Modern Meat

Poetry by | April 8, 2018

If the pig could talk, we’d be best friends.

Sadly here I am in the diner, partaking

of his broken flesh in solitude. Amidst

the frying rain and cooking oil

leaping from the pans in the kitchen

the afternoon chatter comes the way

it always has, the slow familiar haze

melting into noise I’d later find

once again in sleep. Hearing

has its downsides that no one says

are real or ever tells you, the least

of which that you must listen, use

what you have or let it fade away.

I might meet a word in my dreams

and ask if I could join the others,

or maybe melt their waxen wings

or even pluck them off their backs

to give to those who couldn’t fly,

by themselves or otherwise. Gladly

I’d give my own and sink to mud

if it meant that even pigs could see

that vast cerulean sky, or even my mind,

not that I’ve used it much these days,

that those sent to the slaughter could scream

before facing the blades,” Wait!”

And maybe lesser beings could rise,

could ask their biped overlords

to give them what was theirs by right.

Give them time. Give them life.

John Oliver Ladaga hailed from Iligan, but calls Davao his home, and UP Mindanao his alma mater. He memes in a desk.

An Interview with Paul Randy Gumanao

Interview by | March 25, 2018

Paul Randy Gumanao has been one of Dagmay’s most prolific contributors since 2009, when he was still a student at Ateneo de Davao University. Paul writes across different genres, from poetry to fiction to social commentary, and is as evocative in Bisaya as in English. He is, however, best known for his poetry, which is rich with concrete and lush imagery. (Read Paul’s past works on Dagmay.)

Paul Randy Gumanao giving a lecture at Taboan literary festival.

D: When I first met you, you were a BS Chem student at Ateneo. What have you been up to since you graduated?

PR: After my graduation in 2012 and after I got my license as a chemist, I had a brief stint as a chemistry instructor in one of the colleges in my hometown. I did not stay long in the institution because I wanted to explore opportunities outside my comfort zone. I landed another job in a third-party quality control laboratory in General Santos, where I was in-charge of the chemistry department. It was also during that time when I decided to pursue graduate studies, so I enrolled in the MS in Chemistry program at Ateneo while being employed at the same time.

D: The quality control lab sounds like a seriously technical job. What did you do there, specifically?

PR: The bulk of my job in the lab was analyzing toxins in products of the different fishing and canning companies in the region. At first, I relished the experience, but I eventually got bored as the procedures became very familiar and plainly mechanical as the days passed. Examining whole tunas weighing as heavy as 50 kilograms was a very taxing job for my 45-kilogram body!

Continue reading An Interview with Paul Randy Gumanao

Su Mga Ngiyawa Kanu Inged / Ang Mga Kaluluwa Sa Bayan

Poetry by | March 18, 2018

Begalibuteng, begkalibuteng su sambel sa laya
Laya na minenggay sa ngiyawa kanu manusiya
Manusiya ang pakapanadeng sa kambayabaya
Kambayaya siya kanu pangingedan a dala den ngiyawa.

Begkukuyog, bedtapuk, begkaleg i kabedsila
Bedsila su gadong a bangawidan sa laya
Laya a pinamulan sa umani inam nu isa
Isa su inged nami a tidtu a nabinasa.

Siya kanu atag nu inged a pakagedam sa kayaw
Kayaw na inilagid sa naraka a mana nin sindaw
Sindaw na ngiyawa nu inged a Magindanaw
Magindanaw na inakes nu inam a migkatenggaw.

Kanu dala pan matay su inam nu inged
Inged a pibpipiyanan nu umanu susuled
Susuled kano kapatot a bagadatan sa pened
Pened bon i kasakit nu inam a natebped.

Sa dalem nu puasa na saksi su ulan-ulan,
Ulan-ulan na kabedsimba salkanin a kadnan
Kadnan a labi a pakataw sa gatamanan
Gatamanan a ibendua umanu gasimpitan.

Su mga bamedtulog a walay na inisayog
Inisayog bun mambo su embabatay a bedtog
Bedtog siya sa didalem u malong a mana ibembedtog
Ibembedtog sa kabegakgilek sa semakwil a midtudtundog.

Mimbaba su mga mama a nakagadong
Nakagadong a aden matalem nilan a pinadtitimpong
Pinadtitimpong su mga Magindanon a midtetendong
Midtetendong sa nadtatanggit nilan a malong.

Limalag kami den siya kanu mga benday
Benday a niya bu gasandeng su natagak a walay
Walay a nambabamatan nu umani embabatay
Embabatay a nangatagak su suled nilan a isa den a bangkay

Nangalimod kami siya kanu ludep nu padiyan
Padiyan a nabaluy a walay a gapagalaguyan
Gapagalaguyan sa timpu nu kasimpitan
Kasimpitan sa kadala nu kalilintad nu pangingedan.

Isa aku kanu Magindandanon a wata
Wata a migkasela sa inged a Moro i bangsa
Bangsa nami a malagan den madadag kanu mapa
Mapa nu Pilipinas a di kami galinyan pakambamata.

Malipedes kanu pamusungan nu isa su kabenalan
Kabenalan na dala sa makatagu sa kanu pagitungan
Pagitungan a midtaman siya kanu talasilan
Talasilan na umanu ngiyawa na aden tudtulan nilan

Niyaba su tudtulan nu ngiyawa nami a bamangeni
Bamangeni sa dua sa kadnan a di kami lemimpangi
Lemimpangi sa kadsususleda endu kabpapagari
Kabpapagari siya kanu kalilintad nu inged nami.

Continue reading Su Mga Ngiyawa Kanu Inged / Ang Mga Kaluluwa Sa Bayan

Ekphrasis on a Baguio Hilltop

Poetry by | March 18, 2018

Crest a hill in the city of pines just after an evening meal, one with an overview of another incline. It doesn’t matter if the other hill towers over the one you are on, it’s the hillside that matters.

Pick a light, one brighter than most; not the gilded glow of sodium street lights, the ones lining the main roads for traffic, nor their silvery residential counterparts, and definitely not the ones that are in motion, staying either ahead or behind the vehicles carrying them, as they all will fade and wink out, as if the world were trying to forget this part of it, as you soon shall see. Pick one that stands out, like a construction site’s floodlights, or maybe one from a steeple or belfry, one brighter than necessary.

Continue reading Ekphrasis on a Baguio Hilltop

A Portrait of a Lost Love

Poetry by | March 18, 2018

(for my beloved Jason)

In these cornered apartment walls
I drew a
a portrait of
painted with the brush of my fingertips
using the colors of whispered love

Your face
a canvass
my fingers brush
the corners of your eyes
pupils like rare blue pearls from Samal
nose as high as Mount Apo
your cheeks and chin
covered by freshly cut bermuda grass
lips as pink as sweet pomelos

my fingers brush
down to your neck that Talomo River envies
to the gentle hill of your Adam’s apple
down to the crevices of your clavicles
shaped like two nipa baskets
that would catch wandering kisses

In these cornered apartment walls
my masterpiece
was lost
what only remains
the imprints of suitcases on the rumpled bedsheets
the twisted bath towels in the shower rack
the unwashed plates and utensils hungrily
gulping the staccato drips from the faucet

my masterpiece
was lost
only love
cracking dry in the palette

Glyd Jun Arañes works as a professional linguist at Appen. He was a fellow at the 2010 ADDU Writers Workshop and the 2011 Davao Writers Workshop.

Moon Phases

Poetry by | March 18, 2018

Remind yourself that the moon
Does not need the consent
Of the sun to make
it whole again;
You can be whole again

KG Vitualla was born in Panabo City. He is currently taking up Enterprise Management at the University of Southeastern Philippines Tagum Mabini Campus.

Sunday Afternoon

Poetry by | March 18, 2018

Tangled bodies and bed sheets
sweaty from the sweltering heat
limbs refuse to move an inch
waiting for the slightest wind
finding comfort in discomfort
for what it’s worth
then the body clock says get up
and limbs untangle
and she becomes a she
and he becomes a he
and the sheets are now just sheets
drying up
growing cold
from the absence.

Krizza Jan D. Ceniza is an AB Mass Communication student from the Ateneo de Davao University.

My San Pedro Street

Nonfiction by | March 11, 2018

For someone who was born outside, I defined Davao City as our destination for buying school supplies and watching movies. There were no decent cinemas where I came from. When I officially moved to Davao to pursue my university degree, way back in 2000, I found myself re-defining the city in a different way.

In 2012, I decided to document the city’s center, San Pedro Street. This project was inspired by academic papers by UP Mindanao professors: one on architectural landmarks by Architect Rowena Delgado, and another on the aspect of urban decay by Roberto Alabado III. Both were published in Banwa, the Multidisciplinary Journal of UP Mindanao. Their point was that since development was sprawling outside the city, the city’s center, where most architectural landmarks were located, was in danger of becoming overlooked and at worst forgotten.

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I asked, “Is San Pedro Street overlooked?” I also pondered on what would make people think about San Pedro. Back then, I was exploring street photography and its capacity to tell stories with just a photograph. I decided to take a creative adventure.

Continue reading My San Pedro Street