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

 

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By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

kristine-ong-muslim-pix

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

Because writing is fun.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My latest book is Age of Blight, a collection of short stories that mostly talk about humanity’s toxic impact to the natural world and how unfair it is to nonhuman animals that we are taking them down with us as we destroy this planet. Some stories in the book also attempt to straddle both supernatural horror and psychological horror—two genres I love.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

A body of writing that evolves form-wise and theme-wise (and treatments thereof) so that in book after book, I’ll be able to see a semblance of progress. Stories that delve into ethical issues and use POVs in order to subtly distinguish between right and wrong. Ecological themes. In poetry: not terribly postmodernist-style detached in tone, not overtly emo, either. Personas with universal empathy. Conjuring a dreamlike feel always appeals to me.

Who are your favorite authors?

Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Thomas Harris, Ira Levin, Herbert Lieberman, Stephen King, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Shirley Jackson, Terry Bisson, Brendan Connell, Rhys Hughes, Patricia Russo, Bruce Boston, Dan Chaon, Matt Bell, Brian Evenson, plus many contemporary writers, mostly poets. Recent fiction addictions include those authored by Damien Angelica Walters and Nalo Hopkinson.

What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.

My planned first novel, which I aim to finish by the end of this year. It is challenging because if it sucked then I will have a hard time selling my next one.

By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

Kristine Ong Muslim Pix

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

Because writing is fun.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My latest book is Age of Blight, a collection of short stories that mostly talk about humanity’s toxic impact to the natural world and how unfair it is to nonhuman animals that we are taking them down with us as we destroy this planet. Some stories in the book also attempt to straddle both supernatural horror and psychological horror—two genres I love.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

A body of writing that evolves form-wise and theme-wise (and treatments thereof) so that in book after book, I’ll be able to see a semblance of progress. Stories that delve into ethical issues and use POVs in order to subtly distinguish between right and wrong. Ecological themes. In poetry: not terribly postmodernist-style detached in tone, not overtly emo, either. Personas with universal empathy. Conjuring a dreamlike feel always appeals to me.