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Literary

Some Miracles Are Bad For You

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some miracles are bad for you

     THE pills made her smaller, she could swear to it.

     Each day she took one, and each day her clothes hung a little looser on her body and she loved it. She went shopping for new ones as soon as she could, and was gratified to see that she needed shirts that were at least two sizes smaller than the ones she already had. It made her happy. The pills were a miracle, and she could finally break out of the horrible cocoon of her too-big body.

     Everyone noticed. They all asked how she did it, how she was getting so thin so quickly, and she just smiled. The pills warned her to take no food, only water, for six hours after drinking one, and she complied. They all thought she was working out in her spare time, spending hours at the gym and surviving on a crash diet. She wasn’t. It was just these beautiful, beautiful pills that made her so thin and pretty. She was lucky to have seen them, was about to leave the drugstore when she spotted them on the shelf. It was the only bottle there, and she’d thought, well, what harm could it do? So she bought it – it hadn’t cost much – and all her dreams had come true. Her parents worried, of course. Why wasn’t she eating? It was so much easier just to tell them that she was on a diet. They accepted it, had been nagging her about it for months. And she’d finally found the perfect solution.

     They made her dizzy, of course. Couldn’t help it; it was a side effect. Nothing came without a price. And sometimes she wondered whether it was worth giving up food for them. But then she looked at herself in the mirror, watched herself getting thinner and thinner and forgot everything else.

But then one day everyone stopped noticing her. She didn’t understand – she was slimmer than ever, why weren’t they looking at her in awe? She had gotten used to the admiring glances in the hall when she passed. Now everyone seemed to look right through her. Almost like she wasn’t there. It was strange and unsettling and she took to wearing brighter, sexier clothing so people would look at her again. The pills dwindled in the bottle, until eventually there were only five left. She went back to the drugstore and roamed the shelves, even interrogating the staff, asking if they still stocked the pills. They all denied ever having stocked them. One even went so far as to assert he’d never heard of them. He was the manager. She dismissed him as incompetent.

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     Three. There were only three pills left and now even her parents barely noticed her. She had to speak louder these days, be more of a presence. It would have bothered her, but then she was so slim now. She was barely recognizable from the girl she’d been barely six months ago. Her clothes were tighter, she barely ate, and no one paid attention to her, but hey, she was thin. And if no one appreciated that but her, well, it was everyone else’s loss.

     To save on the pills, she skipped a day. It was a bad day – she felt too big, too weighty, felt like she filled up the corridor when she walked through it. But more people noticed her than usual, and she liked that. But it wasn’t worth feeling so fat.

     Two pills. People stopped noticing her altogether. Her parents acted as if she wasn’t at the dinner table. Everyone ignored her. If she yelled at them – and this was worrying – they looked up with a puzzled look on their faces and shook their heads. Once in a while one of her friends would ask the rest where she was, and she’d stamp her foot and yell, right in their face, “I’m right here!”

     One pill. She looked at it in the bottle and shook her head, left it where it was for a week.

     One pill. She left it where it was. Her mother looked surprised to see her at dinner. “We thought you were with your grandmother.”

     One pill. She shook it out of the bottle and swallowed it without hesitating. She looked up and realized she could no longer see herself in the mirror.

By Bernice Caña
Photo taken by Rosana Marie A. Lafuente

 

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Literary

This Thing

Swallowing the sun and rain
But myself still remains
Soaking up all my validity
It eventually shifts my reality

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

I don’t know when it came
For there is no one to blame
On the other side of this face
There, standing with disgrace

This is a source of danger
A voice of a slipping reminder
Is this probably the truth?
Feeling estranged from my youth?

Conflicted with my ideals
Finding what would appeal
My mind that was in blight
Would eventually find its light

All alone this body is terrified
This takes over just to terrorize
Authenticity has been eliminated
Like the luster being defeated

Lies ahead were vivid hues
I was blinded, but I would choose|
Reaching out to that lucidity
Maybe to achieve serenity

Leaving this catastrophe
Can’t be done casually
But possible with a tenacity
Evacuating from that apathy

Swallowing the sun and rain
But myself still remains
Soaking up all my validity
It eventually shifts my reality

Not anymore fragmented
This, that has been connected.

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Literary

Still, The Land Dreams

In the guarded fence made of
steel,
They will not be silenced. 

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin/TomasinoWeb

The pearl of the orient seas
was muted, chained in absolute obedience
a forsaken motherland weeps.
But among the close-eyed sheep,
There are those who refused to blink. 

In the guarded fence made of
steel,
They will not be silenced. 

Gabriela Silang from the North
led thousands of men and
feared by the hands that dared them.
Andres Bonifacio,
in the tangled woods lies not the leash
a hidden cause; wolves baring their teeth.
Teresa Magbuana from the South,
the Visayan Joan of Arc, a sharpshooter
of the three-headed beasts. 

They spilled ink and words began to
breathe.
It bends, whispering, “we’re here…” 

Dr. José Rizal,
phantoms chased the ink, it laughs
because even Death has eluded it.
Graciano Lopez Jaena,
botod, loved dearly by the masses
revelled until the friars sneered.
Marcelo Del Pilar,
smooth easy-teller of tales
a guide-post, words map of streets. 

The motherland carries timetables of heroes and heroines
wounded whispers and dreams.
August 31st, the youth walked
on the path of ghosts.
the trees rustles, the land laughs.
A cycle begins: 

When freedom is in tatters,
when the streets of cities
have habits of making people disappear
when blood is shed on the asphalt
the heroes began to sing and
mirrors reflected a long history:
                            The people will not be silenced.

 

by Johanna Leelan Gee

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Literary

Ang pulso ng binibigkas

Ang wika ay susi upang makakalap ng kapangyarihan.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

Ang wika ay susi upang makakalap ng kapangyarihan. Instrumento ito sa pagkilala ng daloy, sa panliligaw ng panig, at sa paglalakbay ng isip. Ganunpaman, magkaiba ang mundo ng mga salita at ng mga sinasabi— hindi lamang tainga ang dapat na nakikinig at hindi lamang bibig ang dapat na nagsasalita.

Sa bawat pagmulat ng mata sa kasalukuyang lipunan, marami ang oportunidad para mahasa ang sariling lengguwahe. Lumitaw man ang pagkakaiba ay hindi dapat patabain ang pangamba; kapatid ng takot ang paninikil at pagkubli. Ang hatol sa pag-aagwat ng wika ay hindi kasalanan, bagkus ay ang kalayaang magmay-ari ng boses at ang patuloy na pagkatuto.

Mahapdi nang iniiwanan ng oras ang kaniyang mga ginagapangan at hindi ito tumitigil. Ang paglalakbay ng isip ukol sa patutunguhan ng Pilipinas ay matagal nang gutom sa tugon. Ilang bukang-liwayway na lamang at may wikang maglalahad ng mga salaysay ng daloy at distribusyon ng panig. SONA ang magtatanghal kung naitahi bang mainam ang mga kwento ng Pilipino sa kwento ng Pilipinas. Nakababad kaya ang wika ng may kapangyarihan sa wikang makapangyarihan? 

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