Massacre of the fields

MANILA, Philippines--For some 10,000 farmers, workers and teachers who marched to Mendiola Friday to commemorate the massacre of 13 farmers 23 years ago at the historic Mendiola Bridge (now Don Chino Roces Bridge) in Manila, opened to the militants once again, it was a day meant to remember the past and to collect on unfulfilled promises for the future. J. Andrade & G. Cabacungan, Inquirer, Jan 22/10

We called it the Mendiola Massacre.
The yellow president saw it coming
this madness of hands toiling the land

this grief of feet on a stampede
with the promise of a woman that prayed
hard and harder so we would come to this:

justice as it is: land for the landless
justice as it is: job for the jobless
justice as it is: food for the hungry

those who have not known what it is
to live as they should as this homeland
has erased all means to define what life is.

We kicked out the delusions in the dictator
with the exorcism of our rage, our chant
for freedom the IED that scared him away

to Hawaii and to his sunset, ignominious as yet
his death the cheap politics of those who do not know
the meaning of staged grief for a land without love.

And so the farmers come to march once more,
follow the steps to the massacre of their comrades
and women and dreams, thirteen of them

claiming the victory that was theirs and there,
on the cemented pavement by the dirty bridge
there the perfect pictures reveal: slippers bloodied

bodies bloodied dreams bloodied
the night's anger comes with the hoarse
words coming to grief, final and useless.

The military's guns were more powerful
than the ammunitions of their faith, prayer, hopes
for peace, quiet, and all that we did not have

like the sacred moment to bury our dead
until the next massacre comes once more
until all this is over, this abduction in encore

of who we are, our names in their pockets
our names in their long list so we learn
how to be afraid, we learn how to die.

Hon, HI

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