Archive for November, 2013

Desaparecidos You’re Not


desaparecidos you’re not
you did not vanish in thin air
you gobbled by the earth
you whose body butchered
the flesh sliced
to fertilize the wild grass
you are not lost
you cemented in a drum
masticated by the sea
or let to decompose
in some stinking obscure jail
you whose severed head
kicked like a ball
and rolled on the forest’s breast
you whose skeleton disjointed
and the dislocated finger bones
dangling in the mouth of a stray dog
scavenging in a shrubby hill.

desaparecidos you’re not
you did not vanish in thin air
your disgraced earthen body
just metamorphosed
in the greyish morning
or heat-throbbing noontime
in the dying sun at dusk
or nights of the pallid moon
there you are…
there you are
in the dewdrops
in every blade of grass
there you are
in the bloody baby’s cries
coming out from the mother’s womb
there you are
in the springing sweat
on the face and forehead
of a toiling-enslaved worker
in the fungi-infested
feet and legs
of a tired emaciated farmer
in the lamentations of the poor
in the fortress of misery
in the hissing of breath
of everyone bravely fighting
for the honor and freedom
for the glory and joy
of our beloved land.

desaparecidos you’re not
you did not vanish in thin air
you’re just water gulped
by the thirsty heat’s mouth
you’ll soon be dark clouds
in the horizon of discontent
then you’ll be arrows
of incessant rain
piercing the land made barren
by darkness and fear
you are seeds of undying hope
will sprout again and again
you are yellowish plants
mowed by cruelty and force
soon will be verdant
under the glaring sun
yes, you are not lost
desaparecidos you’re not
your veins and ours
are still conjoined
your blood flowing
in the sinews of our flesh and heart
your dreams are one
with our unceasing desire.

yes, desaparecidos you’re not
you did not vanish in thin air
your earthen body just metamorphosed
you will live forevermore
in our flaming heart and mind
in the ardent kiss and tight embrace
of your persistent memories
the prayer-lamentation
of your teary-eyed loved ones
will not go to waste
though enemies you were
in the eyes of the forces of evil
brilliant stars you are
in our rebellious mind
blazing fire you are
lighting our chosen path
for us to violently unshackle
the manacles of oppression and servitude!

(my English version of DI KAYO DESAPARECIDOS)


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Where Is Svetlana Taraskova?


gone is the russian tea house
beside the glendale galleria
gone is the aroma
of the hot tea-vanilla
no more is the small table
i used to write the lines
of loneliness and struggle
no more is the ashtray
of my dying cigarette butts
gone is the huge frame
of painted scenes
of the russian bolshevik revolution
no more is the clinking of vodka goblets
where is svetlana taraskova?
where are her deep eyes
swimming in there are poetic images
of the cotton-like sea of snow
in the streets of moscow
beheaded there was her grandfather
by the barbaric romanov’s soldiers
then his severed head kicked
like a ball rolling
during that blazing fire of freedom
in a stormy lightning-flashing
dark regime of czar nicholas
and czarina alexandra?

gone is the russian tea house
beside the glendale galleria
but still there is
the boutique of wedding gowns
did svetlana taraskova already wear
one of those majestic dresses?
or she already returned to russia
and repulsed the pangs of america?
unlike the many juans and juanas
wholeheartedly embracing
uncle sam’s vices and culture
and could no more recall
the mountainous poetic cordillera
the inviting ricefields
of bulacan and nueva ecija
the mesmerizing sea of batanes and sulu
and much more foreign to their recollection
the likes of andres bonifacio
lorena barros and tanya domingo
or others who sacrificed their lives
for the nation to metamorphose
and reign forevermore
genuine social justice
and national democracy.

gone is the russian tea house
beside the glendale galleria
where is svetlana taraskova?
on many mornings savoring
the aroma of tea-vanilla
often i heard from her
the ardent love and longing
for her beloved homeland
her cradle of lovely memories
swimming also in my tea
for so many chilly mornings
the brave heroic faces
of vladimir ilyich ulyanov
or the great lenin forevermore
and other heroes and martyrs
of the bolshevik revolution
she narrated to me the lives
and works of great writers
of her dear country
tolstoi, gorky and dostoevsky
chekov, pasternak and turgenev
unlike the juans and juanas
in the so-called
land of milk and honey
who are familiar only
with the chattering cristeta
and other lascivious movie idols
and those often involved
in orgasmic sexual behavior.

where is now svetlana taraskova?
is she with pancho villa and emiliano zapata?
or holding a vigil
with simon bolivar and che guevara?
or on a journey with jacinto and bonifacio?
or feasting with ho chi minh and mao?
gone is the russian tea house
beside the glendale galleria
but still there is
the boutique of wedding gowns
lurking in my consciousness are
the corrupt rulers of my country
and i vividly see now
the reddish face of svetlana taraskova
agonizing with unconquerable hatred
where really is she now?

(my English version of NASAAN NA SI SVETLANA TARASKOVA?)

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From Tanya


thank you
for the odes and fragrant words
thank you
for the cluster of fresh flowers
for the compassions and condolences
of the fudge tajars
and kislap alitaptaps
of those unified
by grief and misery
of the tormented
long-suffering masses
yes, thank you
to all friends and comrades
in our decades of struggle.

thank you, my comrades
weep not our parting
be not saddened by my departure
am not lost
you can still feel my lips
when the wind smacks your face
you can still hear my voice
in the rumbling of protests
against the putrid system
along the city streets
near the palace of greed.

am not lost, my comrades
shed not a tear for our rupture
in the crystal-clear spring
of our liberating dreams
you can epitomize my face
you will feel my undying love
in every pulsating heart
of those enslaved
and deprived of human dignity
in every ricefield and factory
of injustice and rapacity
yes, you can feel me
in every worker’s blistered palms
you can smell me
in the peppery odor
of a peasant’s armpit’s sweat.

am always there, always…
am one with the dancing
blooming talahib of the hinterland
am one with the dewdrops
descending on every blade of grass
am one with every swaying stalk of palay
am one with the flying sparrows
am one with the united front
holding vigil in the moonless night
and fireflies are the lonely light.

we are still together, my comrades
bear in mind always
a life sacrificed for one’s country
and the oppressed masses
will never be like rotten debris
never let the hissing lightning
smolder our love for our country
our sole breast and belly
though the earth soonest gobbles
our flesh and bones
we are the steaming blood
flowing incessantly
in every rebellious vein
against injustice and penury
sacred dreams we are
always reaching for the sky
to see social justice reigns
always flapping the tireless wings
for the country’s metamorphosis.

thank you for the odes, my comrades
thank you for the fragrant condolences
thank you for the incense of concerns
our earthen bodies though separated
still conjoined are our veins
with the same type of revolting blood
consecrating in our consciousness
the righteousness of purpose…
to set ablaze the petals of freedom!

(my English version of MULA KAY TANYA)

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ants crawled
on your pallid face
while sprawled out
on the shrubby hill
your fallen body
with bullet holes
the spattering rain
did not wipe out
the blood that sprung
from your chest
belly and thighs
the crystal-like dewdrops
kissed the corners
of your eyes which had fathomed
the grief and misery
of the oppressed class.

not a single star twinkled
last violent night
even the moon’s face
hid beneath the black clouds
amidst the staccato of gunfires
but you did not retreat
you stood firmly
you grasped tightly
the blazing gun of freedom
and let your collared comrades
breakout to safety
for your beloved land
only the whispering wind
of the chilly morning
sung you a familiar lullaby

monument you will remain
in our memories
even though the dried leaves
of togetherness will begin
to gently kiss the muddy soil
the seed of undying love
for glory and freedom
of our disenchanted land
will always sprout and bloom
in the mountain’s belly
in the city’s breast
while the blood of those like you
is being shed
on the land made barren
by exploitation and injustices.

you will live forevermore
in the conjoining veins
of the enslaved victims
of the exploitative class
the stars will soon be brilliant
in the darkness of night
the moon will execrate
the demigods on earth
and the gyrating wind
will hum the cadences
of marching millions-feet
in the memorial of freedom…
long live, fernandina!

(my English version of FERNANDINA)

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Rahima Jamal, 19


skeletal now is the firetree
staring at the sky
the flaming flowers no more
green was it last january
but gone are the leaves now
blown by the feverish
march and april and scattered
on the parched earth
by the sun’s burning breath
rahima would no longer see
the crimson blooming
of the firetree
rahima would no longer hear
the melodious muslim prayers
when dusk kisses the air
in the land made fallow
by the exploitative class
rahima would no longer taste
the ecstacy of durian
rahima would no longer smell
the sweet-sour scent
of pineapple and kumquat.

dismal for three months now
in the morgue
of saif obaidullah hospital
at ras al-khaimah
the cadaver of rahima
only nineteen years old
when death grabbed her
after mohammad sala sultan
cruelly enslaved her
her head repeatedly
slammed upon the wall
her skull cracked
her brain bled
when she refused to be
her master’s horse.

somber for three months now
the remains of rahima
in the morgue
of saif obaidullah hospital
at ras al-khaimah
could not be brought home
to her beloved mindanao
for her lifeless body
to just embrace
the skeleton of the firetree
for her to be showered
with ilang-ilang petals
and sampaguita leis
for her to be gifted
in her bucolic wake
some biscuits and toast bread
before her earthen body
departs to nowhere
amidst the elegy
of the cadena de amor
cogon and wild grass.

abandoned still is rahima
in the dampness of the morgue
while snoring in his sleep
the fucking filipino consul
dreaming, cohabiting maybe
with the said miraculous
well-known virgin de buenviaje
inside the palace of the indios
grinning like a horse
the inutile egoistic ruler
toying in his scheming mind
how to stay in power forevermore
who is rahima jamal?
only a domestic helper from mindanao
neither a member of a royal family
nor a kin of “honorable” men
in the abominable bureaucracy
why bother to crack your brain
if her body could not be returned
to her beloved homeland?
may pity spring from the emir’s heart
sheik saqr bin mohammad al-qassimi
maybe he’s the only hope
so rahima could go home at last
to her dear la tierra pobreza.

how many are the rahima jamals
strewn like debris by the hurricane
of injustice and poverty
who decided to migrate
to whatever foreign land
to escape from the bastion
of grief and hopeless dreams
in their barren homeland?
bleeding is my brain
everytime the world’s rahima jamals
swim in its veins
boiling is its squirting blood
like when elham mahdi shuee
the twelve year-old yemeni gal
was forced to marry at once
her ovary burst and later died
after three days of truculent honeymoon
fortunate was elham mahdi shuee
unlike the migrant rahima jamal
in yemen already elham’s remains.

when will the embalmed rahima
be brought home at last
to our la tierra pobreza?

(My English version of RAHIMA JAMAL, 19. Rahima was a domestic helper from Mindanao who died in the United Arab Emirates after being beaten by her master when she repulsed his sexual advances.)

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Am Hearing Your Lamentations


am hearing your lamentations
la tierra pobreza
land of poverty and sorrow
land saturated by the blood
of the oppressed class
disgraced by injustices
enslaved by exploitation
your cries reverberating
on the wings of the easterly wind
yes, am hearing your lamentations
even in the chirping of the sparrows
piercing and slashing my soul
on nights the pallid moon prays
on mornings like tears
the dewdrops descend
on the yellowish grass
on middays the asphalted streets
groan under the burning sun
on dusks the angry waves
bash the lonely shore.

yes, am hearing your cries
la tierra pobreza
in the thunder’s rumbling
in the ashen sky
in the lightning’s hissing
in the darkness of night
in the flowing of water
down the mountain’s heart
yes, am hearing your sorrows
la tierra pobreza
in the mumblings of wives
who lost their husbands
shrouded in hidden graves
am hearing it
in the orisons and novenas
of so many sisa*
crispin* could be found no more
buried somewhere
by the forces of darkness
or left to rot
in a stinking jail
or abandoned to decompose
in the sea’s bottom
not a mere shadow
of his skeleton
looms no more.

yes, am hearing your lamentations
la tierra pobreza
in the flowing sweats
of emaciated workers and peasants
in the growling of empty stomachs
in the clanking of tin cans
in some garbage dumps
in the creaking
of torn galvanized sheets
on roofs of demolished shanties
beside the murky canal
from tripa de gallina
to canal de la reina
am hearing your grief
la tierra pobreza
in houses bulldozed
in some public lands
now your wretched offsprings
are mere stray dogs and cats
roaming around the black night.

yes, lurking in my ears
your lamentations
la tierra pobreza
anywhere in this planet
your unfortunate people are
strewn by the wind of poverty
scattered like debris
in cruel foreign lands
as hope is now skeletal
and joy is shattered to pieces
in your land made barren
by the exploitative class
yes, la tierra pobreza
“not all are sleeping
“in the darkness of night”
they also are hearing
your calls
their eyes burning with desire
to pulverize, at last
your prison walls!

(my English version of my NARIRINIG KO ANG IYONG PANAMBITAN. *Sisa is a poor mother — a character in Jose Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere or Touch Me Not — who lost her son *Crispin after being beaten to death by an acolyte of a Spanish friar)

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Am No Writer


am no writer
like those glorified in books
or showered with praises and perfumes
on a glittering, dignified stage
am just a simple encoder
of an unjust society’s realities
a narrator of the wretched lives
of slaves of injustices
of those hanged by exploiters
on the calvary of tears and grief
of those whose rights and dignity
are mere piece of tattered cloth
for wiping the rectum and feet
of political and economic lords
on the altar of mammonism.

am no poet
talkative only is my tongue
weaving plaited words
to curse evil demigods
plundering by the hour
the people’s hard-earned fund
they who are great bandits
masquerading as nationalists
in the city’s palaces
always entombming the masses
in revolting, despicable lives
always selling the people’s future
by licking the scrotum and anus
of their scheming
rapist foreign masters.

am no writer
am just a composer
of notes lingering in my ears
sobs of praying mothers
laments of dying fathers
who can’t get hold an aspirin
outcries of orphans
who can’t afford buying
miserable wooden coffins
yes, lingering in my ears
the rumbling of a twisted stomach
the crunching of bones
in some factories of greed
the blasting of a demolished house
beside the stinking putrid canal
the chattering of galvanized sheets
on dilapidated peeled-off roofs
the hissing of breath
of sweating emaciated farmers
in haciendas and fields of grief
the wailing of hungry children
prostrate on cemented sidewalks
of criss-crossing city streets
yes, the lamentations of the poor
anywhere injustices and oppression reign.

am no writer
am just a painter
of decaying wounded images
lurking in my memories
the brush kissing the canvass
through reddish paint
detailing nauseating scenes
in the land of discontent
worm-infested limbs
termites gnawing someone’s chest
guts quivering, bleeding
stomachs with bullet holes
faces skinned every inch
butchered naked bodies
devoid of sacred dignity
while the ruling class
sucks the blood of the poor
and feasting madly
in the fort of addicting power
masticating boiled flesh and bone
stewed heart and liver
beveled noses and gouged eyes
of the exploited, oppressed class.

am no writer
am no poet
am just an encoder
am just a narrator
am just a composer
am just a painter
am just a singer
of revolting realities
in this pus-inflicted society
with neither civility nor dignity
due to the predator ruling class
obssessed to make
their pockets and bellies
bulge forevermore
with stolen blessings
and repugnant wealth!

(my English version of DI AKO MANUNULAT)

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blossoming now is the cadena de amor
on the grave’s tin can marker
of ka pedro the farmer
who died with phlegm
as crimson as gumamela
every morning
he incessantly coughed it off
he passed away
with a bitter, wrinkled face
and tired fungi-infested feet
the fireflies on the acacia leaves
held vigil for a few nights
the shuddering old carabao
mourned his death
beside the mango tree’s protruding roots
he was offered coffee, biscuits and toasts
on his miserable, ignominous wake
blessed he only
by the moist flowers of the poor
and the candle’s tears of servitude
faded blue denim pants
collared polo toyed by time
and ashen memories of yesteryears
embraced him within the black world
of a wooden coffin so weak and thin.

now kneeling is the plow
under the nipa hut’s shade
the prickles and grass
praying in the desolate field
in muddy backyard and paddies
hope now has broken knees
with ka pedro’s abrupt departure
from the barren earth of discontent
angelus now in the dark
are the bird’s haunting songs
reeking of exploding gunpowder
is the sunset’s breath
living skeletons roaming around
in every ricefield
the plow’s notes humming
the melody of the dead
shedding tears of blood
are the flowers
in every lamenting night
in desolate fields of broken dreams
when shall the sharpened cutlass write
the elusive freedom on the earth’s breast?
when shall the sickle harvest
the sacred thousand dreams
so no longer would the flowers
shed bloody tears?
for a long time now
ka pedro’s daughter
has been washing
heap and heap of clothes
and mopping so many marble tiles
inside the landlord’s mansion of greed!

(modified from the original English version by ROGENE A. GONZALES of my DUGO ANG INILULUHA NG MGA BULAKLAK)

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To The Writers


you, you who cohabit with the pen
where really are you going?
look far beyond the window of your soul
and pierce with your eyes
the wall of misery and despair
look inside every room
of palaces and mansions
and learn to dissect
intestines and gallbladders
you, who think as a writer
must enlighten yourself
with the wounded images
on the canvass of life
gloomy eyes gazing at a scoop of rice
bitter lips salivating
for an imaginary slice of meat
on a table street
of gaunt cheeks
of scrawny fingers
and tattered shoes
and palms blistered by servitude
once you squeeze
the bitternes and grief
of scraggy hands
once you feel the message
of the raindrops on the nipa roof
once you understand
the beads dropping on the bamboo floor
once you grieve over
the oil and grease that sting the eyes
the wriggling veins of thinning arms
the blood spilling on streets
mountains and barren fields
then and only then
realize you will
the blazing road to trek
you as a writer
of glaring realities
you as the conscience
of an oppressed race
must heroically tread
the welcoming path
of freedom and glory
for your beloved land!

(modified from the original English version by EMMANUEL V. DUMLAO of my SA MGA MANUNULAT)

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A Teaspoon Of Tears


i could not help myself
from offering you
a teaspoon of tears
when you were embraced
by amarillo and dewy shrub
only a chorus of crickets
bade lamenting goodbye
to your fallen earthen body
which gloriously shed blood
in the long struggle
to advance the sacred cause
of the oppressed class.

yes, a teaspoon of tears
i could only offer
on your heroic departure
and when i retire
on the bamboo bed
vivid memories of our struggle
would keep coming back
and i’ll search
for a slice of heaven
by peeking through a hole
on the cheeks of a thatched roof
i would paint on the canvass of my mind
the naked beauty
of a society without chains
free from exploitation and oppression
of the ruling class
with breath as sweet-scented
of a newly harvested grains of palay
pounded on a molave-made mortar
of sacred everlasting freedom.

yes, only a teaspoon of tears
my sincere gift on your departure
but always within it
the undying revolting consciousness
of an oppressed race
and the simmering blood
like flowing rivers
meandering in the land of discontent
to awaken the violent west wind
to smash the fortress of misery
in the rotten empire of the exploiters
in the land they made barren
yes, a teaspoon of tears
will soon transform
into beautiful sparkling pearls
of our dream for a just society!

(modified from the original English version by ROGENE A. GONZALES of my ISANG KUTSARITANG LUHA)

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