Collaborative Manifesto Project: here.
“Others never see you: they surmise about you from uncertain conjectures; they do not see your nature so much as your artifice. So do not cling to their sentence: cling to your own.”
– Michel de Montaigne, On Repenting
When you board the redeye flight to Los Angeles, say flesh:
I’m coming home. Say flesh, lesson four is the deep-cut
pamilya circuits around your ankles, attached to your soul. You
have kept your voice silent, letting them blame you, dark-haired
aswang. But say flesh this: I’m coming home. When you color
your tongue Tagalog, you’ve extracted a gamble. You’ve let
yourself wish harder then a mottled, dulce song. You have opened
your hands, found summer among your body, remembering
his nephews and nieces who grab you from the inside. You’ve
let them run in the rye, let them hear the voices of their
parents, sisters of those spiteful circuits, let them blame
the pretty mouth, the green your eyes, things you’ve sipped
for your lola told you so. But say flesh this: I’m coming home.
A kingdom awaits in three unsent letters, they form a cyclical
mouth, a wave of apology. The way you stutter makes you
a thousand years old, you are only an aswang among aswangs.
But say this flesh: you’re coming home. The rain has never touched
your mistakes. You remember now the streets of Dolores,
the sampaguita garden in the middle of the front yard, the
cactuses lining the pavement. You remember brown, flailing arms,
your ate’s sigh, your father’s longer sigh, your lola’s voice, who says:
anak, you are home.
Words inspired and indebted to: Barbara Jane Reyes, J.D. Salinger, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Chin-In, Paul Ocampo, Carol Gomez, Dani Hartke, Hari Malagayo Alluri, Claire Donato, Serena W. Lin, Andrew Anastasia,Yael Villafranca, Melissa Morrow, Todd Wellman, Bushra Rehman, and Clarissa Rojas
Prompt – P. Diddy: “I thought I told you that we won’t stop.”