Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Was the killing field, green?


"Greenfields," by The Brothers Four, favorite song of my maternal uncle, Atty. Hermon C. Lagman (http://nameless.org.ph/lagman), labor lawyer, journalist, poet; desaparecido, on record as the first lawyer in the Philippines to suffer enforced disappearance under the Marcos dictatorship in the 70's. Perhaps ironic that, as in the song's lyrics, we "keep on waiting." And that he may have been buried alive in one of those -- and remains there, still.

This coming May, the 40th anniversary of what has been so far a futile search for his remains. Still, our family searches -- in fields green or otherwise.

Atty. Hermon C. Lagman
(Date of Birth: February 12, 1945, Date of Disappearance: May 11, 1977)


He was among the lawyers arrested after the declaration of martial law. He was kept in prison for two months without charges. From detention, he wrote to his mother Cecilia:
“At sunrise today, while standing idly in the morning cold, I saw two sparrows perched together … (They) looked at us human beings here, and I looked at them. They seemed to have more understanding than some men … At noon today, two clients came … They cried .. They will be calling the house for the schedule of their cases … I always dream here of all of you. We have a surfeit of energy for dreams.”



Sunday, April 2, 2017

On G.K. Chesterton, Cheese, and Poetry

The article G.K. Chesterton, the clown prince of Catholicism by Evan H. Harrington, published here in Aleteia last Apr 01, 2017, ends with the following quote from the legendary writer and intellectual:

The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

If that is so, then (as my comment on the article), “(I guess I) should be more proud now that my poem (To Someone Who Along Was Not, lower half of inserted page), published almost 20 years ago (in Philippines Free Press), mentions ‘cheese’ in its very first line:



(Mixed feelings: While I remain grateful to the esteemed magazine, and still proud of the fact that it's my first published poem, I'm now quite embarrassed with this piece of juvenilia.)”

Here’s the complete list of my published poems, with links.

Thanks! :-)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Photos of "Oriang," a new women's group in the Philippines, on International Women's Day 2017

Oriang, a new women's group in the Philippines, marched to Plaza Moriones, Tondo, Manila last March 8, 2017 in celebration of International Women's Day. ("Oriang" is the nickname of Katipunan revolutionary leader Gregoria de Jesus.) The following are the admittedly amateurish photos I took of the event.

At start of march (Jose Abad Santos St. cor. Recto Ave.):


End of program (Plaza Moriones):



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

's Complete List of Published Poems (All With Links!)

from latest to earliest (dates mostly in Philippine time):


•           The Last Shape Poem - Spillwords, September 16, 2017
•           The Cult of Apathy - Matter, September 15, 2017
•           Minor Miracle - Beneath the Rainbow, August 25, 2017
•           Unfortunate Son - Beneath the Rainbow, August 25, 2017
•           At Dusk - Beneath the Rainbow, August 25, 2017
•           At the Cemetery, After the Rain - Beneath the Rainbow, August 25, 2017
•           Found poem no. 4 - Me + You: Our Love Journal, August 7, 2017
•           Found poem no. 3 - Me + You: Our Love Journal, August 7, 2017
•           Found poem no. 2 - Me + You: Our Love Journal, August 7, 2017
•           Found poem no. 1 - Me + You: Our Love Journal, August 7, 2017
•           Corrosive Bloom - Ariel Chart, August 5, 2017*
•           Raining on EDSA, Riding on a Bus - Anak Sastra, July 30, 2017
•           Troll - The Wayward Sword Resist issue, page 14, July 22, 2017
•           Judas Jeep - ALPAS Journal, Vol. 1, Issue 1 (page 20), July 1, 2017
•       To the mothers who lost their children to Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan - Awake in the World, Riverfeet Press Anthology 2017, June 29, 2017
•           Traveling Through Mountain Province - NatureWriting, June 27, 2017
•           Midnight Moon - NatureWriting, June 27, 2017
•           Empty Spaces - Outcast Poetry, June 23, 2017
•           The Gravity of Sadness - Wraith Infirmity Muses, June 4, 2017
•           Untitled - Haikuniverse, June 3, 2017
•           The Last Night - The Wayward Sword Challenging Submissions issue, page 9, May 11, 2017
•           My Fishy Romance - The Wayward Sword "  ", page 18, May 11, 2017
•           The Desperation of My Brethren - Anti-Heroin Chic, April 29, 2017
•           DUI - Anti-Heroin Chic, April 29, 2016
•           Landline - Eunoia Review, April 15, 2017
•           Taxation - Parody, April 1, 2017 issue (official date, but published later on June or July)
•           Kissing - "You" by Karlo Sevilla, Origami Poems Project microchap, Feb. 18, 2017
•           You - "You" by Karlo Sevilla, Origami Poems Project microchap, Feb. 18, 2017
•           The Lie - "You" by Karlo Sevilla, Origami Poems Project microchap, Feb. 18, 2017
•           Cough Syrup -  "You" by Karlo Sevilla, Origami Poems Project microchap, Feb. 18, 2017
•           Should've, Would've, Could've - "You" " " , Origami Poems Project microchap, " "
•           My Death Wish - "You" by Karlo Sevilla, Origami Poems Project microchap, " "
•           Screaming the Small Stuff - Outsider Poetry, February 16, 2017
•           This Afternoon, I Lost the Key - Outsider Poetry, February 16, 2017
•           Nagmerrie - Sub-saharan Magazine, February 6, 2017
•           The Neighborhood Exegete - Awakened Voices, February 1, 2017
•           The Answer - Rat's Ass Review, January 21, 2017
•           Trains (2010) - Communicators League, January 16, 2017
•           Summer Plunge - Spillwords, January 11, 2017
•           Delicate Cruelty - Philippines Graphic, December 26, 2016
•           It's Snowing in Manila ("R-18") - Philippines Graphic, December 26, 2016
•         It's Snowing in Manila ("PG-13") - Antarctica Journal, December 26, 2016 and its The 2016 Anthology of Poetry
•          Late Afternoon at the Fishpond - Peacock Journal, November 24, 2016, and its 1st Anthology: Beauty First, February 8, 2016
•           Kites and Balloons in the City - Peacock Journal, November 24, 2016
•           The Solitary Swing - Peacock Journal, November 24, 2016
•           How a Cove is Formed - One Sentence Poems, November 23, 2016
•        Misstep - Eternal Remedy, November 13, 2016, and its first anthology, Harvest, March 15, 2017
•           Cardboard Justice - The Five-Two, October 24, 2016
•           Ghost Debate - Yellow Chair Review's Horror 2016 issue, October 24, 2016
•           While Reading Poetry I Killed an Ant - Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, October 23, 2016
•           Untitled - Haikuniverse, October 22, 2016
•          Filipino Catholics in a Passenger Jeep – PILGRIM, September 2, 2016, and St. Gertrude the Great Catholic Church newsletter, February 19, 2017 (the latter publication, without my         knowledgemuch less, permission!)
•           Because neither subtlety… – Razorhouse Magazine, August 31, 2016 
•           Vera Falls – Rambutan Literary, August 31, 2016 
•           Because fighting was his element – I am not a silent poet, August 21, 2016
•           fire fetish – Quatrain.fish, August 9, 2016 
•           To Francisco Guevara, poet, longboarder – Radius Lit, July 26, 2016
•           Slicing Onions – Rat’s Ass Review, July 24, 2016 
•           Miracles – Quatrain.fish, July 7, 2016 
•           Dead Drunk in Vientiane – Eastlit, July 3, 2016 
•           Leaving Quang Hiep Hotel, Hanoi (July, 2010) – Eastlit, July 3, 2016 
•           Metro Manila Miasma – Eastlit, July 3, 2016 
•           Untitled – The Fib Review, July 2, 2016 
•           Rustle – Shot Glass Journal, June 6, 2016 
•           The Truths of the Blind Elephant – Indiana Voice Journal, June 3, 2016
•           The Agricultural Worker's Ode to Labor - Indiana Voice Journal, June 3, 2016 
•           Missing Parents – Quatrain.fish, May 8, 2016 
•           Chalice – Spank the Carp, May 2, 2016 
•           Floating Coffins - I am not a silent poet, March 30, 2016 
•           Oktoberfest – I am not a silent poet, March 4, 2016 
•           The Face of Poverty – I am not a silent poet, March 4, 2016 
•           Shadow on Bathroom Floor – Philippines Graphic, July 20, 2015 
•           Wing envy – Philippines Graphic, July 20, 2015 
•           She doesn't want her daughter to think she's that kind of woman - Pacifiqa, July 9, 2015
•           Hallelujah for Our Holy Paranoia – Philippines Free Press, April 11, 1998 
•           To Someone Who All Along Was Not – Philippines Free Press, January 24, 1998 


Thank you, 

  1.  my peers, who help hone my poems, in the 1) Modern Poetry Facebook page (mostly my classmates from the MOOC How Writers Write Poetry 2015 offered by The University of Iowa International Writing Program), and 2) Rat's Ass Review online workshop
  2. litmags, for publishing my poems;
  3.  Poets & Writers, The Review Review, Duotrope, Literistic, Six Questions For..., Submittable's Submishmash Weekend Edition, Trish Hopkinson, Every Writer, New Pages, and other resources for writers that lead me to various international publications -- and make me prouder of having my work featured in them; and
  4. whoever is/are lured into checking my blog and reading my poem(s). :-)
And, you may also check out my Goodreads author page here. :-)

*Important Statement: In my bio for this asterisked publication, among the list of literary magazines that published my poems, is the now defunct Excavation. It closed shop -- and rightly so! -- after its editor was called out by Hate Poet Magazine, among other progressive minded individuals in the international literary community, over his bigotry and racism. (Aren't they essentially synonymous?) I regret that my poems saw publication in a platform that deceptively "promoted diversity," when its editor expressed a cavalier attitude towards the Charlottesville tragedy, and even sympathized with his co-rightists and racists. (Aren't they essentially the same?) Right before the editor closed down his magazine, I've already emailed him to withdraw my poems from its pages. This after Hate Poet Magazine thankfully gave me a heads up via Twitter. I should've been more circumspect in sending out my poetry -- and we all should! We writers should be very discerning on the platforms we want to host our works, especially when such could be projects and fronts of people who are demagogues of hate. (Posted on August 26, 2017.)




Thursday, February 18, 2016

There was a girl...

Ahh...this is my English translation of a Tagalog translation of a text originally written in English. (Get it?) Well, this morn I was reading this book and was profoundly touched by this certain passage of a text written in Tagalog, and ended up rereading and translating the words into English in my mind. I was so impassioned that I decided to write down my translation, as my preoccupation this first half of my day. So I finished my arguably-best effort in translating this gem, only to find out later, upon reading the editors' introduction, that my source text, a brief Tagalog -- yes, I'll declare it -- masterpiece, was originally written in English in the first place! The text is the last literary piece of the book. So next time, I'll read everything from first page to last. 

The passage, a childhood recollection during China's Cultural Revolution, is from the late poet and painter Maningning Miclat's brief memoir, "Pampinid na Salita," pages 89 - 99 of Beauty for Ashes: Remembering Maningning, from Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2001. ("Pampinid..." is the Tagalog translation, by her father Mario Miclat, of "Postscript," from Voice from the Underworld, also from Anvil, 2000.) 

It would be wonderful to read "Pampinid..." and its original text "Postscript," to contextualize and further appreciate the late artist's words (so please check out the links above). As for me, I have yet to read the latter, but I will. And I'm certain it's more beautiful than my humble translation.

And now, my tribute to Maningning: my rather impulsive yet very inspired labor of love this morning of February 19, 2016:

There was one young girl who was older than us and whom we treated as our elder sister. She was neat and clean in her appearance, she was beautiful, with round eyes. She was already studying, and this fact she boasted to us as we had not yet learned to read and write. At night, she would cry herself to sleep; she whined in a low and soft voice, and walked back and forth across our lodging rooms. After a few hours, she'd be sleeping on the floor. Her aunt would pick her up and carry her to her room. When she awoke and remembered that she had been crying, she would resume her weeping. But, sometimes, she forgot; she'd eat, wash her face, and when she suddenly remembered, would cry again and walk.
We younger children were amused to witness her endurance. But the adults told us not to be like her who was always sad, blaming her parents who left her to organize a movement and write political analyses and guerilla poems. She was like a conductor of her own orchestra, beating to the symphony of her sadness. Her crying was like a song. I would doze to sleep listening to her; in my mind, I'd start crying if she stopped crying. But I remained free as every child should be.

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Note: I only have one memory of Maningning, it was (I believe) midmorning of 1993 at the lobby of the College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines - Diliman. She was standing still, brown, beautiful, looking at something, or someone...  

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Metro Manila Miasma

"I am here to propose a legend that says the city was once / a tribe of children / humming around in a circle / with embers at the center and cold hunger / for a story." - Ned Parfan

I, we, thrive within the Petri dish defined by your jagged boundaries, binding sixteen cities and a developing duck embryo, officially, squared by three suspended railroads plus the most ancient on soil, you are defined and simplified by two to three words and not much else, and undefined and unraveled by a million spectacles and cuss word puzzles. Tabloid fodder factory you are, and we line up for news about ourselves and the more suffering, or dead, victims among us. And I, we, your weary children: indifferent, passive, as our lungs fill up with your pneumatic smog, with barely a sniff, plow like the diminishing, extinct-bound carabaos (and trivia: sprawled inside Krus na Ligas, is the only functional rice field within you, which your steeled and cemented self may have forgotten.) 

Your redemption lies buried in one of your landfills, perhaps among the one hundred and fifty buried in Payatas, or underneath a garbage pile on one of your feces-strewn sidewalks. Your chalice of salvation dumped in a junkyard somewhere or sunk on a bed of your polluted rivers. In futile search of your desaparecidos, there are uncanny moments when incense mingles with the unified cry of your orphans, add to that those of the casualties of the recent Kentex conflagration (among others).

May all your churches, temples, buildings of worship, of whatever religion, serve as your thumbtacks, iron nails, staples, keeping you stuck to this earth, in place, that you wouldn't tremble too much in case of a violent tremor. We got, gathered, guts grinding from your gutters. And the (arguably) richest of your fiefdoms dreams of a tower that will be third tallest in the world (and soon fourth, fifth, sixth, and ad nauseam, as vanity of edifice complex goes). Indeed, you host these parasitic turfs that are no different from you: cabal of fools making fools of what they really are: 

fools. 


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Happy New Year, everyone! 

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Plath and Bukowski

I have Sylvia Plath's "Collected Poems" and Charles Bukowski's "You Get So Alone..."

The former borrowed from my sister a year ago, and since I've no plan of returning it, it's mine.
(Anyway she just lives in the next building and may "borrow" it anytime.)

The latter I bought from National Bookstore a month or two ago --
with money my wife thought better (and more humanely) spent for our little daughter's milk.

(One afternoon I found them lying on top of the other on top of our plastic bedroom drawer.)

I believe reading them both is good for my, ah, "poetic education"

and mental health. 

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Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, everyone! 

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