poetry / write here write now

FROM DEATH SONG TO DISCO

Skyline of the City of Manila, seen from the C...

Skyline of the City of Manila, seen from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A POST-2013 POEM

At last 2013 is behind us
Must we put on a celebratory hat
Or sing a requiem
Two left feet in dancing shoes
A cloak of mourning and a wash of blues
It’s been good, it’s been bad
Best and worst
Time and tide

Haiyan leaves a festering wound
The mark of storms to come
A portent of our apocalyptic future
How to look forward, move forward
And leave the carcasses of our past
Dead bodies we have yet to bury
Bodies hurled in a bus off a deadly Skyway
Or bodies hurled off the Skyway in a deadly bus

Ah the stench of corpses rotting in the dark
As offensive as pork decaying in hidden barrels
But not as pestilential as the dead mores of our politics
Death like this is an outbreak
A plague among the innocent in the airports of Manila
In sleepy towns in Zamboanga
In the centuries-old churches of Bohol
And even in the relief centers of Tacloban

Not quite an ascent to heaven
But a descent to hell
Has this curse belied this year’s good news from Fitch
Or Moody’s
Or Standard & Poor
Where is the rising economy in this graveyard of hope?
Where is the fun in these islands submerged in fear?
Where is democracy when our president beyond reproach invokes the wrath of God: “Bahala na si Lord?”

Ah what an exciting 2013, at least to our president’s eye!
If only we could aspire for a boring 2014…
When rain will not bring flood…
When wind will not blow our houses in…
When a nobody like Janet Napoles cannot just become a household name…
All for stealing millions from our treasury
Or when we need not feel shame instead of pride about what CNN broadcasts about our country
Or when at least we can count on our government to extend a quick, reassuring hand, free of dirty politics, when all hell breaks loose…

Goodbye, 2013!
If only our memory of you could be crowned with beauty like Megan Young or Bea Santiago
Alas, on the collective front, in the context of country, we must face the music
Ear-popping, ear-splitting
Raising the roof, grating the senses
And remember the tune
As up in arms, on our toes, raising our fists
We dance forward to 2014

[The year 2013 has been one of challenge for the Philippines, especially in the last quarter, when bad news came one after another, in one form on another, such as the theft of millions of pesos of taxpayer’s money, territorial pissings with China, a militant uprising, an earthquake, a supertyphoon, and then the assassination of a town mayor that killed many bystanders, including his family and a baby, at an international airport. Here’s hoping that this year, 2014, will be gentler, kinder, more peaceful, and more prosperous.]

TODAY’S WRITING TIP: WORDS ARE POWER AND THEREFORE POINTLESS IF YOU WRITE THEM IN FEAR.

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