Written by Jeff William Acosta
It's 9 am Sunday. Another day I am forced to wake
up while I'm in the process of drowning my body
in the waters inside my head
when everyone is sleeping, along with half the verses
I mutter every single night
About time to leave the sheets & the bed
where I begged not to hear my parents singing:
"God is great, and God is good
and we thank you for the food".
—it annoys the rebel residing,
& I hope God forgets
me that He'd write nothing in the pages of my sins.
I wouldn't say that I like praying,
but it somehow calms me like a mantra
or a battle cry before the slaughtering
of "coward" Indios in my pagan ancestors' rice fields.
Those Spanish priests probably made a list
not of their names or body counts
nor souls they'll include in their prayers
but these lands to be sliced and served like cakes
"Let's bow our heads, close our eyes
and pray to the Lord", Pastor Paul said,
& I do, I always do like a dog worshipper
but before that, I peak at how others do it
—my subtle cheating,
& I hope God doesn't mind,
that He'd write nothing of how I half-closed my eyes.
Today, in front, someone I know is preaching.
I am frightened. I fear what he'll say.
He might know. His words are Your words.
Calling out the sinner who knows his sins
—the worst kind of sinner.
I tried not to meet his eyes
—my secret protest, but it's deafening,
& my thick skin crumbles to every word
that comes out from his mouth. So, I stared
at the fishing-boat instead
& I wished for it to be swallowed
not by the ocean but a whale,
& I don't know what I was thinking
but it stayed still, not even flinching
at the sun's punishment, staying adrift,
"Suffering is real. We are called to recognize it,
not to deny it. God never wanted us to suffer.
Our sufferings are direct and indirect consequences of
our fallen humanity. Suffering is real, but God is"
navigating the coveys of waves.
Note: The last italicized words are taken from my best friend's sermon.
Jeff William Acosta is a Filipino poet from Ilocos Sur, Philippines. His works have appeared in Vox Populi, Revolt Magazine, Lumiere Review, and others. Find him at jeffwilliamacosta.weebly.com.