SPIRAL

I.
Colonization is a brand-new
jargon
for these college kids
who never realized,
with their ghetto background,
that they were themselves
colonial subalterns
trained never to question
the sovereign power of the feudal state
which allies itself
with Gringos
who ravaged thousands
of Katipuneros
& spawned a generation
that wags at the techno sound
& fury of white terror.
O How to detoxify
these street-smart dudes
who all dream of America
& get conscripted
in the war against Al-Qaeda?
O How they wrap their bodies
with the star-spangled banner
of Obama!
Haven’t they heard of
Sterling admonishing his black bitch
of a mistress,
like a plantation owner,
never to mingle
with blacks in his coliseum,
where Afro-Americans play?
O It’s a long, long way
from the streets of Alabama!

2.
The survivors of Yolanda
in Leyte
wear oversized shirts
emblazoned with NBA logos,
playing basketball
to show off to Justin Bieber,
despite the conflagration,
they are still cool.
O How they love the selfies
with the Canadian brat
who stayed for a few minutes
then flew off to the city
after a photo-shoot!
Will they remember
that moment as if it were
the infinitude of their lives?
They have sorted out
the tedium of their days,
the hellish silence
of hearts
that await burial
of their missing dead
in the cusp of unbearable
tomorrow.

3.
The state
is turtle-slow
to succor the victims
in their blueprint
peddled in media
as cure-all for the
catastrophic visitation…
Always the sky
falls on Tacloban
where houses have yet
to be rebuilt
& workers have
to recover their lost
capital & muscle?
The ruins stare
them in the face –
babies break the silence
with their sullen cries.
No one would dare scream:
as if they have been
too drained to cry out.
But the villagers will surely return
the scalawags to office
as if Yolanda
never came to Tacloban.

4.
The young guy,
street-smart in his outfit,
slipped out of the room,
his back pocket
bulging with a rolled notebook,
representing his quantum wisdom.
He’s killing time
for the lecture to expire
by pretending to wait out
smoking in the dirty lavatory
where smell of shit stings & suffocates.
Do his parents wait for him
at the gates
like a nursery tyke?
They who set great store
by his diploma
to pull them out of the rut?
O How do you pray
for the daily bread
future graduates of suburbia
are expected to put on the table?
Will they make money
when there is nothing
between their ears?
The wind whistles
like a boiling kettle’s.

5.
The fat kid
polishes his bracelet
on the girl’s back shirt
who relishes her imaginary
massage.
It is a midterm exam,
but they don’t care at all
in this cheap university
where tuition
is worth a plate of noodle
in high-end Boni.
O How the poor will kill time
tinkering with their bodies
crawling with lice,
then segue into
summer class
when heat oozes out of armpits & thighs.
O they will march
like the walking dead
into the ranks
& middle class
who rule over our unbearable despair.

6.
The girls bunched up
along the aisle,
like provincial hookers
outside a pub.
O they would rather sing
the hottest Korean pop,
& do away with
listening to a professor
moping why he should
end up lecturing
to village idiots
in a godforsaken place…
Did Rizal invest
heavily in youth?
He must be mistaken –
they will sell their elders
down the river.
The children are fully sexed up,
most a few hours pregnant
in hidden alcoves
on campus.
Always, an excess of testosterone
bursting at the seams
while cretins try
to outdo each other’s
plebeian voices.

7.
So this is the circle
of Alighieri’s hell –
mentors who wait out
the appointed hours
& sleepwalk
through the course;
students who rave & rant
if marked with a low grade
of approval;
janitors who toil
in dirty toilets
on low wages & dumbly grit their teeth,
kids who preen themselves
in broken mirrors
with dash of cheap cologne,
sporting white uniforms
to look like expensive interns –
How can one survive
the suffocating white-hot corners of hell,
which is only an LRT ride
away?
Imagine the coaches to be
Nazi trains rolling
into the gas chamber
of Auswitchz?
Now & then, some girls
would break free from the usual mould –
focusing on the minutia
of the lesson –
but she’ll eventually settle down
to the old equation
of sloth & limited foundation.

8.
The young rebels
southwest of the hinterlands
would bike to the center
of the city to toughen
their bodies & minds
for the daily struggles ahead?
Will they turn out
Nietzsche’s supermen
with their mountain bikes
that will blaze through the trail?
Motorized bikes can’t
dodge the usual military check-points
anyway…
Then onward to the suburban
campus
where they grew up in,
all het up
to change the old, same things?
O the stories they share
about supercilious professors;
& nubile girls
who are quick to open their legs
in bestial celebration
of biological production…
Is it the order of the day,
the ritual of trivialities
in the front of learning?
As in Diliman
there is the rule
with highfalutin
hustlers quick
to promote their bureaucratic order.

9.
The senator
was imperious:
why his PDA is
delayed?
The NGO needs it badly.
The budget officer
could only hem & haw,
gently dropping the phone
as if properly chastised…
The dean was tactful, on the other hand.
Could he just readjust
the grade of her child?
She’s depressed.
She might lose her dean listing.
He quickly understood –
cognizant of the ways of the underworld.
O How cheap emotion
had held him in thrall.
Like a prisoner,
was he ordered by the warden
never to resist higher authority?
He could only shake his head,
like a dog who strayed
into a cannery…

10.
The boy confesses
he dreams of tormenting his mentors.
They didn’t prepare him well
for the job.
He has become a laughingstock.
Most times, he didn’t understand
things, but he was so embarrassed
to be named a dullard.
How could he have asked for more explanation
when his schoolmates
didn’t give a hoot?
The mentor isn’t a great shake, either.
He’ll rarely appear in class –
could it be he’s done with us
who never gave ourselves a chance?

The girl says
she has a dream:
how she loves to line them up
against the wall.
How could she be deemed
most qualified for the job
when she had not been clarified
of all prescribed resolution.
The person simply dismisses them all
as arrogant, immature!
How she would like to be given
extended hours to elaborate a point
of exclusion & departure.
But the mentor is always in a hurry
to leave the hall.
Alas, there is no pronounced dialectic:
ideas are left to rot in the air
like garbage…
Besides her classmates
would rather chatter about
their petty lives,
& two-timing lovers…

11.
The professor knows
like the back of his hand:
most likely a sob story
that will tug at
his heart:
is he soul-searching then
like a struggling Christian?
But the kid is misplaced
in the career he had chosen.
Could he be better off as a florist,
never a therapist?
His parents are in hock,
he’s promised them he’s bound
to graduate come June
& would surely help out:
extra allowance for his sister
& board & lodging
when she enters college…
That’s the real score
of educating village idiots
in the classroom.
Will he ask the Pope?
The Vatican is rich,
overflowing with money
during the canonization of his
pious barkada?
But his plan will come to naught.
No answer will be given
by God & Man
for the kid to realize his ambition
& gather fruits of the season.
O How the guy is burdened
by unholy expectations!
But He had lost it a long, long time ago
since he was born
into a hovel of a home!

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