A Little Light Disembowelment


“Kokak!” said the frog
when it high jumped from the well.

“Kokak!”said the frog
when a roguish hand seized it
by the neck.

“Kokak!” said the frog
when it was laid on the table.

“Kokak!” said the frog
when a lateral cut was made
from its ear to ear.

“Kokak!” said the frog
when a vertical cut was made
from its throat to its hind legs.

“Kokak!” said the frog
when its sternum was severed.

“Gaddamit!” cussed the captor,
sneering. And said,
“This one’s still croaking!”

He thumbed its heart;
ripped its pericardium.

But the frog said,
“Kokak! Kokak! Kokak!”

(On October 2, 2010, I was invited by the group Artist Arrest to give a small talk on poetry to the 43 health workers—known as Morong 43—detained in Camp Bagong Diwa. The officer-in-charge at the women’s detention cell did not permit one page of my handout—a sample poem entitled “Kokak” by Gelacio Guillermo. The officer-in-charge at the men’s detention cell, however, confiscated the whole handout including pages that discuss the textbook definition and elements of poetry. The officer said they don’t allow “such kind” of material inside the prison. They took pictures of us and started interrogating our background. The officer said they will need the material for further investigation as though we were carrying illegal documents.)

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