IN MEMORIAM: DR. NEMESIO PRUDENTE

Days had been hideously hot.
& from the ceiling of that particular night
hung warm icicles
that kept me restive
in my dream-wracked site.
In the morning
an early dead air hovered
like a swarm of blackbirds
on the neighborhood.
Nothing seemed to move
inside the premises
but for the electric fan
that couldn’t dare complain.
When the text announced
“Doc” had passed away –
almost like a wind
that wouldn’t sting –
I was sure as hell
that was it,
like the eerie flap of invisible wings,
that made for the unease:
a spirit, distant & unknown,
had playfully whisked me off
a comfort zone,
like a man blindsided
by a wayward cab.


I.

He sat behind the desk
like a warrior at rest –
his Castillian beard
& half-smiling face
intent on hearing the young men
talk of seminar-workshops,
nodding in consonance
with the troubling cry of the times:
the dictator had fled,
the people must raise themselves up
by their own boot straps,
with the trail
blazed by the vanguard…


II.

When another dispensation
took over like a plague
of cannibals at the gates
he had to stand down
& seek refuge in his Cavite hometown,
but had kept tabs
of how monsters had slithered back
to roost
with their telltale signs
of mutilated bodies at safehouses,
backroom deals brokered
by clean-shaven criminals in suits…


III.

Twice he survived
the murderous ambush
of troopers sworn
to the rule of law –
but in an arid land
of cacique discourse
red is the color
of blodied myth-bashers
on their bullet-ridden way
to imaginary Oz.
A marked man he was
for saying
with his professional flair,
“The emperor has no clothes!”
but his low voice
would be drowned
in the chatter of rampaging horde.
He’s a dead man walking
for shutting up
dogeaters who waterboard hemlock
in the age of reason.


IV.

The obit simply announced
his earthly passing:
his ashes in a box
to escape, as it were,
necrological services
where strangers,
even friends & comrades,
would put a spin
he would dismiss
as lovingly cheap.
He wasn’t wont
to indulge in Greek dramatics.


V.

He is drifting away
on an invisible raft
borne on the river of nada, nada, nada.
Those at the imaginary shore
who are burdened
to stay the course
must face up to the hassle
of rising higher
then his incandescent star,
pushing the old-man river
to move farther along…


VI.

Why do men of heroic passion die?
The wisdom of the world
won’t suffice to embrace
the void of circular questions
God steers clear of,
unable to speak like the Holy Inquisition.
But Buddhists burn incense
to calm down anxious hearts
& pronounce all who have vanished
will eventually return
to finish a mission left undone:
In another place & time.
In another form.
In another generation.

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5 Responses to IN MEMORIAM: DR. NEMESIO PRUDENTE

  1. Geraldo says:

    Thank you for this Memoriam to a person I greatly admire.

    I completed my Baccalaureate at P.U.P. (1987-1991). I am one of those fortunate minds; educated, molded under Doc Prudente’s reign of P.U.P.
    His ideals and passion will forever be embedded in me.

    Truly, in “another place & time. in another form. in another generation.” his mission shall be fulfilled.

  2. Niko says:

    Nemesio was my best friend’s grandfather. I was fortunate to live in this man’s house for a month only 8 months before he died. I learned a great deal from him. May he rest in peace. God bless.

  3. Yeah, we all lost a dear friend.

  4. Felice Prudente Sta. Maria says:

    Your poem about Dad was so affectionate in its unique way. Thank you for honoring him with it. Nelson Navarro is just starting to work on a biography about Dad that Anvil Publishing will release, very likely in 2011.

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