CRIMINAL

1.
A.
Stephen Mansfield,
in his “Killing Jesus,”
claims the Roman centurions
in their bestial flogging
would expose the bones & organs
of the victim,
instantly killing him after several strokes
[Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ,”
despite its Aramic dialogue,
was Hollywood –
family oriented,
sanitized.]
The Guy from Palestine,
sentenced by Pilate,
must have quickly expired
on the way
to the cross:
Could he have uttered
chose famous last words
to assure Barrabas
heaven waits for the likes of him?
The Jewish holy men
who held the traffic of trade
at the temple
orchestrated the Kangaroo court:
did Jesus defend the gentiles
who were ripped off
by the sacerdotal regime?
What is myth, then,
or the real deal?
The disciples who wrote
the testaments could have
embellished their account
a thousand-fold!
O How we were suckered
by the resurrection
that affirmed a mortal hope
of life after death?

B.
Pope Francis,
kissing a child afflicted
with cerebral palsy,
must have known it too damned well:
it’s perfect theatre
for the believers,
a sleek PR stratagem,
a reprieve for the secret crime
of having abandoned the two Jesuit priests
when he was a dime-a-dozen cardinal…

2.
Guillermo Calderon
Chilean playwright,
whose uncle was “killed
by General Pinochet’s security police,”
knew how it was to be
“shut-in the world
and hearing the gunshots outside.”
He was seized by a sudden awakening
to make the theatre
“a battlefield”
when he saw Pinochet’s former
cabinet members”
attend his play & “depart
in a happy mood…”
Of course, smile was playing
on their lips
as if they didn’t know
he was talking about
blood on the street,
& the gunshots outside
that ripped apart the curtain
of the night…
Like the infernal scream
of the violated
tearing across
a regime of silence.

3.
When General Efraim Rios Montt, 86,
was ruled by the Court
“he should stand trial for genocide
and crime against humanity
under his rule in the ‘80s,”
the Maya survivors of Guatemala
felt it in their bones
“how scared he will be.”
Just as they did decades ago
when soldiers “tortured, raped
& killed those who could not run away”
in the 34-year civil war.
Is the verdict for real?
Most of them felt
the payback was an impossible dream,
history does not care
about victims & executioners…
But the monolith
of the Pexla Grandis 77 victims”
up high in the mountains
seems like an invisible fist
shooting out of the grave.
O the truth will not settle in the dust.

4.
Finally, the disappearance
of Jonas Burgos
is back on the front page.
His mother, Editha Burgos,
had submitted to the Supreme Court
“confidential documents
that would show officers
and enlisted personnel of the 7th
Infantry Division and 56th
Infantry Battalion…”
Was there an intricate cover-up?
The President, forced by
popular rage,
had to issue an order
to appease the aggrieved.
What could he have done anyway?
If the mother
didn’t move at all,
& let her grief overcome her will
to live,
what would have happened
to the 6-year search
for a son who was virtually murdered
by armed authorities?
She must have thanked the Lord
for a “friend of a friend”
who delivered the secret files
from the vault of dead cases…
Always, as Gregoria de Jesus
would warn,
there will be witnesses.
[But does history side with the righteous?
There will be always Marcoses
to come out of the woodwork…]

5.
Kristel Tejada,
must have gone utterly insane
the day her school ID
was confiscated by UP Manila
bureaucrats
because she failed to officially enroll
& couldn’t pay her tuition.
O How it crushed her heart
to be on the outside & looking in
at the crowd of distant schoolmates.
There was money raised
by a grandfather
but the chancellor
as per his own mandate,
acting like a banker,
brusquely brushed her off
& wouldn’t let her in.
Her advisors, behavioral analysts
all –
were clueless like blind animals,
never seeing the signs on her face –
O How they were caught flatfooted
when she drank the silver cleaner
as if a thief had made off with
their jewel right before their eyes!
All she needed
was a shoulder to cry on
& let her work out her infantile despair –
but everyone was busy
with his/her own sordid affair…
Now they’re scrambling to rally
behind her,
while being led to the cemetery
on a horse-drawn carriage
in the final homage
to their own fructified selves…
Who is responsible?
Everyone shrugs,
but none can declare it
with an open, straight face.

6.
A.
Revolution
is a healing,
claims Franco “Bito” Berardi
who urges that money
is the financial allusion
that holds dominion over all.
[Brecht once lamented
it’s always a universal tragedy
wherever a new bank opens]
Should poets, writers, artists
be classified as wage-workers
anyway?
The old definition must wither away,
the world must prepare itself
for the new way of looking
at things:
the immaterial, the semiotic
that allows the general intellect
to revitalize the social body
for the new signals,
the new metaphors…
Yes, the revolution is not a tea party,
says Mao Zedong
but we must leave the old, dusty world
of subjectification…
A new sensibility to allow understanding
that breaches the limits of language?

B.
Kim Jong-un of North Korea,
in the pocket of Cold War generals
trapped in their own timezone
that has never moved beyond its infosphere,
can only see the planet in the 50s
of his father’s reign…
Is no one out there in sync
with the vista of human despair?
As if we haven’t moved out
of the cave…

7.
Summer
& all its discontent.
Unbearable tropic heat
& the heart trembling
at the Temps Perdu
of women of high noon –
gamboling on the beach,
the sun in their hair
& ocean spindrift
spraying on marine surface
like dewdrops on glass…
Where/how are they now?
Married, dumpy
with their litter of brats,
chewing like old crones
the betel nuts of their virginal past.
the laughter that echoes
in his ears,
as if they wouldn’t care
about their once-elegant state!
& It is only yesterday
when he last had a glimpse of them –
overnight they had grown old
like dry prunes.
O Summer when remembering
is a sackful of dead crows –
empty weights of lead in the hollow
of the heart
but murderous catch of fish bones
in the icy throats…
He couldn’t recall those bitches anymore;
They had come & gone
like cheap, malevolent ghosts –
& to think he once couldn’t bear
living if they so much as desert
his invisible presence…

8.
He was stunned,
P had died
a month ago…
Didn’t he know that?
He was a gofer
on campus,
relying on the goodness
of comrades
to make both ends meet.
Had some item,
but it’s never enough, anyway.
Wouldn’t accept the money
he once tried to give him
because he said
his wallet was loaded.
No, thank you,
He must maintain his dignity?
His neck was swollen,
needing an operation
but he never minded it at all.
It could be his heavy smoking.
He was pal to all
the campus functionaries
but was only a passing conversation –
brief & regretted –
by the drinkers
in some back alleys.
Should he simply remain
forever in limbo?
O Such is the fate
of the penniless
in a world that respects
idiots with surplus
money:
O How they salute
grafters with fancy titles who run
the university down!
Memory only reserves
a space for the rich & famous.

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