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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I am One of the Mountain People (Macario D. Tiu)

I did not want to go to Santa Barbara, but Ita Magdum forced me to go there. He wanted me to have a Christian education. He told me that he was not going to let me remain idle in the mountains, and consequently become as stupid as ignorant as the rest of his people. He said that I could learn many things from the Christian and in that way I could help improve the lot of the whole tribe.

I was then seven summers old and I didn’t understand what he was talking about. Although he made the prospect of going there very tempting, I refuse to go. Not even the trace of the three-storey school building, of running houses and plenty of food and toys convinced me that I should leave my home and my friends for Santa Barbara. And so Ita had to beat me to make me go with him to the Christian town.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Dog Eaters ( Leoncio P. Deriada)

Mariana looked out of the window toward the other side of Artiaga Street. A group of men had gathered around a low table in front of Sergio's sari-sari store. It was ten o'clock, Tuesday morning. Yet these men did not find it too early to drink, and worse. They wanted her husband to be with them. Victor was now reaching for his shirt hooked on the wall between Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos. Mariana turned to him, her eyes wild in repulsion and anger.
"Those filthy men!" she snarled. "Whose dog did they slaughter today?"
Victor did not answer. He put on his shirt. Presently, he crawled on the floor and searched for his slippers under the table. Mariana watched him strain his body toward the wall, among the rattan tools. He looked like a dog tracking the smell hidden carrion.
"My God, Victor, do you have to join them every time they stew somebody's pet?"
Victor found his slippers. He emerged from under the table, smoothed his pants and unbutton his shirt. He was sweating. He looked at his wife and smiled faintly, the expression sarcastic, and in an attempt to be funny, "it's barbecue today."
"I'm not in the mood for jokes!" Mariana raised her voice. "It's time you stop going with those good-for-nothing scavengers."

Querida (Angela Manalang Gloria)

The door is closed, the curtains drawn within
One room, a brilliant question mark of light...
Outside her gate an empty limousine
Waits in the brimming emptiness of night.
Old Maid Walking on a City Street* (1950)

She had a way of walking through concupiscence
And past the graces her fingers never twirled:
Because her mind refused the heavy burden,
Her broad feet shovelled up the world.

To the Man I Married (Angela Manalang Gloria)

You are my earth and all the earth implies:
The gravity that ballasts me in space,
The air I breathe, the land that stills my cries
For food and shelter against devouring days.
You are the eart whose orbit marks my way
And sets my north and south, my east and west,
You are the final, elemented clay
The driven heart must turn to for its rest.

If in your arms that hold me now so near
I lift my keening thoughts to Helicon
As trees long rooted to the eart uprear
Their quickening leaves and flowers to the sun,
You who are earth, O never doubt that I
Need you no less because I need the sky!

Revolt from Hymen (Angela Manalang Gloria)

O to be free at last, to sleep at last
As infants sleep within the womb of rest!

To stir and stirring find no blackness vast
With passion weighted down upon the breast,

To turn the face this way and that and feel
No kisses festering on it like sores,

To be alone at last, broken the seal
That marks the flesh no better than a whore's!

Change (Angela Manalang Gloria)

I have outgrown them all, and one by one,
These loves I took so mightily to heart
Before you came: the dolls that overran
My childhood hours and taught me fairy art;
The books I ravished by the censored score;
Music that like delirium burned my days;
The golden calf I fashioned to adore
When lately I forsook the golden phrase.

And thus I shall outgrow this love for you.
Sooner or later I shall put away
This jewelled ecstasy for something new.
Brand me not fickle on that fatal day:
Bereft of change that is my drink and bread,
I would not love you now. I would be dead.

Monday, April 4, 2011

May Day Eve (Nick Joaquin)

The old people had ordered that the dancing should stop at ten o’clock but it was almost midnight before the carriages came filing up the departing guests, while the girls who were staying were promptly herded upstairs to the bedrooms, the young men gathering around to wish them a good night and lamenting their ascent with mock signs and moaning, proclaiming themselves disconsolate but straightway going off to finish the punch and the brandy though they were quite drunk already and simply bursting with wild spirits, merriment, arrogance and audacity, for they were young bucks newly arrived from Europe; the ball had been in their honor; and they had waltzed and polka-ed and bragged and swaggered and flirted all night and where in no mood to sleep yet--no, caramba, not on this moist tropic eve! not on this mystic May eve! --with the night still young and so seductive that it was madness not to go out, not to go forth---and serenade the neighbors! cried one; and swim in the Pasid! cried another; and gather fireflies! cried a third—whereupon there arose a great clamor for coats and capes, for hats and canes, and they were a couple of street-lamps flickered and a last carriage rattled away upon the cobbles while the blind black houses muttered hush-hush, their tile roofs looming like sinister chessboards against a wile sky murky with clouds, save where an evil young moon prowled about in a corner or where a murderous wind whirled, whistling and whining, smelling now of the sea and now of the summer orchards and wafting unbearable childhood fragrances or ripe guavas to the young men trooping so uproariously down the street that the girls who were desiring upstairs in the bedrooms catered screaming to the windows, crowded giggling at the windows, but were soon sighing amorously over those young men bawling below; over those wicked young men and their handsome apparel, their proud flashing eyes, and their elegant mustaches so black and vivid in the moonlight that the girls were quite ravished with love, and began crying to one another how carefree were men but how awful to be a girl and what a horrid, horrid world it was, till old Anastasia plucked them off by the ear or the pigtail and chases them off to bed---while from up the street came the clackety-clack of the watchman’s boots on the cobble and the clang-clang of his lantern against his knee, and the mighty roll of his great voice booming through the night, "Guardia serno-o-o! A las doce han dado-o-o.