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 312 – Confession #3: Give Your All

To Love Unapologetically is to:
Love more deeply than the depths of the tallest Venezuelan waterfall

You have served your heart up on a platter

Yes, to give your all is to impress upon the earth your deepest dedication

And love without consideration for temptation
Annihilation
Obliteration

So if today seems a day for you to love
Know that you must also be loved
You cannot just give your heart in jest
This is a serious commitment


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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.


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Day 303 – Sweet Madeleine

I’ve packed you safe into a neatly shaped container.
I label you as my breakfast,

And after an hour or so,
I give in and consume you.
But I’m still hungry.

I know sugar cannot sustain me.
I’m searching for some kind of substance.
I know that it’s not your fault,
Being concocted of copious amounts of
Sugar, butter, eggs.
So I won’t complain.

In fact, I praise you for offering me
Instant satisfaction.
As soon as you meet my lips,
I feel a sense of overwhelming joy.

How blessed am I to be able to
Enjoy your encouragement.

Still you leave me wanting.
I crave you more and more,
And I know that I can’t even have you.


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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.


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Day 250 – A Blessing

Hush now, for there is no need to fear
Nor struggle in desperation

See, you were born into this world with the purpose to save
And you have already accomplished just that

Just as my once weak arms rediscover their strength
So I may cradle you and hold you close to my heart

You find comfort in my warmth
And I find solace in your tender gaze

Of beautiful gray skies with hints of blue
And eagerness to know the world

So when you need me to, I shall take you by the hand
And bring you wherever your heart desires


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Day 246 – Stop Searching, Just Go

To search the mind is a dangerous thing.
Often we choose to organize our thoughts into neatly tied packages.
Or we leave them astray, tossed in an untidy sprawl of confusion.
But our downfall is not from the action of searching.
Our demise comes from that which we dwell on.
Single out one thought, and another cycle of fear is created.

What if I get hurt?
What if I lose against Love?
What if I am not accepted?
What if I am not recognized?
What if I fail?

Too many what-ifs – Too many questions.
And from these fears, we are introduced to a discoloration of life.
And we are starved from our potential.
Too many questions of what might not happen,
As opposed to welcoming what could happen.

Ah, tonight let it be heard.
Let it be sung on high,
And let it enter your mind yet again:
Harness your thoughts, and be only an acquaintance with them.
Introduce yourself, then let them pass.
Let them live on, but not stay hostage in your mind.
And once you learn to let them enter and depart with the movement of time,
And acknowledgement,
You will learn.

You will get hurt, but you will heal.
You will lose against Love, but she will always hold you close.
You will be rejected, but you will accept more beautiful offers.
You will be overlooked, but you will shine with humility.
You will fail, but you will learn of a new answer.

And that new answer will carry you home.