Poetry Issue 14

   Issue # 14 : January - June 2011

Bomen Guillermo

from Taking-Light [Agaw-Liwanag]
Translated by Jose Perez Beduya and Allan Popa


         Wet from dew are the palms
               Muddy are the knees

        Wet from dew is the forehead
                 Muddy is the chest

          Wet from rain is the cheek
                Muddy are the eyes

                Like geese shrieking
      Are the machines hurled in the air


       You are like machines hurtling
                   toward inevitable
       Sputtering sparks
                              You who also
       come from the realm of the dead
       to deliver your

                              Cathode Ray Tube
                                        that is
                       wrapped in yellowing paper


    There is no road leading back from a path going forward
                               world is what departs
                world is what is departed from
    There is a letter needing
                          to be delivered
                          inside the mouth
                    There is no path leading forward from a road going back
                               world is what is departed from
                world is what departs


       There is a bullet in the hand of the hero
       and a dagger in
             his heart
       It may be that in
             his chest
       there is blinding
                   Darkness merely that is
                         without end


          They severed your
          to extend theirs
          They abbreviated your life
          to make
          everlasting their own
          You are precious
          to them
          for you have died
          You are precious
          to us
          for you have lived


    Murderous soldiers
    Even in death refuse to be human

    Able to come only
    when there is killing to be done
    Jerking off
    in front of the corpses

    They do not own their own deaths
    for these have been paid for
    by betrayal…

    Nor do they own their own lives
    for these are owned by the lives they owe


    When I was still a child and saw an infant, excited I approached
    and was amazed by this magical animal. I asked the elders: “How
    many could they be? Are his fingers ten by now?” As though the
    passage of the years were marked by the sprouting of each finger
    of his small hands.