|In both the last two posts — featuring my Ferdinand Marcos poem and my Imelda Marcos poem — I've referred to a third sonnetina that completes my "Marcos trilogy." This third starring none other than Bongbong Marcos |
Once, in the late '80s, when I performed the first two Marcos sonnetinas at a poetry reading to a mainly Asian American audience, someone yelled out, "Cheap humor!" Well, I gotta admit, those two poems are cheap humor; the Marcoses are such easy, obvious, unavoidable targets. This third poem, spoken by Bongbong and written several years later, features even more heightened slapstick than the earlier two. I really cranked up the cheap humor: my Bongbong poem is downright cheesy and campy and over the top.
I hope the cheap humor comes across: I couldn't resist, for example, the well-known and well-remarked juxtaposition of "Cardinal" and "Sin" (the actual name of the Philippines' actual cardinal back in that day); or Bongbong saying "I lied; I haven't sinned" (here an unremarked irony). Look for stuff like that; the poem is full of such slapstick silliness. But hey, how can you avoid that, when your speaker is named "Bongbong"!
Oh, incidentally — just an aside, not really something germane to the poem as such — isn't it interesting that both father and son have Emmanuel as part of their given names? Emmanuel, "God with us," a name for the Christ. Wow. Might there be some messianic, self-exceptionalist projection at play there? (Not to mention that their first name is Ferdinand
The picture on the left shows Imelda kissing the glass coffin of Ferdinand. I couldn't pin down a source for this picture, which appears in many webpages across the internet. Nevertheless, an interesting reversal of Snow White asleep in her glass coffin, about to be awakened by Prince Charming's kiss. Well, here it's the man inside the glass, and the kisser is the woman. Though some people have wondered, because Ferdinand looks so darn good (and young) under glass, that what we're looking at is a wax figure and the actual corpse is elsewhere or perhaps directly underneath. Who knows? It's that trademark Marcos weirdness.
The picture on the right is of Bongbong Marcos arriving at Honolulu Airport in 1996, three years after the family returned to the Philippines, to testify in a court case where a group representing a deceased Filipino treasure hunter was seeking $1 trillion in damages from an incident where allegedly Marcos's soldiers stole a 1-ton solid gold Buddha from said treasure hunter. Do read the Honolulu Star-Bulletin article which the photo illustrates; it will give you a glimpse of the strange events that continually surround the Marcos family as well as an impression of Bongbong's fascinating personality, often overshadowed by the larger-than-life reputations of his parents.
The Bongbong sonnetina is forthcoming quite soon in Mondo Marcos: Martial Law Babies Write About Marcos and His Martial Law, edited by Frank Cimatu and Rolando B. Tolentino. Today's blog appearance of the Bongbong sonnetina is meant as a kind of advance advertisement for Mondo Marcos, which will elaborate more of the weird world of the Marcoses.
Oh! I should share with you my own family's involvement in the weird world of the Marcoses. During the late '60s and early '70s, my father Martin Gotera, a very vocal critic of the Marcos regime, wrote a column in the US-based Philippine News, a loud anti-Marcos voice in print. As such, he was (supposedly) on Ferdinand's infamous blacklist. As a child, I never quite knew what being on the blacklist meant; perhaps that was why we never traveled to the Philippines during those days? Was my father afraid of being arrested? Or, worse yet, salvaged or disappeared.
On the other side of the coin was my stepmother, Carolina Matsumura Gotera. She was most definitely a Marcos supporter — a very avid one. In fact, she was one of Imelda's Blue Ladies. These women were her informal ladies-in-waiting, a kind of clique or close social circle.
No one could be farther from or more reviled among the Marcos faithful than someone on the blacklist, and no one could be more "in" the Marcos inner circle than a member of the Blue Ladies. And in my family, we had one of each! When Papa (re)married Carolina, I was grown and didn't live at home any longer, so I never witnessed up close how my father and his wife reconciled this gap. My stepmother quite often talked about her high-society adventures with the Blue Ladies, and my father would just smile. It was that Marcos weirdness right in my own family.
On another front, the sonnetina front: I'm currently in touch with the poet Michael Heffernan, inventor of the sonnetina. I'll report back with details on our discussions about the sonnetina and how it developed. Stay tuned. Also, I'll let you know when Mondo Marcos is out. Take care.
Added on 27 July 2009: it occurred to me today that some readers may not know about the sonnetina form. Look at my June 18 post with the Ferdinand Marcos poem; there is a brief explanation of the sonnetina there.
Added on 27 July 2011: Yo yo yo, Mondo Marcos has landed!
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