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Karl Gerald Saul Mar 2020

Bago natin hangarin ang pansarili hiling,
Hingin na bawat isa'y makabangon at gumaling;
Sa gabay Nya, walang maiiwang nakabitin
Pagkat ang DIYOS ay mas higit pa sa bituin.

Mataimtim na dasal ang mainam na gawin.
Isuko sa kanya ang lahat ng masamang gawain;
Talikuran at wag na nating ulit-ulitin
Ang Kanyang utos ay di dapat balewalain

Normal lang matakot, pananalig mo'y wag hawiin
Boung pusong pananampalataya - Sya'y purihin;
Huminahon at sa kanya tayo'y manalangin
Handa syang makinig, naghihintay lamang sa'atin.

Simpleng pagsubok lamang ito kung tutuusin
Kung sa kanya ang tiwala mo'y hindi bitin;
May dumating mang hadlang at ika'y sirain
Itanim sa isipan - armas mo'y panalangin.
George Andres Sep 2018
sumulat ako ng elehiya

ginamit ko lahat ng palasak na salita
ninais ko ang naunsiyaming kapayapaan: yaong hindi bayolente't nababahiran ng dugo't karahasan
mayroon pa naman sigurong mas malinis na paraan, 'yun, 'y-'yun bang legal at dinaraan sa reporma
'yaong tulad ng kay rizal! tama! yaong may diplomasya

tumigil ako pansamantala upang bumuklat ng pahina
napakarami nang rebolusyong hindi tulad ng inihahatag nila, katulad ng, ah! katulad ng EDSA!

nauhaw ako at tumigil pansamantala habang sa lamig ng aking kwarto'y rinig malakas na buhos ng galit ng araw
mabuti't nang buksan ko ang mga kurtina, payapang nagwawalis sa bakuran ang kapitbahay
may nagpapaligo ng aso't magagarang sasakyan
ipinagpasalamat ko ang bubong sa king ulunan. ah, payapa.

hindi rinig sa balita ang pandarahas ng militar sa kanayunan
ngunit batid ng karamihan, at ang solusyon ika nila ay armadong pakikibaka
nanlamig ako at namutla,

binaybay ko ang mga taong nakalipas bago ko marinig ang pangangalampag sa aming pintuan
pilit kaming inaakusahan, walang dokumento o anumang ebidensya

at dumaan ang mga imahe ng militar sa kanayunan:
ang daan-daang pamamaslang habang walang kalaban-laban

sa huli, wala akong armas na nilundayan

sa aking mga huling sandali, para sa sarili ko lamang,
sumulat ako ng elehiya
Plaza de Armas, plaza de musicales nidos,
frente a frente del rudo y enano soportal;
plaza en que se confunden un obstinado aroma
lírico y una cierta prosa municipal;
plaza frente a la cárcel lóbrega y frente al lúcido
hogar en que nacieron y murieron los míos;
he aquí que te interroga un discípulo, fiel
a tus fuentes cantantes y tus prados umbríos.
¿Qué se hizo, Plaza de Armas, el coro de chiquillas
que conmigo llegaban en la tarde de asueto
del sábado, a tu kiosko, y que eran actrices
de muñeca excesiva y de exiguo alfabeto?
¿Qué fue de aquellas dulces colegas que rieron
para mí, desde un marco de verdor y de rosas?
¿Qué de las camaradas de los juegos impúberes?
¿Son vírgenes intactas o madres dolorosas?
Es verdad, sé el destino casto de aquella pobre
pálida, cuyo rostro, como una indulgencia
plenaria, miré ayer tras un vidrio lloroso;
me ha inundado en recuerdos pueriles la presencia
de Ana, que al tutearme decía el «tú» de antaño
como una obra maestra, y que hoy me habló con
ceremonia forzada; he visto a Catalina,
exangüe, al exhibir su maternal fortuna
cuando en un cochecillo de blondas y de raso
lleva el fruto cruel y suave de su idilio
por los enarenados senderos...
                                                          Más no sé
de todas las demás que viven en exilio.
Y por todas quiero. He de saber de todas
las pequeñas torcaces que me dieron el gusto
de la voz de mujer. ¡Torcaces que cantaban
para mí, en la mañana de un día claro y justo!
Dime, plaza de nidos musicales, de las
actrices que impacientes por salir a la escena
del mundo, chuscamente fingían gozosos líos
de noviazgos y negros episodios de pena.
Dime, Plaza de Armas, de las párvulas lindas
y bobas, que vertieron con su mano inconsciente
un perfume amistoso en el umbral del alma
y una gota del filtro del amor en mi frente.
Mas la plaza está muda, y su silencio trágico
se va agravando en mí con el mismo dolor
del bisoño escolar que sale a vacaciones
pensando en la benévola acogida de Abel,
y halla muerto, en la sala, al hermano menor.
Victor D López Dec 2018
You were born five years before the Spanish Civil War that would see your father exiled.
Language came later to you than your little brother Manuel. And you stuttered for a time.
Unlike those who speak incessantly with nothing to say, you were quiet and reserved.
Your mother mistook shyness for dimness, a tragic mistake that scarred you for life.

When your brother Manuel died at the age of three from meningitis, you heard your mom
Exclaim: “God took my bright boy and left me the dull one.” You were four or five.
You never forgot those words. How could you? Yet you loved your mom with all your heart.
But you also withdrew further into a shell, solitude your companion and best friend.

You were, in fact, an exceptional child. Stuttering went away at five or so never to return,
And by the time you were in middle school, your teacher called your mom in for a rare
Conference and told her that yours was a gifted mind, and that you should be prepared
For university study in the sciences, particularly engineering.

She wrote your father exiled in Argentina to tell him the good news, that your teachers
Believed you would easily gain entrance to the (then and now) highly selective public university
Where seats were few, prized and very difficult to attain based on merit-based competitive
Exams. Your father’s response? “Buy him a couple of oxen and let him plow the fields.”

That reply from a highly respected man who was a big fish in a tiny pond in his native Oleiros
Of the time is beyond comprehension. He had apparently opted to preserve his own self-
Interest in having his son continue his family business and also work the family lands in his
Absence. That scar too was added to those that would never heal in your pure, huge heart.

Left with no support for living expenses for college (all it would have required), you moved on,
Disappointed and hurt, but not angry or bitter; you would simply find another way.
You took the competitive exams for the two local military training schools that would provide
An excellent vocational education and pay you a small salary in exchange for military service.

Of hundreds of applicants for the prized few seats in each of the two institutions, you
Scored first for the toughest of the two and thirteenth for the second. You had your pick.
You chose Fabrica de Armas, the lesser of the two, so that a classmate who had scored just
Below the cut-off at the better school could be admitted. That was you. Always and forever.

At the military school, you were finally in your element. You were to become a world-class
Machinist there—a profession that would have gotten you well paid work anywhere on earth
For as long as you wanted it. You were truly a mechanical genius who years later would add
Electronics, auto mechanics and specialized welding to his toolkit through formal training.

Given a well-stocked machine shop, you could reverse engineer every machine without
Blueprints and build a duplicate machine shop. You became a gifted master mechanic
And worked in line and supervisory positions at a handful of companies throughout your life in
Argentina and in the U.S., including Westinghouse, Warner-Lambert, and Pepsi Co.

You loved learning, especially in your fields (electronics, mechanics, welding) and expected
Perfection in everything you did. Every difficult job at work was given to you everywhere you
Worked. You would not sleep at night when a problem needed solving. You’d sketch
And calculate and re-sketch solutions and worked even in your dreams with singular passion.

You were more than a match for the academic and physical rigors of military school,
But life was difficult for you in the Franco era when some instructors would
Deprecatingly refer to you as “Roxo”—Galician for “red”-- reflecting your father’s
Support for the failed Republic. Eventually, the abuse was too much for you to bear.

Once while standing at attention in a corridor with the other cadets waiting for
Roll call, you were repeatedly poked in the back surreptitiously. Moving would cause
Demerits and demerits could cause loss of points on your final grade and arrest for
Successive weekends. You took it awhile, then lost your temper.

You turned to the cadet behind you and in a fluid motion grabbed him by his buttoned jacket
And one-handedly hung him up on a hook above a window where you were standing in line.
He thrashed about, hanging by the back of his jacket, until he was brought down by irate Military instructors.
You got weekend arrest for many weeks and a 10% final grade reduction.

A similar fate befell a co-worker a few years later in Buenos Aires who called you a
*******. You lifted him one handed by his throat and held him there until
Your co-workers intervened, forcibly persuading you to put him down.
That lesson was learned by all in no uncertain terms: Leave Felipe’s mom alone.

You were incredibly strong, especially in your youth—no doubt in part because of rigorous farm
Work, military school training and competitive sports. As a teenager, you once unwisely bent
Down to pick something up in view of a ram, presenting the animal an irresistible target.
It butted you and sent you flying into a haystack. It, too, quickly learned its lesson.

You dusted yourself off, charged the ram, grabbed it by the horns and twirled it around once,
Throwing it atop the same haystack as it had you. The animal was unhurt, but learned to
Give you a wide berth from that day forward. Overall, you were very slow to anger absent
Head-butting, repeated pokings, or disrespectful references to your mom by anyone.    

I seldom saw you angry and it was mom, not you, who was the disciplinarian, slipper in hand.
There were very few slaps from you for me. Mom would smack my behind with a slipper often
When I was little, mostly because I could be a real pain, wanting to know/try/do everything
Completely oblivious to the meaning of the word “no” or of my own limitations.

Mom would sometimes insist you give me a proper beating. On one such occasion for a
Forgotten transgression when I was nine, you  took me to your bedroom, took off your belt, sat
Me next to you and whipped your own arm and hand a few times, whispering to me “cry”,
Which I was happy to do unbidden. “Don’t tell mom.” I did not. No doubt she knew.

The prospect of serving in a military that considered you a traitor by blood became harder and
Harder to bear, and in the third year of school, one year prior to graduation, you left to join
Your exiled father in Argentina, to start a new life. You left behind a mother and two sisters you
Dearly loved to try your fortune in a new land. Your dog thereafter refused food, dying of grief.

You arrived in Buenos Aires to see a father you had not seen for ten years at the age of 17.
You were too young to work legally, but looked older than your years (a shared trait),
So you lied about your age and immediately found work as a Machinist/Mechanic first grade.
That was unheard of and brought you some jealousy and complaints in the union shop.

The union complained to the general manager about your top-salary and rank. He answered,
“I’ll give the same rank and salary to anyone in the company who can do what Felipe can do.”
No doubt the jealousy and grumblings continued by some for a time. But there were no takers.
And you soon won the group over, becoming their protected “baby-brother” mascot.

Your dad left for Spain within a year or so of your arrival when Franco issued a general pardon
To all dissidents who had not spilt blood (e.g., non combatants). He wanted you to return to
Help him reclaim the family business taken over by your mom in his absence with your help.
But you refused to give up the high salary, respect and independence denied you at home.

You were perhaps 18 and alone, living in a single room by a schoolhouse you had shared with Your dad.
But you had also found a new loving family in your uncle José, one of your father’s Brothers, and his family. José, and one of his daughters, Nieves and her
Husband, Emilio, and
Their children, Susana, Oscar (Ruben Gordé), and Osvaldo, became your new nuclear family.

You married mom in 1955 and had two failed business ventures in the quickly fading
Post-WW II Argentina of the late 1950s and early 1960s.The first, a machine shop, left
You with a small fortune in unpaid government contract work.  The second, a grocery store,
Also failed due to hyperinflation and credit extended too easily to needy customers.

Throughout this, you continued earning an exceptionally good salary. But in the mid 1960’s,
Nearly all of it went to pay back creditors of the failed grocery store. We had some really hard
Times. Someday I’ll write about that in some detail. Mom went to work as a maid, including for
Wealthy friends, and you left home at 4:00 a.m. to return long after dark to pay the bills.

The only luxury you and mom retained was my Catholic school tuition. There was no other
Extravagance. Not paying bills was never an option for you or mom. It never entered your
Minds. It was not a matter of law or pride, but a matter of honor. There were at least three very
Lean years where you and mom worked hard, earned well but we were truly poor.

You and mom took great pains to hide this from me—and suffered great privations to insulate
Me as best you could from the fallout of a shattered economy and your refusal to cut your loses
Had done to your life savings and to our once-comfortable middle-class life.
We came to the U.S. in the late 1960s after waiting for more than three years for visas—to a new land of hope.

Your sister and brother-in-law, Marisa and Manuel, made their own sacrifices to help bring us
Here. You had about $1,000 from the down payment on our tiny down-sized house, And
Mom’s pawned jewelry. (Hyperinflation and expenses ate up the remaining mortgage payments
Due). Other prized possessions were left in a trunk until you could reclaim them. You never did.

Even the airline tickets were paid for by Marisa and Manuel. You insisted upon arriving on
Written terms for repayment including interest. You were hired on the spot on your first
Interview as a mechanic, First Grade, despite not speaking a word of English. Two months later,
The debt was repaid, mom was working too and we moved into our first apartment.

You worked long hours, including Saturdays and daily overtime, to remake a nest egg.
Declining health forced you to retire at 63 and shortly thereafter you and mom moved out of
Queens into Orange County. You bought a townhouse two hours from my permanent residence
Upstate NY and for the next decade were happy, traveling with friends and visiting us often.

Then things started to change. Heart issues (two pacemakers), colon cancer, melanoma,
Liver and kidney disease caused by your many medications, high blood pressure, gout,
Gall bladder surgery, diabetes . . . . And still you moved forward, like the Energizer Bunny,
Patched up, battered, scarred, bruised but unstoppable and unflappable.

Then mom started to show signs of memory loss along with her other health issues. She was
Good at hiding her own ailments, and we noticed much later than we should have that there
Was a serious problem. Two years ago, her dementia worsening but still functional, she had
Gall bladder surgery with complications that required four separate surgeries in three months.

She never recovered and had to be placed in a nursing home. Several, in fact, as at first she
Refused food and you and I refused to simply let her waste away, which might have been
Kinder, but for the fact that “mientras hay vida, hay esperanza” as Spaniards say.
(While there is Life there is hope.) There is nothing beyond the power of God. Miracles do happen.

For two years you lived alone, refusing outside help, engendering numerous arguments about
Having someone go by a few times a week to help clean, cook, do chores. You were nothing if
Not stubborn (yet another shared trait). The last argument on the subject about two weeks ago
Ended in your crying. You’d accept no outside help until mom returned home. Period.

You were in great pain because of bulging discs in your spine and walked with one of those
Rolling seats with handlebars that mom and I picked out for you some years ago. You’d sit
As needed when the pain was too much, then continue with very little by way of complaints.
Ten days ago you finally agreed that you needed to get to the hospital to drain abdominal fluid.

Your failing liver produced it and it swelled your abdomen and lower extremities to the point
Where putting on shoes or clothing was very difficult, as was breathing. You called me from a
Local store crying that you could not find pants that would fit you. We talked, long distance,
And I calmed you down, as always, not allowing you to wallow in self pity but trying to help.

You went home and found a new pair of stretch pants Alice and I had bought you and you were
Happy. You had two changes of clothes that still fit to take to the hospital. No sweat, all was
Well. The procedure was not dangerous and you’d undergone it several times in recent years.
It would require a couple of days at the hospital and I’d see you again on the weekend.

I could not be with you on Monday, February 22 when you had to go to the hospital, as I nearly
Always had, because of work. You were supposed to be admitted the previous Friday, but
Doctors have days off too, and yours could not see you until Monday when I could not get off
Work. But you were not concerned; this was just routine. You’d be fine. I’d see you in just days.

We’d go see mom Friday, when you’d be much lighter and feel much better. Perhaps we’d go
Shopping for clothes if the procedure still left you too bloated for your usual clothes.
You drove to your doctor and then transported by ambulette. I was concerned, but not too Worried.
You called me sometime between five or six p.m. to tell me you were fine, resting.

“Don’t worry. I’m safe here and well cared for.” We talked for a little while about the usual
Things, with my assuring you I’d see you Friday or Saturday. You were tired and wanted to sleep
And I told you to call me if you woke up later that night or I’d speak to you the following day.
Around 10:00 p.m. I got a call from your cell and answered in the usual upbeat manner.

“Hey, Papi.” On the other side was a nurse telling me my dad had fallen. I assured her she was
Mistaken, as my dad was there for a routine procedure to drain abdominal fluid. “You don’t
Understand. He fell from his bed and struck his head on a nightstand or something
And his heart has stopped. We’re working on him for 20 minutes and it does not look good.”

“Can you get here?” I could not. I had had two or three glasses of wine shortly before the call
With dinner. I could not drive the three hours to Middletown. I cried. I prayed.
Fifteen minutes Later I got the call that you were gone. Lost in grief, not knowing what to do, I called my wife.
Shortly thereafter came a call from the coroner. An autopsy was required. I could not see you.

Four days later your body was finally released to the funeral director I had selected for his
Experience with the process of interment in Spain. I saw you for the last time to identify
Your body. I kissed my fingers and touched your mangled brow. I could not even have the
Comfort of an open casket viewing. You wanted cremation. You body awaits it as I write this.

You were alone, even in death alone. In the hospital as strangers worked on you. In the medical
Examiner’s office as you awaited the autopsy. In the autopsy table as they poked and prodded
And further rent your flesh looking for irrelevant clues that would change nothing and benefit
No one, least of all you. I could not be with you for days, and then only for a painful moment.

We will have a memorial service next Friday with your ashes and a mass on Saturday. I will
Never again see you in this life. Alice and I will take you home to your home town, to the
Cemetery in Oleiros, La Coruña, Spain this summer. There you will await the love of your life.
Who will join you in the fullness of time. She could not understand my tears or your passing.

There is one blessing to dementia. She asks for her mom, and says she is worried because she
Has not come to visit in some time. She is coming, she assures me whenever I see her.
You visited her every day except when health absolutely prevented it. You spent this February 10
Apart, your 61st wedding anniversary, too sick to visit her. Nor was I there. First time.

I hope you did not realize you were apart on the 10th but doubt it to be the case. I
Did not mention it, hoping you’d forgotten, and neither did you. You were my link to mom.
She cannot dial or answer a phone, so you would put your cell phone to her ear whenever I
Was not in class or meetings and could speak to her. She always recognized me by phone.

I am three hours from her. I could visit at most once or twice a month. Now even that phone
Lifeline is severed. Mom is completely alone, afraid, confused, and I cannot in the short term at
Least do much about that. You were not supposed to die first. It was my greatest fear, and
Yours, but as with so many things that we cannot change I put it in the back of my mind.

It kept me up many nights, but, like you, I still believed—and believe—in miracles.
I would speak every night with my you, often for an hour, on the way home from work late at
Night during my hour-long commute, or from home on days I worked from home as I cooked
Dinner. I mostly let you talk, trying to give you what comfort and social outlet I could.

You were lonely, sad, stuck in an endless cycle of emotional and physical pain.
Lately you were especially reticent to get off the phone. When mom was home and still
Relatively well, I’d call every day too but usually spoke to you only a few minutes and you’d
Transfer the phone to mom, with whom I usually chatted much longer.

For months, you’d had difficulty hanging up. I knew you did not want to go back to the couch,
To a meaningless TV program, or to writing more bills. You’d say good-bye, or “enough for
Today” and immediately begin a new thread, then repeat the cycle, sometimes five or six times.
You even told me, at least once crying recently, “Just hang up on me or I’ll just keep talking.”

I loved you, dad, with all my heart. We argued, and I’d often scream at you in frustration,
Knowing you would never take it to heart and would usually just ignore me and do as
You pleased. I knew how desperately you needed me, and I tried to be as patient as I could.
But there were days when I was just too tired, too frustrated, too full of other problems.

There were days when I got frustrated with you just staying on the phone for an hour when I
Needed to call Alice, to eat my cold dinner, or even to watch a favorite program. I felt guilty
And very seldom cut a conversation short, but I was frustrated nonetheless even knowing
How much you needed me and also how much I needed you, and how little you asked of me.  

How I would love to hear your voice again, even if you wanted to complain about the same old
Things or tell me in minutest detail some unimportant aspect of your day. I thought I would
Have you at least a little longer. A year? Two? God only knew, and I could hope. There would be
Time. I had so much more to share with you, so much more to learn when life eased up a bit.

You taught me to fish (it did not take) and to hunt (that took even less) and much of what I
Know about mechanics, and electronics. We worked on our cars together for years—from brake
Jobs, to mufflers, to real tune-ups in the days when points, condensers, and timing lights had Meaning, to rebuilding carburetors and fixing rust and dents, and power windows and more.

We were friends, good friends, who went on Sunday drives to favorite restaurants or shopping
For tools when I was single and lived at home. You taught me everything in life that I need to
Know about all the things that matter. The rest is meaningless paper and window dressing.
I knew all your few faults and your many colossal strengths and knew you to be the better man.

Not even close. I could never do what you did. I could never excel in my fields as you did in
Yours.  You were the real deal in every way, from every angle, throughout your life. I did not
Always treat you that way. But I loved you very deeply as anyone who knew us knows.
More importantly, you knew it. I told you often, unembarrassed in the telling. I love you, Dad.

The world was enriched by your journey. You do not leave behind wealth, or a body or work to
Outlive you. You never had your fifteen minutes in the sun. But you mattered. God knows your
Virtue, your absolute integrity, and the purity of your heart. I will never know a better man.
I will love you and miss you and carry you in my heart every day of my life. God bless you, dad.
You can hear all six of my Unsung Heroes poems read by me in my podcasts at (plus much more of my fiction, non-fiction and poetry in English and Spanish)
SYL  Jun 2014
Huling Araw
SYL Jun 2014
Sinukat ko ang bawat metro't pinagtagpi-tagpi
Sa nakalatay na papel na siyang may lamat
Na minsan kong pagkakamali.

May ilang letrang naging tuntungan
At ang alagang walang buhay --
Ang koneksyon ay tungo sa bukal ng liwanag;
Moderno na kasi kaya't kailangang makisabay
Noong manwal pa lamang, mapagsa-hanggang ngayon..
Teknolohiya'y senyales na ng transisyon.

Matagal nang napaso ang pagal kong mga daliri
Sigaw nila'y tulog sa walang himbing na mga sandali
At sa kursong tinapos, ngayon pa lamang ang simula
Nagising ang pangarap na siyang binigla.

Ang oras daw ay ginto
At minsa'y kailangang habulin ang mga numero
Ngunit sa bente-kwatrong tangan-tangan
Tila hindi sapat.

Muli kong binilang ang nalalabing araw
Tanging ang pangpito ang siyang pahinga
Ganito pala ang katotohanan, wika ko.

Salamat sa huling araw
Na iluluwal muli ang gintong araw
Itataas kong muli ang kapagalan
At ako'y bubuhusan ng lakas at determinasyon.

Sabi Niya nga sa akin,
Wag daw akong mapapagod
Pagkat hindi matatapos ang araw,
May panibago na namang hamon.

Salamat sa Maykapal
Salamat sa saglit na pahinga
At sa tubig mula sa bukal;
At minsan ako'y tinawag Niya
Ako'y tumango sa layon, may armas ng pagkaligtas
Ang pananampalata'y patuloy din.

Bitbit ko ang puso Niya
Na lagi Niyang bahagi sa akin
Sa banal na kasulatan na bumukas ng pag-iisip
At nang ang buhay ay mapahalagahan ko.

Kung ang direksyon na ito'y balakid sa layon Niya
Mabuti pa't maglaho na lamang
Ang bawat oportunidad, kahit ito'y ikatutuwa ko
Tanging ang nota ko'y Siya lamang
Wala nang iba pa, at kung nasaan man Siya,
Doon ako'y tutungo; doon din ang paghimbing.

Salamat Ama, salamat Hesus at sa Banal na Espirito - purihin Ka!

(6/28/14 @xirlleelang)
Karl Gerald Saul Sep 2013
Minsan sa buhay natin,
kahit alam natin na tag-araw,
may iilang ambon o ulan na sa buhay nati'y dadalaw.

Sa pagdating at sa pagbuhos ng ulan,
May ilan naghahanap na punong masisilungan,
ngunit di katagalan - sila'y mababasa't tuluyang mauulanan,
pagkat di kaya ng mga sanga't dahon na saluin ang buhos ng ulan.

May mga nakahandang armas na payong naman ang iba,
ngunit mababasa naman ang kanilang mga binti't paa,
na kung minsan sinasabayan ng malakas na hangin,
na ang mga payong nila'y kayang liparin o sirain.

Ang iba nama'y sa pagbuhos ng ulan - nagagalak,
may parang lasenggerong tumitingala, sinasalo, sumashot na parang alak,
may mga batang masayang naglalaro habang naliligo,
na kung minsan nagtatampisaw sa mga inaipong ulan sa estero.

Kung ako ang 'yong tatanungin, ang ulan nakatalaga sa bawat tao,
Na kahit anong iwas mo - darating at darating ito sayo.
ang mga patak nito'y sadyang maliliit -
kapag ito'y patuloy na bumuhos, kung minsan ito'y mabigat at masakit.

Kaya ang tanong ko sayo aking kapatid,
Saan ka dito sa aking mga nabanggit?
Na sa unang pagpatak ng ulan sa iyong bumbunan,
Ano ang iyong gagawin at naiisip na paraan?
Esta crônica é resultado de uma conversa que eu teria com o velho companheiro de lutas Chico da Cátia. Era um companheiro de toda hora, sempre pronto a dar ajuda a quem quer que fosse. Sua viúva, a Cátia, é professora da rede pública estadual do Rio de Janeiro e ele adquiriu esse apelido devido a sua obediência a ela, pois sempre que estávamos numa reunião ou assembleia ou evento, qualquer coisa e ela dissesse "vamos embora!", o Chico obedecia, e, ao se despedir dizia: com mulher, não se discute. Apertava a mão dos amigos e partia.

Hoje, terceiro domingo do janeiro de 2015, estou cercado. Literalmente cercado. Cercado sim e cercado sem nenhum soldado armado até aos dentes tomando conta de mim. Não há sequer um helicoptero das forças armadas americanas sobrevoando o meu prédio equipado com mísseis terra-ar para exterminar-me ao menor movimento, como está acontecendo agorinha em algum lugar do oriente asiático. Estou dentro de um apartamento super ventilado, localizado próximo a uma área de reserva da mata atlântica, local extremamente confortável, mas cercado de calor por todos os lados, e devido ao precário abastecimento de água na região, sequer posso ficar tomando um banhozinho de hora em hora, pois a minha caixa d'água está pela metade. Hoje, estou tão cercado que sequer posso sair cidade a fora, batendo pernas, ou melhor, chinelos, pegar ônibus ou metrô ou BRTs e ir lá na casa daquele velho companheiro de lutas Chico da Cátia, no Morro do Falet, em Santa Tereza, para pormos as ideias em dia. É que a mulher saiu, foi para a casa da maezinha dela e como eu tinha dentista ontem, não fui também e estou em casa, cercado também pelo necessário repouso orientado pelo médico, que receitou-me cuidados com o calor devido ao dente estar aberto.

Mas, firulas à parte, lembro-me de uma conversa que tive com o Chico após a eleição do Tancredo pelo colégio eleitoral, que golpeou as DIRETAS JÁ, propostas pelo povo, na qual buscávamos entender os interesses por detrás disso, uma vez que as eleições diretas não representavam nenhuma ameaça ao Poder Burguês no Brasil, aos interesses do capital, e até pelo contrário, daria uma fachada "democrática ao país" Nessa conversa, eu e o Chico procuramos esmiuçar os segmentos da burguesia dominante no Brasil, ao contrário do conceito de "burguesia brasileira" proposto pela sociologia dos FHCs da vida. Chegamos à conclusão de que ela também se divide, tem contradições internas e nos seus embates, o setor hegemônico do capital é quem predominar. Nesse quesito nos detivemos um bom tempo debatendo, destrinçando os comportamento orgânicos do capital, e concluímos que o liberalismo, fantasiado de neo ou não, é liberal até o momento em que seus interesses são atingidos, muitas vezes por setores da própria burguesia; nesses momentos, o setor dominante, hegemônico, lança mão do que estiver ao seu alcance, seja o aparelho legislativo, o judiciário e, na falta do executivo, serve qualquer instrumento de força, como eliminação física dos seus opositores, golpe de mídia ou golpe de estado, muitas vezes por dentro dos próprios setores em disputa, como se comprovou com a morte de Tancredo Neves, de Ulisses Guimarães e de uma série de próceres da burguesia, mortos logo a seguir.

Porém, como disse, hoje estou cercado. Cercado por todos os lados, cercado até politicamente, pois os instrumentos democratizantes do meu país estão dominados pelos instrumentos fascistizantes da sociedade. É que a burguesia tem táticas bastante sutis de penetração, de corrosão do poder de seus adversários e atua de modo tão venal que é quase impossível comprovar as suas ações. Ninguém vai querer concordar comigo em que os setores corruptos da esquerda sejam "arapongas" da direita; que os "ratos" que enchem o país de ONGs, só pra sugar verbas públicas com pseudo-projetos sociais, sejam "arapongas" da direita; que os ratazanas que usam a CUT, o MST, o Movimento por Moradia, e controlam os organismos de políticas sociais do país sejam "arapongas" da direita; que os LULAS, lulista e cia, o PT, a Dilma etc, sejam a própria direita; pois do contrário, como se explica a repressão aos movimentos sociais, como se explica a criminalização das ações populares em manifestações pelo país a fora? Só vejo uma única resposta: Está fora do controle "DELLES!"

Portanto, como disse, estou cercado. Hoje, num domingo extremamente quente, com parco provimento de água, não posso mais, sequer, ir à casa do meu amigo Chico da Cátia. Ela, já está com a idade avançada, a paciência esgotada de tanto lutar por democracia, não aguenta mais sair e participar dos movimentos sociais, e eu sou obrigado a ficar no meu canto, idoso e só, pois o Chico já está "na melhor!"; não disponho mais dele para exercitar a acuidade ideológica e não me permitir ser um "maria vai com as outras" social, um alienado no meio da *****, um zé-niguém na multidão, o " boi do Raul Seixas": "Vocês que fazem parte dessa *****, que passa nos projetos do futuro..."  Por exemplo, queria conversar com ele sobre esse "CASO CHARLIE HEBDO", lá da França, em que morreu um monte de gente graças a uma charge. Mas ele objetaria; "Uma charge?!" É verdade. Não foi a charge que matou um monte de gente, não foi o jornal que matou um monte de gente, não foram os humoristas que mataram um monte de gente. Assim como na morte de Tancredo Neves e tantos membros da própria burguesia no Brasil, quem matou um monte de gente é o instrumento fascistizante da sociedade mundial, ou seja, a disputa orgânica do capital, a concorrência entre o capital ocidental e o capital oriental, que promove o racismo e vende armas, que promove a intolerância religiosa e vende armas, que promove as organizações terroristas em todo o mundo e vende armas; que vilipendia as liberdades humanas intrínsecas, pisoteia a dignidade mais elementar, como o direito à crença, como o respeito etnico, a liberdade de escolhas, as opções sexuais, e o que é pior, chama isso de LIBERDADE e comete crimes hediondos em nome da Liberdade de Imprensa, da Liberdade de Expressão,  a ponto de a ministra da justiça francesa, uma mulher, uma negra, alguém que merece respeito, ser comparada com uma macaca, e ninguém falar nada. Com toda certeza do mundo, eu e o Chico jamais seremos CHARLIE....  

Hindi ka kasalanan, Ikaw ma'y nagkamali
Hindi tama ang pagpili ng mali
Hindi kasalanan ang madapa
Ngunit mali na pag ikaw pa ay tumihaya

Hindi ka kasalanan, Hindi ka mali
Ang hindi pagtanggap sa sarili, iyan ang mali
Hindi mo kailangang magdusa mag-isa
Ang Diyos, inalaan sa iyo ay siya

Hindi ka kasalanan, huwag kang matakot
Huwag magtago saan man at mamaluktot
Hindi mo kailangan na mahiya
Dahil ang pag amin ay katapangang sadya

Huwag ka magtago, dahan-dahan
Ibaba ang armas, huwag na ngang lumaban
Dalawang kamay ay iyong itaas
At sadyang aminin ang nagawang kasalanan

Huwag kang mahiya, Siya ay iyong ama
Ang tanging pangarap ay mayakap ka Niya
Halika, lumapit at sasamahan ka
Magtiwala ka, ika'y babaguhin niya.
Li  Nov 2016
Perlas ng Silangan
Li Nov 2016
Diba nandoon ka
noong sila'y humingi ng tulong
noong sila'y hinuli at sinaktan
ng walang kalaban-laban
noon sila'y tinrato na hayop
ng sarili nilang kababayan.

Diba narinig mo
ang iyak ng mga batang
dinuyan sa tunog ng bala
noong ang mga nanay nila
na dapat kakanta
ay hindi na makita.

Diba nakita ****
nanaig ang kapangyarihan
kaysa sa kanilang karapatan?

Nandoon ka
sa bawat iyak
sa bawat sigaw
pero hindi mo sila sinagip
mula sa kapangyarihang
puno ng galit.

Ngayon nama'y
kami ang naririto
mga bagong saksi
ng pagkatalo
mga sundalong
walang armas pero
pilit ipinaglalaban
ang katotohanan.

Kailanma'y hindi
magiging sapat
ang mga libro
para ikwento ang pait
para aming maramdaman
ang sakit.

Pero ngayong araw
mga mata'y luluha muli
ang mga sugat ay muling hahapdi.

Ngayong araw
kinalimutan ang kasaysayan
kaya't pasensya na mga anak
kung aming napabayaan
kung ibang pananaw na
ang inyong daratnan

O Pilipinas,
ikaw pa ba ang Perlas ng Silangan?
November 8, 2026.
To all victims of Martial Law, I am eternally sorry.
Pusang Tahimik  Feb 2019
Pusang Tahimik Feb 2019
Mga balang nagliliparan
Sa lahat ng panig nagpapalitan
Sa mga sandaling hindi mapigilan
Buhay ang binabayaran

Sigaw ng isa ay kalayaan
At ang kabila ay kayamanan
Sana'y mayroong hangganan
Hiling ng mga nasusugatan

Isusugal ang lahat upang makamit
Ang bagay na iginigiit
Nang puso na lahat ay ipagpapalit
Upang masumpungan ang mas lalo pang higit

Sa kalayaan ay walang pag-big
Dugo ang kanilang tubig
Armas ang kanilang bibig
Dahas ang nakasulat sa mga bisig

Ang pag kitil nga ba ang sagot
Sa lahat ng ating mga sigalot?
Tila ba lubusan nang nakalimot
At sa sanlibutan ay nagmistulang mga salot
SYL  Mar 2016
Hide and Seek
SYL Mar 2016
Naglalaro tayo,
Pero hindi parang biro.
Mayroong taya,
Pero hindi alam kung sino.
At walang tayo,
Pero sana’y parehas na manalo.

Sisilip ang pusong walang pagkukunwari.
At sa tikas at dunong ng iyong pananampalataya,
Pawang gabay sa nauuhaw na sandali.
Ang baryang sentimo’y itinabi nang kusa,
Pagkat umuusbong ang pagsinta
Sa para sanang taglagas na paghinga.

Nais kong siyasatin ang maamo **** mukha
At ang pagkukumbaba’y batid kong patas at di ulila.
Iyong mga kamay, yapos silang mga uhaw
At ang tula’y binalot ng pakikipaghimagsikan.

Dukha ang pag-ibig ko,
Bagkus hindi mamamalimos.
At sa mala-larong pag-iibigan,
Magwawagi rin tayo.

Sapat na ang nalalabing mga sandali’t
Armas nati’y ibibigkis pa rin sa Langit.
Pagkat hindi lilisanin ang Harding may bukal ng pag-ibig.

Tataya ako’t hindi ka muna gigisingin
Sa himbing ng paghikbi’y, ako’y gapos ng katotohanan.
Sinta, hintay lamang; pagkat matatapos din ang laro
Gigising tayong muli’t bibihisan ng pagsuyo.
SYL  May 2021
SYL May 2021
Nauubos na ang katas ng mga bulaklak sa hardin,
Gayundin ang mga dahong tila nagsasayawan sa bawat pagsipol ng hangin.
Unti-unting ring nanamlay ang mga iwinawagayway sa bawat pulong ipinagbigkis.
At maging ang bahaghari'y waring sanggol na nahihiyang magpakita't piniling magtitiis.

Sa pagtikom ng bibig ng tinuturing na demokrasya
Ay nasaan nga ba ang tunay na pagkalinga?
Na sa tuwing gumagayak ang mga nakapilang ekstranghero
Ay magsusulputan ang mga buwayang masahol pa sa nakawala sa hawla.

Sinisipat ang mga bulsang walang laman,
Para bang mga santo silang naghihintay sa alay na hindi naman nila pinaghirapan.
May iilan pa ngang susukli ng lason buhat sa kanilang mga bibig.
Matindi pa sa hagupit ng kidlat, kung sila ay magmalupit.

Doon sa kasuluk-sulukan ng kurtina sa entablado'y
Nagsitikom ang mga buwelta ng mga may puting kapa.
Sila sana ang pinakamakapangyarihan
Na hindi kung anong elemento ang pinagmumulan.
Sila sana ang pinapalakpakan,
Ngunit ang suporta'y wala naman palagi sa laylayan.

Taas-noo sila para sa bandilang pinilay ng sistema.
Bayani kung ituring ngunit sila'y napapagod din.
Nakakaawa, pagkat sila'y pinamahayan na rin ng mga gagamba
At kung anu-ano pang mga insektong noo'y itinataboy naman sa kanila.

Tangay nila ang armas na posibleng lunas sa kamandag,
Sila na rin mismo ang dedepensa't aawat
Sa paparating na mga kalabang hindi naman nila nakikita.
Ano nga ba ang laban nila?
Ano nga ba ang tagumpay na maituturing
Sa labang tanong din ang katapusan?

Samu't saring lahi na may iisang kalaban
Ngunit ang tanong ko'y, may iisa rin bang patutunguhan?
May iisang sigaw ngunit ang tinig ay wasak sa kalawakan.
May iisang mithiin ngunit ito'y panandalian lamang.
Pagkat sa oras na ang giyera'y mawaksian na rin,
Ang medalya't parangal ay tila isasaboy pa rin sa hangin.

— The End —