Unless You Write, I Shall Not Be Literate*: A Celebration of Words on Valentine’s Day


“Love comes to every man and woman, and blesses each one with the experience of one’s own deepest self — whatever that self be — which, also is the experience of each one’s humanity, and of all life itself and its values.  We stress the word bless which, etymologically, means “to sprinkle with blood” as in a sacrifice, for above all things, love is — as Joseph Campbell puts it — the pain and rapture of being truly alive […]”

— Abad, Gemino. “Introduction: About Love, the chemistry of its weathers” from One Hundred Love Poems: Philippine Love Poetry Since 1905, xi.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 Flood (Angelo Suarez)

We have become estranged, you and I,

as the stars no longer find the asphalt-gray

of streets, the somnolent moon your skin,

the sun the sibilance of speech.  How we tremble

now at the slightest hint of touch, the latch

of our desires reopening like a wound.

Watch me now as I say: In September’s

resolute rains, you are water – fragments

descending as drops from Manila’s urban sky.

Thus, you are everywhere, dripping down walls

and crevice of soil.  And on the rise of flood

floats the carcass of memory, taking

the muddied form of muck, filthy plastic bags,

venomous piss of rat.  In this metropolitan marsh

where nothing is left but a squalid sight of swamps,

soggy lampposts, the third-world remnants

of a storm, I dip my hands and dream of fish.

To The Man I Married (Angela Manalang- Gloria)

I cannot love you with a love

That outcompares the boundless sea,

For that were false, as no such love

And no such ocean can ever be

But I can love you with a love

As finite as the wave that dies

And dying holds from crest to crest

The blue of everlasting skies.

Ikaw Ay Isa, Ikaw Ay Dalawa (Krisdel Muñoz)

Ikaw ay isang ideya…

Ikay ay isang ideyang…

Nagsakatawang tao

Minahal kita noong

Ikaw ay una,

Nang pangalawa’y

‘Di na sigurado

Pwedeng hindi

Maaaring oo.

Paano mapaghihiwalay

Ang dalawa?

Paano mapaghihiwalay

Ang iisa?

Ikaw ay ideya

Ikaw ay tao

Ikaw ay huni

Ikaw ay anino

Ikaw ay layunin

Ikaw ay laman at dugo

Ikaw nga ba ay ano?

Kanino ba akong saydang pumapanig?

Ako ay nililito mong tunay!

Kanino nga ba akong

Lubusang nahulog?


Regla (Elynia Mabanglo)

Daming beses na ipinagdamdam ko

ang iyong pagdating

Ikaw –

dumadalaw nang ‘di inaanyayahan

nagguguhit ng kirot

sa aking sinapupunan,

naglalatay ng init sa aking pagitan,

hanggang maiwang nagkakagulang

ang isip ko’t laman.

Daming beses ngang ipinagdamdam ko

ang iyong pagparito –

ikaw na walang hudyat kung dumalaw

ngunit hinihintay sa pagdating

natatakot na sa pagmaliw

may mamuong luhang

iuulan, isang araw

tulad ng luhang itinanim

ng isang nagmahal sa akin.

(ay, kung ang lipunan nga lama’y

walang ipinagbabawal

at di nalilibak ang babaing

nag-aanak sa labas ng kasalan,

maano kung ako’y datnan mo’t panawan,

maano kung magmaliw ka nang tuluyan,

may layang umahon

sa aking sinapupunan

ang supling na sa iyo’y

uuyam.)

A Prayer Or Great Expectations (Fanny Haydee Llego)

There’s no doubt about it I need to get hitched:

I need someone to scratch me whenever I itch

Or give me a backrub whenever I want it

(Who’ll pout only a little when someone else does it);

Someone on whom I can vent my frustrations

& who is supportive in trying situations;

Who’ll extol all my virtues, forget all my faults

& would always submit to my sexual assaults;

Who’ll bring up my children the way they should be

Yet still entirely be devoted to me;

Who’ll always obey me, my word being law,

My logic perfect, my thinking without flaw,

My sexy cheerleader, housekeeper, accountant,

Secretary, nursemaid, unflagging assistant;

Brought up & moulded to think that success

Is found in the home: nothing more, nowhere else.

O, Mother Goddess, I need in my life

A man willing to be the perfect little wife!


*note:  title of a poem by Luis Francia

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