Saturday, September 27, 2014

in midst of autumn

when maple trees catch fire
so do my words conspire
to gather as grey crows
piercing dry sky in throes

why are lands snarled at war
when none can square the score
as more heads will rot, roll
i wear black gown for fall

my hand holds a feather
soft, when sewn together
can be blue shawl of peace
when will we learn to cease

using faith as charade
as each leaf turns red jade

Wild Birds Burning
Photography by Brooke Shaden

Posted for OpenlinkNight of D'verse Poets Pub - Thanks for the visit ~

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

From ashes to bones

Time slips between the stones
& falls on the water

My lungs are drowning in salt
I offer no resistance to lack of air

I am so tired of fighting
for every breath, for every fitful sleep

Death sits on my chest
with tyrant coat, ever a watchman without a name

What coins can I give to him
when I think nothing of myself, a mere shadow 

that wants to vanish & hide
beneath the deep tunnels of the sea 

But somewhere your hands
come in a burst of light

Is this a dream?
Your stranger eyes are kind

As if you understand my pain & shame
You lift me up on your shoulders

and say my scars are worthy
of a warrior

Do I have wings?
The air pounds of energy, I am drawing

a phoenix in bright colors
The sun is my birthright

Under which I will build my ark 
with my other sisters 

I will be the language of my making
From ashes, I write my name anew:

life-giver, protector of children:


Posted for the D'verse Poets Pub- Passion of Brooke Shaden - We are getting inspiration from photography and inspiring words of Brooke Shaden.   Cheers to all the women who rise above abuse, injustice and discrimination and have been victims of human trafficking. Also my admiration goes to everyone who give women a chance to gain their own dignity & independence.   

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Travelling between cities


Sounds from mosque at dawn wakes me up.
It is the first of the five prayer times dividing time
into tidy rooms filled with mats, bodies 
kneeling, prostrating facing Mecca, the holy city.

     as sun circles the sky,
     i marvel at different face
     of God 


Here, mountains frame the city in blue
Here, deep ocean crush shells to fine sand 
Here, forest park cradles ancient totems  

    to highest valley
    i soar with wind, content 
    with my eagle's wings 


Your skin is musky earth
In your native language
Even saying good morning 
Sounds like an invitation 
To go somewhere & everywhere

       my tongue rolls new words 
           no, not melted butter 
           but spice, flaming my guts- 


I saw the biggest waterfall
its mouth, a womb of life 
I gazed at fabled city steeped
in 18th century stories
travel to know the history
of my new country - 

          still, my luggage is filled 
         with jasmine leis and one map-

If I have a boat, I will sail to you
Photography:   Joel Robison

Posted for D'verse Poets Pub -  We are talking about travel poetry~  Hosted by Gabriella ~

Saturday, September 13, 2014

1 September 1983

sky is a fuse
after long funeral march
from dawn to night

i didn't see the flag-draped coffin
only sea of sun-burnt faces
2 million crowding the narrow streets
to give homage to the fallen man-

his clothes still bloodied
his face unclean from gunshot
that spilled his guts on airport tarmac

i learned for the first time
that a country was worth dying for
that a murdered man can change the course of history

unbroken for 20 years
martial law by a strongman & his family
living in palatial homes when more than 
half of the nation squatted by dirty rivers-

too soon,
hush of the night is over,
sun is brittle egg yoke
rising above smog, burning our weary eyes 

i asked my parents what's coming-
they said,
change, the hopeful winds 
of change

the radio crackles with a voice-
its the only radio station fearlessly
reporting the real news-

we take a deep breath
& wait-


Posted for Imaginary Garden for Real Toads - Sunday's Mini-Challenge:  September Sky
& Artistic Interpretations with Margaret - Mineral Rainbow
& Poets United

My reflections after the assassination of Senator Benigno Acquino in August 21, 1983, which triggered the downfall of the dictatorship of President Marcos, Philippines.   I recall the long funeral march on August 31, and afterwards the changes that slowly came - protest marches, election struggle, civilian heroism versus the military-backed dictatorship.

Yellow was the color of protest (from a homecoming color) in those times.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Out of the winter blue

I gave birth-
it was autumn 
but winter came early that year

There were no stitches
nor bleeding pain 
It was as if
I woke up from a coma 
& spoke a third language 
only the child & I knew  

    frost, chill, ice- 
    my tongue suddenly understood
    what loneliness meant
In the many nights that followed
my hands would slide under her body  
to cradle her close but she didn't want 
my milk, nor warm blanket 
I became besotted with her small fingers
curled like spring buds & her eyes -
so bright and wild as purple star   

     stillness of night, moon 
     thrumming under my breastbone -
     my eyes open for first time 

Perhaps it was I
suffering from postpartum blues
who thought it strange 
that no one could hear her cry but me
that no one could hush her restless voice   
in my head until I take my pen & write

      I know 
      even before you were in my womb-
      I know you
I have no name for this child
but she is delicate as a poem 

Posted for D'verse Poets Pub - Following through on a Metaphor ~ I could write a novel about my writing journey but I will keep it short for now ~  Thanks for the visit ~

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


time can grind

    your bones to wood

    your voice to ash

but time can also spool

    your paper cuts to maps 

    your river of darkness to candle

it depends on the lens wearing our eyes 

    a $3.00 subway ticket is
    someone's meal for the day-

    when a dress gets rain soaked, it's not tragic

    as when a town is mud-swept by monsoon floods-

i peer out from my chair

    & draw a ship bobbing upon the waves -

on some days, when i feel i am on that ship

   i remind myself, there's a lighthouse at h
                                                                  o r i
                                                                          z o n    

Photography by:  Kylli Sparre

Posted for D'verse Poets Pub - Bringing light to darkness - 
Living in Canada, I feel so blessed & thankful ~  Whatever challenges I have are so small compared to what others have to go through everyday - war, discrimination & lack of freedom ~

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Night guides

your words are faint memory
      ivory & indigo
cooling down my fire-lit sky to
     autumn shade:

rust-orange mums
    & flaring-red leaves on ground 
appear, converging
    at appointed month, hour
and what of me:

i let night sieve me 
    spilling into lake
    that knows no seasons   

    clustering dreams
    larger than my two hands can hold-

Posted for Imaginary Garden for Real Toads:    55 Words and Kerry's Challenge:   Where do you go to?
And Poets United  - Happy Sunday ~

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Working at city's hub

we keep our faces blank as we ride the subway train.   i call it the herd mentality posture: heads and shoulders slumped meekly, hands and feet curled inwardly, waiting for the next stop.   books, magazines, music and even sketching pad entertains us, makes the waiting bearable.   one time, i saw a young woman knitting a pink doily.   she had a passionate look on her face, engrossed with her loops & needle.  there is an unwritten rule on the metal walls - don't stare too long or too brazenly at each other, even when one is talking to himself.   be courteous even during mayhem.   i listen to train speaker, apologizing every 5 minutes due to the delay in the train schedule.

crouching low
dusk turns my spine to cat shadow
trying to slip out

beneath the veneer of clothes and city work, what lies beneath our skin?  what words i wonder would brim forth our lips, outside of weather conversation?   when i went to the dentist the other day, he asked me if i was biting my tongue as there are marks on both sides.   i tell him, maybe when i am sleeping. 

watching fire in your hands
desire leaps from me, an arrow
bent at the tailspin

Crouching Woman

Posted for D'verse Poets Pub - Thanks for the visit ~

Monday, September 1, 2014

Straight down

I calculate

    where the dusty road winds & breaks into an acapella 
    how low the fig tree can kneel against the storm 
    how much the blowfly grass weighs in my hand
    when the red moon will outdance the sun's stripper show 
by degrees & points in my x & y axis chart

But for you
I would fall

straight down 
rain falling
through a crooked morning

Posted for Imaginary Garden for Real Toads - OpenLinkMonday ~  Thanks for your visit ~