Two Poems by Ivy Alvarez

GINTÓNG ASAL

When I see you, I become you. When you see me, you become me. We recognise our similarities, hold up a hand, press palm to palm, move it around. The invisible glare now a mirror, we move our bodies about, now think for a minute, yes perhaps, yes we are the same. I will give you the benefit of my doubts, as I hope you will for me. You are more vulnerable than you think. I’m the stronger one. The odds are stacked, did you know that? We outnumber, outmanoeuvre, counterpoint in counterpart, better than you expect, but still we love despite the pain, despite the rain, despite society’s constructs, its bomb-making instructions. We deserve better. We are akin. The body can heal in the quiet. Our minds must be quiet. In solace, we reject pain and soothe ourselves to rightness again. Sit with me now through these sunsets, sunrises, all the prizes, surprises coming to us. We deserve this peace we feel, suffuse our beings, top to toe.

Filipino idiom meaning a nice and worthwhile character admired by all (literally, gold original; golden behaviour)

GANGGÁKALINGKINGAN

 

I notice it lifted on me when I play my instrument, a little self-conscious, a little pinkie, three phalanges, so I’m told, so I’ve read. Etymologically Scottish, meaning small and wee, like a high note disappearing into the air. I pink and prink. Digitus minimus manus. Manually, I work on myself, from death to little death morning noon and night. I’ve lost count. I put down sheets and lie down, and go down on one knee then two and perhaps I know what to do, or can try to. Half the force of my hands relies on these and mine are curved, personal scimitars, a sickle moon to reap one’s crops, the width of a pencil and here I am … I write, to bring this back to life.

Filipino idiom meaning very small when compared to another (literally, as big as the small finger)