Order for Massacre

"Massacre planned, says Buluan vice mayor," Inquirer, Nov. 26, 2009

I come from a country
of bloody contradictions,
regrets, deaths. It is a republic
this sorrow we are prone to
even inherit even take it easy
even as we have yet to learn to live.

And now this
order for massacre,
fifty-seven of them
and perhaps more
that only the new graves
and the murderous backhoe
that does not how to tear up
ends up as the chieftest
of all the Maguindanao mourners
of this Ampatuan land
Allah and God have forgotten
on this Monday the angels went mad.

The president of the country
has forgotten what grief is.
When you lose memory
and mothers, warriors
and women who saw
the meaning of good deeds
and you are the leader of the land,
you grab your beads, fall on your knees
and say all that which substitutes
for this collective lament.

This could have been a convoy
to their death like a procession
of hopes without any name,
and we all see
and we all read
and we commit all these
to a morning confession we hope
to make in the centuries
that will come to us
if we are lucky enough
or we bury in the sands
of time if we cannot fight it out
this impunity we define
with gallons and gallons of blood.

We make fertile the land now
with our own flesh and fear
with our bodies and breath
with our faith and failure?

And we order for massacre:
fifty-seven of them
and the number is increasing
by day when honesty goes back in
on the pages of our testament.

I come from a country
that mistakes democracy
with the massacre of what divine mercy
is left in our remembrance
of the past we look forward to
like this order for the death
of memory that lives on and on.

Fifty-seven lives lost in Ampatuan
and we remain callous, calm.

A Solver Agcaoili
Manoa/Nov 25/09

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