Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Mission (Sucka Free City)

Bathala, or the indigenous God of the Ifugao tribe in Northern Philippines
Screamed into existence a bridge that would forever bind me
To a world of respect to ancestors and honor towards the peoples struggle
The oceans that surround my families homeland
Have become the emotions that make me sensitize to justice
Deep beneath the ground, lava raised itself
Out of the Babylonian concrete, to stand erected and strong
I was born into the blizzard known as North America

The cruel streets of Manila, Philippines
Was the backbone of what gave me discipline, fear and dreams
My father raised me with an iron slipper
His third world barrio
Mixed well with my Mission District of San Francisco
Immigrants living in an Immigrant neighborhood in the farce of America
I only learned Tagalog when I was being punished
My America was speaking in English,
Learning how to get by with a little Spanish
And once age started to advance, street slang brought it all together

Waking up on Saturday mornings
Hearing my Mexican neighbors bumping Cumbia music
Flying into the backroom window,
Blended with my parents old skool 70’s soul
Of the Stylistics or BloodStones coming out of our living room stereo.
Maybe we all were claiming air space to hear soulful music
Not realizing that this mixture was forming the foundations
for my UniverSoul personality

We danced in fear during the 1989 earthquake
We danced with corona’s or Filipino drinks like Halo Halo or Sago
whenever the 49ers won the Superbowl championship
We danced in celebration during all of the Mission’s street festivals
And independence parades, the Mission was my living history book
on the haps with Latino history
I would have to wait till I left San Francisco all together in college
To rediscover my history as a Filipino
And that’s another story for a later time
We break danced at underground basement party’s or garage practices
When hip hop was blowing up across the map in the early 1990’s

I bought fresh-hot-sweet pan for 25 cents for breakfast,
coconut ice cream from street vendors for 50 cents for lunch
and home cooked Chicken Adobo or Filipino soul food
for dinner for free-99 from my parents.
“The simple luxuries of being a kid.”

Cholos or street crews us to ask me,
“What are you, a Sureno or a Norteno?”
I was like, “I’m none, I’m Filipino.”
I didn’t want to reveal that my cousin,
whose half Native American and Filipino,
was a part of XIV or the Northerners.
I quickly became tough and street smart,
Always knowing what was going down,
Who was around
And how to maneuver my way out of tough situations

My mom told me to never give up
While getting ready to go to work
My grandma taught me how to pray
to the white Jesus Christ
Sometimes we missed English mass
and just worshipped during Spanish mass.
My grandma would tell me to try to feel
what’s being said, “even though you can’t understand
God exists in the feeling”

At home, me and my brothers entertained ourselves with our own games
We use to turn off all the lights in the house
waiting with our shoes on in the dark,
we would wait like 15 minutes in our room,
then quickly turn on the lights to see hundreds of roaches.
We would stomp like there was no tomorrow.
It was our way of warning the roaches who suddenly invaded our home
that they needed to leave.

We defended our island in the Mission proudly
It was all we had
During the rowdy Reagan, Bush and Clinton years,
My father was unemployed and smoking crack rocks
My uncle was busy selling drugs on the block
Another uncle was a corrupted cop
All this while I was growing up to hip hop

I listened to my father’s drunken or drugged out stories
Absorbing his wisdom and depression
I ran track and field to represent my people in the American race
I practiced martial arts to channel my anger and confusion
Of the greedy man’s systems of oppression
Creating struggle for my family
Doing our best surviving in the belly of the beast

I expressed myself through hip hop culture
Because it perfectly blended all of the worlds
That were becoming me…
I got my Filipino side, my Latino side,
My Black side, my inner city street side
All this I claim with love and pride

we left the mission in 1998 due to the ill-fate of gentrification blues
our landlord gave us six months to figure out what to do.
I remember mom being real sad on the day we found out
that after over 15 years in our home, we were being kicked out.
We paid $580 for a three bedroom, one bathroom and a huge backyard house.

1152 Potrero Avenue
At the cross of 24th Street
San Francisco, Ca 94110
Me and my family will always stare at you
With reminiscent and longing eyes
Our time ended abruptly
But this was my experience
Growing up in the mission district of San Francisco

No comments:

Post a Comment