#BigasHindiBala

by Saquina Karla C. Guiam (Poetry)

(This poem was first published in The Rising Phoenix Review on 18 May 2016.)

Blue uniform,
badge, baton,
issued firearm,
hat, black and white car.

Right arm raised,
lips shaped the words
to serve and to protect
the people.

Call it duty,
summons to arms,
little glories and
little victories.

Happy April fools!
Put a bullet to someone’s head,
a father and farmer,
his hands cracked
like the fields he toiled.

Put your gun
on his corpse,
tell the cameras and microphones that
he was armed and dangerous.

Witnesses say
the victim only brought
the clothes on his back
and his voice.

Oaths are just promises
disguised as public service,
sweet honey to
unsuspecting civilian ears.

The coming of spring rain
brought metal and blood
and disbelief and rage;

they asked for mercy,
you gave them cruelty.

#BigasHindiBala is Tagalog, and translates to #RiceNotBullets. The hashtag trended recently when farmers were gunned down by local police at Kidapawan, North Cotabato, Philippines.

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