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The boys of wisdom
indeed wise, in deed, unfeeling
boisterously bullying and beating
boys who were not like them
calling them names: gay bading
and many funny sad things
sirenas, mermaids, weaklings, mahinhin
what a sin to stand there watching
them grow their balls with the falls
of other boys, so I stood tall
and called them out: stop, tama na
as they surrounded my friend
arms bent, I apprehended
them, told them to put an end
and they did
well I thought I did
well, only to find
my friend feared the true revenge
during recess and the excess of
puberty: rattling, banging, shaking
my table – tough memories are fables –
my friend unable
to do the same for me
as my soup spilled, my stew flew
and they called me gay, gay, gay, weak
weak, weak – was it true? was it true?
I still ask – it must have been true
because for fifteen years
it was clear, it was seared to
my memories here
that I was not a boy the boys of wisdom
thought worthy of fear
and boys grow into men
but the table is still the same
my tears spilled, my heart flew
the world still keep calling me names
sick, iba ka, salon and parlor games
at work, grief hidden
for my own, saintly fame
and for fifteen years – 15 – how long
I thought strong was
to be touched all along
and I could right a wrong
should a man give me his song
alas, a new boy of wisdom touched me
boisterously smiling and laughing
and listening to my jokes, my voice
cracking, let him be the last
of those many boys!

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