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Mob Rule by Karlo Sevilla

Consider this sea of movement, the multitude in waves.

Now, deceptively calm, until by a mysterious wave

of a demagogue’s hand, it shall arise tidal

to sweep and ruin everything in its path.

                       

Then, what crimes in whose or what name

will be committed?

 

And history is replete with precedents

which lessons we refuse to learn

or have unlearned:

 

A hundred flowers bloomed,

a thousand flowers crushed.

 

First, they predicted a fire.

Then, they started a fire.

 

(Last night, I taught my children to weep in secret

because the predators,

when they see tears,

smell blood.)

 

In the name of superstition, religion.

In the name of science, revolution.

In the name of one man.

 

It shall be another spectacular but unbeautiful release.

A pyrotechnics of collective anger.

A cause righteous or unrighteous

but without doubt waged

virulently—violent

and vicious.

 

We’ll run away to survive,

only to perish

at borders.



Originally Published by Collective Unrest 2019


Karlo Sevilla of Quezon City, Philippines is the author of the full-length poetry collection, “Metro Manila Mammal” (Soma Publishing, 2018). Recognized among the Best of Kitaab 2018, shortlisted for the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2021, and thrice nominated for the Best of the Net, his poems appear in Philippines Graphic, Protean, DIAGRAM, Small Orange, Empty Room, DON'T SUBMIT!, RIC Journal, JAKE, and elsewhere.

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