The Dogeaters of Sibuyan & Other Misfortunes

 

Hitlerian Alternative

1.

 

In Sibuyan, they’re killing their own family dogs for food: the fishing ban has allegedly rendered the coastal folks hungry & destitute.

 

In Iloilo, a carabao, who trotted two kilometers to the abattoir, ran amuck & gored the guy who was leading it on a leash. It was shot dead in the head & stomach for its natural resistance to what could be the smell of blood & death.

 

There has been no universal condemnation of these bestial acts of the poor who seem to get away with impunity – because they’re poor & God’s blest?

 

There has been no hint of disgust in the broadcaster’s voice when he reported on the event, as if the animal who produced surplus value in tilling the fields deserved its fate?

 

***

 

Michael Kimmelman, reporting on Goya, says “the human condition was never whole, [the painter] made clear. It splintered into fragments, refused order. Society verged on chaos, then inevitably succumbed. An artist bears witness, unflinchingly…”

 

To extrapolate, if a writer (as an artist, of course) would rage against cannibalism that infests culture in the name of civilization, even of time-bound tradition & God who has made of these creatures bearer of evil spirits, what of it then?

 

We may say this enlightened pocket of sensitive souls, “the few intelligent spirits,” according to Ezra Pound, “who were sent by the Lord of the universe in each generation” and who “ultimately manage the rest, but this rest – the rabble, this multitude [which is constituted by all social classes, anyway] does not create the great artist [meaning, the masses do not determine their soul, or rather they are not beholden to the ideological sensitivity of these defenders of “lost causes”] and are aimless and drifting without him. They dare not inspect their own souls.” [This majority, this public that overwhelms our daily lives?]

 

***

 

The people of Sibuyan would never bother to view their act of eating their own pets as horrible, like pedophiles, anyway; the consumers at an Iloilo meatshop wouldn’t even pause to remember the pain of that animal slaughtered for cheap money by a lumpen…

***

 

Our passion is ill-served by our self-pronounced ethical norms of commodification & living at all costs, barring us from introspecting on the humanity of our choice.

 

They who invoke God & allow these four-footed creatures to perish as victuals for society serve to be sent to the gas chambers of Dachau. Their indifference & studied ignorance should approximate this historic restitution.

 

About time, indeed, to redefine human nature. If schizophrenia must be the rule, everybody should therefore go scot-free.

 

 

2.

 

Yes, the UP administration is hosting this year’s UAAP – & it finds generously necessary to award Pacquiao with a maroon jacket & a cap.

 

Protocol, no matter how devious, finds resonance in bureaucratese.

 

But are the top dogs aware of the symbolic effect of their diplomacy?

 

Does the boxer, who is the toast of trapo bureaucrat-capitalists & the darling of a regime famous for its human rights violation, deserve the accolade denied any rank & file loyalist?

 

Definitely, this is a decision arrived at by a few sucking up to the status quo that usually loses sight of logic & turns orgiastic at a populist wave of the bloodthirsty masses who in turn wax orgasmic at pugilistic skills & dollar success…

 

But who shall celebrate the zealous intellectual or militant who toils unheralded into the night, trying to redefine the history of defeat & stem the flood of chaos?

 

Even academics have been weighed & found wanting?

 

Somebody at least must set an example…

 

 

3.

 

When the Secretary of Education, Jesli Lapus, in his obligatory speech at the Baguio Teachers’ Camp to celebrate the Centennial of Thomasite Education, profusely acknowledged it as a “legacy… of the first US Peace Corps” who had “forever endeared themselves to a grateful nation,” we know – but then we didn’t have to secondguess him anyway – that colonialism has fully recuperated itself, fall sick, in the Philippines.

 

For sure, modernism – by its surfacial definition – cannot be possible without the entry of American capitalism, & the global spin of the Philippine nation as a conduit of imperialism is not without its share of joy & tears…

 

But must we lose sight of the savagery of Fil-American war that saw the Yankees civilize us with a krag? The continuing rapine of women at the bases? The politico-social maladies that keep our President trooping like an obedient vassal to Washington?

 

Somehow, the signals [for dignified liberation] are mixed – & Lapus is just one predictable subaltern paying hossanah to the gods, without qualms & without fail.

 

 

4.

 

She couldn’t be stopped from reading her typescript on militancy & the administrative order, neither her feisty sister from shouting into the microphone at a rally to register the inequity of a jacked-up tuition at the university. They raged so brightly in the mind’s eye, & one could only wish, like the oldtimers, for a dose of fear to protect them from the sleeping dogs they might rouse with their speeches… Even, tragically so, from being marked off as bounty by hitmen who spring from their common class.

 

But they’re relations of a martyred doctor whose skull was split open & brutally stuffed with rags…

 

How could they be told off to play it cool?

 

The young always feel so alive & strong, daring to step out of the circle of silence & negotiation.

 

After all, they who play it safe may also stumble & fall.

 

 

5.

Neither Poetry

 

a.

 

They have always

threatened to walk all over us,

the guy in black hisses,

but they’re nowhere in sight.

All have left for Dubai, Riyadh,

London & even Prague

to serve fat & cologned

Europeans & Arabs.

Unionism is dead.

Each worker for himself;

they don’t even remember

Salud Algabre

& the socialist peasants…

 

b.

 

Seated by the door,

he blankly muses to himself:

the middle class

is slowly feeling the pinch.

Will it rise

to the occasion?

Will it dare to look down

the abyss, or

as in Ninoy’s time,

cross the murderous line?

In what form

shall salvation be?

The perilous limit of its desire?

 

 

c.

 

The freshie stares

at her open clean palms –

She knows if she insists

You gotta believe”

her professor will hear

none of it,

this Christian palaver

& truthful casuistry.

The wise & the fool

have blinders both

in facing the future.

 

 

d.

 

Tweedledum & tweedledee –

tomorrow is bright & bleak

as it can always be –

but ever disinterestedly

it pushes on the rock of history…

Nothing’s certain,

nothing’s indeterminate,

yet life on this planet

is pure dream of bare necessity –

so has Humpty Dumpty chirped

as it teeters like a ball on the edge,

balancing in his fragile, white shell

the obtuse angle of his geometry.

 

 

5.

 

The street runt, toting a bag to scoop in plastic bottles, carton boxes & anything he could lay his hands on for the junkyard, strode nonchalantly into the garage when the driver opened the gates, as if the space were an extension of the street. He had to shout after him for this lack of, uh, propriety & respect for private property.

 

He drew back, retreating into a safe distance only to return with a gaggle of his kind, swooping down on the house & demanding that they be thrown their way the refuse, as if – again – they had the right & privilege to the filthy garbage.

He remembered the flock of women – thin, dark, chattering like birds – as they descended on Hi-Top from a television station, in their hands empty packs of soap powder & other contest requirements, & deposited bunches in the entry boxes at the entrance, then abruptly leaving the store like black wind that turned in another direction, consigning the place to sudden silence & chill.

 

The poor, someday, will rouse us from our sleep, banging on the door like madmen. & we’ll reach for our guns, with a sense of justice & impunity, to drive them away.

 

These are times that try the limits of human compassion & understanding.

 

 

6.

 

G-8 summit has recently concluded to reduce carbon emission that is responsible for global warming that makes for an iceless north pole that turns Greenland really green… by 50% by 2050.

 

As always, power trippers – put into office by a majority of herded electorates – never see the luminous writing on the wall, only themselves pretending to be ship captains steering the planet earth…

 

But will they go down with the ship?

 

How can they abandon it?

 

There is neither land nor sea to jump into for dear life.

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