I had to write these verses.

They buried Ferdinand Marcos among the soldiers and among the heroes today, taking the country by surprise.

They sneaked in the waxen false idol of a corpse, and buried him in hallowed ground, where he did not belong.

I am up in arms. The country is up in arms.

And I wrote this, today, and I don’t know what it is except my feelings are there in the words.

It’s called “Reply to Enjolras” because now we need to build the barricades, and now we need to take our country back.

Reply to Enjolras – PJ Punla – 18 Nov 2016

the grandmother rose and took up her cane.
her hands and her knees trembled, bowed by the weight of the years,
bent by the scars of truncheon and shield.
she turned her back on the gloating news, and stepped out the door.

the woman at her desk rose and made sure she still had an Internet connection.
her fingers tapping out messages: “I’m on my way to the monument,
wait for me, but please stay safe.”
she turned her back on the cowards’ comments, and stepped out the door.

the child clutched at her mother’s hands.
her questions whirled in her mind, questions that she felt she couldn’t ask,
not when her parents looked so sad and grim.
she didn’t know she was turning her back on ignorance when she stepped out the door.

the class rose and left their history books behind.
it was up to them to make history and they all knew how to do it – how to capture it.
they made their signs and they bought their candles.
they turned their backs on the lies about the past, and stepped out the door.

the grandmother, the woman, the child, the class –
they became the family, they became the city, they became one island after another,
one people and one voice on the move, and they spoke words of truth.
they turned their backs on the evil – dead or alive – and they stepped out the door.

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