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Half-empty words wash away
the narratives, spilt favours,
modern fatigue —
we owe the landowners —
as our worn out pleas
flee in silence.
Our kins rode the wings of fate
in begging fashion,
shoveling their own
craving for death.
We mourn for old debts,
for we are tiny pebbles
in a shore of gluttons.
What purpose do our lips serve
when we speak pass the clouds?
While we cease to embrace
the pen with our tongues?
We dug out the snare, fist and spine.
They fed on our spirit.

-Armineonila M., 2016

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It’s been a while. But I’d like to share this piece I especially wrote for Pluma’s third year anniversary (September 14). Visit Pluma’s official website and blog for more features.

If only the burning of bridges
remains an idiot’s idiom
and we could still dream of flowerbeds

and never hear gunshots
of freedom from a remote uproar

lay the sword to rest –
what powers does it hold under a child’s gaze?
even time halts for mourning
when the sharp edges of tyranny
dug deep down their tiny bellies

Telling them
Told me

why must we smell the flowers?
read people with dead shot eyes

after a while

the trees shall whisper
some so-called heroes’ anthem
who spoiled the soil that fed them

while our ruins
are traded for inorganic memories

or so history went
and thought free verse rhymes
or weaves a synopsis of the future

but we refuse to breathe
the putrid lies
our masked men feed
a gold miner’s poverty

we tread
alongside fragile footsteps.

-Armineonila M., 2016

Mini musing: The pen is mighty until its ink had dried out.

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Mga Sangkap ng Langis (Ped Xing, KM Writers)

Mga sangkap ng langis

ni Armineonila M.

 

Mga sahog sa pagluto:

Isang ginagad na diploma

Walong sakong ari-arian

Pitong tasang tinimping luha

Tatlong basong pangarap (dinikdik)

Limang pirasong dignidad (tinadtad)

Sampung kilong pawis (sinala)

Isang kurot ng pagkutya

 

Mga hakbang sa paggawa:

 

Tunawin ang galon-galong

kaluluwang nagsakripisyo

para sa pamilya’t bayan,

kaluluwang ikinahon

ng globalisasyon

at nanlilisik na pangil

ng kapitalismo

sa kawaling disyerto;

 

Tustahin ang dating musmos

na hele ng Nanay at Tatay

na nagsibak pa ng panggatong

pangmatrikulang niluto

sa palasyong de-kalawang;

 

Tunawin, haluin, kayurin

hanggang sa lumapot

ang ‘di makatarungan,

ang pag-aalipusta

upang maitayo ang gusali

na’ng siyang hugis ay ganid;

 

Timplahin, lunurin

ang pangakong hindi na

lalayag pa at tatatakan

ang pagkatao ng alyas,

yaong tunog “bayani”

upang hindi malasap

ang pag-alingasaw

ng amoy pang-aalipin;

 

Paulit-ulit na timplahin,

haluin ng kalyuhing palad

ang pagkauhaw ng iba

sa likidong-yaman at parangal

kahit salat sa bayad

na ginhawang pasalubong;

 

Sundin ang patakarang ito

nang walang pag-alma

o pagkuwestiyon man lang,

bente-kwatro oras.

 

 ~o~



Translation:

The Recipe for Oil 
by Armineonila M.

The ingredients:

1 forged diploma
8 sacks of property
7 cups of whimper
3 glasses of ambition (chopped)
5 pcs. Of dignity (shredded)
10 kilos of sweat (filtered)
A pinch of nepotism

The procedure:

Slowly melt a gallon of sacrificed souls
Of family and country
Souls inside the box
Of globalisation
And the piercing fangs
Of capitalism
In the desert pan.

Cook until brownish
The infantile lullaby
Of Mama and Papa
Who chopped a forest
Of tuition fees from
The palace of rust.

Melt, stir, scrape
Until condensed
The unjust, the vilification
Built in a fortress
Of which shape is greed.

Mix and drown
The promise of immobility
That’s impressed in the self
An alias that sounds like “hero”
To cover up the stench
Of subjugation.

Mix over and again
With calloused palm
The thirst of the other
On liquefied riches and recognition
Even by poor earnings
That take home a dream.

Simply follow these steps
Without objection
Nary a question 
24 hours a day.

________________
*The original text in Filipino first appeared in the chapbook published by KM64 (Kilometers 64 Writers Collective) titled Ped Xing: Tula’y Tawiran (First Issue: Labourers), ed. Stum Casia. May 2014, pp. 23-24, Philippines. 

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Desert Song
by Armineonila M.

Oh dune,
what’s your alignment
in this arduous soil?
Do roaring decibels
mount your tongue
in the tune of a death march
to squeeze
unto undying armour of hope?
I eat the eyes that swallow you;
corrupt the minds which comfort you;
to feel how much you have grown
short; as stallions’ scavenged zone.
Only as my heart reached harbour
that you planted scimitars here under
your fertile breath, that’s weaving
some tapestry of arid thoughts.
Must I kill the spirits
that breed these lines,
or feed them again
with vintage spoons?
Still,
furnish me an oasis
of aged moons
or sit me amidst
oriental halls
and potent walls,
stirred by obscure hands
from afar.
Let me move at dwarf’s length
to peer at your window
like you peer at mine;
so together, we watch
winged royalties in the sky;
flapping away imported dust
chewed on modern lips
that taste of strange champaign
which poisons the caverns within.
Oh, dune,
upon my frowning lamp
did I meet your faded ornaments;
but let me caress the hollows of your soul
and dent my mind
into you, for once,
as you rouse deep in my skin,
while I glare at your exotic eye
piercing through
my
ignorance.

Published:

Best Poems Encyclopedia, October 2010.
Pag-usapan Po Natin Magazine, Kuwait Philippines Cultural Center, September 2011, p. 7.

____________

Arguing in the Oilfields Again
by Wilfred Waters

We are arguing in the oilfields again.
Not about oil.
About the environment.
The arguments are not so bad this time.
Some have been cataclysmic.
Their guy and our guy going at it like
One Full Metal Jacket drill instructor trying to train another.

Somehow I’m okay with all the
Trauma though.
I always have this reassurance
In the back of my mind
That it’s good we’re taking this so seriously
It ticks all the boxes,
This project,
For living my life as a civil dissident

Doing environment work
In the second largest oil field in the world
Amongst all the gas flares
The burn pits
Spewing forth their black plumes
A kilometre away
Feels like just the right amount of arrogance and audacity.

Was this same sense of
Satisfaction
In the mind of
The man murdered
Over dinner
On the Wara Project in the south last week?

From Korea,
An engineer,
What liberated the mind of the man who stabbed him
From the rationality rammed into it for years
Making every judgement of his subject
To a rational, objective, evidence based approach?
Was it the incessant,
Sand drenched wind?
The kamikaze traffic so
Wildly unregulated compared to the
Military precision of intersections
Back home?

Did this sense of unreality
Lead him away from the restraints
He confronted in normal argument?
Surely yes he wasn’t the only one who thought of stabbing the other
In a heated moment

How would the man stabbed
Have occupied his dying moments?
With thoughts of disbelief
That an argument over
Food had lead to this?
With thoughts perhaps that
He shouldn’t’ve wished he
Could die today because life
Here anyway was just about impossible?
That the work of 3 that one man,
He
Was forced to do without pay for
Overtime
Was another pile of
Meaninglessness?

Whatever went through the minds
Of these two men needs
To not remain a secret

One stabbed another to
Death in an argument
Over the quality of food

No arguments
Support descent into such
Barbarity
The true barbarity here
Then may have been
The conditions they confronted
And our willingness to ignore its effects.

Published:

TravelPod, December 17, 2013.

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Finally! The long wait is over!

Last Friday, 4th of October 2013, at Al-Muthanna Complex, Kuwait City, a group of determined and talented (eherm!) budding Filipino literary writers in Kuwait grazed the floor with a fun-filled episode of poetry reading to celebrate the birth of Pluma – Literary Migrant Writers’ Guild (Kuwait), a gathering of passionate literary writers whose dream is to represent the voice of migrant workers here in Kuwait through Literature.

Founded on September 14, 2013, Pluma wishes to establish a support group among published and aspiring poets, fiction writers, novelists, and whatnot that will embody the plight of migrant workers, as well as cement the gaps within various cultural communities in the country.

plume-flyer-w-logo2

Pluma is a Filipino term for plume or quill. Founding members hail from the different regions of the Philippines, who have themselves secured a job and excelled in their chosen professions abroad. From visual poetry to satirical fiction, from themes highlighting diverse societies to current events, Pluma promises a boundless vista of literary excellence mixed with artistic resilience.

Pluma‘s featured members are as follows:

Armineonila M. (Founder)
Ellen Alliah Tabaya
GAP Gutierrez
Tammy Sulit
Mujel Hasan
Wilfred Waters

The objectives of the guild are as follows:

– To uphold the advocacy of literary craftsmanship by giving providence to its historical, cultural, social, and universal significance.
– To pursue and promote literary writings by migrants.
– To encourage writing literary pieces among migrants.
– To develop and harness the literary skills of migrant writers.
– To document the plight of migrants through Literature, e.g. poetry, short fiction, novel, short story, oral literature, etc.
– To assist migrant writers in publishing their works on print or in any media outlets.
– To establish camaraderie among migrant literary writers in Kuwait and preserve the diversity of literary forms through cooperative efforts.

PLUMA Logo

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