the year of lyrics: a poetry project

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


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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 313 – Confession #4: Be Open

To be open is to:
Paint your soul in the colorless blends of ever-changing ribbons of light
Guide ruthless demands into sorrows of submission,
While you shuffle into rooms devoid of utter silence and violence

Yes, to be open is to allow for the most viscous lava to flow into treasured places
Where treasure is replaced by the scalding unknown
Where you give in to the abilities of higher powers

Welcome the most unexpected visitors

Allow for chance to balance on the tip of the scale
Spin the sphere on the tip of your nail

Leave it to the improbabilities and incivilities
To decide fates that have been written in indistinguishable ink

So if today is the day to be open,
I hope each day is as bright as the suns that awake the night sky
For you must always be open to life


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Day 310 – Confession #1: Surrender

To surrender is to:
Breathe in the unforgivable toxins that assault your most precious lungs

Yes, you know the danger that awaits you and you continue to welcome it

You inhale the negative possibilities,
The indiscriminate liabilities,
The physically-impairing invalidities

Allowing them to consume you

But presume that you, for a second,
Stopped this? Well, maybe not this
Time
But, in time? And with time?

Perhaps you’ll learn to not surrender so easily
Reconsider your strengths and rid of failed attempts
For failure is just a mistake in disguise
Ready for transformation into realizations of new visions

See, each incision
Heals.
With mistakes you carve into you the most unique scars
That toughen your skin, make you stronger within.

So if today you must surrender to the whims of defeat
Know that your damaged lungs and scars do not stop you from moving.
You have feet left to follow,
And mistakes left to make.


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Day 308 – Unkempt Matter

I thought by creating space, I would be more free
Free to fly, like a bird, without any regard to boundary

But it’s not like you can create space, nor can you create matter,
It exists and is difficult to deface
But does it really even matter?

See, I stand before you on this elevated space,
Preaching to you the thoughts I wish I could erase

But clearly I’m not making and progress
I give up so much but come out with far less
And my fists are screaming
Dreaming of unleashing
The sense of confusion that fires from within


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Day 305 – Youthful Expectations

If innocence wasn’t as pestilent as ignorance?
Wow, I think I could have erased a lot of high expectations a long time ago.
I could have saved myself from a lot of trouble.

Yeah, when I was younger, I viewed this world with wide eyes.
I stood with my timid posture, mind you, I was as shy as the sun behind the clouds.

I would hide away my secrets in my journals.
Yes, journals. Plural. I would get a new one every few months. I’d draw out the latest gossip and update on everything me. Lists of my friends. Crushes. Then I’d get tired of it and start a new one.

I colored coded diagrams and, presented my latest findings on friendship and jealousy.
And secretly, I wanted to be able to identify my biggest dreams.
Although, when you’re that young, you can only think about tomorrow:
The “I wonder if they want to hang out again?” questions.
My mind would never really answer.

Back then, it was simply more simplified.
And reasons to love never had to be codified.
I could memorize emotions like the lines on people’s faces.
I could read faster than I could speak.
I could count on everyone, because no one would let me down.

If someone was too cruel to hurt me,
I would be too blind to even see it.
I’d escape the claws of vicious green monsters;
It only took a little bit of distraction.

Satisfaction was a lot easier to come by.
Disappointment was quickly replaced.


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Day 237 – Healing

Young one, I sense your fear in your eyes.
But if this is the route you choose,
I support you.
I cannot guarantee you will not feel the side effects,
Nor will you be void of any risk, but…
I support you.
Young one, I know you are pressured into this seat.
So, I will not question your motives.
But know, that there are consequences.
Like an altered state of mind,
Or different emotions creeping out of passageways,
Or new ways to react to your change.
Perhaps you’ll lash out in anguish.
Or collapse in agony.
Or rejoice in ecstasy.
Or laugh in serenity.
But I assure you, I cannot assure you of any of these.
I assure you that I cannot promise you will not experience these.
I apologize if I’m a little inconvenient.
And the side effects may not be what you desire.
But you desire to follow through with your decision.
You desire an outcome more fruitful than before.
You want to avoid scars,
But I cannot promise there will be no blade.
You want to prevent heartache,
But I cannot stop yours from breaking.
You want to enjoy the bounty of relief,
But I cannot hold up the burden.
You want to change the stars,
But I cannot stop them from blinding you.
If you have chosen this path,
Please know that you cannot go back.
You’ll have to adapt, despite the cost.
Young one, I support you. Just do not get lost.


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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.