for what is inside: collaborative generating #5

Collaborative Manifesto Project: here.

“How can one disguise the simple fact that the entire world is somewhat sad and lonely?”
Clarice Lispector (via Claire Donato)

I have my own story of shame. My lola has said:
put your culture and history first. Still, I do not understand.
I married into a new culture when I was 23,
and a watching woman-broken-child cried.
I married while sitting with a sea of karaoke-goers,
I saw stars in the shape of the alphabet along the walls.
It was our wedding reception. Afterwards, in a balikbayan
box, my father packed the items of who I am:
vienna sausage cans, corned beef, and SPAM,
all gifts of self-exile. When I am alone, I eat the food
of my country no longer within myself. My lola says to me
before I leave: you married a military man like me. She frowns.
I make up things every time I open my eyes.

I have my own story of shame. A secret marriage is still.
This is how I manage the absence of your physical being
in the day-to-day: I become an ocean out of wedlock.
At least I am next to you when you are a thousand miles gone,
dressed in white slacks like a mourning dove. Every morning,
I walk to my faucet and distill water into light. I stand and fight
the exit, like the last time.


Inspired by all who are here. Thank you, sincerely.


Prompt: “Keep reminding yourself that literature is one of the saddest roads that leads to everything.” — André Breton

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