Ti Oras Kadagiti Isla

Ti oras kadagiti isla 
ket ti kinaagnanayon
dagiti kanito. Matdakami
a makikinnikkiki iti makikamalala
a rikna no kasta a dagiti dalluyon
aganangsabda a kumamang
iti barukong ti maar-arakattot
nga aplaya. Dua ti muhom 
ti pusomi ditoy: ti bantay
nga agikut iti palimed
dagiti manglimlimo a sabong
ti baybay nga agtalimeng
iti makabiag a sabidong.
Kastoy dagiti oras kadagiti isla
ditoy: agpayakda a mangidurigsi
kadagiti temporario a karayo
nga itaray-buagit ti tarukoy
kadagiti darat ti panawen
sadiayna nga ikuyukoy
tapno iti ipapasag ti pul-oy
ket dagiti kampay-idi ni rag-o
a diman masakruy.
Ania a gasat ania a panagraira
dagiti ganggandiong a bigat
nga iti pantok ti pagwanawanan
kadagiti gubgubat iti barukong
ket ti agtayandok a talinaay
nga iti lakkong ti dakulap 
a maidasay.

Ti oras kadagiti isla
ket ti agnanayon a panagarrap
dagiti sabong nga iti rurog
dagiti darepdep sadiay 
nga iti agsisipungtuan 
a ladawan ni gasat mapasag.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI/2/26/09

Wagas ti Panagkettel iti Biag Tapno Makaungar

Garden Grove, Calif. – A man shot and killed himself in front of a cross inside televangelist Robert H. Schuller's Crystal Cathedral on Wednesday, police and church officials said. The man handed a note and his driver's license to two ushers, walked to the cross and then shot himself in the head as he appeared to be praying, Senior Pastor Juan Carlos Ortiz said. G. Flaccus, AP Report, Feb. 18, 2009. 

Iti kristal a katedral daytoy
a buya: maysa a lalaki
ti agbirbirok iti panagungar
iti sakaanan ti dios a natay.

Maysa nga akto ti tularamid
ti sumuno nga eksena
iti aldaw nga agpampannimid
a dagiti oras ket agresesion
iti panamati iti paspasagid.

"Daytoy ti lisensia," kunana
sa iti isem ti malmalday
ti kabulon ti ima a mangiyawat
iti nagan iti tinta nga ukasen 
ti pannakatay. 

"Daytoy pay ti maipapan 
iti lugan iti garahe
a no di umay ti umarayat nga ayat
ket sadiay nga ilugan ti bangkay
dagiti tagainepko a maidasay
kakibin ti bagi nga agrupsa
kadagiti ar-araraw."

Saanna a kuna ti maikadua
no di ket panggutad daytoy
kadagiti linabag tapno maikuadro
ti rukapi a biag.

Mapan ti lalaki iti altar
ket iti sakaanan ti nakalansa
sadiay nga alawenna ti panagbalaw:

sadinno a langit sadinno nga impierno
sadinno a kalbario sadinno a purgatorio
sadinno ti pakaikipasan ti pammadso
no ti panagmurir ket adda iti ulo 
dagiti sulpeng a rebulto? 

Kas kenkuana, di agkir-in
ti kristal a katedral, nakamattider daytoy
iti agpampannakkel nga aldaw
dagiti panagruruting dagiti lumot
kadagiti di-agbara a dapan ti dios.

Gibusen ti lalaki ti kanito
iti panaburak iti ulimek
iti kristal a balay ti di matay a dios:
ti ngudo ti paltog
iti sentido a balay ti barukong
a kasinsin ti abungot
wenno manto dagiti pasugnod.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI/Feb 18/09 

Napadso a Panawen

Ti   panawen a napadso.

Makaited patay.


Daga daytoy nga aginana

iti kaunggan ti rabii

aguray kas iti kabaelan

a panaguray iti laksid a

ti kada lalaki

ti kada babai

ti kada ubing

agtagainep iti mangsingsinga a turog

iti panangpabassisaw iti boksit

iti danum ti kaadalman

a kari ti ubbog

a nabayagen a nagtalakias

a ti law-ang ket nabayagen

a naparkagan gapu iti pudot ti igaaw

nga isangpet napadso a panawen.


Nadagensen ti rabii:

adda ti babantotna kadagiti abaga

dagiti mangmangged

im-ima dagitoy ket inaldaw a maisalda

iti kada aldaw ti sennaay.


Ania a panangged ania nga ayat

ania a wayawaya ti adda kadatayo

Iti panaggaani a di met

makaam-ammo kadatayo

iti panaggaani a di met

datayo ti agtagikua?


Ania a kalintegan

ania a pagrebbengan

ania a pannaripato

ti adda iti lubong nga inaramid

a kakaasi iti kabaelan

a panangaramid a kakaasi

a ti darang ket ti apuy

a mangsilmot iti unget

a mangibati iti ania man

nga ited ti kararag

iti ania man a maaramidan

ken saan ti salakan

tapno pagbalinenna

nga arak dagiti ling-et

dagiti mangmangged

daytoy a pannakasapul

daytoy a kasapulan-unay

daytoy a panaggagawat

tapno agtutungtong iti kinalabon? 

A Solver Agcaoili

Hon, HI/Feb 15/09

Aldaw ti Kuddakudda, 1

Dagiti mannaniw, 
kadagiti kuddakudda
manipud kadagiti balikas.

Ngem sakbayna, 
kadagiti manto 
sadanto agsuek
kadagiti bariwangwang 
ti sipnget
ket sadiay nga awatenda 
ti kangisitan a gargari
nga agbirngas 
iti bariwengwen
ti an-anek-ek.

Adu a sao 
a pimpiman
ngem di met ngarud 
dagitoy kadagiti rikna 
a nasantuan.

Di ket ta panangiraira
iti bagsol, iti bakrang 
kas iti ngiwngiw
sa iti karubukob 
sa iti dila
iti aldaw dagiti kuddakudda
a kadagiti dakulapda 
ket maipasngay,
amin iti balla.

Dagiti mannaniw
ti tulisan dagiti pudno
nga iti linabag
ti pananglimlimo
ket ti pangngurungor
iti agpayso.

Padaraenda dagiti daniw
kas iti kuddakudda
agingga nga iti bassit nga abut
ti agong ket agsayasay ti lua.

A. Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI Feb 14/09

Tiempo Muerte, 2

The dead season. 

It is earth retiring 
in the deep of the night
awaiting what awaiting can
even as man, woman, child
dream of fitful sleep
for filling up their belly
with well water
from the promise of spring
long gone, the heavens having dried up
from the heat of summer
the dead season brings. 

The night is heavy,
its weight on the shoulders
of workers with hands
pawned each day
each day of grief.

What toil what love
what freedom we have
in harvests that do not claim us
in harvests that are not ours?
What right what duty what care
is in the earth wretched as wretched can be
the heat the fire that makes the rage
leaving behind what prayer can do
what redemption can and cannot do
to turn the workers' sweat into wine
this want this need this starving
into one of  meeting in abundance?  

And the food aplenty
in the hungered wakefulness
that has no name
in the famished serving 
that has no aroma no shape 
no color no taste no bitterness
no one will partake of this mistake:
those who go the way of feasting
are all gone, dead.
We give the food offering:
it is dusk. It is late.

A. Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI/Feb 10/09

Tiempo Muerte, 1

LAST HAUL. “Tiempo muerte” (dead season) they call it in Negros sugar farms when workers are left idle for several months after the season’s final harvest. A “sacada” delivers the final load of sugarcane stalks to a waiting truck in Hacienda Victorias in Victorias City in Negros Occidental province. L. Rillon, Inquirer, Feb 9/09 

It is the young man 
with the haul of hurts,
the terrible truths of hunger, 
his worn shoulder blades
carrying what  the weight of years
fathers can carry to dream
past the sunsets past the neat rows
of cane stalks ready for 
the harvesting.

Today, dreams are deferred
one more time. 

Each prayer of the callused hands
is a litany of want the times
do not want to hear, not even
this whimper in the wind
not even in the night glow 
that reminds of the delicate dance
of lovers speaking of poems
only the other knew
only the other can utter
to ward off the despair
of the land coming to fallow.

The seasons are dead,
and one by one the dark hours
keep the father company
to make them keep the hope.

Tomorrow, the lands will be tilled
the lands furrowed
the rains will come
the mills will hum again what song
what rhythm can come out workers
praying for strength to lead them on
what covenant can come out of bosses
preying on the strength of their men.

A. Solver Agcaoili
Hon/HI Feb 7/09


One of the problems of Ilokano writing and the practice that goes with that writing is the almost impossibility of ‘critique’ that we can clearly call ‘Ilokano.’


‘Critique in Ilokano’ could be a difficult phrase, but we can clarify: it means that reflexive act of those who have something to say about Ilokano poetics, in any language, but ideally in the languages that are accessible to many of the more informed Ilokano writers.


That something that a critique can say about Ilokano poetics is a well-thought out understanding of the patterns of writing that we have produced in the interest of our people and in the interest of sustaining that vitality and vigor of our language and culture.


In effect, Ilokano critique is an erotic act: creative, creating, conscious, constructive; it is sharing in that eternal act of Eros to renew the world.


It is opposed to the act of decapitation—as by the act of Thanatus—as being practiced by some of the writers trying to write by populating the blank spaces of message boards with trash.


Theirs is a destructive act indeed, deathly and deadly; it is an act filled with arsenic; it is an act with no political and aesthetic power to redeem and reclaim.  


Critique, in whatever form, is of course impossible to ‘idiots’ passing themselves off as writers, Ilokano writers pretending to be informed, and Ilokano idiots pretending to be the serious and grand writers we have always been awaiting. No, their act is grandiose but never, never grand: feigned, affected, pompous.


Include in these the idiots pretending to have other names—or worse, hiding behind a name or names.


If this is not Sybil for you—and if we are not going to have that boldness and daring to unmask this pathological condition of Ilokano poetics; and if we continue to believe in the lies these anonymous Ilokano writers peddle for everybody to read and consume in the cyberspace world, secure as they are in their anonymity, and so darn insecure in the courage and daring and boldness they have, if at all they have any of those, then there is no reason why we keep on with this struggle to sustain our sense of self and community and heritage.


For here are idiots on message boards who worry about the inane without looking into contexts, them the bigoted lot of writers who know only how to make a scratch and call that writing for goodness sake!


The elision to anonymity by people pretending to know what Ilokano poetics is must be judged as an act of cowardice and by the rule of the principle of ethics, these people, while either coward or ignorant or both, are still held liable for what they write about, particularly their penchant to decapitate other people, stand on the decapitated bodies of the people, and rise up and rule the world of Ilokano writing.


This is an obnoxious practice and the message boards of some Ilokano writers are filled with these writings on the wall that do not merit any second look except to say, woebegone.


It really is—a real ‘sayang.’


How can anyone who thinks of herself or himself as an ethically informed writer have that courage to remain anonymous while at the same time naming her or his enemy?


This situation is without merit in critique—at least the reflexive kind, the real kind that we are saying in this series.


For, indeed, critique is a species of conversation, that kind of a conversation that we fall into.


Or human communication—if  you will.


And in conversation, there is that mystical, almost sacred act of ‘falling’ into it, enthralled, seduced, mesmerized, because in the event of summoning the healing and creating power of words, there, there is language in its silences, gaps, gulfs, and possibilities.


You call this symmetry, that exchange and diffusion, that to-and-fro, that ‘betweening’ or ‘middling’ so that a new world could come about, with one conversation partner ever ready to listen while the other conversation partner talks, and always, always, in a vice versa way.


And these idiots?


Tell them to read the critical hermeneuts.


Or tell them to ask Ka Loren what this is.


One observer of the pathological condition of our Ilokano life wrote to me: Why, on earth, are you blogging those obnoxious messages on your site?


I wrote him back: I am not going to allow our people to forget. Trace is trace even in a palimpsest, even in the palimpsest of our pathologic Ilokano writing lives.


In memory, there, there is going to be our relief after these long days of poetic bereavement. 


A S Agcaoili/Hon, HI/Feb 8/09






To get your words together

To get your words together
is running after your noon shadows
in these islands of nations 
and countries and speeches,
this last you want to hear
again and again to validate
your voice, the vowels in your fear
the consonants in your tear. 

Now the sun hides
behind the trails behind the story
of sweet murder or homicide, this
act against who walk by the morning
to catch the clouds hanging loose
in the skies on mountaintops.

The news comes with its newness:
you were about to do the ritual hike
to search for your steps
to gather your own words
to language, in verbs as in nouns,
what despair is when definitions
are in recession in this time of want
in this time of greed
in this time of thinking through
what menu we can offer
to the impoverished who dream
of three square meals rounded
to include your gifts to the gods 
taking only gold, in crates and caches,
to hear what you have to say to yourself. 

Life is a difficulty
in this America you  
have come to know earlier
than you can complain.
The dream of abundance  of long time ago
is absent here, not in this weather 
when you are whipped by the ferocity
of what comes to punish every dreamer:
lingering loves are lost
as their capacity to grieve over the loving
that counts and counts more than ever
as their capacity to regain, 
and in the new sun,
what light can light give
when they lose their jobs and joys
as themselves and the only safety net 
they have got is to stock up on their nightmares
one at a time, one at a time
in this America of a dreamer's masquerade.

You need to get your words
together, throw your language
back to these waves going wild 
and imagine all possibilities, 
like an Ilokano banquet
you are not invited to go: 
you have remitted 
your promise to pay up to the night 
that has mortgaged what diction and daring 
you have kept to fight it out,
in the re-gathering of your own words
that will reside, finally, in your alien heart.

A. Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI/Feb 3/09