The face of the im/migrant is a familiar face.
The lines of worry and homing anxiety are all in there in the forehead, etched there as if they are abstract reminders of what had happened along the way.
I see them, these faces.
And these faces see me.
And the recognition becomes mutual, this seeing that is born out of looking and looking kindly at each other's fortune and failure.
It is this seeing through, this seeing with a vision and insight that makes you recognize the face of the im/migrant.
It is not the voice nor the speech, although this is somehow a giveaway in many circumsntances.
The voice can be faked, the speech can be acquired, the play of words can be learned the way a parrot learns some human noise, some blabber, but always without that sense of the self-reflexive.
The gait can be learned as well the way models in the fashion stage of those who think of sytle as a marker of meaning and humanity can fake sophistication with their callousness, their inability to make a meaningful connect with humanity in blood, in flesh, in fears, in tears.
Even a presidential swagger whether in the Philippines or in the United States can be a by-product of all the historical circumnstances that lead one to rule a land and rule it the way you would probably rule a midnight kitchen, with no obligation to the public.
No, the im/migrant is a face--and a face with that gaze only another im/migrant understands.
The face looks far and wide, the looking always a looking through beyond the barriers, beyond the imaginary walls: it is that look of hope, of a promise, of a joy that has yet to find its place in the guts.
In effect, the face of the im/migrant is a laughter that comes after a full meal.
The face of the im/migrant is a future with a past drawn up from the present.
The face of the im/migrant is a eureka of that which is possible beyond pains, sufferings, sacrifices--the possible that is true, good, and beautiful.
I see them all as I take the Greyhound 7176 and then 6119.
I recognizes theses faces: one of hope, one of courage, one of daring.
I see them, these faces, I see them come to me in my dreams: the Black immigrant, the Latino immigrant, the Asian immigrant, the European immigrant, the Arab immigrant.
I see them come, these faces, I see them come into a union with other faces to form a community of faces, one that knows what dreams are made, what seeing through demands in the dreamer, what amount of boldness is necessary to pursue the dream.
Ah, these faces on these buses that I take and in the other buses that I take.
A. S. Agcaoili
June 22, finished June 23, 2006