Blessings, 1

God bless the Philippines.
from Imelda Marcos' song in the film "Imelda"

It is weaning away, like a mother's
heart letting go of her child
this song you sing
to repair our broken hearts,
many many hearts,
as a matter of fact.

You said it right through
the thick and thin of our primal fight
against those we have begun to love:
white skin and chocolates
democracy and white God.
They came to declare to us
that we are little brown brothers
the heavens decreed for them
to watch over and so
they have watched over us
with celloloid ecstasies
to keep us under guard, dreaming
dreaming dreaming of the day's wash
bathed in Hollywood lights, tinseltowns
in an orgy of tentative loves,
some violence to taste
some salvation for those happy endings
we expect to find in corner streets
where the rule of the game is the same
as in the august chambers of men
and women and lovers dreaming
about us, men and women and lovers
who have not known delight, not in a long
while while the earth in our land
is for sale, our souls for rent
and everything else such us honor,
offered on the silver plate for the kills,
in a frenzy of raping after raping
of our bitter cries.

The language, for instance.
And the culture we see as exhibits
of our meaningless lives.

We are enamored, and the world
opens up to us in quickie satiation
of need and want, in the dark
as in the shadows or both
to make things ephemeral
so in abstractions, as in thought
we can imagine of a republic of sorrow
a republic of failed dreams
a republic of struggles
in the olden times as today's.

And the shape of our miinds,
sharp like their noses
but only to mimic truths
on their books
and those of us who have become
them: us losing our accents
until ourselves are fluid like water
going through all the oceans
sailing and sailing so
and always ending up
in Los Angeles
Honolulu or New York.
Perhaps we are now in Houston
as in the borders of Laredo
or further down
in the outskirts of Arkansas
where walls define the destinies
of dreams we once owned
people of the earth
as well as people of exile
when borders did not have to cross us
where border are not in terms
of your abstractions about beauty
and truth and the good,
the trio of a deception
we had believed we had
before squatter walls
painted immaculately pristine
whitewashed for the touritsts to see
they who have the pretensions
to dance to your own tunes
even as you keep on drawing about truths
from ones and zeros and explain,
explain, explain, in words
empty as those of an Ilokano poet
talking about going home
while here, in the faraway reaches
of wandering like flotsam to dark water
we cannot tell of a teleology
you say is vision and salvation.
Were the dancing in the wee hours
those that did not include the dance
of deprivation we knew so well
like hunger going onto disease
or disease going onto greed for power
in the perpetuity of vice
so that on and on the show
was enough to feed us
with images, more images
and then we know nothing.

I do not know how to make
of your pronouncements:
what gives? what gives, indeed?

We count the years of our
wandering from dream
to dream. Words were given
us in the past, mantric and magical
and we know it was worth keeping
until the streets cried in pain
until the days were bloody whores
until the nights gave birth to fears
until the quiet was chaos
and then sleep brought us to other dreams
like cities we want to go back to
but cities that haunt us, come after us
like nations in their ghostly presence
residing in our confused selves
lives, loves. These are geographies too,
and the stories come to visit us
confirm who we are
and watch your full mouth
repeated the same mysteries
we memorized
we children of wars and revolutions
we children of much resolve to resolve
deceits in our hands the way we write
the truths we see in our verses.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI
Jan 19/08

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