Water Lilies of Tukanalipao

Poetry by | March 5, 2017

Under lilies’ round leaves
He hides
From bullets racing,
Left and right.

His pistol
Firm in his fist. The fiendish
Water stifles his breath.

The sun slowly ascends
Despite a spoilt slumber.
He rises

From the refuge
Of the river,
Witnessing fallen,
Armored comrades.

A revengeful morning!

In the mosque, he shoots
Presumed foes. Four
Defenseless carcasses
Floating
In their blood.

The water
Lilies in the river
Unmoving, but living.


Nassefh Macla is a Kaagan-Moro from Panabo City, Davao del Norte. He is a Creative Writing graduate from University of the Philippines Mindanao. This is in commemoration of the January 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident.


 

Ang Jihad ng Manunulat: Pagsusulat ng Kasaysayan ng Bangsamoro sa Pamamagitan ng Tula

Nonfiction by | October 30, 2016

Lubos akong nagagalak na maibahagi sa malaking hanay sa akademya ang aking sariling persepsyon tungkol sa panitikang Mindanao. Nararapat lamang na ipamulat sa mga mag-aaral at guro ang kamalayang malimit na nauunawan ng madla. Ito ay bilang tugon at pagsalungat sa kadalasang maling perspektibong hatid ng panggagaway ng midya. Nais kong ikwento ang pinagmulan o “hugot” ng aking mga nakakathang tula – ang aking paglalayong isalamin ang Mindanawong pagsusulat, partikular na ang panitikan ng Bangsamoro.

Itinuturing kong isang malaking misyon ang pagsusulat. Ang paghahabi ng mga salita upang mabuo ang mga tula ay tila naging aking paraan sa pagdiskarga ng mga pasaning matagal nang nailagak sa aking mga balikat. Hindi naging mahirap sa akin ang pag-angkin ng naturang gampanin sa mahigit na apat (4) na taon nang pagsusulat. Bagama’t musmos pa sa larangan at tila hindi pa lubos na maitumpak ang tamang pagsukat o pagputol ng mga linya, tamang pagpili ng mga salitang gagamitin, tamang paggamit ng wika, at iba pang teknikal na aspeto ng paggawa ng tula, malinaw na sa akin na mayroong mga kwentong kailangang ipaabot sa madla, mga kwentong tila naghihintay lamang na ilarawan sa pamamagitan ng mga salita at ito ang kwento ng Bangsamoro. Ito ay isang bagay at kasanayang hinding-hindi maituturo ng kahit na sinong magagaling at nauna sa larangan ng panitikan. Mananatili itong likas at pambihirang kayamanan ng isang manunulat. Magiging makatwiran kung aking iuugnay ang paksa sa aking mga tulang nabubuo sa kamalayang aking namulatan.

Continue reading Ang Jihad ng Manunulat: Pagsusulat ng Kasaysayan ng Bangsamoro sa Pamamagitan ng Tula

Fatima, the War Nurse

Poetry by | July 31, 2016

In her clinic in the camp, she whispers
Her prayers, hoping no one had been hurt.

But when the forest hushes from gunfire and grenades,
She hears howls of pain, Tabang! Tabang kamo!

Her instruments were all set, laid on the bamboo table – scissors,
Syringe, and bandages – waiting for the wounded.

A bloodied brother in front of her came with a headwound.
Scalp grinning, slit by a bullet. And she stitches it

The way her mother had sewn her pink abaya.
Curious eyes peeking, vision passing through amakan walls.

Veiled women outside covering their mouths.
Pink, sequined veil covers her head. “The color relaxes

The patient,” she remembers. As she buries the needle
In the warrior’s skin once more, she recalls how an old patient

Repelled her, refused her care, for she was wearing a veil.
She had not removed her tondong.

She had turned to another patient, since then.
She gave a slight smile behind her surgical mask

When “Alhamdulillah” came out of the wounded man’s mouth.
Fatima hears gunfire go off again as she washes her hands.

She closes her eyes and waits
For the forest to be completely silent.


Mohammad Nassefh R. Macla graduated from the University of the Philippines Mindanao with a degree in BA English, major in Creative Writing. He is a Kaagan-Moro writer from Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

Mujahideen

Poetry by | May 3, 2016

Sa aking mapayapang silid, di ako pinatulog ng mga bangkay,
Hinila nila ako pabalik sa silya’t inutusang bigyan ng buhay
Ang mga titik, tumirik mga mata, nakatirik puting kandila,
Sinulat ko kanilang kwento, gamit kong tinta’y kanilang dugo.
Biglang buhos ang agos ng imahinasyon at gunita,
Di kayang makalimot sa karahasan ng kahapon. Nagmistulang musika
Ang kalansing ng mga basyo ng bala sa tuwing humahalik sa lupa.
Dambuhalang sigaw ng mga bomba, duweto ng mga baril at granada,
Mura ng mga sundalo sa moske, pintig ng mga takot na puso
Iyak ng kapatid na nawalan, hikbi ng naulilang anak,
Na pilit ginigising ang inang duguan sa inaakalang pagtulog.

Sa bawat higpit ng kapit sa baril at kalabit ng gatilyo, bitbit nila’y hibik at hindi galit,
Animo’y nagmamakaawa. Naisin mang ipakita’t iparinig ang totoong daing ng puso,
Ngunit nagsiliparan na ang mga bala sa gitna ng kagubatan,
Nasugatan na ang mga balat na kinalyo sa hirap ng buhay,
Bumuhos na ang dugo, umagos na ang mga luha,
Kaya ang pusong binalot ng tapang, lahing nagmula sa magigiting at mapangahas,
Alas! Bakit pa nga ba aatras? Dahas laban sa dahas.
Kung noo’y tinataas ang kamay na nakabukas ang mga palad,
Nakadaop sa batok habang ang lupa’y hinihila ang mga tuhod,
Di kalauna’y natuto na ring isara ang mga kamao at lumaban sa mga ahas.

Habang ang tugon ng karamihan
Di na daw baleng maging alipin basta’t pinapakain,
Walang pinagkaiba sa “di na baleng kitilin basta’t ililibing,”
Sa kariktan ng mundo’y nauhaw, nabulag ang mga duwag!
Handang isakripisyo mga prinsipyo kapalit ng kakapiranggot na habag.
Ibahin ang paninidigan nila. Bigkis sa sandata’y may simbuyo’t poot,
Kaya milagro kung maaninag kanila’y buto’t balat na tabas,
Pagkat magtataka kung pa’no napapasan ang mahahabang armas
Sandamakmak na bala, tig-iisang pusong laman ay pamilyang iniwan
Walang pagtiyak kung makakapiling pa nilang muli, makakasalo pa kaya
Sa noo’y pinaghahatiang kamote at tubig sa batis.

At nakabalagwit sa kanilang balikat ang anino ng nakaraan,
Mga kubong kumain ng bala, at dumura ng dugo.
Sa loob ay mga batang pinagkaitan. Dumi sa kanilang kuko,
Alikabok sa kanilang mga paa. Ngayo’y humalo sa dugo
Galing sa pusong sariwa na tumigil na sa pagtibok.

Nakita ang anak na lumipad dahil pinaulanan ng kanyon.
Nilapitan, tiningnan sabog niyang mukha di na maipinta.
Pinulot, kalong-kalong sa mga bisig – ngayon itatanong niyo pa ba
Kung bakit gano’n na lamang ang galit nila?

Mahigit apat na dekada ng pakikipagtunggali,
Di lang apatnapu’t apat na sawi ang dapat ipinagluksa,
Libo-libong mga batang walang kamalay-malay, mga kababaihang
Hangad lamang ang mapayapang pamumuhay,
Kung rebelde mang maituturing, sila’y mga rebeldeng ninakawan.
Ngayon ipagkakait niyo pa ba ang kapayapaang hinahangad nila?

Tayo’y namumuhay sa mundo ng kabalintunaan.
Mga taong sumisigaw, sila ang hindi napapakinggan,
Kailangan ng kaguluhan upang makamit ang kapayapaan
Si Fatima na nakatakip ang mukha, sumunod sa utos ng Panginoon,
sa Pransya siya’y hinuli’t pinagpiyansa,
Habang si Anna’ng nakahubad, nagbibigay-aliw ay binabayaran pa?
Ang mga taong nakabarong, mga kagalang-galang sa paningin,
Pangalan ma’y santo, nais naman ng kaguluhan.
At sino pa yung piligro’y di na bago sa kanila, mahahabang riple
Nakasabit sa dingding, mga mata’y susubok-subok sa dilim
Mga aparato ng bomba’y nakasilid sa pinaglumaang karton,
Kung sino pa ang mga terorista sa paningin ng iba,
Sila pa ngayon ang nagtitimon para sa katahimikan ng madla.

Tunaw na ang kandila. Sa dalawang pahinang naisulat,
Tila kumawala ang sapi na nagtulak sa aking idibuho ang mga gunita
Gamit ang mga palambang titik na nagkapit-kapit upang mabuo ang isang obra.
Dumungaw ako sa bintana’t nasilayan pitong talang makinang,
Sa pagtingala’y tila nga’y malayo pa ang dulo, napaisip ako.
Noo’y abot-tanaw lang.
Ngayo’y malabo na naman.


Nassefh graduated from the University of the Philippines Mindanao with a degree in BA English, major in Creative Writing. He has performed “Mujahideen” in several events, including Young Davao Writers’ LitOrgy and the recent Kumbira 2016 with the Davao Writers Guild.

When a Poet wants to be a Statistician for a Computer Scientist’s Sake

Poetry by | March 8, 2015

I wished I was a statistician,
That I would’ve dealt with a list of n,
Say unsorted values of anything.
And find its median.
Or the median of its median.
That I would’ve studied numbers,
Across samples.
That I would’ve befriended Euclid and Mahalnobis,
And Charles Babbage so close.

I wished she recognized me,
And admired me like I do to her,
Or like when Statistics and Computer Science
Found usefulness from each other,
When both attracted to each other,
When both fell in love with each other.

Look how the Order Statistics was used
To make the work of a Computer Scientist easier,
Especially in sorting.
Or how Clustering in Statistics finds solutions
To some of her problems, given a list of data items,
Where she can use such strategy
To data mining, retrieval of information,
Or to web search, and image processing,
Partitioning the items into similar groups.
It’s as good as making her smile,
And making her laugh;
It’s as good as how I’m capable of caressing her
All day long.

If I was a statistician, I would’ve given every bit
Of my knowledge to her.
I would’ve shared a million times with her,
And that each of these times were likely to be medians,
Because each of these times
Would definitely be special.

But that’s if I was a statistician,
But I’m not.
I’m not a statistician at all,
So this Computer Scientist
Walks away from me now.


Nassefh is a UP Mindanao graduate. He didn’t take up any Math-related courses, although he wished he did.

Abu Bakr Talks to His Boss’s Imported Car from Germany

Poetry by | January 18, 2015

Hello to yu der da new Germany car of my boss, my pileng is so bery comportable inside wen I draybing.
My boss Ahmad maybe lab yu because he rily buy you in bery big money from da bery cold Germany.
So dats why I take care of yu because I lab you too also layk my boss, because yu relax me bery much.
I think da taym when we go to da city of Cotabato to visit da first lab of my boss Ahmad, Madam Sawda,
What a so bery relaxing pileng while I draybing yu. In da taym of six hours of travel, I jas pil okey.
But when we arrive to da place, I see dat Madam Sawda is bery hot in da fever.
We sleep in der house in da city of Cotabato only one week and den go agen to his oder lab,
And when we action to go away por da next wife, madam is still coughing so bery hard.
And my boss Ahmad say he will sleep one day agen wid her to take care to her.
But Madam Sawda don’t say yes to boss Ahmad, she rily No No. She say dat my boss Ahmad must go.
She say dat my boss Ahmad hab responsibility to da oder wife. So my boss jas follow what madam say.
So we go away in da city of Cotabato after one week. I think in dat taym dat Madam Sawda will jealous.
Because maybe she will jealous to da oder lab of boss Ahmad now she is hot in da fever.
But you know Germany car, Madam Sawda is so bery understanding woman.
Maybe ebrything’s jas okey to her.

So I hab anoder agen a travel with my boss Ahmad today, but I think sad a little bit about it.
Today in da brayt day, we will going to da Tawi-tawi so dat my boss will be in his third lab, Hafsa.
I question in myself about Hafsa, da wife of my dead frend Khunais: why she marry my boss Ahmad?
I’m problemizing to my dead frend Khunais because if he is not dead, what he will say about this?
He don’t want dis to happen! Dat his first lab is now the sweetheart honeybunch of my boss Ahmad ?
Who is a so bery faithful to Islam ? complete all da salah and do da fasting in da Ramadhan;
Who is a so bery rich man ? give zakah always in da week and give his families bery bery big houses;
Who is a bery smart person ? da teacher of da big madrasah and writer also in da books.
Oh! But you know Germany car, Khunais is so bery understanding man.
Maybe ebrything’s jas okey to him.

But maybe opkors not my oder dead frend Ubaydah, when he will know dat Zaynab marry also to boss.
My dead frend is not hab many money; he only hab small nipa house in da Indangan.
Oh I’m is so rily sad about dat man. I praying before dat I can help in da financial to him, but no.
And now, I can’t think inside my mind Zaynab and der children and der lives when he is nothing already.
Dey will not hab food every day, no clothes por da little kids, even der small nipa hut
Wid jas many empty sacks of rice por the roof is a little bit surrendering last time I go der.
My boss Ahmad is so bery good person; he take out Zaynab and da kids from der small nipa-hut.
My boss Ahmad is so bery good person; he give new house and many foods, and clothes por dem.
Yes, my boss is so bery good man; he marry to Zaynab and he adopting her children.
Oh! But you know Germany car, Ubaydah is so bery understanding man.
Maybe ebrything’s jas okey to him.

I never never ever want to say about Aisha because I don’t want to cry, no anymore.
Da bery first time I will know dat she will marry to my boss Ahmad, it break my heart like a glass.
But I don’t angry to my boss Ahmad por sure and also not to Aisha;
Because it is da ama of Aisha dat say to her dat she marry to my boss Ahmad than me.
I am nothing, Germany car. I am nothing but just a driver and servant; I don’t hab many money
Dats why I am only da man who don?t marry to da rich lady like Aisha.
I am so bery hurting when my boss Ahmad say to me inside da SUV about his wedding to Aisha.
He don’t know we are bery sweet boyfriend and girlfriend to each oder when we are still young kids.
I am so bery bery hurt dat time. I am angry. So bery angry dat I think something bad.
I think to drayb porward and hit da SUV of boss Ahmad straight to da Davao Light post in da highways.
Or if not, I think dat time to resign as driver, and end da six years of service to my boss Ahmad.
But I think agen. If I do dat all, what it will happen? I think maybe I jas hab to be happy to dem.
Yesterday, I see her. She say to me salaam, and I say salaam to her too and we smile in each oder.
You know Germany car, I think I’m an understanding man. Ebrything’s jas okey to me.
I so rily lab my boss Ahmad, because he is so bery good to his many families.
Although he hab many labidabs, he hab a sweet heart to me and others, dats why I like him.
If I will be rich someday, if da God is bery bery kind to me, I want to be like my boss Ahmad.
Not jas because he hab many wives, but because I want to help other people.


Nassefh is a Bangsamoro Kaagan native from Panabo City. He is a Creative Writing student in UP Mindanao. He is yet to consider having four wives in the future.

Tres Marias

Poetry by | February 24, 2013

Lying down on the trimmed grasses of their garden like we used to do,
Staring at the perfectly aligned Tres Marias that she would call the “I love you” stars,
I didn’t notice my tears running down my face.
I didn’t notice that she shared the moment of crying with me.
Only sniffing and groaning, neither of us talked.
Almost the same silence seven years ago,
But we’d rather both smile while facing each other-
Just as the two mythical creatures who lived in
And arose from the bamboo in an old, old tale-
And then my lips would softly and swiftly collide into hers,
As a diving man would plunge into a welcoming and glimmering sea.
And the sea-gull’s flock would spread out to the unseen heaven.
But it was over.

If she only accepted my life, my origin, me as a Kaagan
Just like the older Kaagans accepted Islam,
When they embraced the Great Book and the Day of Resurrection.
When the shariffs, the knowledgeable ones sailing from Maguindanao and Jolo,
Swung their paddles into the seas of Mindanao
To arrive at the lands of the innocent pagans and preach.
A hailing sailing to the shores of Davao,
Triumph did they receive in capturing the hearts of my ancestors,
As though they had successfully made them fall in love with Islam.
While I was nothing but a failure.

And I envied them –
Because I’ve never been successful in capturing her heart.
I tried hard to save her from the mistaken belief,
But the potion – the poison in a portion
Of her heart was too strong.
My attempts had been hopeless.

The similar panorama when Muslim travelers arrived–
Almost a successful enlightenment but not enough.
Paganism continued, worshipping its concealed god, Tagallang.
Like what she did, Mandaya and Mansaka did not believe in what I believed.
We could’ve been wedded in my place.
I, in a long white abaya with a Muslim cap, and she,
Under a mysterious covering of hijab.
A wedding blanketed with a delusive bliss.
Everything could’ve been perfect.
And as the celebration of the wedding would follow,
Symphonies of combined sounds that the kulintang, gong, and barabad would produce,
Played by old Kaagan ladies,
And an old couple would dance to the rhythms.
Fingers spread, legs bent, faces at their finest projections.
And everyone would be impressed.
Folded money bills would be inserted between their fingers,
Yet the dancing would never be disturbed.

I could’ve shown everything to her,
She could’ve been impressed too, but everything was just a failed dream.
I shut my eyes for seconds and opened subtly.
The Tres Marias shone blurry to my sight, the flowing tears filter,
And I never even cared to wipe them,
Or maybe I was too naïve to even notice them,
The stars were dead and dull dots above, and we were both hopeless.
It was hard to move and end the night. But I should do
What I’d thought was right. I stood, leaving her crying and crying
For it would be the last time for her and me.
And “Goodbye” was the only spoken word in the night when the Tres Marias shone.


Nassefh Macla studies at UP Mindanao.

To Her Father

Poetry by | January 13, 2013

English translation of the poem Salaam Bapa, also by the author

Salaam bapa, I have only one niyat in my heart and mind before presenting myself to you.
I come courageously to you, seeking your permission to wed your daughter.
As my parents, Datu Abdul,
Have asked me to do.

Bapa, I would take care of her, feed her, shelter her, and guide her in the straight way to Allah,
For I know that it is the responsibility of any faithful Muslim,
Even if I don’t know her well,
Even if she doesn’t know me well.

Bapa, I know about Az-Zawjan, that we should love each other like the moon and the stars,
Like Prophet Muhammad and Khadidja, or Aisha, or Zaynab did under Allah’s grant,
That we should not allow hunger
Or harm to embrace us.

Continue reading To Her Father

Salaam Bapa

Poetry by | January 13, 2013

A Kalagan poem. See To Her Father for the English translation.

salaamSalaam bapa, ‘sambok gayd yang kanakon niyat sang pangatayan sang pagkadi kanmo.
Yakadi ako ng way pagduwa-duwa untak pangayu’n yang kanmo pagtugot sa pagpakawin sang kanmo da’ga.
Sabap yang kanakon ama na si Datu Abdul,
Na idto yang isugo kanak.

Bapa, ako yang magabu’y, magapaka’n, magapa-uya, aw maga-indo kanan sang maturid na da’n,
Sabap ikatigaman ko ng madyaw na idto yang dayt na inangun ng Muslim na magunawa ko.
Agad wa ‘ko pa yan akila’ ng samporna,
Agad wa pa uman yan akila’ kanak ng samporna.

Bapa, ikatigaman ko yang pantag sang Az-Zawjan, magsikawyay kami magunawa ng buwwan aw bitu’n,
Minang ininang ng Nabi Muhammad aw Khadidja, atawaka Aisha, o Zaynab sang kahanda ng Allah,
Na di nami atugotan yang kagutum
Atawaka fitna kumupkup kanami.

Continue reading Salaam Bapa

Afya

Play by , , | March 4, 2012

Editor’s Note: In celebration of International Women’s Month, Dagmay is featuring a series of monologues about the status of women in Davao. These are creative works based on interviews with real women.

Character:

Afya: 18 year-old attractive woman. Wears hijab and loose clothes.

Setting: Inside a bedroom with an electric fan.

(A male voice is overheard) “Afya ha, dito ka lang talaga yan sa bahay. Hindi na maglabas muna. Basta, bantay ka lang talaga kapag makita na naman kita yan sa labas kasama yun si Tarhatta! Afya ha?”

(No one answers. Then Afya enters and slams the door.)

(male voiceover): “Afya?! Afya! Tai babuy Ini! Afya!”

AFYA: (shouting) Owai ba Ama! Hindi lagi ako mag labas-labas uy!

(muttering to self) Sige na lang balik-balik uy. Hindi lagi ako maglabas ba. Hindi lagi uy. Kahit gud gusto ko gud magpunta doon sa kaibigan ko kay manood kami nitong No Other Woman ba. Kinuha ko pa naman ito sa pwesto ni Ina kahapon sa palengke. Buti na lang kay nag- alis si Ina kay mag sambahayang siya nung tanghali na yun. Ako na lang muna gipabantay niya kaya yun, nakuha ko tong DVD. Gidugo man gud ako nun ba. Hindi pa talaga sana yun siya maniwala. Saka na siya naniwala nung nakita niya na nalapsan ako. Pero pag wala ako giregla nun, ngek! Pilitin ako mag sambahayang ba!

Continue reading Afya