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MULA SA TORE NG VILLA SERBELLONI

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MULA SA GUMUHONG KUTA SA HARDIN NG VILLA SERBELLONI, BELLAGIO, ITALYA


Sandaling matining ang kristal na tubig sa lawa, kapagkuwa’y

nagsising-sing at umaalimbukay

Di mo pansin ang lagaslas ng hanging pumupukaw
sa mga bulaklak ng tinataluntong landas

pababa

sa gumuhong kutang nakaumang sa ating pakikibaka

Curva pericolosa Rimanere sul sentiero

Sa gitna ng luho’t yamang naipon sa mga mariwasang palasyo nina Duke Serbelloni at iba pang mga “ibong mandaragit”

Huwag ka raw lumihis
lumiko
lumukso-lukso,
banyagang lumuluha kahit walang mata

Sandaling matining, kapagkuwa’y umaalong maharot—nagbabago sa kisap-mata!

Huwag lumipat o magbago, dayuhang lumalakad kahit walang paa—mapanganib daw

Lawang tahimik, mahinahon, salaaming matining
ngunit sa muling paglingon umaalimbukay--
ngunit di mo alintana habang umaakyat ka
upang maabot ang y…

HIGANTI NG MGA INDYANG PEQUOT

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BIYERNES NG HAPON, OKTUBRE 1, 2005, SA WILLIMANTIC, CONNECTICUT, USA



Sa hapong taglagas may sugat na umaantak
Sa lamat ng mga kalsadang aspalto sa lungsod na dating pastulan ng mga
katutubong Indyang Pequot.


Anong kabulaanan ang itinatago ng mga kortina sa durungawan?
Hindi alam ng mga kalapati kung anong kulay ng pag-asa.


Naupos na sigarilyo’y ibinurol ko sa tabi ng Tulay ng mga Palaka
Habang patungo ang prusisyon ng trapik sa Foxboro Casino--
sugalang pag-aari ng Indyang Pequot.


Kung bakit sumingit sa isip ang Abu Sayyaf?
Sa takipsilim ng tag-lagas sinisilip sa gunita ang kutob at kilabot
bago tayo naglakbay patungong Amerika.

-- ni E. SAN JUAN, Jr.
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PROBLEMS OF CULTURAL POLITICS IN VIGILANTE TERRITORY


By E. SAN JUAN, Jr.


The little horsecarts with gilt decorations
And the pink sleeves of the matrons
In the alleys of doomed Manila
The fugitive beheld with joy.

--BERTOLT BRECHT, "Landscape of Exile" (1940)


In September 1987 I was invited to give a talk on contemporary trends in critical theory at a colloquium sponsored by the research office of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. After summarizing recent philosophical and aesthetic developments in the West, and focusing on reader-response (Rezeptionsaesthetik) theory in particular, I was suddenly plunged into what I discovered later on as an ongoing shouting match on the topic of whether we should junk Rizal or not in our curriculum. The upshot of it was that it was as if I never spoke at all. In the melee I became a pretext for continuing the factional squabble among the faculty, the "always already" situation I found myself in. All my refined discri…

BULAKLAK NG DROGA

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BULAKLAK NG DROGA HANDOG NG ANARKISTA NG MILENYUM


Pinagtampuhan ng tadhana, nilalangaw
inuk-ok ng uwang hanggang naubos pati ubod
Di ko akalaing makauusad pa
“bungang-tulog ang pagkain laging luha ang inumin”

Bakit, Mahal, ayaw mong patawarin ‘yang aliping lagalag?
Pagdamutang tanggapin ang alay nitong sugatang hayop
“pawang dalamhati kahapisa’t lungkot”

Di ko akalaing
Sinong tutuklas kung sino’ng pinaslang at sinong pumaslang?

Pinagtampuhan ng tadhana, siningkaw sa gulong
ng banog-lawin paru-paro’t mailap na batu-bato
ningas-kugon ng sampay-bakod
umuugit sa proyekto ng pagtuklas

Di ko inakala
“malayo ma’t ibig daig ng malapit”
malakas a…

TWO POEMS TRANSLATED FROM THE FILIPINO

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EXERCISES IN TRANSLATION by E. SAN JUAN, Jr.

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WANDERLUST IN MAKATI, PHILIPPINES


Whirling in the maniacal traffic, you're still jobless and traipsing here and there.

Counting posts and stars, you arrive at "nirvana."

Unable to catch time, you are assailed by Madonna's "Like a Virgin."

Worms in the guts or in dirt? You know the twisting innards of the bourgeoisie but their advice for you is to bear the pangs, convulsing....

Eluding caresses when you're up the wall.

"New World Order" is here, they say, so to hell with your rage. Drag your cloak while fuming--

Meteors and mud shroud your whitening eyeballs.

Pushed up your wazu are the machinations of capitalist society, but what can you do?

"Sir, alms...." (Pluck it out, bad luck.)

Dispossessed, disinherited, while the ghouls of democracy feast on....

Though your tongue's hanging out, your navel and anus are still stuck....

On your footsole is inscribed the hie…

DIALECTICS OF CITY AND COUNTRYSIDE IN THE PHILIPPINES

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Encircle the Cities By the Countryside: The City in Philippine Writing

By E. SAN JUAN, Jr.


UNLIKE THE WESTERN industrialized metropolis sprung from the eleventh- and twelfth-century burg (bourg, borough) of the nascent merchant class built in a circular pattern outside the walls of the medieval monastery or ecclesiastical enclave, the city of Manila (now Metro Manila, embracing Quezon City, the official capital, and adjacent suburbs and subcities) was "founded" by the Spanish conquistador Miguel L6pez de Legazpi on May 19, 1571 on the ruins of an Islamic settlement, the fortified hamlet of "Maynilad" ruled by two native rajahs.

I want to emphasize this initial and initiating fact as the constitutive element of difference between the Western conception of the city and the Philippine (in a sense peculiarly Third World) approach. For the truth is that it was not through the clearing of wilderness to establish guilds and market-fairs, but through organized violence and t…