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Sam Domingo | Zine | 2021

An Alfonso on the Table, Empty Yet Full

The inputs from Ms. Bebang Siy really helped me navigate the start of my poetry collection. It's my first time experiencing a workshop since I've no degree in creative writing. I was scared because of all the things I've heard from peers who have gone through workshops, however, when I was already there, the comments came from a place of love. Indeed, all insights and readings of my poems were very much helpful. The suggestions of Ms. Bebang Siy gave a fresh look at my poems and honestly, that kind of fresh and informed eyes is what I need whenever I write. Usually, before I would submit to open calls, I'd have my best friend or other close friends read my piece. However, that ritual isn't the case nowadays especially because I'm loaded with work. I cram a lot and that's one thing I want to change about myself. However, it's been really difficult to do so given that, I work and pursue my passion for the arts. I guess that's the reality for the eldest Asian sibling who's artsy. Moreover, I'm so used to just submitting a poem on collections that I tend to make stand-alone poems, but for this project, I'd have to really make a poem that connects with fourteen more poems. It was quite hectic for me as the attempt was new to me, but with the kind support of Sir Cupkeyk and Ma'am Bebang, I think I could take on the challenge. I'm honestly thankful for the time with Ma'am Bebang. I've always been a fan of her works so, seeing her critiquing my creations is just a dream come true. I chose her to critique my pieces because most of my poems seem to be CNFs in which she excels. I like the way she writes so naturally in Filipino/Taglish and yet these pieces of hers capture writing that jiggles our essence. That type of writing is what I want to emulate for my project.

This natural step-by-step procedure then becomes the driving force of my collection. Since I will be highlighting the lessons I've learned in identity-building as an LGBTQIA+ individual from my family, I've listed the characteristics I've noticed about them and how these attributes have affected me positively or negatively. I want the readers to immerse in my own experiences hoping that some moments or encounters can resonate with them and perhaps, modify their day-to-day for the better. The love and care are just in the drinks, the laughs, and the native delicacies we shared. The openness of the environment definitely fostered my growth not only as a kid but also as a queer adult. I owe this Sam and collection to them. I can't wait to write new poems and make my poems informed.

The drinking session starts. Though we're not complete as a family due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the excitement and the anticipation to whatever the drinks would bring us manifest as lively as the energies of the rest of our family. We serve each other with shots to which we offer eccentric stories in return. Unsolicited advice on relationships is one of my tito's and tita's tips.

Popcorn, pansit, chicken feet, Alfonso, soju, and Yakult serve as our appetizers, main dish, and dessert for the rest of the evening. Here, there's no shying in getting "take twos." Actually, if someone declines suggestions of "take twos," expect that all throughout the session you'd be bombarded with words of care: "Are you stressed? Why aren't you eating so much?"

The night is getting long. At this point, we reminisce some of our memorable moments together - when we still lived in the same house. In that remembering, we couldn't help but also look forward. We started making promises of bonding altogether again. They don't know I carry them with me despite the distance. 

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