The Whistleblower & Other Vignettes


One night
as in ancient Arabian fables,
a young thief
stole into a gothic mansion
& overheard dark conversations
about hoards of gold
from traders at the Palace
& the usual public backlash.
The sentinels smelled
his presence
& captured him
after a wild goose chase.
At the court of justice
he revealed the sacred
state secrets,
but he was a thief
no one would dare believe
his tale about ornery schemes.
He was meted out a sentence
befitting a notorious convict
& flogged to death
for how dared he
blaspheme the virtuous Queen.


He was a child
when his grandma
held the scripture
to his eyes:
her voice aquiver –
“Son, don’t ever tell a lie,
The Lord seeth everything.
Don’t break the commandment.”
Late in life,
he remembered
the maternal gadfly
& regretted the narrow road
she counselled to walk on;
When he uttered the words,
“The emperor has no clothes!”
the palace guards
quickly hogtied
& sent him to the calaboose.


It was all too cyclical
of how the past occurred –
when the whistleblower
told his tale of brigandage,
the Palace henchmen
raided his house
for documents of defiance.
Now he faces the firing squad
for saying the public
is being legally robbed
& he, admirers moan,
will be led from the center of the storm
to a dark prison.
But he thinks there’s God
who arranges the fate of men
& he can play the role
of a divine bogeyman.
But has he forgotten
the other devilish side?
God is vacationing in Mars;
he is drifting at midsea
on a ship of the damned.


The bystanders
were quick to hail him
as a regular fellow
who served his masters well –
now an accidental hero
for spilling the beans
on larcenous men
who rode limousines
while the city burned.
He had heard it all
but shaken with fear
of disbursing the truth,
he would quibble
& bide his time.
to steer clear of investigation.
But he couldn’t wiggle out
of the iron grip of his heart.
When all hell broke loose
he found himself
scandalously famous.
What can the poor man say?
His life suddenly unreeled
before his almond eyes
like a saccharine film.
In deep desperation
he gaspel like a drowning bum –
Bastards, you’ll go down with me.
Am no cry baby!


It was not required
of the whistleblower
to be a pure knight
in shining armor
& riding a white, white horse
to lead the warriors
into the empery of light.
That would have been
a humongous lie.
The legion would not have
marvelled at his chameleon act
& just lay down their swords
for God to do the job.
He must be mortal,
made of flesh & blood,
black as forest soot,
but rising above the noxious crowd,
declaring himself vulnerable
& mortally wounded
to head the charge
because he’s human, deplorable —
O paradoxically worth the gamble!
Everything must fit
the various frames
of intertextual signs:
an ordinary guy,
now fallen on hard times,
enveloped by a beast
hundred times his size
but screaming
about the royal sty,
& all the myths
of self-appointed saints
who slither
like sewer reptiles
in the castle’s labyrinth.
So the whistleblower
turns into another myth,
that narrative
we have always desired
to reinvent
the magical wand of fire.
(“Apres nous, le deluge.”
But political power grows out
of the barrel of the gun,
according to the crimson book)


The prophets
are slow
to make predictions:
will the crowd
get thicker
or thin out
because eventually
scared witless
by dogs let loose
from the Palace?
The whistleblower
& his family
don’t know,
& can only pray
for the tempest
to blow over
in the troubled summer.
But what can
they do?
When in the aftermath
there’s only disarray
& themselves
precipitously at the edge
of the future
like Benjamin’s angel
whose eyes
are turned inward
at the past?


& the children?
How would they,
years from now,
read the history
of infamy
time has engraved
on stone?
They can deny
such events happened,
or commission historians
for new beginnings.
But the finger
that moves on
cannot undo
what was fatefully written:
survivors & orphans
would be left
to defend & explain
why their old men
& why their lives
on earth
weren’t worth a damned thing,
in an age
when the call for virtue
& spunk
was most resonant
& their daddies
buried their heads
in the sand.


It is an if
they were stuck
on a huge flypaper
& could hardly
wiggle out
of the sticky plot:
What will they say
to harmonize events
of that day?
How can they speak
in the glare of light?
How can they weep
at their own sordid sight?
But they could hardly
even a strand of hair…
O How they wished
they didn’t love their masters
too well.
But obedience
is their supreme virtue
& God help them
in their feudal servitude.


But there’s no other way
to live…
His fortune is coeval
with his master’s
& he can’t imagine
going around like a Buddhist
with a begging bowl
for enlightenment
& nirvanic plenitude.
Better still then
to be a tool of the powerful
& effect a draconian rule…
Their crimes he can share:
he has been a loyal servant;
he will blindly take the fall.


As a young man
he had always been a joker,
one who made funny faces
cracking against the grain
of the comic genre…
But he wouldn’t apologize
to the hecklers
who claimed the whistleblower
had got his number:
he was an admin golliwog
when once
the scourge of
& brutes of human rights.
He had changed
his tune
like the fickle moon.
But he demurred
all he wanted
in his legal mind
was that slew of evidence
to establish the link
that alas! the kingdom
had ruthlessly hidden.
No, he wouldn’t confess
his truancy
from the populist truth.
He’d be the last man standing
even if millions
kicked him like
a castrated mandarin.
O How time flies!
In the wink of an eye
a man turns into an insect;
in the wink of an eye
a hero turns into a heel.


Many a time
he would remark
salvation is at hand –
but only a few would heed
the call.
This moment,
he’s full of indecision
why the revolution
is neither in stasis
nor in motion,
but he’ll blow
the tribal horn
come what may,
praying that avenging angels
would finally succor
& escalate the human turmoil.
Blindly, he flies
into the future.


It was as if
the spirit of St. Paul,
the original backroom boy
of the empire,
descended upon
believers at Greenhills
& flooded
with celestial glow
the communicants…
& where are the centurions
of the Palace?
They do surveillance
at the gates
as if time has gone back
to the catacombs & Christ
where the secret faith
& the image of the Fish
served as amulets
against satanic angels
in disguise.
The ceremony
was a rebellion of signs:
Let the heavens fall
where it shall.


& the man asked the woman:
So where do we go from here?
As if he didn’t know any better,
observant of the rules of esquires.
& the woman tremulously replied,
as if her opinion mattered,
a seachange in a veritable offer:
Of course, my dear.
There where things need not
be provisionally defined
but known memorially in the heart.
They both laughed
at the theatrical import of their words,
as if enacting a play
they had long reprised.

If on a Summer Day

His lips were virtually sealed
& could only manage a smile
as they parted ways
at the train station.
He had wanted to say –
“You’re my sweet Valentine.”
But the angel of his heart
choked him
& he could only croak –
“Yes, yes see you next time,”
Why the sudden shyness
of a plebeian
bowing mutely
at his fancied majesty?
O it’s a matter of life & death
& old-fashioned lovers
were wont to applaud his discipline.
But his heart would rebel
against the absence of nerve,
for passion is all,
or life isn’t worth
any magical adventure
(Something tells him
he will forever be condemned
to check out the train schedule:
the trip moreover is like Calvino’s,
which has different narrative modules.)

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