BATANG MINDANAW: We remember, and we grieve

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/21 November) — Today reminded me I once wrote a poem addressing Imee Marcos. It was October of last year, when she had that magazine cover.

i saw you on a magazine and cover and you were beautiful. but i also saw how charcoal-black and blood-stained your hands were, how your—funnily enough—dress was woven with blood, too. i saw the dead hovering the ground beneath your too pale feet (they looked delicate and i thought of porcelain glass) their ashen mouths screaming and yelling but all you hear is the muted buzzing of light bulbs and air conditioners.

imeei probably shouldn’t judge you, because what have you done to be deserving of judgment? the sins of the father are not yours, neither are your mother’s. perhaps it’s the poison you and your brother and mother continue to feed us. it came from lethe and smelled like freshly pressed money, tasted the iron of civilian blood. perhaps because you are taking your mother’s place, just as your brother is taking your father’s.

perhaps, it is because i see you, and i see stubborn persistent ghosts, the lives your father took without dirtying his hands—why should he when he has people for that, when he can pay and pay and promise them a quick road to the easy life. i see you and your mother’s and your brother’s quiet disregard, wrapping yourselves in an intricately woven illusion as fine as spider webs and as lasting.

and it would make sense for anyone to think, “ah, what a beautiful woman,” upon the first time they see your face. but there are people like me, people who outlived your father with fear clutched to their chest like precious rosaries. we spat out the amnesiac a long time ago. we remember, and we grieve, and we stopped waiting for the knight to defeat the monsters who parade and insist on a dead man’s bloody glory.

(Saquina Karla C. Guiam, 26, is a writer from General Santos City, Philippines and a full-time graduate school student. Her work has been featured on The Rising Phoenix Review, The Fem Lit Mag, and Transcending Shadows Review. She is the Roots nonfiction editor for Rambutan Literary, a literary magazine by Southeast Asians to showcase Southeast Asian literature. She posted this piece on her Facebook wall evening of November 18, hours after the burial of the remains of the deposed President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Permission to reprint granted to MindaNews).