Pinay's Letter From Japan

 

I can sing ballads and the blues

At the karaoke of Aling Luz;

I dance pop and strut

At the disco and the bathroom when my sleeves are rolled up.

From there it grew in my heart,

In this fondness I will earn my wages.

 

I began with Eat Bulaga,

My cut of the prize too meager for a taxi.

I also participated in Tawag ng Tanghalan

The audience stacked with our neighbors.

The cue lines and streetcorners became bored of me,

My shame penetrated to my bones.

 

Because I cannot resist the call of the spotlight,

My longing is restless.

My hips and chest deliberately swing

To the flow of familiar rhythms.

Yet when Mom and Dad tease me,

My intimate dream wants to die.

 

My thoughts enveloped by my future fame

In the art of song and dance;

I want to reach the pot at the end of the rainbow,

I pray until the break of dawn.

Can this be done without disturbing anyone?

Even the child of the president asks for favors.

 

Thank you, thank you, an older sister believed in me,

She supported my singing and dancing.

Morning and afternoon I practiced

So I could quickly pass the first audition.

My beauty will surpass all those at the rotunda

When I land in the town of Yakuza.

 

Hello, hello, hello.

I'm sure that you are all excited.

I have neither sent news nor letters

Though I am neither lazy nor weak.

Now I realize the chrysanthemum oppresses,

Wilting your voice and dreams.

 

Ate, I pray that you won't be angry,

Just hurl your hatred to the mountain and sky.

Your sister neither sings nor dances

At the nightclub and disco of the bowlegged singkit.

The truth, the truth, I confess,

I am like a geisha here,

How much nicer if I were a real geisha,

My flight is rhythmic like a sparrow.

But I am a kalapating-siyudad.

Completely naked, I sit on a bottle.

Ate, I swallow tears and ejaculations,

I can't even complain, the guard is too cruel.

 

Who is to blame for my fate?

I am a firefly circling the fire.

There are men who prey on flesh,

Their nails long when tenaciously buried;

And because there are women who silently persevere

This type of crisis pervades.

 

I plead to keep this a secret,

Now what will the neighbors say---

Why did I leave to be a prostitute somewhere else

Mabini is always open even if there is a typhoon.

I sleep with the yen I save as my pillow,

I will return proud if they allow me.