POETRY

June 4, 2012

Lines On The Sole | Guhit Ng Talampakan | Poetry | Published by University of Santo Tomas Publishing | 2008

Shockbox | Ang Butas Na Kahon Ni Kulas Talon | Poetry | Published by University of the Philippines Press | 2012

Under The Storm | An Anthology Of Contemporary Philippine Poetry | Published by Kamias Road & The Antithesis Collective | 2011

Rest

I raise my leg
on a cloud on pause,
and I free the water
that has been saved by the body:

There is a life that sprouts in the belly.
The wind is numb.

Translated by L. Lacambra Ypil

Pahinga

Ipinatong ko ang paa
sa nakatigil na ulap,
at pinalaya ang tubig
na naipon sa katawan:

May umuusbong na buhay sa pusod.
Nangangawit ang hangin.

Letter

At last,
I thought,
you were going to write me back,
and not just allow me
to peep past the diluted dark
of a window gilded
by the silk skeletons
of these curtains,
but that you would let me enter
your home,
if only up to the living room,
(not punishable by a life sentence)
let me settle down
on comfortable
but not flimsy cushions,
and maybe you’d offer me a last drink
of ice-cold water
drawn from the sacred bosom
of the lake, mixed
with just a little salt.

You did write me back,
but with a letter featuring
the same remix of words
You give everybody else,
just like the oppressive
whitewashed walls
of your room,
sole keeper of who you really are,
that you are as mysterious
as an old, locked trunk
with your a and o
at the corners
of a cobweb-infested shed,
and gone missing
is the rusty key
concealed under the floor
of the endless ocean.

Translated by Ruel S. de Vera

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAhJyyiRrEo]

Sulat

Sa wakas,
akala ko,
susulatan mo rin ako,
hindi na lang basta
pasisilipin
sa mapanglaw na itim
na bintanang natatabingan
ng manipis na kalansay
ng kurtina,
kundi papapasukin
ng bahay,
kahit hanggang sala lang
(hindi naman yata ito pagkakasala)
pauupuin
sa malambot
ngunit di-bibigay
na hita ng kama,
at baka painumin pa
ng malamig na tubig
na sinalok sa pusod
ng laot,
sinalaan ng asin.
Sinulatan mo nga ako,
ngunit pareho lang
sa paulit-ulit na titik
na ipinamigay mo sa iba,
walang ipinagkaiba
sa nakababagot
na puting dingding
ng aking silid,
tanging ibinubunyag
sa iyong pagkatao
ay na ikaw
ay kasinlihim
ng nakakandadong baul
ng iyong mga a at o
sa sulok
ng sinasapot na silong,
at nawawala
ang kalawanging susi
sa ilalim ng sahig
ng malawak na dagat.

Litany of the Sacred Heart

We are gouging out the heart for the cross on the wing.
We’re like children, thirsting for the sound of the sun.
Our backs breaking, old branch dry as sand.

We are gouging out the heart for the cross on the wing.
Tired am I, turtle under the heavy house.
Any road is quicksand to the feet.

We are gouging out the heart for the cross on the wing.
Do you recognize me? After two thousand sunsets.
Or are you blind like me? I hope not.

We are gouging out the heart for the cross on the wing.
If a fountain breaks forth, will a volcano be formed?
Water is sick of the fierceness of fire.

We are gouging out the heart for the cross on the wing.
Cross that what if it falls off
Like chicken feather? Pitiful?

We are gouging out the heart for the cross on the wing.
And the world ended. And we forgot everything.
Including love and failure. And the end.

We are gouging out the heart for the cross on the wing.
Why can’t the tongue stop from spouting words?
Is it sad? Sadder than your eyes?

We are gouging out the heart for the cross on the wing.
And the body slithers through the pipe of air.
Unable to breathe. How precious breath is.

If we trip on the pavement, won’t a butterfly go up in smoke off the knee?
And the children scrambled out of the room,
Looking for their parents who have become children themselves and unrecognizable.

If we trip on the pavement, won’t a butterfly go up in smoke off the knee?
The howling of the neighbor’s dog bites.
No doctors now in the country. No reason not to die.

If we trip on the pavement, won’t a butterfly go up in smoke off the knee?
The cars link up bumper to bumper, creating a single car
On a single street, as big as, as small as the world. Explosion.

If we trip on the pavement, won’t a butterfly go up in smoke off the knee?
We fill up the church with the moldy palms of our hands.
But what can we do? We are only sons of God.

If we trip on the pavement, won’t a butterfly go up in smoke off the knee?
Big brother has emptied the meadow of its butterflies.
His hunger has scraped up what crumbs remain of beauty outside the house.

If we trip on the pavement, won’t a butterfly go up in smoke off the knee?
How pleasing to use the word nothing, like a bathstone for rubbing on the back,
In a river full of stones, full of people. Dirt washing up.

If we trip on the pavement, won’t a butterfly go up in smoke off the knee?
Two hundred the pet skulls in every house.
For shooing death away. Each skull a flowerpot for the lilac plant.

If we trip on the pavement, won’t a butterfly go up in smoke off the knee?
The pronouncing dictionary of the lost voice is set ablaze.
In the smoke, heroes from undersea will help out, wet.

If we trip on the pavement, won’t a butterfly go up in smoke off the knee?
The black in the nails take over the white. The fingers shake.
Afraid of the dark. Turning the light on even with a burnt-out bulb.

Amen only the contents of the head nodding yeses to the accompaniment of a ghost-star.

Translated by Ricardo de Ungria

Litanya Ng Sacred Heart

Dinudukit namin ang puso para sa lumilipad na krus.
Para kaming paslit, nauuhaw sa tunog ng araw.
Nababakli ang likod, matandang sangang kasintuyo ng buhangin.

Dinudukit namin ang puso para sa lumilipad na krus.
Pagod na ako, pagong sa ilalim ng mabigat na bahay.
Kumunoy sa talampakan ang anumang daan.

Dinudukit namin ang puso para sa lumilipad na krus.
Nakikilala mo ba ako? Pagkalipas ng dalawang libong dapithapon.
O bulag ka na rin tulad ko? Huwag sana.

Dinudukit namin ang puso para sa lumilipad na krus.
Kapag sumabog ang bukal, may isisilang kayang bulkan?
Sawa na ang tubig sa bagsik ng apoy.

Dinudukit namin ang puso para sa lumilipad na krus.
Krus na ano kaya kung bumagsak
Gaya ng pakpak ng manok. Nakakaawa?

Dinudukit namin ang puso para sa lumilipad na krus.
At nagunaw ang mundo. At nakalimutan natin ang lahat.
Pati pag-ibig at pagkabigo. Pagkagunaw.

Dinudukit namin ang puso para sa lumilipad na krus.
Bakit ayaw tumigil ng dila sa pagtalsik ng salita?
Malungkot kaya siya? Mas malungkot kaysa iyong mata?

Dinudukit namin ang puso para sa lumilipad na krus.
At kumikiwal ang katawan sa tubo ng hangin.
Hindi makahinga. Kay taas ng halaga ng hininga.

Kapag nadapa sa semento, wala kayang paruparong aaso mula sa tuhod?
At nagsitakbuhan palabas ng silid ang mga bata,
Hinahanap ang kanilang magulang na naging mga bata ring hindi mamukhaan.

Kapag nadapa sa semento, wala kayang paruparong aaso mula sa tuhod?
Nangangagat ang tahol ng aso ng kapitbahay.
Walang duktor ngayon sa buong bayan. Wala tayong dahilan para hindi mamatay.

Kapag nadapa sa semento, wala kayang paruparong aaso mula sa tuhod?
Magkakadikit ang bumper ng sasakyan, lumilikha ng iisang sasakyan
Sa iisang kalsada, kasinlaki, kasinliit ng daigdig. Pagsabog.

Kapag nadapa sa semento, wala kayang paruparong aaso mula sa tuhod?
Pinupuno natin ang simbahan ng inaamag nating palad.
Ngunit ano’ng magagawa natin? Mga anak lamang tayo ng Diyos.

Kapag nadapa sa semento, wala kayang paruparong aaso mula sa tuhod?
Naubos ni Kuya ang lahat ng paruparo sa parang.
Sinimot ng kanyang gutom ang nalalabing ganda sa labas ng bahay.

Kapag nadapa sa semento, wala kayang paruparong aaso mula sa tuhod?
Kay sarap gamitin ng salitang wala, parang batong panghilod sa likod,
Sa ilog na maraming bato, maraming tao. Naliligong dumi.

Kapag nadapa sa semento, wala kayang paruparong aaso mula sa tuhod?
Dalawang daan ang alagang bungo ng bawat tahanan.
Pambugaw ng kamatayan. Bawat bungo, paso ng lilang halaman.

Kapag nadapa sa semento, wala kayang paruparong aaso mula sa tuhod?
Ang talatinigan ng nawawalang tinig, sinisigahan.
Sa usok, sasaklolo ang mga bayani mula sa ilalim ng dagat, basa.

Kapag nadapa sa semento, wala kayang paruparong aaso mula sa tuhod?
Pinapalitan ng itim sa kuko ang puti. Nanginginig ang mga daliri.
Takot sa dilim. Binubuksan ang ilaw kahit pundido.

Amen lang ang alam ng ulong tango nang tango sa saliw ng multong-bituin.

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