News and Cliché

By Gexter Lacambra

Waste, Negligence and Cronyism:
Inside Britain’s Pandemic Spending
French President Tests Positive
as Global Rollout of Vaccine Continues
Life has got worse since Arab spring,
say people across Middle East

US FDA declares genetically
modified pork ‘safe to eat’
King of Sweden blasts ‘failed’ Covid
strategy in rare royal rebuke

da sabato vietato uscire dal comune
dopo le ore 14 “Una zona arancione ridotta”
Jupiter and Saturn’s ‘great conjunction’:
How to observe rare phenomenon

Murakami to ring in new year at the mic

Yes, Virginia, I tell you now: not everyone
cares for every one during a pandemic;
the world might just be overburdened
so it’s throwing good apples to the pigs.
You might not believe it, but
not all the gods in Olympus have power
to shield themselves from the unseen
danger they might as well need a droplet
of magical water from river Styx.
You give a hint you are not rich but dear,
unlike your robed cousins in the desert,
you hold a thousand reasons to slice off
a chunk of roast turkey on Thanksgiving.
No, you and I aren’t scared to eat pork,
right? But to get by, we need not care less.
We can’t focus these days so we get some
censure from kings and the powers-that-be:
stay at home, peep through telescopes,
watch the celestial gods stand side by side.
This year hasn’t been good to us [sigh] so
next year’s another cliché and somebody
will write it again: hope springs eternal.

Gexter Lacambra was once a teacher of English in Pangasinan, Philippines. A member of LIRA (Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika at Anyo), the premier organization of poets writing in Filipino, he has published poems in English and Filipino in the Philippines Graphic magazine, ANI (of the Cultural Center of the Philippines), and Liwayway (the oldest Tagalog literary magazine). He now lives in Milan, Italy with his wife Marilou and their two children, Gem and Gaea.

I gathered about 15 or more headlines on December 17 from prestigious papers (The New York Times, The Guardian, The Straits Times, La Stampa, among others) but after sifting them, I included only those which I deemed “striking”. In collecting the headlines, I could see a surreal pattern – a mode – like the warp and weft in a cloth, of things that prevail in our world today: fear of the unseen, our vulnerability to disease despite advances in medical science, stress, depression, anxiety, and our propensity to look for anything that can amuse us to divert our attention away from the pandemic, etc.  And I remember the famous editorial from a very old newspaper; I have read about that editorial in a journalism book when I was still in high school. What could be the little girl Virginia O’Hanlon might be thinking if she was living in our time? I wanted to talk to her in my poem.

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Gerwil Lacambra
Gerwil Lacambra
11 months ago


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