“Sadness is a personal definition”

“Sadness is a personal definition.”  My head
swims in waterfront bars which on cold mornings
are washbasin rites of eyes squinting
how past & future are one, the bloodshot times
have not changed the physics of Filipino living & dying:
men staggering with their bottles in junkyards
women drowning in their fat, kids unfurling flags—
Surely, what my young lines have religiously denied
But I’m old & reactionary, lost along loose talks
of power & revolution that spread like an ink blot:
I, who play to the gallery of pretty young things,
must now eat all printed lines of grief, a judge-penitent’s—

For sadder is a mother’s tale
of a son tortured by churchgoing hitmen
For deeper is a father’s tale
of a daughter impaled by gangbanging Yanks
For greater is a child’s tale
of kinsmen burned in sweatshops & oplans
For lonelier is a guerilla’s tale
of bodies that weathered tanks & guns
“Sadness is a blind man’s song.”  My head
swims in waterfront bars which on cold mornings
are washbasin rites of eyes…

Like this poem that elides all real nightmares.

From Quadratic Silences, 1991

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This entry was posted in POETRY OF EDEL GARCELLANO, selected by G.Y. Guillermo. Bookmark the permalink.

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