(For Salve, Gigi, Rose, Mervin, and Efren, for finding our common courage)
To learn to kill roaches
With your ring finger is a social skill.
It is an act of justice well defined.
It is the same energy you need
In calculating all the efforts
To name your pain for not saying
The liberating word sooner
To be muted by the months
That were long and cold and uncertain
And that took all of your name and daring.
You took all, these months manipulating
Make them crumbs for roaches
That multiply like unchecked lies
In the hard hours
You took them all,
These long months of reciting the matins,
Mantra to you ever-ready act of forgiving,
You took them all
In prayer as in faith
In dignity as in understanding
In hope as in reaping all
The heaving of sighs, lots of them.
But the roaches pester.
Big and small, medium or extra extra large,
Their bodies hardened by dire desires
By the greed in their wings, in their hearts
By the gluttony in their mouths and eyes.
You do it with your finger
With the ring, the yellow metal
Memorializing your past promises
Those that bind you to yourself
Those that bind you to your small fidelities to the word
Those that bind you to an attunement with the world,
One simple, final act of justice.
This is how to kill the roaches
With the ring finger.
Do it with the left hand
To make a difference, for a change.
The right hand knows all there is
About giving grace, offering gifts to strangers
The roaches exact for a fee like
A lying marketer's price.
The right ring finger
Knows not much about
The sweet secrecies of doing it
In style, this irreversible
Reduction of roaches to nothingness,
Those insecure insects
Sucking blood from filthy garbage bags,
Like the suites of executives looking out
For more quickie-quickie profits
As in raking all the money they can rake in,
All the dignity, hope, innocence, naivete,
Or trust, this last one you give in full,
You all have given in full
And in cold cash,
Not in the installment of finishing off
The rubbish, the refuse, the same rapacity
Of roaches coached in charities,
Or this awoling accommodation
In the sink and sewer of false loves.
Aurelio S. Agcaoili
Nov. 26, 2004