SIX POEMS

1.
Thirty years ago,
she expected the future
according to its logical course:
history favors the virtuous
& the rightful
so, therefore,
“’the guerrilla’ movement
and the civil society…”
But the god of history
looked the other way:
200,000 have since
been killed after the
American-organized coup
that lasted 36 years…
Is everything lost?
How about the souls
who gambled on the revolution?
Pamela Yates’s documentary
she retrieved from
“old film canisters”
which served the making
of “Granitos”, a grain of sand,
is now used in
the prosecution of General Rios Montt
for genocide
in Madrid…
She “should have been more
skeptical,”
she had quipped,
when the opposition lost steam…
O Did it however
turn out well?

2.
As sure as the sun
rises in the morning
Putin will become
President again…
But Ivan V. Chaikin, 71,
is “philosophical”
about it,
his “hopes [having]
withered a decade ago.”
The former KGB agent
will by then rule
“comparable in length
to that of Breznevh or Stalin.”
The elect “decided
who will hold the job.
It’s like a swap in chess –
my bishop for your rook.”
The power to choose
no longer lies in the people,
but party mates
who vigorously applauded
the move.
O How Lenin must be
turning in his grave –
as if the kingdom were alive again
& the Russian czar
was back on the saddle.
Pasternak was prophetic:
the “train derailed
and lying at the bottom…”
[O What do you see
around your head
when you drown?]

3.
The students were at a loss
who would speak
before the discussion group
massed at the stairs.
They had run out
of mentors on the Martial rule:
only a few were available
but they were graders
during those fateful years.
Yes, stragglers there are
but most hide behind
dark glasses:
as if hiding from malevolent
eyes;
others could only hold court
on bar stools
to drink away
memory’s vivid tumult.
What possesses their young minds
now
that the same old, same old
seems to recur
like cliches in stories told?
O, But they will find
their way out of the woods,
a kibitzer assures,
there will be no end
to the undefeated
who shall raise their voice.

4.
A.
K’s leaving for Westminster
in London.
days after a typhoon
ravaged the whole of Luzon.
Her circle had gathered
at the feast of the able,
sending good vibes
in their own friendship mode:
all merrily trying to solve
their own situations,
she choosing her own direction.
But how would it be
years from now?
Can she still hold on
to her promise to return?
O Every generation
seeks its own answers & solutions,
crossing its fingers
there is still something going on
for it
in a pig sty
where friends & foes
dream to fly out.

B.
She will leave behind
flooded plains turned into
a sea of murky water,
wind that pierces like a knife
to the bones,
rains that drown
the guileless & the damned…
All this like a satchel
of sorry postcards
as she plunges into freshly-printed
books
while winter snow swirls down
like flowers from the sky.
Looking out the window,
what shall grip her listless heart?
Old country scenes
that are virtual phantasmagoria
of colonial dreams?
O But her heart needs
respite…
& when she comes home,
how shall she gaze
at old friends
with her defamiliarized eyes?
Will there be
some tipping point?

5.
They asked him,
as if he had the wisdom
off his years
to look-over their stuff.
The young guys
who would be poets –
as if theirs were a noble profession.
O If only he could confess
all art,
as in Baudrillard,
isn’t “a natural impulse”
but simply “an artifice.”
He could only pronounce,
like a witch doctor,
what could never be real
with language
cultivated, rhetorical –
was there ever space
for truth, or meaning,
their innocence could impart?
But he could only nod
& blurt –
OK, let’s see,
tactically denying
poetry is thesis,
as in Brecht,
not emotion…
But how do you
tell the green-eyed children
who would like
to simulate suffering
& scale imagined mountain?

6.
Nothing of course
stops them
form poetry.
To be guided by
old voices
that would muffle
their own?
Or assigned the language
that should
“stem from the heart”?
Like fruit
let loose by a flower
it shoots forth
from everywhere
under the rock,
in the sea,
on trees that murmur
secret sighs,
the dark gazes
from deep eyes,
the nameless tremor
in the heart,
O the invisible ghost
that communes
with the world…
What are mentors for?
Tradition won’t do –
with ears pressed
to the ground
for the sound of ominous drums,
being alone,
equidistant from human tribe,
would suffice
to forge one’s own celestial path.

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