BRYLLE B. TABORA
Brylle B. Tabora is a graduate of B.S. Biology from the University of Santo Tomas.
His screenplay won second prize in the 2015 Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for
Literature. He was a writing fellow for poetry to the UST Summer Creative Writing
Workshop (2014) and the 52nd Silliman University National Writers Workshop (2013),
and a fellow for fiction to the 12th IYAS Creative Writing Workshop (2012) in Bacolod
City. His short stories and poems have been published in the Philippines Graphic,
Heights, Montage, Silliman Journal, and the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He
was also a fellow to the 1st CinePanulat Screenwriting Workshop organized by Jun
Robles Lana, and recently to the 15th Ricky Lee Screenwriting Workshop.
Song for My Mother
Blue flicker of light from the TV screen
Reflects on your face, shaping your essence
As Bea Alonzo utters her famous line, or
Was it Vilma Santos from a decades-old film?
O, good mother who moves to the kitchen
Just when the good part is about to play;
Who never miscalculates her baked mac
During noche buena, a prize winner;
Who named her stillborn baby Angela
Because she will always be your little one.
Your mother's name translates to joy
Which is quite the opposite of how you see her:
Maghahalo ang balat sa tinalupan, you say.
Free-for-all, bitten skin of the fruit.
And your father is buried six feet deep
On top of a hill, so when the sky sighs
You know he'd be looking down at you
With a smirk, bespectacled and all. Let me ask you:
Do you whisper your prayers to the dead?
Do you hold on to them like superstition?
Blue flicker of light beckons back to you.
Outside, the gurgling of a tricycle.
This Poem Won't Hunt
to the corner
the sky grunt
in the cold
from the East.
In front of the mirror, father shows me how to shave.
In one smooth motion, he pulls the razor to his chin
No cream, no aftershave, just plain old water.
The blunt edges of the months-old razor barely cuts
My pubescent facial hair. I never got the hang of it.
"A clean face makes you look desirable, more professional."
Although I never really found to this to be true.
He continues on with his blabbering,
And when he raises the blade, he tells me:
"You must never look straight in a man's eye unless you
Want to start a fight." That was thirteen years ago.
Now, twenty-four and fatherless, I look in my lover's eyes.
He has a habit of picking the hair off his upper lip
Saying he doesn't like how razors make his face craggy.
I wanted to tell him how childish this sounds.
Instead, I tell him we're going to be late for the service.
Friends and family gather during mass to pray
To the god my father had long rejected, asking
Him to absolve his sins and send him to god-knows-where.
After the service, I go over to the coffin with my friends
Repeating the story of how stroke got to him.
I realize I've been staring at my father more than
I ever did in my lifetime. I take note of his face,
How well-rested and clean-shaven.
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