Autumn crusade

It’s been a while. But I’d like to share this piece I especially wrote for Pluma’s third year anniversary (September 14). Visit Pluma’s official website and blog for more features.

If only the burning of bridges
remains an idiot’s idiom
and we could still dream of flowerbeds

and never hear gunshots
of freedom from a remote uproar

lay the sword to rest –
what powers does it hold under a child’s gaze?
even time halts for mourning
when the sharp edges of tyranny
dug deep down their tiny bellies

Telling them
Told me

why must we smell the flowers?
read people with dead shot eyes

after a while

the trees shall whisper
some so-called heroes’ anthem
who spoiled the soil that fed them

while our ruins
are traded for inorganic memories

or so history went
and thought free verse rhymes
or weaves a synopsis of the future

but we refuse to breathe
the putrid lies
our masked men feed
a gold miner’s poverty

we tread
alongside fragile footsteps.

-Armineonila M., 2016

Mini musing: The pen is mighty until its ink had dried out.

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A selfie of an artist amid a day job, an e-store, and bots

I’m sharing here my recent blog entry at Lines of Lila. Nothing much, just something I thought I’d write to critic and contradict myself. And yes, it’s about the self, hence, the title “selfie”. I hope you enjoy reading it.

(An excerpt from A selfie of an artist amid a day job, an e-store, bots, and trolls)

And a blog, too! I cringe at the thought of having to balance between life as I know it and life as I imagined it to be. But there’s barely a thin line between imagination and reality. Oftentimes, you jolt out of your reveries from a dog’s bark to find your actual place in this world. Well, frequently at this time and age, you locate yourself with a little help from Google map.

Selfie with a day job

I am aware that there are artists who keep their “day jobs” as visual artists, which is admirable, hence, as some would say, I’d fall under the category of a Sunday artist. Only problem is, I barely have a concept of days. My week comprised of a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Yesterday, and Today. While on my “day job”, I’d daydream my way into believing that all the task I do is for the betterhood of art. Henceforth, the betterhood of the whole wide world. I’d weave around this mental cult without disbelief. I’d strive to reach the pinnacle of creativity, as a copywriter a la social media trumpet and a lot more. I’d suck art’s soul to its last breath. But a little empathy would grab me from the neck with a reprimand: “Leave the last breath for tomorrow. The rice is now boiling”.

Balancing the life of an artist and an employee, I’d realize at first that in my case, there’s really not much of a borderline…continue reading.

Waiting for a good home. Bed bugs.

Waiting for a good home. Bed bugs.


Speak wide. Mouth of a tunnel.
Brush shoulders like we’re comrades.
Beat the beats of cult fiction.
Believe friendship is a staple.

It’s a dirt we share.

Ever barefooted the huddles of the city?
Our eyes both swallowed the disease.
“Life is a currency, yes?” Experts say.
“Agony is business.” Ibid.

Let’s talk culture and drink beer.

VIPs don’t buy words. Not from copper pages.
A brown woman is a brown woman.
A black woman is a black woman.
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

It’s a rhetoric they teach.

And yet, we brush shoulders. Anisometric.
Like when we’re tots. You are winter. I am summer.
Eyes fixed on one TV screen – Big Bird groupies.
Fastforward to adulthood – export materials.

A stock market ice cream cart.

Give me a tree to trust. A forest.
Who knows who’s on top of the food chain.
Words are taxed with blood. Or enjambment.
Our silence is their weapon, anyway.

Or maybe just encode another poem.

On bed bugs.


Armineonila M. 2015

Mga sangkap ng langis

Mga Sangkap ng Langis (Ped Xing, KM Writers)

Mga sangkap ng langis

ni Armineonila M.

 

Mga sahog sa pagluto:

Isang ginagad na diploma

Walong sakong ari-arian

Pitong tasang tinimping luha

Tatlong basong pangarap (dinikdik)

Limang pirasong dignidad (tinadtad)

Sampung kilong pawis (sinala)

Isang kurot ng pagkutya

 

Mga hakbang sa paggawa:

 

Tunawin ang galon-galong

kaluluwang nagsakripisyo

para sa pamilya’t bayan,

kaluluwang ikinahon

ng globalisasyon

at nanlilisik na pangil

ng kapitalismo

sa kawaling disyerto;

 

Tustahin ang dating musmos

na hele ng Nanay at Tatay

na nagsibak pa ng panggatong

pangmatrikulang niluto

sa palasyong de-kalawang;

 

Tunawin, haluin, kayurin

hanggang sa lumapot

ang ‘di makatarungan,

ang pag-aalipusta

upang maitayo ang gusali

na’ng siyang hugis ay ganid;

 

Timplahin, lunurin

ang pangakong hindi na

lalayag pa at tatatakan

ang pagkatao ng alyas,

yaong tunog “bayani”

upang hindi malasap

ang pag-alingasaw

ng amoy pang-aalipin;

 

Paulit-ulit na timplahin,

haluin ng kalyuhing palad

ang pagkauhaw ng iba

sa likidong-yaman at parangal

kahit salat sa bayad

na ginhawang pasalubong;

 

Sundin ang patakarang ito

nang walang pag-alma

o pagkuwestiyon man lang,

bente-kwatro oras.

 

 ~o~



Translation:

The Recipe for Oil 
by Armineonila M.

The ingredients:

1 forged diploma
8 sacks of property
7 cups of whimper
3 glasses of ambition (chopped)
5 pcs. Of dignity (shredded)
10 kilos of sweat (filtered)
A pinch of nepotism

The procedure:

Slowly melt a gallon of sacrificed souls
Of family and country
Souls inside the box
Of globalisation
And the piercing fangs
Of capitalism
In the desert pan.

Cook until brownish
The infantile lullaby
Of Mama and Papa
Who chopped a forest
Of tuition fees from
The palace of rust.

Melt, stir, scrape
Until condensed
The unjust, the vilification
Built in a fortress
Of which shape is greed.

Mix and drown
The promise of immobility
That’s impressed in the self
An alias that sounds like “hero”
To cover up the stench
Of subjugation.

Mix over and again
With calloused palm
The thirst of the other
On liquefied riches and recognition
Even by poor earnings
That take home a dream.

Simply follow these steps
Without objection
Nary a question 
24 hours a day.

________________
*The original text in Filipino first appeared in the chapbook published by KM64 (Kilometers 64 Writers Collective) titled Ped Xing: Tula’y Tawiran (First Issue: Labourers), ed. Stum Casia. May 2014, pp. 23-24, Philippines. 

Pluma’s chapbook available online

No Return Address: A collection of poems

Pluma would like to reach out to readers across the globe and share with them this wonderful undertaking of making ends meet. After a long wait, Pluma’s first collection of poems, No Return Address, is finally out in the global market and ready to inform people from all walks of life of the shared experiences of migrants in their journeys.

No Return Address is a fine way to initiate a dialogue wherein people of different cultural orientations may one day find a common ground.

Grab a copy of No Return Address: A collection of poems from Lulu and share reading moments with families and friends.

(Source: Pluma Migrant Writers Guild)

~o~

Migration Poetry II

Migration Poetry II

Katugma

 

Sinadya ng isipang

hagilapin ka

dito sa pahina

ng alaala’t

nagbabakasakaling

masilip man lamang

ang pabaon mong hagikhik

na binuhay ng pasalubong

kong robot,

habang kalung-kalong

ang munti mong anyo,

paang pumapadyak

sa bagong istroler

na tanging palamuti’y

malaya mong sigla.

Dito tayo nagtagpo – sa pahina –

sa tuwing sinusuyo

ng isip

ang mukha mong anghel

at kumakaway

na liwanag

ng iyong mga mata;

biyayang langit, ikaw,

ang kahulugan

ng aking paglalakbay;

at dahil dito

sa pahina

muli kang nahagkan,

sabay na hihimayin

ang ating pangarap.

Matulin mong padyak, anak,

ang katugma nitong hakbang

na iyong tinatahak.

 ~ 0 ~

This pen is heart

i followed your footsteps,

your discourse fills my pen,

my smiles and cries

run threaded lines,

no literary fashion

shall bequeath this passion,

shall instruct me to serve you,

no remittance travails you;

this pen must beat,

this pen shall weep,

this pen is heart

(a heart of pen),

the heart, the whim,

a battle penned, a win;

stranger is companion,

in oblivion, and compassion,

though an alien is a soul

it thrives a deeper goal

to love this earth,

through death, or birth;

xenophobia slips unknowingly,

critics be filtered accordingly.

 ~ 0 ~

 Dilig sa lupa

Minsan ay may lupang nalunod

sa dilig ng salbaheng panganod,

pitong dahon na’ng inanod

bumakat ang bahang sumugod.

Minsa’y may lupang dinikdik, dinurog

ng ngitngit nitong armadong hamog

kalbaryong ngayo’y inuuod

sa hardin na ngayo’y puntod.

Minsa’y may kamay na dumukot

sa mga kalul’wang talulot,

hinablot nang walang pahintulot

nilibing sa himlayang bangungot.

Minsa’y nandilim ang langit

at sa lupa’y biglang nagngalit,

hinugasan ng dugo at dalit

ang ngiti ng lipi’y pinunit.

Minsan mga mata’y ipiniring

ng katarungang pinipuwing,

bumulong sa tengang may tabing

sa buwayang bibig nahumaling.

Minsa’y mga damo’y lumuhod,

pagsumamo’y sa bala isinahod,

kandila ay lumuha’t napagod,

nagmitsa sa lupang natutulog.

~ 0 ~

– Armineonila M., “Panulaang Filipino,” Pag-usapan Po Natin Magazine. Kuwait: Kuwait Philippines Cultural Center. October 19, 2011. p. 8

Pluma Featured Poems

Pluma Featured Poems

Desert Song
by Armineonila M.

Oh dune,
what’s your alignment
in this arduous soil?
Do roaring decibels
mount your tongue
in the tune of a death march
to squeeze
unto undying armour of hope?
I eat the eyes that swallow you;
corrupt the minds which comfort you;
to feel how much you have grown
short; as stallions’ scavenged zone.
Only as my heart reached harbour
that you planted scimitars here under
your fertile breath, that’s weaving
some tapestry of arid thoughts.
Must I kill the spirits
that breed these lines,
or feed them again
with vintage spoons?
Still,
furnish me an oasis
of aged moons
or sit me amidst
oriental halls
and potent walls,
stirred by obscure hands
from afar.
Let me move at dwarf’s length
to peer at your window
like you peer at mine;
so together, we watch
winged royalties in the sky;
flapping away imported dust
chewed on modern lips
that taste of strange champaign
which poisons the caverns within.
Oh, dune,
upon my frowning lamp
did I meet your faded ornaments;
but let me caress the hollows of your soul
and dent my mind
into you, for once,
as you rouse deep in my skin,
while I glare at your exotic eye
piercing through
my
ignorance.

Published:

Best Poems Encyclopedia, October 2010.
Pag-usapan Po Natin Magazine, Kuwait Philippines Cultural Center, September 2011, p. 7.

____________

Arguing in the Oilfields Again
by Wilfred Waters

We are arguing in the oilfields again.
Not about oil.
About the environment.
The arguments are not so bad this time.
Some have been cataclysmic.
Their guy and our guy going at it like
One Full Metal Jacket drill instructor trying to train another.

Somehow I’m okay with all the
Trauma though.
I always have this reassurance
In the back of my mind
That it’s good we’re taking this so seriously
It ticks all the boxes,
This project,
For living my life as a civil dissident

Doing environment work
In the second largest oil field in the world
Amongst all the gas flares
The burn pits
Spewing forth their black plumes
A kilometre away
Feels like just the right amount of arrogance and audacity.

Was this same sense of
Satisfaction
In the mind of
The man murdered
Over dinner
On the Wara Project in the south last week?

From Korea,
An engineer,
What liberated the mind of the man who stabbed him
From the rationality rammed into it for years
Making every judgement of his subject
To a rational, objective, evidence based approach?
Was it the incessant,
Sand drenched wind?
The kamikaze traffic so
Wildly unregulated compared to the
Military precision of intersections
Back home?

Did this sense of unreality
Lead him away from the restraints
He confronted in normal argument?
Surely yes he wasn’t the only one who thought of stabbing the other
In a heated moment

How would the man stabbed
Have occupied his dying moments?
With thoughts of disbelief
That an argument over
Food had lead to this?
With thoughts perhaps that
He shouldn’t’ve wished he
Could die today because life
Here anyway was just about impossible?
That the work of 3 that one man,
He
Was forced to do without pay for
Overtime
Was another pile of
Meaninglessness?

Whatever went through the minds
Of these two men needs
To not remain a secret

One stabbed another to
Death in an argument
Over the quality of food

No arguments
Support descent into such
Barbarity
The true barbarity here
Then may have been
The conditions they confronted
And our willingness to ignore its effects.

Published:

TravelPod, December 17, 2013.

***