“The Heartless Pikoy”

“Salbahes nga pikoy, salbahes nga pikoy,
nga waray batasan.”
— Samarnon song

In English, it goes, roughly, like this:
“You heartless pikoy, you heartless pikoy,
you are so ill-mannered.”

I remember this song now, for some reason.
I first heard it back in November
when I attended a writing workshop in Samar.

It was played in the background a few times during lunch
and then a few more times during dinner.
I asked myself then, and I ask myself now,

Why is the “pikoy” so heartless? Is it capable
of behaving otherwise? And why is it, moreover, also ill-mannered?
Is it capable of observing social etiquette?

What has it done to deserve the poor singer’s
(who happened to be male) censure
and compelled him to write a song about his displeasure?

But more importantly, what on earth
is a “pikoy”? To someone whose mother
is an Ilocana, “pikoy” sounds positively obscene.

I think about this and I think about the song.
And I think about the “pikoy”, whatever it is,
as I lie on my back waiting for sleep to come.

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