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12.28.2005

Tag-tuyo

by: Anne Stephanie Cruz

Tag-tuyo na naman.

Tapos na ang panahon ng morkon at hamon.
Buong Disyembre ring nagpakasasa sa sarap ng karne.
Pumapalatak pa, napapapikit,
ninanamnam ang bawat pagsimsim sa katas ng malasang laman.

Bihira kasing mamantikaan ang mga labi.
Bihasa na ang mga daliri sa paghimay ng tuyong
saglit lang idinarang sa mainit na kawali.
Manhid na sa halos isang taong pagdidildil,
matugunan lamang ang kalam ng kalamnan.

Ngayon, tag-tuyo na naman.
Ngunit di tulad ng mga nagdaang panahon,
may kislap sa mga matang maghihintay na muling masayaran
ng hamon ang mga labi kong inaalat.
Nangangarap na sa darating na taon,
higit isang beses sasapit ang Pasko.

allvoices

12.27.2005

senryu

**i didn't realize i have an assortment of senryu stored in my mobile phone...

i.

honey comb
on jet black hair---
tonight's moon


ii.

raising the drawbridge
i leave you stranded
under the rain


iii.

whiffs of saki--
a hungry mouth
tasting another


iv.

sweet saki
coming down my throat
more than once tonight


v.

fire eater
kissing flaming batons
at intervals


--stephie

allvoices

12.21.2005

Return

by: Constantine P. Cavafy

Return often and take me,
beloved sensation, return and take me
when the memory of the body awakens,
and an old desire runs again through the blood;
when the lips and the skin remember,
and the hands feel as if they touch again.

Return often and take me at night,
when the lips and the skin remember....

allvoices

11.29.2005

From Pinoypoets

Sagot sa Kanina, Inihagis Ko ang Puso Ko sa Dagat

Rosalynn S. Georpe
November 26, 2005

Bumalik ako sa dalampasigan
Kung saan ka huling nagpaalam
Iniyapak ko ang aking mga paa
sa buhangin -
Nabasa ng mga naghahabulang
tubig...
Ngunit `di tulad ng dati

Kulimlim ang langit
Inunahan ako nito sa paghikbi...
Minasdan ko ang pagpatak
ng ulan sa mukha ng dagat -
At ninais na minsan ay maging
isang bula...

Upang kahit isang saglit
ay mayakap ko
ang mga bububog ng basyong
pinaglagyan ng `yong puso...

allvoices

11.25.2005

Kanina, Inihagis Ko Ang Puso Ko Sa Dagat



Kanina, inihagis ko ang puso ko sa dagat.

Sa isang basyong sisidlan,
isinilid ang tulang sadyang hindi tinuldukan.
Inilakip pati ang mumunting mga bula ng pag-asang
daglian din namang naglaho,
maging ang mga panalanging hindi kailanman mabibiyayaan ng tugon.

Walang itinira.

Kanina, inihagis ko ang puso ko sa dagat.

Niyakap ito ng mga alon at paulit-ulit inihampas
sa mga nag-usling bato.
Nagkabasag-basag ngunit hindi nagdugo,
taglay pa rin ang tamis at pait ng hindi maaming pag ibig--
naghahangad ng paglaya
sa pagtatagpo ng mga basyong bubog at ng iyong anino
milyong umaga man buhat ngayon.

Anne Stephanie Cruz
November 24, 2005

allvoices

11.21.2005

Mahal kita sa pinakamailap kong pagmamahal

Tula ni Mark Angeles

Mahal kita sa pinakamailap kong pagmamahal

Kasing-ilap ng makahiyang tumubo sa batuhan.
Tumitiklop kung madampian ng palad
o masayaran ng talampakan.
Humihilig kung biglang mahipan.

Matama itong nakikinig sa iyong tinig
na tulad ng lagok ng tubig sa payapang batis.
Naririnig na tila kuliling ng anghel
maging ang tahimik mong paghagikhik.

Mahal kita sa pinakamailap kong pagmamahal.
Naghahawan ako ng talahib sa iyong dinaraanan.
Maingat na lumilisan. Walang iniiwang bakas.
Hindi naghahangad na iyong matuklasan
ang ibinigay sa aking palayaw.
Walang tinitipang harana o isinosobreng liham
na maaaring mapasakamay ng iyong mga kaibigan.

Kung sakaling ibulong sa iyo ng mga talahib
itong pagkamailap ng aking pagmamahal,
akin silang tatagpasin hanggang walang maiwan.
Tutupukin ang mga natirang haplit ng alingawngaw
na naghihingalo sa nangayupapang mga luntian.
Ililigpit ang lahat ng maaaring makapagpabatid
na may ganitong pagmamahal akong inaalagaan.
Dahil itong mailap na pagmamahal ay nagbiling
magpagapas sa oras na mabunyag ang pamumukadkad.

Mahal kita sa pinakamailap kong pagmamahal.
Hindi naghihintay ng anumang paglingap.
Hindi nangangailangan ng anumang kasiguruhan.
Basyong kristal na mag-isa kong pinakikintab.
Malinaw sa akin ang bawat katangian:
maningning sa tag-araw, mapusyaw sa taglagas.
At kung sakaling ito ma'y mabasag,
wala kang dapat ipaghingi ng tawad.
Kusa itong maglalaho sa likod ng matatandang puno,
pag-alulong ng mga asong gubat sa amarilyong buwan.

allvoices

11.17.2005

The Courtesan's Garden




i.
sleeping
on a blanket of snowflakes--
missing you
ii.
yellow rosebuds
feeding
on courtesan tears
iii.
secrets
tainting white pebbles
black
iv.
twigs crackling
under fleeing boots--
the sun rising
stephie
11.17.05
3.00 a.m.

allvoices

Mercury in Retrograde



by: Stephie

You're terrified of carousels, yet ride it again and again, believing centripetal force would change how your world has been revolving: opposite your fixed path around the sun.

You liken yourself to mercury in retrograde--transiting the heavens in several reverse cycles each year. Except you say, you have yet to find your way back into orbit.

Gravity threw you off kelter. Attraction to the sun upset your pre-set motion in the cosmos.
From a celestial being once capable of commanding the skies, you're now a mere mass of burning gas in the solar system.

Day after day you board that carousel, relishing the feeling of being spun around, all the while hoping for some unseen force to jolt you back on track.

But you dread coming to a halt.

For when the ride ends you realize why you were moving in retrograde: you've been circling the wrong sun.

allvoices

11.14.2005

Curdling

I asked my guts if we making dairy today.

It was churning at about a hundred turns per minute, carefully curdling stomach acids and morning coffee. For a few seconds, the formed lumps hung suspended in my wind pipe then slowly rose to my throat, preparing to choke me.

My insides continued to heave.

Unsettled and frustrated--- it vented anger on a tablespoon of coffee, sugar and cream---the unsuspecting contents of a venti tumbler I was downing with neither mercy nor remorse.

Gulp after scalding gulp, my stomach grumbled its protests; churning until the curd turned thick and heavy. While I, sitting rod-straight in the intimidating conference room, nodded and feigned a smile.

The lumps became hands that balled into fists.

Pelted with punches, pain rendered me deaf to sugar-coated speeches. I could no longer listen.

Convulsing in spasm, I bolted out of the room to spew----my violent reactions; my swallowed protests; my muffled questions---all washed down by this morning's coffee.

My stomach exacted vengeance on me for being so damn chicken.

allvoices

10.27.2005

Out Next Month




Contributors:

Anthony Edward L. Abalos, Socrates Aguila, Mark Angeles, Marc Ayende, Edgar T. Balista, Archie Barcelona, Don Belardo, Kristoffer Berse, Wilfredo R. Bongcaron, Don Bustamante, Karen Cabatuando, Mic Camba, Manny Caoile, Eduardo M. Carpena, Kristian S. Cordero, Camilo Corpuz, Anne Stephanie Cruz*, Syria Dee, Melanie Dela Cruz, Jonathan Duay, Trina Fernando, Raul Funilas, Ezzard R. Gilbang, Lolito R. Go Jr., Marlon Hacla, Carlos Correos Huelma, E.V. Infante, John Jimenez, Elvira Klaus, Marilyn S. Ku, Leo V. Limcangco, Jen Macapagal, Noel Malicdem, Nino Saavedra Manaog, Francisco Arias Monteseña, Adalbert S. Naval, Sherwin Nones, Anthony Pabon, Pilar Pajayon-Berse, Pol Vincent Perocho, Alexander Martin Remollino, V.A. Rice, April Joy A. Rivers, Erwin Robledo, Fermin S. Salvador, Joseph Santos, Jheric A. Saracho, Gretchen Joane Singson-Que, W. J. Sonita, Nicanor P. Tiosen, Anjelah Ty, Jan L. Velasco, Rowan Canlas Velonta, Vic P. Yambao, and Kyo Zapanta.

* Poems---Gisadong Pansit and 'Tis the Praying Man

allvoices

10.24.2005

10.20.2005

Third Wheel



squirrel couple
cracking walnuts in cadence
I stare unblinking
and touch the emptiness
of discarded shells

allvoices

10.17.2005

Moon Poems

for the controversial J.

1.

moon flower
catching dew
from a secret lover

2.

claiming the night
on borrowed light--
mistress moon

3.

don't hold back
it's only our shadows
under the moon

allvoices

10.13.2005

The White Dress















My Dearest Taylor,

I need a new dress
White and more beautiful
than any of my Sunday’s bests.

I want it long and flowing
down to my ankles but never reaching
the floor—I don’t want to drag it
down the aisle as I walk.

It should be simple.
Unembellished by lace, pearls or embroidery—
after all, there would be no room for luxuries
after I take my vows.

I want a cord with three knots
Tied snug around the waist---
not to flatter my figure,
but to remind me to remain faithful and submissive
to my divine spouse.

I’ll wear a matching wimple
To catch the sweat from my brows
as I go on my knees dispensing my sacred duties
from everyday forth.

This is what I’ll wear on that joyous day,
not a corset and a heavily-beaded brocade.
You’ve always known I was destined for servitude,
and not a life playing wife to someone who makes suits.



Anne Stephanie Cruz
10.13.05

allvoices

10.06.2005

Short Poems: In Contrast

1. Fire and Ice

candle woman
burning
without a wick

pilgrim palms
pressed
between ice walls

2. Sun and Rain

half-torpid lids
awaken
under a sun roof

red umbrella
unfolding
to kiss raindrops


3. Man and Woman

alley tomcat
counting
solitary lifetimes


matryoshka*
muffling
a giggle-fest

*Russian doll containing 7 or more smaller dolls nestled inside oneanother. Also means "mother".

stephie

allvoices

10.05.2005

Floater





Like a banshee, you wailed as I fell.

Perhaps it was your shrill scream that pierced the ocean and
formed the angry, frothing mouth that swallowed me.

Inside this snowglobe of aquamarine,
saltwater churns like clockwork:
tossing top, heaving bottom, displacing even it's own heart
as everything yields to current and undertow.

This is the rule of the sea: nothing stays hidden.
Soon, she will set me free.
Rising with the moon, I shall ride the swell of the waves
and drift toward estuarine waters or some unbeached shore.

Eventually, I will be found,
what's left by spawning salmon tagged as "Jane Doe"
until positively identified (by you, most probably).

You will weep,
and make a fairy tale of my life to the authorities;
layering lies to conceal how I was always to you---
a mere floater with hardly any salt in me.

So mote it be.
I sought the bottom of the sea to fulfill your life-long prophecy.

Stephie

allvoices

10.04.2005

Rengga: Muffled

Pinoypoets*with Idol Kris

Define: MUFFLED

What is being muffled?
Beer is the color of Listerine,
therefore, one is allowed to expect some form of cleansing.
Each swig is a ritual of sorts, anointing the teeth, tongue
and the roof of one's mouth
sanctified, all of them, washed away
like the splash of waves towed under waves.
Inebriation sanctified.

Look out, it's a fly!
A bird to eat the spine
and compel one's body to break,
break all the rules and start anew
like the phoenix rising from the ashes.

Muffled then, tell me, but are you, still?
You think you've bared it all as you tell your tales

But nobody takes you seriously.

October 3, 2005
Watering Hole, Ortigas

allvoices

9.30.2005

Bamboo


shifting consciousness
at dawn, to become
the bamboo
stephie

allvoices

9.28.2005

The Last Temptation

(for J. )

By: Anne Stephanie Cruz


How long must you keep me waiting?
I'm the only one here.

Light me.

I’m a stick of poison poised to strike
like a viper in a basket;
I enthrall and never cease to satisfy
until even your pores reek of my essence.

No one has to know.

You can have me in the bathroom,
flush away evidence and walk out whistling—
smelling of breath mints.

It's not a sin to give in.

Years from now you’ll still remember
how I felt like and tasted,
just be sure to make this last time count.

Savor the moment.

You can heed the Surgeon General’s appeal
some other time.

Today, you're mine.

allvoices

Mirror on the Wall...


new moon---
casting charms
on old mirrors
stephie
9.26.05

allvoices

9.27.2005

For Rain, a haiku


A lotus sits
and blooms
on its own
stephie
9.26.05

allvoices

9.23.2005

Anger Management


watching smoke
from flared nostrils---
counting to ten
stephie
9.23.05

allvoices

9.21.2005

Shopping for (N)one

by: Anne Stephanie Cruz

"Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two."---Wilma Hankins Hlawiczka

Three cartons of non-fat milk, two liters of grapefruit juice, a loaf of wheat bread, a pack of spinach pasta, oatmeal and several cans of spicy tuna. That pretty much comprises my bi-weekly grocery list. If its a weeknight and the produce is good, I throw in a head of lettuce, tomatoes, onions and some carrots---you'll never know when you'll crave for fresh salad.

Once I get home, I'll take everything out of the plastic bags and arrange them in the shelves or put them away in the fridge---praying that I remember to eat the vegetables before they mutate (one time, a large potato looked as though it actually grew green eyes after sitting inside the vegetable bin for almost a month!) or turn into mush---whichever comes first.

There are days too when I am hardly able to find anything in the freezer because ice has practically engulfed everything. And its only after a thorough defrosting that I stupidly realize that what looked like a pack of beef tapa was actually slices of chicken breast, heavily discolored by freezer burns after being forgotten for more than two months.

Yes, it's that bad. But what can I do? I'm a single yuppie living alone.

It's been a year and a half since I started living independently again. After the house in the bukid was completed in February last year, my Dad and kid brother moved out of the two-bedroom apartment we temporarily rented in Muntinlupa. I, on the other hand, moved to a smaller, single-bedroom pad 15 minutes away from work.

Sure, I could have gotten a housemate. But I've been there, and I've done that far too many times. I no longer have the energy to grin and bear seeing another person's underwear hanging by the shower stall, or finding that we're fresh out of soda crackers or pancit canton after having shopped only two days ago.

I used to enjoy shopping, I mean I still do. It's just that shopping for no one other than myself makes me feel like the loneliest person on earth. I used to drag in two grocery carts at the counter, adding or taking away items at the last minute, and then clucking my tongue when I see the numbers flitting at the cash register. I almost always shop out of budget.

That was before---when I had a brother to spoil and a Dad who was on a restricted diet. Nowadays, I can pretty much buy anything, depending on whether I'm in pig out or diet mode.
But truth be told, I haven't set foot in a grocery store in almost two months.

Watching Diane Lane's character Sarah (Must Love Dogs) eat her chicken-breast dinner near the kitchen counter actually hurt. I know how pathetic it feels to consume what would otherwise have been a tasty dinner by your lonesome. For some reason, even the best cuts of chicken end up tasting like cardboard and you'd rather cry yourself to sleep on a hungry stomach than go through that routine every night.

Now you know why I skip dinner altogether.

The scenes where she would argue with the man-who-keeps-offering-chicken-by the bulk-specials at the grocery were meant to be funny, but it was also a stab at society's callousness to the plight of singletons----whether they chose to be single or were just victims of circumstance.
Really, why would someone like me want to buy a whole roasted chicken when I could barely finish the drumsticks? Even if it were on sale, that would leave me eating chicken for one whole week---by that time, I would probably be cringing from the mere smell of it.

Come on, there was a reason why individual and single-serve packagings were invented.

One time, as I was waiting for my turn at the counter, the woman ahead of me (obviously married with kids judging by her overflowing cart) curiously looked at the contents of my cart and non-chalantly asked: student?

I blanched, then felt the blood rush back to my cheeks as I stammered a reply. In less than five minutes I pretty much summed up my life and explained my civil status to a total stranger. I was holding back the tears as the cashier was ringing up my purchases---never in my life did buying milk, bread and soda crackers belittle me so. It made me feel like a social aberration, just because I was shopping for one.

I've since recovered from that experience, managing to hold my head high and match the nosy women looking at my cart stare for stare.

However, on days when I'm really feeling low, I spare myself the agony. I just head for the nearest 7-11 or the sari-sari store around the block---where the clerks and tinderas don't give you a condescending look for purchasing supplies in retail.

I realized it isn't always cheaper to buy things by the dozen.

allvoices

9.19.2005

Letting Go














Haiku: Letting Go

end of summer---
blowing dandelion seeds
from my open palm

stephie
9.18.05

allvoices

9.14.2005

FAVORITES:


RENGGA: RED SHIRT
By: Pinoypoets

I am going to wear a red shirt today

to hide the bloodstains impressed
like thumbed moths on my body
to forget the sins of memory.

And I'll go flying to the night
like the lone moon but red
in haze due to clouds -
I will cast my gaze
like stars in constant watch
of my tainted earth.

But what will this bring me?
A swim in the opulent nothingness of the dark
or hiding in a hollow skull
or nothing, like abstract images
attempting to conceive
these saline pools of mystery
formed in my skin,

hidden by the red shirt I'm wearing today.

allvoices

9.06.2005

Shelling Shrimps


By: Anne Stephanie Cruz

Déjà vu.

I swear this has already happened before. And this feeling, although somewhat surreal, seems oddly familiar. This is just the third time that I’ve felt like this in my 26 years of existence---and it always hits me while I’m shelling shrimps.

I’ve stayed in at least 15 different houses in the last decade: a relative’s house, apartments, boarding houses and dormitories and have gotten used to the transient lifestyle---moving to a new place every six months or so.

With each transfer it becomes easier and easier to detach from the people, situations, and memories one normally associates to a place of abode. It’s as though I can uproot and replant myself in a new patch of soil with hardly any effort or discomfort.

In a way, I am the proverbial rolling stone that gathers no moss. I have become so adept at moving that I bolt at the slightest provocation. And oftentimes I leave nary a trace of having once lived there.

But I digress, let me go back to my shrimp story.

The first time this alien emotion washed over me was in my parent’s house in Valenzuela. Pre-separation days, I was about 11. Mom left a small basinful of shrimps for me to shell for the pansit palabok we were set to prepare.

It was midmorning and sunlight was freely streaming through the window—the bunched up red and yellow and curtains cast shadows over the dining table where I stood hunched over the basin of ice-cold shrimps.

A hundred eyes stared at me from the table but I distinctly remember smiling as I picked up the first firm shrimp.

Peeling and shelling methodically, separating the pointed tip from the rich shrimp heads awaiting the consummation of their grim fates over mortal and pestle, I felt happy and secured.

Even the hungry wails of my newborn brother Robert did not disturb the peace that I felt within.

I went about my task until the last of the shrimps had been decapitated and stripped off their exoskeletons. The mound of shelled crustaceans was at the center of glass-topped table, sitting like a raw offering to the woman who brought me into this world—my mother, the goddess I could never connect with at any level.

***

Metrica Street, Sampaloc---My best friend Victoria rapidly chattered away her latest classroom gossip. It was a blistering hot afternoon and beads of sweat clung to my upper lip. We were in the small kitchen of the two-bedroom apartment we shared with several of her cousins.

On her way out, she handed me a plateful of prawns fresh from Mindoro. It was my turn to cook dinner---a repast of sautéed prawns and vegetables for me and my five housemates.

A loud thud informed me that Victoria had already left. I felt isolated, all alone with a plateful of prawns in a crumbling apartment. Outside, Sampaloc was buzzing with life. I, on the other hand, felt that welcoming sense of peace arrive as I began shelling prawns.

I was 16, a freshman, newly abandoned by a father who left for America, and very recently thrown out of the house by a goddess keeling over the collapse of her 21-year marriage.

I pondered on my uncertain future as I deftly shucked shrimps, wondering what to do with the countless days and nights that lay ahead of me.

I figured life wasn’t so bad. After all, I was on the Dean’s List, held the distinction of being the youngest varsity debater on campus, and on top of everything, I knew I had friends and relatives who looked after me from time to time.

As I held up a king prawn by the tail, I mused at how, devoid of their plastic-like coverings, they were just as vulnerable and defenseless as I was once exposed to life’s harsh realities.

That day, I resolved to grow an exoskeleton.

***

Like a continuing daydream, I found myself shelling a pot full of shrimps on this rainy Saturday morning.

Humming a tune as I worked on the iceberg of shrimps floating in tap water, I would stick my tongue out playfully to catch a few raindrops bouncing from the rain guards. I’ve always loved the sound and feel of the rain.

I was standing over the kitchen sink in our new house in Guiginto, Bulacan, when the surreal feeling began spreading all over me. Like an invisible embrace, the sensation was warm, welcoming, and all-enveloping.

I sighed and smiled as I snuck a peek at Dad sitting at his favorite spot in the living room, under the frame of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I haven’t felt this way in years.

I’m now pushing 27 and shifted to writing advertising copy after tiring from a life of newspaper deadlines. Apart from shedding my old skin, I’ve also done away with my exoskeleton.

I have no need for it now.

A decade after Dad left for America; 10 years after the goddess evicted me from what is now solely her house; after living in more or less 15 different addresses all over Metro Manila and meeting hundreds of borders and housemates, most of whom are now nameless faces--- I finally realized what the odd but welcome feeling meant.

Just as my expertly shelled shrimp curled perfectly from neck to tail, I too have come full circle.

Blissfully, I pause to drink in my surroundings:

To the left was Green Estate’s famed green rice fields, to my extreme right was Dad’s prized garden---the yellow English roses bowing with the weight of raindrops on its petals; red and green bell peppers, purple eggplants and other plants all competing for space.

It was a patch of earth bursting with color and teeming with life---a place where I myself could permanently take root and thrive.

From out of nowhere, bullfrogs burst into chorus, and, startled, I drop a few shelled shrimp from the plate. Bending over to pick up the strays, I feel that warm feeling trickle in once again.

I prayed. May I never have to shell shrimps anywhere else.

allvoices

8.25.2005

Praying Mantis


Praying Mantis
By: Anne Stephanie Cruz

Sister mantis, pray tell,
must we really bother
to examine our conscience
when stirrings of lust
awaken us everyday,
and nature compels us
to give in just because,
we are made of flesh and blood.


I am no different from you,
who seek consummation
by grasping live prey between one's legs,
and with wide open eyes,
watch them convulse in momentary pleasure
before tasting the coup de grace
dealt by the same giving mouth.


Ah but sister mantis,
this is where our sameness ends.


For how,
at the end of each sinful day,
can you unfold your fan-like wings
and reverently hold your legs together to pray?
revised Sept.12, 2005

allvoices

8.17.2005

Rub Down


it's a nightly ritual---
smoothing cocoa butter over newly-bathed skin.

Quivering with each stroke,
calculated sweeps from knowing palms
spread sticky warmth
like a hundred tiny fingers
dancing, briefly passing
but lingering on pleasure spots.

Lavishing attention,
mounds of flesh otherwise hidden
are carefully caressed,
gently teased;
with pinpricks of sensation
leaving it flushed and tickled pink.

Silky-soft,
warmed by the thorough rub down,
the sandman enters and finds me
...good enough to eat.

stephie

8.17.05

allvoices

8.15.2005

Para kay Jeff


a puddle
collecting raindrops
...one by one
stephie
8.15.05

allvoices

8.09.2005

Bukid Haiku


i.

barn scene:
field mice racing,
the cat wins

ii.

harvest moon---
crickets serenade
a shy maiden


iii.

carabao rolling
in mud-caked paddies--
a long dry spell

iv.

milking day:
a bleating goat pierces
morning silence


v.

bullfrogs croaking
symphony of three plus rain
Domingo, Carreras, Pavarotti

vi.

fields of grain
ripe-gold in the sun
...a king's ransom


stephie
8.16.05

allvoices

8.08.2005

Spanish Guitar


By: Anne Stephanie Cruz

The sandman eludes a desolate you
at witching hour.
Seeking the comfort of strings,
catgut warm against cold fingers,
(familiar, welcoming)
you strum your heart's discontent---
bedouin song of a soul aching to come home
weary from having walked nameless deserts
and seeing one's pyramids turn into mere dunes.

She was a gypsy whose spirit you could not own.
With visions of palm trees and caravans
and finding her own oasis in the sands.

Get Here.
You played many times to the wind.
Calling on its mercies to carry your guitar's melody
to the land of its origins*
past man-made borders and self-imposed barriers
that compounded physical distance,
rendering her deaf to music.

Images still burn
like remnants of a windstorm.
Remembrance brings tears
and causes you to smile, bitterly---
having realized you were holding on to a mirage,
all this time tending to a love past its bloom.

You squeeze your fingers and yank at a string.
The song fades as abruptly as your reverie.

*Spanish guitars originated from the four-stringed Arabian lute

allvoices

8.05.2005

On Poetry:

i.

to be a poet:
undress a butterfly,
borrow its wings

ii.

find me
between lines of colored silk;
hand-paint the sky

stephie
8.05.05

allvoices

8.04.2005

Andoy's Haiku



Sunrise hiding
behind a fire tree in bloom---
blinding halo of red
stephie
7.23.05
*with permission from the author

allvoices

8.01.2005

Rengga sa Tapika


A broken heart singing draws a crowd.
In the glow of lights,
release finds its way through rapture---
the aftermath of storms
sends out moments of clarity
through piercing music
where only a heart once whole finds remembrance.
It keeps on ringing until its last tones are heard
...fading

Steph, Jojo and Pol
July 30, 2005

allvoices

Haiku in Filipino




dalawang alon
sa magkabilang pampang--
halik ng paalam
stephie
7.30.05
*para kay Jowjow

allvoices

7.28.2005

Paper Cup

Paper Cup

Do not pour passion into a paper cup,
you risk burning away
its flimsy core of pulp.

Do not cling or become attached,
my purpose is clear---
to deliver but a single serving of joy
to your lips.

For paper cups,
promises do not hold water
inasmuch as we weren't built strong enough
to make promises
much more carry them through.

So forgive me
if I’m the one leaving you crushed,
I should have warned you:
paper cups are only good for vending machine love.

Stephie
7.28.05

allvoices

White Flag

*Para sa angel kong si Francis, hanggang sa muling pag kampay. Salamat sa lahat ng payo, paalala at suporta. God Bless You.

allvoices

Sa Dalampasigan


ni enrico c. torralba

Lunggati ng aking isipan at puso
Sa dalampasigan ay muling yumapak,
Yumakap sa himig at mga pangarap
Na alay ng alon at hele ng simoy.

Sa tagpuang ito ng duya't pangarap
Malimit bumulong ng awit ang simoy,
Puno ng anyayang mag-iwan ng yapak
Sa sinapupunan ng laot at puso.

Dama ang balanggot kapag nakayapak,
Pati ang taklobong nais magsapuso
Ng mithi kong sundan ang laro ng simoy
Sa mga naglayag at mga nangarap.

At kung sakali man mag-iba ang simoy,
Hindi maliligaw ang mga pangarap,
Hindi mababasag sa bato ang puso,
Tuluyang mabura ang nilikhang yapak

Sapagkat ang tibok ng puso't pangarap,
Kandili ng simoy at naiwang yapak.

allvoices

7.27.2005

Pulang Tula



Tanghaling tapat.

Nag uunahang pumatak ang luha ko sa nakabukas na pahina ng notebook. Nagsusulat ako ng tula at pula ang panulat na gamit ko. Eto ngayon, basang basa ng luha, kumalat ang tintang pula sa papel.

Isang lawa nang pula, nilamon ang mga linyang nais ko sanang isulat. Paano ko tatapusin ang tula ngayong iniwan na ako ng taong naghatid sa akin sa panulaan? Pasasalamat pa naman dahil napili akong PP poet of the month for August. Dahil sa'yo kaya ako nandito, dahil tinugon ko ang paanyaya mo na muli kong pakinggan ang tawag ng panulaan.

At ngayon ito?

Sana hindi dito matapos ang pagkakaibigan natin. Sana hindi dito matapos ang pagmamahal mo sa tula at sa buhay. At sana mahinto na rin ang pagpatak ng mga luha ko sa pahina ng di matatapos at nagdurugong tula.

allvoices

7.22.2005

Lavender Water

Lavender Water
A spray on linen sheets,
pressed sweetness passed on to dreams
Light floral notes tucked under pillows,
scented letters remembered in sleep.

Stephie
7.22.05

allvoices

7.21.2005

Larawan

LARAWAN
May mga litratong kailanma'y
hindi isisilang sa liwanag--
mga tagpong isa-isa kong pinilas
mula sa aklat ng nakaraan,
pinag-ingatang ipunin at pagtagni-tagniin
upang ika’y mailarawan:

Tatlong puting rosas sa mesita.
Mainit na sopas kung ako’y nilalagnat.
Halik na tumutuyo sa aking mga luha.
Pagsundo kahit kasagsagan ng baha.
Pakikipaghuntahan kina itay at kuya.
Siyam na gabing pagsisimba.



Ganito kita nais maalala mahal,
at hindi kung paano ka nila ipinipinta.
Sa sinasabi ng ibang nag aanyong halimaw ka na
sa kagaspangan ng iyong mga gawi at pananalita,
ayaw nitong puso kong maniwala.

Mariin kong ipipikit ang mga mata,
at sa lambong ng pagkukunwari'y
mamasdan ang larawan sa gunita---
ang ikaw na una kong nakilala

Masisisi mo ba ako kung piliin kong
wag nang dumilat pa?

stephie
7.17.05

allvoices

Collaborative Haiga in English


You two need to sign your names on this. i love it!
Robert Wilson, editor Simply Haiku

allvoices

7.19.2005

Haiku Princess


*thanks Francis, I felt like a Princess for a day.

Hi!
Hi there,
My Haiku princess.
Your words are limited
to your world,
Of nature not gesture,
Of lines not bylines.

Hi!
My Haiku princess.
Just hoping
You wont limit
your words
to reach my world.

Kiko, 7/19/05 ( for Angel 24/7)

allvoices

7.18.2005

Swan Song


"When I leave PP, will you also write a senryu for me?"-Mitz


white kimono--
a swan walks down the aisle
singing

stephie
7.18.05

allvoices

7.15.2005

HAIGA



Collaborative haiga with my Kuya Jheric. Galing ning picture niya noh? Napatula tuloy ako. Hehe.

allvoices

Alay kay Diego


I though this would be a fitting tribute. Its a senryu.

thought sparks
leave this candle burning

at both ends

steph
7.15.05



hi steph,

please don't be sad that i left PP. i am just too busy with everything else going on in my life. i am glad that i have somehow inspired and encouraged you to write more.

keep on writing. please be rest assured that this is not goodbye.

be well,


diego

allvoices

7.14.2005

WALANG PAALAM


Tula
ang iiwan mong alaala,
mga salitang naipunla sa aking pagkatao'y
kusang sinibulan ng anyo at hubog
kumislot, huminga.

Buhay
ang mga katagang nailimbag
punumpuno ng saya at luha
sari-saring kulay
mga yugto ng iyong buhay
naitala sa sukat at tugma.

Huhugutin
mula sa balon ng gunita
muling babasahin
nanamnamin ang himig sa bawat titik
at hahanapin ang init ng haplos
ng matalinhagang diwa
habang ika'y wala

Walang paalam sa isang makata.


Anne Stephanie Cruz
July 14, 2005

allvoices

7.13.2005

Pinoypoets Rengga: FROTH

**Rengga nina Ani, Jojo, Steph, Claire, Rhodge, Mr. Batutz at ang napadaan na si Mitz at papa nyang si Vin na birthday pala kagabi.

Something arises
from a cup of coffee tonight,
not only the steam that climbed
with the smoke from your cigarette

Here,too, do your senses converge
on a spot above your cup
where mist mixes with metaphors
and the mind streams with ideas--
thought bubbles frothing rich brown

Let us all sip, puff, think and write;
witness caffeine and nicotine
rape your barren unconscious.

Starbucks Shangri-la
July 12, 2005

allvoices

7.12.2005

Mga Haikung Pasaway


i.
nautilus:
a heart afloat at sea
with no vacancy.

ii.
a mighty bullfrog
belting out a pond song,
croaks his last

iii.
a catterpillar
overstuffed with spring greens
paints the town red

allvoices

7.11.2005

Simple Pleasures


*para kay ani. Sana senryu ito, hehe!

life's simple pleasures:
a twenty-minute massage;
love, without pressure

steph
7.09.05
starbucks emerald ave

allvoices

7.07.2005

Short Flower Poems


I dare not call them haiku, just short poems about blooms.

Daffodils

*para kay Mahal kong Xam

between blanks
your bound fingers
trace daffodils

Sakura

*for Jheric and Cherry

heart and soul
a cherry blossom falls
spellbound

Wisteria

* for Francis

on display today:
weeping buds, purplish blue--
your heart on her sleeves


stephie

7.7.05

*he's one of the reasons I keep writing...

wrote:

hi ms. anne stephanie, these haikus are really nice. ang paborito ko dito ay daffodils. very profound. sakura is ok lang. wysteria is also good (which reminds me there is a famous painting called wysteria. if i remember correctly, it looks like stained-glass).

diegoberrioscanto

allvoices

7.06.2005

Kowtow


Head bowed,
gaze kept low
I humbly submit
consecrating myself
to worship and obey--
to please no one but you.

stephie

allvoices

7.05.2005

Wake Up Call


Crash landed to bed Friday night, I was hoping for long, blissful hours of sleep. I had said goodnight to family and friends, dimmed the lights and lulled myself out of mental activity with Jewel's foolish games playing and replaying in my head.

I was a thread away from deep slumber, somewhere between being half awake and jumping off the cliff to neverland, when my cellphone started ringing. I would have ignored it but the fact that I live apart from my dad and kid brother prompted me to think that it might be an emergency.

Groggily, and without even bothering to open my eyes, I picked up the call. I felt the color drain off my face when I heard the voice on the other line. This must be how Ebeneezer Scrooge felt like when he was visited by the ghost of christmas past. My pulse raced and my heart thumped inside my ribcage. How did you find me? After five long months, why bother to look for me?

Flashback to the days when sun cellular's 24/7 still worked.

Regardless of how late I turned in the previous night, I would promptly give you your six a.m. wake up call. Deep sleeper that you are, it would normally take me 30 minutes to an hour to rouse you from sleep. This daily ritual equalled to bonding time and bedroom talk rolled into one.

Given your unpredictable schedule and field assignments, its impossible to tell when the next text message or phone call would be. These wake up calls are our only time to talk about everything-- plan the next date, bitch about work, laugh at crazy stories as the faint morning sunlight streamed through my window.

No, we never exchanged I love you's at the end of every conversation. You weren't the lovey-dovey type, you would always tell me, just like you weren't one who believed in exclusivity and commitment. What were we then? Very good friends who treated each other really well, you said. In other words, Friends with Benefits.

(This meant you were free to play the field and at the same time act like an ogre whenever a guy showed the slightest hint of interest in me. Remember that one you were sorely jealous about? I hate to break it to you mahal, but he's gay and was always laughing behind your back for being so obviously miffed at him.)

Wake up call after wake up call was made and concluded. Several months after I felt this freedom in the form of tears stinging my eyes. Mr.-No-Commitment, the elusive bachelor, was finally tied down, but not to me. That was the end of the conversation. I had just become a dropped call.

Flashforward to 11 pm Friday night.

For the life of me I could not understand why you went to great lengths to look for my new number. Why you were suddenly so concerned that you have disturbed my peaceful sleep and robbed me off precious rest.

"Sorry for the wake up call, I just wanted to see how you've been".

Oh, so you and girl are now an uncouple. Is there no one to wake you up at six tomorrow?

"Yes I'm doing well, thanks for the call. But it's late, I'm afraid I would have to let you go now. Oh, no it's okay, you didn't wake me up."

Click.

I didn't lie. You can't wake up someone who's no longer dreaming.

allvoices

Haiku



Subok uli...never say die. makukuha ko rin ito someday. :)

i.

dewdrops freezing
cracked glass windows
mourning spring's passing

ii.
a duck sits
on a lonely pond
waiting for ripples

iii.
morning fog creeps
kissing sunlight
fading in the embrace

allvoices

7.04.2005

Conspiracy

by Andoy, Mitz, Steph and Bambina posted 4 July 2005

Rolling through landscapes lost,
smoky eyes in a dark red-lit room,
cacophony of white noise foiled against
distinct syllables of poems newly writ.

Listening to echoes of words ghosting by
entwining, undulating like twin snakes--
verses birthed in a flash of lightning
swallowed by silence,
slithering slowly out from its hollow
like notes from an indian's flute.

Tonight, we conspire to write.

allvoices

6.30.2005

Senryu

On 6/28/05 I wrote:

Sa sobrang lungkot ko feeling ko nagkaron ako ng haiku moment. ewan nga lang kung haiku ang lumabas.

His words were fingers
reaching out, squeezing
clawing at nothing

On 6/30/05 I got a reply:

Hi, stephie!

First of all, very nice poem. Ang lakas ng dating ng image sa akin. This is more of senryu (kasi human emotion and experience lang.)Pag may reference to something in nature (plants, animals, mountains,water, etc.), haiku.

But in my opinion, senryu is a special form or a subset ofhaiku. Many haiku are products of the school of thought that humans arealso part of nature... to which I agree.

roh mih

allvoices

6.29.2005

Hang Over


By: Anne Stephanie Cruz

There’s a certain comfort derived from each wave of nausea that passes; the lightheadedness, the after taste of regurgitated bile, insides churning and heaving as one doubles over and retches—only to barf air.

It’s reassuring to smell cigarette smoke in my hair, stray locks sticking to a forehead slick with sweat, traces of nicotine clinging to thumb and forefinger the morning after.

The dry mouth, a reeling head and senses struggling out of stupor are easier to account for than the how’s or why’s of inebriation. There’s no sober explanation for finding solace in a cloud of smoke and a shot of tequila--why laughter flows jigger after jigger, and inhibitions are released by hastily drawn puffs of strawberry-flavored cigarettes.

Cherry red polished fingernails bitten to the quick, tracing half circles on maple-varnished tables. Making love to Jose Cuervo, sucking in DJ Mix, we are an unholy trinity of vice passing time, purple eyes keeping watch as the black crow of the evening exits to dawn.

If only I’d wake up feeling sick, unable to remember the bitter taste old heartbreak left in my mouth. How I wish I could spew out minced words and cutlets of memories and just flush, flush, flush. But I’m one of the cursed few who never get hung over.

Tough luck.

allvoices

6.24.2005

Gerry's Cup of Melancholy


*my "extra challenge" for the day. Lost in translation at some points. Hehe.


My cup is a far a cry from the concoctions enjoyed
by the likes of you with discriminating palates.

I do not even come close to par, I admit
for I thrive in this simplicity:
hot water boiled in an old soot-caked kettle
from which I melt brown sugar
then add Café Puro.
On lucky days there’s a hint of Abrasa milk ,
if none, I make do.

That’s it.

This cup is enough to keep me company
as my mind sleepwalks
in the wakefulness of evenings such as this
when I dwell on love,
watered down by the passing of time
and ponder why silenced heartbeats
can’t be drummed back to life,
even by the very last drop of this bitter brew.


A.S. Cruz

6.24.05




La Tasa Dolorosa


By: Gerry Rubio, PP to!

(para ki Steph, asin saiyang pag-iriba, for their rendezvous at coffee shops that sparked penchant for poetry)

Harayo sa pagnamit nindo an sakuyang timpla,
Kamo, na igwang mga dilang metikulosa.

Mayo sa kalingkingan, inaako ko,
Simple lang ini: tubig na mainit,

Pinakala-kaga sa luma na asin oringon na takuri,
Tutunawon an asukar na brown (o pula?),

Asin Cafe Puro, buda kun sinusuwerte, gatas na Abrasa.
Kumpleto na, iibahan na ako kan sakuyang tasa,

Sa paglakaw kan sakuyang isip,
Sa kamatanga-an nin banggi, na ako gimata.

Linalamayan ko ang pagkamoot, na sa kahaluyan
Nin panahon, padagos nang na remata.

Dai pa mabubuhay pa ang dating kala-kaga nin daghan,
Higupon ko man ang ultimong tagdo nin matap-haw kong timpla.

allvoices

6.23.2005

My first published poem in 12 years!


Ahh my dear Emong, you said anywhere I go is mine. I think this is the cornerstone from which I will build the rest of my dreams. Thank you PP and to Francis, my angel, for believing in me.

http://you.inq7.net/express/06222005/exp3-1.htm

allvoices

Caffe Latte

We are all given the ingredients of happiness, but the mixing is left to ourselves. – Ethel M. Dell

Standing hand in hand
you turn to me as the barista asked
what will it be?
Venti Latte, as always,
was my warm reply.

Your eyes probed mine in question,
espresso brown fingers
swirling over my milky white ones
Why not plain café au lait?
you ask,
saying that's all latte is anyway.

To you,
who sees coffee as just beverage
that may be so.
But that's not how I taste it.

Unsparing lovers prefer latte over anything else.

You see I am milk,
and you the rich brew
I must constantly empty myself into-
the single shot of espresso
forever waiting for me
to fill the entire cup.

We are latte
café au lait is half and half.

A.S. CRUZ
6.23.06

allvoices

6.21.2005

Pagtawid


Nakakainis!
Hanggang ngayon takot pa rin akong tumawid

parang lagi kasi akong masasagasaan
o mahahagip.

Simple lang naman diba
lilingon sa kanan,
titingin sa kaliwa bago hahakbang.
Tatantyahin muna
kung kailangang bilisan
o pwedeng dahan dahan lang
ang paglakad patungo sa kabila.

Pero ba’t saksakan pa rin ako ng duwag?
Minsan nakaabante na
tatakbo pa pabalik,
sa kabagalan at pagdadalawang isip
susunduin na lang at kakaladkarin.

Gusto ko laging may kasabay sa pagtawid.
Sigurista na kung sigurista
eh anong magagawa ko,
sa takot akong mabundol no!
ang paniwala ko,
mas mabuti ang ligtas kesa padalus-dalos.

Kampante akong nag aantay sa sidewalk nang dumating ka
buhat nuon nabawasan ang takot ko sa pagbaybay sa kalsada.

Pakiramdam ko handa na akong iwan
ang bangketa ng pagkakaibigan
sabi kasi nila nag aantay ka lang na umusad ako pakabila.

Walang lingun-lingong sumugod ako patawid,
Kahit nangangatog ang tuhod
tumakbong ubod bilis.
Pero huli na nang makita ko

ang ilaw na kulay pula.

Paksyet! Hit and run ka lang pala.

allvoices
Friday, May 20, 2005

PINOY POETS RENGA: Smoke

Smokes billows above my head tonight;
A scene inside the movie house of the past

flashing in my mind like a record machine

Overloaded with involuntary flashes

Of filmy fantasies:Rain that does not wet the hair,
bubbles,floating like flies.

Would you stop me if I stare?

With just one click of the finger

Nothing moves, open mouth caught in mid-laugh

That look likes hungry mouths.

Then another click.

They ate light from the flash

engulfed in blinding stillness.
The time when memories fade,
flickers of laughter and sorrow
encapsulated on canvass of thoughts

And shades.

allvoices

6.17.2005

Sisa

Ngalan mo’y Sisa
ngunit kailanma’y di ka haharap sa madla
nang nakayapak, nanlilimahid.

Bagamat gulagulanit ang isip,
baliw na sa pangungulila,
di lalaboy para hanapin sina Crispin at Basilio
sa mga lansangan ng Maynila
(paano’y edukada ka,
titulada)


Tableta, iniksyon,
ilampung oras ng konsultasyon
ito ang alam mong lunas sa pabalik balik na mga bangungot,
sa paghiyaw maski ng pusong bato sa’yong palasinsingan:
“Ina ka, Ina ka!”


Nang-uusig ang salamin,
nanunumbat pati dingding
uyayi’y ibulong man sa hangin wala nang tengang papansin
(paano’y pilit, ensayado,
pag-aaruga mo’y tubog sa ginto)

Ipinagyabang pa sa anino:
kailanma’y di luluhod ang isang Ina,
kapag suwail ang mga anak
pwes palayasin at alisan ng mana!
pag nakatikim ng hirap
tyak babalik at babalik rin sila.

Ngunit heto ka,
muling nilulunod ng alak
mga nilunok na kataga.

Sa Mandaluyong ka na naman dadatnan ng umaga.


A.S. Cruz
6.16.05

allvoices

6.15.2005

Pinoypoets’ Anniversary Night @ Conspiracy

If you’re a writer, a poet, an artist or simply a lover of literature, better block off Tuesday, June 28 on your social calendar. Pinoypoets (PP), an online community of literary enthusiasts, will be holding its first anniversary bash at Conspiracy Bar in Quezon City.
The event, dubbed PP ‘to!(The Pinoypoets’ First Anniversary), promises to be an evening filled with laughter, music, and of course, excellent poetry. Prominent social, academic, and literary figures Makati Rep. Teddy Locsin Jr, Conchitina Cruz, Vin and Kris Dancel, Noel Del Prado, Joyce Burton Titular, Enrico John Torralba, Hannah Romawac, Roli Inocencio, Nerissa Del Carmen Guevarra, Monica Llamas and Gary Granada, are but a few of our guest readers.
The celebration will also be highlighted by performances from G-Strings, 10kpp, Rubberband, Johnoy Danao of Bridge, Paramita, and Hannah Romawac of Session Road.
Pinoypoets is a community of poets, writers and literary enthusiasts who share their works, thoughts and insights on poetry. Formed by less than 50 members in June 2004, Pinoypoets has grown to 250 members based in different regions of the country---and even abroad. Its primary objective is to facilitate a creative forum and enrich its members' knowledge and craft.
Michael Coroza, Edgar Samar, Santiago Villafania, Louie John Sanchez, Eileen Tabios, Bino Realuyo and Jema Pamintuan, some of the most respected names in Philippine poetry today, are the group’s consultants and critics.
PP ‘to!(The Pinoypoets’ First Anniversary), will start at 8 p.m. Admission is FREE!

allvoices

6.14.2005

Depression

**for all of us who have been here at some point and learned from the experience.

If you ask me where I am right now
i’ll say somewhere between teardrops and a smile
it’s a sanctuary I run to at times
to empty myself,
collect half-sighs
untangle my emotions from its pretzel state—
detoxify.

Here,
cobwebs are magnified and admired,
its intricate pattern of silk, beautiful
compared to my own tattered web:
a maze of marred signals,
intertwined issues unresolved to this day,
with me hardly able to keep it together.

It’s a good place though,
lets you slowly sink to the bottom
thoughts free to bounce on down feather pillows,
drifting
floating in a womb of meaningless dreams
until you decide to get up,
snap out of it
and rejoin the world of the living.

I do not come here to command time,
I’ve frozen each day I care to replay
like a newsreel
because I want to, I still need to
wallow in oblivion,
dwell on my indecisions
savoring the bliss of temporary ignorance
because I choose to.

My feet have yet to touch solid ground.

A.S. Cruz
6.13.05

allvoices

6.13.2005

The Apple Tree


By: Stephie

There was a huge grin on your face when you showed it to me yesterday---a precious souvenir from America that you hope will take root here in your native soil. Nothing more than a twig really, with but a few newly sprouted leaves. You said you soaked it in water for 48 hours, just to see if it will live.

I almost laughed, who would be crazy enough to plant apple trees in this hot, humid climate? While everyone else has papaya and guava trees, you want to grow apples in our front lawn.

Then again, we have English roses in the garden-- their life spans a lot shorter than locally grown ones, but still, you water and tend these flowers like they were given to you by the Queen herself. In full bloom, the red, white and yellow roses are quite sight...except that they wilt too quickly, way before nosy neighbors could have a chance to stare and admire their beauty.

Now, you planted an apple tree, another piece of the American Dream you try to take home everytime you fly in from Los Angeles. The whole house already smells and feels American eventhough we live in the middle of verdant rice fields in Bulacan.

I remember you saying its best to live away from the city because life in America was already too fast and too frantic for you. How come you still bring back a part of that life in huge balikbayan boxes and LBC crates? Everything from curtains to plates! You didn't miss anything. Even our fabric softener and dishwashing paste comes from the States, or, we get the American brands when we shop at Waltermart.

Would you want us to start picking our own apples, Dad? I wanted to ask as I see you hunched over the scraggly twig. Sweating profusely under the harsh sun, you planted the cutting in fertile ground, carefully selecting a shady portion in the garden.

Apple trees gives good shade, you reassured me. You could have planted a Talisay.

And then softly, with the hum of the vacuum running on high speed, you tell me you're flying back again to LA before Christmas.

allvoices

6.12.2005

Dreamcatcher


Message Received: "I know the feeling, tried poetry too when I was young but got busy earning a living. Now I lost the touch. Go ahead, soar. Catch the dream."

There it hangs by my bedpost,
a silent guardian more than two decades old.
Faded by moonbeams and starlight,
Its deerskin mottled like your own hands
wrinkled by chalk dust and long nights spent drafting lesson plans.

Though dulled by age
the dream catcher’s yellow feathers served me well
propelling childhood fantasies to dizzying heights:
the glory of the byline, the limelight
I savored fully as my dream catcher
battled nightmares of pale faced mothers
who tried to torment me.

Never let go of the dream, you would always say
as I watch you pore over the day’s crossword puzzle.
Your morning cup of coffee grows stale but you don’t care
too engrossed with plotting letters on those tiny squares.

Time had been kind,
but it extinguished the fire in your eyes.
Remember how we loved to gaze at starry, starry nights?
Now we just look at Van Gogh in the living room,
a dream nailed onto a frame
begging for release
much like all the unbirthed verses you still keep.

If only I could,
I’d catch the moonbeams that once danced in your eyes
and for a moment lend you the sweetness of the dream
you lovingly and unselfishly gave up
so I could live out mine.

*Legend has it that dream catchers filter nightmares with a spider web of sinew and preserve a child’s innocence by allowing only good dreams to pass through. Feathers attached to the dream catchers are meant to assist the flight of good dreams. This one’s for my dream catcher on his 54th birthday….I love you Daddy.

June 7, 2005

allvoices

Pamamaalam

By: Stephie

Huwag ka sanang magtatampo kung ilang araw mula ngayon magpaalam ako bilang anghel mo. Hindi naman ako nangakong sasamahan kita habang panahon. Huwag din sanang ikasama ng loob mo ang hindi ko na pagtawag sa'yo, pati na rin ang matabang na pagsagot ko sa bawat pangungulit mo sa akin sa opisina.

Nagkamali ako. Hindi pala natin pwedeng ipagkibit balikat ang lahat at mag astang walang nagbago sa pagkakaibigan natin. Akala ko pwede nating dayain, na magagawa nating kalimutan ang kung anong naramdaman natin ng gabing iyon sa isla, pero lulan din pala ng barkong pabalik ng Maynila ang mga alaala ng duyan sa ilang.

Iniwasan nating magkita ng halos dalawang buwan at napaniwala natin ang lahat na sadyang abala lang tayo sa samutsaring gawain kaya hindi nila tayo nakikitang magkasama. Binalak nating lumabas nung minsan, pumayag ako kahit kinakabahan, pero buti na lang ikaw na rin ang naunang umatras.

Hindi pa ako handang makita ka. Ayokong tumingin sa mga mata mong naghahanap at naghihintay ng tugon. Nababasa ko ang mga tanong kahit hindi mo bigkasin, dama sa bawat buntong hininga ang pagpipigil ng damdamin at talos ang pag amin na walang kahihinatnan ang sitwasyong kinasasadlakan natin.

Hindi ako manhid. Naramdaman ko ang higpit ng yakap at init ng haik sa pisnging iginawad mo sa akin bilang pagbati.. Alam kong tumulay rin sa iyong katawan ang bolta boltaheng kuryenteng gumulat sa akin. Kapwa tayo natigilan at ang katahimikan ng ilang sandaling iyon ay binasag lamang ng kabog nang ating mga dibdib.

Nalilito ako. Nakakaramdam ng takot at pangamba, pinipilit bigyan ng rason at paliwanag ang lahat ng nakikita ko at naririnig mula sa'yo. Bakit hindi natin maiwasang maghawak kamay habang nag uusap? Bakit yumuyuko ako kapag nakikita kong pinagmamasdan mo ako na tila gusto mong sauluhin ang bawat sulok ng aking mukha?

Siguro, tulad ko, naririnig mo rin ang bawat tick tock ng orasang gusto nating takasan. Kung maaari lang sanang hilahin ang mga segundo at hadlangan ang napipintong pagwawakas ng kwentong tayo ang pangunahing nagsisiganap. Kaso hindi pwede. Sa ayaw natin at sa gusto, kailangang magtapos ang palabas na ito. Lamang, may iiyak sa pagsasara ng telon.

Ipahintulot mo sanang ako na ang magpaalam. Payagan mo na akong lumayo bitbit ang masasayang alaala ng pagkakaibigang iningatan ko at minahal. Ayoko nang hintayin pang mapatid ang gahiblang sinulid na tinawid natin sa isla.

Aalis na ako bago mahuli ang lahat. Ayokong abutan ng liwanag mo ang puso kong nagkukubli sa dilim.

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Lukewarm

*an experimental piece. Actually, Im not sure if this can be counted as a poem. :)

A cracked tooth
from sipping hot chocolate
followed by ice water
leaves me wondering
how you can scald my tongue
with lukewarm affection

Stephie 6.03.05

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Kumot

Ni: Anne Stephanie Cruz

Humupa na ang alinsangan ng magdamag,
naririnig na muli ang pagaspas ng mga dahong
isinasayaw ng malamig na hanging umiihip, sumisilip,
nanunubok bago tuluyang magpawala ng ginaw.

Sa mga gabing tulad nito masarap magbalot ng kumot,
maglunoy sa himbing ng pagtulog
dulot ng makapal na telang yumayakap sa buo kong pagkatao.

Payapa ang isip,
panatag na babaybayin ang daigdig ng panaginip
kahit pa nagdadabog ang mga patak ng ulan sa bubungan.

Dati rati'y hanap ka sa tuwing magbabadya ang unos,
nakaugaliang sumukob sa mga bisig mong tila kumot---
noong una'y pumapawi ng takot, kumakalinga
kalaunan, siya rin palang sasakal at kikitil sa laya.

Maging ang puso natuturuan ding mamaluktot,
kapag nababad sa mahabang tag-ulang walang kumot.
Mangatal man ang laman sa lamig ng pag-iisa,
'di na nanaisin ang ika'y muling magbalik pa.

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Gisadong Pansit


Magluluto ako ng pansit
dahil kaarawan ni Inay.
Ayon kasi sa kasabihan,
pampahaba daw ‘to ng buhay.

Maaga akong bumangon,
ngumiti, gumayak para manindahan.
Kailangan maging espesyal
paboritong ihain pa naman.

Inihanda lahat ng rekado:
mga gulay ginayat ng maninipis;
mga lahok—baboy, manok, laman loob
hinimay at hiniwang maliliit.

Sumasagitsit habang iginigisa
bawang, sibuyas, sa kumukulong mantika
Nakatatakam na halimuyak
Naglalagos sa buong kusina.

Ngunit bakit sa bawat pagluluto ng pansit
bumabalong ang mga alaala?

Ang panimplang patis at pansabaw na tubig
sing-alat at sinlalim ng mga luha.
Ang paminta, maaanghang na salitang
hindi napigilang kumawala;
Sabaw na pinakulo ng mahabang panahon
di mapalambot mga pusong tikom.

Unti-unting inilalagay ang bihon
iniingatang huwag lumabsa.
Tulad ng bawat paglapit ko,
nangingiming muling mapahiya.

Luto na ang paboritong pansit ni Inay,
bagong hango at umuusok pa.
Pinagpagurang lutuin ngayong kaarawan niya,
pero tulad ng dati,
kakanin ko na namang nag-iisa.

May 21, 2005

Happy Birthday Mommy

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Rainmaker

by: Stephie

And we angels wept, so you say,
that’s why we have rain.

Everyday
you look to the sky and pray
begging with closed eyes and outstretched hands
smiling in expectant faith.

Bliss for roses as it is balm to cracked lips
rain is an age-old benediction,
(again you say),
as natural as man’s need for a sense of belonging.

Soon,
(so you tell me)
God will open heaven’s floodgates
and anoint you with sacred drops,
(albeit displeased that you still dip your tongue
in communal puddles).

Not a dark cloud in sight, still
you believe rain will come: your heaven sent---
one final shower of blessings
to purge you of life’s bitterness

Like you, I too dream of rain;
to drown in a downpour of mercy
far thicker than my angel tears.

But you have bled me dry,
so I choose to intercede,
sanctifying your prayers for rain
though I’ve been weeping for you for years.

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HAMOG


**I will always, lovingly refer to this poem as my fistborn.

Sinabi mo,
tinipong luha ng mga tulad kong anghel ang ulan.
Pagpapalang pinabubuhos ng Lumikha
pandilig sa tigang na lupa.
(Minsan,
pambanlaw din sa nanlilimahid na kaluluwa).

Humihiling kang umulan
nang maski papano'y maibsan
ang init at alinsangang kasiping mo sa magdamag.
Mga banayad na patak,
mumunting daliring hahaplos sa nangungulila mong kalamnan.
Masusuyong halik, matatamis na ngiti,
dadaloy sa natuyot nang gunita.

Paano’y kaytagal na (sabi mo),
buhat ng huling umulan.
Gayumpaman,
nananalig ka, nanampalataya,
Darating siya sa itinakdang araw ng Ama,
at magbabago ang lahat.

Tulad mo,
ako rin, naninikluhod na umulan.
Buong hinagpis na tumatawag ng kidlat at hangin,
Anghel na nagmamakaawang lunurin na ng langit.

Ihihingi kita sa Kaniya ng tagapaghatid ulan.
Dahil sabi mo,
sa isanlibong buhos na iniluha ko,
hindi ka nakasumpong ni manipis na hamog.

A.S.Cruz
Revised May 17, 2005

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Duyan

By: Anne Stephanie Cruz

Kung tutuusin, walang sapat na dahilan para malungkot ako. Hindi ako dapat bumubuntong hininga ngayon at iniisip ka. Nanghihinayang na wala ka na at nami- miss yung dating kakulitan at paglalambing mo sa’kin. Gusto kong isiksik sa isip ko na hindi ka kawalan, na madami pa naman akong ibang kaibigan. Pero bakit nanghihinayang ako at hinahanap kita?

Dalawang araw na ang nakakaraan pero eto pa rin ako, paulit-ulit pa ring nire-replay ang mga eksena sa isip ko, pinipilit i-trace kung saan nagsimula, o sino ang may sala. Yun bang isang case na San Mig Light? Yung Malboro Reds na nagkanda ubo ubo ako sa paghithit pero sinadya mong bilhin para dalain ako? Yun bang pagkukuwento ko sa’yo sa mga nangyari sa buhay ko nung ilang buwang hindi tayo nagkita at nag usap? Yun bang daring na dress na sinuot ko nang gabi? O yung makitid na duyan na hinigaan natin sa ilalim ng mga bituin?

Tumatahip na ang ulo ko sa kaiisip pero wala pa ring malinaw na sagot. Ang alam ko lang, magkaibigan tayong matagal-tagal na hindi nakapag bonding. Hindi naman bago sa atin ang mag marathon nang inuman, diba nung huling outing nga inabot tayo ng alas singko sa labas, halos anurin tayo nang ga- higanteng mga alon sa Anilao? Anong pinagkaiba nang Sabado nang gabi sa lahat ng araw na magkasama tayo at magkausap?

Bakit sa gabing iyon pinili mong talikuran ang pagkakaibigan natin? Sa ilalim ng itim na kalangitang sinabuyan ng mga bituin, sabay sa marahang pag ugoy nang duyan at sa pag iyak nang kung anong ibon sa ilang. Gusto kong isiping lasing ka lang, o nalulungkot. Ayokong lagyan nang kulay at bigyan ng ibang dahilan ang paglapat ng mga labi mo sa akin. Na paulit ulit mong inuusal ang salitang “sorry” at naiinis ka na sa sarili mo pero hindi ka rin naman lumalayo at patuloy ka pa rin sa paghingi ng halik.

Sabi nila kapag tinawid na ang gahiblang sinulid na naghihiwalay sa magkaibigan, mahirap nang bumalik. Dati hindi ako naniniwala dito, pero ngayon nakikita kong totoo. Ni hindi mo na makuhang tumingin sa akin kinabukasan,at ni ayaw mo akong kausapin. Nag text ka minsan para sabihing patawarin kita at nami miss mo ako, pero pagkatapos nun, parang hindi mo na ako kilala.

Pinatawad naman kita. Sabi ko kalimutan mo na yon. Hindi naman napakalaking kasalanan ng pag halik mo sa akin…pero sinabi mong manhid ako.

Sa tinagal tagal nang pagkakaibigan natin ngayon mo lang ako tiniis. At hindi ko lubusang maunawaan kung bakit. Siguro dala ng hiya sa ginawa mo, o pagkapahiya na hindi ako nagpaubaya. Sorry kung nasaktan ko ang “ego” mo. Pero mas pinahahalagahan ko yung pagkakaibigan natin.

Madami ring tanong na tumatakbo sa isip ko, may mga maliliit na eksenang pilit kong hinahanapan ng kahulugan…tulad ng marahang paghaplos mo sa mukha ko, o paghagod sa buhok ko. Sa paghawak mo nang mga kamay ko at pagsasabing ipanatag ko ang loob ko dahil nandito ka. Na wala akong dapat ikatakot dahil hindi mo ko pababayaan. Na sa gabing iyon, ako ang prinsesa mo.

Hindi ko rin maipaliwanag kung bakit nakaramdam ako ng katahimikan ng hagkan mo ako sa noo at sabihing babantayan mo ako sa pagtulog at gigisingin bago sumikat ang araw. Yun pala, pagdating nang liwanag, mawawala ka na…yung dating ikaw na kilala ko.

Siguro nga hindi ko makakalimutan ang islang ito. Maraming magandang ala ala, magagandang lugar na nakita, mga bagong kakilala…dito ka rin nawala. Dito, sa tabi ng kakahuyan, saksi ang mga alon at batuhan, nabahiran ng malisya ang dating inosente at masaya nating pagkakaibigan. Paano na ngayon bro? Ni hindi ko na makukuhang umakbay o yumakap sayo, matatakot na ako dahil baka bigyan mo ng ibang kahulugan. Sabagay, ni hindi nga pala tayo nag uusap.

Manhid na kung manhid. Pero ma miss ko yung paglalambing mo. Yung pagdadala mo nang kung ano anong pagkain sa opisina para sakin, yung pagtawag para kamustahin lang ako o paalalahanan na umuwi nang maaga. Hahanapin ko yung pag te-text mo ng gud nyt at pag p pray mo sa akin tuwing Miyerkules kapag nagsisimba ka sa Baclaran.


Ma mi miss kita, may isang daan at isang dahilan kung bakit Sana lang, dumating ang araw na harapin mo akong muli, kapag nakalimutan mo na ang iyak ng mga ibon sa ilang, ang hampas ng mga alon sa batuhan at ang pag ugoy ng duyan sa isla.

allvoices

Bubbles


** Written after Sandcastles II sometime around March 2004

By: Stephie

When uncertain, we drift to the familiar
Drawing comfort in the past.
Doubt pushes fickle minds to double back,
Claw at once-have-been's
Stretching memories until they bend, rend, and tear out of shape.

The past, with its spinning images and nameless faces
Too familiar to forget but too vague to polarize with a date and
place,
It reminds us of heartbeats that once raced and pulsed
Then flat- lined altogether.

We cannot learn to unforget.
There's no way to undo the hurt
nor erase scars that have begun to fade.
We must stop picking at scabs lest we bleed again,
profusely this time,
leaving us unable to heal.

Living on moments is a prerogative of the brave,
It's a gamble where stakes double by the hour
And you risk losing what to you is most precious and few.

These are just bubbles, I know:
Borrowed snippets of eternity,
Fragments saved in a fragile capsule,
Scenes in my mind's eye replayed from time to time.
But, they're the only company I keep in the empty moments.

Let them be.

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