Dark Skies


Every once in a while, we break off from presenting our original works to share with you something profoundly awesome out there: the dark skies. And if you have a wanderlust for the wonders of the night skies, you know that the threat of light pollution is real. The International Dark-Sky Association is trying to raise awareness of our dark skies and the threat of light pollution to this natural nighttime environment. We hope you take the time to view the videos and photos shared hereherehere and here, and explore the other links in this post, for education as much as for enjoyment.

from the skyglowproject.com

from darksky.org 

Posted in general, nature, photography | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Panda Alert!

It certainly would be a surprise to find a panda at one’s door! If you were in such a situation, what would you do? 🙂 The photo below is of Ibzy and Imzy, romancing the panda! No! Actually, they are simply playfully posing against a life-size poster of “a panda at the door” pasted on one of the walls of The Curve, a mall in Petaling Jaya, Selangor Malaysia. Finding the postered walls during one of the family’s forays to the mall was unexpected, and was certainly another surprise treat for the kids.


photo of ibzy and imzy with ‘the panda’. photography by ssj, july 2016

And here’s another treat, this time for you, dear readers: a haiku that seems to be playful on the surface, but … Before continuing with my notes further below, enjoy the haiku first:


beware, bamboo shoots!
might as well feed the panda,
cola and tributes.

-© SSJ 2016

This haiku is actually a political allegory to a very sticky situation in the disputed area called the South China Sea, with the panda & its bamboo symbolizing China. Wikipedia’s overview of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, found here and here, underscores the complexity of the situation. While the Philippines, with its pittance of land, air and naval arsenals, cannot hope to win in a military confrontation with China on the issue, nor can it afford to disengage itself from the economic influence that China wields in the region, it is thus well advised to instead nurture its economic and social ties with the superpower — to tame the panda at its doorsteps, so to say — in the spirit of cooperation and fraternity among nations.   — SSJ, 15 April 2017

Additional Reading: 

Developments in the South China Sea arbitration case …


What’s at stake in the messy South China Sea dispute (according to CNN)


The ruling on the South China Sea arbitration case  (Philippines vs. China)


Current ‘fluid’ status at the South China Sea: Philippines mending relations with China?





Posted in essay, haiku, photography, poetry, politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

This is not like it, the visions



This is not like it, the visions
of a gradeschooler
who too willingly would have
traded for a twitching butterfly
his balding, if not for the tonic,

The boy now man cannot see
the adult, his dreamer’s man
of plenty, unheeding
old shadows of proselytizers
nor the ease in blending with
divisive corridors, rooms and hallways
of edifices in whose massiveness
the boy now man sees only a boy
his haughty hallucinations of daring
into massage parlors and the dark
mysteries of a woman’s softness
is libidinous
no more than the thick
gum of a jackfruit prim
stuck out of a stick trembling
to snare taut a dragonfly as
the lad in his pants thrilled full.

His early Seventies’ Che Guevara
under whose posterized nose
huge red, black and white,
he had gone to bed, a guitar
beside him seems no more than,
to the intercourse of creed and color,
now a mere contrast, two dimensional
wall-covering sick against
the counter counterrevolutions
of nations whose vacuity of souls
is carved out of international polities.

This tyke might then have equated
the Beatles with the Four Horsemen
of the Apocalypse, exacting
the same precision with which
computers in their ignorant endurance
read, write or execute
his digitals and analogs.

He might even just have dreamt
becoming tough like the Sulu wars
which in the passion of novels
and the panorama of the movies
craft of clouds crowding
stood hungry like the rubble,
hesitant ghosts of a town besieged,
while under the fallen leaves, with age,
he dug worms for the mudfish.

Only, the river rippling cosmopolitan
permeates so much, the dead would bloat
softening the fibers of tension
into a swelled man’s deceptive health.

He now remembers his old man complain:

“Even our verses crawl 
limpid like litmus. 
We have ceased 
using cork pads under 
cola bottle caps. 
The substituted plastic 
yields harder to scratches 
to bare the pleasant marks of 
like desert drought reposed 
in languidness. 
Surely this is not like it, 
the visions.” 

© SSJ 1980

Posted in collection: looking back into ten years, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

All before in the days

all before in the days
the easter shells off me were peeled
and out my umbilicus
were yanked the rainbows cold

a brave child i was blending
like lizard lazy into rocks
softer than the rim my days were
of a sun floated across
the nearness of gentle sky
in leaps and bounds my winds
cotton-candy rolled
in between mountains

there is just now scaling rocks
a bitter one of his barrenness
only dust and nothing floats is soft
on the sky surely not the scorch
even the birds get tired
and how the clouds could bleed
stranger the wind is his no more
no two mountains could cotton-roll

who exactly his predators were
he does not even know
and how to him they ever got
and who today changed am i

© SSJ 1980

< WDP: Outlier >
Posted in collection: looking back into ten years, poetry | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

For the luck of a rover

For the luck of a rover
the preacher is willing to forsake
his pulpit and the audience.
There is no worse suffering more
than that of a man whose words
come bouncing back as arrows
repelled and now are lodged
thick in his soul, the weight
becoming his age and surrender.

When the luck of the rover comes
the preacher must decide
whether to dismantle his lectern
and send the audience away
or just leave empty the scaffold
as audience waits on trashing feet
for the next hanging man or
the fear it so closely guards
in its imprisoned heart.

Then the preacher shall no more be,
with the rover’s luck like evening cloak
securing him to a loser’s journey
though he must keep on hoping
for that caged fear to be free
or a better preacher than he is
to stare down from his pulpit
before it too crumbles with the ravages
of arrows and age.

© SSJ 1980

< WDP: Fortune >
Posted in collection: looking back into ten years, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We are no Methuselahs


We are no Methuselahs
To waste our time wasting time.

Life is republican and death
A silent democrat.

The growing will almost always
Take us forever.

The dying is always now
At the back of our heels.

©  SSJ 1980


Posted in collection: looking back into ten years, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Looking Back Into Ten Years

Looking Back Into Ten Years is a collection of six poems
first published in Focus Philippines magazine,
issue of 5 April 1980.
© SSJ 1980


Liquid seeping through the ground…



Might be in the deep night she came …


We are no Methuselahs … 


For the luck of a rover ….


All before in the days … 

This is not like it, the visions …



Posted in collection: looking back into ten years, general, poetry | Tagged , , | 2 Comments