THE IDIOTS

1.

He recounts

how the aging writer

almost had a seizure

while boozing with his colleagues

at his country home…

& the other comrade?

He’s in a bad shape,

having been proscribed

his regular bottle

of gin.

O they’re shadows

of their old selves,

these textual warriors

who have plowed through

academic shit

& cracked the whip

on upcoming morons

poised to take over the state apparatus.

Retirement is cruel:

when young, one’s worth

is a sheaf of papers;

once old,

a bar of imagine gold,

but the regime rules

a mentor is correspondingly obsolete,

having reached the age

of disposability,

like a ton of lead

in the factory…

How measure the depth

of an old man’s memory?

A repository of cobwebs,

quarry of archeological artifacts?

No one listens to

the patriarchs, anyway –

these punks in the classroom

who are fixed

on their generation’s fantasy.

2.

There is a howling graveyard

inside his skull –

names & faces

on tombstones covered

with neural vines

that quickly melt into mists

at the edge of memory…

But he can’t,

like an abandoned orphan,

dare cry:

He’s old & doddering,

slowly turned into a hunchbacked digger

in an imagined cemetery

of friends & lovers

gone ahead

to explore

the undiscovered country.

Is there a secret tear

brimming in the eye

about to fall down his cheeks?

It will be damned silly;

He must act like a toughie,

gut it out

& let the moment of despair expire –

these ghosts who threaten

to return

& trouble his sleep.

Only he, & he himself

can gauge if he has gone mad,

or has seemingly died.

3.

He is awaiting the book

that marks his days

on earth.

But is that all?

Does it measure all the gory

details

of survival

when beginnings

have just began

& tears easily flowed

Like rain

because a child always cries?

Has he been toughened

by all the moment, like barnacled wood,

of solitudes?

Did he learn his lesson

from the daily beatitudes?

He could only shake his head

at the futility

of the chronicles

of symbolic sainthood

as he read again

the words

that purport to hide

the pain & pleasure

of imaginary monkhood.

4.

He will not think of her

who used to dog

the infinitudes of his days…

It still surprises him, though,

that he can take lightly

her melting into air.

Was fate

so kind

to spare him the disastrous

desire

that used to enfold

his heart & soul?

Now he can roll

with the phantom punches

of remembering

when someone

mentions her name –

O he grins to himself

like a hyena,

but baring his fangs

does not look well on him

in the mirror

that says

the way of the gods

is always inexplicable?

To survive

Rilke poses,

is all?

5.

A.

This campus is altogether

a difficult terrain.

The children of dark alleyways

aim to take back

the bright center stage

through education

offered by chattering fools

who would gift them

with the coded imprimatur

to be the future chieftains

of the plebeian zone.

But they aren’t privy to

the jargon & ways of Wall Street –

they who will guard

the billionaires’ vaults

& call the shots

on behalf of ethnic bosses…

Indeed, a mystical terrain

where muddy outhouses

& students doze off

inside crowded classrooms –

O this is the side of hell

spawns

of delusional parents

dream they would be,

unlike their roots,

better off…

B.

There was nothing to do

but to teach them evil,

the old professor confesses.

No way to buck

the tide of sordid trade –

they only smile

at virtue’s sophistry

& half-lies.

The world, after all,

is a cesspool

that drowns,

child & virgin, all:

Acolytes today

criminals tomorrow

in a terrible cycle

of master & slave,

mentor & pupil

out to sow

terror on streets

& putrescent backdoors…

O How they claw their way

for high-rise condos,

fashion floozies,

& fancy suits,

for nothing less

would enable them

to enjoy the pleasure of the loot.

They didn’t hear

his voice, after all:

He was the clown

in majestic robe.

C.

Did he say anything real?

Did he repeat himself?

Did they learn the lesson

to forestall the death wish

of the just, the good?

No, they cupped their ears

& didn’t hear at all, the word,

the figures

of the truth.

All along he had been

no more than Marcel Marceau before a crowd,

pantomiming his secret gestures

& invisible words.

The old-timer can only

hold his head

in remorseful disbelief

as they

hand him the paper

to release him

from academic prison house.

He therefore should leave.

His presence, they say,

only the insane benefit.

D.

They cross mountains

at the break of dawn,

ford rough, rising current

to reach

their ultimate target

the lowland shack

where they’ll open

flood-stained books

& dated instructions

to rise above

their peasant origin…

Why do they commit

to sacrifices like this?

Their parents hallucinate

about a better future

as clerks & janitors,

away from the barren land

where hope wouldn’t dare reside.

A job in Dubai,

 sailor in some ship

to keep them from wielding

the trusty armalite.

E.

They ride trikes or jeeps

to take them to school,

away from the sordid

slum

they call lovingly home.

Near to look back

at the back of their minds –

the squalor

they had been nurtured in

should be erased

if the diplomas

is within reach,

like it were

some death-row reprieve.

Be the magical key

to open doors

where life

would be unknown but plentiful.

Will they make it

to the Forbes’ list?

Be another Henry Sy

or Lucio Tan?

Capitalism has many wayward lovers,

but only the cunning

could be so luckily gifted.

6.

The man,

much loved by family

& friends,

is trying to survive.

They don’t want him

to cross over the line.

But the spectator is indifferent

to the drama unfolding

before his eyes.

Is this being brutal,

inhuman,

almost like a beast?

He remembers his father,

trying wildly

to suck in an ocean of air

on his hospital bed.

No bulletin was issued

to allay the fears

of the bereaved.

Was it fair? Was it just?

He was an honorable man

who never claimed

any position of power & glory

for himself…

He just couldn’t get it.

At  breakfast,

he could only fold the paper

& set them aside,

as if the truth

about destiny & the universe

will never be

within his reach.

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