Fine, immaculate white powder

By: Raymund Fernandez October 17,2017 - 10:36 PM

RAYMUND FERNANDEZ

And how else can it be but that power is a language best spoken without words?

Or, if words are inescapable, then they must be words spoken secretly, sub rosa, under the table — if that is how you speak — or uttered, or written in code so it is understood only by the few who know and wield.

It doesn’t mean that if you are rich or a member of the ruling class that you sleep better at night.

Power is not power if it is not coveted, or jealously guarded, or fought for; and most easily, with guns, gold and bayonets. The rich and powerful, they are not afraid of the poor and the powerless. They are more afraid of the rich and powerful.

The poor and powerless are merely units of transaction, illegal tender — if you will — for things as they transpire in history. But the other rich and powerful can become more rich and more powerful quite so suddenly even before the sun sets on this day.

By tomorrow, this one, rich and powerful, could end up in jail, or in the Crame, or worse, in the New Bilibid, ending up cooking meth for others more rich and powerful.

Power is a language spoken with tenuous meanings.

To understand is neither the same, nor is it reflexive or reciprocal of to-be-understood, or understandable.

What is the word for the cold body of a young boy withering away under the hot morning sun, shoeless in a bald spot of a sugar cane field in Negros?

Beside him is something they call a pugakhang hereabouts. See, it is only a GI steel tube, which they load with a single shotgun shell, a nail for a firing pin, an oddly shaped wooden handle. “He fought back” was what they said.

And this is why he is dead, with several hundred thousand pesos’ worth of shabu beside him in neat little packets, estimated to cost tens of thousands of pesos. What can all these mean?

Why not buy a better gun? Why not fight back a little bit more effectively? Why not buy a pair of shoes? Or, were you only at the wrong place at the wrong time?

The week was wrapping up. Quotas to be made. We are all guilty anyway. Since this is a crime where all, if not millions, are guilty. Twenty percent, fifty percent, eighty percent, one hundred percent, the full nine yards, guilty. What does it matter? This is how power cleans up power. It is the only way. Haha!

Are you stupid enough to believe?

It doesn’t matter. Power is not something with an IQ. It is the accident of destiny.

As when they say: To be senator, or congressman, or mayor, or barangay captain; oh, one chooses to be any of those things. But to be president? Oh, that comes only by destiny. Not by brains, not by money.

What does IQ and money have to do with it? All the IQ and money required reside elsewhere. Some rich and powerful entity pulls the strings from somewhere high up in the highest reaches of heaven, or the deepest, darkest, depths of hell. He, she, or it, is also a creature of destiny.

It is not easy to climb up here. One does not climb up here alone and without help. This ladder brings you to where entities and their strings become, always become, invisible. Power is not power or stays that way if it is too easily seen.

And so you are excused to be stupid enough to believe that way. Or, we forgive you. Or understand, if you do not understand. That too is destiny. As it is destiny for the poor shoeless young man to be dead. It would have been too expensive to send him to jail, or rehab.

And we all know, how after all that, he would have ended up in our streets again, anyway, since it is all he knows how to do.

He is too poor and powerless to be anything else. Sell, deliver or use a few grams of this fine, immaculate white powder to make you forget by making things seem clearer than ever before. That is why he died. That is what the fine, immaculate white powder does. And power also.

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