Because fighting was his element by Karlo Sevilla

When he was first caught,

they laid him supine on cold floor

and with their boots on repeatedly

jumped on his chest till a rib cage

broke and pierced lung collapsed.

But he never squealed;

not another’s whereabouts compromised

nor a single real name revealed.

This poem pays tribute to all the brave victims of human rights violations in the Philippines during the martial law era under the Marcos dictatorship. The late president Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972, and lifted it on January 17, 1981. Currently, the Philippine government – for whatever reasons — has scheduled a hero’s burial for the remains of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos.



Karlo Sevilla’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in I am not a silent poet, Philippines Graphic, Philippines Free Press, Eastlit, Radius, Indiana Voice Journal, Pacifiqa, Spank the Carp, Rat’s Ass Review,, Shot Glass Journal, The Fib Review, Rambutan, Kitaab and Pilgrim. He is a volunteer for the labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (Solidarity of Filipino Workers). He blogs at:

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