the year of lyrics: a poetry project

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


4 Comments

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.


Leave a comment

Day 311 – Confession #2: Remedy Struggle

To remedy struggle is to:
Hold fellow victims in the tightest embrace for fear of losing them
To grasp so tightly the strings connected to balloons wanting to escape
To claw at the terror that taunts you from the other side of the bars

You like it, but despise it

Solving problems that so conveniently find solace in your lap
You live to serve and serve you must
For the value of your valor resides in your trust

You cannot help it

You intend to make better the plains of despair
To replant the land with crops of equality
Where the fruitless become fruitful

You hope to replenish the waterways of yesterday
That have since been drained by greed and hatred

But you cannot help yourself either

While you toil in the sand-filled soils and tempestuous seas
The roaring wind becomes nothing but a whisper to you

The most evident actions remain in the shadows of your overwhelmed heart

So if today seems a brighter day for you to
Plant more hopeful gardens
And pour a more generous river

You must also know when to accept others’ help,
For it takes much more than just your love
To be a giver


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

Day 309 – Rediscoveries

While you’ve been away, I think I’ve found courage
See, I’ve been trying to make sense of it.
I thought I had lost it in the darkness of lonely nights.
For a second I thought I never knew it.

Can you believe it?
I thought that I had simply lost it alongside my disappearing pairs of socks.
Like I had misplaced it among a mass of haystacks
As if I had simply laid it down while I finished another chore or two

Well, after some contemplative nights of
Wading through puddles of tears
Pillows damped by such rainfall
I arose

I lifted my falling eyelids,
Propped them up as best as I could and, boy, did I see the light

Can you believe it?
That I saw courage once more?
I found it in the footsteps that I was to take.
In the chess moves that I was to make.
In the pound and throb of my heartache.

I found courage when others would have surrendered,
But I know better than to give up.


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

Day 302 – From the Sponge, To the Boiling Pot

*Inspired by Sarah Kay

You were enticing, though I knew you could burn me if you really wanted.
And I was warned to be cautious around you, since you have a tendency to boil over.
But for the record, watching you from across the kitchen was my favorite thing to do.
Encompassed in your sleek pot, with a handle for which one is to gently lift you.

See, though I learned to wash away filth, I always soak in those around me.
And I’m guilty of absorbing you more than a time or two.
And cleaning up after your messes weren’t always easy.
But I got the job done.

Part of me feels that I’m unfinished, with all of these holes in my being.
But I know that I’m just open.
I put up no boundaries to guard from unwanted adventurers.
No, I simply let them in, and trust them (perhaps a little too much).

But with you, I was more than eager to drink you in.
And you’d warm me up with your tenderness.
You were the best kind of mess I could clean up. But also the worst.

Sometimes, you know, you’d just sit still, at room temperature.
Difficult to read, I was not sure how to move around you.
And when the fire was hot enough, you’d boil into tantrums of
Scalding-hot oblivion. Your bubbling water would threaten to attack me.

And on those off-days of yours, you’d evaporate into thin air.
You’d release into the atmosphere as steam,
And soon you’d be out of my reach.
I couldn’t contain you even if I tried.

One day, I hope that you can condense back into the
Pores of me, for they are empty.
Waiting to be replenished
By your abundance.

See, I believe that you have the ability to change.
To freeze into a solid.
Perhaps be my sturdy brick of ice that cools me down when I get a little to hot.
And when we’re both at a calm,
You can melt back into your,
Ever-moving self,
And dance with me.

‘Cause I’ll never stop wanting to wash up after you.
Even if you’re on the other side of the kitchen,
Sitting atop your stove-top pedestal.
I have the window’s sunlight behind me,
And I’ll let it shine to you.
And maybe you’ll come back home.