After the Fact

After the fact, this is a declension
in the nominative case, this work
which is not ours but we do it
just the same: this work to language
what language cannot do
as in the fight that must be won
to make a possessive case
of freedom that has eluded us
like sand on Ala Moana slipping away
going back to the waters of the sea
only to retrieve it by force
in mounds as in the oppression
of sight when the raked grain
is a dark obstacle in the night
that we need to while away the long day
to welcome rest with steely finality
by dreaming of the sweetness
of our people's victory
some more, more and more.

We decide to go barefoot
the way the forefathers
the same way the foremothers
had done so to touch
the absence of geographies
we could have otherwise known
such as this aloneness
you say you have but do not own up
like this desire to get into the thick
of things even when your young life
is bare or despite its being so
and flat too as if in a one-dimensional
presentation of the habits of love
you are searching for
when all we could do
to wash away the tensions
of days is grieve for a dream
about water pouring on our heads
from the thunder slicing through
the air when the sounds
of our centuries of rage
are choreographed by lights
dancing before us despite
what capital in dollar terms
can offer to make us
resist what is it to translate
the abstractions of social justice
into words that can wound our mind.

It is not easy doing things, brother,
son, child, poet, rebel, revolutionary.

I could have said this to you over
and over again as we saunter
through the sandy walks of the evening,
as if to flatter you and this ocean,
more for the rippling and quiet water
on this half-moonlit night
after the fact of our chop-sticking
glazed walnuts on a Chinese resto
and remembering hunger we know
what laughter we could have had
when we said the right phrase
or the twist to a question
we understood afterwards
when we have uttered the wrong
answer but could
no longer take it back.

At least, we did not swallow
our own sense of the revolution
even if the children of our dreams
become declarations that defy
what can be defied like a food offering
not for them who have died
but for those living empty lives.

A Solver Agcaoili
Ala Moana/Nov 21, 2009
8 PM

No comments: