iba pang akda sa panahon ng Amerikano

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  • 8/6/2019 iba pang akda sa panahon ng Amerikano


    TW O FACES OF AM ER ICA(From ChapterXXVIIIof America Is in the Heart)

    Carlos Bulasan

    In Santa Marla, where I was working with Jose,ceived a disturbing communication from Millar. Troubleas brewing in San Jose, forty miles south of Sanrancisco. Jose and I took the first bus, stopping a fewurs in San Luis Obispo to see how Ganzo wasogressing. In the early morning, after a lengthyliberation with Ganzo in his cabin, we rushed to theation and slept hi the bus until Salinas.I still do not know why Jose and I never discussed

    nionism and politics when we were alone. It was onlyhen we were with others, when we were in action, thatspoke aloud and acted according to our judgment. But

    knew that I was coming to a way of thinking that wouldvern my life in the coming years. I surmised that theme evolution was taking place in Jose. But there wasill no term for it. I believed then that agitating theicultural workers was enough, but the next five yearsowed me that a definite political program was alsoMillar was not at our rendezvous in SanJose. I wentthe lettuce fields and talked to the workers. Thepanies had drastically cut the wage scales the yearfore, it had been thirty cents an hour, but now it haden reduced to twenty cents. The Filipino workersruck, but the companies imported Mexican laborers."There should be a law against the importation ofbor," I said. "It should be included in the interstate"The time will come," Josesaid."Without it the workers will always beat the mercy ofemployers.""You are absolutely right, Carl," Jose said. "But wevea good president in Washington, sowe will probablyin some of our demands-if we useenough pressure."I was not satisfied, but there was some hope. I wentthe Mexican district and gathered together some of theexicans who had quit the fields that day. Jose, whooke fluent Spanish, came and explained to them theportance of the strike. Theywere enthusiastic. A runneras sent to the fields to stop the Mexicans who were stillorking, and he came back to tell us that only fiftyBut we wanted an all-out strike, although we doubted

    at it would be possible. That night, when Jose and Iere in the back room of a restaurant, preparing a leafletbe circulated, five white men came suddenly into theom. I started to run to the door, but it was too late. Twoig men, one wearing dark glasses, carried off Jose. The

    other man suqdenlv turned arbund and shot out the lightbulbs.

    I was kicked into the back seat of a big car. Josewas inthe front set, between the driver and the man with darkglasses.When,the car started to move, I looked down andsaw Millar bleedlng.on the floor. He looked up at me withfrightened eyes, pleading, wanting to tell me that he hadnothing to do with our arrest, I turned the other way,aching to hit him in the face.. I looked through the Window hoping to find some

    escape. I was sure that if the car turned a corner, I couldjump out. If I succeeded in jumping out-could I escapetheir guns! My heart almost stopped beating. It wasbetter to die trying to escapethan to wait for death.

    But when the car come to a deserted country road, Iknew that flight was impossible. I lost all hope, I glancedquickly at the wide, clear fields, catching a fleetingglimpse of the sky. Looking swiftly to the east, I saw thebig moon and below it, soon to move away, a mass ofclouds that looked like a mountain of cotton balls.Suddenly I remembered that as a child I used to watchsnow-white clouds sailing in the bright summer skies ofMangusmana. The memory of my village made my mindwhirl, ionging for flight and freedom again,

    I was helpless now. I watched my companions: theyseemed to have given up all hope. There was only deathat the end of the road. The white men were silent. Millartouched my legswhen we passedin the shadows of trees.The driver turned off the road and crossed a wide beetfield, heading for the woods not far away~

    We entered the woods in five minutes the carstopped. One of the men in front jumped out and came toour door.

    "You havethe rope, Jake?""Yeah!"The man on my right got out and pulled me after him,

    hitting me on the jaw. I fell on my knees but got up atonce, trembling with rage. If only I had a gun! Or a knifellcould cut these bastards into little pieces! Blood cameoutof my mouth. I raised my hand to wipe it off, but myattacker hit me again. I staggered, fell on my face, androlled on the grass.

    "Upl Goddamn you! Up!"Painfully, I crawled to my feet, knelt on the grass,and

    I got up slowly. I saw them kicking Millar on the grass.When they were through with him, they tore off Jose'sclothes and tied him to a tree. One of them went to thecar and came backwith a canof tar and a sackof feathers.The man with the dark glasses ripped the sack open andwhite feathers fell out and sailed in the thin light thatfiltered between the trees.

  • 8/6/2019 iba pang akda sa panahon ng Amerikano


    Then I saw them putting the tar on Jose's body. One ofm lit a match and burned the delicate hair between his

    "Jesus, he's a well-hung son-of-a-bitch!""Yeah!""No wonder whores stick to them!""The other monkey ain't so hot!"They looked at my direction. The man with the darksses started beating Millar. Then he came to me andked my left knee violently that I fell on the grass, blindedh pain. Hardening my body, I wished I were strongough to reach him. He spat in my face and left.Another man, the one called Jake, tied me to a tree.

    en he started beating me with his fists. Why were thesen so brutal, so sadistic! A tooth fell out of my mouth, andod trickled down my shirt. The man called Lester grabbedtesticles with his left hand and smashed them with hisht fist. The pain was so swift and searing that it was as ifre were no pain at all. There was only a stabbing heatt leaped into my head and stayed there for a moment."Shall we burn this yellow belly?""He's gone.""I'd like a souvenir.""Scalp him!""What about the other bastard?""He's gone, too."They left me. One of them went to the car and took outottle of whiskey. They started drinking, passing the bottlem hand to hand. Once in a while, when a bottle wasptied, one of them would come over and beat me. Wheny were drunk enough, I feared that they would burn Jose.llar crawled painfully over to where I was lying."Knife in my left shoe," he whispered."Quiet," I rolled over and reached for the knife. Now Ild cut the ropes that tied my legs. My hands were free!en I was ready to run! I handed the knife back andispered to Millar to roll away. I crawled in the grasswly; when I reached the edge of the woods, I got up andd to run. But I had almost no use of my left leg, so thatst of the time I hopped through the beet fields like a

    The night was clear and quiet. I was afraid they wouldme. I heard their voices in the wind. Once a flashlight

    amed from the edge of the woods. I lay flat on mymach and watched it disappear among the trees. Then Iup and staggered towards SanJose.I stopped when I came to the lighted areas to avoidpicion. I turned away from the business district andaded for the Oriental Section. A police car came by. Ined in at a side door and opened it. I found myself in ae room, with dolls on the bed and a poor table radio on aall table. On the dresser was the picture of a woman whoht have been twenty-five. Someone was in the bathroomI could hear a noise there. I was reaching for the door

    She stopped short in minutes, letting the towel fall fromher hands.

    "Please don't be afraid," I said. "Some men are afterme."

    She came forward. "Have you killed somebody?""No.""Did you steal some money?""No, I-well, I-work with the unions."She ran to the little room and brought me a clean shirt.

    She brought a basin of warm water and began washing myface gently. Then she took me to the kitchen, where sheprepared something for me to eat. I watched her. She mightinform the police. Could I trust her?

    "When did you eat last?" she asked."I don't remember," I said."Poor boy," She got up. "Eat everything and go to

    sleep.",I almost cried. What was the matter with this land? Just

    a moment ago I was being beaten by white men. But therewas another white person, a woman, giving me food andplace to rest. And her warmth! iat on the couch and startedtalking. I wanted to explain what happened to me.

    "Poor boy." There was kindness in her face, some urgeto reach me, to understand what I was telling her. Andsometimes she got touched by my description. I could feelher hand on my face. There was tenderness inher touch.

    "Thank you so much," I said."Go to sleep now." She switched off the lights and went

    to her bed. I watched her in the darkness. I could see in thedark almost clearly as in a room flooded with lights. "Goodnight," she said.

    I lay quietly on the couch; then tears began to come tomy eyes. What would happen to Jose and Millar? Had I theright to run away? Had I? Thef ight must go on Jose used tosay. All right. I would go on with the fight. I would showthem. The silence outside was deepening. Not far away, in anearby farmhouse, I could hear a rooster crowing.

    The woman was still awake. She sat up. She heard mecrying. Shegot up and came to my couch.

    "What is your name?" she asked."Carl," I said. "Remember me only as Carl, that's all."Mine is Marian," she said. "Go to sleep now."Shewoke up early in the morning. I was surprised to find

    that she had packed her things."Wait for me here," she said. "I'll get my car."In five minutes she was back. I carried the suitcases into

    the car. She sat at the wheel and put the key in the lock.Then she looked back to the cows as though she werecommitting it to memory. I knew her look because I haddone the samE! thing a hundred times. It means a farewelllook-forever. The car started to move."We'll go