Two poems from the Philippines based poet.
When grandmother's gone
Why is it that the sunbird has stopped
building her nest
under the eaves of grandma’s
I remember her room was
once a bethel of assorted scents:
the pungent, Marian
smell of dried Rosal from her
altar and the smell of her katinko
At night, there’s a
no more “o clement,
o loving, o sweet Virgin Mary”
and no more gibberish
recital of the litany.
When grandma’s gone, it
seems her spell and her
grace have traveled with her.
And in the garden, her
moth orchid has ceased
The last barrio in the Philippines
In this village, the people believe it’s
unholy to work at night, and on Sundays,
they worship the smoke that rises from
the coconut kiln. Yes, they worship hard
work until their palms’ skin is as sticky
as unripe cardaba’s sap.
In this village, people consume meat
more luscious than pork. They harvest
frogs from the farthest creek. Frog’s
meat is a potent aphrodisiac.
Ask the old men.
Here, the people have nothing to inherit
except for some families who have been
left with several sigbins. Life is different in
this village. No revolution. No tanks. And
they haven’t heard of Norse or Greek
gods, and they haven’t stepped on the fossilized
shits of the country’s invaders.
Born in Southern Leyte, a small province in the Philippines, Jeric Olay writes opinion essays and poems. Some of his essays have been published in major newspapers in his country. His poems have appeared in TLDTD, a Philippine biannual journal, and are forthcoming in Mekong Review and The Window Anthology.
About the featured artists:
Sundeep Kumar is a visual artist and an art teacher from Karachi, Pakistan. He studied Bachelor’s in Fine Arts with painting as specialisation at Centre of Excellence in Art & Design, MUET, Jamshoro. His work has been part of over twenty-five exhibitions including a solo and a few charity exhibitions. He co-founded Atelier School of Art and Design in Karachi where he teaches art to different age groups since 2018. Prior to that, he taught art at a different institute for nearly three years.
Aimen Tirmizi is a visual artist based in Lahore, Pakistan. She received her Bachelors in Fine Arts from Kinnaird College, majoring in miniature painting. She has exhibited in several group shows and was part of an art mentoring programme sponsored by Ercelawn Art Fund at Studio RM, and an artist residency at Tasweerghar. Her work is also in the permanent collection of the Ambiance Hotels, Lahore.