They line up
along with their children,
to view the bodies
sprawled in the veggie frozen
of a Misrata supermarket.
They want to see him
really dead, dead, dead,
having watched them
only from afar:
They couldn’t believe
their eyes,
with mixed awe & fear,
that their dictator
& his son
will ever again
be able to terrorize.
The NTC claims
they perished in a crossfire
though filmic evidence
shows he was
coldly executed
by the ragtag army,
brimming with pain & anger
like animals in heat
in the desert pig sty.
They won’t investigate,
transition leaders shrug off,
the manner of their demise.
But how could evil
end itself
if they justify themselves
being more forgivably bestial
than the man
who “whined like a dog?”
When once,
at the flick of his fingers,
he could have any guy
if he/she so earned
his majestic ire?
O The spectre of guillotine
ever haunts the Libyan air!

They dragged him out
of the Sirte drainpipe
where he hid
after his convoy
was bombed by French jets
that aerially tracked
them down.
But the dictator
once upon a time
was a dear old friend
when he allowed
the West to open the oil fields,
only to abandon him
like a rat
when masses rallied
to telegraph his fall.
“Don’t kill me, my sons!”
he had pleaded –
delusional father
to violated children –
but what could he do:
he had reigned absolutely
whose word was law.
The people dared not show
any mercy,
as if the heavens
were on their side.
They couldn’t be diplomatic,
the rebels turned beast
to devour the zoo keeper
who left them hungry
in steel cages?
But, what, alas,
if he threw them some
With bellies full,
would they have
doused the fire?

It was unbelievable –
he couldn’t understand
the professor’s drift:
Dr. Friesal Krekshi,
“the new dean of Tripoli University,
accompanied by 25 young men
who fought their way
into the campus with
kalashnikovs and hand grenades…”
found “war prisoners
in shipping containers
and drawers full
of intelligence dossiers
on students…”
Plus an “office suite
near Col. Khadafi’s”
that included
“a queen-size bed,
a Jacuzzi and a
gynecological examining table…”
Nura Bargan wished
the professor didn’t destroy
the DVDs of “students
being sexually assaulted…”
It was almost
as if the event
was too banal to be true,
but in the plethora of lies
that the regime cultivated,
he was bound
to disbelieve
any resemblance of truth.

It was pure
fascist at home,
anti-imperialist abroad,
funding subversive
that will shake America
& her cohorts.
But he didn’t play
the game well:
he left his flanks open
while driving toward
his imagined place
in the future.
Was he delusional?
Did he believe
his own imagined legend?
But all rulers
are rogues
who claim themselves
of the house of cards;
The list goes longer
as impostors
troop into
the bloody turf.

Surely, if the people
rise as one
there will be deliverance
— & chaos.
How can a revolutionary
turn orderly & disciplined,
clearly delineating
the good & “evil
that men do?”
There will be hell to pay,
of course,
but to steer clear
of collateral damage
on the innocent?
A clear accounting of sins
when the smoke
the world turned upside down?
O How does one
start on a clean slate,
begin from the beginning?

they have become
experts in handling
high-powered guns
mounted on pick-ups,
firing in reckless abandon
as cities fell:
would show their wounds
like medals of honor.
But how long
must the euphoria last?
It is as if
a bunch of kids
had pulled
to the ground.
But when will street militias,
flushed with victory,
surrender their guns
like drunkards
giving up wine?
True, they have recovered
old voices of their dog years,
as if God
had sanctified
their just mission to vanquish,
But if the regime
rebuilds on a lie
that the dictator
was killed in a crossfire,
never in an ambulance,
will it bring back
memories of the past
like omens for
the future?
Is there another
waiting in the wings?
Blindly, they march
to the new beat of the drums.

After the gunfire
has died down
& Nato jets are back
in the hangar,
what is there left to say?
He twits as he sips
his morning brew
at the side café.
Surely, did the people
really win the war?
Asking as if to demean
what populists aver
as the revolution…
If not, however,
for the bombing of Libyan cities
& decimating
the elite forces of the
would victory be at hand,
the militias
beating their chests
like chimpanzees
or counting the dead
with tears of regret?
O, listen,
America’s drones &
Pentagon technology did
Gadhafi in,
the dictator, like all fools,
who didn’t see
his time was up;
couldn’t have his own
Arab spring from
his side of the bunker…
But the Allies cast moist eyes
on his oil
& he was a dead man
fleeing the desert town.
O God doesn’t take sides
like any victor claims:
the universe is amoral
& doesn’t care
about mortal affairs.

It is time
for family role call
but some members
won’t speak at all:
their names will
be dropped from conversation
so that sadness & pain
won’t drown out
the music
around the table.
Was it worth
all the dying?
The gnashing of teeth,
the silent, helpless prayers?
When the sun breaks,
they hope tears
shall have dried up,
heeded the old counsel:
Move, carry on,
as if death
has never cut a shadow
on the land.

They will bury Gadhafi,
like Bin Laden,
in a secret site
in the desert town.
O How the living
still fear the man
who made widows weep
& children
curse life
as if it were impossible
to live.
But if dogs
scraping for food
would suddenly dig up
his grave
would that be
commensurate fate of his bones?
O How they cower
at his voice
as if it were God’s
until someone in mourning
raised his fist
& cursed his name.
Then, the deluge
of waking voices.

War, he drawls,
as if nursing a hang-over,
isn’t a matter of passion
or resolve:
it may make for
a gripping movie scene,
but the before & after
of the conflagration
is the counting of dollars & cent
in the ledger
of human holocaust –
O the curse on survivors
who must pick up the pieces
of their interrupted lives:
How long will they wait?
When will the tears stop?
When money gets tight
while starting all over again?
Dollars & cents,
Dollars & cents
for pain & sadness…
But capitalists
demand their military foray
be paid back,
like prostitutes
changing interests
for an orgasmic act.
O Bankers, not generals,
will always call the shots:
if the billions stashed away
by Gadhafi
for Libyan hearts & home
were channeled back…
But bureaucrats
are hedging –
they need the funds
for Washington,
Europe gone bankrupt…

What if the
old dicatator
in Malacanang
wasn’t flown off
by Reagan
during the ’86 siege.
Would the family
have risen
like the phoenix
from the rubble?
O How the people
on the streets
raged like blinded bulls
but turned eventually
into corralled heifers!
What if, indeed?
O God has a lot
of explaining
for those who still linger
at the abyss!

Of course,
it is bad poetry
to deem
Arakan Valley
as “a place
of innocence beauty
and natural wealth”
but like an orchid
showered with
drops of blood
of Father Fausto Tenturio…
But it was a death
so easily foretold
when the Italian priest
told the Lumads
the roots of their
communal poverty
“since time immemorial”…
He couldn’t be allowed
to freely roam
the hinterland
& get away with it –
while the military
& mining bosses
squirmed in their seats.
He must be a communist,
an enemy of the state,
& therefore,
should be done in –
easier it would be
on Christian conscience
to see a man die
for spreading Favali’s gospel
village assassins
won’t comprehend.

Years ago,
she showed him
a small canvas
she had painted
in blazing black,
her future obituary.
Was she gutsy to face
the real
which everybody denies,
shuffles aside
like mown grass.
Or simply
gripped by a clinical
Freudian drive
all are heir to?
Always, it has been November
in her soul…
He knew some facts
but discounted them all,
refusing to pin her down
& declare “Elementary,
dear Watson!”
his imaginary pipe snugged
in his hand.
Life is a puzzle enough,
he no longer seeks
to untie the Gordian knot.
(For Kayenne, on his B-day, Oct 24)

In a universe
rapidly expanding
into a vast, empty space
& may no longer harbor
any mortal memory,
let the little guy,
break the inexorable law
of physics
& persist among the invisible
about us,
he who used to sit
like a silent emperor
by the window,
as if in communion
with the sunlight
of the Great Feline in the sky.

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