I am Miguel Hernandez

October 18, 2004, Monday, 7:30 a.m., RCBC Tower, Carlos P. Romulo Theater-a date, a time, and a place that shall remain etched in my memory for the rest of my natural and next life.

I saw Recoged esta voz, the multilingual poetry anthology of Miguel Hernandez’s selected poems. I bought the book and had it signed by all those who performed (Initially, people gave me disdained looks which say “How middle-class of him!” but apparently, when I was having discussions with the readers including Jesucristo Riquelma, Juan Jose Galvan, and Joey Ayala and being included in their group picture, the “upper class” people started to have their books signed. Hah! Ayan, mga mapagkunwari kasi ang mga ugok. At least, I got to hobnob with the Spanish envoy and the performers, with matching picture pa. O, mga gago!) It was my first time to watch-wait, let me rephrase that. It was my first time to experience a poetry reading. And I was given more than what I expected: it was translated in English, Tagalog, Chabacano, Ilocano, Cebuano, Kapampangan, and Ilonggo. It does not stop there. Joey Ayala performed some of the poems as written by Hernandez where he laid a soulful arrangement capturing Hernandez’s unfathomable love for his wife, his child, and his country with absolute emotional astuteness. I cried three times during the show. Maybe because I was in an emotional turmoil that day…..

I came in the theater bothered by disappointment. As the performers read Hernandez’s poems of hope, fury, love, joy, sorrow, pessimism, and optimism, I felt like he was speaking to me-and it washed away all my pain. Miguel is my new friend, my hero, and my angel. The show took me to Miguel’s humble beginnings of internal assimilation, his existential journey towards transcending self-centered motives, his undying love for his external environment, and his return to what is truly important to and for him: his love for his wife, his love for his child, and his omnipotent love for love. His emotional battles with reconciling his being a soltero and his need to express love and eroticism moved me to an introspective state. And as Joey Ayala performed the last poem, I was pleased with myself. I have traveled the path Miguel has taken. I have come full circle with my own battles and triumphs and I return to what is important: myself and love.

He arrived with three wounds:

With three wounds he comes:

With three wounds, I am:

I came in the theater, burdened with disappointment. I came out of the theater with a strong and empowered spirit, and with a new sense of my worth and capacity to love.

I am Jerome Daclison. I am Miguel Hernandez.

“We will once again give a toast for all that is lost and will be found: chains, joy, and the hidden affection that leads us to search for ourselves in all the earth.” — Miguel Hernandez

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