Shores of Miag-ao


Seated on the sand, facing the sea,
lights from the fishing boats
appear like stars
making it hard to tell where
the water ends and sky begins
and with every wave as if
the night reaches for our toes.
It was fascinating even
without beer in our veins.

I spent four years in that town
but this moment gives off
the most warmth in my
now longer February nights.

News from Alberta and Similar Spaces


“I tell them all you have to do is work hard and be patient and always wear a smile,” she says.
“We don’t want to get fired … So we have to be nice.”

From The Globe and The Mail

Let us not pretend
this is the first time
we heard something
like this. Do away with
petty reasons, in

chorus with business owners,
like Filipinos and other migrants
are hard workers, with big dreams,
which could also mean that they
are docile and anxious
in greener pastures. It would
be a great help if everyone
sobers up and talk about
supply and demand,
labor force, wage, elderly
populations,

inherent contradictions

instead of broken promises
and hard decisions.

Let us not pretend
this is the first time
we heard something
like this. How about those
who flee wars? How about those
who find the financial crisis more than
just numbers and graphs and charts?

For sure, the landlords and ministers
will welcome our brothers and
sisters with open arms,
while they find a different country
where they can be a heroes again.

Let us not pretend
this is the first time
we heard something
like this, and may your
sorrow turn into rage.

I Broke Down Towers


I broke down towers
of lettuce at work,
tightly packed in boxes
around twenty pounds each.
It was a cancelled order,
my boss furious at her boss
asked me to level the towers, high as my arm’s reach,
as fast I can, we need to salvage
the lettuce, surreal as that might sound.

I took the boxes to
the old ladies singing in Portuguese
to be sorted out,
imagining myself in a classical
immigrant movie,
in a scene
where my persistence is being tested
before the all is well resolution, fade out, and credit rolls.

At home, staring at a blank page supposedly
to immortalize my ordeal,
I give up, not because of my numb arms
but in confronting that

a chapter in one’s life, is another’s entire book.