Multo ng Union (Busting)


Talo ka talaga sa trabaho natin

Dapat kasi may unyon yan basta ganyang general labor

Ah, kung may unyon, magbabago mukha ng lugar na yan

Di yan pwedeng siyam o labingdalawang oras tayong nagtatrabaho

Mas mahaba ang break

Mas maikling mga oras at hindi ganyan kapaspasan

Tapos umiikot ka talaga, di pwedeng parehong trabaho lang parati

Tsaka yung maangas na leadhand, di pwede yan, di pwedeng nagmumura-mura

Maraming kalokohan talaga mawawala kung may unyon

Problema lang, kung ang unyon tulad sa Pinas, sindikato rin

Pinapaboran pa rin ang management

Wala pa rin

Sige, pangsamantala lang naman to

Oo nga

Sige, bukas naman…

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In the Bright Future


peoples of the world
will regain their memories
and imaginations

it will be a good time to be
a historian

since gone are the days
of cut throat battles for the
‘real story’

everyone has his or her own
statistics of little purges
in whichever corner of the
globe,
idiosyncrasies traced back
to childhoods,

and strange alliances made in the name
of ideals better read in paper.

peoples of the world
will regain their memories
and imaginations

as biographies of American dictators
sell like hotcakes.

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.

After the Honeymoon


It starts after month you arrive
and could last up to two years, or longer.

You begin creating rituals

like learning the streets yourself
since no one going to take a day off to drive
you around to see the attractions.

You no longer amuse yourself
with naive exercises of compare-and-contrast
of what can be found here and not there,

you start to looking into the future, and get vertigo,

making your homeland so beautiful.

In bus rides going home, eye-contact, and a smile
from another adventurer like you
gives you a moment’s strength
you can’t explain.

In dinner tables, apologies start to outnumber promises.

Karaniwang Byahe Pauwi Galing Trabaho at Di-karaniwang Pangungulila


Dahil Taglamig, kahit wala pang alas-sais,
paglabas ko, aakalain mong oras
na ng hapunan o pagtulog
sa dilim at tahimik ng paligid,
saka ko maalala sa parating tahimik
sa lugar na ito, at mababawasan
ang aking pagkabalisa kahit papano.

Kamakailan, oras pa ito ng pananabik,
pagkatapos na maghapon sa klase,
magpapalitan tayo ng mga kwento
na buong araw na itinabi’t itinago
para lang sa isa na namang
takipsilim ng pagtatagpo.

Hindi biro ang paglakad sa nyebe
sa kahit anong anyo nito; nanigas,
natunaw, at lalo na bagong hulog
na may mapaglinlang na lambot.
Maingat pero dapat mabilis ako,
dalawang kanto pa ang tatahakin,
at dapat eksakto kong maabutan ang
bus na kada-tatlumpong minuto lang
dumadaan. Ilang beses na rin ako
naiwan, di na mahalaga ang dahilan,

basta nagtataka kung paano ko
nalagpasan ang mga byahe
natin na nakangiti, kahit puno
rin ang mga ito ng mga
paghihintay, lakaran,
pagtatalo at sisihan,
sa ilalim man ng araw o ulan.
At sa pagkamanhid ng mga dulo
ng aking mga daliri, lalo ko
nararamdaman na ako’y mag-isa.

Pagkasakay, babatiin ako ng drayber,
ng mga bakante upuan at iilang pasahero,
syudad ito ng lumbay at mga pribadong sasakyan.
Ang karaniwang byahe ay matagal,
nakakagutom, pero kailan man hindi
ako nababagot. Ito lang ang panahon
na nabibigyan ko ng kulay ang mapanglaw
na tanawin mula sa aking binta
gamit ang alaala ng iyong pagtawa,
pati na bulong ng iyong pagtampo.

Isang oras pagkalipas, bababa ulit sa nyebe,
dito babalik na sa lupa ang kamalayan,
maaalala na malamang ako unang tao
sa bahay, kailangan muna magluto at magsaing,
pero lahat ng ito ay balewala,
pagkat natatangi ang aking pangungulila,
pag-asam hindi sa nakaraan kundi sa hinaharap,
saan wala nang mga gabi ng
paulit ulit na malalayong panaginip,
saan maaaliw na lang ako sa mga
madramang tula, tulad nito,
saan pagtatawanan ko na lang
ang bawat anyo ng dinaanang hirap
dahil doon, uuwi na ako papunta sa iyong mga yakap.