Midway by Angela Gabrielle Fabunan | harana poetry

There are few places worth committing

to memory – one: the New York skyline,

two: the traffic on EDSA, three: the horizon

in which we never meet: the sun, the sky,

the sliver of water between us. Tell me where you are

and I’ll tell you what you are; an immigrant in NYC

is a foreigner in Manila, neither one belonging. In

or Out – perhaps there’s a place we can call home,

but right now there’s just this, an in-between,

an in-articulate space for vignettes: where you left your shoes

the o

Call of Summer

A car passes by, its tires soft on the street

gliding through the pine-filled boardwalk,

hollow sounds meeting the ear as it wanders

through the air and lampposts glint with remembrance.

It is a summer night in a vacation city, and they are

whispering through the murmurs of an acacia

stretching its arms over the ballooning skirt of a girl

and the swish of a man’s shorts rubbing together,

passing by as the afternoon has passed. Moment to moment

they turn to each other as tires o

Destination by Angela Gabrielle Fabunan | harana poetry

There are only metaphors for becoming.

Only the sibuyas un-peeling its layers

events of blossoming, acts of uncovering, of nakedness.

There are no great metaphors for reversal.

Perhaps the process of drying plums

There’s nothing heroic about what you call maturing,

its simple truth, the inward turn, the change of color

In a crowd you keep your mouth sealed

in your heart, the act of kimkím –

You know that what you have gathered

will not measure up to this new movement

the migration of

The Maria Magdalena By Angela Gabrielle Fabunan

The procession of backs turned is a sea of red

anonymous in the enormous crowd.

Turn to face me, tell me is this all the change

we will ever see, these coins, scattered at Your feet,

for Your penitencia, in this march, on our way to

Your crucifixion. I drop the coin, know

Nothing now, not even the things I write about

that I have seen. The likes of Peter will never honor

What I’ve written. In this world, what is texto

but the persuading chronicle of the Papa, while

We progress down t

Migration Story & Other Poems. Eastlit August 2016. Asian Poetry.

it’s the land of milk and honey,

cows oozing milk, white dots

on the landscape, spots

on the green fertile grass

and the yellowing bees

seem to be doing fine too,

as we drive in upstate new york.

but back in zambales country

our cows are one brown, unifying color

and they are starving, their horns

honed to the one tree, leaves withered.

there is no grass under their feet—

there is only ashen dirt, where

the sun hits the fiercest, noontime.

memory of balasiw:

low ba

Cha: An Asian Literary Journal - Snow

I was there once, in the winter of my youth.

You were paper planes on the water,

hooded eyelids like opaque windows

forever young in the stairwell of the café,

I was in the scent of your laundry

spinning in your mind as it spun in the drier

And then we had breakfast.

And the snow fell all around us.

The snake still drapes its body lazily

as if we had been easy prey.

We never did ask why we were chosen

only that in the winter of our youth,

we felt compelled to drink from

from Homecoming of Age - Asymptote

[n. ashes]The Zambales countryside has your imprint—abóthe eruption of Pinatubo, covering all the pineand coconut trees with the scent of ash. In this god-forsaken landscape, we gather to a siesta, shiftingour bodies on the papag, bamboo beds that hurtyour bones as much as words do. Tell your motherhow much you love her—in this scene of lahar—abó, mud and water that took her mango groves. Tellyour father, you are here to bear witness to this crimescene of, not seafoam but abó, far as the eyes ca

Catastrophes of Home

Mornings, you walked to your newspaper nook

and I gathered flowers in a vase. We met

at the table, awake and facing the porcelain cats.

I watered the orchids in their clay pots, careful

not to spill beyond the brim. The cacti doused

with measured water, the bonsai with sunlight.

Meanwhile, you hunted for car keys in drawers

that you kept open for hours, as I haunted

the wind seeping through the curtains.

The painting trembled on its frames. The trash

teetered over the edge. The mic

Fair Game | Fishouse

I only ever wanted to say mahal in parting, but you could never have

understood how much of an expense love was to me. I only half understand

my mother tongue, only carry half its baggage. Which country is Mother?

Which country caverns me? It only takes language to assimilate—our accent

differing from town to town. Please make your voice heard so they can

understand you. As an exile I have absorbed both my countries; each a nation

of difference. Not the land I love but its people. I am an

Issue 21: the bright days were very bright

Shards of rain batter the window as I write this. The wind howls; the clouds are white sheets. Wherever you are this winter, I hope comfort sits with you, nearby. This month we offer hands straightened in prayer, four thick walls, and sea-less pirates.

Julia Travers is a writer, artist and teacher in Virginia, U.S.A. She grew up near the Chesapeake Bay and lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She writes poetry, fiction, essays and news. Her creative works are published with Short

Issue 43 (September 2018): Special Feature “Young Voices”

It is said that the young don’t really know what sorrow is, that they fashion imaginary worries to needlessly wear their hearts out; that they do not know how fortunate they are to be young and to be able to afford to be a bit foolish. I was once young, and I suppose I too was guilty of these things.

But, truth be told, I cannot remember precisely my thoughts and moods. I wish I had recorded more diligently every important ‘theatrical event’ of my youth: first love, first sexual encounter, firs

Angela Gabrielle Fabunan — Ghost City Press

To support a fiction, that death is

undead and sorrow not saddened,

that the Dolorosa did not cry.

When my mother meets a stranger,

she feeds them, so as not to rouse

suspicion. He did the same.

When I left my mother’s house,

I did die. A part of me left my girlhood,

came back a shattered piece of that girl,

the hymen breaking into a child

I would wear there.

But the pleasure was real. All the rest, fictitious.

When I came back to my mother’s house,

after the pleas of


a beautiful gesture, saying both go and hello:

one knuckle, a faint bristle of a hand

negligible, really, you probably didn’t feel it

but my heart somersaulted, knuckle to knuckle,

like a butterfly fluttering on a ledge, for a moment

it was nothing

one accidental, completely unexpected


waiting to be awakened, here and now, weight

of two lifetimes placed from my hand to yours

a whole fulfillment

to feel for a second what it was to be so close

to you. Perhaps you will

5 Poems by Angela Gabrielle Fabunan

That First Rain Fervently trying to return to the start of rainy season,

when gestures rotted in the air, when words acquired the cruelty

of stone, when all the tears fell along the mountainside

of my face, the water emptied from the sky

and the stars hid away my opinion of you. I am trying to remember that first rainfall

that made me forget everything good.

I am trying to remember that first rainfall

because then, there was nothing good.

Because when you talk now, all pointed eyes,


Wartime Ghazal By Angela Gabrielle Fabunan

Illusion, the thought that you could go on

as you did in peacetime—in your house

watching the news without notice

complacently not knowing that

this is a time of war.

Who knows what war is

when you’re not affected, yet

at your doorstep, on your streets,

in your homes and in your cities,

it comes knocking: this is a time of war.

Who could care about new shoes, now

that lives are at stake, never forget,

know your enemy, know who you are

in this time of war.

What brought us here, wher

Angela Gabrielle Fabunan – I am not a silent poet

Who knew the word shutdown would cause such chaos?

After all, we shutdown the computer every day,

shut the cell off, shut the door, have a seat,

turn down the lights, we should be accustomed to it.

Because for governments who shut some people out

and shuts down most, this is not an anomaly—

what more can we expect from those who don’t know

the difference between the shutter of a gun and #trigger.

We shudder in the grasp of the twittering elite

who refuse to flick open their count

‘Speak’ by Angela Gabrielle Fabunan | New Asian Writing

I saw the reflection of you in my morning cup

looking like me. Oh Narcissus, our love of peering

at ourselves is only an illusion. Do not be afraid

of the edges nor the ripples in the water, it gives us

character. At least we don’t have to say anything,

if only to look, to see you, traverse the waves.

We were on the grass collecting

our trash and we floated on

but you might as well be dead

by the time the first avowal is made.

like the breeze through the grass,

in which we are the amb

The Siren’s Song

We are no myth, we are not

merely fish, not simply women.

What you should keep in mind:

When you argue over our shoal,

when you trash our bay, is that

we are no myth, we are not

Yours to erase, just because

you’re in pursuit of prey.

What you should keep in mind

Is we’re not in it for your bodies,

but for bodies of water, us guardians,

we are no myth, we are not

Modest folk, we siren how

you’ve despoiled and sacked our homes.

What you should keep in mind

is that our sea is not you

Downpour | Contrary Magazine

created from your image, i think

of down pillows and soft bed sheets

wet with the mist of rain from the spill

over from windows, the illumined light

of adolescence before it fulfills itself

in adulthood, an ideal, the grace of body

at the same time the iron grills

of the gates of the mind, the human

mingling with the divine, haloed in light bulbs,

on my skin your unwritten words:

hindi mo alam na ikaw ang hiwaga ng umaga—

the secret that will turn and turn, turning

the ex