, April 22, 2024

0 results found in this keyword

Ninoy's Crossing

  •   2 min reads
Ninoy's Crossing
Phyllis Zaballero


WE CANNOT ignore history. We cannot avoid remembering what happened 39 years ago. Friend and painter Phyllis Zaballero, outraged at what had just happened at the then MIA, painted furiously this cruciform image of a man sprawled on the tarmac, titled 'August 21'. What could have been going on in the mind of Ninoy Aquino before the bullets struck? This "conjectural poem" (a term from Borges) tries to inhabit the mind of the martyr.

By Marne L. Kilates

“The Filipino is worth dying for.” —Aquino

Between the tug of the pavement
And the thud of the bullet
I defy gravity.

Light blossoms behind my nape,
Its petals shatter
Inside my head.

My life passes before me.

How clear and cloudless
Like a dry season sky:
The kites yawing in Camiling,

The dirt exploding at eye-level
As I take my notes
In a foxhole in Korea,

Or the chill jolting
As I hear news of the platform
Splintering at Plaza Miranda.

Between the pulse of the wrist
And the pulsation of the sun,
What is history?

Is it the same light that glistens
In the dust-mote
And the blink of a nebula?

Between the war and the airport,
The capitol and the Senate
Choke me.

Between the murky mung-bean soup
At Fort Laur
And Cory’s pasta,

The children’s laughter
And the dawn meetings in Boston,
I pray the rosary.

How convenient are the decades
Between my fingers:
But what blessing, or curse, awaits me

After this our exile...

What choice have I or history?

Would I rather it was he
Who ordered this crime
Stood here now, stunned with memory?

Was it he, in truth,
Or the ancient conspiracy
Of the sickbed tended by history’s hetaera

Brought the rivers of greed
And the demented hungers of power
To this confluence?

Fear wells inside me.

My clothes cling to my skin.
My shoes almost slip
On the peeling paint

Of the steel staircase I am about
To descend,
The air is fevered

Like molecules repelling
Between the like poles
Of magnets.

Skin and metal refuse to coalesce.

Perhaps we are both here.

Like twin planets in equipoise,
We watch each other from the opposite doors
Of our own exiles in the cosmos,

Each clutching a different passport.

Who is deporting whom?
Who can claim
The love of the people?

What vision or state
Can each of us claim
At the hour of our death?

Why can’t the clairvoyant bullet
Or the immanent virus
Divine for us our destiny?

The laughing void
Awaits me
At the bottom of a stairway.

The vortex swallows me.

I sail down a cushion
Of deflection...
Only to land too quickly on the concrete.

But it really doesn’t matter now.

The impact bruises my chin.
My life spills gratuitously
In a spreading stain.

(March-April 1995)

Related Posts

You've successfully subscribed to Our Brew
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Our Brew
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.
Your link has expired.