By Lualhati Madlangawa-Guerrero
31 October 2009
“Terrorist”, “Subversive”, “Anti-family”, “Anti-god”. These are the words spoken against a man whose leadership in the National Democratic struggle was and is known for. But to me, he is a poetry writer and a good socio-political analyst-especially when it comes to literature as well as in political science. That man is better known as Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON.
Studied back then in Ateneo and Letran, finished college in UP for literature, “JOMA” as his colleauges called him, was famous for writing poetry as well as in discussing about politics, especially during the days he taught English literature and founding the Kabataang Makabayan in 1964. And this man I think really practise his works well as a literature professor-since some of the works he may have read was and is well connected with the realities happened not just in the Philippines, but also in the rest of the world, wherein rebellion is both good and evil.
And through his poetry perhaps, his deepest thought and experiences throughout his life turned into well versed words, and upon reading it shows how his life, from his professor days, protest days, to prison and eventually exile were being turned into poems of, like a Rizalian or a Bonifacio type, or even of Mao’s, mostly of life, sorrow, struggle, and redemption. And I think that, in every poem he hath written shows his love of country, of people, of a need for change, of calling for struggle, and some may show his persona-even love and humor perhaps.
Last time, I was listening to one of his poems turned into music; and thinking that the melodies being played into his poetry are kind of gothic, gothic minus the total gloom, gothic with a bit of deathly appearance, ambient somehow as it shows-just like the people’s chorale version of his poem turned song “The Guerrilla is like a poet.”
The Guerilla is Like a Poet
The melody somehow reminds of Evanescence, Within Temptation, and any other goth bands playing like that, however people may unexpect that the person who created that poem being played in a gloomy-like tune is a political prisoner accused of being subversive and being character assassinated by some groups against him, from the rightists in the congress to the rightists in the youtube and other internet sites! And as for the poem, also shows the gothic-ness within it as one part says:
“the inner silence, the outer innocence…”
Other poems-turned-songs are even consider it as near-gothic upon listening especially to its tune, “The bladed poem” perhaps, “Poems and rest” and even “Rose for a waking woman” carried a sense wherein like a gothic poet, living in dark but then trying to express emotion inside. Joma for me is a goth-like writer, goth minus the stereotypical appearance like in the subculture, but in some of his poems? or even in the songs out of his work like the ones being said? Somehow shows that even in a bit, he may be. So why not goth or folk metal bands create a label consists of Jose Maria Sison’s poems turned songs?