Poems on Human Nature

Makahiya (The Shy One)

I lie in the sun
and slowly open
one leaf at a time.
This is when
you see me,
in this simple way
on an ordinary day.
I soak in your
light and vapors,
take in your rich
words to the deepest
roots of me far
into the earth.
We find a spring
and share a drink
there. They think I
am shy, call me by
different names.
Bashful. Sleeping.
I know you see me,
feel your longing,
let you touch me.
The touch of you
stings my delicate
leaves and I close.
The strength of you
closes me and in
this closing, I find
my destiny.

*'Makahiya' is the Philippine name for a grass that grows there. The word means 'shy' and describes a plant that, once touched, closes. In other parts of the world it is called Humble plant, Shame plant, Sleeping grass, Touch-me-not, and Mori Vivi (West Indies).

Coming Home

Beloved, sometimes deep in
the night I crumple myself into
a tight ball and crawl into
earthworm holes so I can
burrow my way back to a
land that haunts my heart.
Back to lilt in language
and the raise of eyebrow
I speak so eloquently,
to no avail here. Back to
the chaotic streets, so
smoky and vibrant. Back
to edge of night, and the
warmth of friendship
tucked inside there. Back
to the lap of family and friends,
ever ready, always warm. Back
to where I come from.

In the morning when I wake,
I open up one petal at a time.
I soak in the city and come
alive.  As I navigate blocks
and city grid, speaking its
language  no longer foreign
to me I fall in love again.
Before the light change
tells me to walk, off I go.
Forward, always forward.
There is a rhythm here that
keeps me buzzing, even
before my morning coffee.
There is a dance on the
streets that turns me on.
I know the same thing
all of us in this city know.
Beloved, I am home.

On Resistance

When he says you’ve brought him
back to life, resist the urge to
take credit. Love does what
love does, go back to the coffee
you are making. Heat the milk
while the grounds are seeping.
And when his eyes stay fixed on yours,
remind him. “All I did was show
up, you’d do the same for me.”

When he says he’s found his way
back to his tribe because of you,
resist the urge again. Family is
what Family is, go back to the
poem you are writing. Number
eighteen of a tribal vow, chorus
in thirty parts. The one we all sing
once a day until May. And when
his hand stays clasping yours,
remind him “This was your tribe
before it became mine.”

Resist the lure of mirror, the
seduction of limelight. You
have fallen for this before,
resist the urge and do not fall
for it again. You are not that
little girl anymore, the one who
wants  all eyes on her. When he
looks at you with love, she is not
what he sees. Resist the urge to
give her any credit.  When he
says that you are beautiful,
resist the urge to blush. This
is the woman you have become.
The one he cannot resist.
The one no one can resist?

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