Filipino American Poet, Cynthia Buiza: "WALKING IN LOS ANGELES II" & "WIND and ASH"
WALKING IN LOS ANGELES II
I keep coming back to a place I have lost
a long time ago when I was already old
and no one in the village knew my name.
The church where Felisa spent
her Sunday afternoons
still asserts its presence:
Spire, dome, gloom.
The pealing bells as the villagers stopped in their tracks
to pick their pockets for miracles.
I’ve always wished that things were different
possessing too much credulity, ship of fools
even as I know that things weren’t always the same.
A neighbor could obtain mercy without a price.
A girl could dream by the window and watch time hang
as Love In The Afternoon crackled on the radio.
It was a time when women danced on the square
like it was the only business of living
and young men fished solemnly on Rawis beach
to catch their shadows on water.
All this is lost now. I do not even know who I am when I dream
only that everything comes to me in sleep, and waking, I lose them all over again.
WIND and ASH
My longing for my country
Is like a broken heart.
I am the pour
It is the vessel.
Time travel is the only way
I know to reach her
Memory upon memory
swimming across the Pacific
Currents of wind and ash
surviving the waves
determined to locate
I can tell you that on merciless
days like these in Los Angeles
I would give anything
to track her shores
finger her sands, granule to granule
so that I, woman of two hearts
dreaming in two continents
can find some moveable peace
In this dislocation.
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Cynthia T. Buiza - Guest Poet
Cynthia Buiza is a poet, strategist and Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC). She earned a Masters in International Affairs from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, with a concentration on human security studies. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from the Philippines, and a Certificate in Refugee and Migration Studies from the Oxford University Refugee Studies Centre in England. Cynthia currently serves as a California State Commissioner with the Milton Marks Little Hoover Commission for State Government Organization and the Economy. Her poems and essays have appeared in Ani, The Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday Magazine, Our Own Voice, Tayo Magazine, Migozine, Paloma Press anthology collections and other anthologies in the U.S. She lives in Los Angeles.