enero nueve

Note: this was written on January 9, 2010

Maroon shirts donned

and streaked with sweat,

offending nostrils of unmindful passersby.

But flaunting worship.

People, barefooted,

walking on a sun-scorched wide pavement—

burning the soles of their feet

and the callus surrounding

the deep red organ

battered over the last 365-day cycle.

Trash cluttered

(like vendors

selling cheap pieces

of this wooden god’s glory),

but not the faith

they mightily gathered only for this day.

They will not waver.

Candles may flicker,

but their hopes

will remain steadily lit.

Cars and jeepneys struggle

like turtles crawling up the dunes,

waiting on freedom

in the sea.

Men behind the wheel blow horns:

a loud grumble on wasted hours

and coins

that will not clang

in their starving pockets.

Now, the wooden god is revealed.

The long wait is over.

Crowds rush to his earthly glory!

Stampede.

Blood spilt; ambulance wails.

A terminal breath heaved—

a sacrifice, as black as his burned skin,

for dreams,

prayers,

miracles.

Glory! Glory to the wooden god!

!

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