No more, you thought, could it stare back at you

Language: Filipino
Poet: Allan Popa
Translator: Mabi David and Allan Popa

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No more, you thought, could it stare back at you

Two poems by Allan Popa translated from Filipino by Mabi David and the author

 
Allan Popa is the author of ten collections of poetry, including Drone (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2013) and Laan (De La Salle University Publishing House, 2013). He has received the Philippines Free Press Literary Award and the Manila Critics Circle National Book Award. He teaches at the Filipino Department of Ateneo de Manila University and is currently the Director of Ateneo Institute of Literary Arts and Practices (AILAP).
Mabi David is a freelance writer and researcher. Her first full-length book of poems, You Are Here, was published in 2009 by High Chair. Her chapbook, Unto Thee, appeared in 2005. She is also one of the authors of Rafflesia of the Philippines, a story about the hunt for (and discovery of) this rare parasitic plant, and the Filipino botanists involved in its conservation. She was a former Deputy Director of the University of the Philippines Press and Head of the Research Department of the Filipinas Heritage Library. Her new book of poems, Spleen, was released by High Chair in 2014.

Aso

Hindi punyal hindi krusipiho ang hawak mo
nanggigigil na kinakaskas sa ilalim ng kaldero kahit

walang nasisimot kundi ang ngilong tinutugon
ng ungol sakal ng kadenang-asong nakatanikala sa iyo.

Anong pangangailangan pa ang nagpapalubay
sa iyong kapit upang haplusin siya sa noo, malupit

na kamay na malugod niyang inaabot upang basain  
ng dila na minsang nahuling dumidila sa kanyang

ari: matalim mo siyang tinitigan upang pahiyain.
Hindi na niya makakayang harapin

ang iyong tingin. Sa iyo siya nakatingin.

Dog

Neither crucifix nor knife
what you scrape against the pot’s bottom.

You scrape up nothing, not
a scrap off it, only a grating screech

to which the dog whines, choking at
the leash chained to you. Out of what need

would you loosen your grip to pet
its forehead? It licked your hand.

Once you caught it feverishly licking its own
sex and fixed on it, staring it into shame.

No more, you thought, could it stare
back at you. It stares back at you.

Baboy

Malalasap pagbigkas ng baboy kung bakit baboy
ang mababasaging alkansiyang hindi nagawang

mapabigat bagamat matabang-mataba sa iyong palad.

Pinakinggan mo ang pag-alog sa kahungkagan
ng iilang sensilyong naihulog sa mabintog na tiyan,

tiningala’t sinilip ang dilim sa napakakitid na butas. 

Matatandaang ito ang gulang ng pagtuklas ng sarap
sa pagtuklap ng langib ng papahilom na sugat.

Nakapaglalaway, nakapangingiwi ng mga labi

ang pagsungkit, pagkupit ng pilak mula sa sarili
na mariing maikukuyom sa nangangati mong palad.

Malalasap pagbigkas ng baboy kung bakit baboy.

Pig

Savor as you say the word pig, why
it is a pig, this coin bank

you cannot for all its size make heavy.

You listen as you jangle the handful inside
its hollow distended belly, the teats you tilt

to peer past the chink into the dark,

remembering when you first discovered
what pleasure picking on a scab gave you.

You bite your lip to hold the drool in.

You try to snatch at the shiny silver, picking
your own pockets for all that you can

hog, and savor why, as you say the word, pig.