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Posts Tagged ‘enemy’

I

We came to know war as we see the carcasses

dance in the seawaves, lapping on the crimson shore.

Lulling back and forth to its mad rhythms.

 

The symphony of air raid bombs digging

graves for the fearless and the brave.

These patriot’s sons fading like the last puffs

of smokes from an old man’s cigarette growing

into mushroom clouds eclipsing the day.

 

Bullets strafing the night from the enemy’s line.

Strayed as wolves lacerating flesh upon flesh.

Blood upon blood. Our men tumbled half-dead

in deep trenches squirming the earth like worms.

 

Dead bodies heaped on a hill-mound.

where bayonet stands a flag of conquest.

In the name of the mortar fire, boys learn

the lessons on how to become a  man-

scarred and sculpted like a wounded bark

of a leafless tree bleeding young.

Whose innocence is his first casualty

snatched from the destiny’s hand.

 

 

II

Severed limbs- heads, hands and legs littering

this blood-soaked earth. Hungry of men’s bodies

spangled of exploded grenade shells. Their entrails

gushing out from half-cut torsos, splayed bones

and pulped brain from shattered skulls popping

like balloons. Amidst the stench of rotting human flesh.

 

Here is a feast. The slaughter of the lambs

for the gods of war. As real as it gets.

A montage of splintered and scorched

colors of midnight- this numbing blackness.

Where lives are lost in combat, felled

one by one. An unfathomable pain.

 

Survivors were left scavenging through

the wretched and the grotesque. Soldiers

with a  missing eye, a missing ear,

a missing  teeth, a missing heart,

a missing sanity and nothing remains

but memories of what have been.

Kept hidden within books and letters

among wooden barrels and wooden crates

longing for the warmth of home.

 

The gloomy spectacle has just began.

Pushing our luck for a chance to live

one more day in a battle waged in anger

and uncertainty of our fates. Our fear

to glimpse the fragiled face of death.

And an end to this misery and suffering

akin only to a soldier.

 

 

III

Somewhere

in a strange and foreign harbor,

when the battleship moored-

the world becomes so small

as the wandering clouds casts

its lingering shadows over

the returning and lucky.

 

Admired for the great sacrifice.

The news of the day.

A hero’s welcome.

 

In the deluge of confetti

and waves upon waves of flags.

Shoulder to shoulder, hard-pressed,

stinking and slipping away

from the remotest of islands

to wide open spaces prowling

for some intimate connection

curing their isolation.

 

Starving, gripping cold

over mugs of beer, vodka,

brandy and rum. Drowned

to the muffled voices of women.

And women seeing part of them-

like knights from some medieval era-

an illusion of the men concealing

their broken selves. As if this

is the last night of the world.

 

They seek in the arms of strangers

the completeness of their wholes.

Of their filed lives. The monotonous

order of a soldier’s life. Aimless,

and disconnected. No promises.

No excuses. No hope of ever returning

to the dreamy life they left behind.

Only the stark reality where sadness

cuts the deepest wound into their morrows.

 

 

IV

Jungle has become our greatest enemy.

The rain lashed endlessly as if-

heavens never run out of its tears.

Weeping for the impending farewell.

This tempest, the mud and the flood.

 

The rain became empty bullet shells

mourning at this God-forsaken place.

Lethargy stripping us down, our morale.

As mud sticks closer like the hands

of the dead soldiers we lost. Deepening

the burrows of sorrow and regret.

 

Man to man, we cry like long-lost brothers.

Hoping if the leafless trees will no longer be

prison bars that caged us in the necessity

of killing.

 

V

At noontime, the sun simmers the hearts

of the amateur, the frail and the unsure.

As soon as  the amphibian tanks

landed against the somber shore,

the replacement fighters crawl

like little crabs maneouvering

for the first time. Unscarred.

Advancing inch by inch for cover.

 

The reality stings when they begin

to witness the rushing bloodbath

from dead soldiers lying abandoned

atop sand bags, slumped in trenches.

Their bodies tattered and ravaged

by this war’s early conquests.

 

The warships sinking in defeat,

swallowed up by the crimson sea.

And warplanes crisscrossing

the vastness of the red sky.

Dropping bombs into hills etching

craters into the deep forest. Burning

tanks and the walled barricades.

Ashclouds falling like moondust.

 

The thinning battalion  outpaces the path.

The slow credence keep marching through

the columns of ash billowing and sifting

like fingers of fallen bombs scouring the earth.

Crashing like meteors from heavens clawing

for life. As stars flicker signals for the rescue.

We run the race sheltering for our safety.

 

 

VI

We are outnumbered and overwhelmed.

Waging a battle for a bitter peace.

The end is not in sight.

 

We have fought as vultures today.

Plundering for armaments and ammunitions

refilling our dwindling resources.

 

For every bullet costs an enemy’s life.

And the chances to survive in the game

of life over death lengthens.

 

The bullet is the only salvation, they say.

I think it’s true. Since the enemy also pray

to God all day. Soon, we will both die anyway.

 

Don’t look back, soldier.

Don’t retrieve the man behind you.

Keep your stance or get killed.

 

 

VII

Loneliness. Fear. Filth.

Hunger. Cholera. Lack of  sleep.

And a fellow soldier dies. Is like a boulder

of rock rolling away so steeply in the day

of no man’s rain but tears in agony.

 

You can’t dwell on it.

Men falls like leaves in autumn.

 

As the artillery come and go

And our heavy foot falls eager for home

as we walk on this shaky ground.

Our sagging spirits sinking in a quicksand. 

 

There is a silent lamentation growing

into a strange language of anguish.

The gnawing conscience inside of us.

 

 

VIII

We call the enemy as rats.

Deep in their fouled dug-outs and bunkers,

we drop the grenade. They storm out

disoriented, swarming for exit like flies.

We kill them like rats. Whose teeth

of resistance nibbling in our flesh.

 

We shoot them exacting our revenge and hate.

In fear and paranoia.

 

As the days of fighting drained our energies,

hoping to live for one more day. The sound

of distant bombs and the exchange of gunfire.

This killing field and the bloodshed.

The sight of dying soldiers and evacuees.

The crying widowers and children.

The torture of captured enemies.

They all became ordinary.

 

No one wants to give in. No one wants to surrender.

 

The grey mist of melancholy settles here. And we keep

our silent lamentations deep within our hearts.

This war still rages on through the many wintry days

and nights of young lives falling like snowflakes.

And the tombstones are crowding hills, growing

like little anchors for me to keep on. And try living

through these horrors of war.

 

As I am holding up that scarlet tainted flag.

 

 

IX

It’s raining ashes today.

Clearing away the embers

among the crevices of silence.

God’s pencil is being sharpened

and graphite is being pressed down

into the annals of men’s history.

Remembering acts of heroism

that flowed through these shores.

 

Soldiers who were born to fight

for liberty. Whose death-

their immortality engraved

in epitaphs. Their creed

of no surrender. Only victory.

Moving toward for a dream

to be free at last.

 

Blessed is the man whose wound

is worth much more than a thousand

medal of valor. Who brave the odds

and stand up for what he believed in.

Fearing no evil. Outlasting more

than the courage he could have

ever known.

 

 

X

The dust of war is over.

 

As light flares brightening the night sky

like my fellow soldiers twinkling as the million stars.

Did it really end? Am I waking up from a bad dream?

I walk past the familiar rooms, returning home.

 

Nothing has changed. But the boy is not there anymore,

only a stranger and its long stretches of silence.

With empty gazes through the window

from sunrise to sundown. Nursing the wounds-

the images of war that would not heal.

 

Free yet imprisoned- to a time and a place

when human suffering numbs compassion.

When freedom was fought in blood,

whose only hope is to outlive death.

 

Peace is here. But the inner voices of men

still never ceases asking why.  

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To Pablo Neruda

I write these letters in smoke. They are fog

to the starry night of the south where you existed,  

circumnavigated the world, then extinguished

as a flame, long before I was born.

 

You said you had lived in the springtime

among the cherry blossoms of the west. While

here on this island, I had lived humming

lullabye amidst the scorched patches of sand.

 

I cannot sit still and my memory was filled

of your presence here. I can hear your voice

from a distant time and place. Your voice has traveled

and finally touch down inwardly and it lingers.

 

Tonight, the sad lines of your verses haunt me forever,

love is short and forgetting is so long”.

I chewed the words on my empty stomach

as the light from your waning moon fills my room.

 

I have no windows, they are shattered.  There is no door to enter,

so you don’t need to knock.  Inside my house is fire left by bombs

and gunfire.  And on my earthened floor are scattered pieces

of limbs and severed heads of dead dogs and cats devoid of shelter.

 

I have seen the heaven through the bullet holes on my tin roof.

And the fire is still burning from within. I have seen the clouds

unfolding and unfastened as I became the enemy of the gods,

pot-bellied in the pulpit- imposing cruelty to fools purchasing piety.

 

I have been an inheritor of misfortune, like a stubborn root

of an old dying tree, digging the earth to its graveyard, a tomb.

I seek to find in this endless tunnel, a repose for my corpse-

stiff, in pain and left there naked, writhing in the cold.

 

I can no longer find the stars in the night sky, Pablo.

And the tears begin to fall like rain on the tin roof.

Outside, you wailed a storm, flooding my being,

persistent, engulfing me with the soliloquy of the night.

 

This bed I made out of the coconut tree, lacerating my body

of little knives, that have sliced and shredded my soul. And I

smelled of the blood through the blade of your words

as I whisked them away to the westerly winds to reach you.

 

I ask you. Why things happened this way? History blood-stained.

And the sea mourns while changing course of the mighty river.

In the horizon, a crimson tide of the many who died seeking the meaning

of their lives. And the night birds still singing their lonely dirge.

 

I ask you. Where are the lilac? Immortalized in sonnets by men,

those middle-aged aristocrats. And the women becoming birds of prey,

caged and waiting to be sold.  Incessantly knocking on the doors

to see some faint hope traversing the day into their neon light.

 

Where are the language of stars? Deciphered by hypnotized strangers

who quest for clues and signs and wonders.  Why does the rain

did not stop from falling? I am bailing out to exist from this deluge,

finding redemption while concealing my cowardice. I cannot fight.

 

I am poor, Pablo. But I know your name. And the dense earth that

we both lived, became the pavement for  marching foot falls

of the many striving to live to see until their dying day- freedom,

justice and equality. Unanswered like prayers, unheard of the divine.

 

Your verses did not speak of dreams and leaves and great volcanoes

of your native land.  Your verses did not promise the opium

that will heal the wounds of time.  But your verses have spoken

of the blood in the streets.  And the blood in the streets, I have seen.

 

I will offer an elegy in my homeland. I will sing your song in vain,

hoping for someone to hear and join me singing your immortal chorus.

Your ashes I would want to scatter into the night clouds until tomorrow.

When morning will be awakened by pilgrims sojourning the other world.

 

And still, I am waiting for the stars to appear in the Far-east. I had

only a rose to your funeral.  I will not be able to attend. But I will

whisper to the westerly winds my discontent and the endless despair

you will hear from the shore of this island, questioning existence.

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To this semi-privacy. An epitaph reads,

“in this sanctum, a restless, herein lies,

its opaque remembrance failing to breath

devoid of oxygen, rousing to the grind

like  a zombie of the worst kind”.

Against the ancient cracked walls, my fingers

will then, smear red letter stains of anguish.

 

The light bulb is my flickering moon

cocooned in cobwebs, I dread.

It went dead as it signals the start

of the many battles I will wage against,

tonight. My anger boils up, my teeth gritted

to someone’s snoring and the other’s whispers.

One-eyed as a pirate I will set to sail the hours

struggling against nocturnal enemies, those

bloodlust critters diving into my sea of sheets.

 

This nightly tryst to its mattress,

and bed covers sweat stained,

sagged by bouts of insomnia-

wasted and nauseated,

by the stench of coffee.

A back-breaking day

I will not slumber away.

Square inches of a shared space

I rented, a coffin to say a bed.

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I was on my way to a restaurant that late afternoon to meet a friend, hurrying and my mind was filled with gloomy thoughts. My mind just wandered aimlessly, battling inner fears. 

Rebel as I was, it seems that I am all wearied and fighting against the world, crushed in the agony of my self-defeat- I succumbed into powerlessness.  I have met a familiar darkness of my soul once again. In such a long time.

I am depressed that day.  Defeated by reason. I am filled with anger emblazoned across my face.  That day- I am not the usual masquerading, self-hiding chameleon in the cloak of coolness and charm.  I am likened to a ticking bomb.

I have questions.  And lots of them.  As endless as the broken road markings. My combatant nature would never accept any kind word- even from the most endearing. That was one time I had feared myself the most- who is capable of hurting myself.  Like a jagged knife ready to cut the ventricles of humanity in me.

Somewhere,  in a sudden mysterious way, I heard a helpless chirp.  I stopped and started searching the source  by my side.   And I have found a little bird, that has fallen from a bird’s nest from the nearby palm tree and landed on the ground.  It is too early for the little bird to take flight.  My hardened composure melts gradually into a compassionate being.  How on earth, this hapless sight would pour a cold, cold ice to my raging soul?

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a stray cat emerged. Prowling as if it is finding something to devour.  In my quick thinking, I immediately snatched the little bird from the ground, rescuing it from danger. From harm and from the claws of the enemy-  so vicious and lethal.

Just when I thought, that what  I did, is the right one, I felt a sudden pain.  A stinging one.  The little bird had bitten me.  Surprised as I was, I accidentally dropped the bird away farther  into the ground. Then the next thing I heard is a scuffle in the bushes until the hopeless chirping stopped.

I am overwhelmed.  I just stand there and was filled with a sudden grief.  I can’t believe that life has been snatched away from my very hands.  The life of a fragile creature. A tragic lost.  Tears quietly streamed down my face until it became flood as pent-up emotions surged and overpowered my anger like a dam  breached loose.

That moment, I wonder,  how vivid  this circumstance made my soul saved from drowning and wallowing in despair?  My life, I learned, can be like the hopeless little bird, compared to a  child out of God’s hand.  How powerful can God teach me a great lesson, a stiff-necked person as I am, who never learned from His admonishing?   The questions that I have over-analyzed  for years has crumbled under the weight of God’s wisdom which is mightier than what I can comprehend.

Like a prodigal son who came back to his father’s arm, I did the same coming home to what God has purposed me to belong.  With the lesson of that hopeless little bird, I just knew that my life on earth rest only on His hands.  All I needed to do is to have an unwavering faith and complete trust on Him.  And God has impressed to me to stay in His dwelling place as long as I live.

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