It’s a long weekend.
Radio lately has been a treasure trove – or such – of bad LSS. There’s “Nobody” by the Wondergirls, those songs by 2Ne1 (which, to my untrained ears, is any Korean girl-pop song that isn’t nobarreh-nobarreh-batchoo, so sue me). And then there’s Dagtang Lason.
I don’t have to like the state of Pinoy hip-hop today (don’t get me wrong: I do) to recognize the market value of “crappy” songs. They are songs made in the streets: populist lyric poetry, made by non-poets in the interest of explaining and sharing realities of a society they experience. Baby Kupal: Mazakerista ng Tondo, following this logic, should be the next National Artist for Literature.
Which means that I, as a lyrics translator, am obliged and “required” to translate that song into English… simply because I can.
Every midnight, she coughs. The flower boxes down below are tinged with blood the very next morning. She’s alone in her room, confined, coughing the hell out of her body at every given minute. All that happens while I sit in my room with the lights out, listening to a cough I couldn’t do anything about.
The sound of the cough crosses the corridors and the courtyard, and I can hear her from my room. Coughing is never a pleasant sound to hear, especially if it comes from the very bottom of your lungs. At my most creative, her cough – coupled with copious amounts of phlegm – reverberates through the space with the resonance of a pebble thrown into an empty can.
All I have right now is the echo of the cough; that, and the sounds of electric fans and air conditioners. The cough that pierces the apartment complex at midnight has given way to silence.
The sound of suffering is a cough.