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I’m grateful to nonprofit organization LEAD Filipino for having a local open mic night that I could write for. Bahay! Home of the Kreatives is a community-made environment where local FilAm, AAPI, BIPOC, Queer, and Trans creatives are invited to shape what an unapologetic, safe, healing, and sharing space looks and feels like in the heart of the ever-changing San José. I encourage you to sign up for a future open mic as an audience member, vendor, or performer!
On May 6th I joined LEAD Filipino at My Gypsy Soul for my first open mic performance in ages. There I read two pieces that I wrote in January 2023: “Turning 40” and “2023.” You can read both pieces below.
This year, I turned a few new pages
Remembered that my body ages
Remembered that the things it chases
Have been things that lead to disgraces.
This year, I upgraded my book
Celebrated the risks I took
Celebrated the folks I shook
Caused good trouble, made them all look.
This year, I shed unwanted fears
Oiled up my chains, tightened my gears
Oiled up my skin, braced for the sneers
Pushed back hard for my family’s cheers.
This year, I learned how untangled I
Can become that which they decry
Can become that which they deny
Should have the power seen in my eyes.
This year I turned 40, all the wiser
More of a watcher, more of a fighter
More of a speaker, more of a writer
Unleashing all that hides inside her.
This year, and the next year, watch out now
I am no longer scared of how
I am no longer backing down
Untangled from them, watch them bow.
Coming out of 2020
Red with tears in 2021
For better days in 2022
Wondering if the pain and fear are done.
Is 2023 the year that I
Stop fearing if I’ll die
Before I say my goodbyes
About with fear still in my eyes
Tired of all their lies
Staring up at the skies
Thinking that this year it just might be
Bringing the positive energy that I need
Blinking away all of the nightmares that feed
The shrinking that’s happening inside of me.
But maybe it’s because
I’m wound and I’m riled up
I’m bound and defiled up
Straight dripping with stardust
While knowing that I must
Unleash what I’ve hidden
Goodbye and good riddance
To dusty old sleaze men
Who think i’ve become them
Lord no, it’s not within
Me to forget herstory
Sweet like cat purrs to me
Unconscious but can see
You kill my community
Destroyed what was true in me
Distilled what was good in me
Til all that you could see
Is what you now rue in me
Dripping gold like a queen
Shining bright, dynasty
You cannot murder me
Not in 2023.