I am sorry. I did not know.
When I told you
I saw the soul of an angel
between your brush strokes, I was unaware
you had already painted yourself
into a dark corner.
I could never have imagined
your distaste for acrylic reflections.
Watching you work
I believed every image
But the poor and indigent, who barely earn enough to sustain life and who must bribe bureaucrats, clerks, and soldiers to leave them in peace, they do not sleep with the tranquility described by courtly poets who have never felt the loving hand of poverty. The poor are sad and pensive. Tonight, if they have prayed a little, they have made many requests, with pain in their eyes and tears in their hearts. They have no novenas, nor do they know the jaculatory prayers or the verses or the oremus the friars have composed to prevent them from developing their own ideas or their own emotions, nor do they understand them. They pray in the language of their misery. Their souls cry for themselves and for the dead whose love belonged to them. Their lips may offer up salutations, but all their minds can do is scream in complaint and screech in lamentation. You who blessed the poor, and you, shadows in torment, will the simple prayer of the poor make you happy, offered up before a badly engraved print by the light of a timsim? Or do you long for tapers placed before bloody images of Christ or small-mouthed virgins with glass eyes, or with a priest’s mechanical droning of the mass in latin? And you, your religion created for a suffering multitude, have you forgotten your mission of consoling the oppressed in their misery, and humbling the hubris of power, and now render promises only to the rich, those who can pay?
The Poor widow keeps watch over her children, who sleep beside her. She thinks about the dispensations she must buy for the eternal rest of her parents and late husband. “A peso,” she says, “a peso is a week of my children’s love, a week of laughter and happiness, a month’s savings, a dress for my daughter, who is becoming a woman…” “But putting out those fires is absolutely necessary,” says a voice she has heard preaching, “sacrifice is absolutely necessary.” Yes it is necessary! The Church doesn’t save beloved souls for free. It doesn’t distribute dispensations gratis. You have to buy them and. instead of sleeping at night, you work. Meanwhile, your daughter has to walk around half-naked. Deprive yourself! Heaven is expensive! It seems obvious that the poor don’t get into heaven.
- excerpt from ‘Noli Me Tángere’, 1887, chapter 16, ‘Sisa’
I’m not sentimental—I’m as romantic as you are. The idea, you know,
is that the sentimental person thinks things will last—the romantic
person has a desperate confidence that they won’t.
Face It, Six Words
Life isn’t always poetry and smiles
Love is always poetry and pain
Poetry isn’t always love and happiness
Happiness is always poetry and love
Sorrow isn’t always negative with poetry
Sorrow isn’t always poetry — love, smiles.
as a romantic,
i’ve spent my first thirty years believing
that the one i’d come to love the most
would fit snugly with me as if die-cast
in some emotive assembly line dream
as a lover,
i’ve painstakingly learned the lesson
that i have to file away all the excess
of my unceasing desires and needs
to fit a heart-shaped peg into a ring
Prompt-Ripost: “I feel raw down to the bone. Every day, I see a little glimmer of what people can be. It’s just a glimmer, though, against a massive wall of casual cruelty and ignorance. I fight, but I’m tired. And the worst part? I fight for big ideas, because I’ve got nothing small left to…
I want to sleep with a Poet
She weaves words into fabric
and wears them like lingerie,
teasing me with every line break
falling from her shoulders.
Every metaphor is a small
moan pressing through her lips
echoing off paper walls.
She strips down in imagery
and lets similies glide
across my naked flesh.
We go to bed and paint
poetry into the bed sheets
fusing words into reality.
Melting into the moment,
defined neither space nor time.
Bound only to love omen,
sweet words refined.
Nothing but our fluttering hearts,
and swelling mind.
Souls they dance in unison,
like figurines on fine music box.
Hold me tightly in your song,
just as deep, as my incredible mind holds
The American Dream never did exist for one group of Americans—the poor…Wars are a constant feature in the history of capitalism. They are the product of the ruthless competition for profit at the heart of the free-market system—of economic competition between bosses growing into political and military competition between the countries. That’s why wars are inevitable under capitalism…unless ordinary people fight back…Across the globe, the free market has produced more misery and suffering, not less…not only in countries…that have…dire poverty, but in nations that were thought to be on the road to industrial development and prosperity…The truth is the rich do nothing special to deserve so much money than anyone else. In fact, they typically do nothing much at all…This is true about capitalism generally. A small class of people who own the “means of production” hire much larger numbers of people to do the actual work of making or providing goods or services. The wealth of the few wouldn’t exist without labor of the many…For their labor, workers get paid a wage…but…are never paid as much as they produce…This is supposed to be fair…But there’s nothing fair about it. The employers have the advantages…Capitalism is built around organized theft—the theft of the value of what workers produce by the people who employ them…Every minute of the working day, a small class of people who do no productive work gets richer because it controls the goods and services produced by people who do not work…the social class they belong to—the ruling capitalist class…relies on a system that is organized to steal the wealth created by the…working class…For defenders of the free- market system, there’s a simple response…dismiss it as a conspiracy theory…Actually “conspiracies” do take place every day in Corporate America…Some of the schemes were perfectly legal…In order for the free market to produce what’s needed in society, there would have to be roughly equal distribution of dollars to “vote” with. But in the real world, the rich have far more “votes” than anyone else. So the system is bound to put a priority on making products to meet their needs rather than the needs of society. The result is a world where whole industries are devoted to products and services that are a total waste…[like] advertising…Capitalism’s blind drive for profit produces not only economic devastation, but military conflicts between different groups of national rulers…Capitalism does one thing very well—it products and increases the wealth of the people at the top of society…Marx and Engels believed that the headlong expansion of capitalism during economic good times laid the basis for slumps to come…Though we hear it all the time, it simply isn’t true that democracy and capitalism go hand in hand. In fact, many of the models of the free market in the less-developed world are run by repressive dictatorships…the record of the former USSR, China and other so-called “socialist” countries has left the impression that socialism is a top-down society run by party bosses. This has nothing to do with socialism…Sadly, many people associate socialism with Stalin’s tyranny—or with the top-down, undemocratic systems in China, Cuba, and other “socialist” countries modeled on the old USSR. That’s certainly what supporters of capitalism encourage us to believe. After all, what better argument could there be against socialism than the idea that any attempt to win change is doomed to produce another Stalin? But Stalin’s triumph in Russia wasn’t inevitable. It was the result of a worker’s revolution left isolated in a sea of capitalism—strangled until it was finally defeated.