Category Archives: Mga Tula / Poetry

Maybe, just maybe

Three Views of an Israeli Checkpoint and a Missing Mother

1
Who chose your womb before you were born?
Was your name known
to the speck of dust that first entered your eye?

Are you the only one
who sweats in the harsh burning
of this sun as it turns in silence?

Why does the next moment lie
on your finger that senses fear?
It is only a child you face,
why do you warm the trigger?

2
You are in full military gear.
He is wrapped in a blue blanket, serene.

The barrel of your gun is close to his feet.
His grandfather holds him steady, to keep his sleep.

The next moment is measured in increments
of fear, that distance closing in.

3
Old man, it is not time alone
that has struck
your hair this white.

Your hands know the depth of olive roots,
the countless times they can be pulled
out of the ground by those
who wish to see them twist in the sun.

Those hands
hold more
than your daughter’s child.

-o-

“Operation Cast Lead” is not the Title of a Movie

After a night of gasping
at fireworks
I nurse the consequences
of champagne.

Somewhere else they are remembering
smoke that takes forever
to clear, the ringing in the ears,
the smell of burnt flesh
among personal belongings.

-o-

The Dog and Its Master

With a firm wave of the master’s hand
the dog sets off, sharp as a dagger,
its nose cuts the wind.

Over and over, this lesson is taught.
The dog quickly learns
whom it must seek, sending hairs on end.

They conduct this concert of violence
with such precision, in the end, with the slightest
twitch of the master’s brow, the dog
flies swifter than a bullet, finishing off a prey.

Israel, which are you?

-o-

 

I’m not sure if I’ve posted these here before. But I feel I need to share them right now. I don’t often post comments to articles I read online. This time I had to. The article can be found HERE.

A dilemma for the party responsible for mass slaughter of a people in an open air prison?
Through the years various war crimes (as documented by the UN and other international bodies) were committed repeatedly by Israel and not a single Israeli official or Israeli have ever been tried. Now we are seeing worse atrocities for they know they can get away with it again.
It takes a certain imagination to accept a twisted view of history. Israel is an occupying power and Palestinians are under one of the thickest military boots in the world.
The oppressed has become the oppressor and, in full battle gear, continues to call himself the victim. And the people who are desperately trying to defend themselves are branded militants and terrorists. Having a starched uniform and being armed to the teeth (paid for in billions of US dollars a year) as well as having extensive control of dominant media are apparently the way to keep oneself from being called a terrorist state. For it seems terror-spreading weapons manufactured with quality control (to ensure precise kills and widespread destructive powers) make all the difference.
Yes, there are Israelis who oppose the Zionist madness, and they need to shout out louder against this atrocity to prove to the world that this is not how they wish to be seen by the the rest of humanity.
Meanwhile, the number of people worldwide who are waking up despite the dominant media’s relentless support of Israel continues to rise. They take to the streets or spread the truth through various means.
One last thing. Apparently there is a vast wealth sitting in Gaza. Is it all about greed then?
-o-

 


Launch Notice: In the Heat of Shadows

In the Heat of Shadows

 

Click this LINK for full details of the launch notice

invitation to cape town


Two poems in Poppy Road Review and another good news

modified poppy road detailEarly versions of two poems were accepted and published on Poppy Road Review on 10 May 2014. Around the same time one of the manuscripts I put together was accepted for publication. Both poems will be in the new book hopefully to be released in 2015 by my faithful publisher, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. I said “early versions” because I have since revised the poems and the final versions will be in A THOUSAND EYES.

Thank you to all my readers.

 


New poem almost popular

The task of writing may seem to end when you lift your pen off the page or stop touching the keyboard/glass surface (or whatever gadget you may use, stick and sand?). But until it’s read – and hopefully received – in a positive or negative way, it hasn’t finished its journey.

A poem I recently wrote, “Falling in Reverse,” was noticed by the judges of an online poetry competition. I hope you consider voting for it after reading up all the finalists’ entries. Thank you.

GOODREADS POETRY FINALISTS FOR MAY NEWSLETTER

 


Versions Old, Revised,…Final?

moth wings blurred up

 

In January 2011 my two books were born: Baha-bahagdang Karupukan and Alien to Any Skin. I was elated to have those two books published (both by UST Publishing House) for it had been a long gap since the last collection (Salimbayan, 1994). Soon after I wrote the first draft of the following poem. This one eventually joined a new set of poems that would become Sound Before Water (UST Publishing House, 2013), a much slimmer volume than the previous two which contain poetry from over 15 years. In a forthcoming review of this new collection this poem gets mentioned for the oddity of its title. I am posting this version – the one that is now in the book, as if being in book form makes it final! – perhaps as an invitation to adopt my paper children and make room for them in a new home.

It pains me not to be in the same country where these paper children are born. All I can do from where I am is tell as many people online how much I wish and hope the best for them. I will post a link to the review once it is available. For now, I share this with you.

 

How to Sell a Child Door to Door
for Karu and Skin, my paper children

tell them this child has no parent
and can only bring joy
to its new home
bring light and promise
into the room
as it silently sits
in their hands

even as the world burns
outside the window

tell them everything
they want to hear
that might make them smile

anything just to get
this child’s little foot
in the door

do not bat an eyelid
should the child
gasp at fragments
of moth wings
by the kettle

no one invites sorrow
into their lives

-o-


The nicest words

My poem has little chance of winning in a popularity contest, but when you get readers who say something like this, then I feel the poem has already won. Thank you, Murray.

-o-
End of life; beginning of life. I went for the beginning, ‘Glimpses’, not because I think beginnings are better, but because the shock of birth and the fragility of the neonate were so delicately handled. Handled, that is, with an economy of words not in the other poems. Second vote would have gone to ‘That long quiet’. Those two poems stand head and shoulders above the rest, and I say that, whatever the outcome of the popular vote.
-Murray

Goodreads.com

-o-

soil to ground


To Remember

anti-war protest rally in London image from wikipedia

To remember is an attempt to piece together what can never be one again. The time, the place, the scent of flesh once beating. Today marks the invasion of Iraq. It seems the rest of the world has forgotten.

The following poems appear in my book Alien to Any Skin (UST Publishing House, 2011). Should I thank GW Bush for writing them?

Just This One

Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she
has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures
of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
The Fourth Geneva Convention

When someone says “Think about the bigger picture,”
I hide. My life has the legs of an ant. I find the resilience
of pebbles more inviting. They smooth themselves on riverbeds,
current rushing over their backs, pushing them to cling
with other pebbles or grains of sand pounded to near nothingness.

There are so many of them, too many to count. Each one
has something the others do not possess. Perhaps the thinnest streak
of brown, the sligthest indentation, the faintest crack.
Even when they are broken they are never the same. Caress
the jagged edge of this one with your index finger. Just this one.

July 2008
-o-

The Day the Dead Tree Fell

years of fear
have come to this

roots unearthed
longer than the arms of men
pointing skyward

the drone
of foreign planes

a hollow in the ground
deep enough
for a coffin

the silence
of loaded guns

all those fine veins
where something
used to flow

November 2008 – August 2010
-o-

Questions
for the leader of invading forces

When you put your shoes on this morning,
do you remember which foot came first?

Does someone tell you when your collar gets stuck inside your shirt?
Do you let that person touch you?

What colours make your eyes stop searching?
Are those the ones you like or the ones you hate?

How many people have you met that had an extra finger
and wasn’t shy about it?

Have you ever held a firefly in your palms?
Was it warm? Were you alone?

When you close your eyes,
whose face lingers?

What was the first word you learned to write?
Did you use a pencil or a crayon or a borrowed pen?

If you had a dog, would you name it
after the person who blew up your house?

Is there something on my forehead
that only you can read?

Can you tell if someone is lying
or just scared?

Will my name be on a piece of paper?
Spelled correctly?

August 2008
-o-

Going Retro: The Victorious Army of Gobbledygooks Penetrates the City

“Why do they hate us? We’re setting them free!”
A foot soldier

They were expecting
sweaty hugs and kisses
from dark veiled women
and their adoring children.

Ears cocked, they anticipated the struggle
of the local band in playing
their beloved anthem,
as if it were not foreign.

But only hollow,
sporadic shouting of men
who gathered from nowhere
welcomed the forces.

The army was laden
with a quick,
calculated victory,
craving for popular jubilation.

Instead, this caricature of a show
put on by these nowhere men.
Stick figures in the desert sun,
sure of only one thing:

Tear down the giant statue
designed originally
by a previous generation
of gobbledygooks.

This show had been triangulated
for the world to see
moment by breathless moment
on their most trusted TV.

And then what? An awkward silence
as the statue grates to a stop,
refusing to crash down. A monologue broken
by coughing in the background, off camera.

Days later when the local population
finally came out with their voices raised,
the victorious gobbledygooks felt
strangely welcome, unable to decipher

Joy and ecstasy from utter hatred.
It is only now with proper translation
years later that we have
a clear understanding of gang rape.

December 2008
-o-


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