You want me to care about the Poor,
But I can hardly
Take care of myself.
You say that the Oil and Petrochemical Industry
Must be regulated
But how the hell are they gonna' stay in Business?!
You support the rights of immigrants,
I can't compete with them.
It's built to last, it's built to last!
Built to stand against the years.
Built to hide us with ourselves,
Against the wreck of all our fears.
Who built it we no longer know.
Who made the walls so tall and grey?
To keep us safe, to keep 'them' out,
Though who remembers who is 'they'?
We shall not leave it; we must not!
For terrors surely lie in wait
To catch us when we drop our guard.
We must not venture past the gate!
No prisons built by foreign hands
Will keep our children or our wives.
For in our fortress they are safe
To live protected, watchful lives.
Your bustling streets vibrate with the rumbling of the jeepneys
and the hollers of the drivers as they say,
“Pasahero diyan, kasya pa, kasya pa!”; (Any passenger there, some seats are still free!)
Your nights twinkle with the Christmas lights
that surround every tree around the Meralco building
when September begins;
Your endless traffic jams keep McDonald’s and KFC alive
twenty-four by seven
where traffic enforcers dodge cars
trucks and tricycles
and jeepneys and bicycles
while dancing to the rhythm beating in their own ears
with a smile and a salute to all the drivers
from dawn to dusk;
The noise awakens the outskirts of your city
filled with people who never fails to smile
even when the storm pirouettes like a tempestuous ballerina,
where children watch the roads
transform into this ocean of black water
and small wooden boats become the means of transportation;
paddling in between houses
as the adults try to go to work;
where chickens waddling upon roofs
and cats chasing rats
become the best forms of entertainment
your lingering smell of cancer
comes with the dark blue starless sky
telling people to grip their bags until it merges with their bodies.
Manila, say good night
while they hold it tight
protecting it from the dark humid air
where thieves come out to
thumb down unscrutinised objects
from shallow pockets
by the flickering lamps
across the blazing red and emerald green lights
you see less
as the Sun sinks and says good bye.
and try to tranquilise yourself.
Your city is now lead
by a blood-thirsty leader.
Apologies from gunshots overpower the cries of help from your people.
and sleep well.
Let the truth decay
while lives burn and vanish.
Prayers cannot save your mutinous ignominy.
Halcyon days are over
you are still a beautiful city.
Your resilient people
overflows with hospitable hearts.
Their faces plastered with big smiles
as they welcome us for you
and say, “Mabuhay!” (Long live!)
proud and mighty.
Offering their minds on banana leaf plates to everyone who visits,
Giving away their hearts in small loot bags to everyone who leaves,
The Pearl of the Orient Seas
was my hood.
despite your lack of snow
and intense weather swings,
and will always be
‘I belong to this
And you belong to that
Here is a line in the grass
That you may not pass
You stay on that side
I stay on this
Here is a laminated card
Without it life is hard
You talk in that way
I talk in this
Those similar I hold dear
But you cannot come here
I have this symbol
You have your own
Three colours on a rag
You have an uglier flag
I am one type of person
You are a different kind
Our kind cannot be mixed
For our categories are fixed.’
Nations – what a load of old bollocks.
A page has to be flipped to find another chapter
some doors have to shut for others to open
tears have to be shed if a soul is to see laughter
a road has to reach the end for another to begin
a generation has to be phased for another to takeover
war has to be fought (peace lost) for peace to be found
men rise when others fall, a hole is dug to fill a hole
a fight is started to win a fight, all it cost... to win it all
some lead to follow and others follow to lead
sometimes the chills from the rains of greed
cause the greatest of shivers
when Augeans are clean and dirty are rivers
equilibrium is reset by living on the edge
and to know freedom we have to be bound
sometimes calm's plucked off a tree of rage
and for a people to be whole, a people have to be torn
so death has to happen sometimes for life to be born
to find heaven we go through hell for it don't have to start but end well
as savagery brings-forth civilisation,unity's found in the arms of session...
sometimes the loudest of riots are what a people in silence says
as the darkest nights are sometimes recipe for the brightest days
Tried to warn you, that they weren’t for us--
that Neoliberals would throw us under the bus.
You couldn’t hear me with your binary mind.
You said that “Democrats” were all of a kind--
that they were the “good guys” who’d save us from evil,
from evil conservatives inspired by the Devil.
A quick glance at history would have given you warning,
taught how demagogues win and become quite alarming.
How did Hitler develop such fans in great Germany?
Because international banks had left people in penury.
Funny, today they’re still doing the same,
the IMF and World Bank, just the names have been changed.
Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and all of the rest.
I’ll give you an F on your history test.
It’s not “racism,” it’s anger, and desperation.
People do what they can to save their own nation.
Yet, while trying to resurrect self-determination,
they place hopes in fanatics who bring annihilation.
I do not belong;
nor would I want to:
to your flags, regalia
Your anthems of
plain dull soil.
Bore my mind
and curdle your thought.
I could not sing;
those songs of unity:
the many words
and melodies of
A vague sense
of which you're too sure.
I will not hoist;
the fabric symbol:
watch it fold, dither
with the imagined weight
That which you treasure so
deep and dear;
is just a flag in the wind.
their spines are straight -
two different trees in two different woods.
people like them are not meant
to come face to face.
is this the first time the distance between them is silent?
emptied of political din, hoarse
shouts of protest in market squares,
flags unfurled not in love for a country
but in hate for the other.
are enemies still enemies when they are of the same space?
the two girls recognize
that their hair curls in the same way.
they don't reach out to touch
but a curiosity forms a thread between them.
a thread. their fingers tingle, flutter
spooling and unspooling
this new connection, this new thread.
their eyes swing like pendulums.
how new, how strange to breathe
in air that is clean of artificial hate.
they are curious, spooling and unspooling.
what will happen to this thread?
for threads are too easy to break.
and each knows the power of governments,
their ability to dangle them
and break and break.
the two girls wonder. the two girls stare.
they look. they look and look.
but their spines are straight -
two different trees in two different woods.