Brief Narratives

The Chinese
Was handcuffed
To the door
When the gunman
Started firing behind him,
He struggled madly…
Nothing, after all,
Had escaped him
Throughout the ordeal –
The rat-tat-tat,
The screaming…
And every second that ticked
edged him closer…
A cosmos of whiteness
Spread like light
Inside his eyes.

The dead were piled up
Like butchered animals
All over the floor:
The slaughter,
According to breaking news,
Was unimaginable.
In the succeeding investigation,
No one would claim
Responsibility for the massacre
Except maybe the criminal
Who couldn’t anymore
Plead for his reinstatement
& retirement pension.
But the demands were cheap,
Lamented a survivor…
Didn’t she know
The wheels of justice
Grind slower
Than Zeno’s turtle?

Should he be calling
The shots?
His circle feared for
His safety,
Giving him wise advise.
Accidents may happen
From a friendly fire.
O If only Machiavelli
Were alive
To brief him on
The craft of governance.
The eyes of the dead
Stud the night
Like stars
That nobody understands
Why they twinkle
Like fireflies.

After all is said
& done,
Life will move on
With time –
Years later
All will be busy
With the banality
Of living.
The bus will be
To again ferry
Those who will return
In droves
To take a break’
From HK’s cold weather
Will be strictly
A family affair
Until the last generation
Loses its memory.
Malacañang will
Keep on promoting generals
Who’ll ever be clueless
To prevent tragedies
As if everything
Were destiny.

It was no big deal,
Purely a police matter
They could handle –
Such as this crazy guy
Who took over at gunpoint
A busload of tourists
To air his side
They had handled it
Now if it were an Abu affair,
It could very well
Be a different matter
Besides, the dude was family,
Of their kind…
Everything was large writ
In the manual
But when night came
Like a tiger
Lying down in the grass
Tempers suddenly shifted
& no longer there was
Any protocol to observe.
Was it destined to happen?
Everything that might go wrong
Went wrong?
It was inevitable,
They privately mused,
As if no one could be faulted
For the outcome of murder.
The man-made Event’
Became every inch
Therefore only God
Could have stopped
The flood of tears.

The negotiator averred
His powers
Were limited
He had to defer to higher
Like a serf to his lord,
Who, alas, didn’t know
Any better
Though written
It was into the manual
Every general joined the fray,
& everyone must have felt
It’s finally over
Except the survivors
Who wished
The police
should not have bothered
To save them
From the stupidity of it all.

Of course,
The President
Must be above suspicion –
That he never cared
He will not want
For Palace defenders:
They have fancy titles
To carry out the job of language bodyguards.
But bystanders wished
He didn’t feel
Just watching
The event
Unfold on television
His shooting buddy
After all was in control


Of course,
The Police do value life,
As they put their lives on the line
when they wake up in the morning
& retire at sundown.
But those who wield the gun
Have the edge
Over those who rock the cradle –
& that makes all the difference.
They didn’t have a clear shot
Because the guy was family
Never was, like the Neps, the real enemy
They deemed he was not beyond
To stand down
Which explains why carnage
Morphed into an Event
That turned everything
Upside down.

How do you read
A mind?
The inner life
Is what escapes
The seeing eye
Life ever is unfinished.
A hairline there is between
Sanity & madness…
Who knows
Until one snaps
& the unconscious
In all its chaotic glory.

He was trapped in
Space with the walls
Moving in,
As if to crush
Everything in their way.
But he couldn’t speak:
The elements – human
& cosmic –
Seemed to conspire
Against him.
He could only
Fire his gun
But the bullets ricocheted
& hit his heart
& brain.

It was raining hard
& he had to hurriedly open
The gates.
Swerving to his left,
He could barely see through
The blinding downpour
Until he saw a kitten
Its head based
Into the street gutter…
& there was a twitch
In his stomach
As if something monumental
Had happened equally human.
The headlights must have frozen
Its eyes & paws
To sudden immobility
Of course, it was
Just a kitten out to scavenge
In the rain,
But he had to say a prayer
For its soul
Even if the universe
Never bothered to answer him
The accident

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One Response to Brief Narratives

  1. bert says:

    “Our problems now, in two or three years we can say that they are laughable when we recall that they were not that grave,” Mr. Aquino said in Filipino.

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