May 12, 2012
A poem by Axel Pinpin
For Mrs. Editha Burgos
The place that you promised was a confused direction
and a warm occasion. Sometimes a downpour
and oftentimes an artificial cannon-rain
that you never ever wished for or asked for.
To walk around was punishment, to search in a thousand
pairs of feet that all look alike and familiar with
the places you came from and went home to: slums,
factories, picket lines, schools, and countrysides.
Often my gaze pierced, penetrated the
red cloths and the nibs of exclamation points.
You might be among them, one of those who contained
their anguish in closed fists directed at the barricades.
My feet had grown calloused; as did my throat from shouting,
greeting. My hair had stood on end
from terror, each time the echoes of the beats of
flags and fists were advancing, advocating.
It seemed you were begrudged from my embraces
or even from the certainty that you're alive.
This might be the final destination of my search
after stations, camps, morgues, and graves.
Though I failed and was lost in finding the place you promised,
I arrived at the strongholds at the head of your march.
At long last! I glimpsed the towering cry of Freedom! --
In the red cloths harboring your missing face.
July 25, 2007
"Tagpuan", from Tugmaang Matatabil, translated from Filipino.
Axel Pinpin, a former political prisoner, is the author of three poetry collections. His latest is Lover's Lane from BlackPen Publishing.