(On confronting the fate of Chad Booc)

by Pablo Tariman

Grief is infinitely real

When people die young

In the prime of their lives.

You can see

That it was a well-spent youth

Nurtured by concern for the common man

Along with a zest for life

He found anomalous

In a sea of deception.

But then young men with energy

Die young

Like Mozart gone at 35

And who once said:

‘I am one of those who will go on doing

Till all doings are at an end.’

I am 73

I sometimes

I imagine how it is

Dying in your 20s, 30s,40s, 50s

And living An abridged life.

Would I have been spared

The torments of my senior years?

Would I have been better off

Not living the pandemic

With a life

Cut short by accident, sudden illness

Or a nightmare?


Old age gives you

What the young don’t get to see

In their lifetime.

You witness the birth

And death of the best

People in the arts

And the cinematic turn

Of their lives.

When you live a bit longer

You see the rise and fall of fortunes

Sad chapters of marriages

And the eternal sadness

That happily brought out

The best in them.

You have seen

The best and worst of leaders.

You have lived the best and worst of times.

You have witnessed how dictators fall.

And will likely witness the fall of another one.

You see the birth of legendary beauties

And their beautiful

As well as sad lives.

You have lived endless sunshine

And stormy weather.

Would you have been better off

Not living in cyberage

Doing away with tablets

And laptops

And complicated passwords

In the new era

Of zoom press conferences?

When activists die young

I connect easily

Even if I didn’t share

A good slice

Of their abridged life.

Was that death meant

To spare them

From more uncanny chapters

Of living a life?

I suppose

You learn the precariousness of living

And its inevitable ending

Living extended years.

A young life just ended

And here I am contemplating

A longer life denied to many.

I like how life

Gives you unpredictable chapters

And new twists in a life

Not knowing how it will end.

I don’t like to mourn

When people die young.

Death could be the peace of mind

They have been looking for

And the perfect ending

For a life of struggle

Back in their restless minds.

When they die young

You appreciate that you lived

A bit longer.

With death and suffering come

The legacy of wisdom

Almost always denied

To the young

And apportioned to those

Who reach the autumn

And winter of their lives.

At 73

I like the peace

That comes with

The prospects of dying.

But when you die young

You pause

And think of the possibilities

Of more fruitful life ahead of them.

Can you grieve when

You see young people

Die a swift and early death?

I can imagine

What was in his mind

As he breathed his last.

When bullets

Tore through

His young body

He did not die in vain.

He died for a cause

Nobody in these trying times

Would care to espouse.

Could those fatal bullets

Be stark reminders

That a pure kind of heroism

Look deep and noble

On the young?

Then and now

You learn to appreciate

The long and short

Of a borrowed life.

I can accept it

That the young die

With the purest brand

Of heroism.


Ni Richard R. Gappi

Minsang may nagwika:

may nawawasak na sibilisasyon

tuwing may nasusunog

na bahay-aklatan.

Paano kung buong

eskuwelahan ang tinutupok

ng lagim at takot?

Paano kung pinapaslang

ang mga guro?

Paano kung buong tribo

ang sinisilaban upang

mabura sa mapa ng lupa

na kakambal ng kanilang hininga?

Higit pa sa sibilisasyon.

Maliban sa pagbangon,

usok mula sa guho na

naghuhugis taas-kamao.


“Nu sa pipa makaugod,

manugod kan dida tu.”* #

*Katumbas ng “If the land could speak, it would speak for us.”

— 8:26AM, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015

Angono Tres-Siete (3/7) Poetry Society

Angono, Rizal, Pilipinas


Ni Ron Magbuhos Papag

Para sa nakalimot

O katwirang baluktot

At sa yama’y nag-imbot

Ika’y sayang at salot

Ang tangan mo ay sulo

Mapagpalayang turo

Para sa katutubo

Buong lupang ninuno.

Sarili’y inialay

Dunong, husay at buhay

Sa layuning dalisay



By Luchie Maranan

I read of you,

Of how you deconstructed teaching

Within four walls,

And learned the language

And lore of the Lumad.

Of how your lesson plans

Were designed in sync with

The nurture of the beloved

Fields and ranges of the natives

Who taught you that it is just

To cherish and defend

The roots and springs of

The indigenous identity and survival.

I read of you, Chad.

Of how fierce your spirit can be

That it cannot be crushed

By these doomed, dark forces

Always hungry to quell the hapless.

Teach us, inspire us, Chad,

To crush this heartless, beastly

Enemy called the State.

= = = = = = = =

READ: Tatlong tula para kay Chad Booc