Speaking of Women on Bigkas Pilipinas

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Grateful to have my poem featured in the episode, Speaking of Women, by Bigkas Pilipinas. You can listen to it via #Spotify #ApplePodcast #GooglePodcast – simply search for Bigkas Pilipinas. You can also listen to it by clicking on this link:

https://open.spotify.com/episode/2oHy4u3P3hvrvx6J7Toccy?si=axhQ0ZwsQeGKSIw7TxQZFw

Thank you Bigkas Pilipinas Entertainment and Kooky for this wonderful blessing 😊💖

The text of the poem I read can be found below 😊 :

In the Name of the Mother

I reclaim my mother’s name.
Syllable by syllable.
Letter by letter.
I reach out and lay hold of it.

This name was forged upon
the blood of women.
Generations upon generations
who stood on their own
withstood the fear of being alone
fought for their ground
for their right to speak and be heard
to own their soul and their words
to be wounded and stay alive
to bleed and yet choose to survive.
Yes, this woman, this name
forged in their blood
I claim with no shame.

And across no man’s land
I join my fate with them.
Now, I understand.

Hear me roar!

As I dig myself out of the pit,
you buried me in
to hide away your sins. You fed sand into my mouth,
so I can speak only what you wish to hear.
Poured sand into my eyes,
so I will be blind to your affairs.
Shoveled sand unto my skin,
So I will be numb to my own despair.

But I say enough!
And now I rise.
Now, I stand.
In defiance against the burning sand
of this barren, unforgiving land.

Now, I speak
with the strength of women who bore me.
I refuse to fall victim, enough with your lies.
Now, I see
the truth with their eyes and enter the light.
I reject your snares and turn away from the night.
Now, I feel
the beautiful intricacies of my thoughts and feelings.
I welcome my broken self and the peace that it brings.

I am the daughter of women.
I am a child of their womb.
And with their help, I will not succumb.
I will pick up the broken pieces.
Sit down with them.
Listen to their voices across the age.
As I weave my story with theirs
within this circle
within this sacred space
of affirmed existence
I am finally reborn
to guiltlessly celebrate
my true essence.

Image was taken from the web.

Stay Safe

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Two words
We tell one another now.
Two words
We say to people we love.
Two words
We unselfishly speak even to strangers.

Stay – \ ˈstā
Say it, feel the words linger on your lips.
Close your eyes and listen,
To the silent meaning at the end.
Stay \ – ā \ longing, hear the unspoken desire to see the person remain unharmed.

Safe – \ ˈsāf
Breathe in, exhale, and speak the word.
Do you feel air leaving your body?
An act of passing on precious breath to another.
Safe \ – āf \ blessing someone with the very act of breathing, of living.

Two words
We utter nowadays.
Two words
Our prayer of protection.
Two words
Filled with life and determination.
To continue fighting
To keep on living.
Two words
Stay safe.

A year of quarantine and the COVID cases has risen. Yesterday (April 6) there were 9,000 new cases. We have a total of 803,000 cases since the virus appeared. A lot of people have died (13,435 deaths). The hospitals have reached their maximum capacity. Our health workers are tired, frustrated, and angry. Manila and the surrounding areas are in lockdown again. The government, it seems, has no concrete plans on how to go about things. The people are tired …. We try our best to keep on going. Every day we pray for one another to stay safe. (Manila, April 7)

A City of Words

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I have not the language of writers
Born from distant mountains
Children of the fields and the sky
For their words reflect the river they came from
Slow, languid, and flowing like waters from pools
Where sleepy banana trees recline on banks
Blessed by the ancient rain
And where needlepoint of sunlight never fades
But shine brightly even behind closed eyes

No, I am a daughter of the asphalt
Of the long and winding streets of this city
Where a million feet never rests
Even as the moon rides high across the midnight sky
You can hear hundreds of souls shuffling
Making their way through narrow alleyways
That lead to houses upon houses of dreams
Nestled under a sea of tin eaves
Separated by weathered roads
Where jeepneys reign and sputter at standby
As their barkers, in unison, heave and cry
A crescendo of sound, a concert of destinations
To attract the people passing by
“Come now, come now. Just one more. And we are off.”

Off deep in the city. Off to reality. Off to the daily grind.
And my words run
Letters spilling on top of one another
Like buses racing against each other
And my words intimately know the cracks on the pavement
My syllables fit snugly into every pothole
Forming neon lighted sentences beside shanties
Furiously carving out their existence,
Punctuated with the rise of every building
Reflecting the red sun against windows of glass
And all the while, people stand and fall
Just like a crowd of words, pushed and pulled
Shaped and molded into steel and grimy concrete
Never knowing rest, always changing, sharp and knowing
Tenacious, street-smart, no sugar added attitude
Dripping from my tongue like the acid retort
Of vendors and pedestrians alike
Fighting for space, fighting for life
And my words, are born out of them,
Blades of phrases, bound together
Cutting deeply into city-bred flesh
And all the while,
The sunlight shines through
Manila’s open bloodshot eyes.

Another Reason to be Thankful

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Thank you, Lord 😊❤️ Finally got the personal copy of my poem – “Yolanda: The Language of Grief”, which came out in the book entitled, “Sustaining the Archipelago” from UST Publishing House. This book is the first anthology of ecopoetry in the Philippines. I am so grateful and honored that one of my poems was able to make the cut and be included in it. Thank you Rina Garcia Chua for this opportunity. God bless you more 😊 And of course, thank you Lord for everything ❤️ The glory and honor be Yours forever. #LoveYouLord 😊

The Sunset of Us

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You are sunset to me
setting the sky ablaze
for a moment, but only for a moment,
with the colors of a thousand roses
swirling in the golden pool of desire
glittering with the sparks of stolen kisses
and the fiery touch of skin upon skin
locked in the heated promise of forever
desperately whispering promises
that would fade ever so softly, so painfully
gradually slipping through our hands.
Like the diminishing sunbeams
our story will now become a memory.
You and I, will be nothing, but distant dreams
that will keep me company
during the stillness of the oncoming night.

Photo is mine. Unretouched and unfiltered. Manila Bay. October 1, 2021. 5:51 pm

Of Wine and Wishes

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My friend, as you and I sip this wine,
under the darkness of the heavens
broken only by the light of stars
glittering in their fixed appointed places,
you told me that you realized,
after all these years of false hopes and faded promises
that one can live without love.
Forgive me, but seeing the eternal stars above,
I must confess, I have to disagree.

Listen my friend, what would we do without love?
When the cold wind blows to remind us
that somewhere in this world
there is warmth to be found,
that in the midst of a dark lonely night,
we dream of a heart beating against ours
and within our silent rooms, we embrace ourselves,
wondering as we twist and turn
the paths life carved out for us.
Yet still … we dream … that one person is out there.
Under the pale light of the moon,
we whisper a wish
for that one destined star to appear
in the vastness of the night.

Written on May 22, 2022

Photo was taken by me. December 15, 2021. 2:02am. Manila Bay

By Faith

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The 3’o clock prayer came on
and grandma started her ritual,
“You died Jesus, but the source of life
flowed out for souls, and the ocean of mercy
opened up for the whole world.
O fountain of life, immeasurable Divine mercy,
cover the whole world and empty yourself out upon us.”

I waited for her to finish before I left.
I checked and double-checked the things I needed.
Muttering under my breath, my everyday mantra –
Extra face mask – here
Alcohol – ok
Lysol spray – good.
Nowadays, we all live by faith.

“O blood and water which flowed
from the heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us. I trust in you.”

While I waited, I can’t help but remember, yesterday’s conversation with the washerwoman.
Her truth rings in my ear.
“Covid ain’t real.
It’s just a sickness for rich folks.
Our children run with no masks on
and they’re alive and okay.”
She declared, her mask pulled down below her nose.
I tried to teach her the facts
while keeping my distance.
But she shook her head and grumbled,
“rich people” and turned her face away.
I asked her then in confusion,
“So why wear your mask at all?
If you believe Covid is a lie.”
Her simple reply – “I don’t want to get fined.”

The prayer ended.
Jolting me back to reality.
I left with a whispered, “amen.”
Outside, the street was crawling with people,
just like the washerwoman,
walking around with their masks pulled down.
I took a deep breath and looked up.
The bright blue sky seemed so far away.
Perhaps the washerwoman is right,
but the mask scratched at my skin.
Grandma’s prayer was somehow looped in my mind.
I chose to hold on to it.
“Holy God, Holy Mighty One,
Holy Immortal One,
Have mercy on us and the whole world.
Jesus, King or Mercy. I trust in you.”

Lifetimes

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For my friend who lost the person he loves. May this poem bring you comfort.

I remember, you once asked me this –
Do you think there are lifetimes?
Just like what they say in so many stories
Where we die to live again
To face the same eternal truths and pains
And wake up in the safety of familiar arms across time and reality?
Knowing the bliss of mutual embrace within the light and shade of shared totality?

I remember, I didn’t have the answer then
But ….
Today, adrift in your memories
Wanting the ending of our what-could-have-been story,
I’ve found my truth.
I believe that there are lifetimes.

As the sun sets and rises over the eternal skies.
I know someday you and I will be reborn.
And it may take me forever to be with you
And fate may lead me to wander and roam
But I will find you, for without doubt, you are my home.

I know, somewhere across eternity.
Despite all odds and adversity.
I will see you smile once more.
I will finally hold your hand within mine.
And in that lifetime my weary heart can finally rest.
In that sacred space of your warm embrace.

So yes, there are lifetimes.
And we may not be together now,
But this I know to be true –
Lifetime after lifetime
I will find a way to be with you.

Manila Bay, September 2021. Unfiltered.

Luminous

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You’ve told me of the void
The darkness that surrounds
Engulfing, drowning all those around
Standing with outstretched hands crying
Reaching for air, grasping for hope
Holding on to the end of the rope

But see, that is life
One must rise from the ashes
Endure the pain and the strife
Cut free the cords of fear
To soar like the Phoenix in her glory
And set this endless night aflame
RIP it to pieces with hearts burning untamed
In defiance, in knowledge that the sun rises
And this shadow will give way and blossom
To fireworks that roar in the heavens
Their voices soaring across the eternal sky
Proclaiming our story –
We are here!
We will not be forgotten!
We will not be ignored!
We will fly above the starless night!
We will be reborn into the victorious light!

Meatballs

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Cooking is made up of a generation of memories. As I gently roll the meat within my hands tonight, I am slowly transformed into that young girl who sat in her mother’s kitchen. I could somehow hear my mother’s firm voice telling me, “shape it, mold it, and let it fold upon itself into the hollow of your hands, until it becomes whole – a circle.”

I could almost see the soft yellow sunlight streaming through the windows and falling like gentle mist around her auburn hair. I could smell the onions and the garlic, their aroma blending like a symphony of flavors in that still summer afternoon. “There must be balance,” my mother says. “There must be harmony, a mutual respect between the different ingredients, each one complementing the other.” She told me while smiling, as she placed each of the finished meatball into the waiting hot coconut oil. “Put them into the fire gently. Don’t drop them. Cooking must be done with care.” I nodded as I closely watched and carefully listened to her directions. “The fire must not be too hot, or else, the outside will burn, and the inside will be quite raw. And we wouldn’t want that, would we? It must be evenly cooked, or the people who will partake of it, commune with it if you will, will know that it was served in a hurry. Anything presented before it’s time will surely fall apart, because it is too soft at its core. Remember that, Lot.” She said sternly.

I could almost see now, the young girl in me, looking up at her in awe. The afternoon sunlight made her hair glow and turned her brown eyes into golden liquid pools. She looked like a goddess out of place as she carefully turned each meatball over to its side. “Don’t worry if they don’t come out perfectly round. Those imperfections, after all, will make them quite interesting.” She laughed, thoroughly enjoying herself, and the merry sound blended quite well with the exuberant voice of the sizzling oil.

If I try to remember carefully, I could faintly hear the meatballs singing as they slowly turned into a golden brown, and I could feel the warm summer wind blowing through the windows, and my mother smiling over the kithen stove, while the wind brought the stinging taste of onions into my eyes, making me cry. Strange, that those yesterday’s tears have suddenly come to life now, and all the while, after twenty-seven years, the meatballs are still slowly cooking in warm oil.

My YouTube Channel: Lit Learn Live!!!

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Hi, starting a YT channel where I get to share my passion for writing, poetry, and books. I hope to upload a new video every week where I would be teaching literature, or sharing poetry, or analyzing texts, or sharing books that you may want to buy and read 😊

Here’s the link to my first YT video 😊 Hope you guys could support by liking and subscribing 😊 Thanks 💖💖💖

http://My YouTube Channel : Lit Learn Live!!!

Salita ng Dapithapon

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Naisulat tapos panoorin ang, “Waiting for Sunset”

Naalala mo ba ang sinabi mo?
Mahal mo siya at iiwan mo ako.
Bakit nakalimutan mo na yata?
Anong nangyari at bumabalik ka?

Ngunit yan ang problema sa salita.
Pag hinugis at sinambit
Ito’y parang ibong nakawala
Lilipad sa himpapawid.

Di na mahuhuli at mababawi
Tulad ng desisyong di na mahahawi.

Ito ang masaklap na katotohanan,
Ang alaala ng mga araw na nagdaan
Sa paglipas ng taon at panahon
Nalalagas parang mga tuyong dahon.

Sa pagsapit ng di-mapigilang dapithapon
Naglaho ang ikaw at ako noon.
Ang dating tayo ….
Anino na lamang ng kahapon.

Manila Bay 2020