Cristina Querrer Oct 10, 2008 15:53:42 GMT 2
Post by thepoetslizard on Oct 10, 2008 15:53:42 GMT 2
Cristina Querrer says the roots of her poetry began in the Philippines & reflects her childhood experiences growing up in & around Clark Air Force Base, struggling for her self-acceptance as an Amerasian. There has been another phase, more regional; the assimilation back to the U.S. after 1985, living in New England & the East Coast. Querrer has read & written poetry since her wonder years.
Querrer's work appears in Poetry Exchange & the anthology "Ebbing Tide". She also appears with Pinkie Gordon Lane & other writers in "Adam of Ifê: Black Women in Praise of Black Men" (ed. Naomi Long Madgett). The title comes from a city in Nigeria, Africa (meaning the same as Garden of Eden in Western literature). Her latest published poems are "Mango Man" and "Espiritu", which appear in this linked issue of The Fairfield Review.
Born in Dagupan City on February 24, 1967, Cristina Querrer is a Computer Consultant and presently resides in Norwich, Connecticut.
"My Barrio By the Sea"
I held my mother in my arms,
when she relayed the sad news about my aunt.
I can presume this is how she held me
when I was a child-
For that moment I felt the currents
of Legaspi Sea pull us to shore.
This is what happens when
your memory outweighs you.
If I was born another time, another place,
I would have known pain, sadness just the same.
But its permanent residence is in that nipa hut,
thriving in poverty.
Didactic but yet destitute, this is your history.
Reciting polio and famine-
a baby cousin who died at two,
small body unornamented,
the women knelt in black,
and a humid night listening to
concerned voices that stirred
in the next house through the morning ocean air
and the squeaky communal water pump.
Then came the sudden wail-
an undetected storm.
I say to you that this has always outweighed me.
My mother has not seen her sister
since we left the Philippines years ago,
now she is ill-I hear
my younger cousins have children...
I wonder if they suffer from atrophy
of the consciousness as I do
when I hear occasional news
of births and impending deaths
tucked away behind thick tapestries of distance.
This is how to live from one side,
fragmented, broken-off-half joy, half misery.
But how lucky I am, supposedly,
to be here.
For, home is not other shores, planets,
future galaxies, and not even
the time and place of your birth.
It is letters from your youth-
summers at the barrio, trips to mountains,
and the smiling, barefooted,
naked-bottomed children in the sun.
How lucky I am, to have these
and be tormented
by the same warm hand on my neck.
I held my mother in my arms.
Now I know this is how she held me
when I was a child-
I will purchase shells that I can
pick myself for far less-
But for the experience, I would gladly
have you guide me into shops.
Let me touch the textures
of your canvas, your fabrics.
Barter with you for your smile.
You have unknowingly woven
yourself in and out of me.
Wafted by your sudden outburst
in libraries or in quiet halls-
I feel at times at lost
in your ulterior fringes.
I am wanting the calyx of your throat
to describe to me your oceans,
your terrain of your meanings,
hoping to live
in your translation.
Verbalize in your language,
in your tonality-
express to me what it means
in your country to engulf
a wonder, suddenly
with no time to digest it fully.
But the sweet taste of it will
forever linger on your palette
and shall fiercely crave it again--
and that you would risk
your life to cross the Rio Grande
from suppressed verbs,
or on a crowded vessel
on top of musty bodies
floating fearlessly to autonomy.
I tell you what it means in mine:
It means my heart yearns
to be elliptical as the planet in orb,
suspended by the myths of allegiances.
Though, where I live is not without
aberration or without some
spurious dictator that seeks to
damper my escape-
But I found equanimity
in other words I could not find