Dark Adaptations

By Mary Antonette P. Fuentes

Rain falls, stacking in the gutter
Not a single sound I hear nor a mutter.
Aside from the drips,
Silence resonates with me in this four-cornered room
Accompanied by thin and hard-to-breathe air and gloom.
I am deprived by darkness.
He’s the only companion I’ve got.
He’s with me through this lonesome time of bad luck.
He’s with me when the world seems in love.
Good luck about that.
I’m not a hater of love
Nor a lover of hate.
I’m a believer before.
Well, I guess fate must’ve changed.
It took me some time before I could see
How reality plays us in its hands of fantasy.
I became dependent on this so-called forecaster.
I’m a voyager in this sea of invincible monsters
That have the face of enlightened angels.
Monsters that say, “In here, sweetie, let me take care of you.
I’d be delighted.”
Promising as it may sound
Every sweet thought has its bounds.
Never fall to this betrothal trap
Devilish deed.
I say, “You are not a rat.”
You can’t blame me, though.
All my life I’ve been living with this blinding light.
I grew with such great thirst
To know how mighty the dark is.
Dilated pupil? Maybe not.
Increased sensitivity? Somewhat.
To put it simply,
The eye adapts to conditions of reduced illuminations.
I’d like to call it “dark adaptations.”



By Xaña Angel Eve M. Apolinar

To you,
Please don’t ask me about monsters
And my sadness
They exist together and sometimes are
Just the same.

To you,
Please ask me to stop
Writing sad scribbles, monsters
Trapped inside my soul
Ready to devour those who are willing
To fight
The dragons and rescue the damsel in distress.
My fingers only lingers
On the letters that form these monsters,
Splitting them wide open and making you
Vulnerable in front of vultures.

To you,
Please take my palms and close
The fingers to form a fist and open them again
Until the venom slips off
The tips of my fingernails like a swift river.

To you,
please stay
until my monsters devour you.

Mother Kept Me Awake

By Yumi Ilagan

Mom said I should keep the lights on
Even when I need to go to sleep.
I have known that and have always tried.

Mom knew that I drift into another world in my sleep.
She did not like it.
So every time she sensed that I was drifting away,
She would shake me awake.
I did not like it.

One night, I saw her keep and lock the knives in the drawer.
She never gave me the keys even if I politely asked for it.
She had also kept my medicine in a cupboard
And kept it locked until it was time for me to take them.

Mom said I should keep the lights on
Even when I need to go to sleep
Because she said I loved the dark too much
And she was afraid that one night the dark would take me away
And that I would gladly go.

Mom knew everything, except one
Or maybe two
Or maybe three.
Mom didn’t know that the dark already had.
Mom didn’t know how I feel when the dark consumes my mind,
When oblivion falls into my thoughts,
When death lingers in my conscious thoughts,
Just enough for me to crave the sensation of them.

So I kept the lights on, even when I needed to go to sleep.
Well, at least I have tried.

Now, I am looking for the keys my mother has kept
Because the dark has come once again,
And I am afraid to go back.

The Rose

By Reylan Gyll J. Padernilla

Have your ever loved a rose
And watched her slowly bloom?
As her petals unfold, you grow
Drunk on her perfume.
You swear every night to let
The memory fade.

Have you ever seen its dance?
It quivers catching the dew
And with the passing of the wind.
You swear every night to let
The memory fade.

Have you ever loved a rose?
You can bleed by touching her thorns?

Ang Buaya sa Marsh

By Marianne Hazzale J. Bullos

Ang buaya sa marsh
Ay! Ay! Pagkadako-dako!

Ang buaya sa marsh
Naghulat sa kangitngit,
Naghulat og biktimahon.

Ang buaya sa marsh
Astang siroka!
Gipanilok og kaon
Biskan iyang mga igsoon.

Ang buaya sa marsh
Nihabhab pa gyod og bulawan
Pangtunaw sa gipangkaon.

Ang buaya sa marsh
Gihugasan ang pula sa panit
Og tubig nga limpiyo.

Ang buaya sa marsh
Buotan pod ra ba usahay.
Sa niaging Mayo,
Nilamano siya kang Tatay!


By Christine Joy G. Aban

Woman: Take the coat, what’s left behind?
Take the dress, what’s there inside?
Take my breast, can you still see
a girl’s inner beauty?

Man: Leave your coat, and your dress on.
Blind my eyes, in my mind will spawn
images and sounds, music and laughter,
lovely memories, friendly banter.

Woman: If vital parts of me are gone,
can I still be one?
If the core to be a woman is taken,
can I still be a woman again?

Man: That depends partly on where you stand.
In some cultures men do understand
that womanhood is a state of mind
and that selves should not by society be defined.

Woman: What does it take to be a lady?
What is a woman’s fragility?
What role a girl can achieve
so that respect she can fully achieve?

Man: I think one should not try to achieve
respect. In doing so, a woman’s senses take leave
of the beautiful things she has inside;
inside, where soul and real beauty do reside.