Dis 31, 2014


The year is taking place.
If the clouds by crawling had been saying

something, it is shape
which is water without jar or whistle.

It is terrible that we loved at a time like this,
white rolling over a tree

unetched by pining,
the dark of its root tipped

with toenails. Was time when chipped / red
would have been the issue. Who's

looking? Had it been clued
the shadows had shadows,

would you have peeled soil on our behalf?
Hugger of my hugger,

song of my song.
The darling ways in which we tread too lightly.

Annotation 1: Angeles’s “Mga Tala ukol sa Sakit ni Mama ayon sa Kanyang mga Sintomas”

In this story, Angeles [1] depicts in great detail both pain and the studious reflection on it. Her protagonist, Jestine, employs search engines and online encyclopaedias in order to get a grip on her mother’s dementia. She counteracts her mother’s loosening grasp on reality by blogging exhaustively about her own efforts to maintain her studies, the household, the blog itself, as well as her own sanity.
Ginawa ko ang blog na ito para mailabas ang lahat ng saloobin ko. Heto ang aking account ng mga nangyari sa aming pamilya lalo na kay Mama at ang mga instances kung kailan sa tingin ko ay nagpahiwatig ang mga sintomas ng sakit niya.
The use of the blog as the narrative frame opens to Angeles the possibility of using reverse chronological order (as in Solacito [2]). Instead, she opts for two layers of normal chronology with Jestine keeping track of her mother’s deterioration (from Jan. to Oct. 2011) and publishing it as eight blog posts from Oct. 4 to 26. Chronicling takes meticulous effort on Jestine’s part: remembering events and images, dialogues, the copy-pasted symptoms, and then piecing these things together.

The spider comes in as an important image here. Jestine perceives the progress of an actual spider by paying frequent attention to the the webs it leaves in her mother's room. She also extends the image to describe her mother:
Napaliligiran ng mga bagay na bumubuo sa hinahabi niyang tahanan. Si Mama, ang tagalikha, ang nasa gitna naming lahat pero dahil sa bigat ng mga nakadikit sa sapot niya, nakaapekto ito sa kanya. Hindi niya kinaya ang bigat. Mag-isa niyang sinusulsi ang sapot kapag may nasisira rito. 
In the course of the reading, we learn that the attributes of spider apply also to Jestine, that the blog is her very own web. Or, that the blog serves as an aid to the creation of an interior web, one from which not even its maker can escape.

[1] Angeles, Kathleen Siena A. “Mga Tala ukol sa Sakit ni Mama ayon sa Kanyang mga Sintomas.” In Eskapasismo. Unpublished thesis. March 2012: 59-87.
[2] Annotation 1: Solacito.

Dis 30, 2014

Notes on Rae Armantrout’s “The Way”

Card in pew pocket
“I am here.”

I made only one statement
because of a bad winter.

Grease is the word; grease
is the way

I am feeling.
Real life emergencies or

flubbing behind the scenes.

As a child,
I was abandoned

in a story
made of trees.

Here’s the small

of this clearing
come “upon” “again”


A— don't think so. fact is, my reading's prospered now that you brought it up

D— I made only one statement / because of a bad winter. I remember a point being made before that this statement might be a financial statement of sorts. Bad winter suggests an extremity. One statement could also be refer back to "I'm here" or to this poem which, although perhaps one statement (The Way), is clearly composed of several utterances, places, periods of time, and frames of reference.

D— A "bank statement," maybe? But maybe the statement here is the aforementioned "I am here." This person has nothing to offer but herself, the winter having perhaps taken everything else away.

D —I like how you phrased this question. Most readings usually automatically assume that a trail of pebbles ought to lead somewhere, that a thread decides the value of a maze. What if there's a trail but no destiny? A possibility, since the trail alluded to is composed of bread crumbs, the way therefore described (and created) by something both impermanent and important.

D— Putting it that way, it seems to me now that the vision of "The Way" parallels Paris Spleen.

D— These notes are precious! Thanks for relaying, sharing. I like your personal touch, your reflection on the process, how even the act of bringing it to us here could be riddled by mis- or missed readings, additions, over-reading. (Considering now if losing the way is, itself, the way.)

A— "gasp" truly

ascending the stories
a tree at a time
clearing the
throat for your gasp

A— happened to me. sounded beautiful and very true to the reader's (and her father's) life, so I said that I want my poem to mean what she meant, and that I'm grateful she had it mean that way

A— take every poet's explanation of her poem as a performance, an annotative performance. give it some privilege, but not sole authority (even other readings by the self-same poet can be seen as another performance, like being in the theater for the same play but on another night). other readers could "perform" it, in fact every reading, even interior, undisclosed readings are already performances of the poem in the mind, an inescapable process of co-creation. like this one in particular's likable because armantrout explains her poem with little apparent restraint, supplying the sources, offering some interpretation, but never closing the circle. not every poet is capable of that. in her discussion of "I am here," it seems to me that she's also a meticulously selective reader of texts around her. wonder if this process somehow contributes to her generosity

D— Life is what happens when you are busy making other fun. Go all out!

or as in Bergv
all, half-Way's
all the Way yo
u'll ever need

D— Reading "VIA" and "The Way" through you as quests of sorts. And that greasy inferno sounds like a wonderfully slippery slope, not sure if Virgil's got enough virtue to drag Dante away from that eternal spectacle.

D— Bergvall made a sort of Limbo with "VIA," keeping Dante from fully entering Inferno (but also from fulfilling his maybe self-ordained destiny) through the loop of (the conceit of?) his own translated words. Burn!

D— Could this also apply to this story made of trees? I hope you see it as a good thing, this openness of the poem.

A— false perhaps in that sense as you described, but also as a trail that disrupts the "flow" of language or reasoning

A— we can only wish. as do the kids. but perhaps there's only (greasy) adolescence

D— That threw me off. How it's framed here, it appears so. Story made of trees, the pulp of trees as paper, or through the hidden word "leaves" or out of identification with Hansel and Gretel. But the aspiration or destination that the story carries (or with which it resonates, that the story also is, how can that be worldly? At most it's (infected with) a hope to be something other than the world. So we go at it again and again, as mantras and chants (maybe Wiccan spells) promise to carry us elsewhere or inward.

D—To end up in a place of worship after expecting a place of candy canes and chocolate sprinkles.

"as soon as" yes
but not one moment before


D— Thanks for this exhilarating view of your involvement. I am (for some reason) picturing you as that guy in the courtroom sketching the scene while the judge and the lawyers close read the evidence for the rest of us. Most interesting presence.

Blessing A

feeling this getting start
air the dew
plural in “you”

prefer to day the girth
Which path in myself from me Taking
wings beyond forgive

Remembering remembering Whom
is January wild If

turned their chairs which desire
think ever to die
to loom

you perhaps expected light to hold

sing to chance the isolation
drawn knowing this tell
and soul my colors

Dis 25, 2014

Himpapalis na namumugad

Sa ugpungan ng kapilya at aranya
Nangingitlog man o sugatan, at hindi mahimlay

Himlayan ng mata
Sa kabila ng dayami, ng minsanang daga.

Bagong pula—na aking anit.
Kaawaan mo kami.

Dis 24, 2014

Annotation 3: Solacito’s “Pader”

The story [1] consists of 106 posts on Bianca Mendoza’s Facebook wall, 76 comments, 54 likes, a view of 5 recent activities, and a drop-down for viewing “Older Posts.” Karla Fajardo flooded this wall and was responsible for 76 of the posts found there. Here we find a curious mix of Karla’s declarations of love and calls for attention (“Dream of me. Mwa!”), her outbursts also and threats (“ISINUSUMPA KONG DI KAYO MAGIGING MASAYA!”), most of which directly address Bianca.

In five of the 76 posts, Karla mentions Lallie. Since the story proceeds in reverse, the reader will hear of Lallie in the second page
Alagaan mo si Lallie ha :)
December 24, 2010 at 06:00 AM . Like . Comment
and about six pages after
Lallie is sad. :(
November 23, 2010 at 07:19 PM . Like . Comment
only to recognize its identity and significance in the last three pages of the story:
Yehey! Naupload ko na pictures natin together! Ang cute ni Lallie dun sa isang picture na karga natin siya. HAHAHA!! Magbukas ka naman ng account mo! I love u!! Ganda naman ng profile picture mo! Witwiw ;)
November 15, 2010 at 11:04 PM . Like . Comment
Miss na kita! Ang purita mo talaga gurl! Wala na ngang pamasahe hindi pa makapagtext man lang. :( Katabi ko si puppy ngayon. I named her Lallie. :) Paramdam ka naman jan! :*
November 3, 2010 at 9:56 PM . 3 people like this. Comment
PUTA KA! MAHAL NA MAHAL KITA! Salamat sa regalo mong tuta pero sana pumunta ka pa rin nung birthday ko. Hinahanap ka ni mama (nakakahalata na? :p)
November 3, 2010 at 7:30 PM . 6 people like this . Comment
The last page gives us the above first post, love and invective, a black and white picture of a puppy resting its head on a phone, and four comments that will trail off to “View Older Posts…” In the coming annotations, we take look at what Karla’s posts reveal about her situation and (b) take stock of Bianca’s replies. I would also like to evaluate the activity of the couple’s friends, but maybe I should leave something to my incoming students.

[1] Solacito, Riena Marie L. “Pader.” In Ang Pagtatapos. Unpublished thesis. March 2012: 33-45.
[2] Annotation 1.
[3] Annotation 2.

Dis 23, 2014

Book cover

looking at it only through a hetero lens.
of what became known as "the New

whispers out of time. Still, for the many
grounds") and the young
civilian detention / worked. Early

-interrupting voices—the different
calls "the experience

up that longing. At the center
then, is not to try

arrangement, the way you listen
begins to leak through.
but a kind of living system.

previously unmarried
transistor through which many
long. Sometimes (as you can

as something merely to be mocked.
called for the immediate

surroundings, / organically blossomed for
the one we address
in such somber terms).

Annotation 2: Solacito’s “Pader”

Some of the aforementioned ephemera [1] find resonance in the single-word title. “Pader” refers to the Facebook Wall, the virtual, primary setting of the story, the very shape and motive of its narrative [2]. The Wall accepts the participation of expected (“friended”) and interested parties, some of whom are more voluble than Bianca herself, the owner of the profile. However, none can claim even half as much writing-on-the-wall as Karla, Bianca’s pursuer.

Let us allow for the idiomatic and entertain the following possibilities: talking to a wall, that is, Bianca’s general unresponsiveness; hit a wall being ultimately the death of Karla [3]; and walls have ears pertain to others, Bianca’s friends or acquaintances from various circles, whose presence allow for the relationship to become more of a spectacle.

[1] Annotation 1.
[2] Solacito, Riena Marie L. “Pader.” In Ang Pagtatapos. Unpublished thesis. March 2012: 33-45.
[3] “Hit a/the wall” and “Bumangga sa pader” should be treated as two different idiomatic expressions. The former could include relatively minor and usually temporary blocks to a mental of physical activity. The latter posits the presence of an insurmountable character, a figure of power. For Karla, a fitting description of Bianca.

Dis 22, 2014

Gumamelang naliligaw

Umaalingawngaw patungong Lawa
Bumubugso ang kulay ng nakabaro
Noon, lulan ng mapuputing Kaibigan

Dis 20, 2014

Ikalabing-limang sipi mula sa “Tugon sa Lubos na Kapita-pitagang Sor Filotea”

ni Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
aking salin

Sa huling layuning ito, na kung tutuusin nama'y pinakamahalaga, dito ko isinuko ang aking sarili at pinasakop ang lahat ng maliliit at walang-halagang katangian ng aking pagkatao, gaya ng kagustuhang mamuhay mag-isa at pag-ayaw sa ano mang pananagutang sasagka sa kalayaan kong mag-aral, o sa ingay ng samahan, na sasabad lamang sa mapayapang katahimikan ng aking mga aklat.

Annotation 1: Solacito’s “Pader”

Solacito [1] uses the structure and language of pre-Timeline Facebook to tell her story in reverse. A lover lays bare her feelings to an unresponsive beloved through posts that are, in turns, crazed, hostile, and pining.

We find at least four ephemera. Most glaring is the mortality of the lover. We begin (in the first two pages) and end (in terms of chronology) with word of Karla Fajardo’s death. Next, the gender of the beloved, Bianca Mendoza, whose change of partner signaled her shift away from being a lesbian. As had been posted on her wall: “Condolence dude... err dudette na pala! XD pero condolence talaga.”

Third, language itself, in particular the J3j3mon register. Consider by AnA GaRciA’s defense of Bianca—“Hey! wG kUnG anO2x iNiiCp hA!!!?! d qAh mY kZalANan”—posted on Christmas day.

Fourth, the platform. While it seems Facebook won’t go the way of Friendster or Multiply in the immediate future, the end remains a possibility. To prevent its death, FB has to be very responsive to its market and must provide timely corporate changes in as non-disruptive a manner as possible. Its change to the Timeline signals the end of the FB Wall [2], the format that provides both title and narrative structure to this story.

[1] Solacito, Riena Marie L. “Pader.” In Ang Pagtatapos. Unpublished thesis. March 2012: 33-45.
[2] Timeline of Facebook. Wikipedia. Accessed 20 Dec 2014.

Dis 18, 2014

Magpatulog kayo

Iisa-isahin ang mga bahay na ito.
Balot sa tela ang kapiling nating gitara. Tao po,

makikihingi lang ng tawad. 
Matining din ang boses ng aking kasama.

Subalit mainit ang kanilang pagtanggap
at walang pag-aatubili kung magbitaw ng tseke.

Pakindat-kindat / kindat ang gabi,
at maselan; pirmi nang malamig ang barnis.

Parang awa.

Mapagtitimpi ang mga daliri sa kuwerdas.
Bahagyang sumisipol ang kulob na hangin.

Dis 17, 2014

Ikalabing-apat na sipi mula sa “Tugon sa Lubos na Kapita-pitagang Sor Filotea”

ni Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
aking salin

Naaalala ko ang mga araw na iyon, na kahit husto naman ang gana ko sa pagkain, akma para sa isang bata sa ganoong edad, tinigilan ko ang pagkain ng keso dahil narinig kong nakakabobo raw ito. Para sa akin, higit na malakas ang kagustuhang makaalam kaysa gana sa pagkain, malakas man ang ganang iyon sa mga bata. Paglaon, noong ako'y mga anim o pitong taong gulang na, noong alam ko na kung paano magsulat at magbasa pati kung paano tapusin ang mga gawaing-bahay at panunulsi na inaaral ng mga kababaihan, narinig kong may pamantasan sa lungsod ng Mexico, at marami pang ibang paaralan, kung saan maraming kursong maaaring matutunan. Agad kong kinulit nang kinulit ang aking ina at lubos na nagmakaawa upang bihisan ako bilang lalaki at ipadala sa lungsod ng Mexico, sa bahay ng ilang kamag-anak niya roon, upang mag-aral at kumuha ng mga kurso sa pamantasan. Hindi niya nagustuhan ang planong ito, at mabuti na nga rin. Gayumpaman, pinunuan ko ang pagnanasa sa kaalaman sa pamamagitan ng pagbabasa ng marami at sari-saring mga aklat ng aking lolo, at hindi ako napigilan ng kahit ano pang paninisi o pagpaparusa. Kaya naman noong nakarating ako sa lungsod ng Mexico, namangha ang mga tao hindi pa nga sa aking kakayahan kundi sa aking mga nakabisa, sa dami ng kaalamang aking naisapuso sa edad na mukhang wala pa nga akong sapat na panahon upang matutunan kung paano magsalita.

Sinimulan kong aralin ang Latin at, sa pagkakatanda ko, nakakuha ako ng hindi hihigit sa dalawampung liksyon. Kay tindi ng aking alagata na kahit pa napakahalaga para sa kababaihan, lalo sa mga namumulaklak na dalagita, ang likas na palamuti ng kanilang buhok, ginugupit ko ang akin ng mga apat hanggang anim na pulgada, sinusukat ang dati nitong haba at ipinasasailalim ang aking sarili sa ganitong paghihigpit, na kung hindi pa ako natututo nang sapat na kaalaman at humaba nang muli ang aking buhok, kailangan ko itong putulin agad bilang parusa sa aking katangahan. Nangyari namang tumubo na ulit ang buhok nang hindi ko naaabot ang aking itinakdang antas ng kaalaman, at dahil mabilis humaba ang aking buhok samantalang kay bagal kong matuto, lagi't lagi ko itong ginugupit dahil sa aking katangahan. Mukha kasing hindi katanggap-tangap na naapaganda ng buhok ang isang ulong wala naman talagang karunungan, ang tunay na kaiga-igayang gayak.

Dis 11, 2014

Museong Pambata

“Days of Going Nowhere,” “Foreparents,” “Portrait, After 31 Years” “The Grandfather Lullaby”
Mabini Review [pdf] 

“Maaliwalas sa Museong Pambata”
Philippine PEN Journal: Healing [pdf] 

“Pocket Fairies” 
Plural Issue Two [pdf] [epub] [mobi]

though accents Were

such defense. A We
the silence there
touch, comeliness, Placed on
their morning. surrounded:
though their soon meet days
what smiles,

try Placed Means invented A
Joining neighbor, Such
world of To
to love, own
performance. amazing: which seem
emerges something; trees speech light,
reticence there
filled us

Dis 10, 2014


I will not laugh at jokes during class. I will not laugh at jokes during class. Took the eldest almost an hour at the page because her grandmother (my side) insisted on flitting about with clothes and questions, distracting a lesson about not distracting lessons. As a fountain of mercy for us. Letter B, letter B, letter B, O letter B. Speaking with my father’s voice to preserve the moment, eliciting my mother’s bitter apology or maybe not, no way to be sure, for oblivion makes a long song towing sound, way ugly for so studious a thief of how many little snacks. Finding your shoulder more admirable the colder it gets, speaking on behalf of December. On the occasion of finding us here, not valid as a Scrabble word in “A Filipino eating a potato.” What more can be thought of palms rolling no bread? I trust in you.

Dis 8, 2014


              They were married here, and you?
 many things about me, but I think the main thing is that.
We speak to this

  a very hilarious and good-natured woman. My name is.
     “Peace, Be Still.”

 gorgeous eyes,

my smile will not leave you indifferent.
 “Though the oceans rise

 I am tired of loneliness and I want to have.

Dis 6, 2014


Bakit tumutulo na lamang ang dugo mula sa ilong
na hindi man lamang naaamoy? Nararamdaman na lang ng balat
tungo sa labi na gumagapang ang hindi dapat nangyayari

Na sige, yayariin na ang lahat maliban sa humarap
sa tao. May mga tao man o wala na matatag pa sa bahay

Sa loob ng 200 metro kung saan bawal ang bahay.
Taghangin daw pero bakit mainit at bakit pinagsusundot
ng pula? At kung tulad nila Mila, kung nasa interes natin

Ang magsasagot ng mga tanong sa silid
bakit hinayaang maging ganap ang hugis
ng mikrobyo sa tubig-aralan? Batid kong pulido kang magtrabaho

Sa mahahabang antas ng salagimsim, at
na simula pa lamang ito ng mapagbunga nating pag-uusap, pero
masdan paulit-ulit—at bantayan

Kung nagaan o hindi—
ang pinapansin muli’t muli

Halimbawa na ang ganitong pagtitig sa nakagisnan mo
nang hindi na umaasa pang mawarian ang balakang ng iyong sipat
(pinag-aralan mo iyan, pinag-aralan tas kinalimutan

Kumbinyente kung kumbinyente) o, paano
pinagwawalis na ako ni misis habang nananatili sa salas

Ang iyong balakubak. Buti ka pa, nakaranas ka na ng niyebe.
Kailangan ko pang umarkila ng sasakyan
pa-Maynila, pa-karnabal

Kung saan magsusumuot sa tsaketa
at pipikit kapag walang nakatingin, at mahigpit na yayapos sa sarili.

Dis 5, 2014

Done having alone inspected your things

They keep wanting a single slab for a stage and are entirely in the right to kid themselves. To say mother had been gardening, that her shoulders will shape an ache tonight between them, is also journalists under the grass blades of my Mindanao among which the breeze sings the afternoon. Every so often. To say I have read Agamemnon’s reviewer reviewed in translation twice in a sitting without ever having to find the courage to watch the (suggested) killing foreordains how I shall pour tea on your cornflakes by mistake. What manner of school am I paying for, what refuses to teach you gratitude in prayer form, the mere fact that we raised you in a house where corn enters in flake form, that the bowl admits no hair except yaya’s, now, say your goodbyes. Who “would live on into old age) had been ruptured,” a whip coming for me to pull an area of responsibility together. To know you is to be loved by you as to love you is to forget, gingerly, what else you need become. Fingers gnarled for this arroz caldo. The box-type won’t start, dad, only out of a hope that it, would, never, end. Insist on drawing my breath from the bubble of your throat.

Dis 4, 2014

Typhoon under the bridge

the bamboo rows rickety, us arranging
for a bath and the text of ash on the skin between fingers.

Ash veins before the foam, your mother said
smuggling an ember in, will & testament inert
for tapers to uncover. So smoothly to prick heat

with advanced medical facilities but blocks away, the whites
of plastic alone, some sinewy and others solid, prefabs
a backboard with waivers, practitioners.

Under the star dots she lathered
repellent in swirls, on both your calves. Justice hates that antiseptic

smell bringing her to eels wet in large porcelain. “Not that
hand me rock salt. Rub onto skin, like so. Kindly, put

pressure.” How those kids tell one from the other

what stands for something, or against
with a readiness to hurt you / Dwell, a while longer.

Dis 2, 2014

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

Crusade, conference, corruption. “The role,” as Nin had been recalled, with finality, this morning, “is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” An absentee among the four speakers. To be, and to be two days of Mabini overhead, Sy underfoot, flakes of rust and the enamel triskele under underfoot. Crisp and folded, this non-letter nudged into view. A wife sick and in need of tending, hear ye. She sells “seizures by the seashore,” but among Our Patrons/Partners—the one projected onscreen yet not handed out in print—we have, Mr. Cesar Virata/RCBC. These three strong dancers, could they possibly build together, each lighter than a robust beard? Room saturated by this humility held in, in giggles?

Endlessly Rocking

disturbing them
absorbing, translating.

great Sun
two together.

the next
appear’d again.

Paumanok’s shore
to me.

slapping waves
causing tears.

the notes
my brother.

one close
not me.

rose late
with love.

the land
—with love.

the breakers
the white?

the sea
despairing carols.

to listen
to me.

to you
for you.

the spray
of leaves.

murmur on
not why.

almost touching
atmosphere dallying,

secret hissing
of love.

men’s phantoms!

wet sands?

my feet
whisper’d me.