Book Excerpt: from Dead Serious (Walang Halong Biro) by Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles

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These excerpts are from Dead Serious (Walang Halong Biro) by Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles. Manila: De La Salle University Publishing House, forthcoming November 2018

Walang Halong Biro copy


Hope in Hopelessness

by Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

It is a blessing to wait
for one’s death

Surely

it comes without
bearing hope

for the sake of hope even as it reinforces

how I must wait
and stay alive

Pag-asa sa Wala

Biyaya ang maghintay
ng sariling kamatayan

Tiyak na

ito’y darating hindi
nagbibigay ng pag-asa

sa wala gayunman pinananatili

sa akin ang paghihintay
na hindi mamamatay

 

Grave

by Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

It is a noble grave
my interior

A sprawling view
of doom

One foot
in the grave

 

 Hukay

Dakilang hukay
ang aking kalooban

Madudungaw
ang karimlan

Paa
sa hukay

 

On How Silence Can Be Shrill
by Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

Research shows that plugging
the ear of a bat
can make it go “blind”—

Kung Gaano Katalas ang Katahimikan

Sa pag-aaral, pasakan
ang tainga ng paniki
at ito ay “mabubulag”—

 

Philosophy
by Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

I could not, I said
to myself in the same language

tread
twice

Pilosopiya

Hindi ako wika ko
sa sarili sa iisang wika

makahahakbang
nang dalawang ulit


Mythology
by Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

At the mouth of the cave
why do I hesitate

No
homecoming

for both deserter looking back at/
and the deserted

Mitolohiya

Sa bungad ng yungib
bakit ako nag-alinlangan

Hindi
nakababalik

kapwa ang lumilingon/
nililingon


Paradox
by Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

I will wait
for a time when nothing gets missed

by waiting

Among the missing
I cannot be missed

 

Paradoha

Maghihintay ako
sa walang mawawala

sa kahihintay

Sa kawalan
hindi ako makawala

 

 

About the Author

Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles’s eighteen books in Filipino include, among others, Guwang, Pilas ng Papel: Mga Sanaysay sa Tula, Pesoa, and Kurap sa Ilalim, as well as a volume of selected poems, Ang Iyong Buhay ay Laging Mabibigo (Ateneo de Naga University Press, 2016), and a limited-edition release called Talik from Balangay Books. English translations (by Kristine Ong Muslim) of his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals, magazines, and anthologies, including Asymptote, Circumference: Poetry in Translation, Construction Magazine, Fishhouse, Samovar, [sic] – a journal of literature, culture and literary translation, Spoon River Poetry Review, The Adirondack Review, The Cossack Review, Speculative Masculinities (UK: Galli Books, 2019), and The Silent Garden: A Journal of Esoteric Fabulism (Canada: Undertow Publications, 2018). A recipient of multiple national awards and fellowships, two-time Philippine National Book Award finalist Arguelles is co-editor of the journal hal., works as a book editor, and teaches literature and creative writing at the De La Salle University.

About the Translator

Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of nine books, including the short story collections The Drone Outside (Eibonvale Press, 2017), Butterfly Dream (Snuggly Books, 2016), and Age of Blight (Unnamed Press, 2016), as well as the poetry collections Lifeboat (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2015), Meditations of a Beast (Cornerstone Press, 2016), and Black Arcadia (University of the Philippines Press, 2017). She is co-editor of two anthologies: with Nalo Hopkinson for the British Fantasy Award-winning People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction and with Paolo Enrico Melendez and Mia Tijam for Sigwa: Climate Fiction Anthology from the Philippines (Polytechnic University of the Philippines Press, forthcoming 2018). Her short stories have been published in The Cincinnati Review, Tin House, and World Literature Today. She grew up and continues to live in a rural town in southern Philippines.

 

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