Magdalena and Scenes of Chronic Poverty

Fiction by | September 16, 2007

It’s About Time You Meet Her
You knew her though, or someone you knew of. We were all aware of her existence that, like wallpapers, we never really took notice. Hers was a familiar face in the crowd with that look of desperation crawling right into you. Her face caked with pustules that nobody dared to touch. Her body looked so thin, her skin tightly embracing her bones. She didn’t possess those black-rimmed glasses and buck teeth (though she had one missing on the upper mouth); she didn’t have braces that completed the criteria for everyday geeks. Her mother barely covered the basics; another strain on their budget was certainly out of the question.

Continue reading Magdalena and Scenes of Chronic Poverty

The Driver’s Blessing

Poetry by | September 9, 2007

One day, I saw a driver
He was getting off his jeep
He ran to the roadside, stood against a wall
And became a priest
He stood with his legs apart
Looked up to the sky above
Bowed down his head in prayer
And clasped his hands in front of his hips
In silent supplication
In fervent adoration
Then he started to perform his rite
And suddenly out gushed
A spray of amber water
The driver has blessed the concrete wall
And washed away its sins

The Sound of Water

Poetry by | September 9, 2007

I like the sound of water
crooning like nature’s song
from a mountain’s secret streams
I like its voice, like a lover’s
echoing whispers
within a pool in a cavern
sometimes subtle, like dew
on a yawning leaf,
it can whoosh as if in a rush
and slap against daring rocks and ridges—
at times oddly thoughtful,
it putters and plops
and trickles on a window sill;
or merry, it blends
with the shrieks and splashes
of running naked limbs—
forbidding, it roars
with the force of an angry ocean;
hurt, it whimpers—the sound
muffled by a confining bottle
or glass—

quiet, it lies gagged and imprisoned,
locked by a trembling eyelid.

The Legend of the Sacred Butterfly

Fiction by | September 9, 2007

Hi there! My name is Zac. I’m a little boy who really liked exploring, but I didn’t understand why father won’t let me do it. “Please Dad, may I go exploring?” I asked when I was four years old. “No!” said Dad, loudly, “Not until your tenth birthday comes.”

Finally, after six years my tenth birthday came.

“Yippee! I can now go wandering into the jungle,” I said excitedly.

“And just who was it who said that you can go wandering into that jungle?”

“You Dad, you told me when I was four years old,” I said nervously.

“What? I didn’t say such a thing,” lied Dad.

Continue reading The Legend of the Sacred Butterfly

Law school, anyone?

Nonfiction by | September 2, 2007

To my beloved ones: If I had chosen to stay in law school, I would not be here doing the most important things in the world. Like lying flat on my belly and looking up at the ceiling while dialing the numbers of my friends and lost loves. Or memorizing my Kanji and Hiragana. Or “googling” for scholarships abroad. Wondering what Warren Buffet’s Cherry Coke tastes like. Trying to recount all my significant and memorable days and then feeling sorry for myself after knowing that I only have a few memorable events to recall. Knowing that, at least compared to the others, I am more blessed—never made it easy. Trying to fool myself I am great. Deleting the memories of courtrooms, case digests, case recitations, exams, articles, statutes, and ordinances from my brain and digging deep into my heart for that feeling of integrity and honor I used to have for myself. Playing with my shadow and the shadows of my study lamp, law books piled on top of my study table littered with post-its. Languidly staring at my reflection through the mirror. Wanting to feel remorse for the people I had hurt or hated. Examining the consequences of my choices and finding my way out through literature—I am now, in fact, beginning to read about elves and the geisha. Part of my brain is saying something is missing. There is something I had failed to understand. Is the time to reason all I have now left? Has my time to go back and analyze that missing something passed me by?

Continue reading Law school, anyone?

When I talk

Poetry by | September 2, 2007

When I talk
To you and you answer
With a sigh or
Asterisk I am at
A loss

For words just
As well
And then we converse
In long
Or short
Silences and a smattering
Of footnotes

You and I
We do not talk anymore
And all our asterisks
Are turning
Into flowers.

I was told you just died

Poetry by | September 2, 2007

All day long for two days I had longed to see you
Now you are dead
And all I have is this desire
Monumental and cracked
To run as fast as I can
Into the unyielding heat of the desert sun
Into the hot fury of my own heart
Where love long and immemorial
Could not save you
I was told you smiled on your way out
Knowing you it had to be the thousand little golden stars of your childhood
The ones that named you after their own light
Because like them you too are brilliant
And of another world
You were perhaps seven or eight again
Or maybe a grown man as you are now
Comforting yourself as you begin to die
Among the same stars that came to you in the same dream
Always in the softest glow and the scent of cinnamon

Ang Bisita

Fiction by | August 26, 2007

Kalit na sab siyang miduaw kanako; walay pahibalo, walay pananghid. Wa´siya mituktok o nag- Ayooo man lang kaha. Wa´siya mi-lamano sa akong kamot o migawad nako ug halok; iyaha lang hinay-hinay dayon kalit nga gikumot ang akong dughan, gisikaran ang akong pus-on, gipuga ang akong mga luha, gikawat ang nahabilin pang nindot nga mga talan-awon sa akong kinabuhi. Kanus-a niya ko undangan o biyaan? Dugay na niya kong gipaantus, gisamdan, gihaplasag asin dayon giihaw diha sa baga sa kasakit. Wa´siyay dagway apan makit-an ko siya sa daghang mga butang nga makapahinumdom nako sa kagahapon. Wa´siyay tingog apan madunggan nako siya sa talidhay nga pag-atras sa mga balud. Wa´siyay baho apan masimhotan ko siya sa asin sa dagat, sa makabuang nga baho sa durian, sa alimyon sa Ylang-ylang. Gani, kalit na lamang siyang mamintana sa akong handurawan dihang makahunahuna ko niining mga butanga. Usahay duawon niya ko sa akong damgo ug biyaan niya kong nagdanguyngoy hangtud pukawon ko sa unang sidlak sa kabuntagon. Wa´siyay kaluoy, sama sa pagpangtortyur sa militar panahon sa diktador, sama sa kanhing mga kauban sa ilahang pagpanglikida. Wa´siyay kasingkasing.

Dugay na nako siyang gilikayan apan kanunay niya kong giapas, gidakup. Maayo siya sa pagpang-ambus. Maayo siya sa sorpresa. Morag usa ka gerilya, lungsod ka nga kalit na lang niyang atakehon ug kubkubon. Ug dis-armahan.

Buot nako siyang dakpon, kadenahan o isulod sa usa ka garapon. Apan nasayod ko nga makalingkawas ra gihapon siya ug moduaw balik nako. Sama sa abat, sama sa kalag. Hangtud buhi ug abli pa kining akong mga samad.

A Flash Fiction Trio

Fiction by | August 26, 2007

Physical Experiment
If there is no net force, there can be no acceleration.

She met him in her Physics class, listening attentively from his seat in the front row. What is there to know about the law of gravity or Newton’s laws of motion? Only abstract concepts made tangible by experiment. But she taught this to her class anyhow. Like she did not admit that opposites really do attract, and that objects inevitably fall, and that bodies of matter do not move unless something (or someone) exerts some kind of force on them.

The net force on an object is proportional to the acceleration that the object undergoes.

The interested look in his eyes made her uneasy. She felt like one of her peers in high school who fell head over heels in love with some cute teenage boy winking at them in the hallway. The boy’s eyes gleamed with admiration and when he smiled, she swooned over him.

For every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

Once, while walking down the pathway alone, he offered to carry her books. She could not even stare back at him as she handed him the books. Both of them spoke sparingly. But he would whistle against the cool, crisp air. And he had such a confident and majestic air about him, so that when they walked side by side, he wasn’t a boy anymore but indeed a full-grown man.

Continue reading A Flash Fiction Trio