When I hear of sonnets, I always think of William Shakespeare. People know him for his notable works such as ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ‘Hamlet,’ and ‘Macbeth,’ but I was always a curious cat. The moment I’ve read his play ‘Coriolanus,’ I have attempted to look for other kinds of poetry that I might be very good at writing. That’s when I read his Sonnet 1: ‘From Fairest Creatures We Desire Increase.’ Since I started delving deeper on the nature of sonnets, I practiced a lot. With its three kinds—Shakespearean, Spenserian, and Petrarchan—I write narratives that would not only express what I feel, like most romantics do, but also the way I observe reality. Since I started staying at home in the beginning of the quarantine period in Manila, ranked as one of the cities with the highest number of COVID-19-related cases in the country, I started to observe, as a political student, how the government addresses the pandemic. I wrote the collection to explain what I felt, and what I have observed upon the reality that has been going on until now. I wrote this back in April. I call this “FILIPINO” because it is an acronym of the eight sonnets that I have written. Below is the entire eightfold collection. Enjoy!
Sonnet #1: For Our Motherland Dear
It talks about how politics and discourse are relevant nowadays in the prospect of attempting to change the status quo. This sonnet mainly talks about how resistance is a way to show that there are better options in make this world a better place.
Sonnet #2: Imbroglio
Imbroglio, based on my own understanding, is basically being in a confused state. With discourses taking place on different platforms, debates kept on going on—encompassing different facets of society. On a personal note, the importance of discourse should be there, no matter how problematic it might seem, which this sonnet is encapsulating.
Sonnet #3: Luzviminda
Every time I hear the name Luzviminda, I am always amazed. Being the abbreviation of the country’s major islands (Luzon, Visayas, & Mindanao), I always thought that once a person is named Luzviminda, she represents the nation as a triumvirate. With its diverse culture, a diversity of opinions is expected, and I always believe that it could go either way. This sonnet attempts to signify that we should be one amidst diversity, because if that happens, we will not end up in damnation.
Sonnet #4: In The Bloodshed
I was always aware of what is happening in the government and how it attempts to address the coronavirus pandemic, and everything just turns out to be apprehensive in my perspective. When President Duterte proclaimed that ‘shoot to kill’ order, I feared that the virus is not the only enemy, but as well as bullets. I always believe that dissent is not the problem, and deterrence is never the solution, which is the point of this sonnet.
Sonnet #5: People Power and Privileged Puppets
Discourse is always there, regardless of the social class that you are in. This sonnet attempts to show how divisive the society are in terms of their economic stability, and I always tried to understand why one side is saying such statement, and where did it come from. This, to me, is a fight, where Baltasar Gracián would say, “half the world is laughing at the other half, and all are fools.”
Sonnet #6: If In Our Own Homes, We’re Feeling Unsafe
I wrote this during the time I was feeling very unsafe with every action that I am doing to at least get myself together despite this fiasco—that has been going on for months now. The first four lines alone just shows my view of our situation, and how we should not be afraid to question ambiguities in our society.
Sonnet #7: Now or Never
This seventh sonnet, for me, is a call for unity. To me, it should be a discourse where people find a middle ground to put everything into place. It is because with this dilemma, to me it is a now-or-never kind of decision that needs to be made, which is the tone of the piece.
Sonnet #8: Ousting
And for the finale, this piece actually reminded me of Critical Theory—the idea of emancipation. Everything we are seeing is temporary, and I always believe that as people, it shouldn’t be that way. Thus, it is a must for us, as a people, to liberate ourselves, to oust the things that strangle us slowly to death. The idea of the big feast in here is about freedom, and how we should care for it, because that’s what should define our society, in my opinion.
I have said in the segment of the Naked Politixxx Podcast called the ‘Noisy Minority’ that I do art not to earn, but to learn. Since I have started writing at a very young age, it molded me to the worldview that I have today, and this eightfold collection is a call for everyone to not be afraid to speak your mind. Art, in its truest form, is political. It attempts to portray reality, no matter how beautiful, how gruesome, or how complex it may get. Life is indeed a complex reality, and one’s creativity can turn absurdity into something that would help the society.