The Rainbow Is Absent In The Grey Skies

Today is the second day

of the new year. It is a Sunday of unrest

& disbelief for these days of grief here and elsewhere.

Cataclysm after cataclysm

welcome us with their dark forebodings

as the war in Kabul rages

as the bellicose drama in Damascus goes on

as the bullets and bombs roar in the bloodied skies

as survivors from the tormenting tide come back to life

as leaders assess their interest

& profit before pledging to help

as we trek to donation centers

& box our sympathies to be shipped

to places interred by the watery grave

It is already

the second day of the year,

this Sunday of your anguished singing

to usher in a new hope, a new courage

as you put on layers upon layers

of warm clothing on your colored skin,

its brown unable to withstand the chill

of the wet weather.

It could have been that radiant

rainbow on your window, blinds rolled up,

its glass panels wiped clean by the fierce winds,

the raging rain, that saved the day.

Or the call from a beloved seven thousand

miles away beyond the surging sea

& reporting that there could have been

a coup concocted on the day of the new morning

mourning the death of an epic king.

The sorrow was not enough, the beloved says,

not enough to cement the hurts and the pains

of the starving masses, victims forever,

not enough to pave the road to reclaim

an honor lost for a friend deposed

for lying on his oath to the people

for obstructing the course of our just meals

by imprisoning the dark waters

of the river that witnessed all the masquerade,

the medley of maneuverings,

a phantomime of drunk godfathers

lusting after the nation's wits.

He could have started alright,

the beloved says. She means the president

that promised everything

from births to deaths. He sired sins instead,

a thousand of them, sins from scenes of avarice

in their midnight snacking of our knick-knacks,

sins the exiles can track down

through the rumors of regrets

from the suffering masses

from all those who believed in his lies

from the poet who wrote his speech

from the singer who sang his song

from the applause of the public

that approved his posturings.

Or that he was in the beginning fallen, she adds.

Either way, this is the picture of a land languishing

in the jail of its own tormented dream.

It is a picture of the sadnesses of all exiles as well,

those who leave

because they have to

because this morning is a sad sun

missing its appointment with the newly-mowed grass

& the thousand thoughts of tears

hedging their broken hearts.

There is war in them as well.

A war of words. Courage. Daring.

All in the name of cowardice. Or self-redemption,

this last one for the polite & the presumptuous.

The words that do not know their names and number,

& the absent rainbow makes the counting of them

uncertain, if not impossible.

In the afternoon, the clouds turn into grey.

In the quietude of the streets, the exiles watch the gathering

of darkness in this land

of robust hopes and a fickle memory

of a homeland going hungry

of many lands going berserk & brutish

because the rainbow misses its appointment with the sun

because the rainbow is afraid to streak

through the somber skies.

Aurelio S. Agcaoili

Torrance, CA

Dec. 3, 2004

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