My Beloved Felipa
The loveliest enigma
in this world is made up only
of these: an impenetrable wild forest,
a pair of lips, a near-impassable sea strait,
and long, wakeless summer heat.
Minamahal Kong Felipa
Ang pinakamagandang misteryo
sa mundong ito ay binubuo lamang
ng mga ito: isang masukal na gubat,
mga labi, isang masikip na dagat,
at isang malalim na tag-init.
My Beloved Francesca
May you forgive my abandonment,
I will need to woo you from a hidden place.
My beloved Francesca, if only you can see
the velvet leaves around me! The golden
buttons! The elderly who are more spritely and agile
than the rivers! Here, I can repair things,
create a pile of firewood
and I know this will result in a few successive
revisions in the afterlife. It will draw the attention
of gods. Someday, it will turn into a long stream
of dreams, silken names of crystals,
an old military school, roads, north star
of vows, fire as repayment for rented
honors. May any of this suffice
so I can return to see you again.
Minamahal Kong Francesca
Mangyaring patawarin mo ang pag-iwan ko sa iyo,
kailangan kitang suyuin mula sa isang itinagong pook.
Minamahal kong Francesca, kung makikita mo lamang
ang mga gula-gulamanan sa paligid ko! Ang mga gintong
pindutan! Ang matatandang mas malakas at mas mabilis
pa sa mga ilog! Dito, maaari akong mag-ayos ng mga bagay,
magsalansan ng mga kahoy na panggatong
at alam kong ito’y magreresulta sa ilang magkakasunod
na pangyayari sa kabilang buhay. Kukuha ito ng atensiyon
sa mga diyos. Balang araw, ito’y magiging isang mahabang daloy
ng mga panaginip, sutlang pangalan ng mga kristal,
isang lumang paaralang militar, kalsada, hilagang bituin
ng mga panata, apoy na pambayad sa mga inutang
na karangalan. At hari-nawa’y maging sapat ang alinman
sa mga ito upang makabalik ako upang muli kitang makita.
My Beloved Teresa
May you acquire new powers
to make up for your inability to evolve new strengths.
I already know how to bring in the night, and I can say
I know now how to heal you should you get poisoned once again
by words. In the event of an attack by the Three Divisions
of Hell, I cannot promise to provide shelter for you
though I have already secured a possible hiding place.
In this hiding place, there are many rooms, bird cages,
two flower pots, one for the orchids and the other as
burial ground for our future pet bird. These days, many are drawn to
martins for their colors copulating. They are covered
with feathers that have seemed to absorb ash, sometimes
stained with orange glass shards. I have also built a temple
in case you decide to worship my own God
ten of all his creations, ten of all his shimmering
fires. When it comes to our sustenance, don’t worry.
There are far more important things to worry about.
Minamahal Kong Teresa
Nawa’y nagkaroon ka na ng mga bagong kapangyarihan
kung hindi ka man natuto ng mga bagong lakas.
Marunong na akong manundo ng gabi at masasabi kong
kaya na kitang pagalingin kung sakaling lasunin kang muli
ng mga salita. Kung sakaling sumalakay ang Tatlong Dibisyon
ng Impiyerno, hindi ko maipangangakong maitatago kita
ngunit naghanap na rin ako ng taguan bilang paghahanda.
Sa taguang ito, maraming silid, may mga hawla ng ibon,
may dalawang paso, isa para sa orkidyas at isa para sa
libingan ng aalagaan nating ibon. Uso ngayon ang mga
martines dahil sa mga kulay nilang tila nagtatalik. Puno
sila ng mga balahibong tila naambunan ng abo, minsa’y
may mantsa ng bubog na kahel. Gumawa rin ako ng templo
kung sakaling magpasya kang sundan ang sarili kong Diyos
sampu ng lahat ng kanyang binhi, sampu ng lahat ng maniningning
niyang apoy. Tungkol sa ating kakainin, huwag kang mabahala.
May mas mahahalaga pang bagay tayong dapat isipin.
My Beloved Hilda
My beloved Hilda, I can say
January is resplendent and that the swallows
have returned to this place to roost. I can say
four scents are carried by those that have decided to settle down
nearby while waiting for their destinies
to be fulfilled. The truth, however, is that it appears
evergreen trees have blanketed the view and nothing is here
except for the dance we think is provocative
but often skidding, stumbling, and stepping out of rhythm.
Minamahal Kong Hilda
Minamahal kong Hilda, maaari kong sabihing
kumikinang ang Enero at nagsisibalikan na
ang mga layang-layang sa pook na ito. Maaari kong sabihing
may apat na halimuyak ang nagpasyang magpahinga
sa paligid hanggang ang hinihintay nilang kapalaran
ay hindi pa napiperpekto. Ngunit ang totoo’y tila dinamitan
ng mga balilang-uwak ang tanaw at walang ibang naririto
kung hindi isang sayaw na sa tingin nami’y mapangahas ngunit kadalasa’y nadudulas, natatapilok, at nawawala sa ritmo.
Marlon Hacla’s first book, May Mga Dumadaang Anghel sa Parang (Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2010), was published as part of UBOD New Authors Series II. His second book, Glossolalia, was published by High Chair in 2013. He also released two chapbooks, Labing-anim na Liham ng Kataksilan (2014) and Melismas (2016). He lives in Quezon City, Philippines, with his cats.
Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of nine books of fiction and poetry, including The Drone Outside (Eibonvale Press, 2017), Black Arcadia (University of the Philippines Press, 2017), Meditations of a Beast (Cornerstone Press, 2016), Butterfly Dream (Snuggly Books, 2016), Age of Blight (Unnamed Press, 2016), and Lifeboat (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2015), as well as translator of Marlon Hacla’s Melismas (forthcoming from Oomph Press) and Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles’s Three Books (forthcoming from Broken Sleep Books), Hollow (forthcoming from Fernwood Press), and Twelve Clay Birds: Selected Poems (forthcoming from De La Salle University Publishing House). Widely anthologized, Muslim’s short stories have appeared in Conjunctions, Dazed Digital, Tin House,and World Literature Today. She grew up and continues to live in a rural town in the Southern Philippines.
Tamar Eckstein was born and raised in Brooklyn. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2020 with a degree in comparative American studies and education. During her time in college, Tamar discovered a deep love for working with clay. She is currently working as an apprentice to Benjamin Maier in Northern Michigan.