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Dreaming, eyes closed,

of women, of princesses,
of an old frail man I met once as a child,
of weapons and bolos,
and of shapes, circles within circles, triangles,
of jungles, of Gundar in Samar,
where the blind Princess Josephine is from,
but one one remembers her...

but I remember.
I remember
eyes closed yet open
the third eye opening to God,
Bathala.
Images of people and places
somehow connected, meeting
at a place within me, the crossroads.
Where do they lead?
Where do they go?

the rhythm, do you feel it?


No.

Unaware, deaf to the sounds,


wait!
On the verge of it, sensing
it... no, that's not it.
Help me, woman warrior,
Mandirigmang babae, tulungan po ako.
the rhythm, do you feel it?
No, not yet, wait!
Eyes, ears, hands straining
trying to find what I do not understand.
What is it that calls to you?
What is it that you hear, frail man?
What is it that you want from me?
with time, give it time

Touch her touch him


circles within circles
dancing in rhythm
in time walking though jungles
the ultimate test, dark
shadows, places where the moonlight
enters, knowing
of the enemy knowing
the enemy will come knowing
the demon will come knowing
the demon will appear
do not run away, you must face it.
Why did you run?
Natakot ako. I was afraid.
If you have fear, you have no faith.
The demon will follow you now.
Yes, I know. Face the demon.
Yes, Guro. Face the demon.
Halad, protection, asking Bathala
forgiveness for the blood of my enemy
for the life Bathala created and the one I may take away.
Protection from the evil that
may enter the door to mine third eye
thank you Bathala salamat po.
Orasyon, the prayer.

the rhythm, do you feel it?


The hands move quickly, then slow.
The feet move quickly, then slow.
The mind moves quickly, then slow.
shuffle, shuffle, shuffle
strike strike strike
shuffle, shuffle, shuffle
strike strike strike
shuffle, shuffle, shuffle
strike strike killing blow

I kill for others,


I defend their lives not mine.
Falling into the trance
hiding the rage
kumukulo ang dugo
the outer world a blur
a whirlwind
turning spinning
only two, only you
do you feel the rhythm?
no life no death
only hands feet and head
touch him, put your hand
on his shoulder
feel the warmth of the blood coursing
through his body as it does within you
the warmth of the blood spilling
the warmth of the blood flowing onto me
bloody, dugu-duguan.
Bathala forgive me for the blood
of the life that you created the one
that was sacrificed for mine
and the lives that I defend.
It is for them, not for me, that I
thank you Bathala salamat po.
do you feel the rhythm?
of steps of heartbeats of life
do you feel the rhythm?
do you feel the drum that beats
within you
Listen
do you feel the rhythm?
your rhythm matching the drum
you and the rhythm becoming one
you becoming the rhythm
do you feel the rhythm?
the beating of your heart
moving one with the rhythm
moving the rhythm
do you feel the rhythm?
Yes, now, I feel the rhythm.

Tell me the story again. Yes,


I've heard it before but not
from you, not from your words.
Tell me the story again the story of
your dreams of how you walk the jungle

searching for a teacher


and finding in her
Mandirigmang babae
blind princess I have never seen
who stands by the river
unmatched by any man.

Tell me the story of how you asked her


to walk her circle
woman warrior mandrigmang babae
you are my blood I walk the circle for you
for you so strong and beautiful unmatched by any man
for you for whom they always see darkness
for you for whom I always see
for you who flows like the river
for you who flows within me now.
Mandirigmang babae, magkadugo na tayo.
Women warrior, we are of one blood now.

Tell me the story of your dreams


frail man whose spirit has found new life in my own
the stories of my mother the stories of me
touch him, feel the warmth of
the blood that courses within him
as it courses within your own
frail man you come to me in my mother's stories
master of arnis master
of an art walker upon
fire you are my blood I am
part of your circle frail man
I met once as a child
I complete the circle for you.

Closed eyes dreaming


dreaming of places and people I've never seen yet so much a part of me now.
dreaming of jungles of jungles of princesses
dreaming of shapes circles within circles of triangles
dreaming of weapons and bolos
dreaming of the blind princess by the river unmatched by any man
dreaming of the old frail man I met once as a child
dreaming of me walking the circle touching the warmth
of the blood that runs within me as it runs within them.

I close my eyes and dream.