Barbarian at Miagos

By TOMAS TALLEDO

I.
Our barbarian foreparents hunt heads
when balayong flowers bloom
in hearth hung the skulls of strangers:
hollowed eyes mouths daydreaming

Marrying males are not to dance ’til
they’ve bitten chunk of liver fiend
no, it’s no contest for loud cheers
but valor when honor is everything

Nobody owns the sweet river waters
its flows can’t be damned nor sold
nobody steals our fiery cauldron:
boils legal conceits grammar wrong.

II.
Ancients as we are ancients —
we’re Tumandok, you’re Pangayaw.
Our dungan swirls on our navel
our inunlan, our tigadlum in birthland.

You deny our sacred claims with your
lying tongues, funky memorandum,
zoom meetings and hardheadedness:
curse be unto you and your seeds

Your days will be sad and few
your prayers will be impotent
your children be leprous beggars
your name unspoken and unheard.

III.
We’ll defy your malevolent diktats.
In golden biday we’ll sail to forage
the forest of herbs and tearless vales
of exciting buds and delightful roots

to fill up our kitchen table with mirth.
In synchronous songs while baking,
in nutritious fun of meaning making
we grind your hacks into new normal

“from each according to abilities,
to each according to one’s needs”
and relish the feast of cooperation,
our communion, our communism.

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