DON’T OFFER ME DIRGES (I’m But A Slum Habitue)
Erle Frayne Argonza y Delago
Don’t offer me dirges or marches for graveyards
I am no more a rat eater whose niche
Is this make-shift tenement, no longer
Human by the yardsticks of Grecian perfection
And Roman artistry, a fragment too unfit
For the wholeness of Renaissance’s imageries.
May I invite to dinner my neighborhood’s constant visitors
From state halls and army barracks
Who on not too few occasions offered me
And my neighbors their version of a gift:
Bulldozed tenements and shanties leveled off
Spiced with gunfire that severed resistance.
Felled boys and dead bodies of urban poor
Anyway deserve not the hymns of public praises,
Praises long reserved for princes and taipans.
History’s everyday indeed can’t seem to be
An asset shared by all men alike.
[Writ. 06 Dec. 1988, Proj. 8 Quezon City, M.Manila]