‘From Saudi with Love’ by Ariel Dim. Borlongan
Translated by Meredith Ramirez Talusan
Good day my love, my dear, my other half
I hope our children get good grades and laugh.
My Junior’s still the king of basketball?
And Anna? She must be the queen of all,
the one admired at Flower Festival.
And how is Sir Serapio, poor old pal?
He bought the wildly spreading rumor
His wife had found another suitor
So he pretended to go off the rails
And day and night he spent just eating nails.
I then was forced to be the one to take
His own extension when he couldn’t wake.
And how was that colored TV I sent?
I won that at a raffle. Hope it went
Well with your brother’s gift of Springsteen?
Claims he’s a patriot, but why so keen
On foreign things? But wait a bit my love
Why have your letters lately been so rare?
I don’t believe the tape of Grandma’s voice
That says you’ve snatched the teenage neighbor.
I’m sure you know how hard life here can be…
I hate the frozen chicken they feed me.
Yes, there’s orange, and grape, and apple too
But nothing like the Philippines with you.
Since I was transferred lately to Riyadh
And I have not received any letters
From you, my dear, or even just one child
My brain was fried, I think that I went wild,
Was homesick, so was tempted by the lure
Of beauty from my boss’s wife so pure.
Forgive me. But this message is my last.
I know on Friday they’ll behead me fast.
From Saudi with Love
ni Ariel Dim. Borlongan
Kumusta na minamahal kong kabiyak,
Okey ba ang grades ng ating mga anak?
Ang aking Junior, nagba-basketball pa ba?
Si Anna, tiyak na siya ang Reyna Elena
At hinangaan noong Flores de Mayo,
Kumusta na si Kumpareng Serapio?
Kumagat siya sa kumalat na tsismis
Na kumaliwa ang kanyang misis
Kaya nagkunwari siyang tinotoyo
Sa araw-gabing pagsubo ng pako.
Ako tuloy ang napilitang tumanggap
Ng extension sa kanyang pagtuwad,
Ayos ba ang padala kong colored TV?
Nadale ko iyon sa raffle. Ano’ng sabi
Ni bayaw sa collection ni Springsteen?
Akala ko, makabayan siya, ba’t humiling
Ng imported? Teka nga muna, mahal,
Ano’t dumalang ang iyong liham?
Hindi ako bilib sa voice tape ni Inang
Na naloloko ka sa bagets na kapitbahay,
Alam mo naman ang hirap ng buhay dito….
Nakasosora na ang manok na elado,
Oo, may ubas, kahel, at mansanas.
Pero iba talaga ang Pilipinas.
Mula nang ilipat ako dito sa Riyadh
At wala nang balitang natanggap
Mula sa iyo at sa ating mga anak,
Laging alboroto ang aking utak.
Sa homesick, natukso ako sa beauty
Ng misis ng aking among Arabe.
Patawad. Huling liham ko na ito.
Sa Biyernes, pupugutan ako ng ulo.
Read Meredith Ramirez Talusan’s notes on translation here
Poem originally published at Arcade |