We recently commemorated the 125th death anniversary of a fallen hero. Betrayed and sold out by his fellow guerillas in the fight to birth a new nation. Out of the ashes of the Spanish American war in the Philippines much is left devastated and traumatized.
The tragedy of a multi colonized land. Invading armies descend on our shores to ransack and ruin all. For an agricultural archipelago and economy it means people starve and easily turn on each other. Leading to decades of ingrained crab culture.
War is an angry ugly horror. Kill or be killed. Nowhere to run or hide. Too many innocents caught in the crosshairs. The toll so cripplingly heavy generations are totally derailed.
It doesn’t just change the behavior of both winner and loser — our DNA is forever altered. Carrying the carnage in blood and bones. In muscle memory. In ruined digestions turned acidic with fear and lack. Sleep loss and nightmares. Dodge and cower in constant chaos and confusion.
Executed like mongrels under a blazing blue summer sky. No bodies to retrieve. No graves to mourn over. Just a city razed to rubble. The stench of putrefying flesh to gag our drowned sobs.
Choking up our rage and sorrow. Denied the raw right to express our loss and murderous hatred. Can our love save us? Is our hope enough?
It takes great love to give up all that we worship and adore. To resist what persists. To protect through protest. All we hold near and dear. Love eternal and everlasting.
Igniting the flame in our innermost being. Burning bright and all consuming. Turning all in its wake to cinder and ash. Ranging wild and unleashed — a brush fire of driest tinder.
Leaving nothing untouched. Fueled by endless dreams and desires. Parched and arid. Fierce and ferocious. Wanton and depraved.
Deranged in our fervor. Writhing and tortured in ever growing need. Uprooted and unhinged we blaze away in mad glory. Our dissatisfaction becomes our fulfillment.
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At 97 our father still exercises his right to vote. It’s no longer required but he likes going to the polls. Where he hangs out shooting the breeze with folks standing in line while they wait their turn.
He has voted through all fourteen of our presidents. Not particularly patient or forgiving yet he stands in the hot sun on a muggy day. The discomfort of the bullet still lodged in his knee a continuous reminder.
He was only twelve when they shot him. Driving from farm to market to barter homegrown vegetables and fresh fruits for basic family supplies. Around a bend on one of their regular runs they were ambushed by Japanese troops who confiscated their truck.
Though he laughs with great gusto about it he never really tells us how he survived that day. Or why the bullet was never removed remaining inside his now arthritic knee.
This bull headed man of the earth was the one who took me to vote for the first time. The precinct was in one of our designated provincial schools. An old cavernous wooden structure shining with the patina of decades of sweat and toil rubbed down to the grain.
Footsteps echo hallow and ominous as we file down dim corridors. Hushed and hurried whisper of bodies accompany us through shuttered rooms as we enter our booth to vote alone.
Many of our elections are not tame or peaceful. Many have died and much has been sacrificed through the years. To the tragic violence of poor politics and bad government mostly. Poverty deepens as we lie exposed and defenseless. Our farmers and workers cheap fodder in unending and futile battle.
Forced to vote according to the masters whose land they till for a pittance and lives they serve at beck and call. Often indebted and yoked for generations in inherited indenturedness. Heavy hope laid on to their starved and overworked children.
Childhoods lost to a lifetime of malnutrition and hard labor. Minds devoid of thought and ambition. Spirit dazed and stunted. All the tiny cuts and slashing laceration add up. The constant crippling injustice of inequality.
Leaves us limp, languid, leached, and leaking. Yet we survive, revive, and thrive. Against all odds. Despite our depraved history. In spite of these terrible conditions. We blaze on in glorious rage — rabid and resolute.
Originally published at http://esunwmoon.blogspot.com on May 19, 2022.