• Four Poems

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    You are my story

    the barrio is not about to sleep
    when we arrive that evening
    kerosene lamps were alight
    seen from the half-closed windows
    among those small peasant huts
    clinging along the slope.

    our squad of 12 people approached
    the front yard of Tatay Endo’s house
    dogs barked briefly then replaced
    by slight moans and wagging tails as our
    lead man gently tapped one on its head
    people numbering 25 to 30 were there,
    for a gathering and sharing of common
    dinner with the mutual aid team
    that helped farm work that day
    there were native food and drinks
    folks aren’t surprise with our presence
    we were with some of them at the farmlands
    earlier this afternoon, and helped in the farm work
    they gave us space in the yard,
    as we settled ourselves and greet them all
    a good nice and good evening
    there were laughters, joyful singing…

    I took my corner space in the yard,
    then, quickly, teens— boys and girls
    and some older ones gathered around me,
    looking at me in the eyes-
    I don’t have fire in my eyes
    or my mouth blows fire like magicians
    or like magical dragons
    then they looked at the whole of me
    seeing my bandoleer, and rifle
    on my shoulder,
    “a woman Red warrior!”
    an old woman said as she smiles
    reaching out my arms for a handshake
    “hey, folks,” she said in a louder voice
    to get people’s attention
    “Let’s welcome this woman Red warrior
    and let’s hear her stories!”

    there was a brief silence
    this was my first time to come over
    this place, and I know this village
    is part of a guerrilla base
    war is too familiar with them
    they are launching it and it’s me
    joining them…
    I looked at them, smiled and said:
    “you are my story!”

    it has just began.

    * * *

    Violence against the people and children

    with claim stubs
    and empty plates in hands
    children and evacuees
    are queuing for food
    their homes were destroyed
    by a super typhoon,
    but there were no food
    at the front of line,
    later, news came out
    hundreds of sacks of rice
    were discovered rotten
    and wasted …

    * * *

    I Am Rising – II

    when I tell my stories
    they accuse me of telling lies
    isn’t all gods and heroes even villains
    born/came from a woman?
    they wanted to cage me like a bird,
    at home, the house, the office
    and be pleasant to their eyes
    they wanted to shut my mouth
    and hated the curls of my lips…

    when i tell about myself
    they said, am bragging
    isn’t it kingdoms can’t rise and fall
    without mix of women’s wits?
    they can’t see it –
    men’s clan, church, and state
    they wanted me in cage
    and obey their whims…

    but I am a woman
    I have millions of reasons to rise
    with those other modern slaves
    women, men, and Mxs
    I rise, we rise!

    * * *

    Violence of silence

    we are universally ridiculed as gossipers
    trivial, so low, and zero-value,
    better for us, to be silent, they say,
    but gossips within institutional church
    becomes a credo, a litany of salvation
    gossips among traditional politicians
    becomes a law, a house bill changing street
    names, or nothing at all, like BS Aquino
    gossips among bourgeois economists
    becomes a theory, neoliberalism.

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