“Love Poem for a Dictator” by Rodrigo Dela Peña, Jr.

Rodrigo Dela Peña, Jr.


color me scarlet             spilled on the pavement
tell me what to do

what not to do             under pain or duress
make me a part of

your fentanyl dreams             your spittled curses
peppering your speech

color me bruise             the size of your hand
put the crook

of your finger             on a gun
on my pulse

make my mouth mute             under your command
teach me a way

to seize             to salvage
what goes against your way

turn me into a wound             one among the many
slashed against the ground

dear dictator             let me count the ways
how i can splinter

when you break me             into a million
little lines like these

from Poets Respond
July 15, 2020


Rodrigo Dela Peña, Jr.: “Dissent is not terrorism. With the anti-terror bill signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte, the government now has a way to silence critics and activists in the Philippines by calling them ‘terrorists.‘” (web)

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