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by Stephie

Sa ilog na lamang tayo magtagpo mahal. Kung saan marahan ang agos ng tubig sa batuhan. Di tulad ng mapupusok na alon sa dagat na makailang ulit ka ring tinangay. Pailalim. Sa isang
panaginip na ubod dilim.

Dito sa ilog malinaw ang lahat. Naaaninag ang tunay na hubog at kulay ng bawat bagay sa ilalim ng tubig. Samantalang ang dagat, tuso at mapaglihim. Mapanlinlang ang kabuuang ikinukubli ng lalim at bula ng tubig-alat. Batid kong hanap ng iyong mga paa ang pinong buhangin ng kaniyang dalampasigan; ang kiliting dulot ng halik ng tubig sa talampakan. Pagsapit ng takipsilim, unti-unti niyang inilililis ang mga alon, paanyayang muli mong sisirin ang pusod ng kaniyang alindog.

Minsan ka lamang namahinga sa ilog. Nanalungko sa batuhan at minasdan ang sarili. Hindi nagsinungaling ang tubig. Hinugasan ang asing ngumangatngat sa kayraming mga sugat. Kay alat ng iyong mga luha.

Umawit ang ilog, ngunit tawag ng alon ang tanging naririnig.

Sa ilog na lamang tayo magtagpo, mahal. Kapang naunawaan mo nang hindi maaring maging dagat ang tubig-tabang.

January 29, 2006



Pag-Ibig sa Alon

Tula ni: Enrico Torralba

"Akala ko'y di ko maiibig ang dagat."
--mula sa TAKOT SA TUBIG ni Rio Alma

Ang kanyang pagdampi sa labi
Ng dalampasigan ay lubos
Na pagtangi sa bato at buhangin.
Sa tuwing siya ay dumarating,
Lagi siyang may handod
Na taludtod ng tilamsik at ginhawa.
Kaya minsan, sa muli niyang pagdalaw
Siya ay aking inangkin,
Siya ay aking inaruga
A ipinaghele sa aking mga palad.
Ngunit sa bawat pagbubuntis ng buwan,
Nararamdaman kong
Ang pananatili niya sa aking piling
Ay panunuyo ng kanyang tinig.
Ayaw kong mawala ang awit ng alon
Kapag sinusuyo ang dalampasigan
Kaya minabuti kong masdan na lang
Siyang lumisan pabalik sa dagat.
Mula noon, natitik sa aking isip
Na hindi para sa akin
Ang pagmamahal ng alon.

**one of the poems in Sir John's chapbook. Do I need to explain how much heartache and tears are mirrored here? I keep remembering the poem "Gabu" I've read in college...It is the sea that pursues a habit of shores. Yes, it is another shore that he wishes to come home to...




Out of my element,
I gasp and thrash about
like fish washed ashore.

Forced to walk
,imaginary limbs claw air
for handrails or even the tiniest foothold.

I am told: adapt,
it's the only way to survive.

As if they didn't know,
evolution takes its own sweet time--
humankind waited in bated breath
for the ape to walk upright.




Love at First Sight

(Wislawa Szymborska, translated by Walter Whipple )

Both are convinced
that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together.
Beautiful is such a certainty,
but uncertainty is more beautiful.

Because they didn't know each other earlier, they suppose that
nothing was happening between them.
What of the streets, stairways and corridors
where they could have passed each other long ago?

I'd like to ask them
whether they remember-- perhaps in a revolving door
ever being face to face?
an "excuse me" in a crowd
or a voice "wrong number" in the receiver.
But I know their answer:
no, they don't remember.

They'd be greatly astonished
to learn that for a long time
chance had been playing with them.

Not yet wholly ready
to transform into fate for them
it approached them, then backed off,
stood in their way
and, suppressing a giggle,
jumped to the side.

There were signs, signals:
but what of it if they were illegible.
Perhaps three years ago,
or last Tuesday
did a certain leaflet fly
from shoulder to shoulder?
There was something lost and picked up.
Who knows but what it was a ball
in the bushes of childhood.

There were doorknobs and bells
on which earlier
touch piled on touch.
Bags beside each other in the luggage room.
Perhaps they had the same dream on a certain night,
suddenly erased after waking.

Every beginning
is but a continuation,
and the book of events
is never more than half open.

Is the world trying to tell me something? This poem found its way to my mailbox this morning, and its uncanny how it is closely (or rather inversely) related to this Haruki Murakami Story I stumbled upon yesterday. Read and enjoy!



FB Senryu


old man
ogling well done breasts---
lunch time queue


martini stories:
marriage is cold and on the rocks---
can I buy you a drink?

FB stands for food and beverage, and, something totally different. If you're sharp enough to understand, good for you. If not, tough luck. ~stephie~

Here's another one, inspired by a Duncan Sheik song...

to a mirror
she prays,
for a glimpse of herself



Good In Bed

Loving a Larger Woman
by Bruce Guberman

I'll never forget the day I found out my girlfriend weighed more than I did.

She was out on a bike ride, and I was home watching football, leafing through the magazines on her coffee table, when I found her Weight Watchers folder — a palm-sized folio with notations for what she'd eaten, and when, and what she planned to eat next, and whether she'd been drinking her eight glasses of water a day. There was her name. Her identification number. And her weight, which I am too much of a gentleman to reveal here. Suffice it to say that the number shocked me.

I knew that C. was a big girl. Certainly bigger than any of the women I'd seen on TV, bouncing in bathing suits or drifting, reedlike, through sitcoms and medical dramas. Definitely bigger than any of the women I'd ever dated before.

I never thought of myself as a chubby chaser. But when I met C., I fell for her wit, her laugh, her sparkling eyes. Her body, I decided, was something I could learn to live with.

Her shoulders were as broad as mine, her hands were almost as big, and from her breasts to her belly, from her hips down the slope of her thighs, she was all sweet curves and warm welcome. Holding her felt like a safe haven. It felt like coming home.

But being out with her didn't feel nearly as comfortable. Maybe it was the way I'd absorbed society's expectations, its dictates of what men are supposed to want and how women are supposed to appear. More likely, it was the way she had. C. was a dedicated foot soldier in the body wars. At five foot ten inches, with a linebacker's build and a weight that would have put her right at home on a pro football team's roster, C. couldn't make herself invisible.

But I know that if it were possible, if all the slouching and slumping and shapeless black jumpers could have erased her from the physical world, she would have gone in an instant. She took no pleasure from the very things I loved, from her size, her amplitude, her luscious, zaftig heft.

As many times as I told her she was beautiful, I know that she never believed me. As many times as I said it didn't matter, I knew that to her it did. I was just one voice, and the world's voice was louder. I could feel her shame like a palpable thing, walking beside us on the street, crouched down between us in a movie theater, coiled up and waiting for someone to say what to her was the dirtiest word in the world: fat.

And I knew it wasn't paranoia. You hear, over and over, how fat is the last acceptable prejudice, that fat people are the only safe targets in our politically correct world. Date a queen-sized woman and you'll find out how true it is. You'll see the way people look at her, and look at you for being with her. You'll try to buy her lingerie for Valentine's Day and realize the sizes stop before she starts. Every time you go out to eat you'll watch her agonize, balancing what she wants against what she'll let herself have, what she'll let herself have against what she'll be seen eating in public.

And what she'll let herself say.

I remember when the Monica Lewinsky story broke and C., a newspaper reporter, wrote a passionate defense of the White House intern who'd been betrayed by Linda Tripp in Washington, and betrayed even worse by her friends in Beverly Hills, who were busily selling their high-school memories of Monica to Inside Edition and People magazine. After her article was printed, C. got lots of hate mail, including one letter from a guy who began: "I can tell by what you wrote that you are overweight and that nobody loves you." And it was that letter — that word — that bothered her more than anything else anyone said. It seemed that if it were true — the "overweight" part — then the "nobody loves you" part would have to be true as well.

As if being Lewinsky-esque was worse than being a betrayer, or even someone who was dumb.
As if being fat were somehow a crime.

Loving a larger woman is an act of courage in this world, and maybe it's even an act of futility. Because, in loving C., I knew I was loving someone who didn't believe that she herself was worthy of anyone's love.

And now that it's over, I don't know where to direct my anger and my sorrow. At a world that made her feel the way she did about her body — no, herself — and whether she was desirable. At C., for not being strong enough to overcome what the world told her. Or at myself, for not loving C. enough to make her believe in herself.

**currently reading Good In Bed By Jennifer Weiner ... this article, penned by the lead character's ex-boyfriend, is the take-off point of the whole book. Fell in love with it after browsing through the first few pages at Powerbooks, ATC yesterday.



Share: Firefly Sestina

You said they were stars,
the flowers in your clothes,
a fragrant race
of insects in a river
heading toward us,
light turning to matter.

Did it matter
if they were stars
or they were us
looking too close?

Our eyes are also rivers
in a race
for the future, a race

with matter
over time and the river.

The stars
are close to us,
all of us:a race

that will kill to close
a matter,
erase stars,
defile a river,
even this one river

forever heading toward us
we barely navigate, like fixed stars
in a racethat ought to matter
and never close.

Wearing no clothes
we step into the river.
No matter
that it covers us
with darkness,

whose race
over our bodies fills with stars.
Whose stars

clothe our bodies as they race
toward a river of no matter to us.

**Picked up this sestina from Antioch Review, I must have read it three or four times before feeling the full impact of the piece. Oh the days when one feels like a firefly—free, flying, but carrying a desire that burns and consumes the self, sometimes for days at an end!~stephie~


Cheshire Cat Tales


walk in closet
a Cheshire cat licks
paws clean


giddy little girl
shaved clean--
Cheshire cat grin

10.25 am



daga: a senryu in Filipino

sepilyo't colgate
naiwan sa kwarto kagabi
may dagang uuwi

Pasay MRT



"Comfort Sex"

Walang ibang kulay ang gabi kundi pula.

May anghang ang mga labing kapwa
naghahanap ng pagkandili.
Hindi nag-alinlangang magsukob,
may pangangailangang pilit pinupunan
ngunit batid na kailanma'y di matatagpuan
sa isa't-isa.

Sapat na ang malamang pula pa rin ang
dugong umuugong sa nag-iinit na mga tainga;
na pula ang kulay ng kaligayahan bagamat bahaw;
at pula ang kasukdulang naabot at lalatay sa ala-ala.

Huwag mo lamang huhubarin ang pulang blusa.
Baka malimutang pumipintig pa rin ang iyong pusong kulay pula.

4 am


Bathroom Confessions

Kung sana'y agua bendita ang ibinubuhos,
o krusipiho ang ipinangkukuskos
baka sakaling matanggal pa
ang mga mantsang naiwan sa paanan ng dutsa.

Ang kaso'y sa harap ng domex at eskoba lang
kayang mangumpisal ng mga tulad kong
sa nakapinid na silid nagkakasala.

Kaya't ang bawat buhos ng tubig
sinasabayan nang pagluha,
baka sakaling sa paglilinis
makatagpo ng pagpapalaya



short poems


sensual origami---
deft fingers on pulp
folding in surrender


a butterfly
hugs its cocoon goodbye--
maiden flight


mirror image--
making passionate love
in a pool of tears


plucking feathers
from singed wings---
a fistful of faith




by Stephie

"What's better than a ten?"

Quarter past lunch,
you twitch in remembrance.
Glazed eyes seeing her flushed, fucked face in the mirror;
lips and skin playing out frame by hungry frame
of a Tuesday feeding frenzy.
Images rise with your quickened breath,
like steam, more vivid than a transparent overlay.

Muscle memory conjures sensations of being wrung out,
sucked dry then finally coming---
senseless and beyond pleasure.

Hungrier than when you stepped out for lunch,
your knees buckle in recollection.
So good,
you count to eleven before crossing the street.