Water, Water Everywhere (WWE) Challenge: Pismo Beach, August 2021

The host of the Water, Water Everywhere Challenge is Jez.

Pismo Beach was the emptiest she’d ever seen it, one day in mid-August.

Pismo Beach is important to self’s emotional life, not just because son attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was here a lot: because Carlos Bulosan wrote a harrowing story about being a migrant worker here (in the 1940s) and feeling cold and isolated and weary.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Me, Myself, and Self

Self was interviewed by The Museum of Americana.

Read the interview here.

Poetry Friday: “Like the Molave” by Rafael Zulueta y da Costa, Written 1940

This poem is epic.

The molave was a Philippine hardwood (said to be impervious to fire), now extinct.

Jose Rizal was the writer of the seminal novels Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. He was tried by the Spanish for inciting a revolution, and shot by firing squad in Manila’s Bagumbayan Field.

Self has not been able to find much about Rafael Zulueta y da Costa. He died in 1990, and apparently this was his only poem. He wrote in English. At the time of writing, the Philippines was still an American colony.

Like the Molave, Part I:

Not yet, Rizal, not yet. Sleep not in peace:
There are a thousand waters to be spanned;
There are a thousand mountains to be crossed;
There are a thousand crosses to be borne.
Our shoulders are not strong; our sinews are
Grown flaccid with dependence, smug with ease
Under another’s wing. Rest not in peace;
Not yet, Rizal, not yet. The land has need
of young blood — and, what younger than your own,
Forever spilled in the great name of freedom,
Forever oblate on the altar of the free?

Not you alone, Rizal. O souls
And spirits of the martyred brave, arise!
Arise and scour the land! Shed once again
Your willing blood! Infuse the vibrant red
Into our thin anemic veins; until
We pick up your Promethean tools and, strong,
Out of the depthless matrix of your faith
In us, and on the silent cliff of freedom,
We carve for all time your marmoreal dream!
Until our people, seeing, are become
Like the molave, firm, resilient, staunch,
Rising on the hillside, unafraid,
Strong in its own fibre; yes, like the molave:

Past Squares 17: Road Trip, San Luis Obispo, June 2021

The minute California started coming out of lockdown, self threw a few clothes into her car and drove south, listening to The Bangles and Wilson Phillips on her car radio. (“Someday somebody’s going to make you want to turn around and say goodbyeeeee!”). She passed all the old, familiar sights: Paso Robles, Atascadero, San Miguel, San Luis Obispo!

Posting this for the Past Squares challenge, hosted by Becky at Life of B.

Four Stories and One Forthcoming, 2021

Her story about Chopard earrings, dancing chickens and matryoshka dolls, out now in the most recent issue of Pembroke Magazine.

Two stories about ghosts and guilt, one set in Murcia, Spain, the other in Miami’s South Beach, just out in Vice-Versa

Her story about Osama bin Laden (yes, THAT Osama bin Laden), forthcoming in The Museum of Americana.

There is one other story which was published late 2020, so mebbe it doesn’t really belong here, but what the hoo: her story about a ferry disaster on the Philippine Sea, published in the most recent issue of Western Humanities Review.

Poetry Sunday: Conchitina Cruz

CHANCE MEETING

Blame it on our common distaste
for confrontation — the day we called it
quits, there were no more questions,
even as they hung in the air.

And so we drew the line between ourselves,
and I fished my panty hose out of your hamper,
and you took your blanket
off my bed, packing the rest
of ourselves into separate bags.

Now that it’s done, where was the line
we drew? After all, how divide such things
as books, according to who bought them,
who hasn’t read them,
who needs them for class? How break
a painting, a tub into equal parts?

How dismantle a memory?
Like burglars on the scene of a crime, we took
what we thought was ours, by right,
by excuse, by default.
Cleaned out,
the house returned

a blank stare, saying nothing.
Now this awkwardness of meeting
again this inescapable
intersection, and after a second
of courtesies, we head for separate

doors, leaving a debt we share
unsaid — I’m afraid I still
have something
of yours.

  • Conchitina Cruz, a graduate of the University of the Philippines, is a multi-awarded Filipino poet.

Share Your Desktop Photo Challenge: August 2021

It has been QUITE a summer. How fast it went. And now the Olympics are over, we’re out of Afghanistan, and fall is just around the corner.

You’re alive, we’re alive, wear a mask.

Thank you to the host of this challenge, Clare’s Cosmos!

Support Literary Magazines

Self has short stories in all of these literary magazines.

Gratuitous self-promotion, what?

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

PEMBROKE MAGAZINE, Latest Issue is Out Now

Grab your copy before it’s too late!

This most recent issue contains poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction by emerging and established authors from the US and abroad. An aimless college graduate searches the suburbs for his lost dog and finds ominous duplication; soldiers are sent to the frigid tundra to repopulate a nation. A man reconsiders his complex relationship with the watermelon. A Woman escapes to a surreal tropical island with a diamond earring. A daughter recalls her stitched-together childhood home; and much more.  Cover art by Chhavi Sharma.

Support great writing.

Order your copies now!

Poetry Monday: Luis Cabalquinto

Depths of Field

I walk some hundred paces from the old house
Where I was raised, where many are absent now,

and the rice fields sweep into view: here where
during home leaves I’m drawn to watch on evenings

such as this, when the moon is fat and much given
to the free spending of its rich cache of light

which transmutes all things: it changes me now,
like someone resorted to the newness of his life.

Note the wind’s shuffle in the crown of tall coconut
trees; the broad patches of moon-flecked water —

freshly-rowed with seedlings; the grass huts of
croppers, windows framed by the flicker of kerosene

lamps: an unearthly calm pervades all that is seen.
Beauty unreserved holds down a country’s suffering.

Disclosed in this high-pitched hour: a long-held
secret displaced by ambition and need, a country

boy’s pained enchantment with his hometown lands
that remains intact in a lifetime of wanderings.

As I look again, embraced by the depths of an old
loneliness, I’m permanently returned to this world.

to the meanings it has saved for me. If I die now,
in the grasp of childhood fields, I’ll miss nothing.

Luis Cabalquinto was born in the Philippines and came to the United States in 1968. He is the recipient of a poetry prize from the Academy of American Poets and a fellowship from The New York Foundation for the Arts, among others.

July #TreeSquare Challenge # 10: Annaghmakerrig Again

I did a post last week about Annaghmakerrig Lake. These are from the same visit (March 2017), but taken of the trees outside my cottege at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig.

For a blissful month each year, I journeyed to this beautiful corner of Ireland, with one purpose only: to write. I was supposed to go in 2020, but of course COVID. My hope is to return, perhaps in 2023?

Thank you to Becky of The Life of B. If not for her #TreeSquare Challenge, I would not have thought to post these pictures.

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