Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Philippine American Literature: Poems by Valorie Slaughter Bejarano

(Cecilia's Note: I'm cleaning up the websites I manage  and came across this page from PALHBOOKS.com.  Since the webpage will be deleted, I decided to save this. Val was my dear friend. She is now gone and I want to make sure she is remembered as a one of our fine Filipino American poet and writer.)


I remember the hot light
On that hot night
(Sometime in July '65)
And an acned blond
in a pink, plastic lei
Hustling old men & sailors
At 50cents a dance.
Things were really hopping
At Roseland.

It was a luau night and
We were cooking flip food
Adobo, rice, pancit & bibingka
$2 a plate no seconds
While Don Ho bubbled a little too loudly
Over a P.A. with only one good speaker
Booming from the corner behind me.

Manongs in their faded
Al Capone suits
Did the twist
Shuffling across the dance floor
Man they really had it
Things were hopping
Fingers popping
At Roseland.

WHY I'M NOT AFRAID OF THE DARK(Another in a Continuing Series of Life's Mysteries Explained)
I like the comfort of quiet dark rooms
Where shadows wrap themselves around you like lover's arms
Heavy with silence
Inviting you in for a small suicide in the afternoon.
No sighs, no tears
No intrusions.
The tyranny of time winds away
Spiraling back into the womb
Sanctuary inviolate as a fetal heartbeat

My eyes cat glow in the dark
My secrets are my own again
Safe in the breathless hush, my defenses fall away
Without the gauntlet, my hand is small and soft
Lacerated in brutal daylight.
There is kindness and healing in the dark
And sleep
Sweet, wine laced and opiated sleep.
Valorie Bejarano
February 26, 1992

Writer's Bio: A poet/writer, Valorie Slaughter Bejarano was born in Cebu, Philippines on October 15, 1950. She grew up in the Los Angeles Filipino communicty. A self-proclaimed "Temple Street Brat," she attended Belmont High School and UCLA. Her writings were published in Journey of 100 Years: Reflections on the Centennial of Philippine Independence; Making Waves: An Anthology By and About Asian American Women: Urthkin; Electruim; Misc. Magazine; Ang Katipunan; and others. She wrote two chapbooks: Ladies First and Before the Sun Comes up. Valorie co-wrote two poetry shows: Voices from the Other Side of the Wall and Lovers Make the Worst Ex-Husbands.
Valorie co-edited two children's books: Seven Stories From Seven Sisters, and The Beginning and Other Asian Folktales, both PAWWA publications.
In November 1989, she was the only Asian woman and Los Angeles poet to perform with the celebrity cast of the Hollywood Women's Political Committee's Pro-Choice rally in Rancho Park as a representative of Asian Pacific's for Choice. She was also a member of Asian Pacific Women's Network and founding member of PAWWA (Philippine American Women Writers and Artists). And advocate for Amerasians, she founded Amerasian C.H.I.L.D. (Committee to help Include and Legalize Dependents) which helped many orphans in her beloved Cebu.
In her last years, Valorie was active in politics, serving as Parks and Recreation Commissioner for the City of Hungtington Park, California. She was editor and publisher of the Kiwanis Script.
She was awarded Woman of Courage for the Year 2000 under Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh. She was also the recipient of a Community Access Scholarship at the Writer's Program, UCLA-Extension.
Valorie passed away last November 26, 2000 at the age of 50.
Tags: Philippines, Philippine, literature, poetry, poems, writer, author, Filipino, Filipina, Pinay, Filipino American

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