“We, NDFP peace consultants and political prisoners, led in making complaints against the absurd and cruel confiscations and many other human rights violations committed by the ‘greyhound’ operatives of the national jail authorities. In reprisal the latter ordered the confiscation of the typewriter that we used to type our complaints. The national director of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology all the more absurdly tried to justify the confiscation of the typewriter, claiming that typewriters are also considered as ‘contrabands’ – Alan Jazmines, National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant and political prisoner, Special Intensive Care Area 1 Jail, Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City, October 1, in his statement “Even a lot worse this time inside Bicutan”

he calls them “greyhounds”,
savages unleashed
by jail men higher in rank

their mission:
seize all things
that make the uncertainties
of undefined prison terms tolerable

transistor radios
blunt scissors
shaving razors
small shaving mirrors
nail clippers
cooking stoves and lighters
rice cookers and rice
toothbrushes and one supposes toothpaste too
ballpens and their partner sheets of paper
canvases and paints with which
to color the gray days
even vitamins
and small change

godless greyhounds they are
graying and soiling
and wasting
and stealing
prisoners’ food
even harmless (read: apolitical)
gift books given
by the rare visitors

will visitors ever return
when they are themselves
fingerprinted, all ten fingers,
not the thumbs alone,
strip-searched and,
before armed guards,
commanded: “remove your shoes
raise your brassiere
pull down your pants and underwear”
thus leaving those
gray prison walls
riddled with anxiety
about being grey-hounded too?

absurd! cruel!
the fierce poet in him
protests as the blithe
spirits of sympathy
compassion kindness
and little joy over there

sigh with me,


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