the year of lyrics: a poetry project

my search for inner-peace, one poem at a time


Day 314 – You Bring Out the Filipina in Me

Inspired by: Sandra Cisneros’ “You Bring Out the Mexican in Me” and Bao Phi’s “You Bring Out the Vietnamese in Me”

You bring out the Filipina in me.

The jeepney-riding miracle worker.
The island sweetheart of art.
The gutom na ako, but not really in me.

You bring out the Filipina in me.
The war-stricken tropical paradise,
pained by martial law under Marcos,
trampled by the feet of Imelda and her closet of over a thousand shoes.

The anti-Colonialist mindset that might set the world on fire.
The tainted skin that refuses lightening creams.
The Illocano and Kapangpangan and Tagalog and Spanish
rolled into a single dictionary in me.
The easy to assimilate into American culture
because of English-infused classrooms in the motherland.

The Magandang Gabi, lechon-eating,
Soon-to-be doctor and lawyer in me.
The OFW working in the Middle East,
sending remittances back to children,
or the daughter of a US Navy officer,
for he joined the Americans out of necessity.
And yet you still bring out the true Filipina in me.

The young, activist peacemaker,
that yearns to clean up corrupt acts that plague the Philippine Sea.
The “I want to return to the homeland to give back”
because that all I’ve worked for.
The wealth of knowledge,
once I graduate from college,
need to make a difference in me.

You are the one I turn to,
and turns to me for love,
for my home is built with always-open doors.
With it’s plastic-covered couches,
fully-stocked pantry piled high with
cans of Spam, dried manga, sweet condensed milk
walis-swept tiled floors,
and sometimes kneeling on piles of kanin for being naughty in me.

You bring out the feisty,
ghetto-fabulous wannabe itim in me.
Yeah I said it.
The lover of all R&B and jammin’ to old school rap in me.

You are the rays of sun on my very own flag,
the guiding stars that surround me.

You have taught me the truth of mahal kita and salamat,
for I love to give thanks when it is not required.

Oo : you, have been woven into the mosquito nets that shield me.
You are the protector of me.

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Day 239 – Arrival

I searched through towers
Stacked high above the ground
Hesitant piles, ready to fall
And lose balance

I drove miles through exhaust
Billowing from metal machines
On miles of pavement, waiting to trip me
With rugged potholes

I impatiently contemplated
On seemingly plush and comfortable
Cushions and curves, swallowing me
Into the coldness of its clutches

I anxiously chased thoughts
And reality at late hours
Disturbed by inhibition, pressuring me
To give up and give in

But I received compassion
Without my own action
It arrived so unexpected, grinning at me
With faith and affirmation

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Day 236 – Sincerely

To the soul who has saved me:
I owe you much more.
For when I was misplaced.
You opened the door.
You showed me the horizon.
When the pain settled in.
You absorbed the poison
Until I could begin.
You left the light on,
As I searched for the key.
You presented me patience.
Down on one knee.
Despite the evils,
That challenge my best,
I tell you, I’m grateful.
For you’ve given me rest.

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Day 225 – Be Mindful

“In every moment countless joys bloom, but too often we take them for granted… remaining concentrated and mindful in the here and now, opens our eyes to these wonders, brings us happiness, and in itself relieves much of our daily suffering.” –Matthew Bortolin, ‘The Jedi Art of Mindfulness and Concentration’ from The Dharma of Star Wars

Some of the greatest things in this life

Are something you cannot hold

Intangible, not delicate

Not something that can be sold

And while life takes us through tumbles

And on roads we do not expect

We must take pride in all we have

And earn our self-respect

For life? It will shake us,

Drag us in misery without consent;

But I’m told there is a purpose

And Purpose’s time is well-spent

So we must willingly abide

And welcome challenges with eager spirit

For if we choose to endure life

We cannot afford to fear it

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Day 217- Waiting Game

the seconds pass too slowly for my liking
i apologize if i stutter
and scream
and jump
and shutter when i hear that you’re a little late
i’m sorry, it’s not like i’ve already
penciled this in…
i’m just more than ready
for a reason to have no reasons
and ‘tis the season
to be more lackadaisical
at least that’s what i’m told
not like it’s a waste,
just don’t be so wasteful

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Day 205 – Impeccable

Lend me your ear
No, lend me a glass
Pour the oil as so
Don’t let it cook too fast
Let it grill with patience
For I’ve been patient enough
Do not overdo it
It takes timing dear one
And, ah, finely chopped
Sliced with care
Add in the spices – Hey,
You missed a bit there
And let it rest together
Amongst the fluffy white grains
Caressed with care
And warmed by the flames
Now lend me your arm
For my head to rest
Laughter and warmth
Faithfully expressed
Now, moment has come
Ah, the timing is right
You planned it quite well:
The most perfect night.