“…They throw them on their backs, stick a gag in their months to keep it open, then proceed to fill them with water till they cannot hold more. Then they get on them, and a sudden pressure on the stomach and chest forces the water out again. I guess it must cause excruciating agony.”
- from a statement of an American officer
published in the Springfield Republican, 25 April 1900
In search of secrets, you imagine them
tearing his chest open and finding
only water. On the page his eyes
are a century apart from yours.
You imagine his lungs swollen, pale as if bleached.
They poured and poured until the native
--until when? Until he was cured of his secrets?
They heard nothing but some animal, howling.
Sinunog nila ang parang. Ginapas nila nang tila
--stalks. They cut his brothers down like stalks.
There is so much time to search for words.
So much water in your country.
Dalawang gabi akong hindi nakatulog
nang una akong nakapatay ng kaaway.
Marahil dahil sa tuwa. This is the truth.
His body lying on the page like a puddle
of secrets, the names of his spies
pouring unto the soil, the strength
of his numbers dissolving into his blood.
You imagine yourself cleansed,
as if betrayed by thirst, or maybe
the weightlessness of drowning.
There is nothing more to say.
You are only some animal, howling.
Rushing some deadlines before Sunday-- off to Baguio for the workshop. It promises to be a very interesting week, I can tell you that. Back to ermitanyo mode muna.