• Email
  • Print

Cut-Throat Christ Or the New Ballad of the Dosi

Oh the Emperor sat on an ivory throne
And his wives were fat and all their jewels shone
And the emperor said: it’s plain to see
Christ was an emperor, just like me.

Well the rich have a Christ and he’s nobody’s fool
And he pays for their kids to go to convent school
And their momma drives them home to tea.
She says: Christ is a rich bitch, just like me.

But I say:

He sold his body to some foreign queer
And he sold his blood for just a case of beer
And he sold his soul to the fraternitee—
Christ became a cut-throat, just like me.

There’s a Christ for a whore and a Christ for a punk,
A Christ for a pickpocket and a drunk.
There’s a Christ for every sinner but one thing there aint—
There aint no Christ for any cut-price saint.

Well I was casting for fish by the North Harbour Pier
When this guy called Jesus says to me: Come here—
If you want to join the fraternitee,
Lay down your nets and you can follow me.

So I left my nets and I left my line
And I followed my Jesus to the Quiapo shrine
And he told me many stories of his enemy—
General Ching of the EPD

And I swore to the Black Nazarene there and then
I would go out and kill one of the general’s men
And when I brought my beinte-nuebe for the boss to see
That guy called Jesus he was proud of me.

Oh the Emperor sat on an ivory throne.
He had twelve brave peers and he loved each one.
We were twelve disciples and our strength was proved
But I was the disciple whom Jesus loved.

There’s a Christ for a whore and a Christ for a punk
A Christ for a pickpocket and a drunk.
There’s a Christ for every sinner but one thing there aint—
There aint no Christ for any cut-price saint.

Well Jesus was a drinker as you might expect.
We got through plenty stainless and a few long necks
And then Jesus got mad as mad can be.
He said: One of you punks is gonna squeal on me—

Now that General Ching has put a price on my head
With disciples like you I’m as good as dead—
There’s one who will betray me to the EPD.
We said: Tell me boss, tell me boss, is it me?

But there wasn’t the leisure and there wasn’t the time
To find out from Jesus who would do this crime
For a shot rang out and we had to flee
From General Ching and half the military.

Oh the Emperor sat on an ivory throne
And out of twelve brave peers there was just one bad one
And Christ had twelve disciples and they loved him so
But one out of twelve is just the way things go.

There’s a Christ for a whore and a Christ for a punk,
A Christ for a pickpocket and a drunk.
There’s a Christ for every sinner but one thing there aint—
There aint to Christ for any cut-price saint.

Well I ran like crazy and I ran like fuck
And for the next three days I did my best to duck
And then I made my way back to the EPD.
I said: the General said he had a job for me.

But the General he saw me and his face grew grim.
He said: watch it, guys, don’t stand too close to him—
That’s our old friend Judas and he wants his fee
But the guy called Jesus—he is roaming free!

I said: what’s the deal? He said: we killed him, sure;
We filled him full of what we had and then some more;
We dumped him back in Tondo for his Momma to see
And now he’s resurrected with a one-two-three!

I said: General Ching, if what you say is true
I’m gonna need some protection outa you.
He said: just pay him off now and let me be—
We don’t protect a mediocritee.

‘Cos the Emperor sat on an ivory throne,
But that was long ago and now the Emperor’s gone
And this guy called Jesus he is something new
You crucify him once and he comes back for you.

We’ve dumped him in the Pasig, we’ve thrown him in the Bay,
We’ve nixed him in the cogon by the Superhighway,
We’ve chopped him into pieces and we’ve spread him around
But three days later he is safe and he is sound.

There’s a Christ for a whore, a Christ for a punk,
A Christ for a pickpocket and a drunk.
There’s a Christ for every sinner, but one thing there aint—
There aint no Christ for any cut-price saint.

Now—Manila’s not the place for a defenseless thing.
You either go with Jesus or with General Ching.
And I’d been with both and after what I’d been
I knew my only hope was—the Black Nazarene.

So I go barefoot down to Quiapo and the streets are packed
And they’re carrying the Nazarene on their backs
And just one step and it’s plain to see
That Christ will crush them to enternitee—

The Christ of the Aztecs, the Juggernaut God,
The Christ of the Thorn and the Christ of the Rod
And they’re carrying the Christ along two lengths of rope
Cos the Cut-Throat Christ’s a cut-throat’s only hope

And there’s the man who killed the Carmelites, the Tad-tad gang,
The man who sells the armalites in Alabang
And General Ching, the EPD, the senatorial bets,
The Twelve Disciples and the drum majorettes,

The Emperor Charlemagne, the rich bitch and the queer,
The guy called Jesus by the North Harbour Pier
And they’re coming down to Quiapo and they’ve all made a vow
To wipe the sweat from the Black Nazarene’s brow.

Oh the Emperor sat on an ivory throne
But in a cut-throat world a man is on his own
And what I’ve got is what you see.
Cut-throat Christ—don’t turn your back on me.

Author’s Note:

The Dosi Pares, in the old Tagalog ballad, are the Twelve Peers of Charlemagne; today the term is commonly used for certain criminal gangs working both in Manila and in the provinces. The Black Nazarene, the Aztec carving of Christ carrying the cross, is the object of a cult including prostitutes and criminals. Stainless is the Filipino gin, Ginebra San Miguel, and a long neck is a 75 centiliters bottle of Tanduay Rum. A beinte-nuebe is a butterfly-knife, so-called after its 29 centimeter blade. [It is common for a new member of the Dosi Pares to be required to commit a murder as an act of initiation, and traditional for the police, when they have murdered a member of the criminal classes, to dump his (often decapitated) body in the coarse cogon grass commonly found on waste ground.]

  • Email
  • Print