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Three Poems by Soleil Davíd

How does it feel to watch / the seeds of your destruction / walk away from you?

The following poems are part of the Against Forgetting notebook, with art by Neil Doloricon.

The Dictators and the Guerrilla Boy: A Fable

Ferdinand and Imelda were desolate 
in their empty palace. Ferdinand had run out 

of places to stash his gold bars. There’s no room, 
they were cramped, Imelda did not have enough 

feet to wear all her shoes. So that Sunday 
they prayed for a little boy to feed 

upon and at the foot of their palace bed 
a squash grew and grew and Ferdinand thought, 

Finally, more room for my gold bars, 
and Imelda thought, Finally, more room 

for my shoes. So they took out 
a bolo, first admiring its ivory handle, 

inlaid with mother of pearl, but before 
they could carve out an opening 

to their new storage space, a Guerrilla Boy came 
out and demanded a bath. Imelda had just 

the silver basin for the occasion. And as water 
ran off the Guerrilla Boy, the droplets turned 

into gold and what would happen 
if this Boy were to marinate 

in their Olympic-sized swimming pool, 
why it would end our poverty, so they threw 

the Guerrilla Boy into the water, which ran 
gold and sometimes silver, sometimes

rubies, sometimes the bluest sapphire, 
even a long-lost Monet painting, 

and they loved this Guerrilla Boy so,
wept loud at his endless drowning.

Habeas Corpus1From Latin, meaning “show me the body.” A writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, to protect the person from being unlawfully detained. In 1971, Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. suspended the writ of habeas corpus, paving the way for more illegal arrests of activists.: Meralco2Manila Electric Company. Also the Philippine Constabulary’s nickname for electric torture.

To have the body is to know its limits—
for example, how far back the toes curl 

when exposed wires make flesh a too-ready
conductor. What is involuntary is the shrieking: 

the pitch of a pig who knows it’s the dawn 
of its slaughter. This is the sound 

of muscle tissues on fire: the crank 
of a field telephone generator, the ringing 

that follows, that—that zap, then: 
Where are the rest of you? Give me their names. 

Guerrilla Released from Detention

How does it feel to watch 
the seeds of your destruction 
walk away from you? 

We will grow in the dark 
despite your best cunning. 
Will you recognize us

when we come back, 
smooth-lipped, hungry-eyed? 
In the last minutes 

of your neverending rule, 
do you cling to the belief 
you could wrest (y)our pearls, 

(y)our Picasso, (y)our Buccellati, 
(y)our Ferragamo and Givenchy, 
before we come to storm 

(y)our palace? Mother of this cursed 
country, listen: We are breaking
through the faux sawali walls.