Category Archives: Creative Writings

Year-long Poetry Challenge

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This year, I told myself to write at least one poem everyday until 2016 ends. I’ve already started since the New Year’s Eve.

Wish me luck!

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Sarimanok in my Dreams

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I’ve dreamt of a man in white clothes with a sarimanok perched on his left shoulder. It was August 2. The day Dad got out of surgery. You see, he had been amputated due to complications in diabetes. I waited for him to come to his senses. The nurses said he shouldn’t be moved for at least a couple of hours. All I did was follow their instructions.

Mom was in Laguna. Kuya just left the hospital to do his duty online. Diko was working in Davao. Ate was living in Cebu.  Sangko was in Cavite. I was the only one left in the family to take care of Dad and my niece, Anchee.

August 14. Twelve days since Dad had surgery. Also, the day before the Davao Writers Workshop application deadline. I sent my 5 poems: 2 Bisaya and 3 English. I haphazardly made the last one so I could comply for the requirements. Abby and Summer already submitted their applications. And to think, I was the one who urged them to apply for it.

It was almost 5pm and I had to go home because Dad’s caregiver’s shift ends at 6pm. I got stuck in traffic. Had to pay her overtime.

August 30. Dad’s caregiver quit. That night, I dreamt of that man in white clothes with a sarimanok again.

September 23. Ate found someone who could do take care of Dad, Kaking. She immediately sent Kaking and her daughter to come to CDO on a ship. I fetched them form the pier.

September 26. My friends from NAGMAC (Nagkahiusang mga Mambabalak sa CDO) met for our preliminary meeting for our next Poetry Night on the 25th of October.

It was also the same day that Sir Steven Fernandez’s Sarimanok was being performed at the XU Gym.

That night, I dreamt of that man in white clothes with a sarimanok again.

September 27. Abby and I just watched The Xavier Stage’s production of 10 Little Indians – a stage adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. It was a whodunit stage thriller. It gave me chills.

Upon going home, I had this nagging feeling that I had to check my email, but I chose not to because I just really wanted to go home immediately.

At 11pm, both Abby and Summer asked me if I’ve checked my email. Why would they even ask me… Damn it, I should’ve trusted my instincts. It’s about the workshop.

September 28. I finally got to check my email! And I got in!

October 14. Kaking had to go back to Cebu, which meant I had to look for another caregiver for my dad. 13 days away from the workshop and this happened. That night, I dreamt of that man in white clothes with a sarimanok again.

October 23. My sister and I still haven’t found anyone who could take care of dad when I get to Davao. I was this close to not going to Davao. Good thing I talked to our stay-out house help and she agreed to the temporary situation.

October 25. Poetry Night!

October 26. 11:30pm. Abby and I took a nonstop bus ride to Davao via Buda (shorthand for Bukidnon-Davao route)

October 27. 7am. We finally reached Lispher Inn. The venue for this year’s Davao Writers Workshop.

October 28. The dream became reality.

. dww

See this photo? You see, from where I was sitting, Sir John (the man wearing white in the photo) looked like he had a sarimanok on his shoulders.

I’ve had a lot of dreams that became real. But I guess this one is very much special because I really thought, in the pit of my gut, that I couldn’t go and experience the workshop. What with all the shit that happened to me. Murphy’s Law was a bitch.

But I like to believe that in order to beat Murphy’s Law, we have to be relentless.

Dear Anna

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Dear Anna,

It’s been two years since I first met you. A friend of mine introduced me to you along with your friends Joel, Marlowe, Steph, Eric, Masi, and Shine.You take your coffee with cream kinda like how I do and I knew right there and then that we could be such good friends.

                We share the same bitterness, I guess. Kaya siguro I needed to know you better. We saw our exes being unrightfully happy in front of us and it fucking sucks. Pero narealize ko na even assholes have the right to be happy. Well, you were theone who broke up with Ed so SUCK IT UP.

Eto namang si Masi  ikakasal sa ex mong si Ed. That’s awkward. Who in their right mind would want to witness their ex getting married to their ownclose friend? Isn’t there some kind of girl code for that? But yeah, kelan ba nagingsimple ang magmamahal?

Malamang ngayong alam mo nang may feelings si Joel sa’yo. The big question is: do you love him, too?

Ano nga ba ang love? Marami nang tao ang nag-attempt sumagot nito. Naniniwala akong love is subjective; may kanya-kanya tayong definition nito. Love is a choice, I always say. Choice mo kung ire-reciprocate mo ang coffee-laced confession ni Joel sa’yo. Choice mo kung hahayaan mong ma-stuck ka sa past. Choice mo if you set yourself free.

Magmula nung naging bitter ako, naniniwala akong men and women can’t be bestfriends. Kasi eventually, may mai-inlove sa kanila. In your case, kayong dalawa. Hahaha!In denial ka lang, bruha ka. Hindi kita masisisi. Siya mismo ang nagsabing loveis an illusion at isang ideal na di dapat ma-attain. Ano bang panama mo dun?

Pero eto ang mapapayo ko: Let yourself be happy. It’s time.

From your friend in another existence,

Mai

PS: Tigilan mo na yang stress eating mo, punyeta ka. Alam kong you crave for weirdly rare food in the most ungodly hour. Sinigang na hipon at 3 in the morning? Seriously?

Poem: I’m Never Gonna Marry A Writer

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I’m never gonna marry a writer
He’s perceptive
At one time
he’ll gaze and stare
into the depths of my soul
only to find out
that I’ll be one of his characters
in the next theater season

I’m never gonna marry a writer
He’s mercurial
At one point he’ll pour all his attention to me
and the next
his hands will be on his pen
scrawling the current good idea he has
on his handy dandy notebook
before it flees into the air

I’m never gonna marry a writer
Because I am a writer myself

In The Final List for the 2014 Davao Writers Workshop

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It really is true in this timeline. I really am a fellow for the Davao Writers Workshop.

It’s been a couple of days since I started reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and I’ve been feeling out of sorts. I won’t spoil you with any details but let’s just say the novel deals with time traveling. And every time I read stories about time travel, my mind goes out of whack.

Sometimes, I’ve actually felt like I’ve done a task only to hear my dad or niece say I definitely didn’t do it. Or sometimes, I didn’t do things but actually did them. I dunno. I feel like I’m in and out of some time warp.

So, when I found out I’ve been chosen as a fellow for the 2014 Davao Writers Workshop, I’ve been expecting some sort of portal where I get to go back into my real timeline when this didn’t happen.

And then they posted the list.

It wasn’t just a dream! It really did happen.I actually did get that email. I really am on the list.

I will finally get to go to Davao and visit Duterte’s city which I heard is pretty awesome since they actually practice CLAYGO (Clean As You Go) in the entire city. They also have UP Press Bookstore which sells books published by the UP Press and written by sought-after writers in the country. I’m definitely excited to visit other bookstores there as well.

But I’m much more excited for the workshops. It’s my first time to participate in one outside my hometown.I wonder how the other participants would be like. I wonder if they’d be friendly or if they have pipes up their asses. I do hope we all could get along pretty well. We’re only 14 participants so we might as well be amicable, right?

A part of me feels like it’s pretty daunting. But I’ve got Abby with me. No, no lesbo action there. We’re both straight. Plus, Diko works there as well so I’m not afraid to get lost in the city. Besides, if I do get lost, I’ll just toot my whistle. That’ll make the police running towards me, I hope.

I’m also psyched to meet the panelists and the organizers. Their reputations precede them. I wanna ask for tips and suggestions how to maintain an event such as Poetry Night, among other things.

Right now, I’m mentally preparing myself to see and hear my poems be torn and severed right in front of me. I know it’ll hurt but it’s a necessary evil an aspiring writer must undergo in order to hone one’s craft. I always take critiquing as an act of love between a mentor and a student.

Here’s looking forward to an eventful and fruitful workshop in Davao!

Peace out! 🙂

Poem: May – December

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The only wrinkles that you have

are those lines along the

corners of your eyes

when you smile

unlike her

Your countenance strengthens me

the might of

a thousand Spartans cannot match me

You hands

are smooth, unblemished by the

wash cloths and the dish soaps

the detergent you’ll be

handling soon enough

And yet beside you, I am

ancient

It is apt she calls this

May-December

You are summer

and I am at the tail end

of seasons

Soon, I hope

you, like a phoenix,

will rise

and I will remain

with her

Poem: Geyser

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This is one of the poems I submitted to the Davao Writers Workshop with a little tweaks.

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Geyser

 

I am used

to having

hands around my waist,

fingers around my neck,

different lips

pressed

against

mine.

They

chug

me

down

to

the

last

drop

 

and

then they

leave

me

empty.

 

But one night

you

– in your mint condition –

dropped

 

You kept your

 

lips

 

to yourself

 

but you

 

sunk

deep.

 

An awkward silence.

 

Your light

 

against my

 

dark

 

bubbled out

 

of the surface.

 

Followed by

 

a spectacle

 

only you

 

and I

 

share.

 

A geiser.

 

A purge.

 

And then

 

you

 

slowly

 

dissolved

 

into me.

 

They said

 

I would ruin you.

 

They didn’t

 

tell me it

 

was the other

 

way around.

What do you think about it? Please do tell me.

Peace out!

Davao Writers Workshop: What I Went Through To Check Your Confirmation

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Ever had that nagging feeling pressing you to check your email for no apparent reason? And then you found out your laptop doesn’t work. Your phone has no reception. Basically, you’re screwed.

Saturday night. Two of my closest friends, Abby and Summer, PMed me in FB asking if I’ve checked my email. Since I had a shitty reception at home plus my virtually non-existent non-compliant laptop wouldn’t do its job, I had no way of scanning through my email. Which made me ask this question: why would these two people ask me about as mundane as checking my email? And then I remembered.

Last August – Summer, Abby, and I applied for the annual Davao Writers Workshop. We had to submit our portfolio electronically through Dagmay – the online literary journal of Davao Writers Guild. I applied for the Poetry Category which made me submit at least five poems.

At the time, I only had four poems. You know what I did? I made a poem on the day of the deadline (August 15) about the fox’s perspective from The Little Prince. I named it Chapter 21 because in the novel, the fox is featured in Chapter 21. (duhdoy) I will not see the light of day on that poem because I made a stupid mistake of not saving it before sending it.

After that, every once in a while, I check my email and see if I had made the cut and each time I did, there was no message from Dagmay confirming my submission which made me a bit anxious. Some friends said they usually update a month before the workshops.

And then, at 11 o’clock in the evening on September 27, the organizer of the Davao Writers Workshop emailed the applicants.

I had absolutely no way of checking my email at that ungodly hour. I may be living in one of the Top 5 developing cities in the Philippines but I had a four year old and absolutely obsolete phone in my hands. I felt defeated.

So I waited for Sunday to come to check my email at a net cafe. As luck would have it, all of the cafes were closed. The sun was high up. The heat was as hot as it could ever be. I felt like I was living in a desert. And no way of checking my email.

I went home feeling anxious. Did I make the cut? Didn’t I? Maybe they didn’t like my last poem. Why’d I even make that one as haphazardly as I had done it. I should have edited it some more. I should have planned it out. The what ifs and should haves kept running in my mind as I walk my way home.

And as a futile resort, I tried checking my email through my phone. And wouldn’t you know! It budged. My phone pulled through just when I needed it the most. And I got in the workshop!

To the screening committee of the workshop, thank you so much for considering my poems as worthy of your prestigious event. It is a huge honor to be chosen as one of your fellows.

The Davao Writers Workshop is organized by the Davao Writers Guild (DWG), in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the University of the Philippines Mindanao (UP – Min). This year’s workshop will be held on October 27-31 at Davao City and will be participated by 15 delegates with 4 from outside Davao but reside in Mindanao.

And I’m one of the four lucky fellows from outside Davao!

Peace out!

Poem: In Another Existence

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A few days ago, there was this viral message about Mars’ cosmic ray scare floating around the interwebs. It said something about turning off all electronic devices as cosmic rays will affect mobile phones. Of course, being the skeptic that I am, I didn’t heed anything about it.

And then I wondered, what if my being a Luddite got over me and I actually turned off my phone? What if I didn’t get to that party my friend invited me to? What if I didn’t meet that guy down at the corner where I usually wait for my jeepney ride home? What if?

Here goes.

Me

meeting you

at that exact corner

where jeeps

and motorcycles

passed

me by

like

the flowing

river

was not

just

coincidence

 

You

with your

wild-eyed silliness

and your

inability

to keep

your bearings

in this

strange strange city

 

asking me

the girl

who basically

has

the city’s map

at the back

of her palm

for directions

was not

just

pure luck

 

It was cosmic rays

pushing us

into that corner

 

 

It was

divine providence

 

It was

a mixture

of luck

and coincidence

and decisions

all leading

to

that corner

 

to that

destiny

 

in another

existence

Poem: Countdown

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It’s been awhile since a wrote new poetry.  I know it’s no excuse but I’ve had a lot on my plate the past couple of months. But now I’m back!  I apologize for not updating you with any new poems.

Here’s my new one entitled “Countdown”.

Cut-off jeans

and flip flops

Sunscreens

and

sunnies.

Is it still summer?

No

it’s not.

I’m waiting for summer.

Wait

Christmas has to visit

with all its

frolicking

and

caroling

it seems like

it’ll last

long

But it won’t

Summer

will come by

soon

What are your thoughts? I’d really appreciate constructive criticisms. It would help me a lot.

That’s it for now.

Peace out!