A free-spirited cub
Laid on the holy slab
Donned by my mother white.
A willing sacrificial lamb
To get the approval of my father.
He offered me to the altar
In fulfillment of a promise
To pay his dues,
And left me waif outside a shut door
Of a dome I din’t belong.
He dropped me off the road, unknown,
To a journey never understood.
A life he ordered me to live,
Without a map to follow
And lost myself along the way.
I strayed into the wilderness,
Cruel and unforgiving,
Like a vulnerable cub
Bullied by laughing hyenas.
There was no armor
To shield me in the battles
I didn’t expect exist
Inside the dome
That I thought was holy.
I was an easy prey
To predators in school
And the obloquies of my father
When I returned home.
The life raft
I thought I could cling on
In times of storm
Pushed me away,
Drifting, hitting rocks in the shores
That would not welcome me.
I sustained wounds
That bleed inside me
I leaked many years in silence
To healing ~
Nursed the white cub inside me
And made myself whole again.
I was a reject at 13,
A loser at such a young age.
A picture of defeat,
Expelled from the dome
That many thought
Would determine my future.
The once free-spirited cub
Suddenly became a pariah
Retiring to his digged burrows
Leaving behind no egress,
To a different kind of confinement.
I tried to mimic the hyenas
For awhile to earn my protection
From the harsh world.
A symbiosis I welcomed
Like the anemone
To a clownfish taking shelter
In its stinging tentacled folds
While I build my backbone,
Training my fins to swim
And find the lost me again.
It was a moment
I’m not proud about, and remorseful.
I feel for the souls I stung with words,
For who could understand them better
But me who once was a dartboard
Of ridicules of the hyenas.
I learned to sound like their laughter
But never become them,
For caged within me was a crying cub
I heard clearly
When I chose solitude.
I didn’t belong to any herd
And refused to take their colors,
For I chose to become a new breed
That grows its claws
Not to harm, but to protect.
To weave words not to distroy,
But to re-build the broken spirits.
It took me years
To understand my purpose,
Like the clownfish to survive
Free of my imaginary anemone.
It took me awhile to recognize
The true sound of my laughter
Muted by the loud hyenas.
In solitude I redeemed my voice
I once lost in my desperate attempts
To seek the approval of my father.
I swam the ocean, arrived in the shore
That my creator intended me to be
And found the white cub still clad in white
His mother once donned him,
But now grown
HAVE A WONDERFUL YEAR OF THE WHITE TIGER, EVERYONE!
I wish you well.
A tiny seed is dozing in my heart.
‘Tis strange and fragile to my youthful mind.
But like a cub, ’tis untamed in the start,
And always on the look out for its kind.
Defenses look useful to coat it thick.
I’m scared to face the things my mind not ken.
Disguises mask the pain and love with trick,
Like when you left and I was heart broken.
Though bruised, the seed of hope rises to grow.
Despite the tears you caused it flourish here.
He treads the world alone and shining through.
Your face, your lips and kisses he’ll revere.
This frail seed is a would-be seasoned tree.
My sweet first love, the seedling you set free!
I was caged
struggling to breath
In the confines
Of my full time job
That restricts rhymes,
Muting my poetic voice
To a defeaning silence.
Between the ticking
And beeping sounds
Of clinical devices
In cold hallways
With lonely tunes
To be written
Which I have to Ignore
There are sick souls
Under my care
Needing my attention ~
The poems have to wait.
They patiently sit
In the waiting area
Of my mind
With those sad,
Sleepless, begging eyes
That break my heart.
As I end the humdrums
Of my routines,
For my friends
Rows of empty
Yes, I gave him a name and his name is Ethan.
I was called once to priesthood when I was in highschool, but I was expelled from the seminary after a year. Many are called, they said, but only a few are chosen; I was not. It was my first taste of rejection, and it was how my story with Ethan started.
I would like to tell you about my first bonsai tree, Ethan. I mentioned the seminary because I planted Ethan the summer after I was kicked out. I was 13 years old with wings broken. Nobody really cared to listen to my side of the story especially my father. My mother, as always, was there to console me ~ in silence. I was left alone in the corner to leak my own wound to heal. At that lowest point of my life, for a reason that I’m just beginning to understand now, God sent me Ethan to care. I always had some loner tendencies as a kid. That summer and years after that I became withdrawn, misunderstood. Gone was the child full of life, I fell down so low I never thought I could ever rise again.
I found Ethan still a seedling just starting to grow wild under the coconut tree in our backyard. He is a rare specie from the Balete(Rubber tree) family often found only in the forests. He must be a seed from those trees brought here by birds’ droppings. My natural liking for plants instantly draw me to his 5 verdant leaves. I replanted him and his first home was an empty tin can of milk.
Quietly, I spent my summer wondering where to go, reaching the end of my road, while I watch Ethan grow new leaves. To him, I was a broken guardian; and him a soothing green that healed my broken soul.
What now with my broken wings?
I wonder now if I could fly again.
Will the winds of time save me from falling?
Tell me, where will I go from here?
What now with my wounded spirit?
I wonder now if I could rise from here.
Is there a pill that can mend this pain,
Would I ever have the courage to fight again?
My highschool years was a mess. I lost interest in everything. Like a seedling uprooted, I drifted with the uncertain currents of my young life. I slept my way through highschool, I was in section F of our batch, a picture of defeat at 15. Looking back now, I feel I only did one thing right those years ~ I planted Ethan.
God always have his way to pull our strings and bring us back to shores when we lost our ways in the ocean. He did and he put me in a nursing school. The least I thought I would become for a profession, but the course served me double purpose: I got a degree while I nursed my heart’s scars through college. Ethan grew into a maniature tree with dense leaves and 2 main branches by now. We practically grew up together. I trimmed his roots and leaves year after year, trained his trunk to lean to the direction it would look best, molding him into a lovely tree in a pot that he had become. While I became a nurse.
It was sad to leave him home when it was time for me to go to find my place in the real world after college. But I had to do what I needed to do. And for the first time he was out of my life. I have risen and had moved on from my previous defeat. I never saw him for 5 long years. When I went home, we already moved to a new house in the city and then I remembered Ethan.
It was a sad reunion for us. He lost his beautiful form the last time I saw him. My mother cut one of his main branches the previous year not knowing what to do with his uncontrolled growth. He was like an old friend with over grown mustache and beard unrecognizable when I saw him during my home-coming. He has a scar in the heart of his trunk from the branch that was cut off. I bleed inside seeing this friend who was once there for me to soothe my pain with his green silence.
I started trimming, grooming, molding him again making the best out of the one branch that was left. His cecatrix added beauty to his new form. 3 years after he surprised me with abundant fruits in his branches to show me that he is a full grown tree now. He inspired me to grow more bonsai trees and he became a big brother to all of them. I was home for 8 years spending every day moments with him sitted in that quiet side of our garden with the pond under.
When I moved to Chicago in 2006, he’s one thing in my life back home that’s hard to let go. He is part of our conversations over the phone whenever I call home. I made sure my nephews and nieces are taking care of him. I left him to their care for I know it is time for him to touch their young life like he did to me.
During my home-coming, I always have a blast reunioniting with family. But in my solitude, I have a silent reunion with Ethan. I spend quiet moments in the garden with him towering over me when I’m sitted ~ God, how he has grown sturdy like a seasoned tree. I took shelter in his canopy of green leaves, I felt the cool breeze of his breath in the wind ~ he has grown to become the guardian of my once broken soul.
It is when the seed is almost destroyed that it is about to grow. I understand that better now with Ethan. I went through the lowest point in my life and manage to rise like a seed. Yes, our cicatrix add beauty to our forms.
Ethan and I ~ time healed our wounds and left us marks adding beauty to our forms ~ we stand firm and sturdy.
Life taught me the hard lessons of parting early on. My first best friend was a classmate from childhood I met during my first day in grade school. I’m not sure how his name was spelled, but I remember it sounded like “Hanibal.” My memory of his name is as bleak as my memory of how he looks – I only have a blur image of a boy my age with a new haircut. But I remember the joy finding another young soul to share my thoughts when we first entered the door of education.
Our friendship begun as soon as our first class in grade one started. We met in a classroom that smelled of the mixed scents of fresh pads, newly plastic covered notebooks encased in our new school bags like our minds ready to be filled with knowledge. The smell of freshly sharpened pencil and scented eraser would always bring me back to that moment. I remember the fresh scent of soap when I bathed that morning excited for my first day in school. I forgot the color of the clothes I wore, but I still remember how my new shirt smells. The scents of these things always conjure nostalgic thoughts, reminding me of my first best friend I lost with the passing of time. The places we reached and continually explore widen the spaces between us, and narrowed the road that once put us together at one moment in time. But in my mind we always share the desk, in that corner of our grade one classroom.
I was seated in the front row at the right side of the room next to him, a stranger just like all the other faces around me. It was fate that placed us seated next to each other, but it was our choice to become friends. The feeling of being left alone for the first time, drew us together. I feel at ease with his presence the moment we first introduced our names. We became friends before our first recess, and by the end of our first day in school, we have found in each other’s company the joy of real friendship. I cannot remember any other details of our days together, like I cannot recall anything more about him. I just know that he made my first day in school less scary to the surprise of my mother who anticipated the worse. I easily got over my separation anxieties and fear of strangers. I looked forward being back in school and always take home fun-filled stories at dinner time, telling my family about my newly found friend.
Morning comes and off it goes.
Like people come and (ouch!) they go.
For some brief moment they come my way,
But few are meant to stay.
Life’s lesson of letting go,
And memories remain with me.
Days passed. Our school activities progressed, school became my second home. But one day, I found myself unusually seated alone in our desk. My friend was absent when our teacher checked our attendance. I waited for him until recess, but lunch and afternoon classes came and gone without him. The same thing happened the next day and the days after. Our teacher some few weeks later changed our seating arrangement, making me vacate the desk we shared in our classroom where the emblems of our friendship vanished. I later heard their family moved to another place and he transferred to another school far away that my young mind then was incapable of reaching. I was assigned a new desk in the second row at the center aisle of the room after that and had new seatmates. From time to time I would glace to our desk wishing him back. My new seatmates are faceless and left my memory insignificant traces so were the other friends I had after we parted. I only remember one friend from my first day in school and he is my first real best friend.
Life taught me early on that some perfect moments could go wrong. Friends come, but I could not expect them to stay, for like me, they too, have lives to live and journeys to complete. I am not sure if my friend remembers or would have the same thoughts. My friend may forget, but as long as I still know how the classroom desk smells he will always be remembered.
Dawn: The moon and the sleepless sea. Boracay Island, Philippines
I never had somebody to call mine,
Nobody ever called me their Valentine.
A Certified single since birth,
I share to no one my life’s mirths.
I understand, and have few compaints.
I remain not jaded, am free of taints.
There’s no space for bitterness in my heart,
Ardor overflows in its every part.
Midday: Taking Sails. Boracay Island, Philippines
But no matter how strong or smart I am,
There’s no guarantee that pain wouldn’t come.
I welcome pain with open mind,
I wait for love for me to find.
I loved and was hurt, too, once.
Though ’twas an unconsumated romance.
We took on sail, but not moored our feelings.
So we soared and fell like birds with broken wings.
There are no more emblems left of our love,
But the sad poems chanted by a waif dove.
Dusk: Waif dove. Boracay Island, Philippines
Pages turn yellow, and the mind forgets,
But the soul recalls the songs of our heartbeats.
And now, for a broken heart like mine,
How would I greet you, Happy Valentines?
I’ve nothing to share, I could only comment:
Anchor your love, celebrate each moment.
You’ll never know how special the love you’ve done,
Til the person you’ve shared it with is gone.