• This Flea Market Lady Not of Bulacan


    “By means of television, books, magazines and newspapers, we are constantly bombarded with all kinds of visual material, mostly concerning humans, so that we hardly really see anything anymore – especially the essence of the human in its exalted or degraded condition. It’s my purpose to permit viewers of my work to see the world as it is and in so doing, perhaps also seek ways to improve it.”— Duane Hanson

    in our city of valenzuela
    the figures remain
    as dizzily uncertain
    as the mod designs on a pair
    of fake havaianas chinelas

    more than a month after
    may’s inferno
    do those recovered
    twenty and eight skulls matter?

    those burned beyond
    recognition in pursuit
    of an economy
    of importation
    at slave wages
    in firetrap factories
    those presumed dead
    those whose slivers
    of membranes
    are still being studied
    by experts who
    can read DNA…
    what again were
    the workers’

    what in blazes
    are we talking about
    when freedom’s bells
    (hell’s bells?)
    just rang out this morn
    but not for
    the stragglers
    and desperadoes
    that one city
    in this one country
    has known plenty of?

    oh dear flea market lady,
    no matter that you’re
    a hyper-real sculpture,
    how fortunate you are
    to ply your dignified trade
    of pictures and books

    to see you there
    serenely reading
    drinking in words
    pausing to sip
    lukewarm tea
    working in a space
    with no fences
    no doors to lock
    no barred windows
    no entry no exit


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