(For Dr Dean Alegado, who decided to go back to the Philippines after more than 30 years of service to the University of Hawai'i and to the Filipino Community in the United States)
would you have kept
the poem I wrote
not needing heroes
and if they do,
from my blog are more
of those, repeated, repeated,
that summon what grief
we have for ourselves.
you go back soon
to the very earth
that gave you the words
to find the road to a revolution
in thought and in deed
one revolution that means
so much to us exiles
students teachers advocates
we who know nothing but restlessness
as we keep moving from tale to truth
from truth to your truth
and the challenges that come in between.
i watched you gather all the phrases
that need to the said uttered recited
to keep us on the guard for those who will sell us
to the devil who knows what enchantment
there is in making life akimbo
as if in a perpetual motion of regret.
and then here you are:
coming full circle in that circle
we can only envy.
of the revolution and of our people
in their cries think of going home
after this stint with earning something
for the remittance that comes in as a duty
each week, each time the dollar gets into the hand.
in the meantime, of course,
the homeland waits for the returning exile
in his lights, food or no food in sight.
A Solver Agcaoili