Islander in the City by Pablo A. Tariman:


Wake of former President Noynoy Aquino.




Death has a message

Telling us the virtues we ignored in life

Are more recognizable

When we say goodbye

To earthly existence.


This country has never known dignity

Until we get used to a leader

Cursing his way to the presidency.


We have never known honor

Until someone used power

To overtake and bury it

Throwing cautions to the wind.

WE have never known

What domestic bliss looked like

Until someone ordered

Arrest, detention and execution

For those in disagreement

With the ruler’s insatiable

Killer’s instinct.


These days

Honor has overtaken us

As we applaud uncouth behavior

Like this old man

Groping his household help

On the day of his birthday.


And so we grieve for this public servant

Who held honor

As his badge of courage.


It turned out

Honor died with him

As we reckon with someone

Who prefers to rule

Than to govern.


So whatever happened

To honor as we know it?


It died with the mob

And passed away

With a selfless servant-leader

Who quietly lived honor

And never once defined it

With words.


He shouldn’t die in vain

Let’s proceed

To reclaim honor

In this wasteland

Of bad governance.


Honor what is thy name?


It is as simple as going to sleep

With a clear conscience

At peace in the midst

Of a weary world

Grappling with death and pestilence.

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