Boob Tube Monologue

Fiction by | October 14, 2007

My little brother returned home two days ago from Diliman for the vacation. Now, he sits beside me while I navigate the channels to check what television networks have in store for the summer.

Not a minute passes that David says, “I don’t like that they call our generation the Generation Y.”

I turn to look at David. Only eighteen years of age, a year younger than I, and having to spend two of those years in that university, and look now what he thinks the world is doing to him.

“It’s a slap to our face that we are named so because we have a predecessor that was labeled Generation X. It’s that structuralism thing. You are named this because you are after that. Blah…blah…blah…”

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War Diary

Nonfiction by | October 14, 2007

(Excerpted from the book Diary of the War: WWII Memoirs of Lt. Col. Anastacio Campo by Maria Virginia Yap Morales, published by Ateneo de Manila University Press, Quezon City, 2006)

Grandfather is remembered as the provincial commander Capt. Anastacio Campo (provincial inspector) of Davao, his last assignment before he retired after twenty-four years of military service in December 1939. He was farming when Davao was bombed by the Japanese forces. He promptly joined the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) which was organized by Pres, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in July 1941. At that time, the Philippines was in a transition period called the Philippine Commonwealth under U.S. rule. Grandfather was promoted to major during the war. He finally retired thereafter, in July 1948, with an upgraded rank of lieutenant colonel.

After the war, Grandfather lost the strength of both of his legs and walked with the aid of a cane. But he always stood tall and lean, with a straight back owing to his military training. He had deep-set and attentive eyes, a tall nose, and a calm manner. He was fondly called “Tacio” by my Grandmother Remedios whom he called “Meding.” All of us grandchildren called him “Lolo Tacio.”

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Madaling araw kung dumalaw ang kalungkutan

Poetry by | October 14, 2007

Madaling araw kung dumalaw ang kalungkutan
Sumasabay siya sa marahas na haplit ng hangin
at ragasa ng ulan
Katabi mo siya sa iyong paggising.

Muli,
Hahagilapin ang mga lumang larawan,
Bubuksan ang baul at babasahing muli
ang mga lumang liham,
Dadampian ng malamyos na halik
ang mga alaalang naiwan.

Madaling araw kung dumalaw ang kalungkutan
Mapipilitan kang magtimpla ng kape’t
Almusalin ang agam-agam.

Bukidnon

Poetry by | October 14, 2007

Wala na ang dating lamig.
Naglaho na ang gubat.
Subalit may naiwan pa ring halina
at kulay ang kalikasan:
Sinusuyod ng makapal na hamog ang hita’t dibdib ng kabundukan
Habang banayad na naglalakbay ang puti-abuhing ulap
sa ibabaw ng amoy-pinipig na palayan.
Sa pagitan ng maalikabok at pakiwalkiwal na daan
Nagpapaligsahan sa pag-aagaw ng pansin
ang mga ligaw na sanplawer
sa malawak na plantasyon ng tubo, saging at pinya
At sa makikisig na kabayong sa kaburula’y
Waring mga tanod ng Bathala sa lupa.

Himutok ng Isang Nanakawan

Poetry by | October 14, 2007

(Para kay Teng)

Kung nanakawan ka’t nagising
Na wala na ang iyong pitaka, relos o singsing
o dili kaya’y ang nakasabit na pantalong mamahalin,
Saan ibubunton ang hinaing?
Sa aso bang di man lang tumahol at nanggising,
sa bombilya bang antukin
o sa bakod na kay daling lundagin?
Sino ang sisisihin?
Ay! Sana’y di na ako nagising
at ngayo’y parang torong sumisingasing
Ay! Ayaw ko nang muli pang malasing!

The Black Moor

Fiction by | October 7, 2007

“So how’s everything?”

If only one could establish a pattern from its movements, he could perhaps assume that it is perfecting a complicated terpsichorean sequence. “Mmm… Okay.”

“Well, I will just tell the guys you’re coming home during the sem break. Perhaps you will have news to tell by then.”

The black fish in the bowl moved to the right wagging its tail as if calling attention to its translucence. “What? Ah, yah, sure…bye.”

It hurled upwards. Its mouth formed a small “o” while meeting these brownish crumbs its owner, the eldest son of the landlady, was sprinkling into the bowl.

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Minatamis

Poetry by | October 7, 2007

Sinfully glazed
With warm sugar
Cubed bananas
Sit lap-to-lap
Overlapping
Competing for my
Attention

I pinched the topmost
Piece with the fork
In my hand
Some juice squirting

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Yang Agta / The Giant

Folklore by | October 7, 2007

Narrated by Patrocinio Lemente , 48 years old, Bangaga, Davao Oriental

Awon adlaw na ako yakadto sang suba dapit sang kawakatan. Yamunit ako ng daro-daro mga alas dos ng dum da. Pagpamunit ko ng daro-daro sang isa isa ka oras yatinga ako yawa ing kanak mga timaan. Doon tungod ng kyahuna-hunaan ing Ginoo. Yanguros ako tapos kalit ko kit-an ing agta. Mga siete ing kataas, mahaba ing buhok, bagas na mapuwa ing mata, tapos yagahinukot. Pagtanaw ko sang awog iyan ing baroto, yusakay dayon ako wa da ako lingi, yudiretso lang ako pagtabok sang awog. Gikan sidto di da ako mag-kadto sang suba.

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Yang Itlog / The Egg

Folklore by | October 7, 2007

Narrated in Mandaya by Lucia Minglana, 83 years old, Baganga, Davao Oriental

Awon mag-asawa na yaminyo ng diyes ka tuig way anak. Pagkuan yangayo silan ng anak sang ginoo. Pagkautaw ing yautaw kay itlog. Ibutang nilan sang lundan ing itlog kay yasawaing silan nangasa itlog ing ihatag. Duon yutogpa yang agila gikan sang mataasay na butay. Ida naan yang itlog sang bukid. Pag- alindu doon yahimo na otaw yang itlog. Gwapahay na bubay.

Duon awon anak ng hari yaniro ng langgam pagkatimprano. Yakaabot yaan nganidto na lugar. Ihangad ng prisipe yang bubay doon kyagustohan man naan. Doon laong ng hari, ‘Tuntuni ako ng buhok mo’ kay ibaton man ng agia yang bubay ngadto taas. Doon yukadto silan ngadto taas apil ing agila. “Daha ing ama mo na hari para pag-istoryahan ta yag kamayo kasal” laong ng agila. Ikadtuhan dayon ng prinsipe yang hari. Iistoryahan naan yang ama naan. Yukadto dayon silan ng kanaan ama. Ipyag-istoryahan dayon nilan ing kasal.

Pagkasal yang agila yutambong. Iimbitar tanan. Duon yagtiyab da ing hari. Iistorya naan yang kaagi ng ya0asawa ng anak naan. Doun pagkadungog sidtong mag-asawa yagdumdom silan kay silan da sa ing awon anak na itlog. Yaghankupan yang mag-asawa. Kita da sa laong ing yanganak ng itlog. Pagkasayod ng hari ipatibo dayon silan sang kanaan palasyo. Idto da agaw silan maghuya.

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a new york poem

Poetry by | September 30, 2007

ten minutes before mass
you slip through the church doors
wrapped with time

you watch the sermon drone on
lifting its message
heavy with guilt
towards the blue
eggshell-painted arches
pillars pointing long white fingers
like stems, elongating
the shadows behind you

you bow your head
and close your eyes
in a brief murmur of amens
golden censers and fragrant incense
chasten your secret sins
dissolving the end of words
as your fingers trace the cross
laid bare on your withered chest

forty minutes later
you step over autumn’s dry leaves
feeling less brittle and
lighter for now.