PROGENY

1.
In Cuba,
a “privileged creative class”
would include
Alejandro Castro Soto del Valle
& Camilo Guevara
sons of revolutionary icons
“who stage regular fashion shows
and cocktail parties…”
O generation has its own
ideological statement to make –
& the past crashing on the wall
of the present
puzzles no end tunnel-visioned
revolutionaries
who persist in the linear trajectory
of history.
How then should the spawns
follow the path of their fathers?
In this age of fast-tracked
lives & communication,
they’re re-interpreting
Lenin’s texts of his times
& the old fogeys
given to sentiments of dark
landings & gunfire
could only watch
themselves
watch time swiftly pass by,
speechless at their own
glorious speeches
at the public square.

2.
Rockers like Tyler
are writing their hedonistic memoirs,
hoping to stamp their faces
on an era
they vainly signify.
But do they really have
anything new to share?
A novelistic epigraph
& virtual epitaph
to their psychedelic monuments
dedicated to something gone forever
& beyond recall.
Ronstadt,
reaching 50,
double chin affirming
Time’s savagery,
is putting out her own
to mark her ’60s frenzy.
The yesteryears
have a footnote to conclude?
Maybe a dash or a period
to stress a postmortem
to what was once
the glory of youth.
Only a waiting game of grandchildren
surrounding the icons
calmly sipping cocktails
as evening slowly dims
the veranda by the shore –
memory is a blur
in a world spinning
with quicksilver speed,
heavy with history’s ghosts.

3.
Will he also
write his own?
But it is all a scape
of whiteness
that staggers the eye
with its intense
nothingness
as his speaking voice
bounces off the windswept
walls…
The infinitude of sand
covers the flat space
where he slowly walks
as if on a journey
that leads to an endpoint –
where is the pier
he can drop off anchor?
What for, my dear, what for?
The air recoils
at the sound of his own voice.

4.
Art a pornography?
The Catholic crowd
is all up in arms
against the exhibit,
as if their privacy
& bucolic world
were exposed to ridicule.
For instance,
if these were the times of Christ,
& pharisees held dominion
over all,
the artist would have been
executed.
But would Christ mind it at all?
He would probably be cavalier
at the protestation
his sainthood had been sullied
beyond recognition.
Yet in the beyond
where His spirit roosts,
earthly conversation
is dropped at the door,
notions of morality
are never sacrilegious,
& art is daily dose
noise & harpsichord.
Art as pornography?
This is the 21st century,
distant from the lynch mobs
that tortured Giordano Bruno
& women philosophers
of the ancient world.

5.
But these snot-nosed
school children
are high on earning a degree:
they don’t relish
dropping out of the rat race,
& fleeing to the hills
cocksure as in the ’60s
the world is worth dying for.
Too young to be gripped
by nihilist philosophy
& despair?
Puritan sacrifice for
the other & country?
Things, they see, unfold
as in old metaphysics –
in the circle,
the beginning is one with the end.
No more the mountains
serve as metaphor
to seduce
the romantic poet-warriors.
They act & get on the high-end lift
oblivious of Marx & Lenin.

6.
The batch of freshmen
at the other table
outside Katag
is cool:
in shorts & flipflops
sporty boutique-cut hair
& strutting like peacocks
to pass the day.
Laughing heartily,
smirking on the side
at shabby dudes
painting graffiti on basement wall.
As if to say
they are beyond all this,
but smart-assed cannot be commandeered
into the barracks.
Rather they would be corralled
into spacious offices
with credit card & pricey valise.
What century is this?
The old activist
with his knapsack & tubao
must have lost his way
out of the forest –
he cannot hack
abandoned principles,
be done with the central Director
to advance the cause.
Here the CEO
with humongous pension fund
rules,
he who deals
with facts & figures
to underwrite investment
in gold features.
But what if
the US empire
is in virtual free fall?

7.
He would rather ask
the old guerrilla
about his choice of wine
or cigar
than probe the schism
that ushered in the historic
fall…
[& they were only a heartbeat away
from Malacanang,
almost nullifying the impossible.]
That is not his metier:
he is into acceptable profiling,
painting with words
that cross out the relevance
of ideologues,
O issues must be on hold!
If it were the time of Christ,
he would have popped the question:
did He get bored
at Gethsemane,
or really mean those words
spoken at the cross?
Philosophic discussion
is not his cup of tea:
he writes for pleasure
& wants his public icon
cut down to size.
He actually sends
the common message
this ex-subversive
may have a bigger carbon print
in the pig sty,
but that is all there is to it,
he’s no different from you & I.

8.
The sons are leery
of their elders
who trekked to the hills:
O they see no future
in the crusading enterprise:
PH is still a basket case;
when money talks
everyone listens
never to Mao, Marx or Lenin…
O What is there to do?
No-man’s land is Libya,
Riots stir madly in London, Syria,
Asian labor is cut down in Arabia,
& infidels are hunted by Talibans.
But Sierra Madre
is a denuded mountain range
while state troopers
breach the hinterland…
Where lies direction, then?
The faint-hearted are however warned:
something suddenly explodes
beyond all philosophic diatribe
& fools will likely wake up
with half-blind eyes.

9.
In the end,
the father “would be convinced
by his son” to his
“own way of thinking
& reasoning.”?
But he’s gone now –
would have been
a human rights lawyer
as was his wont –
“shot four times
at terminal
right after he boarded
a bus bound
for Legaspi City.”
Rei Mon, after all,
was spokesperson
of the League of Filipino Students…
His killer hasn’t been caught,
sad fate of activists
shortlisted by the “military”
who “are well equipped
and trained to do that.”
Rei Mon would argue
they share their food –
which was never plenty
but sufficient enough
for family –
with the hungry,
rejecting left-over
as “fit only for animals”.
O How the son had trained
the father to be
more human…
But for the state,
Mon Rei was only a rabbit,
moving target in the hunt.

10.
He’s insomniac,
sign of senior moments,
when he can’t lay
his head to sleep
the sleep of the just:
is it the nightmare
of dreamt images
whose bestiary
of symbols
is all mixed-up?
Meaning is a wayward mistress
shrugging off cheap jives
as he rewinds
the ghosts who come & go
like wild wind of sorrow:
O he loved his pet dearly,
yet they seem to have
slipped out of his mind
completely…
When they required him
to undergo medical check-up
the sign was up:
But would his body
hold up?
Of late, it has betrayed him
like a cheap lover,
& he can only cross
his fingers
if he’s going nowhere.
The circle is getting
smaller & smaller:
Women have long deserted him
& no longer can he
keep off the lunatic fringe.
The Beatles have long
sung/rued it in melodic
themes:
money, money, money
to dry the tears
as time showers him
with descending fears.

11.
a. The peace negotiation between
PH & NDF is ongoing, as per
history’s bulletin.

b. There are 300 political prisoners
rotting in jails all over the country.
Release them for good will,
the revolutionaries offer.

c. There are police captives
in the countryside. Stop the
ambushes, the commander-in-chief
counters.

d. The exchange of maneuvers goes on,
both preparing for the war of attrition.

e. Who claims the first move?
Whose interest is served, after all?

f. The dove of peace, with the olive branch
in its beak, circles in mid-air.

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