Tag: Issue: Desaparecidos

Outside Gate 2.5

By Chia Amisola

Here, I am the rich. I, ilk of captive
grasslands; interim of conversation and
strangers of shared descent. This discomfort

will follow – as oxide stains the validity of
tonsils, leaked of coarse throat, straining,
frugal with desire to be heard. I abuse the

story I come from. Here, a gun asks for a
namesake. His crippled hips grin of a lawless
history, scorned of the 70s. Hands shuffle us

inside. Tell us for a moment, we must finally
scream for our own selves. I, voiceless for
a future, has entanglement clock our sameness,

our waning fear of living. Inside, they pick up
all our mangled selves, sputtered of wax; and so
we become ember, holding onto life again. We

become your voice, ascent to fueling the ends
of times, like gunshots splayed of freefall towards
streets. Here, I am the rich, burdened of word –

further, they tell us not to fight again. Further, they
say we do not seek them. To this I wonder the
requirement of boiling my skin, or piecing apart

the words we give in pursuit of breathing human.
Or, so begins the collection of cardboard. Corrugated
certainty – and we never give the name. Here, wither life

failed of repetitions. History lessons: Hilao, Quimpo,
to which the voice is of wax or prestige – here,
never again.

(Never again.)



by Desher Empeño

Huwag kalimutan ang mga taong
hindi na natagpuan, walang mga kabaong
ang kanilang mga pamilya ay nagdadala ng kalungkutan
mga nagdudusa– punong-puno ng kagalitan

ang mga pamilya nila ay tunay na nagdurusa
halos nababaliw, namamaos, pinaparusa
sa paghahanap sa kanilang mga nawawalang anak
hindi nila alam na ang gobyerno ay may masamang balak

Sila’y nakukulong, tinatratong bilang hayop
pinahihirapan at binibigyan ng dagok
Mga taong may mga pangarap na baguhin
ang peligrosong lipunan na kanila’y pupunahin

Huwag kalimutan ang mga taong dumugo
habang ang ating lipunan ay tuluyang gumuguho
Sila ay namatay para sa ating kalayaan
Mga desaparacidos, mga bayani ng bayan

I. Marawi, 2017

I. Marawi, 2017
by Joaquin Alonso

Sa malayong panig ng lupang pinangako
Mayroong bayang naghihingalo

Sa tabi ng lawa, itong bayang sabik
Sa kapayapaan at gabing tahimik

Sa malamlam na liwanag ng hatinggabi
Ang apoy ng digmaa’y nasisindi.

Araw ng Lunes, ako’y nagising
Sa balitang paglusob ng mga salarin

At doon sa bayan, bumitiw ng poot
Mga baril nila’y pumuputok-putok

Parang boteng umaapaw, pilit isara
Nang binuksa’y bubuga-buga

Ganoon ang poot nitong mga salarin
Matagal nang pinigil mula nang hinasik

Limang dekada, o limandaang taon
Paano man bilangin ang madugong panahon

Ng sambayanang inusig, umaklas,
Dinahas, at muling umaklas, at muli, dinahas

Salat na bayan, sa kapayapaan sabik,
Sa huling hininga sa kampilan humalik.

Ngunit paano lalaban ang isang kampilan
Kung ang bayan na nga’y binobombahan?

Sa malayong panig ng lupang pinangako
Mayroong bayang naghihingalo

Sa tabi ng lawa itong bayang sabik
Sa kapayapaan at gabing tahimik

Sa puso nila, nais na’y higanti
Ang apoy ng poot ay nasisindi


Joaquin Alonso is a Grade 12 student from De La Salle Zobel Vermosa, he writes an awful lot of poetry and sappy fiction about love, sentiment, and the human condition. You can find more of his published works on Siklab Poetry.

Fist of Roses, Heart of Thorns

Fist of Roses, Heart of Thorns
by Celine Dabao

Force their bloodshot eyes to open
as you traipse through clusters of houses that you see
only in comparison to the skyscrapers,
sinking your feet into the muddy passageways
between unlit cardboard walls and tin roofs,
as the smell of the recooked leftovers
from fluorescent fast food restaurants waft
over the broken backs of the plantation’s children
and the swollen bellies of the weary mothers.

See the fear in their shaking hands
as you drag them into the poorly paved road,
hear them begging for undeserved mercy—
“Can you not see that we have mouths to feed?”
knowing that this is what they asked for
when they marked the name of The Punisher on their ballots,
confident that change was coming,
not knowing
that it would arrive with statistical reports, body bags, and bullet-ridden brains.

Follow their tattered shirts into an unspoken realm
as they slink through the red light district,
amidst the blinking neon signs
and the polluted air that reeks of cigarettes,
around the street-corner girls
and shadowy figures under broken street lamps
who know to hide when the flashing lights appear.

Hold them at gunpoint
as you barge into the grimy bathroom of a trashy club.
Watch them take their last breath on the broken tiles, their minds a montage:
a ravaged shack, echoes of a gun in the dark, a metallic tang permeating the smog:
a kaleidoscope of color and sound, the slosh of liquid like gold, pills disappearing like a magic trick.
Soon they will be ash,
as finely ground as the powdery white line on the broken sink.
The unholy guardians etched in the obscene graffiti look away tonight.

Our gold-dusted eyes are closed,
paper-thin lids our excuse for ignorance.
We comfort ourselves with the knowledge
that we are being prepared for the world as they know it,
when in fact, reality is too heavy a burden for us to carry.
The truth hides beyond the realm of the favored.
It lies buried in unmarked graves.

Feel our hands, soft and unmarred by callouses,
carefully examine the veins that cross through our wrists.
It was ichor that coursed through us,
each pulse, ‘you are alive’,
each beat, ‘you are alive’
like an unexpected greeting,
an eye-opening reminder,
that inside, we are all the same.

Follow us into the throne room,
as we remove the crown that privilege has bestowed.
It is no longer the blood of the immortals running through our veins,
but of the men who have yet to learn
that more power rests in the mind of the man begging for mercy
than there is in the man wielding the gun.

Watch us hold our hearts in our hands,
indistinguishable from the fists
that they encompass and mirror.
Hard work is a foreign concept, a distant place,
synonymous with the suffering and pain that we see
through television screens, and only in passing;
but we have time to learn the language of our roots,
and we have time to till the land of dirt;
we have time to grow our own roses, thorns and all.


Celine is currently a senior in high school at Everest Academy. Her works have won several awards in the Region-at-Large category of Scholastic Art and Writing in New York. You can reach her on her Instagram, @caroucels.