This War We Call Love

MANILA, Philippines—Thousands of Muslims celebrated the Eid’l Fitr Tuesday marking the end of their holy month of Ramadan as fierce fighting broke out in Mindanao between government forces and Islamic secessionist rebels, killing three soldiers and wounding 12 others. T. Santos & A. Papa, Inquirer, 9/30/08 

Love has other strange nicknames.

Or war. We declare a ceasefire

with life and all those that make us

see that this is worth it, this loving

that sees the other in the flesh,

your heart beating in sync with the seasons

of praying and prayers. A number of these

that tell of leaves falling tell of lives felled,

and here, in my country of thieves

and political sexual languor that has the contours

of greed, we bury fathers so wives 

become  weeping widows

we take out the heart of mothers

and offer them to machines that kill

to bullets that snuff out hunger

so children will become orphans

we murder dreams, those from the young

and those from the old and make tombs

out of our wishes for a handful of rice

to ease our grief for all the grieving 

that we do for having come to late

to the dining table reserved for the elect.

In the meantime, while we are at it,

this business of naming what we do not have,

we claim that we know how to love,

and indeed, we know how! Why bother

being present in christenings and births,

or this feast that talks of our thanks to  the Spirit

when it is far easier to act out what murder

can our hands do best? We end one more season,

and we begin with another one without learning

anything about what gives

in life as in death, but more on our knees.

A Solver Agcaoili

Hon, HI/Oct 1/08

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