Julius Marc G. Taborete

filipinx Oedipus

the only way
to cure people’s
heart is
to gouge your
eyes out

and exile—

(and empathize)
says the Oracle,

Asclepius’ myth
          Asclepius’ demise meant that a mortal man can reach only one certain limit
          in the natural order of things and it is forbidden to him to exceed this limit

A dream is one harmful thing.
I was a harmless six-year-old
sputtering senseless words.

White shirt with a miniature stethoscope,
given by Papa. It kept falling,
but I always clung to it.

We played doctor-patient
pretenders. Tended his life and my
stuffed bears, nursed from here to there . . .

until now . . . but
here’s a doctor’s advice:
put a swab inside, thrust, and wait
for disgruntled moans. Slowly
pull out, catch the colorless liquid.
If it bleeds, rest. If not, wait
for the result—and keep
on repeating until tons
of sweat trickle
down your coveralls.

Asclepius’ myth is similar, too
I was given a bare elixir to dream, yet
to live was another;
senseless words are harmful.

10 hr

. . . here’s a 10-hr uniform for September,
heats up like an unsung August protest,
sweats like July’s national address.
Or maybe that
tightens up like empty June promises, later
breaks down in May working holidays
and isolates all alone in April,
then gets discriminated by March.
That has been the same difference last February.
Here’s a “Thank you, frontliners!”

(counts up to 7 seconds)

. . . with(out) pay.


When the Old Paints the Youth

By Julius Marc Taborete

wakes up at dawn to sweep
the brown multitudes of the Fall.

Youth plants the fertile soil, reaping
the withered land and pours
spite of rise on gray expanse.

Youth is the pollen of our prime—
disperses through the sky,
never pulled back from ancestral gravity.

spews parts of our best days;
swooping the flesh of fading ritual
in a feast of the age of rising sun.

does not heed the silence
of vestige; in scaffolding of the melody
of the Sun and Stars.

is just our history,
a mirage in distortion of reality; an induction
to the surreal slums of life. Ancestors,
as they would say,

is the gift of nature but age
is the work of art.” Hues of

cascade from the canvas of tradition,
depleting the fountain
of the past.

has not stepped on the shadows
of 1972; the freedom we once
now has the brimful of the

As mirrors reflect the wrinkle
of time, old is still new. Has

been the roots of The fallen bough?
Ah! The dawn has come
and so as the

comes to sweep the last
leaf to plant a
new tree.

June 2018 (Issue 22)

Introduction by Paul Randy P. Gumanao

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Erwin Cabucos
Manika by Mubarak Tahir

Layers by Christine Joy G. Aban
To recreate that which I had seen in a dream 
by Almira Caryl Jane A. Calvo
Astral Demise 
by Florence Dianne D. Samson
Antler Series 
by Julius Marc Taborete
Makeup Kit 
by Mubarak Tahir

Liar Goes to Hell by Allan Ace Dignadice

Editors and Contributors

Antler Series

Julius Marc Taborete

Song of the Moon River

Once has crossed
the River underneath the stark
roundness of Blood Moon
where one, but two
shrieks have struck his skimpy
Legs. Discordant ripples
break the current as the lean Toe
resonates ragged
waves of indecisiveness;
upon touching the manic flow,
bloodshot eyes waver
back and forth to each Vortexes
of the bewitching screech.
is from the downstream
and Other is from the upper;
tugging for directions
to occupy with.
Voids to fill in.

He stills
in the water,
waiting for
the decision;
to persist or accede
from the pressure.
For one last time,
and for the last time,
he goes with the flow
With the flow
comes defeat.
From his escape,
Hunger and oppression.

He dreamily rests
with the current;
He embraced
the current.
Washed with the blessing of the
Blood Moon,
he calmly succumbs to the raging
And Once stood
in the middle of the River
has gone with the wave,
ebbing in His own
swirling pool, saying
“It’s Alright.”


It is the Call

You have the Wings of
my freedom,
the shackle to my lifeline;
the land where I pursue
the beatdown. I am not
to be captured
nor caged.
Not to sink nor swim
in the shadows.
Not to fly in foreign Wings
nor in foreign skies.

Propelled in Blue Hues
grazed by the Sun
Mother had kissed
My skin with patches
of Brown, with the songs of
my ancestors but
swept away in
my Father’s proud façade,
Whitewashed with features of
the East.

In the land where my feat
seared the ground
thawed the color
my Mother had touched.
Turning into White
ashes, they have locked me in
my own freedom,
in the delusion I dwell.
They have singed me,
my roots;
and now
mock those
with Brown skins
pursuing the beatdown
I was once flying for.
It is the Call.



“Find the Antler”
in snow covered hills,
in icy patches of fields,
in cold whispers of barren cliffs.
“Find the Antler”
where stark eyed wolves search for prey,
where landslides melt villages,
where echoes resonate over
crystalized cries of nature.
She says,
“find the Antler”
who runs in the deep forest,
who glides in the mist of lakes,
who basks in the warm light of
Seen underneath the gleaming
rainbow butterflies
perched in the stalwart horns,
strewn with sonnets of Eve,
detached from the writhing blight
she rings in my ears,
“find the Antler.”

Strained in my naked eyes,
seeking for its loftiness
in the full bloom of its own
Spring yet runs
swiftly where
no one has seen or heard.
In its wake
a wind bites the frost,
heating my thought,
constricts with invisible thorns;
She appears in a chant
in my mind
that the Antler is near,
is here,
that the Antler stood
in the shadow of Her voice—
of my shadow.

For once I stopped
in search for the moment,
for spare bats of my eyelids
She has escaped astray,
The Antler has run away.

Editors and Contributors


Paul Randy P. Gumanao hails from Kidapawan City and teaches Chemistry at Philippine Science High School-SOCCSKSARGEN Region Campus. He was a fellow for poetry at the 2009 Davao Writers Workshop and the 2010 IYAS National Creative Writing Workshop. He is a former editor in chief of Atenews, the official student publication of Ateneo de Davao University, and is currently finishing his MS in Chemistry from the same university.


Jude Ortega is a short story writer from Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat Province. He has been a fellow in two regional and four national writers workshop. In 2015, he received honorable mention at the inaugural F. Sionil José Young Writers Awards. His short story collection Seekers of Spirits is forthcoming from the University of the Philippines Press.


Christine Joy G. Aban was born and raised in Cotabato City. In 2000, she went to Iligan to study in MSU-IIT. She is now married to an Iliganon and has two kids. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in UP Diliman, Quezon City. Her poem “Layers” won third place at the 2018 BalakBayi Poetry Writing Contest.

Erwin Cabucos, born and raised in Kabacan, Cotabato Province, is a teacher of English and religious education at Trinity College in Queensland, Australia. He received High Commendation literary awards from Roly Sussex Short Story Prize and Queensland Independent Education Union Literary Competition in 2016. His short stories have been published in Australia, Philippines, Singapore, and USA, including VerandahFourWPhilippines Graphic, and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He completed his master in English education from the University of New England.

Almira Caryl Jane A. Calvo is an AB English student of Mindanao State University-General Santos City. She is also a member of the book readers club Valoræx and a feature writer trainee in the university paper. Her poem “To recreate that which I had seen in a dream” won first place at the 2018 BalakBayi Poetry Writing Contest.

Allan Ace Dignadice is a nineteen-year-old playwright and poet from Koronadal, South Cotabato.

Florence Diane D. Samson is a third year AB English student at Mindanao State University-General Santos City. She grew up in the municipality of Datu Abdullah Sangki in Maguindano but is now residing in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, with her family.

Julius Marc Taborete is an AB English graduate of Mindanao State University-General Santos with latin honors. He was the editor in chief of the MSU College Social Sciences and Humanities’ student publication Pingkian and folio Ningas. He currently teaches Literature at Dole Philippines School, Kalsangi, Polomolok, South Cotabato.

Mubarak M. Tahir was born in the village of Kitango in Datu Piang, Maguindanao. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Filipino Language (cum laude) at Mindanao State University in Marawi City. He lived in General Santos City when he taught in the campus there of his alma mater. His essay “Aden Bon Besen Uyag-uyag” won the third prize for Sanaysay at the 2017 Palanca Awards. Currently, he is teaching at the Davao campus of Philippine Science High School.