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What lies beyond the admission of a compromised vantage point? What comes after the clarity of impenetrability?

The Maguindanao Massacre has not rendered us speechless; what it has elicited from us is a growing vocabulary for the condition of speechlessness. There are words for having no words. There are ways to imagine the limits of the imagination.

Any degree of distance from the site of violence is more than sufficient to make the experience of horror unknowable. That Maguindanao comes to us through third-hand reports, encrusted in the dirt and detritus of legalese, is trite evidence of its remoteness and the garish safe distance from which we view it. I is not other. Here is not there. Maguindanao is terra incognita. Confined within this triad of ideas, we exercise the full range of our severely limited speech. All this is clear.

Given the clarity of impenetrability, what comes after?

Fragmentos: Ang Tugon ng Sining
Louie Jon A. Sanchez

Pagpapatuloy Nang Walang Bantas
Teritoryo (isang pasakalye)

Erwin Lareza

Francisco Montesena

Marlon Hacla

Ang mga salita
Sa kabutihang palad

Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles

LeAnne Ray

Postscripts, Maguindanao
Lawrence Bernabe

57 Coffins
Ned Parfan

At Lalabas ang Koro

Allan Popa

Another atrocity — another point in the map, another statistic — comes on the heels of the massacre with news of the Morong 43 proving yet again that this country never runs out of causes for outrage, that tragedies in this country live on not because they are confronted and memorialized, if not resolved, but because they are multiplied and accumulated, one tragedy overshadowing another, one atrocity dislodging and replacing another. The Morong 43 are alive yet withheld from us, forcibly reduced to exhibits of the administration’s brazen entitlement to penalize those it deems subversive according to terms known and acceptable only to itself, the military shamelessly violating basic human rights and confronting criticism from the judicial courts, militant groups, human rights activists, medical alliances, and civil society with a nonchalance bred by a monopoly of power unaccompanied by accountability. As the unjustifiable detention of 43 health workers consumes our attention and demands our immediate action — as it should — the 57 dead in Maguindanao recede more rapidly into oblivion — as expected.

Given the predictable fulfillment of our own sorry expectations, what comes after?

Call for submissions for the third installment of High Chair 12

We are inviting poets and artists everywhere to submit responses to the works published in the first and second installments of High Chair 12.

We are interested in poems (whether old or new, unpublished or previously published) that offer ways of thinking about terror, horror, and other pertinent ideas/terms. We are interested in essays and reviews that examine the role and state of Philippine poetry and art in the context of the Maguindanao Massacre.

We recognize the need to engage with the Maguindanao Massacre and to ensure, through an ongoing discussion, that the event remains current and urgent. Thus, High Chair 12 is a work in progress, with content uploaded by installment. The deadline for submission for possible inclusion in the third or fourth installment of High Chair 12 is March 12, 2010.

We welcome submissions in Filipino and English. Please send no more than five pages of poetry. There is no page limit for essay contributions. Email your submissions or queries to highchair@gmail.com (subject heading: High Chair Issue 12).

Feel free to circulate this call for submissions to other interested parties. Thank you.

Conchitina Cruz and Adam David (Issue Editors)

Issue 12 visual (Violence for Breakfast) by Wesley Valenzuela

Issue 12:1 Issue 12:1 Issue 12:3 Issue 12:3