Cariño Brutal

(Fourteen have died in the dispersal at Hacienda Luisita,

news at

I am another lord of the rings, the lord

Ringing around what justice means

In contested lands and fierce fields and quiet dreams.

Even those of children, I have robbed

Them of their lusty nursery rhymes,

Their lilting limericks about Fernando Poe Jr.

Giving hope to the hopeless, Erap blabbering

About giving more for the less,

And Alma Moreno promising that eternal sweetness

And the ambience she buys in Hong Kong

With Joey Marquez, they who talk of hometown

Service like the one in the pueblos encircling

The hacienda of Kris and Joshua and Philip,

They who sell truth and politics and goodness,

They who sell the feel-good quality

Of pleasing me in that perpetuity of parodies.

There is that dark theatricality in all these,

These children dying by waiting to live,

These farmers living by waiting to die,

But, well, oh well, this is how the script runs,

All those who are useless,

All those who dwell in the margins,

Those who are nameless,

Those who are faceless,

Those who cannot chant the mantra of keeping silence

Those who fight and struggle and seek what is right

Those who write verses to announce their fair aims,

All of those, all of them, they are to play that role

Of living by waiting to die

Of dying by waiting to live

And then they fade to black,

The dark that declaims about darkness itself,

The dark that consumes the spirit of the just

The dark that does not know light

The dark that owns the singing of children

The dark that snatches their laughter

The dark that poisons their once-a-day meal.

I am the lord of the rings, the rings

That belong only to the dark

That belong only to those who hear me sing

In the dark. As it is, I preside in this blessed butchering,

This cariño brutal for sacadas and their prayers

This cariño brutal for the bruised land and its nightmares

This cariño brutal for the wounded spirit and its memories.

But I will see the coming of that dawn that erases

All the traces of the bloodied stories of fourteen deaths

In a day, the dawn that breaks into a morning of glory

And then the food will announce their coming

The fruits of the land will anounce their rocky birthing

And the the feasting will commence and go on

For days and days on end

And the bounty will remember the dead, all those

Who died in the name of this redeemed land.

And then, and then, I will fade to black,

Be buried in the storms, the floods, the rains

Swallowed by the sea and the light of that morning

Of feasting and dancing and triumphing.

Aurelio S. Agcaoili

Redondo Beach, CA

Nov. 18, 2004

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