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By Melissa Gatchalian
Hearing the new law that was passed right after my clandestine meeting with the doctor, I immediately made a mental list of the people I needed to save my precious one hundred and sixty-seven words for. Forty for my mother and father, I think, just to tell them how my sister and I felt each time we hear the vicious exchange of words coming out of my parents bedroom. Seventy for my sister, just to tell her how much I loved her and how I will always be with her no matter what happens. Fifty-seven words for my best friend, whom I love like a brother, just to tell him how grateful I am for all the times he stayed up all night with me, whispering words of comfort and assurance when I couldn’t bear it anymore. Then, one night, he called telling me how he only said fifty-nine words today, saving the rest for me. In utter shock, I couldn’t speak. I could only think about how much it would hurt him if I told him that I didn’t feel the same way and that he was like a brother to me. After all he has done for me, how could I hurt him like that? So, I resolved to remain silent, leading him to believe that I used up all my words. “One month.” I remember the doctor saying right after I asked how long I had. Just one month, I think, I can do this. Every day that month, he called saying how he loved me again and again while I, in silence, take it all in until one day when my heart finally stopped beating.
By Marty Arnaldo
Well, in theses dark days we live in, where in we are force to regulate they use of our words, I have come to realize how much words mean to me. They make life, well, wonderful; I had learned that silence is not for me. I need words, my words. I feed of them, words are life’s honey, oh how sweet they truly are. I yearn for them I need them and that is why, I guess, I’m about to do the things that I am about to do.
It has been three years since that wretched law was passed, and every year since it has been a living hell. Republic Act 0903, the limit of words, written or oral, to exactly 167. What a stupid law, you read a newspaper, all 167. If you watch the news, every news anchor, 167. Books are now written at a terribly slow pace, at 167 words a day a book. With these few words I have written, now I realize I have gone beyond the 167 words allotted. I do not care though, and I shall not care from this day forward. Anyway, there have been only a scarce few that have been published in the years of our silent world.
I love words, and I guess my love affair with them has been apparent to me ever since I was a child. I had, to say the least, a way with them. I am someone who loves films, especially old classic films; they have a certain “Je ne sais quoi” to them. I remember this old, old film that was shown a couple of decades ago, Thank you for smoking, have you ever heard of it? Anyway, it starred the late Aaron Eckhart, as Nick Naylor, as the fast-talking voice of the tobacco industry, anyway there was thing he said in the film that really struck me, he said “I get paid to talk. I don’t have an MD or law degree. I have a baccalaureate in kicking ass and taking names. You know that guy who can pick up any girl, I’m him on crack.” Well I’m kinda like him, but instead of crack, Postiepheripheron. If you do not know what crack is it is what they use to call cocaine, well now a days there are hardly any crack left, with the inception of P’s, which is 10 times stronger, who needs crack. By the way I do not use P’s or any sort of drugs whatsoever, I am not a drug addict, really, I’m not.
Well, things haven’t really gone that well for me since the 167 law. I lost my job, was left homeless, but I guess what hurt the most was when, “she” left me. I lost my love to man with great eyes and a way with silence. Oh and what a beautiful creature my love was, with her big brown, incandescent eyes, her lovely ruby red lips, oh and her smile, her ineffable smile. I loved, and sadly miss, her smile the most. Ah, yes her perfectly crooked smile, the way the left side just rises to right below her cheek, while the right barely moves an inch. I can not, even for someone like me, do her smile justice merely with words, her indescribable smile, that even turns a man such like me, into a blubbering idiot.
Anyway where was I, oh yes, I had lost her to a man with great eyes and a way with silence. The difference between us was clearly evident, I, with my beady, vacant eyes. Sadly, my eyes aren’t, shall we say expressive. They are cold and blank; my words on the other hand, are a different story. Without my words though, I am left with my cold, beady, vacant, blank expressionless eyes. That is my sad fate, I was born in the wrong era I guess, the time of words has come to pass. Silence now appears to be even the more golden. Even music was not spared from this horrid fate, the fate of 167. Unspoken plays, wordless musicals, films again silent.
I have a plan though, a plan that will change things. I cannot disclose too much information though in fear of being found out. All I can tell you though is that things are gonna get quite interesting if my plan succeeds. I will liberate our words, the silence will be broken. I will get my life back. I may loose my life but, it does not matter, life is not worth living without words, my words.
To you who may have chanced upon this letter to no one in particular, know this, I now consider you a friend, and hope that you do not think of me a mad man, or clinically insane, but rather someone who has lost something precious to him, something that could have very well have defined his existence, and would stop at nothing to get that back. I am not crazy, not in the least bit; I surely hope you believe me. Anyway, to you my good friend, or possibly to know one at all, I hope you wish me luck, I’m going to need it.
John Seymour Dy
By Kaye Tan
Understood.No words.No need.
That’s all there is to it.
Ni Dempson Mayuga
Gusto kong magsalita,
Kahit huli na’ ko sa balita
Gusto kong sumigaw,
Kahit mata ko’y lumitaw
Gusto kong tumili,
Kahit ako’y ‘di pa tuli
Gusto kong humiyaw,
Kahit pusa ko’y ‘di na mag-meow
Gusto kong tumalak,
Kahit lalamunan ko’y may halak
Gusto kong makipag-usap,
Kahit katawan ko’y kinukulisap
Gusto kong sabihing mahal kita,
Kahit bibig ko’y balot ng linta
By Leo de la Cruz
I saw a man die today.
He had himself run over by a ten-wheeler,
Blood and guts and all that rained over the street.
I saw that people just kept on walking,
Some were shaking in their boots, but just kept on walking,
And I found, that I myself, before flicking off a piece of meat from my hat and shoulder,
Just kept on walking.