Philippine Daily Inquirer
A POEM AND A TRANSLATION
Message From The Underworld
…bodies sprawled on dimly lit roads or under a bridge; crime scene investigators examining pools of blood; trash bags containing bodies kept from spilling out by package tape; body bags being zipped up to be taken away; crying children following the hearse carrying the coffin of a slain father, brother or a friend… Winds bring messages of despair To this new age which spawns slayers – All of humankind. Their faces cloaked In total secrecy riding fast-paced machines: Motorcycles and armed with pistols Or even high-powered guns— These instruments of sheer murder Are sophisticated enough to annihilate More than seven thousand souls (and counting).
The tombs are never enough To accommodate such wanton massacres Unless murderers prefer their victims’ Decay devoid of necrological rites. A routine, a formality—they might claim For flesh is ash, dust. And spilled blood – Now a common view. Bereaved we learn how bitter, How piercing is pain Particularly one locked in a coffin: This friend, his or her friend, Friends of their friends Or in lieu of the father – The son or vice-versa, A brother or brothers even— All had died, had been dead For many days.
An enigma: Howwe are stunned, troubled – For how long will the culprits hide Behind some strongman’s cloak? We implore them to come out Unmasked and reveal their selves.
Assassins, hear our curses. Receive our sputum. Face our poisonous spears: Be struck. Be pierced. For only in this instance, In this occasion Can we bury our hate, Our anger, our cadaver, Our wailing From sharp stings Of pain.
Like AMung Bean
(Translation of Peter Solis Nery’s “Ang GugmaNga DawMunggo”) Like a water-soaked mung bean, My restlessness grows within me. I stare at the sky, Wish a downpour And perhaps, you will see— My eyes nearDrowned, Close to blindness even. Oh this yearning submerges me… I will remember you. I will invoke you In this world and in other worlds, In my dreams For how can I ever forget The seed strewn on my chest? Like a seedling ever striving, Like a well-nourished wish, Love grows, sprouts Leaves.