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Posts Tagged ‘culture’

We lived in a world where

statistics is synonymous

with being number one.

Measuring up in a yardstick,

struggling our lifetimes

competing for spaces

reserved for subservient

imitators of culture and class.

 

Like crabs crowding and grabbing

and pulling each other down

wanting to rule the world. People

above people. Force against force.

 

For those who dared raising a fist.

For those who questioned authority.

For those who defy their masters

raised from the land they call-

the first world. Their birthright.

 

Is it about what you’ve been taught?

Is it about how you’ve been raised?

Have I been misplaced by fate?

My skin’s darker, hands dirtied,

swollen by hard labor. A gap

so wide I couldn’t leap forward

a privilege’s bloody to break.

 

The one with the skin much paler

has the prime seat in the house.

The one whose ideals are taller than the tree

had their palms oiled by the scent of money.

And their minions bow down in worship.

 

Supremacy over self-worth. Fanaticism

over humanity. Millions, blindsided

servants to little gods awaiting benediction.

I can’t do but keep silent and curse

the soil in which you were born,

giving you a seething stare in envy.

 

Shall I borrow then, your language

slipped out of your tongue? For I will

put sounds to the syllables of freedom

to speak and tell you, “our time has come”.

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I can talk about my universe

like picking a good book

from the bookshelves and pretend.

As if my mind can fill the spaces

left as a void and of dusts

collecting at the edges.

Since the day I had let

somebody in.

 

I could leave good pictures

about art. About dance.

About the food and the drinks.

Of nice and pretty things

while you won’t discover

how tricky it is to conceal.

How easy it is to speak

about the avant-garde. 

The dead writers. The music.

 

I won’t show you the bookmarks.

The synopsis of chapters.

The highlighted paragraphs

almost torn to the leaf

where the watermarks

from my tears had faded.

I won’t let you read it.

 

I will let the cultured noise

suffocate me in silence

on something that begin

to reveal themselves.

Leaving handprints

and start mending

the pages of my heart.

I won’t let you do it.

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His muffled voice breaks

the long stretches of silence

while his hand guided

young and untrained hands

practicing calligraphy.

 

Watchful and demanding precision

of copied texts exacting translation.

As he unbuckles the leathery tome

of secrets in a wooden chest.

Tradition, theology and religion.

Diaries, recipes, scientific notations.

 

Inventories, census, receipts.

Readings of narratives and poetry,

astrology, proverbs and magic spells.

The volumes of letters, last wills,

songs and words of blessings.

 

Spending hours and hours sitting

among the piles of pages digging

for clues and answers to mysteries.

The labyrinth of a culture. A treasure.

Each of the fragile pages a wealth

weightier than silver and the gold.

 

Piecing each fragment in a mosaic

mapping an ancient civilization

long forgotten. He believed, it was

here  in his hands lies the fiber, sinew

and muscle of generations of man-

the society is ought to remember.

 

So he became a warrior, obsessed

with the written word wielding

weapons of passion and wisdom.

With his small army of juvenile scholars

continuing an unpopular legacy.

 

Waging the classic battle against time,

earth bugs, heat, rot and decay

slowly finding its way like marauders

pillaging the essence of our humanity

into oblivion and brink of extinction.

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These wasteful hours

in the museum hall

exhibiting the exploits,

critics alike

are flocking over,

in desperate attempt

unlocking

digesting

the meaning of a mystery

to which is none.

Blabber-mouthing platitudes

and bloated praises.

The body of work.

 

You will see how

this culture of patronage

drains the penniless,

being subjects

fallen prey-

caged

framed

to a prisoned canvas

of posing nude.

 

In a night enveloped

by a faked light.

Revealing,

showing

some fleshly delight

while acting out

a cheap scene ripped 

from the page

of a slut magazine.

 

An art nouveau.

A magnum opus

on which they praise

the painter,

and not the one

whose eyes

are staring back

from the canvas

like a muted witness-

mocking,

despising

the cultured whims

of the bourgeoisie.

 

They call it art.

And you shudder

at a thought, when

you know it is

a meaningless,

empty accolade.

Worth a few

hundred bucks

reclining,

staring

blankly to a space-

being still

and have nothing

to hide.

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The walls are coarse to touch, hard and steely,

it was a challenge not to see but to feel with our fingers

sharp points that will prick a skin and bleed. By then

the grave of the earth has avenged its loss. The stair

is a winding wonder of wooden realm. Forest scent

permeates like sweat staining musk to the olfactory.

Curtains we plucked from the fibers of the grass

that exist  in some temperate savannah, polished

and handwoven by the nomads of Siberia.

The glass came from the silicates we scoured

from the rivers of Babylon, coal-fired in a furnace

by a hundred men impoverished with ten cents an hour.

And the floor is a polished limestone quarried

from some majestic mountains of the Far East. White,

cold slab, for our feeble feet resting on a tombstone. The chairs

are fabricated in hides separated from the meat of animals

domesticated and cultured for a trade in an African jungle.

We commercialized the organic in the will of the greedy generation

crazy for the avant garde. We are fond of collecting. Prized.

Natural. Unique. All, for the sake of a want  that cannot be satiated.

And at a cost, we hunger for more as we build our little kingdoms,

looking for some definition. Until we find that there is no more left

of the skin of the earth, we have stripped of its clothing

to cover our shelters.  Unless we travel to the moon

digging kryptonites to embellish facades of our own vanities.

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What if I finally embark on a mission to indigenous lands? How can I accept their way of life? Will I accept their culture as superior than I have born with and satisfied with? Will I ever change my way of life and draw some inspiration and become like them-unwary of the stress of the modern life, which to them is unknown?

What if  I am old enough to witness the First Quarter Storm, would I become a community organizer? Would I then be able to stand up for the right of the masses during those dictatorial times or I would rather clam up under the weight of fear and apathy? Would I be willing to be put into prison, or die in a firing squad like a martyr and become one of those missing persons that until now that their whereabouts cannot be found?

What if I become a priest? Can I be able to resist the temptation to marry and forever become celibate?  Would I be able to help others to know God better and make some positive impacts on their spiritual life?

What if I become a social worker? How could I keep the orphans, the old men and women and the widows from seeing life as still beautiful brimming with hope without them thinking of their circumstances? Would I be able to bear not to cry when I am so emotionally attached to their sentiments, their anguish and their fears?

What if I become a nurse or a doctor? How could I be able to be numb on seeing death everyday?  How could I try not to think of pain?  How could I not try to think about the families who lost their loved ones to sickness or a tragic accident? How could I not sleep enduring the hours spent caring and hoping for the  patients would ever live for one more day?

There are just so many individuals whose life are exemplary. Those who are still living or have departed from this world, whose life they have given unselfishly to the best that they can without thinking about personal gain or fame.  They have lived an uncommon life away from their comfort zones. 

The nameless and faceless strangers whom we might meet across the street. Or your neighbor. Or a friend.  We never know, until we came closer seeing their true light. These are the breed of people who dedicated themselves for a cause of uplifting humanity.  The kind of people who is not afraid of being different and dared to be what they are destined to be.

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There is a witty comment I came across in a meeting some days ago. I was clutching my pencil, nervously waiting for an hours’ worth of ceremonious talking  to end, when suddenly, someone blurted out that the solution is plainly simple.  “It doesn’t take a rocket idea to resolve the problem, don’t make it too complicated.”  Everybody laughed. Embarrassment is quite evident to the man pertained to with the statement.

It sinked deeply into my consciousness, that the moment I open this mouth, I should make sure that my statements will have to be of fact, tact and briefly relayed. Everybody got some other businesses to attend to, and they can’t afford to waste time hearing repetitive and ambiguous lectures of an amateur.  In a workplace setting such as ours, theories are in the backseat, unless you’re  a newly graduated joining for the first time in the workforce, lectures directly taken out from the textbooks is a no-no.

The site job is meant for the raw and tough-hearted people, I guess.  There are a lot of compromises. A lot of adjustment to the work culture.  Respect to the seniors is a norm everyday.  Learning the ropes painstakingly is an essential trait that will guarantee survival. 

I totally agree that it doesn’t take a rocket idea to sort some difficult task at work.  More often than not, it takes only our common sense to solve it.  Don’t complicate things.  Accept that problems in the workplace only challenges us to approach the task creatively.  It only shows that there is still a big room for improvement for all of us.  Even veterans are still learning something new everyday.

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