home
from the editor's laptop
welcome readerpoemsessaysshort storiesbibliographybookslinksarchivesindex to issuesOOV readersabout us / submitcurrent issue

 

undersong
a litany of voices from poets in the Filipino diaspora
Presented during the Sunset Dedication of the WW2
Philippine Pillar in Washington DC on May 27, 2004 in
honor of Philippine WW2 Veterans.

I. CHALICE

Names scattered
like sunflowers
Etched in stonewalls
on fire
Jose Mari Gotera (Fort Worth, TX)

a war, thought over
as we face our own,
today, at home, here,
everywhere
Yolanda Palis (Rockville, MD)

Rising sun, scorched earth,
their hell wrought by shell and sword—
The Fall, freedom's birth.
Edgar B. Maranan (London)

In a backyard in Waipahu,
Guillermo's Bataan feet dig into the ground
Flowers sometimes feel like barbed wire
in his hands
Tony Robles (San Francisco)

My Lola, with childish eyes foreign to death
Watched as her Kuya trudged
towards the clamor
That turned his glory into uncarved stone
Jade del Castillo (Concord, MA)

Brown skin white
Skin all shed the same
Red in our flags
Mila Lachica (Neptune, NJ)

To the thunder of sad mirrors
Heard far, flash codes.
Paolo Javier (New York)

The jagged shards of your whispers
perpetually graze our souls.
Papa Osmubal (Macao, South China)

Through the hunger of dead heroes
Your war is served cold.
Cynthia Buiza (Bangkok)

II. SACRIFICE

We braid twin pillars of war and rain,
an unhealed gangrene on scorched pages
of our own dying,
twisting toe to toe, through the secret mouth cavities
inside our homeless, hurricane souls,
or these, the splintered flutes of bones.
Jessie Badillo (Clarksville, MD)

III. ALTAR

Pay no mind
to those soldiers
in dress blues,
patent leather shoes
tapping
in eight-four time--
their white silk gloves
lowering Nanay's coffin
to join her husband

in their burial plot
at Arlington.
Jerry Grandea (Baltimore, MD)

Pillar and wound. Light, pillaged.
Faltering serenade, which cannot
approximate. Memory the sharpest
blade-our names, incandescent
even if the soil refuses admission.
Luisa Igloria (Norfolk, VA)

It is good to forgive.
If there is no apology,
do it in your heart.
It would be wrong to forget.

These pillars stand,
some comfort under the sun.
Our passions, our memories,
durable as the trees.

We know what was broken.
Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier (Okinawa)

my Papa, my Lolo / trudge in a fog of brown dust
lit by sword blade flash / Bataan / survive mabuhay
Vince Gotera (Cedar Falls, IA)

You say hand me those goggles
there is a big light exploding
on the island of Eniwetok

And you its only witnesses
fathers; your names our sign
our shield as four horsemen
and a beast come shambling
Jean Vengua (Sta Cruz, CA)

In this numb and nuclear age,
light becomes the gaping groin
of this timeless stage.
Sleep, sweet warriors.
You shall never be forgotten.
Melissa Nolledo-Christoffels (Eugene, OR)

© Reme A. Grefalda for the poets

back to toptop



powered by
FreeFind

JOEY AYALA
Requiem to Jellyfish

OSCAR BALAJADIA
Quiet Virtuoso:
Laurindo Almeida


REME A. GREFALDA
Brightman Before
the Endnote


GERRY DE LEON
Isang Kundiman

DIEGO SILANG
MARANAN
at the piano

JOSE P. RIZAL
Kundiman

ANGELO V. SUÁREZ
Nameless Beerhouse
Elegy

Baguio Suite

A LITANY OF VOICES
FROM POETS IN THE
FILIPINO DIASPORA
Undersong
  poems | essays | short stories
from the editor's laptop | welcome reader | frontispiece | bibliography
books | links | archives | index to issues | readers
about us | current issue