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
Dec. 3, 2004