Outsider Looking In

My latest paper child got the attention of some readers who turned out to be part of an institution that’s meant to give recognition to published books in the Philippines.

It’s a bonus. Anything else after being read is a bonus, if it means a chance to be read by even more readers.

I’ll keep my thoughts to myself for now about award giving bodies. Previous books of mine got citations but didn’t win in this same one. Let’s see how things turn out this time.

For now, thank you to my publisher, the brave San Anselmo Publications, for trusting in my work. Thank you to those who have read or bought (or both! even better) How to Make a Salagubang Helicopter & other poems. Congratulations to long-time friend, fellow finalist Joel H. Vega!


Wikang Buwaya

Wikang Buwaya
tugon sa “Gahasa sa Gahasa” ni Rebecca T. Añonuevo

Sa ilalim ng tulay, nakakubling kapiling
ang mga lumot na madulas na umiindayog
sa lilim, may tahimik na naghihintay.

Tila tuod na nabuwal ng ulol na bagyo
mula sa Timog, hindi siya matinag
sa lublob na kinalalagyan. Hanggang

isang araw may mamataang nilalang
na maaaring mapagbuntunan ng naisaloob
na karahasan. Tatalas ang mga mata, iigkas

ang maiikli ngunit matipunong mga biyas
at lalantad sa isang iglap ang kinang-sa-laway
na mga pangil. Sagpang, papilipit na patuwad-

balibag-hataw-pagpapalag sa tubig
na mag-aalimbukay sa lumot at putik.
Hindi pakakawalan ang duguang katawan

kahit pa man magsigawan ang mga gimbal
na saksi. Walang silbi ang ipinukol nilang mga buhay
na bato. May sariling wika ang mga buwaya.

-o-


Art and Murder

I chanced upon this page from This is Collossal that made me remember what’s been happening among the largely poor population in the Philippines.


So NaDuterte

Today, in my country of birth, the current president appears before the lawmakers of the land, and before the entire nation. This is the same president who vowed to defend and protect the citizens of the country and adhere to the constitution. This is the same president who, soon as he took to power, violated the most basic rights of the poor and defenseless.
Today he speaks as if he were the hero of the land. Each of us, in our own minds, try to be the hero we dream of. Duterte’s greatest hero, as he has declared and proven by his actions many times over, is the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who silenced critics by sending them to prison, if not to the grave.
Duterte’s so-called war on drugs, in a mere three years, has gone way beyond what Marcos himself managed to do.
I wrote the following poem last year as a first draft. The second draft did away with all that is so blatant in the piece and, in a way, turned out to be a better poem. But it didn’t retain the anger and condemnation I wanted to convey. That poem is due to appear in a South African journal, the New Coin.
Today, as I cannot join any of the protest rallies in my country of birth, I decided to share this poem here, and perhaps on my Facebook author account.

We Cannot Allow the Dead to be Silenced

The man who curses shall be cursed
to live forever in the stories we shall tell
our children. They will not fear him
or his twisted reincarnations.

Our children shall not be shaken
by his threats. His attack dogs
with teeth of bullets cannot make us
turn away and flee.

Though the dead may be left
unclaimed in morgues
or dumped on the side of the road,
their faces bound with packaging tape,

they will never be silenced.
The veins on their exposed necks
and stiffened arms will turn to roots.
And we who fight to remember

the cruelty inflicted upon those
we can no longer hold shall bear
bitter fruit to be shoved
down the tyrant’s throat.

-o-

The title of this post may look odd to those who are not familiar with the play on words Filipinos like to employ by borrowing from another language. A rough translation would be – aside from SONA (State of the Nation Address) – “Done in by Duterte.”


https://www.rappler.com/nation/updates-duterte-state-of-the-nation-address-july-2019

https://www.rappler.com/move-ph/235870-groups-hit-duterte-admin-performance-ahead-sona-2019




Cafe Ganesh! Jim Pascual Agustin reads from SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER while Raphael d’Abdon reads from BITTER HERB


Amazing photo


Duterte’s Rape

bullet for duterte

That’s the title of a new poem that might be included in later editions of HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS.

For the mean time you can read it on the Facebook page of my amazing publisher, San Anselmo Publications.

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE PAGE.

Photo of bullet from Wikimedia.