Romancing a Revolution

Now that the leader is dead, we begin to count

Those who fell before him and those coming after.

It is like preparing a balance sheet

Of assets and liabilities and that runaway

Commerce of conceit, deceit, and profit

From lives lost, dreams inhumanly deformed.

It is religion, they say, this thing that

Is meant to bind, to ligate, to tie together,

To unite us all in higher aims and holiness.

But there is brisk business in war as well,

And the Holy Land sells bullets and guns

To crusaders of a truth in a silver barrel smoking,

The thicker the haze the better

The louder the thud of a fired cannon the better

The more crisp and pithic the parsing the better

The more numerous the hostage-taking

Of the fallen and divided heart the better.

We can name them all, this drama of contesting

This contest for meaning and relevance

For which is holy, which is more holy,

Such as the feasting or the fasting

The plouged fields or the fierce people

The inherited identity frozen or fluid

Our given names in alphabet or in hieroglyphs.

Like this long goodbye of all leaders

We can only surmise some surprises

From some decalogues deciphered,

Those covenants that speak of the ages

Of triumphing before multiple graves and caskets

Some commandments of mourning more

And wailing more and lamenting more

For the odds and evens of banal blessings

From gusty winds and cold showers

And torrential storms to transform our intents,

Metaphors all we invent to justify ourselves,

Commit to remain forever incumbent,

The mandate from these salvation histories

Without redemption, without fulfillment.

We connect the dots now, the deadly dots

Those symbols and signs that have escaped us

For so long, down the decades and centuries

Of fighting to eliminate each other's traces.

And then, of course, we resurrect the shadows

Of many more angels of death, now in concert

With this ceremony of irreversible regrets.

Aurelio S. Agcaoili

Torrance, CA

Nov. 21, 2004

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