Poetry by Jean Allynn
how can we start this dialogue?
we fill our screens with recycled stories
we fill our screens with waves of hellos and goodbyes,
gaps of silence in between
we prop these screens up to open casket viewings,
meals we can't prepare,
cemeteries we can't light up,
chairs and tables we're building from afar
how do we begin to explain the gut wrenching pain to leave
how do we say our lives are not much better, but still better from what home is now
how can i ask ate,
what do you remember when the lahar washed over our land?
who looked for you?
how can i ask ma,
why did you save your uniforms instead of holding on to your two small children?
how can i ask dara,
what was it like on the steep yero roof, waiting for relief?
how can i ask what it's like to tread on hardened mud,
stepping on hands that once waved for help
searching for ingkong,
a safe haven
how can i ask which generation started this cycle of violence:
trading water for liquor
trading bills for cards
trading love for fists
tug of war with 5 month old babies
how do we show up in our stories,
when elders are no longer around?
in between meals we break open the untrodden memory lanes
if you smell sampaguita, the ancestors are watching over you
as i feel the duwendes playing,
lifting me in the air,
hiding my pens,
neatly folding my socks
go to the manghihilot in the mountains
manong has treated all of us
drink your salabat when you’re sick
eating bulong bayabas is more than a prank for your pinsan
offerings of lit candles, desserts, and flowers every year
how do we spill all the secrets of our past?
i sit across my therapist at 27
the first of my lineage
survival woven in and out of timelines
jean allynn (she/siya) is a sober, queer femme Kapampangan settled in the Territoy of the Mississaugas of the Credit. She is a member of a neurodiverse arts collective and a facilitator of sorts. Follow her on Instagram at @jnllynn.