Our Voices, Words of Law

“Law is associated with literature from its inception as a finalized attempt to structure reality through language.”-Kieran Dolin

 

When we talk about justice, or social justice for that matter, we do not think of literature first. We might have thought of the law, courts, trials, the scales of justice. But not poems, one-act plays, short stories, and essays. Perhaps people think that law and literature are too different from each other, or that justice can only be portrayed when it is shown or told in relation to the law.

When the news shows another teenage boy has been killed as he was mistaken as a drug addict by the police; or when videos of an old man who was shot on broad daylight circulate social media platforms, what can we do? We express our rage, our dismay, our dissent through different forms of expression—language utilized to demand for accountability. 

This is not new to us as we have had a long history of protest literature. From the horrors of Martial Law in the time of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., to the war on drugs in the administration of Duterte, writers have used their voices to show the grim realities experienced by ordinary Filipinos at that time. Literature has not only become our tool to reflect the horrors and hardships created by fascist administrations, but it has ultimately become a weapon for the call of change and justice. This issue of Katitikan is a weaponry: each piece is a tool that utilizes language to clamor for social justice.  Continue reading

The Symphony of Frogs

The frogs sing a symphony at night.

Especially after it rains, when the earth is still wet, the mountains dripping and the foliage and the corn fields are still soaked with rainwater, the frogs sing a symphony. Their obnoxious sounds blend and coat each other until they become one, coherent concerto in the blanket of the dark night.

Papa tells me that they’re singing to thank God for the rain, Mama tells me they’re just singing in glee as they splash in the mud. Continue reading

The Slaying of the War Crab

The twin moons, which rose anew from the Eastern Sea, reminded Uway that he had failed to fulfill his purpose five rice harvests ago, that he must return to do what he had not done—what he was not able to do. On the day that he faced the War Crab, he was a warrior. He rushed at his adversary armed with his spear and the courage of one that had bested many warriors and war-beasts alike. He had thought that he could have won.

Though it was armored and large, the Crab moved fast and its strikes swept everything around itself—felling trees, devastating homes, and crushing the beached boats underneath its weight. Uway moved faster. Leaping high above and ducking below in search of gaps in the Crab’s carapace, he stabbed at every crevice, every crack, every sign of weakness however small, until the Crab bled its blue blood over the sandy soil. Although many of his stabs found their mark, none were deep enough. 

They battled from morning till twilight. Under the noon-light heat, Uway felt a soreness in his chest and the dryness of his lips. He moved slower. Jumped lower. Yet, he chose to ignore those and did again what he did hours before, but it was him whose cracks and crevices had begun to show. He lacked the speed to move out of the Crab’s strikes in time. The Crab’s spikes scraped him as he ducked. Its claws hammered too close to where Uway was. In his attempt to land after a jump, his knees buckled, twisting his joints and muscles. Still, he went on. But he did not make assaults anymore, for everything he did was to avert the Crab’s attacks. Continue reading

The Call of the Dead

2017

RAPID AND RHYTHMIC firing of heavy machine guns fill the air. Every second is a stream of bullets unleashed. Every bullet pierced human flesh it found, striking and shattering bones that came along its way, severing veins. The burst of gunfire tore through the silence that wrapped everyone in peace that midnight. Explosions erupted from every direction. Bombs roared as it plummeted from the sky. Smoke rose. Nipa huts were set on fire. Women and children were helplessly dragged on the ground. 

“Run!” A woman, with tears in her eyes, shouted at the young boy. Continue reading

Nataran

ANG PAGBANAGBANAG SA hanayhay nga kabukiran ang nakita ni Hugo. Hangtod nag-anam-anam og pakita ang gabon nga milugdang ngadto sa nagkabulingit nga yuta, sangko sa pagkaklaro sa mga giwang sa buntod sa Hantag, sa Kabuwaw, ug sa Alimpatongan, nga naglibot sa iyang payag.

Iyang gipangsaboran og mga sapal sa lubi ang binuhi niyang mga manok sama sa basilan, bantam, bisaya, ug kaber.

Pagkahuman, misulod siyag balik sa iyang payag aron magdung-ag. Plano nga sabakongan ni Hugo ang bugas-mais og mga sinip-ak nga kamoteng gitawag og kabutho. Continue reading