King, not Kingmaker

“I want to be king again myself (and) recover my throne that was stolen from me,” Erap Estrada, Inquirer, Jan 21, 2010

You want to be king

hope of those who have nothing
but dreams made of words
not the maker of kings
who will, like you,
deceive what desperate
deception is for a people like us
who have known all things
like age-old want for what want is.

You want to be king

and in your head is the shining crown
in celluloid, silver and golden
and the sparkle of stolen diamonds
as in the guises of our ugly truths
we who have come to believe
at what that drunken dusk, at the Luneta,
we overheard you saying.

You want to be king

and you tell us gathered by the light
of what you have promised:

"We build a happy land for everyone
not for brothers alone
not for sisters alone
not for parents alone
but for all the spirits that take
residence in this soul that is us
awaiting and awaiting salvation
that in churches and palaces
have never come
will never come.

The words, yours or your ghost's,
had the power to enchant,
and we began to dream about riches
we have yet to see
even as your words
rang in circles in our head
even as we said muffled amens to all
that which we heard in the kilometers
and kilometers of our distance
with your shadow at the stand
slipping through what our hands
and hearts could catch.

You want to be king

and we believed you then even
if there was ruse and we knew
but we did not. Was life a cinema
then and now as you recite
what we want to hear?
Was this mystery a chimera
we cannot run away from?

Or is this the wage
of all the falsities we have come
to live by like elections
we cannot run away from
or cathedrals of saints and holy men
we always go back
to ask for the lottery numbers
that will deliver us
from what we do not want?

You want to be king

and you lied to us once:
there is no guarantee
you will not lie to us again
even us this lying
is all we have got in this land
liars and thieves rolled in one.

Honolulu, HI

No comments: