I am what I am. A child born of the beautiful brown – the color you get once many things are mixed in. I am a child born in air perfumed with rain in the city of Newark back in 90, far, far from my smoky sunny islands where I belonged.

I am what I am. A was a Belleville baby. It was a place overflowing with heavy noise pollution and gorgeous graffiti filled walls. The car horns and bellows of many foreign languages became my life soundtrack. Though, one was not as foreign… I heard it everyday. Tatay, Nanay and Lola never bothered to teach me, yet some highly spiced words of Tagalog managed to attach to my mind. I was their anak, their bulaklak… I grew up in a multi-colored country, but I will always stay brown. I am what I am.

Brick walls and sidewalk chalk were my dreams. I dreamt of playing off the wall, I dreamt of girls with long hair in braids and dreamt of other Pinoys like me. I learned well and stayed smart back there, some of my closest friends whom I will never get back remain. I'm now held captive in Somerset, but I took with me my pride… while my smarts were probably left back in my old house. I still am what I was.

Six years since then… failed tests, story writing, obsessions, "falling in love", eating halo halo…Gusto ko ng halo halo, art awards, haircuts and hugs. You're high school now, take things more seriously. But I'm too busy to be serious! I've got to download that! I need to find out what class he is in! What time is that show on? Je suis fatigue! Oh, what song is that? Minna-san, daijoubu desu? Insignificant drama is in me. Fascination and silence is in me.

Friends are overrated, family is what counts! Yet somehow I became my family's wall flower… something mentioned only once or twice… always being compared to my pinsan. (Though, my cousin's are a lot better than I am; why wouldn't you compare?) Tita Jona has told Nanay, "Out of all your children, Jessie is the most Filipino." True, I tell myself. I don't cringe at the thought of eating dinuguan, a rather tasty dish containing buckets of pigs' – oh, you don't want to know. I've been a balakbayan (Where's my pasalubong?). I can point with my lips and always turn to look when hearing a Hoy! Psst! I am what I am.

From long ago the Spanish blood is in me… the red, fast heartbeat and passion is in me, (I would like to thank Ferdinand Magellan and Chief Lapu Lapu) But I am not Essspanish. Chinese is in me… were do you think the Philippines got its noodles from? Japanese is in me, from WWII, the yellow blood has been mixed in somehow. Malaysian and Arabic blood is in me… and they all made the short, dark, curly haired people, my ancestors.

My life has not yet begun; I don't know where I'm headed. All I know is that I'll keep my pride; I'll continue to practice saying things with an accent. Piano keys are in me. Paint is in me. And yes, I do strum some string. An off-beat is in me. I'm the color of chocolate, the color of comfort and warmth. I'm the color of friendliness and sweet smelling tea. I'm brown… that's what I am.


RaiinMaker: Assignment for English. We had to write a poem similar to the "Ending Poem" by Rosario Morales and Aurora Levins Morales.. Teacher tought is was excellent.. what do you think?