Philippines

“Shell Sounds”

I left my love, unknowingly
who sat unseen and silently
where salty waves crashed from the sea,
and swept the earth from under me.
Where once I drew sweet notes on sand
to watch them dissolve to far lands
and wonder if those dreams thought of
would carry to my future love.
When truly he already knew
the same blue skies that graced my view
and loved the shells and stones that paved
the melting shoreline merged with waves,
the cry of birds and distant laughs
of children in the ocean’s splash,
the way the clouds would lazy slide
like easy thoughts buoyed on my mind.
He watched with me, how the blue skies
would tangerine burst into the night
and reveal the infinity
of fire stars and galaxies
While a friend in the background strums
an old guitar to lonely hums
with family surrounding close
each sharing tales with laughs to boast.
And on the fire spit would smoke
the fresh caught mussels from the coast-
We crack them open, juices spill out
with chili sauce into our mouths
before we settle back on shores
to stuff our ears with seashell lores.

I left my love, to only find
him far from any peaceful kind
in a rough land of concrete waste,
an endless race of do and haste.
But when the fires simmer down
and smoke curls over tired towns,
I hear a whisper from the sound
of your heart to my sleepy brow:
The ebb and rush of salty waves,
the laughs of family playing games,
the peaceful place where memories
eternally live with the ocean breeze-
Much like laying my ear against a shell
to hear the home I love, and know so well.

Categories: Creative Writing, love, Memories, Philippines, poems, poetry, prose | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Compilation of Poems and Prose

A blog especially made for all my written short works, poems and snippets of everyday life. Some you may have already read, others might have been buried in the forever growing void of the past. This is their chance to see the light of day once again. So grab a favorite mug full of cocoa, snuggle in the most comfortable corner you’ve got and enjoy!

She

She settled like silence under the shade,
serenely her smile spoke softness that swayed
shadow to sunlight and seasons to shift
sorrow to sweetness so slyly and swift.

Like sirens she’ll sail her song to souls
whose solitaire sighs she subtly has stole
And sincerely sets once sullen hearts
to spirited life, from smoke into spark.

She snakes as a sylph solidly past
scourges of sadness, unscathed, steadfast
Smart as a swallow sweeping through storms
springing to burst forth silver lines strong.

Steady and sweet, strong and sure,
subtle and smart, with sentiment pure
She settled in silence under the shade,
her smile speaking softness that swayed.

The Garden

I cannot say just when it grew, this garden full of vibrant hues
But I will tell you why it breathed, what gave the plants their blooming wreaths.

I think the laughs, the joyful days, brought sunlight where once shadows stayed
And gave the fledgling doves their warmth, and mended wounds were once was hurt.
The steady trees, they listened well, even if wind brought storms to yell,
And wavered not, but gave a home, and strength to those who were alone.
And the lush ferns, like emerald gems, outstretched their leaves like open hands,
And gathered rain without a frown, not letting go nor letting down.
The innocence and honesty, was born from life that came to be:
The fawn that learned to skip and run, the jay that sang its first sweet song.
And wonder rose as each new day, brought stories new to share and say,
As bumbling bee and whispering wind, went through with tales that had no end.

It seemed as if it’d live always, forever going through its days,
Until the laughs stopped passing by, and leaves fell down with withered sigh.
The storms soon came without an end, and molded roots, and drowned its friends.
And weeds ensnared the life that once, had flourished with its endless trust.
The songs had ceased, the doves had gone, and shadows chilled and hid the sun.
And the large trees that once had stood, had fallen into rotten wood.

Sometimes I pass where it had been, the garden who had been my friend,
And missed its songs and shining tales, and all the ways it had prevailed.
But if I listen very close, beyond the rain of its dark ghost,
I hear a beat, a silent creep, of seeds still breathing, growing deep.
And wonder if some day may come, it’ll shine again its radiant sun.

This One I Love

Barely up the sunrise still, far the colored dawn
in the dark, blue and grey, light a lazy yawn
cold and chill this quiet morn’, yet warm I am,
holding close this one I love, softly hand in hand.

When you’ll wake this light I’ll find, rising as the sun,
pushing back the lonely hues, bringing life to run,
and your dreams, so wild and far, I’ll beg to bear,
wanting more this one I love’s, happiness to share.

Walk this graceless world, we’ll search, love of every kind,
beauty of the simplest joys, loneliness behind,
sorrow tempered by the touch, lips to weary brow,
being with this one I love, ev’ry lonely hour.

Love my heart does break to find, pain seeped in your eyes,
would I could I’d risk my peace, bring you the blue skies,
kindle fires for your chill, soothe each deepest pain,
sheltering this one I love, til there’s no more rain.

My faith I have, my word is true, I see in your blue soul,
a sunrise sweet, more beautiful, than any to behold,
til then that day arises, I promise you I’ll be,
staying with you, one I love, always, eternally.

Wordly Escape

To utter a word, to lay nakedly,
the truth of my soul, unequivocally,
sews my lips shut, with thorn and thread,
and renders my thoughts, my secrets dead.

And yet write I can, in comfort of prose,
through guise of a fictional character’s woes,
of suppressed remorse, of choked anger,
of unprofessed love, of thoughtful banter.

So say I naught, but write I will,
my secrets so true, in tales deceitful,
where words of written, speak more than my lips,
so long as my fear, I’ve not yet eclipsed.

Aboard the Montenegro Ferry

Four in the morn’, stars spill
like glitter on dark canvas
high above silver black waves
lapping gently by Balanacan peir.

Montenegro floats like a beast whale
ivory bleach and silver pole,
ribbons of green gold mermaid’s hair
twining her glistening form.

Men and woman, teens and children
line up, purchasing tickets
seating by the open dock
their cups of hot soup
curling steam in the wet salty air.

Montenegro lowers her wide ramp
beckoning passengers and vehicles to enter.

A ferry horn sounds, engines hum
stirring ripples in the water
then rolling waves of power
gathering speed into the ocean
salt wind and spray
cooling, awakening, refreshing.

Whilst mothers bid their children to sit
and men station by the open deck
admiring the flying fish zipping over tidal waters
viewing the small foot islands pass
as Marinduque fades in the distance.

Rain Dancing

Grey mists gather low over
rolling sun-wilted dry farmlands, shading, filling, land’s light-tired eyes and heat-smoldered lungs.

Storm clouds growing, graying, swelling, the
belly-roars of its distant thundering,
teasingly shuddering this
thirsting land’s soul.
Now comes the wind, first a
gentle rush brushing soft upon
child-flower fields, now a
sweeping gale testing the strength of
mighty wise-aged orchards.
Wind’s great breath, blowing swift
cold crisp drops of rain, beating now their
fiercely played-orchestra of
run-wild notes against
land’s once music-starved ears, drenching full
with startling cool wetness land’s once
dried well of inspiration.
And my heart fills and dances with all

just before I write.

Her Tears

The music was playing
softly, slipping through
walls of velvet blue, dying
shades of life.

Tears crawled through the channels of
her age beaten face
and only the
blue crystals of her eyes
were alive.

Once laughter
flowed there. I wondered of days when she

smiled gaily
oblivious to this sad
fate she now waited for.

One hand reaches for her, asks
“Tell me your story…”

But she could not speak. Yet the touch
bonded hearts; one heard, understood now
this weeping woman. Saw the remnants of her

fragile, broken dust world
falling away from her
still sea eyes.

The music still played. What does
she wait for? Lips
thin, motionless. Only
she watched
the world tick by, seconds… seconds, and
out her window
the leaves still fell.

And when she passed,
the bond never broke. Even
when the girl that had known her
had left her.

And she was sorry for that.

Ravine

Leaping along, clumsy now, atop moss-inlaid boulders, following
Sister, young heart, who seeks
some hidden pool to play in, laughing, I wondering if
memories never fade.

Gurgling water flows, splashes merrily up, kisses ankles, cold, clear, crisp as
the shrill of birds, high, flit suddenly –
shadows pass, light dances —

Blinds me, lost, my footing, slips! Sudden pain, arm flays, churns up
mud, dead leaves, debris.

Laughter now. Like water that plays its funny charm
around me.

Sister sweet has found her joy, I, now knowing… haha!
memories never fade.

Nighttime

Last dregs of daylight streak
red and gold, the skyline above
emerald-lush forests of
the mountains.

Quiet, now. Pale lights hum from weary homes, remnants of
their long day’s burdens
sobered now by night’s soft croon.

In the shadow, somewhere distant, the sounds of
slippered feet, many, slap
rain-paved roads. Children race home, but not before
catching one last game of
Patintero.

Night lengthens. Lonely moon, with her
lover’s glow, eases into
the inky velvet skies, her many dreamers
the Stars, alight.

Dog yowls at some
drunk man, lost,
walks away from mistresses
some familiar kareoke song spilling from
his lips.

Standing long on my balcony, watching
Nightfall
all across the island.

Queen Lydia’s Lullaby

When sunlight sets like blood-stained tears,
And bends your heart to weep,
Who’ll speak soft words like lullabies,
To sigh your pain to sleep?
And in the night of summers gone,
When dreams are but shadow,
Who’ll bear away the nightmares far,
And keep the wicked low?
In mornings lost when darkness stays,
forever in the sky,
who’ll paint the black with diamonds bright,
‘til sunrise lifts up high?
In secret groves where thorns do grow,
And villains lie in wait,
Who’ll guide you far ‘til all is clear,
And perils do abate?
And of a sea where waves do drown,
And muddle up your mind,
Who is the calm to reflect well,
The answer you must find?
Who is the prose that speaks your heart,
Who is always your friend?
Who is the heart that hears your fears,
Who is your guiding hand?
Your mother, child, who holds you now
With soul that shall now give,
These promises that have been sung,
So you may always live.

Barrio

To a symphony
of songbirds and crickets
and the warm yellow and emerald green
kaleidescope of the rainforest’s
early morning sunrise,
I wake with content
in the barrio.

In oversized shirt and cargos
and rubber chinelas
I pedal my bike
down rainwashed streets
passing children dressed in school uniform;
plaid skirts, khaki pants, white shirts
all who rise early
for their 7AM classes
yearning instead to play
sepak takraw and lusong-tinik
in the barrio.

And at the open-air market
the vendors call out
selling with cheer, and merry laugh
as if every day is Christmas
rice cakes, putu, bibingka
my pesos for their homemade treats
their grins and joking
a priceless gift
in the barrio.

The haggling calls
of fishermans’ wives
cry out from the seafood stalls
carried along with the pungent stench
of tilapia, bangus, shrimp, squid
adding to the overall chaos
of motorbikes and jeepney engines
as the marketplace breaks to life
when the afternoon comes round
in the barrio.

And I ride back home
full of brittle plastic shopping bags
as gangly young men sing harana tunes
to blushing young girls
and busy old men grimace broken tooth grins
chopping down banana fruits
from sagging roadside trees
while their lovely wives
prepare adobong manok
or carneng asada and rice
at their homes’ makeshift clay stoves
in the barrio.

Soon the town falls sleepy
in night’s starry cloak
and the huts and villas
light up softly
with kerosene lamps or candlelight
as the busy husband retires
not to bed but to Pare’s home
where drinks and pulutan
and Kareoke galore
add some humble festivity
of a simple night
in the barrio.

Beach Runaways

Mother hasn’t called
for dinner just yet

so they fill their hunger
with joy

two kids, racing
by great beach shores
holes in rubber chinelas
pockets empty of change
but filled
with shells
stones
candy

though
ragged they are
in second-hand clothes
still brightly their smiles
do light their eyes
and sweetly they cry
from dry dust lips
laughter and songs
with the roaring of
the ocean’s shifting waves

Mother calls
for dinner

which can only fill
a cat’s belly full

so they fill their hunger
with joy.

Street Flowers

In congested city streets
where smog and smoke
choke the air
and noise like
firecrackers bursting
haphazardly
on a New Year’s eve
deafen the skies
with lost yells
of stressed pedestrains
and vehiclists

a flower girl
hands out
paradise from fingertips
the scent of
sampaguita
jasmine
and gumamela flowers

sifting through
the coarseness and concreteness
of this tumultuous city life

like a flower that grows through
a crack between
grimy pavement streets.

Categories: Creative Writing, Philippines, poems | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Segunda’s Secret – Part One

Credit: Josh Eiten, Deviant Art

“Crystal Caves” Credit: Josh Eiten, Deviant Art

I’m taking a bit of a breather from my main literary project to write a short story. This one takes us into the Philippines, where folklore lives on deep in the heart of Filipino culture. Here we follow the journey of Segunda. Her tale is fraught with mystical creatures such as elves, dwendes, tikbalangs and asuwangs set in a rather darkly run underground fairy world.

I’ll post a part of the story once or twice a week until it’s complete. Until next, happy reading!

*****

Part One. The Elf Prince.

*****

There is no place as dangerously precarious yet beautiful as a wild rainforest. With her lush green foliage like emeralds splashed with rain and vicious creatures hiding beneath her wind blown canopies and shadow eaves, you’d die in beauty if ever her hidden dangers befell you.

Segunda was the village’s one beauty. Though her father was dark and wizened like a cracked riverbed during the dry season, Segunda’s skin glowed as a full moon does and was as alive as a bouquet of freshly blossomed white roses. And though her mother vanished easily in a crowd like a plain field mouse lost in the weeds, Segunda conquered attention as an eagle does sweeping over the mountains. She possessed grace like the tall and whispering bamboo that moved with the wind yet possessed a character as strong as a typhoon. With eyes the color of sun-kissed honey, Segunda seemed as if she had been born from the fabled secret world of elves, dwendes and other mystical creatures of the forest.

But that was perhaps because she was.

On her sixteenth birthday, Segunda’s father called her into his room. His expression was very somber as he began to speak.

“Anak, I have to tell you the truth of your past. When your mother was four months pregnant with you, she fell very ill. According to the doctors, you were developing in the wrong spot inside of her. We were too poor to afford surgery. You and your mother would have died had I not gone into the forest cave, seeking a miracle. It was then when I met Viktor, king of the elves.”

Segunda’s father breathed, his eyes lost in the past. “Viktor looked like any ordinary man, but his eyes shone like firefly lights as he spoke to me. He said he knew of your mother’s sickness and had a offering. He would save you and your mother’s life if I agreed to give your hand in marriage to his son when you turned sixteen. Since I had no other way to save your life, I agreed.”

Segunda, although shocked at hearing this, could not speak as he continued.

“That night as your mother slept, Viktor sat beside her bed and placed his hand to her belly. He whispered some foreign words over and over again, then removed his hand. At first it looked like nothing had happened, but I noticed the change in your mother’s face. Whereas before she had been pale and waxy, silently suffering in pain, her skin transformed into a healthy glow. Life had once again returned to her. She was no longer sick.”

Her father then took his daughter’s hand and looked her in the eyes with a grave seriousness she had never seen before.

“Viktor said that you would be born beautiful and wise, fit to marry a king’s son. But if you refuse his son’s hand in marriage, you will suffer a curse, one that would affect unborn children for years to come. That is why…anak, you must not be selfish. Do not throw away the gift of life and risk the lives of others. Tonight, I will take you in the forest cave and you must be brave.”

Her father took her into a comforting embrace, but Segunda could not utter a word. All she could hear was the thudding of her heart in fear and her thoughts racing, screaming in her mind. She did not want to be left alone in the forest. She did not want to be married to a stranger. She needed a way out…but it seemed there were none, and when her father finally left her, and she was certain that he would not hear her, she began to weep.

Night fell across the village like someone had thrown black paint over a colorful palette. Segunda was escorted by her father out of her home like an animal being taken to the outhouse for slaughter. Her mother could not even say goodbye nor look at Segunda before she left, but if it was because of shame or heartbreak, Segunda could not be certain.

Once they were at the forest’s edge, her father placed a blindfold over Segunda so that she would not know how to return. They walked for almost three hours until Segunda could no longer recognize the rivers they crossed over and the way the forest breathed around them thick and wild, for they were in the depths of the forest were not many ventured.

At last her father removed the blindfold from her eyes and aimed his flashlight toward the mouth of a cave that she had never seen before. It was so large that it seemed to inhale the dark night around it. The forest here was strangely silent and calm, giving Segunda the impression that a very dangerous predator was lurking about, and the forest creatures dared not make a sound lest they lure it to their hideout.

“Anak…Segunda,” said her father. Her heart trembled and jumped. She wanted to run and scream into the dark forest, chance any other monster there than whatever lived in the cavern. But she faced her father one last time and nodded. “They will treat you well. You are alive because of their magic. This is were you belong. Do not be afraid.”

He gently lifted her chin with one finger and wiped the tears that fell from her amber eyes. “You have never been mine. You were already lost before you were born. You are a jewel I have borrowed from royalty. I am blessed to have held you for so long, my one beauty in a world of hardships. I now let you go.”

He held her one last time before lighting up an oil lamp and giving it to her. “Head down into the cavern until you come to where it splits into three separate, smaller caverns. Wait there, they should come for you. Goodbye…anak.”

Segunda bid her father her love and finally turned away. She did not look back, carrying herself into the cold darkness of the cave that spiraled down and down, soft earth slipping beneath her feet and smelling like decayed wood and moist earth. Cavern fangs from above dripped with cool water that sparkled menacingly in the light of her oil lamp, like a snake’s wide-mouthed venomous jaws, ensnaring her shivering soul. Dark holes in the cavern walls howled mournfully as if lost souls wandered there. She felt as if she were detached from herself, a puppeteer joyfully pulling the strings of her body from above, moving her where she did not want to go.

Her lantern’s light eventually exposed the place her father had described. Three smaller tunnels divided the cavern. In the center was a clearing where a large stone slab marked. Feeling apprehensive, she made her way to the stone and sat on it, resting her lantern beside her. And she waited.

It was not long before she sensed something there before she could see. Like a leaf had dry rolled and whispered. She turned, eyes searching a darkness and seeing nothing. Her heart quickened, and in the silence she could almost hear it. Drumming. Drumming. Stop heart. Stop!

“Segunda…”

She turned. Just a whisper. Nothing more. Segunda picked up her lantern, adjusted herself on the cold hard stone. Her hands lifted her lantern toward the darkness where the whisper had come from. For a second, just a second, she thought she saw a tall dark shadow. Then it was gone. Just the darkness of that cavern’s corner where someone must have been but was no longer there.

Chills stitched up her arms and down her spine. She began to cold sweat. With numb lips, she uttered, “Who’s there?”

“Shhhhhhhhhh.”

Someone hissed! Right by her ear. So close she felt the warmth of the whisper, brushing back the downy hair near her ear like a soft gust of wind.

Shocked, she threw her lantern toward that direction and in her haste, it fell from her hand. Dropped to the floor. Sputtered and then was out. Darkness and fear enveloped her like a suffocating blanket. She was paralyzed. Now it was just her and her hammering heart.

Still as a statue, gazing into the darkness straight ahead, she felt someone standing there. Right before her. But she did not move.

“You are pretty. Just as father promised,” said a voice. A young man’s voice. Gentle. Amiable. Cool. “I hear your heart. Where I live, we make music from heart beats.”

Suddenly she felt he no longer stood before her. His voice then appeared next to her. Close by the ear he had whispered in.

“This darkness terrifies you. I will not lie. You are more beautiful afraid than brave. Like a bird ensnared, gauzy waterfall rainbow wings sputtering in the sunlight while I laugh and gaze.”

She felt a finger press against the center of her chest, firm. As if someone intending to pierce open an animal’s skin with a knife. Segunda fell back, the finger trapping her down to the cold stone before lifting away.

“So helpless. Human. I fall in love even more.”

The hiss of a match. Light exploded in Segunda’s eyes and she was blind for a moment. The elf prince sat beside her, looking down at her face. His skin was like hers, pale and watery like a rain-washed moon. The firelight played in his unusually colored eyes, like flames laced in grey ash. Dark hair framed his face. Shadows lined his strong jaw.

Segunda finally found her courage and pulled herself up, quickly backing away from the mystical being. His dark brows frowned, not hiding displeasure at how she retreated, but he did not say anything. Instead he stood up, a tall, lean being that commanded respect dressed in a darkly simple royal suit, and gently bowed his head. “I meant not to scare you. My name is Aeron.”

He leaned down and picked up Segunda’s fallen oil lamp, lighting it up with his match flame before placing it down on the stone slab. “Please,” he continued, gently offering his hand, but his eyes burned as if a refusal would prompt a murder. Heart still racing, Segunda felt sick as she took his hand and he guided her off the stone until she was standing beside him. His presence made her feel as if she would never get far if she tried to run, and his hand firmly held hers in a tender, yet controlling, manner.

“We will leave the lamplight here. Come with me. Now step. One. Two.”

And as she left the safety of the light and was further pulled into the blinding darkness, she could not help but sense the sinister soft smile that played on Aeron’s lips.

*****

Categories: Creative Writing, Filipino Folklore, Haunting, Horror, Philippines, Tikbalang | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

College Sweetheart

Lips like a peanut, pink and soft as melted taffy. Black shimmering eyes, quick to seek admiration. Haughty head held high, hair preened and straight, flowing with each sharp step like the girls on the shampoo sachets. Body in full blossom, adorned in sparkling jewels like dewdrops on a gleaming flower, legs like milk barely concealed by cut-off denim shorts, shoulders like sun-kissed peaches. Laugh infectious, and the ears would turn of men adoring, yearning for this little vixen. Quick to laugh, and love. Quick to fury, and hate, like a matchstick struck, the flame burning bright… but just for a moment.

Categories: College, Creative Writing, Philippines | Leave a comment

Tikbalang

Image

Night had come across the rain forest. It had rained during the day, and the scent of dew on moist orchids and crisp green foliage hung thick in the air, while an endless orchestra of crickets played alongside the wind rustling through the trees and a nearby ravine’s gurgling waters.

Tikbalang stirred in the dark, deep in the forest, far from where the village man slept with his  family in fragile nipa huts. Tikbalang, part-man, more horse, creature of an aborted fetus sprung from the earth to guard earth’s elements. His name was Lupa, guardian of the earth.

Lupa turned his equine head to observe his surroundings, dark stallion eyes scouting the sleeping forest, flared nostrils breathing in the humidity and sweetly damp earth. Through matted mane were tall, barbed spines like small ivory tusks lining down the back of his powerful neck. His chest was dark-skinned and ribbed, glistening in the moist air, and he stood upright with muscled, thick haunches and large hooves. Two elongated arms that just barely touched the floor, a mix of horse and human, worked like pendulums beside his body as he navigated through the sprawling forest.

Dim memories passed through his mind of the traveler he had encountered earlier: a young Filipino farmer with a brimmed straw hat and a basket filled with papaya and mango. Upon the farmer’s approach, Lupa had hidden himself in the forest’s lengthening shadows against a cluster of thick Indian Banyan trees. If the farmer had worn his clothes inside-out, perhaps Lupa would have let him alone. If he had asked permission from the forest guardians to pass, perhaps he would have let him alone. But he did neither, so Lupa chased the farmer but the farmer fell and he trod on him til the earth mixed with papaya and mango blood. He had only wanted to lead him astray…but his death was already a memory, rapidly disappearing with the ever growing and dying forest around.

Lupa arrived at a clearing where the half-crescent moon danced above with spiraling galaxies and wind-beaten clouds. Three tikbalangs were already there: Tikbalang Hangin, Tikbalang Apoy and Tikbalang Tubig. In the center of the clearing was a three-month old miscarried human fetus, half-decayed and its gender unidentifiable. Tikbalang Tubig had collected the child’s body when she got news of its death. Somewhere far away, a woman still grieved its death.

For the rest of the night, they stared at the fetus, praying for its return from limbo, and just before sunrise, they buried the body in the ground. If their prayers went answered, the fetus will return from death in the form of a Tikbalang.

With sunrise approaching, the tikbalangs left the clearing. Lupa was accompanied by Tubig and together they trekked further into the forests where the multicolored birds still danced in thick canopies by the hundreds and the monkeys lived with no fear of being hunted by man. They reached the top of a mountain which had a sheer waterfall drop down into an emerald green lagoon. The sun was already high up, and the clouds were a mix of grey and white across the blue faraway skies.

Then the rains began to fall, piercing through the sunlit skies like drops of gold-illuminated gems, and they were married.

******

Some Notes:

Lupa: Means “Earth” in Filipino

Hangin: “Wind”

Apoy: “Fire”

Tubig: “Water”

*According to Filipino Folklore, it is said that a tikbalang is getting married when it both rains and shines

Categories: Creative Writing, Horror, Philippines | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Teachers

Mr. M

Long legged, tall and thin, he’d walk into the room with an air of aloofness and boredom. Seat himself nonchalantly into a chair a bit too short, and call out names halfheartedly, as if playing with each letter like a toy in his mouth would make his day a bit more amusing.

Occasionally he’ll remark something witty on a student’s name, picking on the shy ones, chancing to see if they’ll remark back. But all they’d do is smile and shrink into their seats, afraid of attention. He’ll look unsurprised and continue tossing out names like casting fishing lines on an unproductive day.

Time for teaching lessons. Those were boring for him, unless it involved emotional, confrontational issues, which his students preferred to stay away from. How sad it was for a teacher to try and tease his students out of what the harsh discipline from other teachers had done to them. For him, tossing ideas into class was like trying to stir ripples in a frozen pond.

So he’d do what seemed to be his saving grace; stray into talking about far, sweetly melancholic, memories. Talk about how he used to ditch school so he could hang out with friends at coconut plantations, where they’d climb trees, steal a few ready fruits, drink their juices, eat their meat beneath the shade. Talk about Segunda, such a pretty name. Segunda, a girl he loved, who thought him only a friend. Segunda, somewhere now on a far island, as far as his memories.

Eventually, class will end. And so will his day. He’ll climb into his small, green buggy, drive to his small house by the school. Answer his cell phone which rang to Mr. Bean’s theme song.

 

Mrs. B

Her last name was as drawlsome as the way she read stories aloud to us. Syllables dripping with snobbish pride. She thought she read with emotion, drawing us in her words like flies to honey. She only succeeded in enhancing the lazy atmosphere of a warm, humid day, and the lull of the overhead ceiling fan.

Favorite way to educate class? Memorization. After the exams, she’ll read aloud the scores. Highest is granted with applause, and a little rant about hard work. Lowest receives this look from her… it’s a smile, very satisfactory, like she’s proved a point. This coming from a teacher who thought Peptobismol was an American dish.

Categories: Creative Writing, Education, Philippines, Teachers | Leave a comment

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