Oh How To Find Silence In The World
Being spotted in the color of skin,
why I take care in San Francisco,
waiting for the bus to Iowa.
They say racial prejudice is strong,
Negros and not whites kawawa,
and because of this they will revolt.
I shiver and shiver from fear and hunger
because I just landed from Tokyo.
A Negro came into the station—
naka-African hairdo; he holds a small
whip: it’s scary to look, so
I did not look at him. Kumakalansing
the metal on the strings of his shoes
and he shouts, “Peace, brothers!” Smiled showing
white teeth. Looked at me—
maybe he laughed at what he saw—
a tiny dayuhan, dark and from
some lupalog. Upside down
my insides went in fright and pulled
a cigarette so the redness of my face
wouldn’t show. I nahalata
that the Whites there too were quiet
so quiet, unable to speak in front
of that Negro. Only when he left returned
the normalcy in the station—others
read again, neighbors gossiped again,
laughter, the janitor sweeped again.
After a while that Negro passed again
two white Americanas on each arm,
blonde, their beauty with no equal.
The janitor stopped sweeping.
I thought, “So this is racial prejudice.”