Monday, March 23, 2020

Guest Blogger: Poetry by Elmer Omar Pizo

In this difficult time of Coronavirus, I am happy to feature poetry by Elmer Omar Pizo, a Filipino who now resides in Hawaii. May his poetry contribute to the healing that we need during this uncertain time. Thank you Elmer for being my guest blogger. ~ Cecilia Brainard



Rice birds

on the ground
in front of your house---
every now and then,
matched by their heads
up and down---
looking for scraps
from Grazia
and her month-old puppies' breakfast
of fried rice
and fish pinangat.

the overcast sky's clearing up.
From time to time,
as they continue
in their search for bits
of food---
but sweet, pleasing chirps
escape from their beaks.

In my silence,
they fill my half-deaf ears
with joy so difficult
for me
to explain,
to resist.



in every practical sense,

believe me,
cannot live
by scraps alone.

They need to pick up

tiny stones
to crush and grind
the seeds
they have packed inside
their gizzards
before they can get
the nourishment
by their tiny bodies.”

In Memory of Alejandra Corpus Bascos,
Nee Piso of Villasis, Pangasinan, the Philippines
and Anaheim, California, USA
February 27, 1934 - June 8, 2021

elmer omar bascos pizo
old ewa, ewa beach, hawai’i

BIO of Elmer Omar Pizo

He came from a family of farmers, teachers, soldiers, and religious leaders in the Ilocos, La Union and Pangasinan, the Philippines. He entered the Anglican St. Andrew's Theological Seminary after high school. On his second year in the seminary, he left of Benguet State University where he earned a B.S. Agriculture Science degree in 1981.

He raised eggplants, goats, chickens, and ducks in Pangasinan for a time before he taught Poultry Production at a National High School in a neighboring town. Not long after, he went to Saudi Arabia to work as a Greenhouse Agriculturist. Problems cropped up when their monthly salaries and working conditions were not met. He led the fight for what was due him and his co-workers. He was hauled to the Kalabooz, whipped every Friday for more than three months, then sent back home as an undesirable worker.

A resident of Ewa Beach for the last 22 years, he now works as a handyman after working as an Outreach Worker for the Hawaii Department of Health's Tuberculosis Program and as an Inspector for its Vector Control Program for almost 16 years.

He was a Poetry Fellow at the Vermont Studio Center in February 2006. Prior to this, he was also a Poetry Fellow at the 2000 Silliman National Writers Workshop in the Philippines.

His poems have been published (print and online) in the US and in the Philippines, including Bamboo Ridge Press, Hawaii Review, Maganda Magazine, Tayo Literary Magazine, Crate Literary Magazine, Mutual Publishing, PAWA, Inc., Likhaan Online University of the Philippines-Diliman Creative Writing Center, Our Own Voice Online Literary Journal, and Philippine Free Press.

His debut collection of poems, Leaving Our Shadows Behind Us, was released by the Bamboo Ridge Press, Hawai’i’s most respected literary journal, in April of 2019.

This is also published in Cecilia's blog in her official website:

pictures courtesy of Elmer Omar Pizo and wikimedia

Tags: Philippines, Filipino, poetry, poet, poems, Hawaii, Filipino American

No comments: