Para sa Aking mga Kaibigan

Hindi ko alam kung paano magsasabi
Nang sabay mong maintindihan at hindi maintindihan
Na ang ibig kong sabihi’y wala, nawawala’t nagwawala
Na ang ibig kong sabihi’y sana’y meron kang tenga
Kung pantapat lamang sa kawalan ko ng dila

Hindi ko sasabihing ako’y balisa
Alam kong karamay ko ang mundo
Bilyong mga taong hindi naging maligaya sa bahay, sa eskwela
Sa piling o hindi ng kaibigan at pamilya
Ang isasagot sa akin ay litanyang nakalilok na sa memorya
Tila dasal tuwing semana santa
Ako’y titikom upang hithitin ang lahat ng himutok na usok sa aking baga
Naiintindihan ko naman (yata) pero isipin mo rin sana
Kahit minsa’y hindi ko inginiti ang katotohanang nangangarap tayong mamatay

Hindi ako magsasalita dahil naibenta ko na ang aking bibig
Siko, suso, katawan kapalit ng mga saysay na tiwala kong ibinahagi
At maniwala ka na sa oras na ako’y umiyak sa iyong handang balikat
Maulit kong pipiliting tipuning muli ang luha bago ako matulog o hindi matulog

Ang dabog ay sa dibdib, ang hiyaw ay sa lalamunan
Pikit-matang pag-iimpit; walang dabog, walang pasa
Mga kuwentong hindi kailanman iluluwal ngunit ilang beses kong
Susubukang isilang bawat gabing ako’y tumitipa ng talinghaga
Para sa mga mata mong hindi naman nakakabasa

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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

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