Category Archives: 14 Love Poems from Baha-bahagdang Karupukan and Alien to Any Skin

Ang Sabi Mo – poem 5 of 14 Love Poems from Baha-bahagdang Karupukan and Alien to Any Skin

lata at tsinelasAng Sabi Mo

Talim ng gabing kay lamig
tumatarak sa gunita.

Dumaranak ang lungkot
nang hindi sinasadya.

Aksidente lamang ang lahat
ng ito, ang sabi mo.

Parang tumbang preso.
Lata at tsinelas ang hawla

At armas.  Kanya-kanya
ang bato at takbo.

Kanya-kanyang pagkukubli
ng ninanais, ninanasa.

Sa huli, kanya-kanyang pakikipagbuno
sa sari-sariling multo.

-o-

This poem appears in Baha-bahagdang Karupukan. It is poem 5 of 14 Love Poems .

I attempted a translation of this poem but it came out flat, so I will not be posting it.


The Climb – 4 of 14 Love Poems from Baha-bahagdang Karupukan and Alien to Any Skin

blue leaves falling

The Climb

leaves gathering
in your hair

as we parted
those young trees
to make a path
where there was none

seeds the shape
of daggers
clinging to the fine
fabric of your skirt

wind mingling
with our breaths
that thin uncharted
mountain air

all that land
all that sky
no longer the same
lingering

                                                                  December 2007
-o-

This poem appears in Alien to Any Skin. This is poem 4 of 14 Love Poems.

-o-

subok-salin

Ang Pag-akyat

mga dahong lumalapag
sa iyong buhok

samantalang hinahawi
natin ang mga murang puno
upang makagawa ng landas
kung saan wala

mga punlang hugis-patalim
nangungunyapit
sa pinong tela
ng iyong palda

humahalo sa ating
hininga ang manipis
na hangin ng kabundukang
wala pang nagkapagmamapa

kalawakan ng lupaing iyon
kalawakan ng langit
hindi na tulad ng dati
nanatili

-o-


Ganoon pa rin ang mga Salita – 3 of 14 Love Poems from Baha-bahagdang Karupukan and Alien to Any Skin

bark eye arty

Ganoon pa rin ang mga Salita

Ganoon pa rin ang mga salita.
Ang pagkadiin ng itim
ng tinta sa dilaw ng papel.

Pagkabasa muli (pang-ilang
ulit na ba?), pagtapat
ng higit na liwanag

Sa likod ng papel, naghahabi-
habi ang mga titik. Nag-uugnay
ang magkabilang panig.

Hindi na mapagsino.

Ngunit paglapag sa mesa,
paglapat ng tamang liwanag,
nanunumbalik ang mga salita.

Mga gunitang dahan-dahang
nagigising. At ikaw.

-o-

This poem appears in Baha-bahagdang Karupukan. This is poem 3 of 14 Love Poems.

translation attempt

Words Remain

The words remain the same.
The weight of black ink
as if carved on yellow paper.

After reading it once more (lost
count how many times over), I hold it
against a fiercer light.

The words interweave
on either side of the sheet.

I can no longer tell what’s written.

But laying it down on the table,
letting light strike it as it should,
the words return.

Memories slowly
waken. And you.

-o-


Meeting – 2 of 14 love poems

notebook cover smudged

Meeting
for Margie

we rode past the same mountains
on different days of rain

those massive greens gaped
as if a bolo
had struck
flesh and bone
revealing the most fertile soil

your skin made you stand out
from everyone else in that bus

three years had passed
since the last major shifts
of the heart of the earth
beneath, and everyone born there
still remembered that awesome power

I was two days behind you
bearing no hope or grudge, but lost

rushed through lush monsoon greens,
browns that clung to tires, shoes,
exposed skin, villages with no names
or none that lingered in the mind
of strangers and wanderers

you were not yet part of my world
we kept moving without knowing the other

those sharp bends came
at unpredictable moments,
momentum and shuddering metal
forced limbs to touch,
shifted belongings

for a while you stayed in Banaue, in fear and awe
all on your own, your eyes going a deeper blue

then that morning came with you
burdened by a backpack
of clothes and the barest possessions
I tried in vain
to ignore that blueness

and all the world came to that moment
and all the world was stilled, silenced

March 2008
-o-

This first appeared in Alien to Any Skin. It is the second of 14 love poems from I am posting this February.

-o-

subok-salin ng “Meeting”
Pagtatagpo
para kay Margie

dumaan tayo sa parehong mga bundok
ngunit sa ibang araw na maulan

nakanganga ang mga luntiang
kay lawak, animo initak
ang kalamnan itiniwangwang
ang kay yamang lupa

pinalutang ka ng iyong balat
sa dagat ng mga pasahero ng bus

tatlong taon na ang lumipas
mula noong huling gumiray
ang kaibuturan ng lupa, at lahat
ng isinilang dito ay gunitang-gunita pa rin
ang kahindik-hindik nitong kapangyarihan

dalawang araw akong naglalakbay kasunod mo,
walang pasang pag-asa o sama ng loob, ngunit ligaw

rumagasa sa matingkad na luntian ng tag-ulan,
kayumangging nangungunyapit sa mga gulong, suwelas,
balat na nakalantad, mga nayong walang pangalan
o walang ngalang nanatili sa isip
ng mga dayuhan at nagdaraan lamang

hindi ka pa bahagi ng aking daigdig noon
sumusuong tayo nang hindi pa kilala ang isa’t isa

di-mahulaan kung kailan tatambad
ang mga likong kay talas, ibinabalya
ng hagunot at gumagaralgal na bakal
ang mga bagahe, ipinagdirikit
nang di-sinasadya ang mga biyas

ilang araw kang nanatili sa Banaue, sakop ng pangamba
at pagkamangha nang mag-isa, lumalalim na bughaw ang mga mata

hanggang sa sumapit ang umagang
nakita kita, pasan ang bakpak
na mga damit at tanging
kailangan lamang ang laman
pinilit kong huwag malunod
sa kabughawang natagpuan

at ang buong daigdig ay nagtagpo sa sandaling iyon
at ang buong daigdig ay napatigil, napatahimik

-o-


Awit Amats – 1 of 14 Love Poems from Baha-bahagdang Karupukan and Alien to Any Skin

awit amats buwan

Awit Amats

Lasing na lasing ngayon sa labis-labis
na kalungkutan ang langit.
Kay pula ng kanyang iisang mata,
dugo lamang ang nakikita.

Walang talim ng bituin
na hindi tumarak at nanatili
sa madilim na kaibuturan
nitong langit.

Ang mga batang nagbalak
magtaguan, pinakaripas pauwi
nitong pasuray-suray na titig
ng buwan.

Kaming mga binigo lamang
ang may lakas-loob
harapin ang katinuang
tinabunan ng hapdi,

Bigkasing pag-ibig
at pag-ibig pa rin
ang nakalalango, nakababaliw,
ang tanging magpapalaya

Sa mga paniking
nakabitin, nagpapabigat
sa mga sanga ng damdamin.

Patawarin ang mga lasing.

-o-

This poem appears in Baha-bahagdang Karupukan which was shortlisted for the National Book Award in the Philippines.

This is the first poem in my “14 Love Poems” set for matangmanok readers. 🙂

The following translation was written with the help of poet Jefferson Carter who has a new book out, Get Serious. Thanks, Jefe!

Drunken Song

The sky is reeling drunk.
Its lone red eye sees
nothing but blood.

The stars held back
not a single dagger,
they plunged their blades
into the sky’s dark heart.

The children who wanted
to play hide and seek
were sent running home
by the swaying gaze of the moon.

Only those of us doomed
have the courage
to seek sanity
amid suffering,

to declare that love
and love alone
can intoxicate like this,
make you lose your senses,

the only thing that will free
the bats that weigh heavy
on the branches of feelings.

Forgive them, drunks.

-o-