HUBRIS

1.
He has no idea
where she has gone.
The wind does not
whisper anything.
Her bags have vanished
into thin air.
Has the python of silence
swallowed up his mind?
As if Elvis
has left the building
& no one has announced
his timely disappearance.
Could it be something
beyond his being
that she had melted
with the August rain?
There is the distant
flapping of wings
but which dream?
Yes, none returns
for another spring –
always it is autumn
in the country of his heart
where brown leaves fall
in quick succession…
O coming & going
are one & the same;
living’s recurrent theme.

2.
What if, by some fluke,
he bumps into her
like some sorry accident?
Lightning could strike twice
in a weird coincidence.
It may happen
if God plays tricks
now & then.
The world teems
with father-confessors
who would mete out
absolution
for petty wrong-doers…
Could it be a miracle,
like James Bond,
escaping again the dragnet
of the usual villain?
But this happenstance
is just crossing his fingers
to forestall a negative omen…
After all,
he’s no sucker
for heavenly tidings.

3.
Greed – she worked on it
with flair & expertise;
she conceded
she made millions
off Cain’s secret relatives
in state offices;
should she be blamed
for making them out
as cheap accomplices?
She’s just a housewife
who catered to their lust
for money
like cheap sex in motel rooms?
Now she must pay for it
in the bungalow
at the Fort
which used to house
a former president-hood…
No siree!
She intends to bring down
the ship
should all demand
her head!
For justice,
in Nietzsche’s realm,
does not exist!
Her crime is mankind’s
fatal disease:
Well, should she be damned for it?
She’s no Greek.
Hubris is for a god’s
demise –
she only did the moment’s
systemic imperative.
Her’s a 7-11 store
for the shrewd & the quick.

4.
So this is the way
myth works:
hubris is the downfall
of arrogant geniuses,
but she was just
a middling libertine
who consorted with
parliament’s bad spirits –
O How she believed
truth is just a common lie
sanctified by priests
& when she claimed
the government is in her
pocket,
must she be punished
for that egomaniac twist?
On the weighing scale
of infamy
would she hold a candle
to the Marcoses, Hitler,
Duvalier, Mussolini…?
O She pales in comparison
with sub-Saharan potentates
in Africa;
she only stole the food
of the poor
& luxuriated at the expense
of others
in the dog-eat-dog world:
Isn’t that the common rule?
Queen Rat of the Sewer:
Why envy her
for living well?
To survive in style
is everybody’s hell?

5.
Once she gets old
& doddering
& all things should have come
to pass
in a country of thieves
where she would be proclaimed
innocent,
O how she would regale
her grandkids:
she pulled it off
& got everyone like cats underfoot.
Silly & hilarious
would be the tale
as if told by an idiot,
but truth is damned ambiguous:
in the eyes of a peon
who could by bought off;
the virgin who could turn
prostitute:
the magistrates
who wear invisible clothes…
Crime is everywhere
in this turf
of Cyclopes & blind sleuths.
Remember History!
They so chorus
as if God punishes through
the mortal court?
Does He allow evil
to grow
so we travel life’s winding road?
Yes, yes, yes!
Justitia rules
without her blindfold,
& swings at the devil
with a broken sword…

6.
She confesses
before an imaginary jury
inside her room:
“I never invented
those humongous deeds
with top honchos
of the land;
I had them for my mentors
to show the tricks
of the job;
should I have backed off
as if I were saintly good
& immaculate?”
O Have been most loyal
in their hour of extreme
beatitude…”
She looks out the window
of her shuttered bungalow
while sentries watch
her million-dollar moves
on closed-circuit TV.
O How she bleeds
as they take her pulse beat.
In her heart
she constantly wails –
“Why I must be the fall guy?”
Her actions were not purely
her own –
legion are there who basked
in the happiness of her gift.
Most distant now
from her high-end parties,
she ponders
if they will wait out
the verdict,
then open their arms
once she leaves…
Will her menagerie of priests
on whom she showered largesse
never abandon her spirit?
O Devil’s mediatrix,
pray for us
ridden with greed.
May God have mercy
on our grief…

7.
“October in Manila!”
Nick Joaquin’s ululation
of the ever loyal city
where ilustrados of Hispanic roots
gathered at tertulias
with their grand pianos
& guitars
to toast
the cobbled city of Intramuros.
But he’s no elite,
of indio phenotype
whose work contract
expires in October –
pushed to the side
where vagrants & hawkers
ply their measly trade
for coffee & booze
while the middle class,
in white attire,
mill at the Shrine
to celebrate the Holy Ghost
that It may enlighten
the politicians
of pork barrel loot…
What is there to do?
Leninists ask
as if they didn’t have the map
to rectify the chaos
this side of the woods…
He’s trapped in the vice
of false prophets
at the Kafkan castle…
To be old, alone
& penniless
in a country of white-collar
hoods…
He should have known better
than to expect mercy
from familiar ghosts…
October in Manila!
Where festivals
are feasts for visitors
& shrieking crows!

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