Thursday, December 13, 2018



Lawanen 2 edited by Almayrah Tiburon with co-editors Faye Cura and Rae Rival
(Gantala Press, 2018)

Flash Book Review No. 45: "In our proud culture, we would not allow ourselves to be subject of ridicule. But this siege turned us into what we never dreamed to be." Lawanen 2, edited by Almayrah Tiburon with co-editors Faye Cura and Rae Rival (Gantala Press, 2018) gathered different voices, different hopes, and different expressions of empathy, rage and empowerment. After the horrendous war in Marawi City on May 23, 2017 -- while families were heartily eating with their friends and folks, while teachers were having lively discussions with their students, and while every woman was seizing her day --- the clash of arms, bombs, ideologies, and political priorities found everyone misled, devastated and firmly holding the hands of innocent children. The transcript of Rebekah Alawi's lecture on young boys, who were hypnotised and exploited by Maute-ISIS to fight for lost and estranged causes, was a haunting recollection of how this event got the best and worst in us. Anthologizing works written by women in the academe, student leaders, columnists, survivors, wives and mothers, this undertaking is a leap of faith for all of us, Christian and Muslim alike, for these short but striking pieces are slapped on our faces, that our individual struggles combined are nothing compared to what the women in Marawi went through. But what reverberated was the communal call for unrelenting resilience, the invitation to heighten our participation in the discourse for peace and solidarity. "Mother, we have come this far --- / they must know by know / they cannot destroy us / with our own fire." In moments of helplessness, these women are stronger. In the darkest of times, these women shine.

PS: I also want to share the poem I wrote last December (and revised a few days ago) for Marawi:

Drone, 2017

Among a heap of remains is the city's
banner blown by the dust-filled wind.
Its sways are like grunts and hisses of
a listener waiting for floral blooms.

This is the panorama: corroded tanks,
clothes stripped off children, diametrical
views of ruins, mosque roofs where men
kneel down to pray, streets deserted

by blood, and gunshots tracing grief
of those left at the frontier, left by
the gunless and the godless. A bowed
head is seen from a distance. Circles of

sight converge to form a drone's view
of a year of dried, muted leaves. To reach 

a hand, not to stare nor indulge,
is the task of a year, and years to come.


Since 2016, Aloysiusi Polintan has worked as a Senior High School Principal in Divina Pastora College. He started scribbling poems and essays when he was 17 years old. These poems are still kept in a notebook and wait to be revised for future publication. This notebook will be revived and will give birth to language already "lived." That is why his blog is named "Renaissance of a Notebook," a blog of poems, personal and academic essays, and flash movie reviews. His book reviews, which are published and featured in The Halo-Halo Review and Galatea Resurrects, are also to be found on the blog, under the series title "Mesmerized." He believes that the ability to judge or critique a literary piece starts with the reader's being moved and mesmerized by the artful arrangement of words articulating some longing for freedom and individuality. He's now working on a manuscript of 50 poems, with a working title of Brittle Sounds. He's 24 years old, living in Nueva Ecija.

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