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 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


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 306 – Penciled In

I’ve penciled you in.
That’s what stenographers and secretaries do, right?
Take note of each detail, each appointment.
‘Cause I can’t handle disappointment.
I need to know where each piece and part goes.
They only align if I make them so.
I must know the shape and curve of each molecule,
For they all make up the best of you. The worst of you.
But somehow you get out of view.
Did you know that I’ve got extra room?
I can grow time from my busy life,
And I dedicate it to whomever I choose.
They say that money doesn’t grow on trees,
But time, I’ve reserved that for you and me.
I called in ahead of time, I put in a request.
All I ask is you leave patience to the test.


2 Comments

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.


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.


Leave a comment

Day 249 – Waikiki

Oh to breathe
And to disappear the days
Until you hardly remember why
You used to have so much suppressed aggression

Oh to be leveled
And to be equal once more
Until interrogation becomes conversation, though,
You’re used to your constructed wall

Oh to step closer
And to walk side by side
Until our pace is matched and
You guide me like you used to