we were going to be legends

at five, the race was to discover eyelashes
and all the other details that make a human face
the winner was the most lines on a stick figure

we memorized the solar system in order from sun to pluto
we took note of roman numbers, one to a thousand
we were going to be on books and all of the papers
we were going to be legends

at fifteen, we traded pleated skirts for ripped jeans
trying our hand at eyeliners as seen on mtv
they didn’t understand, but we knew
as if memories of past lives; as if etched in our finger prints
we were going to spill on a sea of people
we were going to be loved

at twenty-three, we were designing skyscrapers
on freshly printed resumes and gleaming headshots
the future had never been this tangible
life was the thrill of uncertainty
and we were going to be the difference
we were going to reverberate throughout history

when did myopic eyes learn to view
with satellite precision its own global position?
when did the big fish shed its pearl-white scales
to reveal a paper shell?
why does everyone know about eyelashes?
why does everyone know about roman numbers?
why does everyone have inch-thick kohl cat eyes?

we were going to be somewhere
you were going to see us on tv
we were going to be remembered
we were going to be legends

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unsolicited advice for the creative

So I made stuff, in my endeavor to be a practicing creative whose body of work is composed of tangible objects and not just floating concepts in my brain.

Boyfriend and I were gearing up to set a table at this small event for local artists and I wanted to churn out something new after having layouted my DIY comics. I trashed several ideas before finally settling down on something. I thought: “Hey, I have numerous opinions about creatives. Most of the people who will attend the event are creatives. Why not publish my rants about them?” Or something like that.

So I got on my little notepad and quickly wrote short sentences about my thoughts on artists, what makes them great, their favorite excuses for when they’re not being productive, and mostly just beliefs on the process of churning out artistic work. As a full-time Creative Director, I thought I was credible enough to give unsolicited advice.

At work, I would always tell book layout artists that the purpose of layout is to make reading the text easy. But I had so much fun breaking that rule when I designed the pages of this small project. Check out these pages:

advice-creative-zine-01advice-creative-zine-02advice-creative-zine-03advice-creative-zine-04advice-creative-zine-05

Interested in a copy of the whole thing? E-mail me and I’ll send it to you. No charge, no survey, no anything in exchange whatsoever.

 

Bajau

nangangapal sa kalyo ang talampakang
walang init na nadarama; sanay sa hapdi
ng araw sa inaraw-araw na paghabol ng jeep

noo’y ugoy ng alon ang marahang duyan
ngayo’y kaladkad sa pinulupot na kalsada
nakatunghay sa kahabaan ng daang
ang pinipitpit ay libong sasakyan para magkasya

balot ng makulay na panyo ang noo
salo ang pawis ng maghapong pagpalaot
tapik ang tambol na gawa sa lata at plastik
ang tanong ay paano nga ba naanod
at paano nga ba babalik

The Dream of Princess Tamatori

tamatori-hime-poetryforsale-apoloniodraws

Grandmother. She passed long before I was born but she’s always in my head; the picture of a mermaid, a bright pearl in the water, a shiny milkfish against a backdrop of electric blue.

Glowing in the dark
The silver lady circles
In depths of longing

Growing up, my mother would correct my fantasies of being the descendant of a sea goddess. Grandmother was a diver. Of course, she had skin that was sun-kissed if not sun-burnt. Her muscles were stiff on her legs and arms. She was neither beautiful nor delicate; an average woman with sunrise in her smiles.

The waves roll away
Glistening in golden sun
Calm before the storm

She married grandfather at 17. About the same time, the West caught up with the East and shamed divers for their nakedness. Grandfather kept grandmother in the house until the dark peeled off from her skin. The muscles chiseled in by the waves gave way to soft and pliant parts. She covered her breasts and combed away the salt in her hair.

The ama dove deep
Toba waited in silence
Patient as a wife

Ah, I imagine many nights after grandfather’s sloppy kisses, she would slip fingers between her thighs, pleasuring herself until the dead hours. Stories told she was caught by her sister with a fishmonger on her breasts. And when her tummy swelled to cradle my mother, it was said that the octopi she craved didn’t enter her body through her mouth.

Waters black under
All tentacles and pincers
The sea teems with teeth

Yes, grandfather would tell you that she drowned at sea at 24. Three days they spent looking and three nights they came home with nothing but sand and wet clothes. He’d tell you how he waited for her on the shore, but he would never tell you that the sea welcomed her as a lost lover.

Blue bubbling scarlet
The blood of Tamatori
Becomes one with foam

Art by Paul Medalla. Check out his work here.

Anxia: A post-holiday poem

I tell you that I don’t want to go to work tomorrow
That I’d rather stay where my bed meets my blanket
Sleeping away this cold January weather and oh
What a day to be had on my back, disconnected

But I also tell you that I’d rather go to work if only not to miss the calls
They will make to my number
Because some questions need to be answered and
Some deadlines are dying as I type and
Some things have definitely gone awry
And that should I let a day go by at home
I’d really just be standing by the phone

And so I tell you that I’d honestly rather go to work because
There are people to meet in the office
Meetings will be had and my boss will ask for me tomorrow
Just for tomorrow, solely tomorrow, and
She will wonder why I’ve not come and look back to the day
She first told me to “be responsible for these people”

You tell me it’s alright, that I can skip just one day
That I’m 27 and human
But I’m already halfway dressed and waiting for the bus
It’s 3AM and I’ve no sleep and all desire to vomit acid
Really, I’d rather close my eyes and wait for an oncoming car
So I can send a text saying I can’t go to work because I’m dead

Instead I tell you that I’m in the office already
Mushy brain and stomach-sick
Counting cigarette breaks until 5PM

Ang Ginoo sa Pag-iisa: Subok ng Salin ng “Gentleman Alone” ni Pablo Neruda

Silang mga binatilyong bakla at malalaswang mga dalaga,
Silang nagtatabaang mga balo na pawang bangag sa puyat,
Silang mga bagong maybahay na tatlumpung oras nang buntis,
At silang mga pusang naglalandian sa aking hardin tuwing gabi,
Mga nagpipintugang buhay na talaba
Sa palibot ng aking munting tahanan
Salo ay muhi ng aking kaluluwa,
Mga demonyong nakapajama
Na ang palita’y maiinit na mga halik, kunwari’y lihim na mga liham.
Sa tuwing sasapit ang tag-init, iniiwan ng mga nagmamahalan
Ang kanilang matatamlay na rehimyento,
May matataba, mapapayat, maliligaya, at malulungkot na mga pares
Sa ilalim ng naglalakihang mga puno sa tabi ng baybayin at buwan
May enerhiyang kaakibat ang palitan ng pantalon at panty
May huning kasama ang pagtatanggal ng stockings
Pati ang suso ng mga kababaihang tila makikislap na mga mata.
Maging ang padre de familia, matapos ang ilang sandali,
Matapos ang isang linggong pagpasok sa trabaho,
At matapos ang walang kalatuy-latoy na mga nobelang binabasa bago matulog,
Ay tuluyan nang nakipagkantutan sa kaniyang kapitbahay,
At ngayon sila’y naghihipuan sa madilim na sinehan
Kung saan ang bida sa mga pelikula ay kabayo o magigiting na mga prinsipe,
Dahan-dahang hinahaplos ng kaniyang sabik at pasmadong palad
Ang mabibilog at makikinis na mga hita.
Ang gabi ng mangangaso at gabi ng mag-asawa
Ay tila balumbon ng kumot na sa aki’y sumasakal,
Maging ang oras matapos ang tanghalian kung kailan nagbubulyos ang mga pari at estudyante,
At walang pakundangang nagkakangkangan ang mga aso sa daan,
At ang mga bubuyog na amoy dugo at hindi magkandaugaga na mga langaw,
At ang walang palyang paglalaro ng bahay-bahayan ng magpipinsan,
At ang mga doktor na nagnanasa sa mga batang pasyente,
Pati ang bukang liwayway kung kailan sumisiping ang propesor
Sa kaniyang asawa bago mag-almusal,
At kung hindi pa ito sapat ay nariyan pa ang mga taksil na siyang tunay na nagmamahalan
Sa mga kamang sinlaki at sintaas ng mga barko:
Paulit-ulit, walang hanggan
Ako’y unti-unting dinudurog ng baliko at buhay na gubat na ito
Kasama ng kaniyang higanteng mga bulaklak na wari mo’y bunganga at ngipin
Pati kaniyang nangingitim na mga ugat na tila ba kuko at takong.

The young maricones and the horny muchachas,
The big fat widows delirious from insomnia,
The young wives thirty hours’ pregnant,
And the hoarse tomcats that cross my garden at night,
Like a collar of palpitating sexual oysters
Surround my solitary home,
Enemies of my soul,
Conspirators in pajamas
Who exchange deep kisses for passwords.
Radiant summer brings out the lovers
In melancholy regiments,
Fat and thin and happy and sad couples;
Under the elegant coconut palms, near the ocean and moon,
There is a continual life of pants and panties,
A hum from the fondling of silk stockings,
And women’s breasts that glisten like eyes.
The salary man, after a while,
After the week’s tedium, and the novels read in bed at night,
Has decisively fucked his neighbor,
And now takes her to the miserable movies,
Where the heroes are horses or passionate princes,
And he caresses her legs covered with sweet down
With his ardent and sweaty palms that smell like cigarettes.
The night of the hunter and the night of the husband
Come together like bed sheets and bury me,
And the hours after lunch, when the students and priests are masturbating,
And the animals mount each other openly,
And the bees smell of blood, and the flies buzz cholerically,
And cousins play strange games with cousins,
And doctors glower at the husband of the young patient,
And the early morning in which the professor, without a thought,
Pays his conjugal debt and eats breakfast,
And to top it all off, the adulterers, who love each other truly
On beds big and tall as ships:
So, eternally,
This twisted and breathing forest crushes me
With gigantic flowers like mouth and teeth
And black roots like fingernails and shoes.

Salin sa Filipino ng salin ni Mike Topp ng orihinal na akda sa Español ni Pablo Neruda