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i.

What were our brown souls saying against the timbre of their foreign voice?
      While being hacked to pieces to their deaths,
            What were the hymns that Willie's friends intoned?

Ours were aghast at their betrayal:
      Twenty Million—the going dollar rate!
            A treaty echoed what their headlines blared:
                  Benevolence Now Begins!

Stay down (Benevolent Men insist), stay down!
      We need your corpses (not freemen) to serve as stepping plates!
            "Hurry! Before the darkness combs the hills!

            "Before the Mountains waken!
                  "We'll wipe their barren culture out!
                        "Then seal our graven claim!"

ii.

Now see the self-crowned heroes pose
      (before the whirring photo reels),
            While battle-weary boys unpack their plundered souvenirs.

      ("Christ, were they little, were they brown! Some were Sambo-black!
            "We burned them out of bushes, and most could not fight back!")

            "Go! Dig 'em shallow! Dig 'em deep!
                  "And if you please, just dump the heap!
      "Now, sing ye, Lads! Strike down your spades upon this curséd
                  blackened turf!"

No somber rites—not even sticks were there to mark our hallowed bones.
            Not even graves, but trenches stacked with nameless
                  "bandit-drones"

Our widows scream and search beyond the fading shadow-light.
      They tarry . . . pass . . . they linger where beneath the piles we're lain,
            Abandoned by the memory-callers,
                  Abandoned for a hundred thousand years!

iii.

            Shhhhhhh!
We brought you here . . . we brought you here . . .
      Your hopes are silt now slaked upon our souls.
            Three-million-immigrant strong, we stand—we are your
                  filial home.

      For justly here you can—you dead brown souls!—bestir your
                   final quest:
            To fan your ashen history; to chant and search and roam—
                  Here to meet your resurrection among your very own.

artworks copyright © Carl Angel

 

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CARL ANGEL and ANONYMOUS
4th February 1899 Collaborative Poetry and Art

MILA D. AGUILAR
The Beast
Ang Halimaw
Daisy Bomb

VINCE GOTERA
Shiites, 1985

AILEEN IBARDALOZA
Excerpt from Manileñas

DIEGO SILANG MARANAN
Terminal Thoughts

RENE J. NAVARRO
Cheng-du Dawn (1983)
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