When You Live In A Third World Country

Flickr / catedral01

Inang Bayan / Motherland

Where I come from
children are not allowed
to be children. At 6
Juan learns the word ‘violence;’
pink-faced on the floor,
salt-wounds on the knees. At 7
he learns the word ‘sex,’ at 8
he sees his first corpse –
Uncle some-name-or-other learns the word
‘desperate,’ blinks, and ends up with a
body-bag for a Christmas gift – at 9
Juan hears the threat
of jail bars rattling, at 10
he tastes his first high, at 10
he feels for the first time what it is to be
full. Since birth all he ever knew was
the word ‘hunger.’

I pray for the gay child born
under the poverty line, but
where I come from nobody cares
what you have to say.
Where I come from
God sleeps,
but if you wake Him up He’ll tell you –

Fathers are not allowed
to be fathers,
mothers are not allowed
to be mothers;
one sells pounds of flesh
for thirteen silver coins, the other
sardine-like rots in prison somewhere for a crime
he may have or may not have

The big man gets bigger,
the middle man gets less,
the pauper gets

sewer rats,
maybe a bullet or two if you’re lucky
or unlucky and even now
Juan only ever knows
hunger, always hunger. You forgot
about him didn’t you?
It’s okay, everybody else does
until he breaks the rhythm of a good dream,
until he breaks inside our homes.

Where I come from
none of this really matters.
The sun still rises
in the east,
and sets
in the west.
But the sky bleeds red…

even at midnight.

Motherland: A Filipino Spoken Word

Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Filipina mermaid. Author of WAR SONGS and Coffee & Cigarettes.

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