Marikina Blues, 2

These are the warm witnesses:
the feet of men on the lookout
for last loves in this river of blood

death, destruction too in the midst
of warm rain that gives off singing suns
and crooning moons, and all the loving

we need to come to terms
with what is left with messengers
of storm seasons announcing so much life

lesser and lesser now as it is
in these conflicted times, our own.
It is this river, now filled with lost laughter

now filled with the living ruins of memory
the dark vestiges of deluge in cadence
with the vendors' constant calls, their merchandise

the clues to what Christmas has come
to mean to us we who have seen all
what grief is when stormy days and nights

come to visit our merry-making loneliness
and tell us of abiding hope in as many
as jingle bells we can obligingly chant

plus or minus what holiday money
can buy from these rows and rows
of stalls lining this once graveyard

of dutiful countrymen and sinless children
who could not hold onto the liquid
dream of what endless redemption is.

It is Marikina, true, and it is
this season in this place that I remember
what dwells in my city's mourning heart

its dirge permanent as permanent can be
etched on the surface of dark waters
welcoming the flowers for its dead

beyond numbers still, without names
as the tales come out of the shadows
from gates and windows and walls

some stories of payoffs and hot hush monies
so the talking stops at the doorsteps of mothers
so the flowers for the dead come alive in whispers

just so we can protect the leaders anointed
who ask us to elect them for their gift of deceit
their gab those of angels with fallen, falling wings.

A Solver Agcaoili
Marikina/Dec 20, 2009

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