‘Sometimes on the road to Kidapawan’ by Paul Randy Gumanao: A translation to Davao Filipino

(Paul Gumanao’s best Kidapawan poem so far – unless he has an even better one hidden unpublished. Again, a liberal translation. I deviated from the original line cutting, and paraphrased at some points so as not to compromise the translation’s own quality. I’m very happy with the ambiguity of ‘mag-uwi’ in the translation’s Davao Filipino, and the pun on ‘Makilala’!)

Minsan, Pauwi ng Kidapawan
Translated by Karlo Antonio Galay-David

Matagal na akong nagamahal magmahal
ng walang pangalan, ng may mukhang
walang kamukhaan kahit anong pilit
bigay sa kanya ng itsura, ng kaganda
ng lahat ng bidang babae sa mga salida
na kalingawan ko masyado kada hapon,
habang walang ibang magawa kung hindi
mag kunyari na nagamahal, ginamahal, magmugna.
Dahilan din bitaw bakit
gusto ko mag-uwi sa Kidapawan.

Sa van gusto ko yang
maghirig ako sa balikat
ko, ginaisip na ang hininga mo
ang nagadampi sa balat ko, habang
ginaisip kita nagatulog, habang
mawala kita sa mga gomahan
at sa taligsik minsan
sa may Makilala, mga palatandaan
ng malapit na na yakap ng nanay, o ng kaibigan
o ng mga alaala natin noong high school.

– Ayan na lagi, makilala!

Sus, dahilan din talaga bakit
gusto ko mag-uwi
sa Kidapawan.
Habang palapit na ako, palapit
ka na rin, mas nagalinaw na
sa akin ang iyong ngiti.

Dahan-dahan, maalala ko ang pangalan mo.

Sometimes, on the Road to Kidapawan
by Paul Randy Gumanao

Long have I been loving to love
a nameless, whose face remains
faceless amidst all attempts
of masking her the looks of every
leading lady in the romance movies
I so dearly enjoy in the afternoons
when there is nothing better to do but
to pretend to love, be loved, to imagine.
This is also one reason why I’d like
to travel home to Kidapawan.

In the van, I like it when I lean
on my own shoulder, thinking
it was your breath wafting on
my skin as I imagine you
sleeping, while I look farther, until I
forget you because of the rubber trees
and the occasional drizzles of Makilala,
the signals of the proximal embrace
of a mother, perhaps, or an old friend,
or of our high school memories
of little fondness. And there, memories!

Ah, another reason why I love
to travel home to Kidapawan.
The nearer I get, the clearer
you appear, smiling.

Slowly, I remember your name.

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