RIC S. BASTASA


Your Escapades And Your Having To Wear Red - Poem by RIC S. BASTASA

So you have gone to Burma
Blending with the natives in the jungle there
You trembled in East Timor
Afraid that you cannot return home
You were like a louse
Hiding in the eye of the storm
In the middle of their war
In your escapades

Shocks!

And all the rest were also shocked
Mr. Takahashi
Has become your new name
While you bade goodbye
To the French journalist
At the airport
If the plane somehow crashes
Your name on the list is
Takahashi

“it is no longer funny” you said

Now you are wearing red
Your way of supporting
The oppressed monks of Burma
Who were tied on the posts
In Rangoon
And gunned by the soldiers there
Balding themselves
Pretending to be monks

And some were cremated
Alive

And you quipped
“Hello, what I am doing
Is both a political and
Fashion statement”
A joke and
Something serious
Like you and i
Just like chatting
Could be true
Could be false
I have no trust
What if the person beside me
Is only faking
Cheating me
What if what he said
Were all lies
We are just playing games
Hide and seek
Catching flies because
Everything is merely
To cover
Boredom

Sandwich fillings
Closing and opening
This lust
Close open
Close open
A baby’s game
Could be also because of missing the
Feeling of having to love again
Returning to the past
The shells long ago broken
Near the white thighs of the
Sea..



“Crazy”
“Fool”

That is actually what life is all about
True and false
Playful
Fate

Sometimes we travel to far places
East Timor, Burma, china, united states of America even the sierra madre, the malindang mountains


Got urinated by a tarsier
Got pecked by a monkey-eating eagle
The white cobra spat on me>

I have always flown away
On a plane
Always riding on a bus
On train, fast crafts, chopper and even
On a submarine then take the pick-up
On a pedicab on a motorcycle
Went down got on my worn-out sneakers
Walk again for hours and hours
Always crossing rivers
Eight or the ninth crossing the same river
Winding on the same mountain and the same forest and valleys
Then again crossing the same river
Sometimes too shallow on my heel then deeper up to my neck and chin and sometimes I have to swim
On the murky river and trip on big boulders
Walk, swim, and walk,
Trek again on the footpaths under the cogon grasses
Climb the cliffs
Take narrowing footpaths
Sharp stones
And then comes the muddy paths
Places which had much rain
And get flooded
Because of the rain
But there is another rain
I tell you
The rain of bullets
The rain of screams
For those who died here
Rain of sighs
Rain of cries of brains
I have seen much of this sort
Of rain
Shouting, crying, running, hiding,
Catch, hold, squat, dropp to the ground,
Jump, fall, run, catch, run,
Tie, beat, tie, and beat,
Slap, questions
There are no answers
Threat, ask, threat,
Convince,
Hit, box,
Wounds, bruises,
Inflamed, blood,
The wide expanse and the deepening depths
Of silence
Diffusing
All walked away
They left, they journeyed
And what was left on the river
Was the sound of a crying child
Looking for mother and father
And his three siblings

The wind caressed the leaves of the ipil-ipil
Stained by blood
Sticking
And diffusing on the roots
The Nipa huts
Are dead
Muted by all the sounds of pain
A while ago its doors
Were kicked and forced open
And there were holes on its windows
Where the bullets went through
With sparks

I have seen many of those who cried in my journeys
The cry of the widow sounding like cows bridled
Cries of children sounding like goats caught by their own rope
The cry of the beautiful maiden
Tears falling on her cheeks absorbed by her long and thick black hair



Sometimes with the many cries I heard and saw
The constancy and the frequency
Seemingly endless


And other ambiances or funeral senses>

Sometimes sometimes I begin to hear nothing
Sometimes I do not see anymore
Even if I have to face them
I seem to look much farther
And see nothing at all near me
My thoughts have gone to a very far journey
Away from them
Just like you
My thoughts will be traveling far, far away
Away from all these that face me

< I HAVE BECOME NUMB TO ALL THESE
MELODRAMA OF STRATEGIES AND RETALIATION
THIS ENDLESS WAR OF IDEOLOGIES
THESE MEANINGLESS STRUGGLES
ALL THESE
CRAP>

I am now in the faraway jungles of Burma
In East Timor, in the United States of America
I always have this dream
I have always traveled in this dream

I have to journey towards myself
I have to get inside my own brain
And I ask

For everything, for the places I have gone,
Have I gone to myself?
Have I ever gone to myself?
Where is this place?
Where is this going to be?
What ride will I take?
Going towards myself?

Hey pedicab driver,
Pedal me, take me
Towards myself
Please take me there
And dropp me by.




AND so in wearing red
And for those, those which you want to do and say
And the other thousand things you want done
Surely, There are, surely, still many of them
That my fingers cannot count and the other toes included

I will see you and your dreams
And your hopes
A face complete with a nose, a mouth,
Eyelids and ears
Cheeks and lashes &
Hair


I HAVE UNDERSTOOD NOTHING
I AM SEEING FARAWAY THINGS
YET I HAVE NOT SEEN ANYTHING
I HAVE TRAVELED FAR
YET I HAVE NOT ARRIVED ANYWHERE

These are what I have cried for
The cries
I have heard
More horrible than the cries
I heard on that river
On that river
Where my friends were gunned
And killed
Worst

WORST THAN THE SOUND OF THE SHOVELS
THAT DUG THE SHALLOW GRAVES
For ALL OF THEM
THE SOUND MUCH LOUDER
THAN THE BULLETS THAT RIPPED
THEIR HEARTS
THAT TORE THEIR CHEEKS
THAT PENETRATED THEIR SKINS AND FLESH


Had the chance to bite
Because mother and father
Had kept watch
Throughout the night>

This is my cry
Loud cry
Loud crying
Tears flooding from my eyes
Like the flood from the mountains
Where the tornado fell
But in that thunderous
Loud sound
Nonetheless

It is only I
Who heard it

This is
This is
This the cry
Of myself
I am
I am the only
It is only me
Mine alone
I am the only one hearing it.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 3, 2008



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