Fuga in My Mind

"It does not matter what we think. We have no rights."
A resident of Fuga Island, Aparri, Cagayan, according to Karie Garnier

I take this as a response
my remorseful riposte
to your quick silence, kailian

the first and full language
of what we have become
we who know but do not do

anything to lead you to the light
of Fuga mornings in the barren farms and shores
that are yours, your island's hidden cities

secreted in your hearts like before
in your wild dreams like before
of bountiful fish and food like before

that for decades you have not known
not in this lifetime of strangers
collecting your stories and sorrows

We are a people, kailian,
the people of a land needing healing
a land wounded as well by the waves

the bleeding needing bandage
in the soul as in the mind of this vast sea
we people of the same home as your Fuga

forgotten for so long by the gods
of the past, those that come
to claim the shadows of your empty lives

their machines that do not feel terrorizing
your ricefields, aborting possibilities
and the innapuy for breakfast is denied you

but the gruel for atang, for the dead
so you can continue praying
until death knocks on your unlocked doors

It matters what you think, kailian
but how do you ever say that
in the language we have robbed you of

its alphabets we have kept in storerooms
its sounds in the armalites of drunken men
that break the silences of sulking dawns?

I am numb and unseeing
as the forest cathedral that the centuries
have raped of its sacred ceremonies

numb and unseeing as the seawaters
keeping you unnecessary company
but leaving you by your hunger

leaving you by your questions
as you bead the pleadings of children
in their perennial fasting and complaint

beading their hunger and yours too into the prayer
for full moons and noon day suns that do not come
in mornings as in the fevered nights

that passion for the spirit is spent
like the dreaded bullets that come
into the rice bin, there to lodge

with the fear that only fear knows
with the courage that we have lost
to the storms of all the cowering seasons

that have come and gone and come again
in all the years that you called
the ruins of nightmares your redemption

and the graves, silenced too,
as the book of the living-dead
as the book of the dying

I do not know about you, kailian,
but there is this Fuga in my mind:
the Lakaylakay will come beseech

you to stay forever and the roaring
of the waves will be yours once more
the true offering by the foam

drifting with the spirit of rains
streams the fields the sunlight
the sunrises the sunsets the evenings

that will bless the memory
of you all keeping the faith one more time
the faith of the fathers before you

the faith of the mothers before you
the faith of the ancestors before you
the faith of the anitos before you

watching over these histories
of grief and greed
one the other side of the other

one redeeming what is yours
and to you be given
by those who had died

but alive in the green of grasses
in the glorious crowns of trees
in the calming protection of caves

in the fertile welcome of the land
opening itself for the harvests
of your Fuga dreams finally fulfilled

A Solver Agcaoili
UH Manoa
Dis 22/06

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