We had so little
one set of uniform
and a pair of sandals
pencils short like cigarette butts
canvas shoulder bag full of patches

But we had colorful candy wrappers
bamboo sticks and string
to make kites
into a hope filled summer

I still remember him
stick skinny
swimming in this hand-me-down shorts
bare foot skipping on the hot tart road
launched his rainbow kite
into the tangerine sky

We cheered so loud
drown out the sound
of the foraging birds
We had very little
and we had it all


There was no concept of toys in my childhood.
For fun,
I trapped cicadas and fireflies,
caught dragonflies and tadpoles,
grew silkworms and hatched eggs,
made kites and kaleidoscopes,
slid down banana trees and swam in streams.

I had a 14-key toy piano in middle childhood.
I played Auld Lang Syne and
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

The Barbie I had was in adolescence.
My father took a bicycle ride
with me on the back seat.
He saved 12 packs of smoke to
spend on a Barbie for me.
I was thirteen.

I made Barbie a studio apartment
with shoe box, handkerchief,
match boxes and play dough.
Two AAA batteries, an electric wire
and a light bulb in an old pill box
made Barbie her reading lamp.
I took pleasure in hand sewing
all Barbie’s dresses.
The favoirite gown was made from
cellophane lolly wrappers.

Wherever I go, I take these
wonderful memories and
treasures with me.

Childhood memory

my memory of school holidays
are of the farm life

the rooster crowed at daybreak on roof top
careless with the chimney smoke

the forest green tea plantations
dazzled in the spring rain

early summer crickets sang
amidst the bamboo bushes

village children’s twinkling eyes
fixed on pebble stones roast chestnuts

burning charcoals snuggled in the terracotta bowl
covered by a hand knitted bamboo basket

the card games and craft
under the kerosene lamps

firewood smoke and wet soil smells
connected me to my childhood
through the time tunnel
decorated with fireflies

Vision of you

I saw you
I saw the boy in you
full of love for the world and
the people in it

I saw you
I saw the boy in you fell off
over and over again with
no one dusting you off

I saw you
I saw the boy in you sobbing for
the unheard words
and unfelt love

I saw you
I saw the boy in you trapped in
a shattered glass heart
bleeding into glimpse of hope

I saw you
I saw the boy in you
puffy cheeks and a million dollar grin
fading away in a politically correct world

I saw you
I saw the boy in you
a pure and innocent soul could not be unseen
Truly I saw YOU

The bitter root

I love this city in dark silence

The vibrant and intellectual day fades into alluring artistic night scene

The hills lay off a man’s duty by day

The boy in me leaped out walking the streets

The songs came again from the car radio afar

My lips were chanting the familiar melodies my father once loved

I tilted my head up towards the moonlight

Holding the rolling tears in the well of my eyes

Big boys don’t cry!

Perhaps it’s the invitation of the blood moon night,

the open arms of the January assertive silence

I let out the forbidden wailing

Anguish to the lies, to the betrayal, to the abandonment

The boy in me were fueled by rawness of hurt

My howling to the moonlight returned needles on my skull

I grew in rage

Forcefully a man rose to stand tall

Declared vows and judgements

only God will break

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