To Invoke the Memory that Matters

We are in the middle of a storm

in this season of profit & phony fun

& to invoke the memory that matters is what matters

at this time. We need to call the witches who will invoke

this memory, our memory, us who need to remember.

There is the sucker of a storm that visits our land

& shore & sand each morning. This havoc of a visit

may last till the next season of sadnesses.

It comes to accompany our worst news,

this loss of lives & livelihoods in a split second,

in Colombo & elsewhere in Aceh,

all these islands in this season of storms

all these islands in this season of typhoons & terror,

in our Manila as well as in Phuket

while a priest, gracefully & with much studied

convent poise, takes his morning meal

of abundance & prayers & indifference.

He did not know, he said, of the coming of the raging waters,

this wall of water wreaking all that can be wrecked,

buildings & bodies

fate & faith

the poor people & their prayers,

all, in substance as well as in its absence.

In all these tragic stories, in our homeland

& in many others, the rest of the world frolics

in the sun in these holidays,

in these demented days of giving gifts courtesy of profiteers of death,

those who invest on imagination & images,

those who play on our small sickly hearts,

those who offer us the seductions

of multiple meanings

of lousy loving & lusting

after lousy loves, like the priest's,

those who believe in the images

of sin when you can no longer

believe in the obese santa claus with his bulging bag

of empty ecstasies from a beribboned box of grief.

We have gone haywire in our hybrid lives,

we who can afford to watch from the sidelines.

We pick up some news from the spirit of the aborted christmasses

like some news from aborted poems & aborted lives,

turn this news into truth, evangelize on behalf of this truth

we create out of repeated lies,

& there,

& there, we import the lies,

we export the lies, we do not call them lies

no more but take them as some kind of a gospel,

& then

we begin to speak in its name

we begin to teach of the new truth in its name

we begin to announce the new salvation in its name,

all of us,

rich & poor alike

the oppressed & the oppressor alike

the commerce-men & consumers alike

the colonizers & the colonized alike

the neocolonizers & neocolonized alike

the emperors & their subjects alike.

It does not matter no more

where we are in this space where we no longer

go figure where we are.

The time does not matter either.

To go through the motions of living,

just the motions, is all that matters

in this tsunami season &

in this season of storms.

As if we all are alive.

As if we all are kicking.

As if we all are breathing.

As if we all are in the world of truth.

As if we all are in this universe saving us from

recollecting what comes with meaning & blessing.

The as if & our belief

is all that matters in the end.

The enchantment of the false kind.

The magic in the fantasy like when we take pride

in our belief in the coup of corpses, whether

from this tsumani of our tears or from church wakes,

the coming again to life of cadavers paraded

or interred in mass graves that promised us the greatness

of greed couched in words wrought in prophesies

of new mornings

of new dawn breaks

of a new redemption from the silly speeches of actors

acting on behalf of dead kings and their queens,

of behalf of ousted presidents who lied to us

in evenings as well as

in daytimes, their lies packaged as the fulfillment of a promise

in the plots of third rate films as well as in imprisoned lives.

These people do not know how to stop.

They have forgotten that some of us,

the poor as well as the enlightened,

have come to know how to spell the beginnings of tall tales

have come to know how to spell the middle of tall tales

have come to know how to put an end to the spell of tall tales.

There is a whole withcraft to all these

& there are witches among us,

the poor & the enlightened,

those who have learned to summon the strong winds,

those who have learned to call again the fierce waters

those who have learned to invoke the memories

of a fecund land for all the landless

of a full meal for all the hungry

of a warm home for all the homeless

of a just job for all the jobless.

This invoking of memory will matter.

It is the only thing that matters now.

This invoking of memory will break the spell.

It is the only one that can break the spell now.

Aurelio S. Agcaoili

Torrance, CA

Dec. 29, 2004

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