Ah, a photo of the stunning Imelda
And her children, everyone so fine,
And healthy, not a day of hunger
Have they known. Her husband,
That Ilocano, look, quite regal I’d say.
Smart, that man, brought a whole nation
To heel. Fourteen, fifteen years, no one
Squealed. A few college brats now and then.
Can’t be helped, one supposes.
A bit of bloodshed here and there,
Half-hearted rebellions quickly quelled.
For twenty years, more or less,
The Ilocano’s word was law.
Everyone nodding yes–judge, laborer,
Beggar, philosopher, merchant, soldier–
Soldier above all. Complain, and
Vanish like smoke, simple, just like that,
Murdered, jailed, lost properties, positions.
The national debt ballooned, still
No jobs, wages shrunk,
The poor grew poorer, or died.
Imelda never stopped shopping–
Shoes, clothes, jewelry, paintings—
Because she can, of course, as though
The children selling sampaguita garlands
—Or their bodies—for food and shelter
In the streets of the capital did not exist.
Look at this photo now, how fine they look,
All her children round-cheeked, rosy smooth
Skin, perfection–these little godlings
In their seeming innocent pose.
Ay, but patience has its bounds,
Skim off the excess, the old folks would say,
When the time’s up. That day did come
For the Ilocano and his queen, skimmed off
By people power thirty-one years to the day.
This photo now, look carefully, look steady,
For the spawns, these cherubic godlings,
Are crawling slowly back to grab the seat
Of governance they think is theirs by descent.
Ay, Filipinas, now gather your hungry
Homeless children, dispossessed
By generations of venality and greed,
Now tell them the proud sagas of your saints,
Don’t allow forgetfulness. Give them to drink
The bile of your memories, aye, also its sweet,
Feed their minds with lays of honor, and truth,
Its clarity. Their dreams haunt with the sheen
Of daggers. Lull them to sleep with the staccato
Of bullets crippling old bastions of deception.
One day when all is ready, Anger will rise
From the ground to call for blood.
Ay, Filipinas, on that day, pray the angel of Peace
Sits on its shoulders to show the way home.
October 24, 2017
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 91: NO THEME VIIISUBMIT to C Gaskin 90: MONSTERwith N Curnow, coming soon! 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith Fiona Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith Vladimir Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith Judith Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith Keri Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with Dan Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with Pam Brown 52.0: TOIL with Carol Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with Luke Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with Bonny Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with John Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with Tracy Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with Corey Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with Michael Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with Felicity Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with Jan Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with Derek Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with Kent MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with Ann Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with Gig Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with Duncan Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with Kent MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with Libby Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with Sarah Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with Sam Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with Astrid Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with Sean Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with Alan Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with Jill Jones
- Review Short: Simeon Kronenberg’s Distance
- Review Short: Judith Beveridge’s Sun Music: New and Selected Poems
- Melody Paloma Reviews Keri Glastonbury
- Submission to Cordite 91: NO THEME VIII
- Judith Bishop Reviews Phillip Hall’s Fume
- Bella Li on as Associate Publisher
- Alex Creece on as Production Editor
- Review Short: Diane Fahey’s November Journal and Carmen Leigh Keates’s Meteorites
- Review Short: Vahni Capildeo’s Seas and Trees and Jennifer Harrison’s Air Variations
- To Outlive a Home: Poetics of a Crumbling Domestic
- ‘The Rally Is Calling’: Dashiell Moore Interviews Lionel Fogarty
- Jackie Ryan: Teaser to Burger Force 3
- Dispatch from the Future Fish
- Introduction to Cordite 89: DOMESTIC
- 7 Portraits by Ali Gumillya Baker
- Selections from 3 Yhonnie Scarce Series
- Kathy Acker and The Viewing Room
- To Live There: on ‘Dispatch from the Future Fish’
- The Wild Workshop: The Ghost of a Brontëan Childhood in the Life of Dorothy Hewett
- Externalising the Symptom: Radicalised Youth and The Membrane
- On Deep Breaths and Friends Forever: Im/materiality and Mis/communication in Happy Angels Revisited
- Letter to Anne Carson: Work of Remembrance and Mourning
- Translated Extracts from Chantal Danjou
- Translations from Old English
- The Poets: Pejk Malinovski Self-translates
- Carnage, Crosses and Curiosity: 13 Images by Yvette Holt
- Body of Sound