Perchance, it was a dream.
We were flesh and cheeks, decades ago
Marched the land with mud in our boots,
Courage in our faces and loyalty in our chests
Slinged our bolos and guns to protect Perlas and its people
from the life-stealing villains lurking in the day
We perished from blood to bones
with an oath in our lips
“Get up, Stand up”
against the fiend.
Perhaps it is a dream.
We, tired and rotting bones,
who fought to defend Perlas with all our courage,
peaceful for years in our graveyard,
still aching but consolable
We, tired and rotting bones,
when the man who spilled the blood of the innocents,
destroyed their homes,
left their bodies for the reaper,
came and lived with us.
now sleeps in our home.
Wish it’s just a dream
The tired and dead bones we are,
embrace the old fighters pain
Singing of our wounds,
scars, stings and shocks
Some bodies heard
and they sing with us.
But more bodies don’t.
They sing louder of his glory and wisdom
and chant deeper of contempt.
It is easy to turn a blind eye
when you were never hurt.
It is difficult to heal when
you suffered the whips and whacks,
when your children are all missing skeletons,
when the countrymen you fought and died for
glorify its killer
Perhaps he deserves sympathy.
Perhaps he deserves rest.
But don’t we?
On the margins of the night,
come hear the fireworks from the guns,
empty shells in the cold roads
warmed by the blood in the streets.
These are the nights of the purge,
A stranger clothe with darkness touches
the open windows,
the light posts and damp houses
Speeds through the alleys in the blaze of his hunger
His eyeballs, a hint of command and evil
His hands, heavy with ammunition,
Gigantic and calloused,
Ready for assault.
Dinner was served in a house with empty flowerpots,
where the wheels sleep on the roof
A lady dressed the table with dried fish
waiting with disconnection notice in one hand,
distress in another
Her three little girls taking shelter
under the safety of their camp
made of threadbare blankets,
maybe it covers the pouring troubles
The watchman just finished his shift and
walks past the corner of the street,
weary with his clobbered beard and wrinkled eyes,
past the shadows and silhouettes of bakeshops,
past the shoeless shoemakers,
across the lonely intersection,
To the alley of houses damped with sweat and tears of
He knocks on the door,
the lady stared long at his eyes
and his back that carries the weight of disappointment
Sighs when he saw the notice sitting in the table
Nine more moons before the next pay
The God sits next to the television,
a Sampaguita hangs on His fingers
and the guard sat in the couch
His body mirrored in the window
The long night awakens the spirit of the stranger
He saw the prey across the open window
He raised his iron hands towards the target
and bang, bang, bang!
The silence shies away
The cartridge gave away three bullets
Two shots in the back, one in the head
and the moon cries
Bullet casings dropped on the dirt
The blood stains the couch where a body sat lifeless,
The sound of the lady mourning
And soon, hundreds of lips talking
“A drug suspect was slain” the man in the television says
“He is innocent,” the mourners wept
“Another man shot dead”
“In other news…”
His is a little death, nameless and forgotten,
His is just a number added to the names of the dead
a stone in a cemetery
a drug war’s sacrifice in this confused humanity
The country will lament him no longer and
In the morning, another cry will come
but the evening will take it away
Just like that
Whatever took hold of the man will always be remembered by the air
And when the trumpets had all sounded, judgment will stand tall.
The stranger barrels past the trash bins,
past the road signs
and the dying plants held in the water containers.
In the dirt, a badge was recovered.
I’d leave my corpse in your hands and my name on your skin,
so you’ll never forget that I’d live there
I’ll house you in a graveyard and
bury you like roots and coffins,
for you to feel how it’s like to be left alone
With frost and rain, I want to efface your memory
and I’ll teach you my name
it will be the only words your lips will kiss,
the only tale you’ll tell
I hope you fall like rain,
forced in its downfall,
lonely and shapeless
with nowhere to go,
nothing to do,
Because when you leave, you used the windows and
leave winter to sleep in my bed
and now sunlight is a stranger touching my skin
my body is a map of your lost expeditions
but I’m the only one presumed lost and
you, the only surviving member
Now I dream, cloth with the memory of your face
enduring what remains of my withering self