Exile, 1

You cannot take it back,
This betrayal. It is your
Story now as you queue up
Fall in line with the rest of 'em,
Presenting yourself as someone
Else you are not. The document
In your hand is something new
You have become.
It comes from your years of exile,
Wintery nights of wanting to fly back
To where you should spend
The dark hours of tembling and dread
Until you get to confront your lonely god.
Visitors here, says the immigration
Man who has forgotten to smile,
Who wears sorrow on his face,
A regret you have of your birthland.
You are back into your home country,
The harsh realities of living reminding you
You are home to where you are a stranger.
Visitors here in this line, says he,
This man with the badge of a drunk,
His little power the equivalent of a mound
Where dwarves dwell to recite about
Lost loves, like those part-time Ilokano
Poets who have learned to lie a thousand times
And sleep with whores who write to deceive
Them who cannot figure where symbols
Begin to cheat you of your sense of truth.
Visitors here, he repeats, and you fall in line,
Right where the others you are not are.
You swallow what grief is left
In your heart. You summon the saliva
In your dried mouth, the fluid now sour
To make the swallowing easier,
To make the betrayal complete,
Perhaps on its way to the eternal.
You recite in silence the mantra
You can make out of fuzzy words,
Welcome, welcome home,
Fake foreigner, sweet stranger,
Homing exile.

June 25/11

No comments: