A Militant Is Murdered

(From the news, Juan Sangalang, murdered December 24, 2006, in Lian, Batangas, by those who swore to protect the people)

Your name is militancy itself
murdered for what murder is,
& we do not know how to grieve.

The same question we ask
until the dawn of your death
will answer the same mysteries

we do not understand:
who, from the high heavens
who from the uncaring earth,

will ever protect us from our enemies
when your protectors, your soldiers
of faith of law of justice

make sure you are vanquished,
make it certain militants do not learn speech
lose the power of language

go the silence that is beyond word
lead to the grave and there keep secrets
die with them until no one dares to speak again?

The time could not have been
more ominous, the morning hours
rising to your last breath, countryman & friend

your last breath welcoming you
into the bosom of day
when Christmas carols are on their sweetest

their joyful crescendo your last cry
your anguish in rigor mortis
as if the savior's birth is all that matters.

Our president, the lady of all of our pains,
perpetual and relentless, declared a truce
and here you are, cold, a corpse, dead.

How many children have you got?

How many dreams did your look for

long for in your search for relief
from all these that shackle us
we who do not know much about graft

we who do not know much about cheating
we who do not know much about stealing
we who do not know much about enriching ourselves

except to ask the difficult questions
about where freedom is at this time of our want
where food is to be found at this time of our hunger

where liberty resides at this time of our fear
as it is not in our homes these promises she made
in our streets in our days in our lonely lives

even when the days are long and agonizing
even when promises mock us calling us naive
calling us names calling us useless

for the poor that are us are made of flesh
our sufferings are writ in rivers of tears
flowed to the sea with its emptiness?

One other man is dead, this militant
& his dreams have been murdered
& in this Christmas of our glad tidings

he is one exhibit of our growing impotence
gathering strength from our callousness
we who live our days as if murdering is a masterpiece.

A Solver Agcaoili
UH Manoa/Dec 28/06


Anonymous said...

happy new year manong.

Ariel said...

happy new year, jake. pagsaltekentay ti naimbag ken nalabon a gasat.