PROJECT GRACE-UP

NATIONAL LGBTQ+

WRITERS WORKSHOP

Alfonso Manalastas

Alfonso Manalastas is a published op-ed contributing writer, a poet, and a touring spoken word artist. He was invited to perform and speak for TEDxUniversityOfSanCarlos (Cebu) in 2017 and TEDxRoxasSt (Davao) in 2018. His op-ed articles have appeared in Rappler, Scout, and Inquirer, while six of his poems are part of the latest edition of Likhaan: the Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature under the UP Press.

Featured Work:

Factory of Alleged Virtues

Alfonso Manalastas

Alfonso Manalastas

Poem

Alfonso Manalastas

Poem

Alfonso Manalastas

Poem

Alfonso Manalastas

Poem

Alfonso Manalastas

Poem

Alfonso Manalastas

Poem

Alfonso Manalastas

Poem

Alfonso Manalastas

Poem

Alfonso Manalastas

Where I'm From

Where I am from is a spoonful of steaming white rice;

a parcel of ripe mango perched eloquently on top
like the spiral drip of a muse’s body.

 

Demetria is a homemaker through and through,
spit shines decades’ worth of antique flasks and clay bowls

before plucking mangoes from her garden of Eden,

 

poises all four feet and eleven inches of her body

onto the Narra chair for recuperation
as she mechanically summons

 

the odd quasar of a spoon into her mouth
with a trembling hand—sap and grain erupting

behind her sheepish, almost childlike grin.

 

This is how I remember the woman:
Demetria, climbing gates from inside to peer
above the fence, eyes probing for a boy in his bicycle

 

teetering down a street; his young, pulsing knees

hungry for the gush of asphalt heat. On some days,

the boy lends himself to a kite string, tugging

 

the make-shift bird against the dexterity of the clouds;

and landlocked still, Demetria lingers by the fence
to watch over the boy at war with the sky.

 

As nightfall looms, merienda is served: a mango

halved on a small plate next to steaming white rice.

One for Demetria, one for her grandson.

 

Every day, the boy learns to defy long held beliefs:

laws of balance, of gravity, of flavor, and as once told,

that everything good is better with rice. Everything is.

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