Four Tongues

A poem read in four tongues. For Betty, my beloved.

Posted by Sam Roxas-Chua on Saturday, November 18, 2017

Poet Laureate Thoughts, New Book, Laundry

I Had a long and deep conversation with my mentor this morning and he kept saying “Remember the past four years.” Four years ago…I buried my first poem because I dreamt of leaves needing words on them. Four years ago…I buried a bust sculpture of my birthfather and later dug it up because of another dream about drowning. Four years ago…I met Dorianne Laux and she asked me what I was doing with my writing. I said that most of the time I bury them.
 
Four years ago I decided to have a relationship with my writing. I wanted to to know what the ink of my pens tasted like, I pressed typewriters ribbon on my tongue to understand this path of writers. And to ask, am I one? Four years ago, Dorianne recited words so beautifully at a workshop I believe even thunder was listening. I wanted to know this language that lived inside her. I applied to an MFA program she mentioned and there I met my tribe.
 
The past four years gave me health. I met amazing people who encouraged me to befriend my doubts. I read a poem to an audience grieving for a country. I offered adult-adoptee and LGBTQI bereavement services with a coined up term called “Discovery writing.”
 
To discover. To grow. To see what happens if I show up.
 
Yes, I accept the Sarah’s nomination as the next Poet Laureate of Oregon and good luck to all the nominees. It’s a long-shot for me but I believe in the task and I know you all do too. Here’s the link to support the process: http://oregonpoetlaureate.org/nominations/
 
OK. Time do to the laundry.
 
Oh by the way, SAYING YOUR NAME THREE TIMES UNDERWATER is now available. Thank you Danny Rosen, Kyle Harvey, and the Lithic Press team for making this dream come true for my second collection of poems. You can order them here:
 
• squareup.com/store/therequatorist
• lithicpress.com/index.php/our-catalog/82-saying-your-name-three-times-underwater
 

Local: Black Sun Books and Barnes and Noble.

DILA

• • •

he wanted to plant it on the ground
and wish for a boy with a beak
this time—like Jesus whose father
was a dove, with a crown
illuming a whitish-gold light,
la luz. The light of Christ, kandila,
sounds like Candle, dila, tongue—
my tongue is borrowed
because…Dear Lord,
I’ve been seething decades
of my name minus
from my father’s mouth.

• • •

from “Saying Your Name Three Times Underwater” (Lithic Press)