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Posts Tagged ‘God’

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 had a future

of keeping yesterday.

Think of your broken machines

worn-out hands-me-down

wrecked and rusted

and shattered and cracked.

Objects of sentiments

and old coins in a jar.

 

Think of promises

in need of restoration,

clearing carpet stains

and cigarette burns.

Your broken bottles

peeled plaster left

pockmarks on walls

bruised on my skin.

 

The bible’s missing pages

incomplete like my faith

transfixed on a television

watching silent movies.

Wondering what is it

that Chaplin mouthed?

Isn’t it ‘God, why thou

has forsaken me?’

 

And the world laughed.

 

At car’s not starting.

At chair’s needed fixing.

Ceiling’s leaking

ugly watermarks

life, slowly dying.

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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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She sits in the zenith of her charm

as her hair cloaks an icy landslide.

By the lake reflecting

her forbearance-a glaciated

countenance. In the coldness

of her white impaled heart.

She falls from grace.

 

She quivers for a fragiled balance

of power crashing down the slope.

Deeper into the boulders

are little rivers descending

crystalline from her snow-capped

precipice. Subtly triggering

a chilly end of an age into its feet.

She kneels. God save the queen.

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My child, grow as you would hope to be.

 

I am here, washing the dirty linen

and the soiled clothes thinking of you.

Who can tell? That the world in the future,

its circumstances be better. But I pray

that you may have the strength to face

each day with courage and dignity-

of choosing what is true and honest.

Defending what is right over wrong,

uncompromising to the virtues that I

am going to teach you. Please listen.

 

I am not the best and I am not perfect.

 

And I dream for you my child, a life anew.

Realizing the chance to fulfill the purposes

destined for you. Keeping steer of the pitfalls

I have done. Make a difference of your own.

Striving the very best that you can.

Standing up for what you believe in.

Though you may fall, there will always be

a chance to pick yourself up, to stand again.

 

Never quit. Never fear. God be with you.

 

And I hope you learn from my mistakes.

The misjudgment I did when I was

once a child like you. Growing up too.

Through my adulthood, deciding to love

another being and brought you along

amidst the pain, the hurt and the turmoil.

May it be- your life like these soap suds

clearing away the dirty traces of my past,

vanishing all the fears that I had before.

 

Starting the days wearing clean clothes.

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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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I skipped my regular routine attending church services in the morning that Friday.  A week ago, I have already informed our pastor that I plan to attend the Industrial Area church service instead in the evening.  I also missed out our church choir practice that night, which I am so sad about. 

We braved the dusty road leading to Industrial Area. When we have arrived at the place, it was a regular accommodation building intended for company workers.  The road leading to the building is quite notorious with potholes and mountain of construction debris on the side.   We reach the worship place after winding up seven staircases worth of our stamina, of climbing the steps. The place of worship is located in the rooftop.  About 24 sq.m. approximately, capable of seating around 20 people, right there along with the clothesline of wet laundry left out to dry.

The truth is, I am not expecting it.  Of all places, to hold a church service.  A rooftop towering over other rooftops of factory buildings in the midst of desert wind and the usual darkness of the evening.  I am used to attending house of worship with the comfort of sheltering oneself against the external elements, such as rain, heat and dry wind.  That night is a wake up call.  Believers are called upon to honor the Sabbath, wherever, whenever and whatever it takes.  Be it under the shade of the tree, or under the canopy of the bridge, or an open field. 

I am deeply humbled by the fact that here in the wide stretch of the desert, away from the comforts of the homeland, people who are disciplined in faith, are braving the routinary grind of their overseas life, partially isolated to the urban centers.   This is mission’s work,  a life dedicated to the cause of bringing the Gospel to the far reaches of places.  Administering the continuous flow of the message and strengthening people’s faith in God.

I admire my pastor, who is a missionary himself, for the kind of passion he have for the lost  souls and bringing them all to Christian faith.   His silent ways are a steady yet constant reminder that complacency has no place in Christian service.  Believers are ought to steer clear of their comfort zones, sacrificing time and effort for building up Christ’s work and taking upon each the individual God’s calling in putting into action all the Christian training they have learned.

I admire my friend Grace, who chose to become a full-time missionary, while administering translation of the gospel to the native tounges of the tribes among the hinterlands of Mindanao and Luzon back home.  She already had the chance to go to India, for some introductory mission’s work as part of her trainings.

Sometimes, it is a pity, when I hear myself, complaining about being so tired to get up early in the morning to begin my morning prayers.  Sometimes, it is a pity, when I see myself, scrambling over reading best-sellers in the night rather than having a bible reading of a chapter or two. Now it occured to me, that what I am doing for the kingdom is not enough.  Christian life calls for able and willing men of faith to stand up and do the work.  Whatever the circumstances may be or a situation they are in. 

The next time, I will go to the Industrial Area to have my Friday church service there.  I need to listen to what God is saying to me, visually.

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