A Lesson On How To Lose Your Accent

(For Geraldine Dumayas, on her 11th birthday, her first

in the United States of America)

Pretty soon you will lose your accent,

The one that speaks of your Sarrat

In the Ilocos now vague and vacuous.

The message is loud, clear, compelling,

That one that urges you to lose

The hard guttural R by rounding your lips

By remembering to forget in your mind

The hard life in Currimao and Vintar.

You will have to roll the R, make it softer,

Pronounce it with the purring of that soft,

Fresh, calming breeze from your father's farm

Now in that state of sorrow for so long, with its

Promise of bounty dismissed, its voice muted,

Silenced like the wayward waters of falls

Dammed to make spring pools and lakes

For the rich, those who show green bucks

For quick gratification,a paradise in plastic.

Pretty soon you will say the perfunctory

Polite phrases, the empty nonsense signifying

Equally empty existences like those lives

Lost on exiles in drag races, young lives,

Promising, the future on hold, the morrow awaiting

But now, but now, lost to perpetual forgetting.

The second language will not remain foreign.

With the 24-hour TV and Fox News and CNN,

You will pick up the gangsta lingo

You will pick up the standard tongue

You will pick up the one for the movies

You will pick up the one for romance

And then the language will be yours

And then the language will reside in your soul

And then the language will one with your heart

And then the language will be born in your mind

And then you will lose the hard R

And then you will lose the guttural R

And then you will lose the memory of how Bacarra

Spells the sound of belonging to the heartland,

Balikbayan boxes and the feasting with the basi.

But then again, I can only second guess.

I believe you will yet to learn to forget

How the grandmother back home prepares pinakbet.

Aurelio S. Agcaoili

Gardena, CA

Nov. 19, 2004


ariel said...

dear reader:
so sorry but i committed two proofreading errors,
all on stanza one:

1. on that line on hard life, pls drop "is"
2. somewhere, down the line, ling shd be "long"

anyways, i have yet to learn to edit my work. my daughtet camz who is not very strict that's why, has taught me so but i have not tried. i will, dunno when.
ciao kadakayo amin.

manong A

rva said...

mang ariel, editem iti postmo lattan. mabalinmo a suktan, baliwan, editen, deleten ti nalpasen a post iti uneg ti blogger.

anyway, i love this poem. peregrinasion ti maysa nga ubing iti america ken ti panangikut kenkuana ti Laud ken lumaud.


ariel said...

dear roy:
agyamanak. padasek a pageksperimentuan no madamdama apaman a malpasak nga aglaba, bwahahahahahaha! anian a rigat ti exilo, kunam sa!
manong A