Two Hundred Pesos for your Body, Baby

(For those who joined the Makati crowd so there would appear to be supporters of the cause of that most recent revolution staged by the honorable men, two hundred pesos for showing up body and soul, and seven hundred pesos for the jeepney owner. These facts are from the claims of Virginia Tutay of Isla Puting Bato and a member of People's Movement Against Poverty, an organization allied with the deposed president Erap Estrada, the very president who was imprisoned, found guilty of plunder, and pardoned by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo out of the magnanimity of her spirit. The facts are from PDI, November 29, 2007; insterspersed commentaries are the author's)

It comes with clowns, and their antics.
It is revolution, alright, and we call it quits.

Never mind the traitors or leaders.
In our homeland, they wear the same face
and smile. The guardian angel,
the guarded angel or both, they lie.
They mouth metaphors we want
to hear, something that balms
our heavy hearts.

The news is clear: two hundred pesos
for your life and limb and liberty, baby,
and seven hundred pesos for your jeepney
to cart the supporters away
bring you to a hotel where fine dining is a bad dream
for kibbitzers and those on a payroll
for putting the patience of our days on trial.

In cozy rooms, the gun is the rule of the day.
The light is subdued and romance and revolution
are sisters, to be politically correct.

They say you can hear the sound of silverware,
the polite talks of those who count
calories every single day commenting
about stock prices plummeting or skyrocketing
afterwards. Or sweeteners they do not need
but the poor do, the quick energy to obey orders
quickly without second thoughts. We do not know
how the menu goes. The staccatto of guns
and the tear gas are reminders of our past lives
relived over and over again like old movie reruns.

But it is evening here thousands of miles away
as the panic from home grows weary. And we all
try to think of the prayer to the saints
in the early mornings at the cathedral
of the wooden saints now beginning to show
fear and tear and wear so we can call the bishops
to come spread their wings and declare a junta
of gods to redeems us all. We take the bullets
for answers, as it has always been.

How can we go back to the land of our poems
and song, pray you tell, even if we are tried
for abandoning the themes of our protests
like the harnessing of evil words
uttered in quiet cadence, their lyrics the music
of our souls thirsty for what a country gives?

The rebels look at the dark.

The dark looks back at us,
we who can feel what tomorrow brings.

The two hundred pesos will buy us
some kilos of rice to last us a memory.

Or a lifetime of dread when vice presidents
and men of god join the fray and tell us, come on, come on,
it is time the newest bombs bought in dollars dance.

No one dies, but our hopes do.
We think of our exilic dreams going on a flight.

A Solver Agcaoili
UH Manoa, Nov 28/2007

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