Maalikabok Ka Lang pero Kaganda Mo

Ni Gerald Galindez
Tula

Maalikabok ka lang pero kaganda mo,
lalo na sa mga hapon pag ginatamaan ka ng ilaw ng araw na nagalubog sa Daguma—
                                                                     ang korona mo ay nagabaga.

Maalikabok ka lang
         pero grabe kainit ang pag-alaga mo—
wala kang ginapili, wala kang paborito, giyakap mo lahat ng tribu.

Maalikabok ka lang
         pero kadami mong ginatago
         mga kayamanan sa iyong buhok,
         mga pakpak na ginto, apoy sa dulo ng mga yantok,
         mga perlas sa tawa ng mga masayahing tao.

Maalikabok ka lang
         pero kadaming nagaasa sa iyong paaralan
ang iyong industriya ay buhay sa mga pangarap ng iyong mga anak,
         ng mga babu at bapa, ng mga manong at manang, ng mga iyoy at iyay
                   gintahi mo ang mga malalim na sugat ng kasaysayan.

Maalikabok ka lang
         pero kalalim ng iyong ugat
         sa ’yo nagadaloy ang mga pinaghalong tula at awit at kulay,
                   ang mga sayaw na nagasabog
                             ang pinag-isang kultura na patuloy sa paglipad ay
                                       tulad ng mga ibon na tunay na nagamay-ari ng lupa.

Tacurong,
         maalikabok ka lang pero kaganda mo.

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Kubo

Ni Norsalim S. Haron
Tula

Sa ilalim ng saya ng puno,
may kubong nakayuko,
wari’y mga aliping nakaluhod
sa harap ng kanilang panginoon.

Sa tapat ng mesa,
sa ilalim ng patay-sinding ilaw,
may isang larawan ng masayang pamilya
ang nakasabit sa inaanay na haligi.
Ang katabing bintana ay nagsisilbi bilang sinehan—
pinanonood ko ang mga batang nagtatagisan,
pati na rin ang ganda’t tayog ng lipad
ng isang saranggolang ipinagtatabi sa ulap.

Sa piling ng bangkong may gulong
umiikot ang buhay ko.
Araw-gabi akong nakatanaw
sa punyal, espada’t katanang naghahabulan
sa kaloob-looban ng aming orasan.

Nakapako man ako sa upuan,
malaya namang nakalilipad ang isipan.

Kung napasusunod ko lamang yaring mga paa,
sasayaw ako katulad ng malumanay na indayog ng alon,
kekembot katulad ng bangkang gumigiling
upang makasabay sa bagong henerasyon.

Ngunit tila mananatili na ako sa kubo
nang may galak sa piling ng aking anino.

Sa Amoang Balay

Ni Glenn Arimas
Balak

Ako usa ka tagabalay lang
wala gagawas, pero naa pirmis gawas
naa pirmis balay, naa sa sulod.
Wala ko nakakulong kay naa ra kos among balay,
sa amoang balay.

Among balay walay laing makalupig
dakog hawanan ug daghang mga tanom.
Lig-on ang pundasyon sa among balay
kay kami tanan gatinabangay
sa amoang balay.

Limpyo ang tubig ug daghang pagkaon
tag-as among mga punoan, lagpad mga basakan
lami ang mga prutas ug gulay
naay usahay sa langit nga daghag kulay
sa amoang balay.

Ako usa ka tagabalay lang
lami ang hangin sa udto ug kagabhion
sa unahan saba kay daghag dagko nga tinukod
maayo gyud sa panan-aw maong adto mo diri
sa amoang balay.

Jose Comes Home

By Estrella Taño Golingay
Poetry

Tonight, he prays for the blessings
of the gods. As he clutches his M16
rifle, he gazes at the sky and searches
for a miracle. He sees no stray
meteor shooting by. No star.

Only a blinding light quickly searing
the night sky, at times, a deaf drum
falling into pieces and sharp knocks
loud enough to reiterate stories told.
He bounces back in full gear.

Wish! His heart racing under
his shirt. There is no one
to witness the last fray except
the classic fall of his only star
and the volley of lead.

There were more he remembers
As he’d dodge them hurtling by.
Run! his comrades urged him
and his falling into a deep sleep.

His family gathers for him
tonight, gnashing their teeth
on questions floating over
the draping of the flag.

Waters

By Elyzah A. Parcon 
Poetry

test me
my waters have remained constant
rippling, reaching
as far as the eye can see
into the horizon;
the water surrounds me

my knowledge is useless
when drowning
in these waters
I can only flail desperately
as my movements create ripples
out into the ocean

all these efforts
all in vain
all in my vein
blood rushing out
like the sea; light, then heavy
then strong
this time, the waters are red
and they reek of iron

test my waters
they’ve been stained
crimson with my lifeline

Two Poems

By Innah Johanee Alaman

 

Daybreak

Still with the haze of dawn,
the light and darkness play
tugs of war in the high-
vaulted sky. The east light wins
this time, staining the sky with hues
from today’s morning palette:
blue, rosy pink, and gold.
The sun’s first rays reach me
at ease—its light strikes
through my window, peeping
through the sudden, awaken me. Slowly,
my room’s filled with
the sun’s fault-finding
heat, revealing last night’s mess
I have, arranged without him.
Mornings are such
nosy perverts.

 

Web

A body, at fifteen, unwrapped, raw
between split robe, quivers
before the intimate eyes of her lover.

A body, at fifteen, moans mute
in photos. Her soft limbs, small mouth,
stroke scenes in the minds of the uninvited.

Every inch of her skin exposed, posed
is viewed over and over again,
like an animal in a museum, most
beautiful when preserved—
only dead.

Her photos tell a tale of a nymph taken out of the water
caught in a web, sprawled like a carcass,
suspended in the air on an invisible thread.
The predators are out, feeding
on the fragile innocence on the web—
the rotten smell of their lustful gaze
penetrate her. But the web knows not
of the nymph, the bruises and scars
hidden beneath the paleness of her skin.

They look at her lips
when they use her lips, share her lips,
only to speak of the taste of her dirt.

And the web knows not of the predators
who feast on the nymph pleading
don’t come don’t come
yet they come.

Just as Silvery

By Marc Jeff Lañada
Poetry

In front of the medicine-chest mirror, a generation apart,
or at least the collective days that finally brought me here,
I am but an image, alive and pensive, that refuses to budge,
to realize that the material composing the reflection
is quite different now, maybe a little rebellious now.
More often than not, there’s always sunlight
hopping from one surface to another—too many routes
but flashes before my eyes nonetheless—reminding that
the skin has to keep outgrowing itself over and over.
Like nostalgia that begs to be visited: How can it be done
when old images can already live on their own?
I lift the razor to the plain stretch of my jaw lathered
with foam, slowly slide the blade, checking progress
strip by strip, somehow hoping to see a wound.