Four poems by Patria Rivera

Sagada mountains Green is the color of mourning: a young woman brushing her hair, posed on a stool on top of the wood table in an old house in Sagada mountains. I cannot see her face, she’s swung her head back. I will forever imagine how her face must have looked up close, what stories […]

Four poems from “Poems for the Dead”

by Arvin Mangohig   1. Love in the Time of Martial Law I want you to save me and be gentle, our feet Bleeding with ink from the newspapers they have shut down, Our clothes tattered because our mothers must leave. Offshore, our feet rot on black sand they will steal from us. I want […]

A Crooked Poem

  Forget about the shotgun, Your father’s gone. Kid, let’s have some fun. I’ll give you a dime to make your father’s erring words rhyme and wee-bits of vitamin pills to hasten the archaic flow of your enzyme. Gladly, fasten yourself to the wooden bed. When he comes back he’ll try to budge you from […]

New Year Elegy

10.   In some cultures, clocks are stopped when there’s a death in the family.   My wristwatch insists on ticking.     9.   How to write an elegy, at the top of the page. Consider whom to address— the deceased or the bereaved— what verb tense to use, whether you can immerse yourself […]

At the Travel Agency, I Find

myself parceling thoughts into paragraphs to be mailed, as if he had already left. One: after three flights of stairs, how could he have guessed which was the right room, there being no sign on the door? Two: his sense of direction has nothing to do with the compass- shaped lighter in his pocket, yet […]

At First Sight

“She was coaxing her 2-year-old twin sons to look at one another because, finally, they can….Carl and Clarence had been joined at the top of their heads until they were separated last week in a 17-hour operation.” —Philippine Daily Inquirer Like you, I wake up hungry for good news with my coffee. (This for the […]


My friend shows me his diagram, the aftermath of an incident that had occurred this morning, minutes before he chanced upon the scene. These rectangles are blockades police set up. Past them, a point where a man cradled a boy with bloody legs. This square is the taxi with its driver’s door smashed. Between the […]


“We shall be known by the delicacy of where we stop short.” —Robert Frost Forgive me if I haven’t been honest enough. The proof’s in the poems, those corner cobwebs snapping under the shifting of my mind, my tongue. They will not bear the weight of some truths, dark and lovely. Could I have led […]

Passover Days

by Jose Marte Abueg   And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near …’” – Matthew 26:18 I. When Grandmother said, I cannot hear the twilight anymore, Father thought to move her to the large upper room. Wide walls, two small […]

The man carrying a jar

by Jose Marte Abueg   And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the householder, `The Teacher says….’” – Mark 14:13-14 The wells look alike around Jerusalem , it […]