It is cosmic. But why do we try
reducing it precisely to habits?
Perhaps it sleeps, too, and wakes
to a new day like we do.
It sits momentarily, reviews a list of needs
and few serviceable tasks in a day.
Perhaps it looks for a quick inspiration, too.
A good call, or a response to a message
which has not been read for a couple of hours.
Neither circumstances nor excuses will ever
lose its value. After conflicts and neglects,
it restores and seeks itself again.
Perhaps it finds a new space
sometimes: once in a week, a month or two.
How long can it travel alone? It learns
where it stumbles upon itself.
It does not know it loves
because sometimes it reads too much.
It raises a mirror to itself and gazes
long at what it only wants to see,
and throws a question it cannot even answer.
Only when it demands, it delivers
a disappointed look.
It also hates and does not accept,
even itself. When it is in pain, it goes back
to where it once found itself easy.
It strangles with both hands but stops
to a sight of love, open as widening palms.
Then it goes home, empties out its pockets
full of ever-hefty disquiet.
Later, before it rests, it remembers
and holds a new precious thought.
Only it knows how it always wishes itself best.
Arian Tejano graduated from UP Mindanao. She’s currently residing in Dumaguete City in pursuit of writing, her transition and a new life.
I used to live in Tabon-Tabon, a remote barrio in Tandag — a place where people wake up early to the crowing of roosters and the coming of dawn. People here wash clay pots at a nearby well, chop logs for fire behind their homes, and carry shovels, rusted sickles, and enough food and water to last the whole day in the farm. Early each morning, men and some women walk in a ceremonial procession — a troop of farmers in layers of thick coats, torn jeans, boots, and mud-dried palm hats. Men drill ostentatiously on the narrow paths along irrigations to separate their own portion of rice land.
Continue reading Stares and Silences
You think it must be worth heaven
at the end of the month
when swollen skin begins to heal,
and strings begin to melt.
That first day,
before it rises, is the birth of a lizard
working to delight a scarlet rose
to bear a heavy bulge of pain.
There is heaven
when you play after recovery
from morning woods
to evening calls.
But when your scarlet rose fails
to bear a heavy bulge of pain,
lonely is the heaven
your lizard is worth to fend.
Walking in the garden,
I saw you and I asked,
“How does it feel to be a butterfly?”
“I don’t know”, asking me back,
“You, how does it feel to be a girl?”
Then I answered,
“I don’t know. I’m a boy.”
And as you flew away, you said,
“See. ‘Cause I’m a moth, not a butterfly. Shhhhhh!”
Talinis ang kilat.
Ang ulan murag bildo nga nangatagak
sa karsada, saba.
Gipugos nako akong mata nga mupiyong,
pero dili gyud madala.
Ang akong hunahuna
dili gyud magpamando
kay gusto gyud niya nga maminaw
sa mga tingog sa dalugdog.
Nagsige kog ligid-ligid
sa akong higdaanan,
dili tungod kay sakit
ang kawayan nga walay banig,
dili tungod kay wala koy habol ug unlan.
moabot na pud siya nga magbarag-barag.
Makabalo gyud baya siya
nga nagpaatik-atik ra ko’g tulog
kay akong mata nagpituk-pitok.
Nikusog ang dalugdog
sama sa kakusog sa latos sa akong dughan.
Nikusog pud ang tagaktak sa ulan,
murag bildong manusok sa akong tiyan
dili tungod sa kagutom
kundili tungod sa pakang
sa iyang bakus.
Continue reading Usa ka gabiing dili makatulog si Matet / A Night when Matet Could Not Sleep
(After Girl by Jamaica Kincaid)
Never wash your clothes. Let your older sister do it. You can only help fetching water from that well. Cook the food you like; not the food you want your boy friends to like. It’s good to walk barefoot and shirtless under the sun; the heat makes you tan. Never shave your pubic hair; shave only the beard and the mustache. Don’t pluck your eyebrows. You’re not joining a pageant. Never go to the market unless you look for a new pair of rubber shoes. But don’t look for Hello Kitty bags; you are no longer a kid. But I don’t like Hello Kitty. Never bring a basket unless you accompany your mother. Never let your younger sister ask you to do the dishes; scold her. You are older. Never sing Celine Dion’s songs before your friends. Don’t pout your lips. Pucker it if you are silent. Continue reading Boy
in the ocean,
on the edges
of your feet.
If your hands
of the breeze,
and it will
to a white distance,
where I am
against the wind
of my departure.
Though you are a mature cane,
You are still grass.
How did they mount your
With no ropes to knot you
If sand dunes rather strengthen
Your base node
Loosely you will fall
How long can
Your suntanned body endure
The light weight
Of a ceaseless work.
By now, rootless-
As you are;
No more sap
And soundless breath
kay kung naa may kapakyasan,
mapapas ra kini.
kay kung mahabol man ang akong paglantaw,
mahait ra kini.
kay kung maglisud man ko’g duyog sa kapit-us,
naa gihapoy mogunit sa akong agi.
kung maupos man ko, apan dili sama sa usa ka kandila
dili ko mamatay.
kung ang kandila mawad-an ug kahayag,
ang akong kahayag mabilin
sa papel nga puno ug balak
nga mudugay pa sa pipila