Tag Archives: poetry collections

PROMOTIONAL SAMPLER selected poems from Wings of Smoke


Please send me a request if you wish to read this sampler.

Wings of Smoke is available worldwide through The Onslaught Press website, on Amazon and, for South African readers, through me (leave a message here).

I also put up an audio recording of the set on Soundcloud.com.

Of Pregnancy and Paper Children

I have the utmost respect for mothers. It is no small effort to carry a life that is slowly growing inside you, turning your body into a vessel that seems less and less your own. Imagine bearing two or more!
My wife didn’t have the easiest time when she was carrying our twins. Likely only the mothers of twins or multiples will ever have a true idea of how it was for her. All I could do then was try to be around whenever she needed any assistance, especially in the last few months of the pregnancy. I’ll spare you the details of those days for now.
Here’s a poem I wrote way back, not to make light of the whole ordeal, I hope. The poem appeared in my book Alien to Any Skin (UST Publishing House, 2011) – a book I wish more readers would seek as it contains what I feel is a substantial body of work.

Pregnant Moon Reflection

I watched the moon lift herself,
a woman ripe
with twins.

Brimming with awesome fullness,
she heaved her burden of light
over the eastern mountains,
past sandstone peaks,
cubist dream of broken rocks,
deserted cities of the future.

Up she pushed herself
until the blue darkness
surrendered his realm.

The stars felt faint,
their grandeur diminished.

A hush fell upon the heavens
of my wife’s visit
to the clinic.

     January 2009


I call my books paper children. The struggle to bring each one to life is not at all like carrying a real child.
A paper child is bound to be put out for adoption once born. Yet I feel something similar to a parent who is forced to surrender a child for whatever reason.
What I let go will have to wind its own way without looking back. It has to find its own home. Otherwise it will be forever lost, perhaps shredded beyond remembrance by cruel time.
Who will adopt this new one?
My UK publisher, The Onslaught Press, posted an initial announcement regarding the worldwide release of Wings of Smoke. CLICK THIS LINK to the page on their website where you can place your order come 1 February 2017.
Two other fantastic titles will be released – Hold Your Breath by Waqas Khwaja (Pakistan-United States) and long days of rain by Janak Sapkota (Nepal).
Friends in South Africa will have to wait just a little longer – 1 March 2017 – to be able to order the book through me. I’ll see if an arrangement can be made with accommodating local book dealers.

Here is the Goodreads.com link to WINGS OF SMOKE.

Aside from The Onslaught Press website, the book will also be made available through Amazon.

Gray Things

Over eight years ago when we found out my wife was pregnant, she had to have her blood tested.  The results came back quickly and the doctor sat us down.  She told us the results of the test meant either of two things:

A.  the pregnancy was a lot further on than we had expected, or

B.  we were not having just one child

I think the sudden silence eventually gave in to laughter laced with disbelief.  Or at least that is the memory I would rather remember.  I am almost sure we didn’t weep or jump for joy or hand out free bus tickets (hand out bus tickets??? who does that???).

Once it was confirmed with a few other tests that indeed we were having twin girls, we changed our doctor.  Hahaha, no, not because she gave us such shocking news, but because she recommended a paediatrician who has had twins and practices closer to where we live.

That doctor talked us through a lot.  He helped us choose a date for the birth – we had to since twin births are usually more dangerous.  So at dawn on 24 September 2002 we drove in the half-dark for a Caesarean operation at 8:00 AM.  There was a lot of drama that day, induced (haha, I can laugh at it now, but hell it wasn’t funny then) by the anaesthetist who was half an hour late.

I was only allowed in the operating room after a long wait.  I shall spare the gory details of skin spread out like an umbrella, all the cutting instruments dulled by blood, etc.  You don’t need to know any of that for now.  🙂

Our twin girls were born half a minute from each other.  (At the moment they have this silly notion that one is older than the other.  But really, I was there and I cannot remember who came first, to be honest.  I was just shown two alien looking gray things that squirmed.)

Well, leap into today, 25 January 2011.  I am having twins again but they are being born on different days.  The first one, let’s call her “Karu” – short for Baha-bahagdang Karupukan – was born today.  I have been told her twin sister, “Skin” – for Alien to Any Skin – will be delivered sometime this week.  Thus, twin books for a daddy of twins.  It was the poet Gemino Abad who first pointed this out to me because I think I was too overwhelmed to realize the news then.