by Gino P. Paradela
Harvest season draws near
the fiesta band, the kumbira lines, the busy streets;
the sleepy town awakes.
The dancing school teacher flaunts
a tiara on his head and the crowds cheers
the gay man—with pride,
the festival queen.
No gust, the night sky clear—meters away
The hacienda-owning monks lead the procession:
the incense, the candles, the sea.
Tonight out comes the patron saint, then San Jose
then the Virgin in white, then Jesus pure and holy
shrouded. Young children bow to the passing icons
they remember what the old ones say—
eyes, skin, mouths mutter
pure intention and there is no sin.
After Jesus passes with his blessing,
the night becomes the night and
the disco balls become the new born stars against
the lampooning church council. There is nothing now but
ecstasy in the writhing make-shift basketball court dance hall bodies;
for the season has arrived
when these young lips and warm loins come—
the harvest has arrived.
Gino P. Paradela: I grew up in an urban, polyglot home which spoke Cebuano (my local language) alongside Filipino and English. I view English as an auxiliary language that enables me to make connections with different cultures and lifeworlds from within my islands and outside. Though originally a foreign tongue, I now see English as nativized—becoming in its own way a part of what it is to be Filipino. I majored in Education and Communication Arts (English and Filipino) in University. My graduate course work in Literature and Anthropology. I also teach Literature and the Social Sciences in the University of San Carlos.
Gino P. Paradela is a teacher in Cebu City, Philippines. He works with The Stray Poets Collective, a group dedicated to help popularise poetry in Cebu and BATHALAD—Sugbo, one of the most respected groups in Cebu that advocates the writing of Cebuano poetry.