1. GROUND ZERO
eerie quiet sits in a darkened corner:
ancient furnitures astride the darkness or piled like unfinished holocaust:
moldy mortars grasp each other unwilling to succumb to time's pressure:
archaic bell have long ceased tolling, tired of a century's duty:
the sanctum sanctorum desecrated by unnamed creatures, or perhaps sanctified even more by their crawl.
a period's toil in the name of a Name:
a world of swords and scabbards and soutanes and sacraments in the name of a Sign:
a people's bowing and kissing and genuflecting in the name of Spain:
dirty decrepit divinity:
cold camouflaged humanity:
belfried stories of saints and sages, and abuses:
the bell-tower of souls had long ceased clanging.
a decade of deified dances and demons:
God cold and cobwebbed:
icons hang askance:
once beaded oremus and amens broken, debried:
the archaic bell have fallen from its hang and rope
now sits unceremoniously in unritualistic concrete.
a convent boy enters the darkness, smells the quiet
commences his ritual: some errand of an old shepherd.
first, a light to open wide the long enclosed space, covers flung open: sacred solar halo long obliterated by bitterness now penetrates the dim, breaks the chain, unmasks the fanatics and the extremists and the fundamentalists--
and the ceremony begins:
a broomstick act to sweep away the age-old animosities:
a dustpan in hand to gather the angst of an age:
a whistle of melody, a boy's legacy from a deceased father, a hum of ages: funny how it conquers age-old prejudice:
a pail of water to wet dry, musty bigotries:
perspiration slide down his tender sinew: a figure of toil.
then, the heavy moving and removing: furnitures of emotions rearranged to calendar a new beginning:
a final embellishment brought in after an hour of industry.
the chapel is once again adorned for a liturgy.
3. DIVINE OFFICE: DIASPORA: DIPLOMACY
worshippers ready again to say their free oremus:
7, 707 islands in different ground zeros: all children of history:
exodus and welcoming to count in joyous communion:
the brown man wherever he stands, there the altar is: he is an altar ex opere ex operato,
to shake hands, to bless, a shalom to share.
he has known friendship: he has known slavery and enmity, he was an indio, victim and friend of three empires:
now, he is friend and guest to many worlds: he is a universal diplomat, an expert master and slave:
the chapel cleaner trods the world like an actor:
he tolls the bell of agony and the chants of comradeship:
he let fly a paper plane representing children's dreams: above all politics, beyond boundaries, the paper plane flies harmlessly.
a Malay for an embassy: a tropical race canonized to unify heaven and earth:
faiths congregate around him, a sanctuary of friendship, hands clasped and raised loft: a heaven for all, his petition:
significant dates hang in her office to remind: blunt holidays of past jihads,
pedestals of heroisms and resurrections recalled in strategic liturgies: symbols and cultures planted solemnly in the candelabra, lit for all to see--David's star, the scimitar, the scythe, the crescent moon, the spire, the obelisk, the fish, the bread, Jerusalem's wall, the Nile, the plowshare, the carabao and the elephant, ..a worldwideweb of metaphors and similes offered in the name of a long-missed god, Amistad.
heaven is now uncobwebbed: a chapel cleaned for air to let in.
worshippers free to say their oremus and amen.
the capilla shines with vibrant synergy, and yet the world is many things minus: no church, no cathedral,
no temple, no domes and spires forecasting jihads and excommuniations: and still full of God.
the 7, 707 islands: in all ways a chapel and none pharisaical: the Filipino bell, a terra campana.
in the background: pastoral scene bespeaks earthly serene.
somewhere: gods and cherubims and spirits congratulate one another: the world once again is heaven.
each citizen: heaven's friend.
because of the Filipino: each one is East to one.
no more smouldering skyscrapers: long gone is an eerie chapel.
in place of an indio, a living golden blood of brown gene pedestaled
in the altar of smiles: this diaspora a boon to the world.
rainbow of citizens sweeps across a bright sky:
children free to let fly paper planes, origami of dreams.
the Filipino: the boy is every man.