Ginahasa Ka Namin, Magpakamatay Ka na Lang – first draft

Many years ago I wrote a poem in Filipino in reaction to the rape and subsequent suicide of a movie actress. She was called a “starlet” – the label that sticks forever if one never gets out of b-movie, soft-porn productions – and one of the so-called “softdrink beauties” as promoted by an imaginative talent scout. Three daily TV show hosts were the rapists. It’s a surreal poem which may not work well in translation. I am posting that poem later here. Today I’d like to share a first draft of a new poem that is slightly more bitter (and perhaps less subtle – if that is even possible).  Apologies for the missing translation. I’ll have to see to that when I have more time. This poem came to mind as I read about the new antics of the same lot of “comedians” who remain popular and influential in my country of birth.

UPDATE: as this is a first draft, please feel free to tell me what you think of this new work. well I’m always open to critique, so treat the old poem and its translation the same way. maraming salamat.

UPDATE 2 (thanks to Ed Maranan) HERE is a link to a news article on the rape and death of Pepsi Paloma. Yes, some people remain in power despite everything they do.

Ginahasa Ka Namin, Magpakamatay Ka na Lang

dahil sikat kami at sanay
magpatawa. Softdrinks ka lang,
hindi pa seksi ang iyong bote,

GI goodbye Joe ang tatay
samantalang kami may daily TV show
na patok, habambuhay habang

dinudumog ng masang tila
bangaw. Ikaw, ililibing na balot
ng tabloid. Starlet

na hindi man lang kumisap.
Sino ang mumultuhin mo balang araw?
Hindi kami. Hindi kami.

-o-

Kuwentong Kalbo
para kay Pepsi Paloma

May anghel na nagbigti
sa puno ng kamatsile.

Kaya nagturok ng tinidor
at nagsalang ng kutsara
ang mga palaka

bago bumaha ng kidlat
sa dibdib ng langit
sa mga sandaling hindi pa sila nakapagliligpit

ng patay na butete
at lobong napunit.

Naglampungan ang mga dahon
bago lubusang huminahon
ang araw.

Kung mayroon lang tikbalang
sa kalapit na balete
nagkaroon sana ng munting salu-salo

at nagpamisa pa sana
ang mga mukhang taeng-kabayo.

Subalit mababang uri
ang anghel na ito
na nagbigti,

kahit pa man
siya’y nakaputi.

-o-
draft translation

Bald Story
for Pepsi Paloma

An angel hung herself
on a kamatsile tree.

Frogs heated spoons
and used forks as needles

expecting lightning to come
flooding over the sky’s bosom.
They had not yet cleared up

dead tadpoles
and torn balloons.

Leaves grew ecstatic
until the sun
became less aroused.

Had there been a tikbalang
on the nearby balete tree
there would’ve been a quick feast

and those with horse dung faces
would’ve called for a mass.

But this was only
a lowly angel
who hung herself,

despite her white
dress.

-o-

NOTE: Pepsi Paloma was one of a number of starlets discovered by a talent scout who gave them screen names after particular softdrink brands. Pepsi was raped by three comedians who hosted a popular noontime TV show: Joey de Leon, Richie “the Horsey,” and Vic Sotto (brother of another comedian, Tito Sotto, who would one day be a Senator). After being convicted for the crime, the three asked Pepsi for forgiveness. Soon after she pardoned them, she committed suicide by hanging.

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About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his latest poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. View all posts by matangmanok

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