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Mr. Marcos (A Soliloquy)

Ñor Marcos (Un Soliloquia)

A dying man contemplates his poverty and the heavens in this self-translation by the late Filipino poet Francis C. Macansantos.
 

Listen to Dr. Sonia Macansantos Alensub read Francis C. Macansantos's "Ñor Marcos" in the original Zamboangueño Chavacano.


Mr. Marcos, a junk dealer, was found dead at dawn, still seated on a bench overlooking the sea at the Zamboanga wharf.
—News Report
 

Dawn till twilight
I’m on the lookout for empty containers
To sell to the Chinaman.
Tin cans and bottles,
Dented washbasin.

My cart, low-slung like a sled,
Is like a table that glides down the street,
Starting as a void
That fills out at day’s end
With empty containers.
If I find nothing,
I cannot set plates on the table.

The day is an empty container
Filled with empty time.
What face can I present to those
Whose plates are full,
Whose time is full,
Whose lives are full?

A bigger void still
Is the sky
Where stars scatter, pell-mell,
And in daytime is space tinted blue.

Hope
Is what gives us patience.
Are they two sisters
Or two faces of being broke?

Here by the seashore,
The moon taunts, smiles,
“Come into my parlor, old man.”
Talk to my children, whore,
Jingle and shake your stars
In their faces.

Here I will wait for the sky
To open her chest.
Here we will face each other,
Void to void.
 

"Ñor Marcos (Un Soliloquia)" © Francis C. Macansantos. Translation © Francis C. Macansantos. By arrangement with the estate of Francis C. Macansantos. All rights reserved.

Ñor Marcos (Un Soliloquia)

Mr. Marcos, a junk dealer, was found dead at dawn still seated on a bench overlooking the sea at the Zamboanga wharf.
—Noticia del periodico
 

Madrogada hasta oscuriciada
Ta busca que busca yo basio
Para bende na Chino
Lata y botella,
Palanggana bingaw.

Mi carreto bajo daw pahagat,
Daw mesa ta rodia na calle,
Ta empesa blanka
Y ta llena na pin del dia
Con basio.
Y si nohay encontra nada,
El mesa ni plato ay puede planta.

El dia un basio
Lleno de tiempo blanka.
Cosa pa cara yo dale mira kanila,
Aquellos que lleno el maga plato,
Aquellos que lleno el tiempo,
Aquellos que lleno el vida?

El mas grande vacancia
Amo el cielo
Donde sabulak maga estrellas,
Y na didia tintao de asul espacio.

El esperanza
Amo el ta dale paciencia.
Hermana ba esos dos
O dos cara del no hay ganancia?

Aqui na orilla del mar
Ta tenta el luna, te sonri,
“Entra na mi sala, Viejo.”
Conversa na mi maga anak, Puta,
Hace caching na de ila cara
El de bos maga estrella!

Aqui espera con el cielo
Abri sup echo.
Aqui kame man encuentro,
Basio con basio.
 

"Ñor Marcos (Un Soliloquia)" © Francis C. Macansantos. By arrangement with the estate of Francis C. Macansantos. All rights reserved.

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