President Forever, My Wish

A child's wish, this, beyond innocence,
a nation's curse, lifetime
and forever the source of our ills:

for her reign to last a minute longer
and last forever, to be president
of murderers, allies in the massacre

of what we are, who could we be,
cheats of the highest caliber,
they who can even lie chanting the lauds

so priests and bishops can hear her
so her god can give her indulgence
so her thieving sons can defend her

tell of her immaculate heart and her novenas
to the Lady of Piat and the black Nazarene
her daily appointment with her small heart.

Never mind that this nation
erred in Error's name
wrongly gave her the mandate to govern

this land without the home, bleeding
as it has always been, ever since,
does not have any need for her lies

one like her, drunk as drunk
she can be with power, as she
has become, with her capacity

for greed while she smiles while she clings
to her prayer beads, dark in their sheen,
strung together by a gold wire

that could have strangled
the neck of those who refuse to die
those who fight to make life

better for this country now bitter
for exiles, men and women who have
to go away to send in their love

from boxes and boxes of sorrows
from memories of remittance receipts
even if all these mean dying a thousand times.

It makes her big, special, important:
huge and large for her swollen sense
of self, her presidency for her allies

like Ilokano writers elsewhere pretending
greatness borne of conjugal anomalies
desires, deceptions, demented claims

to a simile of their empty adulterous lives.
A minute woman, she, this president,
her stature is what compensates

what she cannot do: do, do
the right thing for a people
long in need of living full lives.

She promised a lot of blessings
and she stole what honor
we can have in slaving for others

even as coffins, cold and frozen,
come back to us in increasing number.
Her logic is that of a convent girl:

she knows the prayer's power repeated
over and over and the enchanting capacity
of waltzing with grinning, scheming courtiers.

A Solver Agcaoili
Honolulu/Jan 3, 2009

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