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Fiction by | September 14th, 2014

Puyat ako kagabi. Masama ang loob dahil natalo sa sugal. Pero gumising pa rin ako nang maaga kanina. Inilabas ang karne sa freezer. Naglinis ng bahay. Mga alas dies ng umaga, sinimulan ang pagluluto.

Darating kasi si Kulot. Dadaan daw sya nang bahay bago sya lumipad pabalik ng Luzon.

Kahapon nagtext kami. Sabi nya, pananghalian daw sya pupunta. 

Mag-aalas dos na ngayon, wala pa sya.

“Ambagal kasi ng nasakyan ko,” text niya sa akin.

“Ang sabi mo lunch. Anong oras na? Nasayang ang oras ko. May lakad ako dapat,” sagot ko.

“Sorry. Pwede pa ba akong pumunta dyan?” tanong nya.

Hindi na ako nagreply. Tinantya ko kung gaano pa kalayo ang panggagalingan niya. Mahigit isang oras pa na byahe.

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My Vagina is Magical

Poetry by | September 14th, 2014

My vagina is magical, but not in the way
drugs, or weight loss programs, or hair removal products swear they are, no—
my vagina is magical in a macabre and ancient way. It stretches
back to the time of Eve in the Holy Garden, who
after taking a bite out of the Forbidden Fruit,
discovered her own holy garden; it stretches
back to the priestesses who read prophecies
in stars and bones and shells. Pleasure
is not just her purpose, it is one of her powers, please do not
get that twisted. My vagina
is magical, and every month I pay for that magic
with the currency of pain and anxiety, but I do not care
if I have to endure again and again, I would gladly trade
white pants for unspeakable power, because these lips
between my legs, they can speak in cycles
of blood that wanes and waxes like the moon, the same moon
that wild wolves howl to. My vagina is the cup
that can hold the miracle of Life, a song
written in cells and tissues and nine months. We are
unstoppable, my vagina and I, because we have proven
that bleeding for days and nights does not kill a woman. We have proven
that we can endure razors and hot wax against our trembling flesh, just so
we can be acknowledged by a judging public as
“clean” and “feminine”. We have braved ridicule
and shame after we so sincerely admitted
that we would rather feel the pressing of soft
downstairs lips to the pounding and prodding of a male shaft.
My vagina is a titan enclosed
in warm, velveteen layers of flesh. My vagina
is a portal made of love and strength
to welcome new chapters of life into this world. My vagina
is a masterpiece that nobody will ever have the power nor privilege
to taint, or mock, or hurt, or ridicule, because my vagina
is magical. She is made of the most beautiful witchcraft
and she is not anyone’s to take.

Nina Maria Matalam-Alvarez is a Creative Writing student at UP Mindanao. She loves reading stories as much as she loves writing them. Good poems make her cry. Good music makes her cry. Her dog makes her cry. This piece was performed at litVrgy, the fifth installment of the LitOrgy series, at Saless Bar Tekanplor last August 30.

To Enter Valhalla

Fiction by | September 14th, 2014

One moment Dr. Gumatao was in the operating room and the next, he was standing on a grassy hill gently sloping towards a long wooden building. Noel felt a presence to his side. He turned, and saw the tallest woman he had ever seen. She stood a full head over him, and she was wore a multi-hued tunic and brass bangles on her wrists and ankles. On her left she propped up a wooden shield almost as tall as she was. Instinctively he held up his hand with the thing that he gripped there. It was a moment before he realized, with much embarrassment, that it was his scalpel. A tiny scalpel.

The woman flashed a wide toothy smile. “Greetings, Awang, and welcome!”

Awang? He had not been called that since he was a child, and only by Nana, who never accepted his Christian name. “How do you know…?”

“Here you are known by your true name.”

“Where is here? What is this place? Why am I here?”

“Here is Tambaran. In your heart of hearts you know what this place is. You are here because you have been found worthy.”

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Teo and the Time Traveler

Fiction by | September 7th, 2014

I must have been around 12 back then. Monday. I was supposed to go to school but Papa didn’t let me. “We’re going somewhere,” he said. He had a stern expression and an unnatural seriousness about him; and if it wasn’t for that, I would have complained. Unlike other children my age, I was precocious and I valued studying as much as a kid would with playing.

We left home around 5:30am. Only the distant crows of roosters and subtle sounds of people in their homes preparing for the day marred the silent air. No rowdy neighbors, no busy streets; our neighborhood held a certain sophistication that real estate subdivisions had. Cold air embraced the town despite the morning sun. Leaves swayed ever so slightly, letting dew slide down like beads of precious stones. The tinted window of the car filtered the sunrise but it still looked as immaculate as it should. Our speed changed and blurred the scene outside but it stayed frigid, like a golden coin tossed into heaven and stayed where it rightfully belonged. It felt like an anchor to reality, to the world, which—given my age—was incomprehensible to me.

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The Art in the Setting Sun

Fiction by | August 31st, 2014

“Do you know I have had eighty-six books, apo?” he asked.

His muscles were weak enough to rock the rocking chair, or to extend and touch my hands to confirm I am there beside him. The sunset made his face shadowy, and his thin, grey hair orange. Too sad he couldn’t see the sun swallowed by the horizon when it was just in front of his house. I want to describe it for him, but I didn’t know how to.

“Do you know I have had eighty-six books, apo?” he asked again. I nodded, as though he could hear it. “Forty-nine days ago, it was eighty-six. Now, there’s just thirty seven left.” He paused to inhale. His breathing was so slow it alarmed me every time he did it. “When it reached eighty-six, I know I am dying. I’m so weak and, perhaps, pale. I decided to give them to everyone that passes by the house.”

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Ang Pakigstorya Kang Inday

Poetry by | August 31st, 2014

Karon, kitang duha adunay higayon na magkaistorya
Pero dako akong kaguol kung unsa akoang isulti sa imoha.
Nahadlok ko mogamit ko og mga jamming nimo
Kay basin dili ka ganahan og mamali ang akoang tiyempo.
Karon naa sa akong atubagan na tika
Wa na ko’y laing mabuhat kundi makipagstorya jud sa imoha
Apan, unsaon ko man lagi ni?
Kung naa ka, hilomon man ning tawhana ni.
Pero matod pa ni Buber,
Na ang pakigstorya kinahanglan lang akong kaugalingon
Kay wala na’y mas lain pang nindot na ika ingon
Kundi ang akong kasing-kasing na matinud-anon.
Mao nang wala na koy jamming na iingon pa
Kay ang tanan nakong isulti angay jud sa imoha.
Di nako kinahanglan mo sulti og pampabukhad atay
Kay kini mismo akong tula para lang kanimo Inday.

Si Karlo usa ka estudyante AB Pilosopiya sa Ateneo de Davao University.

A Certain Girl

Poetry by | August 31st, 2014

She walks in beauty, like the night; elegance unmatched
Her bright eyes and a smile that dazzles akin to the stars
I am enchanted by her gaze; left truly powerless
To win her love is a verdant garden
Alluring and willful, truly a queen of love and beauty.

Here Comes

Poetry by | August 31st, 2014

Here comes the dripping rain,
Of clouds pour out,
Drip-drop, drip-drop,
Canopies covering,
Fellows rushing.
Here comes the resounding laughter,
Of children ought to bare,
Astounding belches,
Skreaking blunder,
Thunder, thunder.
Here comes the clamping mornings,
Wrestle the blankets,
Dewy grasslands,
Children run,
Till the rain comes again.

Art is a Computer Science student from Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan.


Poetry by | August 31st, 2014

It came in early today.
I thought he’d send it later in the afternoon.
Yesterday, he said he was too busy
to look for it.
“It’s somewhere in those boxes of ragged clothes,
old toys, dusty books.
I’ll look for it when I have time.” he said.
I offered a hand in the search, but he shrugged
it off, said he didn’t need it.
He always does that.
I took it out from the tattered box.
It has patches all over it’s dusty carcass.
The laces can’t be tangled together: too short.
But, aside from the little damages, it was okay, till
I turned it upside down; spikes all worn out.
They look more like miniature humps on an
ancient road.
But, again, spikes are spikes. Even if
they would not hold my feet firm
on the ground.
And then it came to me,
was it too big, again, for my size.
“You need not buy a new one.
It’ll suffice. Just use it.” he said, while
carrying Tita’s bag, one Sunday afternoon.
He’s always like that;
passing hand-me-down shoes to me.
I’d accept it though. And use them during play-offs.
I’d run in marathons, play in ball games, wearing
shoes twice the size of my feet.
And as always, I’d fall short.
“Your shoes are too big,” they said, “try these on.
I think we’re of the same size.”
I’d shrug them off. “I don’t need it.” I’d say.
And continue with what I was doing, in
my dad’s shoes.
But this time, I didn’t like the idea
of running around the diamond, with loose pair
of studs. So I decided to try it on. If it didn’t fit,
I’d buy a new one: the pair of my choice.
That simple.
I slid my right foot in,
same goes with the other.
And surprisingly,
they fit perfectly.

Sums is a graduating Education student at Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan.

Truth Serum

Fiction by | August 24th, 2014

Warning: the following story contains strong language and profanity.

Carlos Agape, bagman for the Batangas Cartel, sat on the high-backed wooden chair, his hands held down with leather straps on its arm rests. A slime of drool and vomit trailed down from the corner of his open mouth to his neck. His head was tilted back and his breathing was shallow.

“God, that took a while, but it was worth it,” Jose said with a yawn and pushed himself away from the desk. The desk was littered with notebooks and spreadsheets. On one side was the tape recorder, still running; on the other was the medical bag with vials of sodium pentathol and syringes.

“Pretty risky move back there,” Bert said, “That triple dose almost killed him.”

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