Untitled Poem By Alexander Belone II


Can the choicest words
and the harshest sounds
provide power to a people
long oppressed under the yoke
of feudal and imperialist tyranny?

Shall we not cast aside
the broken pen that knows all terms
and the paper pure prepared for lines?

Shall we not transform
angry words into moving force
pointed pens into sharpened bolos
spurting ink into barking bullets?


Come now literary laureates
turn your scripts and your books
into mass bases of the movement
and your pens and typewriters
into weapons of the people
that will write the great epic
of our race.


Editor’s Note:Again, we do not vouch for the accuracy of translation of the English piece to Bicol, here:

Rawit-dawit na mayong titulo

An pili na tataramon kaya / asin makulog (nakakakulog) na tanog / magtao nin kusog (puwersa) sa mga tawo / haloy na inaapi sa irarom kan pag-uri / nin pyudal asin imperyalistang (tiraniya) pagdikta? (help, can’t find correct word for tyranny- ed.) / Ano dai ta pa iaapon (isisikwal) / an raot na lapis na aram an gabos na termino / asin papel puro (purong papel) inihanda sa (mga) linya?

Ano dai ta babaguhon (transform?) / angot na tataramon para mag pahiro maging kusog / natasaran na lapis (if pen, then maybe, pluma) maging matarom na sundang / nagsusuka nin tinta pasiring sa nagbabatok na bala?

Mari na mga matitibay na tagasurat (poet laureates?) / gibuhon an mga istorya asin mga libro / tuntungan nin dakul sa sabay na paghiro / asin an mga lapis pati makinilya / maging armas kan mga tawo / ngani magsurat nin dakula (mahalaga) na istorya (epiko) / kan satuyang raza.

We are enclosing a short bio of the writer below, courtesy and thanks to Bantayog ng mga Bayani:

As a child, Alexander gave away his pencils to his poor playmates. He dreamed that he would go out into the world and sell blankets to help support his family. He preferred reading to playing, being happiest with a book. He was an honor pupil in grade school and an active Boy Scout. He was fascinated with constellations and the family called him Alex, Totoy, or Captain.

At age 13, Alex left Bicol to study as a full scholar at the Philippine Science High School. (PSHS) in Quezon City. The shy Alex thrived in a dormitory full of rambunctious boys. Some became his steady friends.

He enroled at the University of the Philippines (UP) in college and joined the Tan Rho Xi fraternity, like many of his high school pals. He also became a member of the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), and got involved in the First Quarter Storm and the relief work organized for the massive floods in 1970.

One day in December 1970, Alex was marching in a rally next to Francis Sontillano, another PSHS alumni, when a pillbox dropped by a university guard hit Sontillano’s head and killed him. A bare few months later, in February 1971, Alex was at a student barricade in UP at the start of the historical period now called the Diliman Commune, when a professor suddenly took out a gun and fi red at a student nearby. The student, Pastor Mesina, died.

It became too much for Alex’s parents. They took him home and enrolled him at a local university in Naga. Alex went on organizing for KM at his new school, and was soon writing radical literature for the school paper.

Meanwhile, Alex’s parents were themselves developing a sympathy for their son’s cause. When Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, and Alex made a decision to join the underground, his parents gave him their blessings and a donation of P700 when he left.

Over time, Alex’s new name, Ka Tandis, came to be spoken of in respectful whispers throughout Southern Luzon. Ka Tandis became a teacher for the resistance, trudging up and down the slopes of the Bicol region, instructing comrades in various topics (philosophy, politics, economics, the resistance program, strategy and tactics, and so on.)

As instructor, Ka Tandis explained the principles tirelessly and patiently, especially to new comrades. Always he also sought to teach himself new things. He was honest about his own weaknesses and mistakes, calm in handling disputes, respectful of women’s capabilities, a model of the same principles he had espoused.

One early morning in October 1980, he and another comrade were resting in a house when troops surrounded the hut and fired their guns at its occupants. Ka Tandis’ companion escaped and he was killed. Ka Tandis had been eight years in the underground movement. He was 28. He never married. Birth: June 23, 1952. Place of Birth: Naga City Death: October 11, 1980. (30)

Alexander Belone
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