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.


Day 307 – Wedding Cake

I hate it when patriarchy subjects us ladies to the domesticity of life,
I know I don’t belong in the kitchen.
Regardless of whether I’m a man or woman.

And it doesn’t matter my culture nor my creed.
Somewhere along the line, mankind planted a different kind of seed
Into our lifestyles and understandings…
History has been sewn up with threads of inelastic reality
And the supply and demand for the hearts of women remains unchanged.

Though, I must say misogynists hit the nail on the head when it comes to the kitchen.
Okay, not all women love to cook.

But me? I have an affinity for all things related to the art of cooking.

I have affairs with my sharpened blades, they quickly remove the excess mess of life.
My smooth, wooden chopping boards can withstand all of my karate chops.
Those dishes that lie so unfaithfully in the sink, they get a good talking to every so often.
My patience grows thin with them, but sometimes I really don’t mind washing away their accumulation of grime and hard work.

As the daughter of desserts, it is my ultimate duty to produce birthday cakes
For those special days, and create tried and true baked goods to please the parents.

While I can’t help but wander back into the kitchen on days when the sky is filled with gloom, I am both guilty and proud to say I fit perfectly into the patriarchy-shaped metal tin.

I stand behind all that I create with my two hands.
Did I mention that I do wedding cakes too?