Stephanie's first and last birthday in the Philippines.

HOME: Act 1 Scene 23

“Home” is a complication of pieces ironically titled in play format to address how we are made to perform our undocumentation on a regular basis and how we, as undocumented people, have been used by countless individuals (even within “the movement” and by our own doing whether conscious of exploitation or not), groups, institutions and systems as pawns who are self-interested actors in the blockbuster film the media has made out of our real lives, experiences and struggles.

The poetrees presented here are part of an extended project I hope to begin expanding this piece in an attempt to discuss this conflicting and infinite idea, question and continuous search for “home”. I hope you enjoy reading them! They will be released in increments; so keep checking out this page!

Much love!

Stephanie Camba

Stephanie's first and last birthday in the Philippines.

Stephanie’s first and last birthday in the Philippines.

Act 1 Scene 23

My motherland calls me home

And I cannot call back…

Can’t even afford the minutes we have already wasted

The time we have lost and cannot redeem

 

She cradled me, one month past a year of life

I would inhale the thick, warm air she breathes

The kind that sticks to your lungs

 

Prior to memory formation,

But when I inhale deep to escape anxious realities

I know she is still in there

 

They knew we would abandon her

Even before my unplanned, untimely debut onto this earth

We were gone before I even got there

Before I could learn to walk on her ground

Would have left sooner if I never came

And it never seems to matter

That I would long for her forever

 

How she must feel and smell

How many memories and bones we unwillingly buried under her clothes

How much of our blood still spills throughout her surface

How she is filled with faces like mine

I miss her and wonder if she would recognize me

 

Would she find me racially and ethnically ambiguous?

Would she ask about fractions that supposedly equate to my genetic make up like I’m a fucking cake batter

Would she know my great grandmother was only 16 and he was white during war times when they bought, raped and continue to sell us, so I don’t like to talk about why I’m lighter skinned than other Pilipinas

I have fantasies that she would get it

 

Would she open her arms and embrace me

Would she just know that I was born upon her breasts?

Would she welcome me as her own?

When can I stop wondering if I have a home?

 

Now I sail on riff-rafts after citizenships have abandoned me

Decades sending SOS signals

I woke up from “THE” dream

Paperless… Nationless… Homeless

Just a paperless poet trying to justify existence with my words

 

We dance around in word play circles

Trying to learn what it is to feel

What it must be like to try and learn comfort

Free of fear

It is so hard

To interact well

To love well

To feel well

 

When you are in a place

That gains its strength from draining yours

When home has been no nation, no place, no memory

 

The bittersweet resentful after taste of juvenile trauma

While you comfort constant depression in your family

I am still soothing my inner child

To grasp the good things

 

My motherland, she cries for help

And the only way they will hear her is if I stay here

 

Can we never go home?

To illusive visions of what it must be like to belong home

To have home

To know home

To be home

 

Maybe in a past life I took being with you for granted

Never had the chance to love you the way I wanted

I pretend to know you and it hurts to think that I may never even touch you

 

Can’t tell her how beautiful she is

How the photos don’t cut it

How the media misses all her intricacies and conveys her in all the wrong angles

How my heart beats to bring her justice

Like an offering, self-sacrifice

 

If my purpose is to love you well from afar

I am accepting it in the best way that I know how

We are building homes from the rubble we left behind

But somehow carried with us

 

The shattered glass that have shard our insides

Conversations we are unable to have with split tongues

The silence that never seems to end

Until we break it

With our cries

 

I think of how

She cradled me one month past a year of life

I would inhale the thick, warm air she breathes

The kind that sticks to your lungs

 

Prior to memory formation

But when I inhale deep to escape anxious realities

I know she is still in there

 

Our breath is testament that someday

Our motherlands will not have to call us home

That we will all walk to her steps and say, “I am here”

And you were worth the fight

Hindi ko akalain na makaka uwi ako

Sa wakas Sa i‘yo

I never thought that I would finally come home to you

 

Act 1 Scene 23

I wrote this piece to communicate the complex relationship between myself, as an individual and place, as a personified notion with which I have sustained an imaginary relationship. I have (and I imagine many of us do too) this attachment to the thought of what “home” must be like when all too often I feel displaced both physically and culturally by the confines and conventions we attribute to “home”, the place. I glorify (no pun intended, FUCK GMA) the Philippines, but I cling to the idea of her, perhaps as a mechanism to survive.

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