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Each person has a song
That plays in life's turntable
Together in the album of humankind
Rock songs, folk melodies,
electronic experiments, ballads, lullabies
Like the Beatles' White album
A wild mix of tracks
That don't seem to fit together
But sounds perfect as it is
What do these songs have?
They have melodies that burn the heart
And rhythms that scar the body
Not everyone wanted to write the song
It just bled out of them
From lacerations of what they've seen and experienced
Each song is unique to each one
There is one main writer
Yet the credits is shared by all
Nobody wants to talk about their song
They just let it play and play and play
Hoping that someone listens

Theodora's song is a modern one
Somewhere between pop song and dark ambient
Lonely guitars, an upbeat drum machine, and scathing synth pads
She keeps it like a pearl inside her head
Growing wilder, more elegant, more painful
The lyrics are found somewhere in these pages
She tries not to think about it
Yet the melody screams through her body
She doesn't want it in the album
But she has no choice
So she writes something else
Something stranger, more dignified, much higher
With string sections and choir voices
With what she believes are the right lyrics
And this she shows to other people
Hoping that this is the one that sticks



Reader, I plead. Listen to the song of your neighbor
And if you are able, share as well your song, your fable
When I heard your jazz improvisation
I craved the taste of a fine confection
Your synths were the flame that roasted my heart
Drunk with the notes, your sweet wine collection
Inspired by Medieval Persian poetry
May sanggol na buhat-buhat ng isang babae
Naka teletubbies na T shirt
Maikli ang buhok, maputi ang mukha
Mataba ang mga braso

Ang dalawang anyo ay nakaupo
Sa isang silid
Nakangiti ang babae
Ang sanggol ay nakatingin sa kawalan
Buka ang bibig ngunit
Walang boses na lumalabas

Ano ang kanilang patutunguhan?
Alam ko kung saan.

Ano ang kanilang mga kasalanan?
Alam ko kung ano.

Ano ang kanilang mga pangalan?
Alam ko kung ano.

May masamang pakiramdam
Sa aking dibdib
Sa pagitan ng mga nangyari
At maaring mangyari
Hindi ko maalis ang aking tingin
Kahit na ako'y nasasaktan
Kahit na gusto kong mawala

Inosenteng bata
Inosenteng bata
Ano nangyari sa iyong pagka-inosente?
Bakit ka lumaki?
Bakit ka nagkasala?
Bakit mo iniwan ang iyong panginoon?
Bakit hindi ka pa magpatiwakal?

Bata, madami kang pagdadaanan
Naaawa ako sa iyo
Mabuti at nakayanan mo
Ngumiti ka, umiyak ka
Ligtas ka dito
Hindi kita pababayaan
Naaawa ako sa iyo

Itinago ko ang letrato
Masyado nang ginugulo ang aking isipan
Theodora, wala kang kasalanan.
Theodora, wala kang kasalanan.
I wanted to be an iceberg
Floating over the mass of water
Hard and cold
A battleground for polar bears and seals
Shining, reflecting the sun
Located in the ends of the earth

Wanting, wary, wintry

And after all of my efforts
The thinking and scheming
All I got was pain
All I received was rejection

Now all I ask is to dissolve
To become one with the water

Warm, waving, wild

A home for precious fishes
Where seals and polar bears swim

To disappear in the ocean
To be the ocean
Spread across the Earth
To be ****** in by clouds
And bring rain to the forests

And after all my efforts
The motions and the serving
Hoping that I find peace
And deep acceptance
We were in the cemetery
Afternoon of June 29
It was his birthday
Another birthday without the celebrant

Mother placed yellow candles over him
And sunflowers over the grass
His favorite color

40 years of life
8 years gone
Or 8 years in another world
If you believe in that stuff

I walked around
And saw others' resting grounds
Some dead before I was even born
Others dead at the prime of childhood
Simple tombstones, mausoleums, caskets

A burial was taking place on the other street
Mourners dressed in dark shades
A priest, the only one in white

I was wearing white
My mother was wearing violet

After the niceties and the prayers
We had a little picnic
Chicken Adobo
Mom tries her best
But can't replicate the flavour of his

I reminisce of my days of innocence
In the green gate of the school
When he picks me up
The gray sand of Baler
Where he grew up
The brown hills of bohol
My first plane ride

I was now 8 years in disbelief
8 years in trouble
8 years in agony

The salt of the meal moves me to tears
Imperfect replicas of perfect memories
But I can't let myself cry

I remembered suddenly the night before
In a quick glance
I thought I saw his face in the mirror
But it was just my tired face
I was listening to "Bato sa Buhangin" by Cinderella

On the drive home
I listened to the same song
It was his favourite
He could play the melody with a guitar
Something I've been practicing for a while now
But fail to do

At home
On the bed before I sleep
It finally erupts
And I say to myself
"Father, why did you leave us!"
At kumawala ako sa panahon
Ako
Hawak ang camera
Pagkatapos kunan ng letrato
Ang pamilya
Sa lumang bahay
Na unti unting ginigiba
Nang mga elemento

Sino ba ako?
Sino itong mga kasama ko?

Nasa dulong kanan
Ang aking tinatawag na Ina
Naka puting T shirt
At itim na pantalon
Malaki Ang ngiti
Pero tila may tinatago
Sa likod ng mga mata

Nasa dulong kaliwa
Ang aking tinatawag na Tito
Bitbit ang kanyang Dachshund
Ang anak ay
Hindi imbitado sa handa
Yumaman sa pagtatrabaho
Sa Estados Unidos

Sa Gitna
Ang aking tinatawag na Lola
Hindi na ngumiti
Ubos na ang mga araw
Kung saan siya'y napapangiti
May sugat na hindi na gumagaling
Dahil sa Diabetes

Nakapaligid Ang iba
Mga pinsan, Tito at Tita
Makukulay ang suot
Maiingay at matatakaw
Bata at matanda

Lahat ng ito
Kasama ako
Nanggaling sa iisang matris
Mula bata hanggang pagtanda
Nakipagsalamuha, naglaruan, naglakihan, nagmahalan, nag awayan...
Ito kami
Ito ako

Ano ang ibig sabihin nitong lahat?

Nakatitig ako sa letrato
Habang natunaw ang madla
Maya't maya ay uuwi na
Sa kani-kanilang tahanan
Iisa ang pinanggalingan
Saan ang patutunguhan?

Sino ba ako?
Sino itong mga nasa letrato?

Ako ay may ina
Ang aking ina ay may ina rin
At ang ina ay may ina rin
At ang ina ng ina ay may ina rin
At ang ina ng ina...

Katabi ng aking Tito
Ang panganay na pinsan
Muntik nang mamatay sa dengue
Noong kabataan
Naghahanap na ng trabaho
Naghahanap na rin ng girlfriend

Bawat isa ay may pangarap
May iba't ibang Diyos
May iba't ibang lengguwahe

Ako
Ang tagakuha ng letrato
Sino ba ako?
Miyembro ng isang pamilya
Estudyante, kapatid, anak, pinsan, pamangkin, kaklase, kalahi
Tagasulat ng tula na ito
Tagakuwento ng mga nakalimutan at  makakalimutan
Tagapagmahal ng mga taong pwedeng mahalin
Minsan ay katahimikan ang sagot
Sa kamatayan
Sa pagkakasakit
Sa away pamilya

Magtimpi
Subukan **** maging gabi
Puno ng ilaw ng buwan
Puno ng lumbay ng kuliglig

Gagawa Ang Diyos ng paraan
At Ang gabi ay magiging bagong umaga
Sinasayawan ng bulaklak ng buhay
Binubuhay Ang matatabang gulay

Maghintay lang ng sandali
At maibubukas mo rin ang iyong bibig
At aagos mula sa iyong looban
Kung ano ang dapat sabihin

Kung ano ang tamang sabihin
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