public and private disasters

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.

III.

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.

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10 thoughts on “public and private disasters

  1. Good day! I am Astrid Abesamis, Communication Arts graduating student from the University of Santo Tomas. Our thesis group would like to ask for your help by answering our survey about blogging. Can I ask for your email address so that I can email the survey questionnaire? We hope for your response. Thank you so much! God bless!

  2. "Time simply rewinds plots of love’s class/flowers/whips."Love it.I think we will frequently find ourselves trapped between the often conflicting pursuits of the inside and outside worlds. The choices we make settle this, however temporary, every once in a while.

  3. And oh. On a very unrelated note, I have high respect for people who love Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I assume you do, so I've added you to my to-read list. 🙂

  4. @Lance: I fell in love with the poem's slashes, the multiplicity of identities.@Nyl: Thanks. I guess I am lucky to get reminders whenever I need them. :)@Jeff: Wala ka namang atraso sa mga Ampatuan, so ayos lang naman siguro. LOL.@Abe: Sure. You can contact me through the email link in my profile. :)@ Manech: I am endlessly fascinated both with people who could slice their lives neatly into public and private worlds and those who live in both worlds atthe same time. There was a time when I thought I was part of the latter, but that was a time when I had been a roaring, fist-raising student activist. LOL.On Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, how could anyone not love Jesse and Celine?@red the mod: Exquisite–such an exquisite word. Paborito ko na siyang salita mula ngayon. LOL.@Andy: Yay to depression. 😀

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