Friday, December 03, 2004

Rachel Cerdenio offers this poem: Thank you, Rachel!


A poem by

Rachel E. Cerdenio

September, 2003

I heard that "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."

I started with one step, and am coming around full circle.

I used to laugh at her,

Simple, unrefined, crass was how she sounded, the

thick rrrrolll of her rrr's and the staccato of her t’s, d's, b’s. hell all the other goddamn consonants

that came from her mouth.

I cringed as she lengthened the short vowels and shortened the long vowels...

Goodness.... don't get her mad.. excited,

you don't wanna hear how she cuts up her words... sounding like a chicken with it's head cut off.

Even though she spoke with feeling and love, resting on each word for emphasis, I

chose to look away,, embarrassed by the seemingly

aesthetic sense of plainness.

This jarring, cacophonous, unpleasant "pilipino accent."

All the while, unlearning a language that traveled through sea and time...

that taught a sense of heritage and pride,

that was mine.

Fast forward to years later... with one mile past adolescence and a hundred kilometers into adulthood...

head held high... at the amazing opportunity to finally study francais en France!! Quel sophistique!

Ah, la langue de l'amour, qui est si belle aussi! La langue de la culture, exquise et raffinee!

But whose culture am I speaking of anyway? Speaking in a tongue that clearly belonged

to Guy or Amelie, qui mange dans un cafe.

Ma nationalite?, c'est logique...Je suis americaine... No really, I am... but where was my origine?

Je suis de Phillippine.... Je.... suis... de Phillippine...

Tres sophistiquee it seems.

But can it fully express, with a gentle caress, the warmth of tropical breezes

and, how my heart goes to pieces

when my father sings a Tagalog lullaby,

in it's own poetry?

Ashamed at my conviction,

at how I placed one language in a higher position

over another that had sustained me.

What, then was my reality?

Now, I run back, not really sure if I know the way...stumbling and falling...

reopening doors that I personally slammed shut.

I run back to her, and how she rrolls her rrrr's and the thick staccato of her d's, t's, b's ... and all the other goddamn consonants.

Finding new meaning in how she lengthens her short vowels and shortens her long vowels.

Understanding when she speaks with feeling and love, resting on each word for emphasis, this

melodious "pilipino accent."

Accompanied with the language of hope and inspiration... MGA KABABAYAN, we need a revolution!

We are divided within our nation over the cacophony of words that have framed our constitution, securing our cry for liberty.

When generation after generation, distrusts the other in unison.

Our language, no longer the bridge that makes us one,

But rather a weapon that makes us run,

From nurturing one another.

Our language, our accents,

you and I just can't

separate the wonderful synergy.

And so we say: "I...must... continue

To learn a language that traveled through sea and time...

That teaches a heritage and pride, that IS mine, ...ALL MINE."

Ang pag lalak bay, sa isang libong milya ay nag sisimula sa isang hakbang. (The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. -Tzo)

My journey continues. I started with one step and am coming around...full circle.

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