The Inaugural Issue

Antabay sa Kometa

Alwynn C. Javier

 

 

Ipahihiwatig ng mga elemento ang iyong pagdating.

Mamimintog ang bulkan at maghahasik

ng abo sa kalawakan; mamamaga ang mga alon

at magluluwa ng baha sa kapatagan.

Maglalabasan ang mga ipis sa imburnal;

magkukubli ang mga buntis sa ilalim ng altar.

 

Nangapigtal ang mga rosaryo ng matatanda

sa panalanging huwag ka nang bumalik.

Ikaw na naghasik ng lagim sa nakaraang dantaon:

ang apoy na tumupok sa libo-libong kabahayan;

ang sumpang naglunsad ng epidemya sa syudad;

ang salot na nagbuga ng milyong balang sa palayan.

 

Ano’t nananatili kaming nakaabang sa kalawakan

sa paniwalang sa iyong pagbabalik ay babagsak ka sa lupa?

Malaon na naming batid kung paano mo dinaig noon

ang makulay na pagtatanghal ng Aurora;

paano pinasuko ng diamante mong ulo ang ginintuang Corona;

paano sinilo ng iyong buntot ang palipad na Aquila.

 

Naitatak na sa aming balikat ang marka ng iyong kulto.

Taglay ng aming mga binti ang latay ng pamalo;

sumuot sa malalim na balon nang tatlumpung minuto.

Sinuway namin maging ang bibliya ng aming relihiyon:

nakipagkamay sa aswang at sumamba sa punò;

ipinagdiwang ang iyong pangalan kapalit ng laksang ginto.

 

Matagal naming pinangarap ang natatanging sandali.

Itatanghal mo ang kaputian ng niyebe sa iyong katawan;

pasusukuin ng pinilakan mong sinag ang alay naming bulawan;

sisiluin ng iyong buntot ang mga ipupukol naming hiling.

Ikaw ang Mangangasong magdadala ng tupa sa piging,

ikaw ang Torong susuwag sa mga hungkag naming hangarin.

 

Tititigan namin ang muli mong pagbasag sa langit,

iisipin ang bawat takipsilim at bukang-liwayway na nasilayan.

Isang banayad na halik ang huli naming pakakawalan

 

sa pagkatupad ng hiniling nila sa iyo noon pa man:

ang maging bahagi ng marahas mong pagbagsak,

ang maging alipatong yayakap sa mumunti mong alitaptap.

 

 

Watching out for the Comet

Gino Dizon

 

Elements stir at your approach.

Volcanoes swell and spew

ash across breadths; waves bulge,

disgorge floods on plains.

Roaches teem out of their lairs;

wives cower beneath altars.

 

Mothers have loosened beads of rosaries

praying that you never come back.

You were the dark dreading of the past century:

fire that razed houses in thousands;

curse that launched the city’s plague;

blight of the fields that unleashed a million locusts.

 

Still we keep watching the sky

believing this time, you will hit earth.

We’ve always known how you outshone

Aurora’s theater of flares;

how your bright crown dimmed Corona’s band;

how your tail snared Aquila’s flight.

 

Our shoulders branded with your cult,

our legs marked by paddle blows,

we groped about the borehole’s bowels: an hour halved.

We defied even the Book of our religion:

shook hands with wolving-men and worshipped elder-trees,

celebrating your name for a thousand-gold.

 

We’ve long dreamt of this moment:

the white parade of your ice-dust heart,

our gilt offerings drowned in your silver radiance,

our hurled wishes caught in your tail.

Hunter, you bring the sheep to the feast.

Bull, you impale our hollow desires.

 

We’ll watch you thunder through skies again,

remember all dawns and sunsets past,

and release a last light kiss,

as you grant our kind’s wish from the beginning:

to burn in the violence of your earth-fall

and become embers—fireflies to your remains.

 

Translator's Note:

 

The man, this poem’s speaker, walks out of his house and heads out toward the end of the world. I imagine it is nightfall, and all I see is a dark figure crossing a shadow landscape, with only a thin line splitting earth from sky, two tints of the same black. All outline and shape, he is simply Man, an archetype. At the end of his day’s work, at the end of his work in the world—eliminating pests, impregnating a wife, building a home—he still falls short of himself and yearns for something else. It is the comet: Beauty, the true and final kind, because the beginning of terror, that which annihilates us, even as it serenely disdains to, so says the Poet of the First Elegy.

 

So the man leaves behind his wife and mother, who are all the wives and mothers assigned his lot by the general economy of the hetero and the normative. He fraternizes with other men—and with wolving-men—and exerts himself in queer rites. Smitten by desire, he cannot stay still. Vagabond and unpredictable, desire is a queer force that drives man to diverge from his archetypical lot. Excess of the economy, it is what must expend itself, consume itself: in the coalescing of bodies, fusion, annihilation. Therefore, to this man, the apocalypse is erotic.

 

But Alwynn C. Javier divagates from this script. The culmination of desire, for him, is not its consumption, but the conversion of its matter—its crossing, its trans—under the eco-logic of the cosmos: Nothing is ever lost, but nothing stays the same. So that after the end man is transformed into ember. Love always falls short of itself, but desire does not. It exceeds itself. It is what remains.  

________

Reference:

Alwynn C. Javier. ‘Antabay sa Kometa'. Queer Southeast Asia: a literary journal of transgressive art Vol. 1. no. 1, October 2016.

Gino Dizon, translator. ‘Watching out for the Comet.' By Alwynn C. Javier. Queer Southeast Asia: a literary journal of transgressive art Vol. 1. no. 1, October 2016.

[This is a poem from Pasipiko sa Loob ng Aking Maleta (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2013)]