Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Artistic Expressions - Painting the Brown Face Red

Painting the Brown Face Red
by Leny Strobel

grateful for the invitation
i entered the arbor and sacred ceremony
honoring maiden, matron, elder.

saying prayers to the four directions
in my mind's eye, i was bowing
palms together in front of my chest
I say silently:
I am Asian. Filipino.

holding the talking stick
i share my answer to the question:
what has been your burden this past year?
how did you heal?
i listened to everyone else's answer to same.

after the talking stick made its round
i wished to respond
to go deeper into intimacy
i say silently: I am Filipino.
I want more Kapwa.

drumbeats accompanied wailing time
sage purifying, healing, honoring
after the tears
a holy silence.

drumming began again
i feel the earth vibrate
shy at first, we dance in a circle.
my mind returns to Iloilo
dancing with my tribes
i wished to be back there
with my kin.

but i am in indian canyon
with native sisters
with white women
with black women

we say: it's all good.
it is what it is.
then someone interrupts:
it's not all good. sometimes it sucks.
sometimes it hurts.

the elders pontificate around the fire
wisdom we need to hear
advice on sex and death
on learning to listen.

the wind was howling
we were freezing even around the fire

then before midnite we say
goodbye and thank you

we walk back to camp
pitch dark, the stars are almost within reach.

our hearts are large
our souls feel blessed.

as for the things i didn't say ...
as for the things i didn't understand ...
as for the unaswered curiosities ...
as for the feeling of uncertainty...
as for the longing for more...

the next night i dreamt of a long-absent lover
who has returned to marry me.
oh what bliss!

Link accessed 7/19/2009

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