Alice Herz-Sommer,
survivor of Holocaust,
has died at age 110.
She “spent two years
of World War II in Czechoslovakia’s
Terezin camp
by playing the piano
to entertain the inmates.”
“I am Jewish,” she said,
“But Beethoven is my religion.”
Did the body survive
the rigor of the camp
by living in the ether
of heavenly art?
The artist had set her eyes
on music
to lift her frail body
beyond the limits
of mortal suffering?
To persist
in this realm
must be the grace
of heaven
for all spirits
who dare to be blessed!
Did writers
of the Nazi camp
eclipse the infamy
of the flesh
by churning out words
only their kindred
could decode?
O such Rx
is antidote
for the organic
that descends into the void!

It is not a zero-sum
that sparked the Revolt
at Edsa:
The singular act was
delivered from the start
by fallen angels
come out of the void.
Was it a miracle,
the bartender at the café
that the clergy & fanatics
claim to reveal
the instrument of salvation
from heaven?
As if martial law was stopped
by God who instructed
the Dictator to retreat!
O The aftermath of the truth-event
was restoration of the old order,
with saints & sinners
switching rolls years later…
Evil has gone full circle –
saints & necromancers
are tainted with purloined
gold & ceremonial scepter…
O How should bystanders remember
that strip of highway?
The Revolt was an accident
of wooden cross & hot air!
The center shifted its palaver:
In Egypt, the military
is quick to tighten its grip;
in Syria, Assad
never fails to pull the trigger;
in Ukraine, the protestors
are headlocked by Russian
& Western virtual combatants…
O in the Philippines
the dictator’s family
is back on the saddle…
O after the Revolution
on top,
the fall into the void?

What will a child
ever remember?
His memory exists
groping in the vacuous dark
where figures swim
in the ethereal womb
like ghosts –
with voices slipping away
from the Heinous Act.
Historians have gone blind;
testimonials are kept in the attic,
while children gambol in the sun
knowing nothing of the crime!
O there lies the Internet
at their command –
their sole source of truth/lies.
But they are engrossed
with playing war games:
on the imaginary chessboard,
pawns & queens move about
in numbered symphony
within logic
bereft of oppression & injustice…

They have been trekking
along the winding mountain side,
but the young cadre,
also strong & resolute,
never felt his companion,
old warrior of guerrilla wars,
would also tire…
How he marveled secretly
at his persistence –
unlike his former comrades
who turned apostates
& abandoned camp:
the missions was never lost on him
who lacks academic credential,
but the ideological direction
to actualize the mission
no matter who falls by the wayside.
To persist like a human automaton?
He puffs on his cigarette, & sighs.
One has lived long enough!
As they reach to unpack in the zone.

He has not seen him
for decades now.
He knew he had gone underground
with a new bride in tow.
Now he has surfaced back
& turned legit:
the coast is clear?
His science-trained eyes
the state can’t afford
to dismiss.
O if only they could bump
into each other:
but will he remember?
They were classmates once
in the Russian language…
But these days
European lingo holds sway
over the kids who dream
of working overseas,
never to soak in the forests.
The ideological horizon
has been calibrated.
Has he stayed too long
freezing in the crossroads?
Tempus fugit,
the Greeks would quip.
O How the old fall into despair
& the opening grave…

His combat zone
is anywhere –
tangling with state police,
risking truncheons
aimed at discerning heads –
O How sweet it is
to kill the innocents & unarmed
with impunity by authorities:
Marshalls possessed
by banshee spirit!
So he has only scars to exhibit
& regale
curious kids
who marvel at his simulacrum exploits
on the internet…
O Did he risk it all for nothing?
He’s older now,
his once-upon-a-time comrades
had struck it rich
in joining the corporate state
like any existential apostate –
there is the family to keep,
bills to pay
& anything economic
he didn’t touch in his
philosophic despair…
O What has remained of the day
in his dimming memories?
Only the bravura habit
of a drunken time
that has radically shifted –
O Is he still at the crossroads?
Stranded in the corner
of the street?
One must move on –
but what direction?

The son of the dictator
is dismissive:
only the opposition’s version
of the truth
dominated the discourse:
It’s all propaganda.
His Northern turf is sold, intact –
has cut them electoral slack.
As in the theory of Baudrillard
who pursued his hyperreal simulacra,
he could not see any hidden
meaning in the sign at Edsa.
Like the Gulf War,
it never happened…
Did they loot the national coffers?
They found Yamashita’s gold!
Did they torture detainees?
That is a post-structural fantasy!
[O Everyone is in a time-warp,
leery of the lessons
already foretold.]

At the literary combat,
speechifiers chattered about
the golden book
of 50 years ago
that changed the literary rule –
O How did they answer the
skeptical of the critics
who claimed them for their genius?
But the old masters
only wrote according to
their own impoverished woes –
the smelly tenements,
the dilapidated nooks
that were in character
with legendary underdogs…
will the young practitioners
claim them for their own?
It’s a different time,
different world,
different radical mode!
So they go on chattering
about memory down the road,
ending the summit
with ceremonial toast.

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