Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 2, Number 44 December 8 - 14, 2002 Quezon City, Philippines
LETTERS TO THE FILIPINO ARTISTS
the mountain routes to strangers:
rushing toes an inch-wide strip on boulders
for the hand that's free a twig to grasp,
else we headlong fall below to rocks
waterfalls of death so instant that
soon they're red with skulls of carabaos.
patient guides and teachers are the masses:
forty mountains and a hundred rivers;
plowing, planting, weeding, and the harvest;
of a dozen dialects that dwarf
foreign tongue we write each other in
must transcend our bourgeois origins.
want to know, companions of my youth
much has changed the wild but shy young poet
writing last poem after last poem;
hear he's dark as earth, barefoot,
turban round his head, a bolo at his side,
ballpen blown up to a long-barreled gun:
still the struggling change inside.
husks of coconut he tears away
billion layers of his selfishness.
learns to cage his longing like the bird
legend, fire, and song within his chest.
of consequence is his anemia
lack of sleep: no longer for Bohemia,
lumpen culturati, but for the people, yes.
mixes metaphors but values more
holographic and geometric memory
mountains: not because they are there
because the masses are there where
are jigsaw puzzles he must piece together.
he has been called a brown Rimbaud,
is no bandit but a people's warrior.
Cotabato and Davao del Norte
are tribeless and all tribes are ours.
are homeless and all homes are ours.
are nameless and all names are ours.
the fascists we are the faceless enemy
come like thieves in the night, angels of death:
ever moving, shining, secret eye of the storm.
road less traveled by we've taken-
that has made all the difference:
barefoot army of the wilderness
all should be in time. Awakened, the masses are Messiah.
among workers and peasants our lost
has found its true, its only home.