Sugar in the Marmalade

January 9, 2009

~ title inspired by the song by Leon Lai ~

Where calm waves crash shores, visitors commune
To sit and stand, laugh and hum a gay tune.
Beneath the Summer sun and the crescent moon,
The gust is perfect for tourists platoon.
The same spanking breeze, to soldiers, a boon,
And to farmers, a welcoming monsoon,
Swaggers to become a twilight gale soon.
The sun rising from daybreak till high noon,
Becomes a cascade of gold and maroon.
Lovers kiss and a child holds his balloon.
For me, the ambience is opportune
To lick marmalade sugar from the spoon.

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Kid, Look At Me

December 24, 2008

Kid, look at me. Don’t be afraid and don’t be too sure.
Who am I? Where am I going? Where am I from?
I am you, many years ago: that young, that pure.
Now you see me; do you see what I have become?

I am old, sick, and frail, with a body smell of rum.
I speak only with gestures and an occasional grunt,
And make my abode in the neighborhood slum,
Unaware of hot or cold, my feelings rendered blunt.

Strong wind and rain, and biting chill, I confront.
My twisted wisps blow against the strong squall.
Despite bitter a clime, there is food I must hunt,
So call me dirt and grime; I have heard them all.

Clung to my bare chest is a sign etched in scrawl:
“I am lost and helpless and hungry. HELP ME.”
All I see is ignorance and all I hear is a catcall.
I am a beggar always, unworthy of my own plea.

Some stare at my sunken cheeks and faded tee,
I am the debris in this otherwise spotless land.
Others glare at my furrowed face and bruised knee,
With no sign of empathy; they do not understand.

To them, I should disappear at their tacit command.
Clad in coarse tatters, a dull shadow glides all alone,
Among radiant patches of life, a nondescript man.
That shadow is me, wandering far away from home.

My meager consumption of leftover bread hard as stone,
And contaminated water from the corner fountain side,
Make me thin as a stick, with my skeleton clearly shone,
Feeding on droplets of misery, having been cast aside.

I ask no more than dreams to live on, a home to reside,
Kind provisions from strangers, for they are blessed,
A loving family to belong, and some friends to confide,
A trace of hope in this dark world to soothe my distress.

Bereft of comfort, yet I will not languish in stress
But rise, rise, and honorably smite the callous night.
Stretching minute chords of my vocal tract, I confess:
Kid, break the storm and steer from the devil’s sight.

Look at me: I am the prince of the poor, a repulsive sight,
With thick outgrowths of gray shoots sprawled across my face.
Harshly whipped at all corners and bearing this endless fight.
My proudest possession is a cup with an espresso trace.

Kid, inflict me with your complains but show no disgrace.
Simply give me some attention, a little love preferably too,
And something you can’t easily share in public space:
How about a genuine promise just between me and you?

Respect your parents for they have helped you through.
They are marked by deep anguish so you suffer no strife.
An education is important so please return to school,
And grow in this heaven where you can shine and thrive.

Be thankful for you have everything you need in life:
A roof and stuffed plate, family and wealth to squander.
So may your lovely smile meet your full cheeks, revive,
And may your softened feet not follow in foolish wander.

Sometimes, when dawn flashes vibrant streaks, I ponder
Life that is lived comfortably, in eternal peace and bliss.
Looking into your tender eyes, I grow fonder and fonder.
A shiver of joy rushes through me when I reflect all this!

Life is too short; thus, it is vain to sorrowfully reminisce.
Maybe someday, I will grow respected at my own ease.
Caressing the weary horizon is a murky indigo vapor mist.
Maybe someday, I will find in my bosom the gem of peace.

When I see men with designer scarves over their silky fleece
And women clad in ornate jewelry, I am filled with contempt,
Wanting more than I deserve, in a moment of selfish caprice,
As a man scorns some helpless creature he intends to torment.

I hope that you will not experience the same regretful descent.
I may become a figment of your imagination at the break of day;
At the core of my begging activity is this simple yet dire intent:
May the immeasurable skies free you from your fleeting dismay.

Consider me the insignificant filth negligently tossed away;
I am merely a man devastated by adversities long endured.
I have neither hope nor luck but have chanced upon you today.
Kid, please look at me. Don’t be afraid and don’t be too sure.


Tied With A Pink Ribbon

November 16, 2008

~ dedicated to all breast cancer victims and their loved ones ~

Wisps in the wind gracefully blow;
Cascades of sunshine lightly flow.
Spun silk glossed in a golden glaze,
Tied with a pink ribbon, they blaze.

Stalked by a sniper’s silent stare,
Feathery fine strands disappear.
Tucked beneath a veil of gray baize,
Tied with a pink ribbon, they blaze.

Golden locks glimmer on the ground,
On her rug and the softball mound.
The golf grass rays caught her child’s gaze,
Tied with a pink ribbon, they blaze.

They fill coverlets marked by fear:
The silent crooks may reappear,
Take and raze in its callous craze;
Tied with a pink ribbon, they blaze.

Hope glistens behind the dark screen;
Life patterns trump this thief unseen.
Hair recur in a flaming maze;
Tied with a pink ribbon, they blaze.

Her infant child’s frisky hair shine.
Is she next? a question divine.
They sparkle and dance as she plays.
Tied with a pink ribbon, they blaze.

Wisps in the wind blow with promise;
Cascades of sunshine flow with bliss.
Spun silk glossed in a golden glaze,
Tied with a pink ribbon, they blaze.


AE To Me

November 9, 2008

Where the fair heavens meet mortal dust
Lied a blanket of nebulous sky.
There, a lady dared her engines thrust,
Tried to fly her crystal wings up high.

Her name is Amelia Earhart,
But pray the pronoun not gull the tone.
“I myself had to fly!” she impart,
And soared through the Atlantic alone.

Despite stormy clouds and biting clime,
Family unrest and peers’ slant eyes,
She set to test the shackles of time,
And was crowned the Princess of the Skies.

To leave Earth behind to glide and spin,
And feel the warmth of placid blue skies.
To feel the thrill that flight fires within,
And share a place among the fireflies.
To earn the right to call the clouds home,
And confront the red glare of the sun.
To have the blessing through heavens, roam,
And seize the day, a tacit bet won.

Upward bound with her free wings support,
She hummed the hymn of unfathomed space.
“Lady of the skies,” as news report,
Who claimed the heavens as her own place.

Her tune mixed with the call of sheer air
Silently makes a song not construed.
Yet the sounds of both resonate clear
The pitch of a divine dream come true.

She danced with the recalcitrant winds,
And brushed across all the mountain tops,
And in her record voyage, begins
A new age when quondam custom drops.

The future built from ritual mold’s blight
Is shaped by the cast of her own might.
Having drank the air and breathed the light,
She reached the heavens then out of sight.

AE vanished, having staged her dream,
But I stand earthbound in her shadow
And must muster my own self-esteem,
Evoke fancied silver wings below.

I, too, will greet the heavens hello,
Once I cast my own dashing shadow.


The I-Banker

October 26, 2008

~ para Luis ~

Soft corn seed floats atop and sheds its kernel;
Bubbles clear and the air fills with a sweet scent.
Notes filtered through diamond lights sound eternal,
Corralling a figure, gliding with intent.
City skylines greet this man of age vernal,
Viva la vida, budding toward life’s ascent.
A pupil and teacher, he weaves through guan xi,
And dares the market challenge, the stock drop plea.

Newly versed in the tongue of a distant land,
And seasoned in the dance of his native home,
He dwells on mid-ground, dreams with the lower hand,
And eyed with bias, grows in a patch of loam.
Hearing our financial woes, he drafts a plan.
Through a sea of alarming charts, his eyes roam.
Where the tango hands lead, a fiesta dawns.
In New York City, a dance must trail his yawns.


A Thought

October 17, 2008

Yesterday marks a history;
Tomorrow lies a mystery.
But you can solve it easily
With today’s earnest energy.


A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

October 12, 2008

Down the street, sneakers hang from cable lines.
Along cement walls are graffiti gang signs.
One never walks alone here;
One is never without fear.
Brooklyn: where felons advance their career;
Brooklyn: where the innocent disappear,
A child dreams to become a pioneer.

In the media,
He is painted the shade of sin with the tone of threat,
The source of shame in a dark silhouette.
As if he is invisible yet ominously there,
Sprouting sin and fostering fear.
Roaming the mean streets of Brooklyn,
Grounds nourished in hate and bred for sin,
A child dreams to become a pioneer.

In this hood,
The crime-ridden projects of urban cityscape,
Day shines light on the sight of caution tape,
As the dreadful night before had taken shape
In the ugly forms of homicide and rape,
Of violent theft and victims’ futile escape,
In this vicinity of vice lived in constant fear,
A child dreams to become a pioneer.

In his family,
One might even say that the rumors hold truth,
As blood-kin behave in ways deemed uncouth:
An uncle on the run, and another behind bars,
His father charged for hijacking cars.
His older sister smokes pot outside the corner store,
As his little sister walks from behind to explore.
Yet he holds them dear and dreams to be the pioneer.

He is trampled by hollow assumptions,
Labeled with loathe and stamped with shame.
Using food stamps for daily consumptions,
He etches a living in his own name:
A student with perfect attendance,
And a fine scholar with straight A’s.
He is living with independence,
Fear overcome and peace embraced.

This child dreams to become a pioneer:
A brother who takes care of his sisters at will,
A son who makes his parents proud of him too.
A boy who, towards his ambitions, pursue,
Will one day find all his wishes fulfilled,
To become the man with his dreams come true.

The media can lie.
And people will die,
In this place where calm drowns into a cry,
And yet a tree grows high into the sky.
Living a life of fear with no despair,
A child dreams to become a pioneer.