Care Givers

The first thing about people
who work with the institutionalized
elderly, it that they have a
grim sense of humor.
My aunt
once describe an average
night shift in a home, to be
smooth, quiet, and simple
checking if the old timers
are still breathing.
They have
learned to sing, dance, do
stand-up comedy, mostly
the slapstick kind, so that
the patient could have a little
more reason to take
another meal, another medication.
None of them thought,
that halls of weak and aged
bodies could contain so much
laughter, flirting, and the
occasional violence.
A job
requirement is suppressing
paradoxes that haunt your sleep,
like how could children
neglect, [or abandon, or any
harsher word, in dozens of
mother tongues,]  their parents to
total strangers,
but then again,
if they didn’t, care
givers wouldn’t
be able to provide for their own
children, parents, relatives, friends,
Don’t worry,
things never reach philosophical
levels, like is a longer life a better life?
or how can one suffer dimentia, if one has dimentia?
They would rather rest,
since you are not paid to
contemplate in the global
flow or care.

who would like to hear stories
of nannies?



Coffee with My Father

We were having coffee in
the food court of our
neighbourhood mall,

when my father asked me if
I like it here,
a month since
we arrived,

[we ran out of stories from our
tours to Montreal
and Quebec,
beautiful places,

when the pictures were upload
of the obligatory visit
to see Niagara Falls,
when I get
my driver’s licence I’ll spend
more time on the city,

the jet lag has worn out,
thank goodness,

the cold starts to seep in,
it never quiet left this year,
they say.

We need jobs.]

I said, “It’s okay”,
keeping the questions

He looked defeated.

“I guess so,” he succumbs,
“A lot of white people,

just like in the movies.”

Repressed Paradoxes

Every textbook anthology
begins by defining the essence
of poetry; rhyme, meter, stories
written in verses, saying one thing
and creating something sacred.
Then we read a succession of
heretics and witches
trying to outdo the scandal previous
heretics and witches

Often those who worship form
receive awards, grants,
teaching positions, and are
called universal and timeless.
But the most beloved are those
who go outdoors, to the streets,
to the mountains. Not satisfied
by being remembered, they instead
join the struggle to steer the direction History
is undertaking.   

Professors and students
debate these matters as if they only emerged yesterday.

Converting Dreams

Any new arrival would be
amazed with how the
first world
changed the way their loved
ones talk, not just the language,
but the emphasis on words
not just as worker
but also as
By-words like
‘labor unions’
‘work benefits’
spring up equally often.
Special attention is given to
‘workplace ethics’,
everyone is alert to cases
‘Traffic rules’
are sacred as well as
dutiful filing of taxes.
The office number
of the PM is in their
phonebooks, and in times
of calamity, they join the
chorus for
‘government assistance’

Hope was burning
inside me, as I recall
that indeed a lot of
revolutions were plotted
by future heroes while
they are in exile,
exposed to the possibilities of
a better way of doing things.

But then I remembered
they went home for a few weeks,
as a kid back then this is
synonymous with chocolates,
they only want to hear and say
happy things, like
funny anecdotes,
and little reportages of achievements
by loved-ones, endless
endless catching up,
no stories of hardship, of struggle,
it is a vacation after all.

They’ve learn to close their eyes
to the graft at airports,
consider the trips on
war-zone highways as adventures,
they can now afford to value
culture, history, sceneries
of their homeland,
maybe carry back bits
of national pride, cliché aside,
there is indeed no place like home.

Beauty has been found in violence.
Dreams, it appears, like dollars,
can also be converted.
And I’ve barely earned any.

On Canadian Winter

The climate already gave
birth to dozens of stereotypes
both dubious and legitimate-
worship of hockey,
cold resistant skin,
Spartans of the snow Olympics,
so on and so on.

But winter remains to
be an Event-
object of discussion
and dread,
remarks about heartless
cold are the convenient
sequel to
‘how are you?’
in chance meetings.

Maybe it’s
because of the
amount of whiteness in
every moment,
maybe it’s
the lengthening of
the already long nights,
maybe it’s
the cautious steps
to be taken on the streets,
maybe it’s
the pitch of the
winds that penetrate
numb ears,
maybe it’s
because people
are born naked
and the layers of clothing
is suffocating,
maybe it’s
because people are
never meant to
stay indoors,  
maybe it’s
the nostalgia it fuels
especially for those,
including yours truly,
who are experiencing
it for
the first time.