This is a long day of mourning in two time zones,
One a nowness in the manner of accounting the dead
Another in a people's presence from church to crypt.
It is a season beyond borders where sorrows start.
In a war-torn country of dust, terror, and ancient earth
Soldiers partake of a meal of brown cake and nervousness
And down their yearnings for many cold Christmas mornings
With the obligatory red wine and whining to hide the tears.
In another divided land sundered by centuries of oraciones,
One nagging novena to a saint for each day of all the weeks,
One for a patron in the time of rain and storm and flood,
A sea of the masses of people fill the void of pre-dawns
And the warm streets, carry their lost hopes on their shoulders
Even as they trod on past snaking alleys and calm callehon,
Past the early hours and the many nights that had not slept,
Beyond the celluloid dream for a hero that gave quick relief
From the day-to-day troubles and telling temptations
In the theatre of traitors and cheats, manic masters
Masquerading as saviours, messiahs for our miseries,
Narrators all in this our tangled histories of duplicities.
We monitor both events from afar, distant but awed
By the fierce energy that springs from how mornings
Give off much courage for all of us to move on and on,
Believing that a future awaits us, a morrow of song
And singing in this rhythm of life we think we knew
Or have at least divined somewhere in horoscopes
Or in the facile formation of lunatic moons and stars
Or in the multiplying mercies of remembered sobs,
Many if we think of all that which we need to mourn,
Many if we think of all the names now that we etch
In the pantheon of all that have died for peace
And for war, in the peace of an unwanted war,
Here or elsewhere or in countries beyond the seas,
In cities beyond the skies, beyond our shared stories
Of fighting for justice outside dark filmic realities
Of searching for meaning beyond armored speech.
Aurelio S. Agcaoili
Dec. 21, 2004