CategoryEastern and Southern Mindanao



Had she asked me about the final touch, I wouldTeach her how wires need not be tangled.Only festooned with tapes. Only by calmed hands.Gently, like her habitual kamote-planting.The Afghan had cautioned, strongly,About setting the thing off, I told her. SheHad known the initial steps, one by one, taughtOver nightly musings, and about killingAnd living. How can the mind forgetFueled by the heat of...

Makatingala ngaa Kapayas


Makatilingala ngaa kapayas ang imo nadumduman sadto nga kahigayonan: nagaagay ang duga sang sanga nga gin-utdan sang dahon kag buli bag-o ginsawsaw sa ginkutaw nga habon. Gintayhopan dayon agod amat-amat magdako ang ginabuhat nga bula, nga amat-amat buy-an kag palupukon. Nagpabilin lamang ang kapait sa laway. Ikaw, subong, ginaatubang ang tanom nga balunggay, indi gid kasubong. Gintulukan mo ini...

Duha ka beses ka ginsulalom


Duha ka beses ka ginsulalom, imo nadumduman. Sang una, ginpahigda ang imo butoy-butoy, habol ang kahapdos sa init kag kakatol sa hangin, kon may ara—indi bala amo sina pirme sa Dadiangas? Kon bugtaw, imo madumduman nga nagaduyan sa idalom sang mga iras sa mga kahoy kag nagakamang ang laway sa mga piod sa liog. Sang kadugayan, nag-agas ang mga butoy, gindala sa hangin—ang pagtuo sang katigulangan...

Ode to a Martyr


Your wounded bodyFits the old mattress.Your death corrupts time.Still is the hut, whileFighters stifle cries.In the forest, warGoes on, and the sunDries the wet puddles.Paradise awaits youNow. The peaceYou died for remainsA hopeful promise.Now we both returnBut part ways. I go backTo the forest. You, to Him.

Bullet Holes


The child’s eye peeks into the holesOne to anotherOf the masjid’s walls, innocentOf the terror of old nights,Of wounds and laments. The holes won’t showThe burning trees,No longer the lifeless scree.The smoke invisible,The spilled blood dries. Only the swaying leavesDew from yesterday’s rainFlash before his eyes. He seesAnd hears the river revived. As he glancesThrough the eyehole once more,He...



How are the sunsetsOf the old mujahid?Melancholy overThe dormant, rusted boloThe sole unyoung rifleSpangled with scarsFrom trenches forgottenGnaws at his bonesThe growing dark.When will the sunset everSlip out without notice? The last rays through curtainHoles before himStays his solitude.His dead war comradesMarch in single file.He hears bombsFlight of bulletsSmell of earthDamp grass again. But...

Children of Homeland


I. In their bamboo huts, where bulletsCould trace them, they tried to hideBehind their mothers’ bodies as ifThey could be infants in wombs again. Their mothers’ pleas the only shield,“Tama na! Mga sibilyan lang mi!”But foes remained unmindful—the earsDid not hear what the hearts refused to see. Like dominoes standing, the mothers fell.Blood ran to the edges of bamboo floorsBefore they even hit...

Dream of Unity


to Mufti Ismail Menk When grenades rumbled in Lanao forests,I thought the dream would remain a dreamIn slumbers during nights of sweat and pain.The nights when more eyes were rather awake,Peeking at open windows, than asleep and calm. Now those eyes are fixed onto you, sparklingLike dew over leaves when the sun rises.I am the eagle observing everything. In this place where a Maranao sits with a...



Sa akong yutang natawhan sa lungsod sa Matanao, adunay usa ka sityo nga ginganlag Kasiawa. Sa Kasiawa ako nagdako ug nakabaton og buot. Malipayon ang akong pagkabata kay luyo sa mga dagkong balay, adunay drier o bularanan sa mga humay, kopras, ug mais. Kung way nakabulad sa driermapuno kini og mga bata nga di maluyag dagan-dagan. Ang among mga inahan na lang ang maugtas og binadlong. Wa gyoy...

Kasiawa (translation)


Translated from Cebuano by John Bengan Original work In my hometown Matanao, there was a village they called Kasiawa. I grew up and came of age in Kasiawa. My childhood was a happy one since beyond the large houses, there was a “drier”—an area where they spread grains of rice, coconut meat, and corn out to dry. When there was nothing on the drier, the place would be filled with children, who...