Lyrics and Poems from our Kodakan participants:

Lyrics by Ammiel “Koi” Holder

I got fire inside my bones
And a heart built like a steel cage
A bullet is only for he who kneels
Close their eyes, pray and accept their fate.

Post to Facebook
sharing it
Ride so hard my bearings split
So cutthroat my larynx slit
Music is my heroin…

What’s in a name? F*** that
Imma show you who I be
And when I die and rest in peace
all is left of me is my legacy

Life is merciless
F*** worthlessness
Party like Charlie Sheen

Thoughts of Martin Luther King
I had a dream but awoke from my slumber
reality checked cashed it out
ATM you a** to mouth

Product placement stays adjacent
more power to the free masons
no american reality
just a dream to keep you complacent

We’re not a nation under a god.
We’re just one nation thats under the stars.

Gettin high
goin up
I know
what it takes
To get to the top
Nothin slowin down my pace
We won’t about face
While we on our way
Straight up to the top

Lyrics by Ammiel “Koi” Holder

If hell exists we created it by raping the resources
Off your plate charge ya, now watch us eat your three courses
While police forces killing people like diseased horses
Remorseless, without recourse, divorcing these voices.

Have your independence but what this really means
you serve full life sentence in the American scheme
Compared to the dream thinking what you’re wearing is clean
But the hands that made it are covered in blood…

5/4 Funk
By Caroline Cabading
(Dedicated to the men in my family)

Maximo sailed the seven seas
Jumped ship to live his brother’s dream
1906 he rocked and rolled
Played a mean guitar, so I’m told

Fernando had the baby’s fate
Struggle here or try the States
Beloved Manang gave him a choice
Lolo Fred gave me my Voice

Trying to dance to this 5/4 Funk
Learning to count off a 5/4 Funk

Leon fought in Vietnam
But these folks look the same as I am
Other Sea Bees calling them, “gooks”
Wear your uniform so you don’t get nuked

Coffee shop in the antebellum
Waiting, waiting but they won’t serve him
Sorry sir, we thought you were colored
Grit your teeth, keep your rage covered

Human negating
Bearing the stench of a 5/4 Funk
Brown men relating
Discordant notes in this 5/4 Funk

Your Family

Your Memory
Your Integrity

The first time he lost his way
Tried to blame it on his DNA
Free bird, he gots to roam free
Well maybe stay for a cup of tea
Got these notions all out in space
From an island he can’t quite place
Angry Brother, hear you roar
Always in a state of war

So aggravating
Snapping him out of his 5/4 Fun
Feeling the groove of his 5/4 Funk

Dancing along to his 5/4 Funk

By Caroline Cabading
(Dedicated to my American-born Pinay Sisters & Pinoy Brothers)

Never learned the language
Nearly coming to blows everywhere I go

Can’t relate
Cunning desperation
Third World states
When you’re free to leave what do you know

Decked to the nines with a Malong on my shoulder
Thinking I’m hip, but I’m only getting colder
Decked to the nines with a Malong on my shoulder
Alienation makes the Rage even bolder

Decades strong
Nana raised her warriors
Tribal songs
Took the best from home to now make it our own

Moving on
No more class boundaries
Don’t have it all
But at least I’m free reinventing me

Decked to the nines with a Malong on my shoulder
Shoot from the hip and the eye of the beholder
Decked to the nines with a Malong on my shoulder
Two alien nations are my heart and my boulders

I’m a Jurist in my Native Land
I’m a Purist in my Mother Land

Calling My Name
Lyrics by Kristine Sinajon

This song is inspired by the Philippine Islands, “the motherland.” It was recorded with Ron Quesada of Kulintronica for Julius Papp’s album “Music is the Key,” released in December 2012.

I hear you calling my name
Sent by a breeze
From a far off distance
What words you say
They speak to me of pain
From the days when my soul
roamed free in your space

You call me by name
The one I forgot I own
You speak to me in a tongue
I’ve always known
So much I try to say
Been so long I’ve lost my way
How do I get back to you?

I hear you calling my name
Sent by a breeze
From a far off distance
What words you say
They speak to me of pain
From the days when my soul
roamed free in your space

The essence of you
In me brings forth the truth
It was you that brought life to me
From your clay
Now I am displaced
A piece of you gone astray
How do I get back to you?

I hear you calling my name
Sent by a breeze
From a far off distance
What words you say
They speak to me of pain
From the days when my soul
roamed free in your space

I hear you calling my name

Bamboo & Baobab
By Delina Patrice Brooks (aka “DelinaDream”)

Two generations removed from the Bamboo
Uprooted from Baobob, bred blood in the Bayou
All my veins from the bush
I bleed a mix of mango and watermelon juice

But sunkissed on the black side
Got dissed on the back side
Ceremoniously soaked in sunblock at campside
Couldn’t risk blackening my back-hand side

I was born tangled betwixt
Double dutch ropes and tinikling sticks
A light skinned black on that side
A dark skinned mix on this
Where light and dark are skin-emies
And kinks said, “good hair ain’t no kin to me”
But my kinky curls, or silky naps, were a telltale of incestuous enemies
So I cut it all off to end the battle of hair processing
No more scalp burns, broken ends and sweat-induced frizzies
No more “Black girl hair drama”
I’m ONLY rockin’ a good two inches of hair

And then,
“You have the right face to wear a short haircut”
A compliment causing less confidence, more awkwardness
By four years old
I was convinced I carried a caribou core
I was fat
According to my Filipino folklore
See the deep fried thick chicken thighs chastised on my momma’s side,
On my daddy’s side reigned supreme, was the valued size for a side
Of hips made hefty by black eyed peas and mac n cheese
See, my opposites mixed but didn’t always rhyme
Were coarse when blended
Bitterly intertwined
Like the nickname I coined for my young biracial self
I’m a “Niggapino” when asked of my cultural wealth

Though street slang and Tagalog lie sourly on my tongue
And no box exists to check that I am Filipino-Black-African-American

 And 1/8 Chinese. . .

By Joël Barraquiel Tan

seguro in spanish means surely.
seguro in tagalog means probably.
he asks me if i’m in love with him.

maria clara dies from a lack of imagination
By Joël Barraquiel Tan

there is an edge
the western lip
that marks a line
between what we know
& something else
(that makes us who we are)
from this place we begin.

out into the far reaches
where the ocean only knows
itself & the sky lies
the possibility of heaven
(a depository of hope
perhaps an ideal of childhood?)

Beyond that
someone is looking west
& imagines that another

country beyond these shores
holds greater promise
her thoughts carry past the
waves likes stones skimming
the collective hum of a war fleet
airplane propellers tattering
the skies to shreds.

bomba (excerpt)
By Joël Barraquiel Tan

each night i come home
enter the carport  park & head towards
my unit as i walk past the stable of cars
i check to make sure no one can see
that i’ve dropped                    faggot
into the trash bin & threw in
for good measure       i hide
in the bushes & bury

near the drain   i slip into the laundry

room & quietly slide
into the dryer & leave both

&                                                  ignorant
to soak in the washing machine

overnight   by the time i get to the
door the only thing i’ve got
left is this morning’s paper &
an uneasy feeling that morning will
once again ask me to find what i’ve
hidden & to fetch what i’ve flung

By Anthem Salgado

The one eye swirls grey as a rolling fog.  He sets the Budweiser down, liquids dripping from his mustache.  A jailhouse, blurry, and faded-to-green tattoo reads Woman Hater and with the good eye, black and shiny as his polished leathers, says gently, “Son, life is about work.”
“So what,” I ask, “I can’t depend on anyone, not even my own family?”
He drags the cigarette painfully and then answers, “No.”

Teacher reads roll, second week of sophomore year.  “Patrick.  Robinson.  Salgado.”
“Here!”  I call out.
“That’s so funny,” she says.  “Every time I read this name Salgado I keep thinking it’s gonna be an Italian kid.  Instead, I see this little Chinese boy.”
I want to say something.  But in a sense I’m too Chinese to do so.

Baby brother doesn’t even look up from his drawing when he asks, “Did you know you’re special?”
“Yeah, everything is special.  Important.”  He lays his pencil down to illustrate.  “If I pick this up for the first time, it’s special because that would be the first time.  If I pick it up for the second time, it would be the first time I’m picking it up for the second time.”  He grabs the pencil and pushes from the elbow big erratic circles across the paper.  “So you see?  Special.”

By Anthem Salgado

I zigzag through back alleys and shortcuts, clotheslines and cooked fish, stray dogs and playing children. I am serious about finding the true heart of this neighborhood.  Not just some idealized portrait.  Everyone is staring at me. Now, I’m slightly embarrassed and my all too hip multicolored Adidas are giving me away. I stop at a metal door. I knock and enter. “This is the John Ocampo Pagoda. Notice the Japanese-style architecture.” A television airs a boxing match. A boy’s club for sure. Mobs of men swivel their heads to look at me.

We are inside a holding place for the nation’s most significant export – its people. Today this is a boarding house for overseas workers waiting for their papers to finalize and for their ships to launch.

I zigzag through back alleys and shortcuts, clotheslines and cooked fish, stray dogs and playing children. A light rain starts while I wait in the plaza for a taxi pickup. The psychics work hard to drum up business. No thank you, I gesture. Ok then, one woman signals back with a nod. But she insists, at least, that I borrow her umbrella. Yes, go on, she nods again. “Maraming salamat,” I tell her. Thank you so much.

When the cab arrives, I fold up the contraption to return it. “Salamat,” I repeat. She wrinkles her face and when she scolds me in Filipino, she seems to say, Don’t you see it’s raining? That’s why I gave it to you! I tell her, “No, don’t worry. Hindi ko na kailangan.” I don’t need it.   Surprised, she asks, “Ano, Pilipino ka ba?”  Yes, I’m Filipino, I tell her.  She says, “Oh?  Akala ko Indonesian ka.”  And back to the business of this umbrella, she won’t be refused.  “Hindi, sa’yo na yan, para sa susunod na abutin ka ng ulan.”  No, it’s yours, for the next time that you are caught in rain.

So I place my hand over my heart and one more time express my gratitude. I tell her, “Sige!” Ok, I’m going!

I run off and she bids me farewell – disappearing into the crowd.



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