The Tropics of Reming the Typhoon

We repeat histories here
like the tragedy that we permit
to come possess us
each time we brave the typhoons
inside us.

Like this latest malas that
has come befalling us,
we declare we are a people
accustomed to bitter tears
on our meal plates,
if at all there is one awaiting us.

And there is no choking here
in these profuse lamentations
for our food but that graced
and blessed
mastication of our portion
of good luck or its lack.
In our homeland, they are
more of the same.

In our fullness of this lack
we await storms and
typhoons for breakfast.
our first and last meal for each day.
and call them by the language
of cyclical seasons
and anticipate the lashing
of wild winds in our intestines
not trained to swallowing
slow-motion but snatching
the food spirits lurking
in the grains of rotten rice
for the poor and the elect like us.

All these are our antidote
to this perpetual hunger,
the venom of not knowing much
when storm seasons
come to make us fall in line
before swollen soils
and swollen pride.

In all these, we do not learn
the craft of preparing
for metaphors to come teach us
lessons about how to die soonest,
right on the dot.
Suffering could have a name
in this.

Because we live on again
and again with our
callused conscience intact,
knowing that we better not know
and instead prepare
to be ready for the ritutal
of unearthing life on the dead earth
of our villages erased on mountain slopes,
the nightmares swelling with swollen
rivers and mud maddening
in a rampage we have not seen before.

Our leaders in their sacred
words talk of recovery plans
from some altars somewhere,
unbroken and unbowed
despite the typhoon and its wrath,
the murky waters on the warpath
for all those on their roads
like the anger that we feel somehow
watching rooftops of homes
wreaked but reaching out
to the early morning sun
after the rains heavy with their
odd loves.

One leader talks of his
magic wand, like the fairy of old
making miracles out of fishbones
and skeletons of dreams
washed on vast oceans
and sad shores.

The leader does not speak for us,
nor does he speak to us
but only mimics our words
he has robbed from us
to make sense to those who listen
to the mysteries of our need and want.

The tropics of Reming say all
what ought to be said:
the dead are dead
and they need to be buried,
fast as fast can be to cheat decay
the shoveling of the ground
furious as furious can be
with our tired fingers
with our fatigued hands.

We all have to get out of this,
we tell ourselves, and move on
from the peripheries of the universe
beyond Mayon and unto all
mountain fastnesses sanctified
by our offering of more lives.
Deep in the forest of our rage
we wait for that final amulet
to come and reside
in the life-giving clearings of our word.

A Solver Agcaoili
UH Manoa
Dec 5/06

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