Requiem for a Drummer Boy

Poetry by | February 24, 2008

Now who will sustain the
heartbeat of the song
So intent you were at the drums
You looked like you were a master cook head down
preparing delicacies for delicate guests.
When they cut off the lid of his skull
there his brain was throbbing out a
farewell song
Goodbye to Freedom
Goodbye to long standing friendships
to long journeys to far away places
loading all the guitars and gongs
in black zippered bags
death is a completed composition
Did you ever think of death then
Or simply soared with song
into the upper atmosphere, above the storm of it all
The living from hotel to hotel where the pick of audiences
deliberated with their beers and wines
their feet tapping the floor to the sound of
the loud rock music.
So loud sleep was afterwards long in coming
The resonances traveling in circles of sound
One sole signal of cymbals
And the light is gone from the moon’s footlight
and one is all alone again asking
what for is life
if it must end like this
where one is in his element
to safely dream
counting the hours
the missed beat leaves you sleepless until morning light.

Goodnight waltz, goodnight rap, goodnight hiphop
goodnight my mornings and my nights
goodnight my drums, my drumsticks
Goodnight my heart with its missed beats
goodnight my audience and my flight
Do angels need percussions?
dirges yes, parades and processions.
Goodbye my marches, kundimans and festivals
goodnight my stars and planets
aligning in God’s sky.
The flapping of birds flying
The crescent of the sun.
The twinkle of stars
The sound of rain on the roof
Farewell, farewell muslim gongs
Farewell my African drums
My native land war-torn Zamboanga
I’ll never return again go home again
Farewell Caribé, Mediterranean
Farewell Hawaii, farewell to parades
Until we meet again.
Goodnight Bob Dylan and Bob Marley
Goodnight, Comradé Beatles
watanabe san
Goodnight friends and lovers and fellows artists –
it’s curtain time
tho’ no more curtain calls

Noe Tio died of a massive stroke in a Baguio hospital last week. He underwent brain surgery but didn’t survive it. Noe, brown chubby curly haired. He was forty plus, was the drummer for Bagong Lumad for as long as the outfit performed as a group. They traveled through Asia, Canada, across the US. Noe has two children. He lived in Palawan for a while where his house caught fire and burned down including his precious computer and drum set. He ran away from home in his youth. He will be buried at Heaven’s Garden in Baguio February 17, 2008 in a spot he picked himself. Noe was also a painter and installation artist.

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