Elegy for Alexander Martin Remollino

By Melissa Roxas

news of your death arrives

like so many unmarked packages

no to, or from,

just the anticipation

of wanting to know

why, when;

this box carries

news I never want to hear,

another death of a friend,

of a comrade, irreconcilable loss;

there are unfinished conversations,

messages to you still to be sent…

it seems more of these packages

arrive every day…

death can be so unpredictable,

we can only be assured of the moment

never anything before or after–

the before is a memory, the after uncertain

in your short 33 years of life

you have given to the world

what you could give

your talent as a writer

your words

that gave so many truths

that people in power wanted to bury

I remembered when you came here and interviewed me

you asked what I thought of being surfaced alive;

what do I still know about living?–except

there are many more things that need to be done

and now with your death

it reminds me more people need to take up the pen to write

the stories that the world needs to hear

the ghosts that won’t rest until their stories are told,

to remember our thoughts are free,

The last time I saw you, you helped me

translate one of my poems to tagalog;

just yesterday I prepared a mini anthology of poems for you

to read while at the hospital, some favorites of yours like Neruda,

introduce you to the poems of Komunyakaa…

but they arrived too late,

like this poem

it arrives at the end of the marked page,

becomes an after-poem,

it reminds me that the moment

is all we have, and we choose

what to do with it,

that we should choose what will make the difference,

yes, during the best years of your life

you have given to a cause you believed was larger than yourself

you wrote those verses that mattered, gave a voice to people

who needed their stories told,

and wrote from your heart.

You faced death with a knowledge that only comes

to people who have dedicated their lives for the cause–

an assurance that even after your death

the revolution will live on with the people,

and for you that was enough;

you will be remembered my friend,

you will be remembered.

September 3, 2010

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