We are taught to be modest, circumspect, wrapped
under covers, demurring, scuttling away like mice.
We are educated to be peons, servile class members,
ambitions tempered, molded to fit the cog, accept
the command, to sleep with a hot water bottle nostalgic
for empire, bangers, mash. Heat comes from the sky
even in winter (don’t forget that many of us live
now abroad), and we have become weatherized
prunes, dried out and waiting for the coup de grace
yet roaring still in our minds, with joy and free
dancing. Nobody can steal our thoughts, we say.
Nobody can whip our brain cells. Even if we are
dragged off the plane by plainclothes toughs. Even
if the secret service in civvies knocks on the doors
of our parents, our brothers and sisters. Even if
they are scouring all cell phone videos in the island
looking for youth with free minds and loose tongues.
Even if the new president ironizes with justice
and cynicism that he has no home to where he can
return given that some protesters burnt his house down.
Even if we are afraid and impatient, realizing that kicking
the Family out was only the beginning of Aragalaya,
that the hardest work has yet to start, eliminating
fuel lines, assuring medicines for surgeries, rice
for the meal at dawn, or midday, or the evening, the one
almost six million people have learned to live without.