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Posts Tagged ‘gunfire’

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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On the passages, it says

of a prison, an exile. In Babylon

where walls and ceilings are gone.

Watching the blue sky

turn into darkness, blotted out

by billows of smoke and fire

over ruins of crushed bricks

and pulverized sandstones.

 

Three hundred and sixty five days.

And life now are moving images

of evacuees and troops,

of tanks and warplanes

from a distance. Boundaries

of earth mounds and trenches.

Through my camp’s window

is a restive realm to which I stand

invaded by bombs and gunfire.

 

I daydream of home-

while placidly inside,

a vision of seed emerging,

growing into a tree.

Whose blossoms

quite imaginary

at the old hanging gardens,

the fruits at its season

drops by the waters

carried  away into streams.

And rivers, down into

the Persian Gulf.

 

Freedom and peace-

these wandering thoughts

and the desert winds

whispering to my soul. As restless

as the river currents shifting

from Tigris to Euphrates.

 

Like Nebuchadnezzar- whose ancient cares

flocking like grebes by the floodwaters

inundating history. The centuries old

slipping  away a kingdom whose

former glory will never be restored.

I have changed. 

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The words infiltrate a mind’s sovereign

colonizing a niche of space within

Rock-hewn among these parched walls,

petrifying civilization, quelling revolution.

 

The maze of letters clustered like jungle

to simmering cauldron of thoughts.

The texts became glowing embers

of world wars waged in the past.

 

When sentences begins imaginary-

little flames gather into firestorm.

Of bourgeoisie killing ideology-

etching history in its annals of freedom.

 

Crusade to equality  is an open door.

A people force through closed windows.

Clenched fist of a Che Guevarra,

struggle between power and martyrdom.

 

The conqueror’s territory eventually falls,

while peasants set loose from their cages.

Voicing sentiments, marching on parliament-

unafraid of gunfire and waterbombs.

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