The Walls We Build

(Written by a close friend, MLMunoz, from her book, beyond idle thoughts. She writes about life and human nature.)

Every man dies. But not every man really lives. . .Braveheart

Whenever we are faced with a choice and/or decision to make, the words “but” and “what if” invariably come to mind. These words, make up the walls we build around ourselves—to protect us from pain; rejection; disappointment; loss. But they also keep us from being happy; accepted; accomplished; fulfilled.

Fear is what prompts us to build walls. We protect ourselves from experiencing a negative emotion by denying ourselves a chance to have what we want, and to live life more fully. We find a life of emptiness and boredom more tolerable than to have to anticipate the pain that comes along with taking risks. And so, we are neither miserable nor happy. This state of passive acceptance is our blanket of security—coupled with monotony. Much like the lamplighter in “The Little Prince” whose day begins and ends exactly as the day before. A lot of people have come to accept this kind of existence—and become content. Neither wanting nor expecting anything beyond the walls they created.

There are also people who may have sheltered themselves but are aware of the endless possibilities beyond the self-imposed boundaries. Could they, too, be content? To a person who is aware, the negation of pain/happiness gives rise to a more immobilizing emotion: torment. Questions never cease. What if I joined the contest instead of being afraid to be disappointed? Would I have experienced the elation of winning? What if I took that rare opportunity of joining a business venture instead of the security of a 9-5 job? Would I have been successful? What if I called the girl who talked to me at the party and gave me her business card—instead of being intimidated that she might not take the call? Could she have filled the emptiness in my life?

What if I took a chance?

What if I dared?

Would my life have been different?

So, we have 2 kinds of people who enclose themselves in a wall of security. One lives on a single note unaware that there are other notes that can compose a melody. The other tries to survive on a single note but is aware that there are other notes he has access to, to create enchantment and magic in his life. He looks from the inside and marvels at what he sees on the outside—but is unwilling to break free. And the melody remains unsung.

But there are people who create doors when faced with a wall. They see possibilities—and open every door they see—until they have the life they want. They play all the notes—sometimes discordant, sometimes harmonious, and every once in a while breathtaking. And they live their life in a continuous creation of music.


Native Colonialism & Subjugation by Anonymous

(Thanks to my anonymous friend. This will be included in my future Writings Book series. TJ)

Why do everyone claims that the philippines was the 2nd-best country in asia after WWII after japan, using accepted social, political and economic yardsticks?  Who stunted whose growth again?  After the americans left, why didn’t the US-preserved agricultural society sell their rice to Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Norway, France, Germany?  Anyone stopped the independent filipinos from selling their rice elsewhere?

Prior to the coming of the Spaniards and the Americans, the Datus of the 7,100 islands, plundered each other’s islands for resources and slaves.  The native datu class had no love and compassion towards the slaves they captured from other islands and worked in their fields.  The datus looked down on their slaves as “other” people, the same way Tagalogs in Manila today view with contempt and derision their muslim migrants and their lower-class maids and drivers from faraway southern islands.

The filipino upper class today are living the exact same culture as the ancient prehispanic datus who derived their wealth from their lands using their captured slaves, who were not their “own” people, hence the lack of love and compassion but a feeling of contempt for the filipino lower class migrants from the faraway islands who end up picking trash in payatas.  Why should they help these poor displaced migrants?  These provinciano islanders can all go back to their own islands and kinfolks for all the ruling-class Tagalogs, Pampangos and Ilocanos in Luzon care.  

The ancient native culture is to blame, not the individuals who live today according to the way their ancestors lived, datu or slave class.  It is not PNoy’s fault if he lives like a Cojuangco, nor is it the faults of Bongbong, Jinggoy or Mikey if they live like a Marcos, Estrada or a Macapagal-Arroyo.  What else were they taught growing up but to live like the datus of ancient times, who enslaved sagigilid and namamahay captives from other islands, in their palatial homes and haciendas?

We can only progress as one united people if we are brave enough to look into the mirror and start blaming our ancient culture of datus and slaves and not the Spaniards and the Americans.  Our great-great-great grandchildren blaming the Spaniards and the Americans for their problems hundreds of years from now is not going to change their deeply-ingrained ancient datu-slave culture either.

Just one man’s opinion which does not affect the price of tea in china.  Take it or leave it, I really do not care – no skin off my teeth, no shirt off my back – I’m on Social Security and Medicare till I die.

Private Musings of an Old Man – Origin of life

Questions and Answers: By anonymous friend. This will go into my Writings Book Series later. TJ

Q1) Are the theories you have enumerated are possibly procedures in a grand experiment by an intelligent designer or just by random sampling?

Ans1: They are theories of scientists who spend their entire lives searching for answers to the possible origins of life. They could just as well have accepted that life is a part of the procedures of a grand experiment by an intelligent designer and done something else with their lives. Or, they can choose to perform scientific experiments to find out if they can produce “life” in their laboratories by random sampling or whatever methods they hypothesize.

Q2) In the grand scheme of things is it easier to believe or not to believe things [we encounter] that we don’t fully understand such as life or how the universe began?

Ans2: It’s much easier for the majority of human beings to believe that God is responsible for all events or objects they don’t fully understand. They don’t have to do anything else but believe in God, the creator of all things they see. In primitive human societies whenever the people saw the moon-God eating the sun-God in an eclipse, they prayed to the moon-God to stop. After a while the moon-God listened to their prayers and spit out the sun God and everyone was happy. They did it everytime and everytime it worked. What scientist was going to do to convince them they were wrong?

Q3) What do you think of certain phenomena in people and nature that can not be explained by science but nevertheless occur i.e. gut feeling, premonitions, predictions of long time ago or ability to see the future among some of us, psychic phenomena such as some people away from home knowing the exact time and death of a love one long before it was communicated to him/her or an experiment I read many years ago [if I remember correctly] where mother dogs with newly born puppies were separate from the puppies; the puppies were then brought to places a few thousand miles away; the puppies were sacrificed; and the time and date noted; observations of the mother dogs revealed that these mother dogs became restless and displayed fear as the puppies were sacrifice at the exact time the sacrifice were done. I am not sure the experiment was replicated; and I do not remember what journal it was published.

Ans3) There are countless experiments conducted by men of science to find out the answers to the questions raised by parapsychology. In psych 101, our professor told us the story of a pilot’s wife awakened at night by the voice of her husband calling her name. The next morning she received a call from authorities telling her her husband had perished in a plane crash at exactly the same time she was awakened by her husband’s voice. Another study being conducted by scientists is the unexplainable coincidences occurring in identical twins separated at birth. There was a story of infant twins put up for adoption to different sets of parents. When they were introduced to each other half-a-century later they had on the same kind and color shirts. They drove the exact same cars and their children had the same names. How in the world can those coincidences happen? Majority will say God made it happen but a few scientists will try to find out why they happen using scientific methods of inquiry. We choose which side of the fence to stand on – the believers or the free-thinking scientists.

Q4) Would you consider that that man is the peak in the evolutionary scale (past, present and future) and that no other entity [like God] is above man?

Ans4) I do not think that man is at the peak of the evolutionary scale. Many factors contribute to how humanity evolves. The lifestyle and the diet of the modern man develop his physical form to conform to its environment. What will man need to look like to lay down on the couch and push buttons of his TV remote control or sit in front of his computer all day? Does the 21st century obese american look anything like his nomadic ancestors who walked from africa to populate the planet? By the way, the modern whale mammal has 5 finger skeletons in its flippers. Why did God put them there? Some scientists believe that whales were once land mammals that ended up in the oceans and evolved to their present form to survive. Do you believe that God made them the way they are now from the beginning and that the evolutionary scientists are wrong?

Q5) For what reason(s) you think why you are an agnostic; is it because you do not know, you have doubts and why do you have doubts; is it because you were disappointed [not answered for what you requested] for whatever reason?

Ans5) Like mother teresa, i cannot believe that there is any God responsible for all the misery and happiness that happens on our planet earth or any other inhabited planet in other solar systems. It is only by chance – the luck of the draw and the roll of the dice – that I ended up where I am. I could have ended up picking trash in payatas all my life instead.

I did not pray to God to be cured of my cancer. Everyone can form their opinions on why I survived. It would be too childish of me to reject God because I prayed for a porsche and was disappointed he did not give me one. From the sweat of my brow I can afford to buy one now but I keep asking myself how driving one will make my life any better?

in my retirement i spend most of my free time thinking about God, religion and the human condition and why things are the way they are. I have lots of questions for which I have not found answers.

I think that there are no right or wrong answers. everything depends on what makes one feel good about God, religion and the human condition. I have no quarrel with that. To each his own beliefs.

Please copy and click: com/watch? v=6qsIK4zEbT4 – ‘Playing God’: Life Created In Lab
Scientist Craig Venter creates life for first time in laboratory sparking debate about ‘playing god’
Artificial life has been created in a laboratory for the first time by a maverick scientist.

Q6) How long do you think random sampling takes to form a single strand of human DNA with all the information imprinted into that strand; and then packed the right DNA and the right numbers in millions of DNA strands in a single chromosome to form the beginning of an organism?

Ans6) I do not know the answer to that question but that does not mean that I have to credit a God for creating the human DNA. Primitive men worshipped the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees and the animals and prayed to them because they did not know the answers to why certain events happened.

Q7) What is life and where did it come from?

Ans7) offers 7 theories suggested by various scientists studying the origin of life. they are as follows:

a) Primordial soup

Life on Earth began more than 3 billion years ago, evolving from the most basic of microbes into a dazzling array of complexity over time. But how did the first organisms on the only known home to life in the universe develop from the primordial soup?

b) Electric Spark

Electric sparks can generate amino acids and sugars from an atmosphere loaded with water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen, as was shown in the famous Miller-Urey experiment reported in 1953, suggesting that lightning might have helped create the key building blocks of life on Earth in its early days. Over millions of years, larger and more complex molecules could form. Although research since then has revealed the early atmosphere of Earth was actually hydrogen-poor, scientists have suggested that volcanic clouds in the early atmosphere might have held methane, ammonia and hydrogen and been filled with lightning as well.

c) Community Clay

The first molecules of life might have met on clay, according to an idea elaborated by organic chemist Alexander Graham Cairns-Smith at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. These surfaces might not only have concentrated these organic compounds together, but also helped organize them into patterns much like our genes do now.
The main role of DNA is to store information on how other molecules should be arranged. Genetic sequences in DNA are essentially instructions on how amino acids should be arranged in proteins. Cairns-Smith suggests that mineral crystals in clay could have arranged organic molecules into organized patterns. After a while, organic molecules took over this job and organized themselves.

d) Deep-Sea Vents

The deep-sea vent theory suggests that life may have begun at submarine hydrothermal vents, spewing key hydrogen-rich molecules. Their rocky nooks could then have concentrated these molecules together and provided mineral catalysts for critical reactions. Even now, these vents, rich in chemical and thermal energy, sustain vibrant ecosystems.

e) Chilly Start
Ice might have covered the oceans 3 billion years ago, as the sun was about a third less luminous than it is now. This layer of ice, possibly hundreds of feet thick, might have protected fragile organic compounds in the water below from ultraviolet light and destruction from cosmic impacts. The cold might have also helped these molecules to survive longer, allowing key reactions to happen.

f) RNA World

Nowadays DNA needs proteins in order to form, and proteins require DNA to form, so how could these have formed without each other? The answer may be RNA, which can store information like DNA, serve as an enzyme like proteins, and help create both DNA and proteins. Later DNA and proteins succeeded this “RNA world,” because they are more efficient. RNA still exists and performs several functions in organisms, including acting as an on-off switch for some genes. The question still remains how RNA got here in the first place. And while some scientists think the molecule could have spontaneously arisen on Earth, others say that was very unlikely to have happened.
Other nucleic acids other than RNA have been suggested as well, such as the more esoteric PNA or TNA.

Simple Beginnings
Instead of developing from complex molecules such as RNA, life might have begun with smaller molecules interacting with each other in cycles of reactions. These might have been contained in simple capsules akin to cell membranes, and over time more complex molecules that performed these reactions better than the smaller ones could have evolved, scenarios dubbed “metabolism- first” models, as opposed to the “gene-first” model of the “RNA world” hypothesis.

g) Panspermia

Perhaps life did not begin on Earth at all, but was brought here from elsewhere in space, a notion known as panspermia. For instance, rocks regularly get blasted off Mars by cosmic impacts, and a number of Martian meteorites have been found on Earth that some researchers have controversially suggested brought microbes over here, potentially making us all Martians originally. Other scientists have even suggested that life might have hitchhiked on comets from other star systems. However, even if this concept were true, the question of how life began on Earth would then only change to how life began elsewhere in space.

Q8) Is 15B years long enough for all the things in the universe to happen in which the point of reference is infinity?

Ans8) I do not know the answer to that question but because I do not know the answer does not mean that God is responsible for all the things that happened in the universe. Primitive men worshipped the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees and the animals and prayed to them because they did not know why certain events happened.

The princeton astrophysicist Reinabelle Reyes does not credit a God for the questions that she does not know the answers to. She keeps on working in the laboratory searching for answers using the scientific method of inquiry instead. I like that.

Do you know the answers to your last 3 questions above? Are you suggesting that because you and I do not know the answers to your questions, our ignorance should be enough proof for us to believe there is a God? Is their ignorance enough reason for primitive men to worship the sun, the moon, the trees and the animals and pray to them as gods? Should we follow their example?

Maria Lorena Barros by Percival Cruz – true story

As blogger, I will post my favorite stories, like this. TJ

In Memory of Maria Lorena Barros

(The author, Percival Campoamor Cruz finished MBA at UP; was a writer at Philippine Collegian at The Guilder. He won 1st prize for his play, “Kalupitan ng Nakararami”, 1963 Andres Bonifacio Centennial in Manila. Was ad executive of Delta Motor Corp. (Toyota) – Reach, Inc. and ad consultant of Toyota, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine National Bank, Frigidaire, Hooven Aluminum, Zest-O, Mariwasa Tiles, Sharp, Pacific Memorial Plan, Sinclair Paint, etc. Was producer or chief writer of telenobela in Channels 2, 4, 7, 13 in Phils. He authored “May Bagwis Ang Pag-ibig”, tagalog stories by his father and himself. This Barros story is included in Writings-8, under tatay jobo elizes self-publishing efforts)

“With the same intensity and fragrance, we are learning to overcome.” – Maria Lorena Barros

“Maria Lorena Barros’ life story earned credence and became historical.” – E. San Juan, Jr.

Lorena with an “armalite” in her hand and exchanging fires with soldiers in pursuit of her. Lorena indoctrinating an assembly of cadres, punching the air with her fists, as she orated before them. Lorena, a dedicated soldier, who came down from the hills to perform her duties as wife and mother in an obscure village under a cloak of secrecy. Lorena – an icon of steely determination and total sacrifice in the name of a great principle. We could not believe that Lorena, the warrior and heroine, was the same quiet Lorena who we had the pleasure of meeting in college.

Founder and chairwoman of Makibaka, a radical women’s group that fought the dictatorial and pro-American administration of Marcos, she fled to the mountains before Marcos’ soldiers could lay their hands on her. This is the Lorena being portrayed in history.

She joined the “underground”, an army-in-waiting made up of young people who clashed with the government in a tactical way, using the strike-and-run strategy. Other young people who decided to fight Marcos in the parliament of the streets armed only with their ideals and courage ended up being abused by the military. They were dealt with harshly and without due process – abducted, jailed, raped, tortured, “salvaged”.

Lorena gave up the loving family that nurtured her from infancy to womanhood. Though middle-class in status, the family was able to send her to good schools and make sure she lived a life of quiet and comfort.

She came to the university in a tumultuous time. The Vietnam War was raging on and its unpopularity was dividing nations. Marcos was putting together the structure of a dictatorship. He was beginning to clamp down on the freedom of the Filipinos.

Radical organizations sprang from the youth, farmer and worker sectors across the nation. They mobilized to be at the forefront of politicizing the masses and resisting Marcos’ dictatorship and America ’s imperialism.

Lorena came to join the fraternity-sorority we helped organize at the University of the Philippines in 1965, Sanduguang Kayumanggi (Blood Compact of Brown Men and Women). Co-founders were Magdangal de Leon, now a Justice; Malaya Ronas, chair of political science in the University of the Philippines ; Rodolfo de Guzman, WMO meteorologist in Geneva ; Valerio Nofuente, a poet who was probably “salvaged” by the military; Renato Reyes, Floro Quibuyen, now Rizal professor in U.P., and others. From this organization she acquired her first lessons on nationalism. Later on, she also became an ardent member of the Bertrand Russel Peace Foundation (BRPF), Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), and Kabataang Makabayan (KM).

She was in many street demonstrations – at Malacanang and at the U.S. Embassy. She listened to the fiery speeches of Jose Maria Sison; she saw the energy and courage of the young men and women, as young as she was, engaging the soldiers and the police in confrontations, with nary a defense except for their placards and banners. The stinging speeches, the bravery of her companions, hit their mark on Lorena’s heart. There was, too, an inert power in her being that was waiting to be aroused – she had the blood of revolutionaries; her grandfather was a Katipunero and her mother was a courier of the Hukbalahap.

The follower soon became the leader. She founded Makibaka so that women could have their own place in the nationalist movement, so that she could employ her skill in teaching, following in the footsteps of Joma, and her passion for writing. Her writings became more incisive and provocative. Lorena expressed her basic political belief, thus:

“We are suffering from a feudal sense of values in which women are considered adjuncts of the home — for the children, for the kitchen and for the bed…We are not trying to put down these traditional roles, we just want more active involvement from the Filipino women.”

Lorena challenged her fellow women in possessing the trait of the new Filipina:

“The new woman, the new Filipina, is first and foremost a militant…

And since in the cities, participation in protest marches means not only marching but also dodging police truncheons, evading precinct produced molotovs…expertise is hitting the ground whenever and whatever pig force starts firing…the new Filipina is one who has learned…to carry herself in these situations with sufficient ease and aplomb to convince the male comrades that they need not take care of her, please.

The new Filipina is one who can stay whole days and nights with striking workers, learning from them the social realities which her bourgeois education has kept from her…More important this means she has convinced her parents of the seriousness of her commitment to the workers and peasants cause…a commitment which requires all sorts of behavior previously way beyond the bounds of respectable womanhood…She is a woman who has discovered the exalting realm of responsibility, a woman fully engaged in the making of history…

No longer is she a woman-for-marriage, but more and more a woman-for-action.”

We had the privilege of working closely with Lorena in the recruitment of members into our nationalist organization. We made sure students came to meetings and understood the importance of their role in changing the status quo. Lorena was shy and quiet. She was not comfortable speaking in public; in contrast, her pen was very eloquent and poetic. She was modest, wore simple clothes, and glowed even without make-up. She had black, long hair held by a band. She wore black-framed eyeglasses that somewhat obscured her beautiful face. She was fair and had very smooth cheeks and complexion. She had very expressive, rather sad eyes. But her lips always conveyed friendship and cheerfulness.

Lorena struck us as a gem polished and kept hidden by her parents until it was time to interact with society; similar to a seed ensconced in the protective bosom of a mother pearl and then exposed one day and seen by a grateful discoverer.

Lorena gave us a short poem that she wrote:

Fresh, white and lovely
The flower subsists and sparkles
On the sun’s and the evening dew’s power.
It will wither.
And you briefly seeing its splendor
Makes the blooming and the withering

Lorena disappeared without notice and the chance to say thank you to a brief friendship did not present itself. And we heard later on that she joined the militant young men and women who took refuge in the mountains. She became a teacher, poetess, warrior, and pearl of the New People’s Army (NPA).

She wrote in one pamphlet: “What is a mother? A rich source of food to a hungry infant. A warm blanket on a cold night. Sweet lullaby. Water to a painful wound . . . But what is a nationalistic mother? The lighted torch toward the dawn. Solid rock. Fountainhead of strength in war. Comrade-in-arms in war and victory, my mother.”

She praised her comrades-in-arms:

This morning Little Comrade
gave me a flower’s bud
I look at it now
remembering you, Felix
dear friend and comrade
and all the brave sons and daughters
of our suffering land
whose death
makes our blades sharper
gives our bullets
surer aim.
How like this pure white bud
are our martyrs
fiercely fragrant with love
for our country and people
With what radiance they should
still have unfolded.
But sadness should not be
their monument
whipped and lashed desperately
by bomb-raised storms
has not our Asian land
continued to bloom.
Look how bravely our ranks
bloom into each gap
With the same intense purity and fragrance
we are learning to overcome.

Lorena’s chosen life and fortune took the logical turn. She fell in love with one of her comrades and the union produced a son. We imagine the double life she had to endure – switching roles from mother to warrior – constantly hiding, disguising, wandering and surviving in a harsh environment; all for the love of the Mother Land. What hurt most to a patriot was not the roughness of the living conditions; it was the thought that the people who meant well were being pursued while the people who meant to plunder were the ones in power. This thought hurt like having a sharp knife stuck in the heart.

According to reports: “On March 24, 1976, government military troops raided a hut in Mauban, Quezon where Lorena met her tragic death. It is said that she ordered her comrades to make a escape leaving her alone to repulse the military raid. She was only 28 years old.”

The wise men of the revolution celebrated the martyrdom of Lorena.

Such edification can be found in E. San Juan , Jr.’s poem:

Though the memory had drifted away, it still hurts:
24 March 1976 when you were nabbed by the soldiers of the U.S.-Marcos dictatorship.
When they failed to extract answers from you – the gun was mute – they shot you in the head before you fell on the shore of the “land of the morning sun, of glory and patriotism.”
Your friends added: “Her skull was breaking into pieces but still she did not surrender.”

Lured but not to be shared. If possible, even unexpectedly, maybe.
What more could be added to the testimony of Maita Gomez?
Excruciating blow – deliver her, brave Virgin fighting to escape –
She was close to kissing the barbed wire wound around her body. Other than leaping over the barbed fence. . .”

Remember the incident involving Expedito Albarillo, son Adel saw it –
his body was beaten to a pulp – not intentionally – those animals had no mercy, no joke.
In the jungles of Mindoro , the hungry wolves are kind. Though not forbidden.

Lured but not to be shared. If possible, even unexpectedly, maybe. Fallen and unmoving, the bayonet of fate still pierces the chest.

Gentle memory, may your gun rest on your lap. Deliver us. Caring spirit,
lift up the fallen body.
A blown-up mother. Broken into shards.
Engraved in the consciousness: our salvation is in our action.

March without an end, April, May . . .

A piece of rusting barbed wire.

Why impossible? The path is cut with every step

Where crossed

And criscrossed

the raised and crucified arms of Ka Lori.

In an essay written by Renato Redentor Constantino, he showed us  Lorena’s place in history:

Lorena Barros was a child of her family and a daughter of her people — a single tree, as WH Auden wrote, shooting out from fallow ground and leaning out far over a cliff, contemptuous of the precipice. Decades ago, fighting the dictatorship from the guerilla zone, Laurie wrote a letter to a friend about “learning all over again what love means.” “Nasisilaw ako,” she wrote, blinded by the eyes of the person whom she had come to embrace. “Di na ako nadala,” wrote Laurie, ending her letter probably with the flourish of a secret smile — “I have not learned to keep from getting burned again.” On the morning of March 24, 1976 the martial flood of the Marcos regime engulfed her body.

And in the work of Bienvenido Lumbera:

All the Lorenas
When you escaped from the Ipil Rehabilitation Center
you wore my navy blue t-shirt
(I need it, you said, so my body will blend with the dark)
And we who stayed behind
partook of the freedom that took you
to the jungle like freedom village
where you lived.
and in every encounter against the enemy
we, who you left behind,
united with the masses
and fought with you.

When your body was brought down to Manila,
there in a decrepit dropping place
you left us waiting
till you resurrected.

Almost seventeen years have passed.

Many of our poets
have written poems about your bravery.
Depicted you in already two plays
as an armed heroine.

The women expectant of a purple dawn
have tried to make you come back
through different expressions
like recreating bits and pieces of your life story
in a quilt —
dressing up a quiet martyr
and a prostitute waiting in bed
(such, it was said, was the fate of the Filipina)
in the flowery blouse of a cadre
and the parachute pants of a red warrior.
But words have no mind of their own –
they only come out of the mouth
of people who know nothing.

Hear now — measured and cut
folded and basted,
the Lorena that came up
was a tight blouse and loose pants.
Now you are Lorena
of different interpretations —
Lorena of the soil
Lorena of the bourgeois intellectual
Lorena of the women poets
Lorena of the free from the chain of conventions
Lorena of the farmers in Southern Tagalog
Lorena of the warriors

The words being put together
simulate the thread of a weaver
extending inserting knotting
until the images created of you
are laid down
on the spot you occupied
and quickly erased
by racing bullets

The image
carried in speeches
splashed in the pages
posted on the wall
are you and not you.

But stop bothering us,
don’t show us
the Lorena, who is more or less she,
We don’t want that.

It is enough that once a great woman
believed that, in the coming days,
women and men will be free,
will free each other,
cannot wait,
she woke up the women who were half-awake, bored,
roused up the avenue boulevard park,
and with a fiery voice,
set the east on fire,
together, dispersed the morning —

were the Lorenas.

Perhaps her son also became a soldier for the people and, if he did, he may still be out in the fields fighting the government. He may be avoiding capture or death in the hands of the government soldiers, taking cover behind the shadows of trees in the mountains, going around disguised as a farmer, and transforming himself into a fierce warrior armed with the “armalite” of Lorena when challenged. The war between the People’s Army where the nationalists belong and the pro-government forces will persist for as long society remains incapable of changing itself.

(More about Maria Lorena Barros is available via search in the internet)