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
- 93: PEACHSUBMIT to L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIICOMING SOON with C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 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 F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D 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 P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones
- Jennifer Mackenzie Reviews Elif Sezen’s A little book of unspoken history
- Introduction to Charmaine Papertalk Green’s Nganajungu Yagu
- Brigid Magner Reviews Michele Leggott’s Vanishing Points and Elizabeth Smither’s Night Horse
- Jack Kelly Reviews Liam Ferney’s Hot Take
- Submission to Cordite 93: PEACH
- Introduction to Cordite 91: MONSTER
- Poetry, Whatsoever: Blake, Blau DuPlessis, and an Expansive Definition of the Poem
- On Being Sanguine: Two Years of Panic and a Response to Terror in Christchurch
- A Deaf Rough Trade: Defending Poetry to ‘regular people’
- 12 Panels by Chris Gooch
- 5 Translated Yosuke Tanaka Poems
- A Buzz in the Retina: On Translating Luljeta Lleshanaku
- ‘That is some crafty bite’: Trisha Pender Interviews Melinda Bufton
- ‘You’re never disembodied from the action’: Dylan Frusher Interviews Judith Beveridge
- Excerpts from Neon Daze
- Chorography and Toute-eau in the Waters of Lower Murray Country
- 6 Poems from Robin M Eames
- Aussi / Or: Un Coup de dés and Mistranslation in the Antipodes
- Every other Friday
- I Still Love Without My Head
- Heath Ledger’s Joker
- Only fair
- small town lazarus
- from Red Black & Blues