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Filipino American Poet, Cynthia Buiza: "WALKING IN LOS ANGELES II" & "WIND and ASH"


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.



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

one destination.

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

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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.

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