POETRY:  Aswang. Lianga


I. 2015

The forest emerald faded
and red the valley turned
as embers devoured the commune

The dawn cracked with bullets
on the heads of two datus
and a blade slashed Emok’s neck

Wails echoed across Andap
walls shake
this village school

Forest leaves snapped off
and embrace the blood-soaked soil
Blood red the sun

The busaw howls
the tribe departs
a season of blood

II. 2021

A year of pandemia
but other things can kill

the Manobo girl dreams
of dances and harvests in their fields

but as abaca leaves were gathered
she and her family were collected

by bullets laced
with words from the busaw

smash their inner bodies
rape their lands for the coffers

the nightmare sets in again
as their blood cries for Magbabaya

(Tyrone Velez is a freelance journalist and writer)