The first fog of fall finds a connect with Ilokano poetics in my aesthetic fantasies, my poetic action of the fantastic in the plural.
I am back to Los Angeles after some weeks of absence to entertain this rushing in of adrenaline for the prospect of what may be called a new beginning somewhere else, far from the din of a Mainland life that is marked, as always, by time always being rushed.
In this first fog of fall that I am a witness of in this midmorning of Monday, I see many things in the fuzzy haze around me, like some light at the end of a dark day.
One of the things that I see is the blooming of Ilokano poetics everywhere.
We immigrants and exiles and second class citizens of color in this great land with the great promise for equality, democracy, and justice are now consciously driven by dreams like this one, this birthing of a poetics of our exilic reflections. We are, perhaps, doing this to atone our social sin for having run away from the motherland.
There is one thing that unites us now and this is the realization that we are Ilokanos everywhere and there are Ilokanos everywhere and we might as well be good at this, this being Ilokano here in this land of im/migrants and this collective dreaming of naming our pains as exiles in order to begin the ritual of our self-healing, so that together, in this sacred act, the pursuit becomes sacred as well.
For there is something in one's culture. In there, there is home to the soul.
For there is something in one's language. In there, there is some mansion to the spirit, one reserved for the dutiful speaker.
In our act of courage, we are reminded of one fact, one immigration fact: that the first language of the Filipino Diaspora in the United States of America is Ilokano or Iluko or Ilocano, whichever way you want to write it. In the absence of an imperialist and colonizing act of standardization--call it an act of domination, if you wish--we have to accept all these various renderings of this identity that we are, however tenuous this identity is.
Even in the distance, there is this energy that we all have and exude and I am amazed at how the im/migrant Ilokano writers and poets have not forgotten, not a bit, their sacred act to go back to the land of their umbilical cords, perhaps some of them placed on earthen pots and hung on trees as if these very cords were the oblation to the gods of the earth and the sun and the moon and the universe and the seas and the lands.
We speak of spreading the good news of saying the unsayable, the unsayable that which no one has ever heard or listened or said before, saying it as if that is the only one that matters now in this act of revealing that which can be revealed for the next generations to see and remember and find a connect in order to avoid as much as we can that disconnect between the past fossilized as past and the present fossilized as present and the future fossilized as future and all unto its own, in no way related to the here and now, in no way related to the there and then. This is what we are going to redeem ourselves from, this sense of reading from our experiences this poetics of exile, this poetics from exile, this poetics on exile.
A good vision, this one, this making permanent what is in the mind, this writing it down for all generations to come to a possession of what is it like to pave the way for other im/migrants to come here and see something, and see something different, and make something and make something different.
It is not ideal, this condition of exile.
It is an abomination, one we all should despise.
The reason is simple: no country should permit its people to leave its secure and sacred earth by assuring each of its citizen the right to live a life of fullness, of decency, of self-respect.
Citizens leave because they see the vast possibilities, poetic these are in many ways, like this possibility to put together our migrant heads and do something to account our im/migrant experiences as our way of giving back the blessings we have received from both the home country and the country that has welcome us.
So in this first fog of fall, I see the haze in its hue of rainbows and resistance to forgetting and redeeming what we have lost.
A Solver Agcaoili
Los Angeles, CA
August 8, 2006