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Literary

The Sun-Printed Blanket

A boy full of principles. A boy who has a strong faith in God. A boy with a lot of aspirations in life, yet, a little boy, sickly and weak.

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The Sun-Printed Blanket

A boy full of principles. A boy who has a strong faith in God. A boy with a lot of aspirations in life, yet, a little boy, sickly and weak.

Michael was a 12 year-old boy who lived in a simple setting. He and his mother only lived in a small tenement after his parents got divorced. He used to be a cheerful and outgoing child who played games just like other kids. His mother turned from a wealthy housewife to a mere rag vendor just to have a daily living. He once studied in a private school just a block away from their home; however, because of his parents’ separation, his mother lost all of her properties so he in turn stopped his studies. The event led Michael’s life to detour from a world of fun and comfort to one full of misery and tragedy. As a devout Christian, Michael could only talk to and reflect with God during the hard times, even during the not-so-hard times in his life. He wanted to feel optimism so he thought of this chapter in his life as a door full of new adventures.

As time passed, his life got worse. There came a time where he and his mother wouldn’t have anything to eat and would just scavenge the nearby dumpster for leftovers. He would simply weep and lament over his problems every time he would go to sleep. He wanted to solve this problem by getting a job at the city, but due to his lack of education, he thought he will not qualify the requirements for the positions he would apply for – He would just depend on his mother to keep him alive. Days to months had passed but the quality of their life never changed. He, then became sickly and thin, not being able to eat for quite a few days or so.

One day, as he was looking through the window, looking at the puddle in the street, slowly rising due to the heavy rain, he thought of calling his friend to tell him he needed financial help in order to support him and his mother’s necessities and to continue his studies, as well. The rain stopped and the chirp of the birds became more audible. He asked his mom for a quarter, and without saying anything more, he mustered all the strength of his thin and fragile body and quickly rushed to the nearest phone station to call his friend.

“Hello?” Michael said upon hearing a faint voice on the other line.

“Yes, who is this and how can I help you?” the person on the other side asked.

“This is Michael Santos, and, um, may I talk to Andre Lopez, please?” Michael pleaded, panting.

“Oh Michael, it’s been a while since I heard your voice. This is Andre! Your voice is different,” Andre said in surprise.

“Uh, maybe. Hey Andre, I have a big favor to ask from you.” Michael said. “C-c-can you talk to, uh, your parents and ask them if they can help me? You see my mom and I have been living a wreck for quite a few months already. We sometimes have nothing to eat and I am already starting to feel weak, uneasy, nauseous, and bad.” Michael told Andre as tears started rolling down his cheeks.

When Andre replied, the cold breeze from the trees blew his hat away and he started to stare blankly into space. He, then, thanked Andre for answering his call and slowly hung up. He then walked back to their tenement, with the weight if the world concentrated on his knees, slowly taking every step. When he arrived at their unit, he learned that his mother had lost her job and the power was disconnected due to his mother being unable to pay the bills. He slowly blew the candle light out and went straight to bed.

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The next morning, when he woke up, he noticed how the walls were painted beautifully and how other kids were being unconditionally cared for by their mothers. He also saw people in white talking to every kid in the room. He felt so weak and helpless. He was covered by this white blanket which smelled old and used. When he looked to his side, he saw his mother, gently caressing his forehead and looking at his head. His mother then looked at him and told him to not worry as everything will be alright when he woke up tomorrow. Upon hearing what his mom said and noticed her tears, he then cheered up his mom and told him to give him a new blanket with a sun printed on it. His mother then agreed and held his very bony and weak hands and kissed his droopy eyes goodbye to buy the blanket.

After a few hours, his mother came back with his blanket. When his mother went to the room, she was surprised to see the vase on the floor, broken, and the stem of the sunflower broken into two. When he asked the other kids what happened, they said that Michael went to another room and that before he went to the other room, he wrote something on a piece of paper, put it in his right pocket, and went to sleep.

When his mother went to the room where the kids said Michael was brought to, everything in her sight went black and the rain started pouring. She saw Michael resting on a bed of tiles and cement with a smile on his face. She then went to his side to change his blanket from the old one and cover him with the one he wanted. She hugged him while tears didn’t stop coming out from her eyes and got a note from his pocket.

It said, “Mommy, when I was half-awake a while ago, I saw you talking with a man in white who looked like he knew everything about me. I heard him say that I was already too weak due to malnutrition and that I only have a day left to laugh like there’s no tomorrow. So I laughed every problem away in my mind. Oh! By the way, I’m sorry I left the room earlier for I saw grandpa by the door and he was all-dressed in white. He asked me to come with him so that I could eat a lot. Imagine, I saw grandpa after 10 years and after you told me he died because of cancer. Well anyway, I told him that I will go with him to his place when you come back with my new blanket. Thank you for everything, mom!”

“I love you, Mom!”

By Gianpaolo Alzaga
Illustration by Euclid Reyes

 

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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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