I’ve lately been preoccupied with my own crises that I have so far refused to worry myself with the one in Maguindanao. For the past few days, I have retreated into dreams: invented conversations with Selkirk, The Lord of The Rings, afternoon naps. I have rallied all my strength into forgetting Ishiguro, blotting out the persistent memories with juvenile fantasies about a new “crush.” Then a few hours ago, I chanced upon this excerpt from Silences, a poem in Edel Garcellano’s collection, Quadratic Silences. It sums up, with stinging accuracy, how my personal disasters are relatively puny in comparison to the one going on in the country’s south.
But love is impossible in these perilous times—
& even if I madly whisper your name like a prayer
murder rivals with my eyetooth glare
or, true to fawning, float Kabbala’s letter
that would open the cellar of all love’s crimes
the war—on all fronts—is never won.
The trench is heart-deep, smelling of gunpowder/blood
& your bodyguards, driven from suburban turf,
flank your body like anointed beasts come
to destroy the key I hold up your face.
Surely, the wisdom of my fathers runs deep:
Do not trespass your limits, we are bound
like hawks to our breed of passion/grief. Time
simply rewinds plots of love’s class/flowers/whips.
While native armies clash in the countryside
& cities shake under warlords/transnational goons
While presidents lie through their theological teeth
& ministers lipsynch the Pope’s eternal verities
While good men rot at Harvard & soirees
& chauffeured criminals stalk virgins/activists
While pretty boys reek of cologne and Switzerland
& nymphets, white as bones, bare their buttons on the ramp
While peons disperse like ants all over the planet
& the poor/young/trapped sell their minds/bodies
While the promise of revolution gains ground
& fattened traitors push their casino luck
Love exfoliates in your icy smile—
I perish like a cockroach in these perilous times.
Special thanks to Fuj, who posted this on his Facebook wall. This put everything back into harsh the right perspective. At least for the meantime.