Monthly Archives: August 2012

Two Poems from the forthcoming collection appear in Our Own Voice

Two of my new poems that are included in the forthcoming collection, Sound Before Water, have been published in Our Own Voice, an online journal.  May this serve as a teaser. 🙂

bLiar gets Tutu’d

You nodded and whispered and commanded. People died. On the streets. In mosques. In schools. In rooms turned dark by smoke from burning skin. Your lips never stopped widening with glee. You stepped outside of your office, smiling. It seemed so long ago.

Now you go from hall to hall, crossing oceans and continents to be paid for your words.

We need to tell you this: the darkness that moves as you move, that thing that pools at your feet when the sun strikes, it will never leave you. It is the shadow of all the dead.

Turn yourself in. Or we will never stop haunting you.


NEWS ITEM: Archbishop Desmond Tutu has withdrawn from participating in a leadership summit in Johannesburg to protest the presence of Tony Blair.

I Could Complain of Soggy Nuked Flat Ham Croissants from the Hospital Coffee Shop

But I shouldn’t. I could say we’ve had a tough time, but I know there are many who do not have the privilege we have. I have seen what happens in public clinics and hospitals in this country and my country of birth, and I bet they are nearly the same in most places where it doesn’t matter how sick you are or your loved one — money first, or some proof of it, before you see medical personnel.
Still, it has been a full week of sleepless nights. Both kids had terribly high fevers since Monday night (yes, over a week ago!). Took them to a new GP because our very kind paediatrician was fully booked, even his overtime hours (and you do not want to know how much that costs!). Antibiotics were prescribed but by Saturday they were still burning and coughing horribly, looking not much better. So we tried our paediatrician’s emergency number and he agreed to meet us in a rush. That same afternoon both kids were admitted to hospital and dosed with Tamiflu, among other stuff. They had regular visits from various physiotherapists who tried to loosen the yucky stuff clinging inside such small bodies. Fever medication, nasal sprays, nebulizers, etc… The hospital staff were kind and helpful.

I remember the one time I ended up in a semi-public hospital back home as a kid. The ward was not only for children. There were at least 20 or more other patients, all of varying ages and suffering from different ailments. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Night time was worse. In the half-dark you hear the moanings. Outside the one balcony, the night lights give a yellow glow, and below, unceasing traffic noises. No personal attention from the nurses. I don’t remember seeing the doctor. One day I will attempt to write more about that time. Perhaps a series of essays on my childhood. Not that anyone would be interested, let alone think it would be a good seller of a book. hahahaha. Dream on.
Back to the real world… Tuesday morning we finally have our kids back home. They still cough a bit, but are looking way better. Now, just the sleep to catch up on.

31st Philippine National Book Awards Finalists Announced

The original post in Filipino was supposed to appear in the blog for Baha-bahagdang Karupukan. So here is the news in English…

My Filipino poetry book, Baha-bahadang Karupukan, is a finalist at the 31st National Book Awards in the Philippines. It’s a great joy, but I would have been even happier if her twin sister Alien to Any Skin (I call them Karu and Skin, by the way) had also been selected.


At sa kabutihang palad napasama ang Baha-bahagdang Karupukan sa mga finalists! Sayang at hindi napili ang kakambal na aklat nitong Alien to Any Skin.

Eto ang bahaging ikinatuwa ko:

1. Ang Pantas (The Prophet), translated by Ruth Elynia S. Mabanglo, C&E Publishing for De La Salle University
2. Baha-Bahagdang Karupukan: mga tula mula sa kalahating-daigdig, by Jim Pascual Agustin, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House
3. Dalawang Pulgada at Tubig: Mga Tula ng Tahimik na Ligalig, by Emmanuel Quintos Velasco, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House
4. Distrungka, by Teo T. Antonio,University of Santo Tomas Publishing House
5. Ilaw sa Mata, by Joaquin Sy, Marne L. Kilates, and Benito Tan, Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran


Salamat po.

When You Can’t Let the Truth Out

You need to silence those who seek to expose all those dark deeds. You trust nothing but your fist, the barrel of a gun, the whisperers of deceit. You surround yourself with others who either share your fear or who fear you enough to stay in line. Those who show they have a mind of their own are easy targets for your venom. You sit on your throne of bones. You tell yourself you are just because you are mighty. You need not explain your actions. They speak for themselves.


Ecuador grants asylum to Wikileaks founder.