Blood Oblation on Valentine's in GenSan

It is a city
you remember
for making
the memory
that matters most
after years and years
of this sense
of absence.

It comes
with the dust, dirt, death,
this city,
this memorial
to men and their wars,
their gratitude
to god and their greed.

At the convent of clerics
by the shore
by the graves welcoming you
where you stayed
with the long night
beyond the surging Celebes
keeping you company
and creating the intimacy
of strangers,
you take in all,
scene and song,
the missed signs and miscues
to this tragedy before twilight.

The warrior claims
the deed,
as is always so,
the radio by the AOL blaring all,
bravado and bragadoccio in the voice
breaking walls
and wailing in the dark
that comes after
the morning of loss
of life and limb,
young children ripped
into pieces as if the slaughterer
has forgotten the deed of delivering
the choice cuts to the lord of blood,
gore, gold, the unnamed, unknown
lord of largesse from the spoils of sorrow,
from the merchant of cheap lies
we have come to hate and love
we have come to know more or less
for the big smile he wears on his face
with those masked muscles,
veiled words.

It is a concerted act,
the announcement goes on air
even as the lamentation begins.

Here comes the ceremony of grief
commencing in earnest
and the nation
and then forgets,
and then it is all over,
and then the cycle begins to circle
again and again and again
as a spinning wheel of starting off
right with the promise of doing better
for the citizens, for all those who believe
in the power of political words
creating worlds for our dreams.

The warrior on the air says
it is a bloody valentine's
for the president,
big with her promise,
little or none with her faithfulness
as all the presidents before her,
all of them,
they who connived
with the lying leeches
cavorting with dark angels
in city streets,
in the anteroom of palaces
where laws are made
before they are discussed, if at all,
with the awaiting public.

As it is,
this one is a bloody valentine's
gift, a response to malice,
also a malice
in this city rocked
by the ferocity of faith,
all kinds, singular and more so,
plural and contrasting,
one for people
and one against them.

In the meantime, we count
the dead against
the sorrows of the living.

A. S. Agcaoili

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