Louie Jon A. Sanchez
Translated by: J.A. Del Prado
Artwork by Daniel Stojanovic
Come. Here. On this cliff.
In an instant, with a wave of my hand,
The horizon becomes a shining city,
A great city
Of business and affluence.
On that side, look at the statue
Built in your honor.
Its arms are raised, welcoming the wind, although
Birds shit and drunkards pee on it, while
Ivies shroud it through time, as
It becomes an unrecognizable tree.
On the other side, there are bridges lit
By speeding vehicles.
An orchestra plays in a building
Where people celebrate, while kids
Continue to scatter everywhere—
They are all mine. Mere possessions.
No one else owns them. In a flash,
I can destroy them all,
Like those two towers. I will flick my fingers, look.
An explosion. Wounds on the twins.
Later on, disintegration. A scattering of ashes.
Oh the violence! What a show!
You can have everything.
What I mean is, you may have
My inimitable power that others desire:
No one can slay you. You are the slayer.
And once your subjects bow down,
You will become the true king, the true god!
I only have one wish:
Bow down to me, and kiss my feet.
What I mean is, you can choose:
You may save them, those I conquer;
Or surrender them all to the clearing.
This is what my light can do:
An illusion. In a distant land
That eyes turn to, flows
A kind of water that slowly
Or a vast body of water
That can make one thirst.
It might be the salty sea-water
Or the silk flow of a river
One can drink.
Your Reckoning is at hand.
And for every light that shines
Onto your body, the omen of your last words
Howls in your consciousness.
I’m thirsty. I’m thirsty.
Listen to your voice
As my time passes by,
Greeting your solitude. In your fated
Death, in your sacrifice,
You shall remember my light,
A light that burns and dries.
Louie Jon A. Sanchez is the author of two collections of poetry in Filipino, the forthcoming Kung Saan sa Katawan (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), and At Sa Tahanan ng Alabok (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2010), a finalist at the 12th Madrigal Gonzales Best First Book Award. He was proclaimed Poet of the Year thrice (2006, 2009, and 2011) at the state-run Talaang Ginto (Golden List) Poetry Contest of the Commission of the Filipino Language. He teaches literature and writing at the Ateneo de Manila University, and holds an M.F.A. in creative writing, with high distinction, from De La Salle University-Manila.
J.A. Del Prado earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature, cum laude, from the University of Santo Tomas in 2012. During his college years, he was the Vice-President of the UST Literary for two years, and a member of the Thomasian Writers’ Guild and UST Scarlet. He is fellow of the 4th and 5th UST Varsitarian Fiction Workshop, the 12th Soul Project Creative Writing Workshop, and the 4th UST Varsitarian National Workshop on Arts Criticism. His plays in Filipino and English were cited in the 27th Gawad Ustetika: Annual Students Awards for Literature in 2011. He currently works as a writer for an American online advertising firm in Makati City.