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 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 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.


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Day 240 – With Clarity

Seeking a way out — but reminded: there is one
For now, there is no way that has been proclaimed
No exit sign above the selected doorway
Nor are there ending credits to signal the release

Instead, a seemingly endless space of time
Where the stars are stretched light years apart
And sound travels slowly, cries taking years to reach help
Pray that there is no further offset in the balance

For a beam exists, wavering in doubt
Yearning to present this way: out
And the toil and desperation, a call for mercy
Oh, someone please present us mercy

Send us on to less threatening tides
Stop the clouds from voraciously engulfing us
Keep the stars strong, shining deep through the darkness
And the light from the moons reflecting and rejoicing

Somewhere, this way awaits us
We search in distress, but with hope
Not with intimate honesty, but with clarity
So when it presents itself, we shall know the way.


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Day 239 – Arrival

I searched through towers
Stacked high above the ground
Hesitant piles, ready to fall
And lose balance

I drove miles through exhaust
Billowing from metal machines
On miles of pavement, waiting to trip me
With rugged potholes

I impatiently contemplated
On seemingly plush and comfortable
Cushions and curves, swallowing me
Into the coldness of its clutches

I anxiously chased thoughts
And reality at late hours
Disturbed by inhibition, pressuring me
To give up and give in

But I received compassion
Without my own action
It arrived so unexpected, grinning at me
With faith and affirmation