Cocido Para Cena

MANILA, Philippines -- We’ve heard that President Macapagal-Arroyo and her family like to feast on cocido on Sundays. They like to think of their family as one of the last bastions of Castilian heritage, exponents of old-world urbanidad. Inquirer, Feb. 10/08

It is imagination in its ruthless
form, image and the actor
like the sinner and his sin.
The sin is multiple, collective
even. You wash your hand
with holy water, holy oil
and holy goddamn shit
to hide what history has not shown.
So far. Down the road, Sundays
oblige us to sit down, partake
of the meal that means one thing:
the sorrow of our people,
their backs breaking
their souls breaking
their hearts in peril
as is their last song wild with the wind
and then the thunder comes along
as you swallow that last morsel
of that ultima cena you have put
together to celebrate centuries
of oppression against all of us
we who do not know what sin is
because, simply, you have taken
our hearts, there, there, on your table
to partake with the cocido of your liking
the one you deal with for effect
as landlords had done for decades
years until your kingdom come.
On Sundays of obligation,
we offer our back
we offer our soul
we offer our dream.
We wash away our tear
with the purity of regret
for not having waged a war
against your kind long ago.
We believed in the heaven
that is yet to come, and our prayers
led us astray, to all places except
to the table with food
to our family with our happiness
to our children with our gifts.
Instead, we gave poison
to ourselves, took all we can take
taking suffering for its own sake
and here you are, dining well
on each Sunday that we go famished
with our Sunday faith.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI
Feb 10/08

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