new in Davao, every acquaintance I met had a hard time pronouncing the name. /P/ push air out of the mouth for the first letter and roll over the rhythmic /l/ lulling of O’s, savoring the “mmm…” in the middle to suddenly stop at the sharpness of a /k/, suspending the tip of the tongue afloat inside. “Polomolok.”

“Where are you from again?”

“Polomolok.”

“Pol, Pol, where is it located?”

“Between Gensan and Koronadal; 17 kilometers from Pacquiao’s city of origin and thrice that distance to the other side, the former capital, of South Cotabato.”

“Wait, so Koronadal is formerly Marbel?”

“Yes. It’s complicated.”

“Pol, Polo…”

“Polomolok.”

A short awkward silence, then the conversation would progress to the difference between the three Cotabatos.
“So, how’s the war?”
Continue reading Home by Sunrise

Staying Alive (excerpt)

Nonfiction by | January 13, 2019

Tita Lacambra-Ayala takes her time with friendship. One might think her a forbidding presence in public, with her pursed lips and sharp eyes, watching over everything in all-knowing silence. She is a true Crone. In our initial encounters, I didn’t dare speak to her without being summoned.

I can’t say when she decided we could be friends, although she did come to the launching of my book Women Loving in December 2009, offering a newly-reprinted copy of her first book, Sunflower Poems in exchange for mine, saying that these were her Baguio poems. She meant to underscore something we had in common: living in Baguio City then moving to Mindanao to start anew. She also gave me a coco-bead necklace that clashed with my dress, but which I wore anyway like a talisman. When she placed it over my head herself, it made me feel like a graduate receiving a medal for academic excellence. Or maybe a medal of valor. It didn’t matter that nobody got me flowers.

I remember on International Women’s Day the following year after a meeting of the Davao Writers Guild, Ricky de Ungria asked her whom she was currently reading. Tita quickly replied: “Lilia Chua, Edith Tiempo, Marjorie Evasco, Ophie Dimalanta, Jhoanna Cruz.”

I had long been a feminist, but I felt like that moment had turned me into a feminist writer, joining a weave of women writing of their experiences as women and for each other. But regardless of the politics, I couldn’t quite get over the fact that Tita Ayala was reading me. Never mind those poetry anthologies that excluded me! I needed to keep writing because Tita was reading me. Continue reading Staying Alive (excerpt)

Pangarap ni Fahed

Poetry by | December 23, 2018

Salaysay sa akin ni Inay
Nasa sinapupunan pa lamang ako
May digmaan nang sumiklab sa Gaza.
At nang pumasok ako sa Madrasah
Natigil naman itong pansamantala
Dahil binomba pati ang aming eskwela.
Kahit na noong minsang nakipaglaro ako
Sa kalsada kasama sina Bashaar at Saleh
Nagsasalitan ang aming mga sigaw
Sa nakabibinging putukan ng mga baril.
Napakalalim ng sugat sa mukha ng galak
Pagkat sa lupa sindak ang namumulaklak.
Sa bayan walang nakakikilala
Nang dalisay na pagmamahal
Pagkat ang laging nakakasalamuha
Sa palibot ay ang matinding poot.
Mapusyaw ang kulay ng bukas
Pagkat ang usok ng pulbura’y
Ulap na humahabong sa papawirin.
Ngunit may pakpak ang aking pangarap
Matulin naming liliparin ni Buraq
Ang paraisong bukal ng karunungan,
Isang masigasig na pakikipagsapalaran
Na tanging layunin ay sunsunin
Ang kapayapaang kaytagal nang naglaho
Kasabay ng aming mga awit, tula at kuwento,
Mga pamanang itinatangi ng buong lahi.

Agosto 9, 2014


Si Edgar Bacong ay awtor ng Habagat at Niyebe, isang kalipunan ng mga tulang Filipino at Cebuano na nilathala ng Tuluyang Pinoy Zurich at Mindanews noong 2005. Ilan sa kanyang mga akda ay mababasa sa mga antolohiyang Ani ng Cultural Center of the Philippines, Obverse 2 ng Pinoypoets at The Best of Dagmay 2007 to 2009. Si G. Bacong ay tubong Dabaw at nakapagtapos ng Bachelor of Arts in Sociology sa Ateneo de Davao University. Dahil sa pag-ibig ay nilisan niya ang bayang kinalakhan at kasalukuyang naninirahan sa Zurich, Switzerland.

Badya

Poetry by | December 23, 2018

Sa halip na ulan, dugo ang ipinandilig
Sa nagbabagang daan at mga palayan
Pagbungad ng Abril sa Kidapawan.

Sa halip na bigas, bala ang itinugon
Ng mapanupil na mga sundalo’t goon
Sa mga magsasakang nagugutom.

Sa halip na kapayapaan, dahas ang itinanim
Ng mga awtoridad sa mga puso’t damdamin
Ng mga mamamayang kahirapa’y idinaing.

Sa halip na buhay, kamatayan ang iginawad
Ng gobyernong ang pagsisilbi ay huwad
Sa mga tagahatid ng pagkain sa ating hapag.

Nang bumungad ang nakapapasong Abril
At patuloy na nabibitak ang mga bukirin
Nagbabadya ito ng masamang pangitain—

LAKAS AT SANDATA’Y LIKUMIN!


Si Edgar Bacong ay awtor ng Habagat at Niyebe, isang kalipunan ng mga tulang Filipino at Cebuano na nilathala ng Tuluyang Pinoy Zurich at Mindanews noong 2005. Ilan sa kanyang mga akda ay mababasa sa mga antolohiyang Ani ng Cultural Center of the Philippines, Obverse 2 ng Pinoypoets at The Best of Dagmay 2007 to 2009. Si G. Bacong ay tubong Dabaw at nakapagtapos ng Bachelor of Arts in Sociology sa Ateneo de Davao University. Dahil sa pag-ibig ay nilisan niya ang bayang kinalakhan at kasalukuyang naninirahan sa Zurich, Switzerland.

Cuba: Sa Mata Ng Isang Turista

Poetry by | December 23, 2018

Ipinagbunyi ko ang tagumpay ng rebolusyon
na natamo ni Che sa lalawigan ng Sta. Clara
at nadatna’y masiglang sayawan sa Mejunje.

Inamoy ko ang samyo ng rebolusyon
sa sakahan ng mga guajiro sa Vinales
at nalanghap ay maaskad na tabako.

Hiniging ko ang awit ng rebolusyon
sa mga kalye’t parke ng Cienfuegos
at nakisaliw ang babaeng namalimos.

Kinalugdan ko ang rilag ng rebolusyon
sa kolonyal na bayan ng Trinidad
at humarang ang kabulaanan sa daan.

Hinangaan ko ang diwa ng rebolusyon
na kasinlinis ng dagat ng Varadero
at hinimlaya’y inaanay na edipisyo.

Dinalaw ko ang pangako ng rebolusyon
sa malawak na Plaza de la Revolucion
at binusalan bawat kataga ng pagpuna.

At nang lasapin ko ang bunga ng rebolusyon
sa mga hapag ng paladar ng Habana Vieja
binusog ako ng ‘sang pinggang katotohanan.

Marso 3, 2015
Zurich, Switzerland


Si Edgar Bacong ay awtor ng Habagat at Niyebe, isang kalipunan ng mga tulang Filipino at Cebuano na nilathala ng Tuluyang Pinoy Zurich at Mindanews noong 2005. Ilan sa kanyang mga akda ay mababasa sa mga antolohiyang Ani ng Cultural Center of the Philippines, Obverse 2 ng Pinoypoets at The Best of Dagmay 2007 to 2009. Si G. Bacong ay tubong Dabaw at nakapagtapos ng Bachelor of Arts in Sociology sa Ateneo de Davao University. Dahil sa pag-ibig ay nilisan niya ang bayang kinalakhan at kasalukuyang naninirahan sa Zurich, Switzerland.

Pasubali Sa Isang Kaibigan

Poetry by | December 23, 2018

Minsan na tayong namuhay
sa isang lipunang takot at dahas
ang pinairal ng mga namumuno.
Sa nayon at syudad sumambulat
ang libu-libong puso’t bungong
tanging hangad ay magpanday
nang maaliwalas na pangarap
para sa liping biyaya ay salat.
Ngunit gaya nilang naninindigan
at kumakalinga sa kapwa
di tayo natinag sa lakas at sandata
ng mga berdugong walang kaluluwa.
Tuwi-tuwi na, pinanghihinaan tayo ng loob
subali’t kailanma’y di natin isinuko
ang tangan-tangang idealismo
at higit sa lahat wala tayong
ipinagkanulong mga tao.
Nabuhay tayo sa taimtim na pananalig
at pagpapalaganap ng ating pinakabuod—
Hindi, hindi nauutas ng bala
ang masalimuot nating problema.


Si Edgar Bacong ay awtor ng Habagat at Niyebe, isang kalipunan ng mga tulang Filipino at Cebuano na nilathala ng Tuluyang Pinoy Zurich at Mindanews noong 2005. Ilan sa kanyang mga akda ay mababasa sa mga antolohiyang Ani ng Cultural Center of the Philippines, Obverse 2 ng Pinoypoets at The Best of Dagmay 2007 to 2009. Si G. Bacong ay tubong Dabaw at nakapagtapos ng Bachelor of Arts in Sociology sa Ateneo de Davao University. Dahil sa pag-ibig ay nilisan niya ang bayang kinalakhan at kasalukuyang naninirahan sa Zurich, Switzerland.