~ "Ever since President Rodrigo Duterte 
assumed office almost two years ago,
33 people have been killed daily nationwide.
... In about two years – from July 1, 2016,
up to June 11, 2018 – police have recorded
23,518 Homicide Cases Under Investigation (HCUI),
equivalent to an average of 33 people killed a day."

(Philippine Rappler, December 2018)

Nothing of gold here
    that flakes from the burnished
    hinges or edges of books.

Impossible to carefully pry
    binding threads loose and flatten
    each goatskin signature, each

pulped and marbled face.  
    Where the artist meant to capture
    some miracle or a vow, instead,

the stains on the shirt of a body
    lifted out of the mud. Rivers
    fill with corpses, their arms

crossed or bound like tortured
    saints. In the reeds, pale limbs
    float like stunned and bloated

fish. Eyes peeled back; ears straining
     toward the call of vesper birds before
     they explode in the crosshairs. 

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