E. San Juan Jr. : Translated by E. San Juan Jr.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BIO

E. SAN JUAN is Professorial Lecturer in Cultural Studies, Polytechnic University of the Philippines,, and emeritus professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Ethnic Studies,Washington State University & the University of Connecticut. He was recently fellow of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University; and of the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas. He was 2003 professor of American Studies at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. Among his recent books are RACISM AND CULTURAL STUDIES (Duke University Press) and WORKING THROUGH THE CONTRADICTIONS (Bucknell University Press). Two books in Filipino were launched recently: AMBIL (createspace.org) and KUNDIMAN SA GITNA NG KARIMLAN (University of the Philippines Press). His collection of poems in Filipino written in the last four decades was published by Ateneo de Manila University Press in the volume ALAY SA PAGLIKHA NG BUKANGLIWAYWAY. His recent books are BETWEEN EMPIRE AND INSURGENCY (University of the Philippines Press) and LUPANG HINIRANG, LUPANG TINUBUAN (De La Salle University Publishing House).

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Elehiya sa Leuven

ni E. San Juan, Jr.

Iiwan mo lahat ng iyong minamahal; ito ang palaso na unang ipinawawalan ng busog ng pagkatapon….
–Dante Alighieri

Huli na raw ang lahat. Huli na, umalis na ang tren lulan ang gunita’t pangarap.
Huli na, lumipas na ang kamusmusan ng balikbayang naglagalag.

Huli na, naiwan na tayo ng eruplanong patungong Tokyo at Los Angeles.
Huli na, nakaraan na ang oras ng kagampan at pagsisiyam.

Tumulak na, malayo na ang bapor patungong Hong Kong at Singapore.
Nagbabakasakaling aabot pa ang kable–Sayang, di biro, nakapanghihinayang.

Huli ka na sa pangakong pinutakti ng agam-agam at pag-uulik-ulik….
Huli na, nahulog na ang araw. Itikom ang labi, itiim ang bagang….

Kahuluga’y naanod-lumubog sa dagat Sargasso ng pagpapakumbaba’t pagtitiis–
Pahabol ay di na magbubuhol–Tapos na ang pagsisisi’t pagpapatawad….

Walang taga-ligtas ang lalapag sa tarmak mula sa lobo ng iyong pangarap.
Huli na nga, nakaraos na ang kasukdulan, di na maisasauli ang naibigay.

Sinong manlalakbay ang magkakaila upang mahuli ang katotohanan?
Mailap pa sa mabangis na hayop na nasukol, bumabalandra sa rehas—

Mailap pa sa hibong nagpupumiglas–Saan ka nanggaling? Saan pupunta?
Paos, hapo, dayukdok, gasgas ang siko’t tuhod, gumagapang mula sa guwang–

Maghulihan tayo ng loob, Estranghera, hinihintay ang ligayang walang kahulilip.

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Elegy in Leuven, Belgium

(Translated by E, San Juan, Jr.)

–You will leave everything you love; this is the arrow first released by
the bow of your exile….
–Dante Alighieri

Late, they said everything is late. It’s gone, that train loaded with
memories and dreams
Late, they said it’s gone—the nomadic Filipina migrant’s innocence
is gone.

Late, we’ve been left behind by the airplane headed for Tokyo
and Los Angeles
Late, it’s over—the hours of an infant’s deliverance and funeral
dirges

Already departed. So distant now is the ship sailing toward Hong
Kong and Singapore
Taking a chance that the telegram will reach—what a pity, no
kidding, a terrible waste

You’re late—your promises rotting with anxiety and doubts….
Finished!
Too late, the sun has crashed! Close your mouth, squeeze your
jaws’ teeth—

The sense of it all floats and sinks in the Sargasso Sea of
humiliation and suffering—it’s over
Postscripts will not tie the knot—repentance and forgiveness are
over

No savior will land on the airport tarmac from the balloon of your
hopes
It’s over, the orgasm’s over, what’s given cannot be returned

What traveler will disavow so as to catch the truth? It’s finished–
More slippery than the wild beast trapped, banging on
steel bars—

Wilder than desire struggling to escape—where did you come
from? Where are you going?

Hoarse, exhausted, starved, elbows and knees bruised, crawling
on all fours from the abyss….

Beloved foreigner, let’s catch what’s left inside, waiting for joy in
abeyance,
nothing ahead or behind, endless….

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Punta Spartivento

ni E. San Juan, Jr.

“In the naked and outcast, seek love there.” –William Blake

Kamusmusa’y pinaglahuan, Mahal ko
Hinubdang kariktan ng lawa, bundok at ulap na maaliwalas–Bakit malulungkot?
Sa kabilang ibayo nagliliyab ang mga bulaklak, pula, dilaw, asul o kulay luntian

Ngunit ang nakaraan ay sumisingit sa ganda’t aliwalas ng kalikasan
Bumibiyak sa pinagbuklod na puso’t humahati sa pinagtipan
Nagugunita ang pinakasasabikan
“Ininis sa hukay ng dusa’t pighati”
Alaala ng kinabukasan—
anong balighong simbuyo ang naibulalas ng dumaragsang hangin?

Sa dalampasigan ng lawa dito sa Punta Spartivento
kung saan naghihiwalay ang hangin—sa kaliwa o sa kanan–
Tila walang pagpapasiya, itinutulak sa kaliwa o kinakabig sa kanan
Pinaghahati ng tadhana o kapalaran?
O itinitulak ng pagkamuhi, kinakabig ng pagmimithi?

Anong uring ibon doon sa kabilang pampang—pumapaimbulog, pumapailanlang?
Tila kuko ng mandaragit ang humahagupit ngayon
Nagsisikip ang dibdib, balisa sa pagkabigo, pinagtiim ang bagang

Buhay ma’y abuting magkalagot-lagut—walang kailangan….

Doon ang pag-ibig sa mga hinagupit ng walang-katarungang orden,
doon sa mga dukha’t ibinukod ng kabuktutan.

Agaw-dilim sa Punta Spartivento, humhati’t bumibiyak sa agos ng panahon at karanasan
Sa pangungulila, kumikintal sa gunita ang mga mandirigmang sumakabilang buhay
Di matatarok ang lalim ng pag-ibig sa tinubuang lupa

Patuloy ang paglalakbay sa kabila ng hanggahang humahati’t naghihiwalay sa atin

Mahal ko, namimilaylay sa iyong labi ang damdaming biyaya ng nahubdang kamalayan
Nakintal sa dalumat, sa pagitan ng panganib at dahas, ang kailangan at di-kailangan
Ang walang halaga at may halaga, pinaghahati’t pinaghihiwalay…

Pinagpala ang mga kaibigang namundok at nag-alay ng kanilang buhay
Pinagpala ang mga walang pag-aaring nagdusa’t nagdurusa para sa kinabukasan
Pinagpala ang mga bayaning naghiwalay at humati, nagbukod at nagbiyak
Magtatagpo ang lahat sa Punta Spartivento ng pakikipagtuos.
.

.
Punta Spartivento

(Translated by E. San Juan, Jr.)

Innocence has flickered out, my Beloved,
The disrobed glory of the lake mountains clouds is the gift offered by nature
From the distant shore burn the flowers symbolizing the promised blessings….
But what wings of the past sneak in
shrouding the beauty and sanctity of our meeting?
splitting the unity of desire, dividing our tryst?
Remembering the violated victims “plunged in the grave of suffering and despair….”

Souvenirs of the future–
what tidings are trumpeted by the turbulent winds?
They killed Juvy Magsino, Benjaline Hernandez, Eden Marcellana, Rafael Bangit, Alyce Claver…
On the shores of Punta Spartivento, the waves encounter each other and separate–
right or left, here and there–as if without any decision,
pushed to the right
or pulled to the left
divided by fate or fortune?
driven by hatred, attracted by hope?
What sails have traveled to the other shore–moving to and fro, up
and down, hither and thither?
Famished claws of vultures are striking down–
Scarcely does the wanderer sense the crimes that have occurred
and are now occurring–
755 murdered, 181 abducted and abused–
Was it all a waste, Salud Algabre?
“Even if a life is extinguished?” how many more leaps?

Those tortured by this unjust order link us together,
they connect and are joined by what has disappeared, drowned by barbarism….

Dusk falls on Punta Spartivento….
dividing and splitting the flow of experience….

In my solitude, all the combatants who have perished are inscribed
in the psyche, transcending the claws and fangs
of this port that divide and fragment—
My beloved, in your lips treads the dawn of the promised beatitude,
grafted into the cut of grief and rapture,
of what is needed and not needed,
of what is valueless and what is valued,
while we embrace, our jaws clenched,
attacking the shore’s whirlwind…..

Blessed are the thousands of vicims of the oligarchy and compradors
in the fissure of the past now sunk and tomorrow
heaving up, surging

Blessed are the comrades who separated and divided,
selected and cut up
The world will know who deserted and who volunteered,
those who fought and those who fled–
Everyone will meet here at the Punta Spartivento of the revolution.

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Biyernes ng Hapon sa Oktubre

ni E. San Juan, Jr.

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
na pag-aari ng Indyang Pequot.

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

(Oktubre 1, 2005, Willimantic, Connecticut, USA)

*****

.

.Friday Afternoon in October

(Translated from the original Filipino by E. San Juan, Jr.)

In the autumn afternoon a wound festers
in the crack of the asphalt roads in the city once a pasture field for the native Pequot Indians.

What fraud and deceptions do the window-curtains hide?
Doves and pigeons do not know the color of hope.

My cigarette stub I interred beside the Bridge of Frogs
while the traffic procession headed for the Foxboro Casino now owned by the Pequots.

But why does the Abu Sayyaf sneak into the mind?
In the Fall’s twilight hour I sneak into memory ‘s fissure, a voyeur filled with

apprehension and terror
before we journeyed to America.

*****