Trilingual Blues 

Poetry by | April 8, 2018

It’s beyond codeswitch—it’s an acceptance.

I decode a full Cebuano phrase, as though

it’s a tourist I have been encountering since

last year who never gives his number.

In American English, Niel and I would bicker

about Philippine politics, its idiocrasies,

the double standards, our accents swaying

between mother tongue and the academic.

Never do I stop reasoning that my mouth

becomes more slender and amiable when

speaking in Tagalog. What kind of Tagalog?

Manila Tagalog or Davao Tagalog? Oh, there’s

a category? Then mine’s the GenSan kind.

I rendezvous people in the crossroad of my

languages, and I oftentimes show up late or

not show up at all. Will there be an objective

understanding for apologies or forgiveness?

I tell the driver lugar lang, also reminding

of my fare’s change and where I came from.

Tell without translating how lost I already am.


Marc Jeff Lañada studies BA Communication Arts in UP Mindanao.

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