Word Poetry




Ordering Information: Bookstores and Individuals


Course Adoption


Follow Us on Facebook

Copyright © 2000-   WordTech Communications, LLC

Privacy Policy

Site design: Skeleton

Sample Poems by Arelene Biala

what is the song of your body?

is it corrido and kundiman,
a love song of resistance
is it de colores and dahil sayo
the chorus of huelga!
welga! the same call to rise
in spanish and tagalog

what is the song of your body
standing five feet tall
and shifting mountains
lifting the voices
of thousands of women
who say, enough.
it is time to rise.

what is the song of your fingers
that grip the megaphone
bass notes mean business
don't be a marshmallow
get off the sidewalk
get into the street
out, out from the mud
out from the pesticides
out from the weight
of your broken bodies

what is the song of your hands
that write the contract for the first time
that wipe the blood from your face
your hands on your hips, ready to
hear the excuses that crop up
as they always do
but you are here

what is the song of your feet
that march for 340 miles
from delano to the state capitol steps
in sacramento
because the children's backs are already
breaking before the bones have grown

what is the song of your ribs
that splintered when they beat you
that protect your heart, your lungs
that explode with the warriors cry
si se puede!
si se puede!
si se puede!

what is the song of your heart
does it beckon to you from
beneath the soil
from the veins of the red knit vest
that was offered to you
is it conjured up in the woman's fingers
who knit that vest,
anting anting and curandera chants
with each twist, knot and furl
weaving to unravel the poison

what is the song of your na'au, your gut
is it where your sisters live
in the sugarcane fields of lapahoehoe
in the salmon canneries of seattle, anchorage
in the fields of delano, earlimart, stockton
in deep mud with no shoes,
in the relentless dirge of DDT

what is the song of our bodies
beyond the toxic fields
is it the red clay of the earth
serenading us at moontimes
in corrido and kundiman
a love song of resistance
returning, and returning.

~ for diana garcia

hay(na)ku for dolores huerta

dragon lady
they call you

all men
except for you

same call
welga in tagalog

red vest
your body rising

you demand
commit your body

blood grapes
strike the heart

baton smash
ruptures your spleen

11 children
there is a way

the filipinos
are tired, too

larry itliong
we are here

exhausted women
lead the march

hunger striking
this is love

see her
red mother rising

beyond this
she is here

same age
as my mother

no backseat
do not buckle

hospital bed
cesar is there
same word
we are you

my sister
take this water

our sister
take this breath

~ for taina caragol

we are all saying the same thing

~ Wyslava Symborska

spanish english tagalog
 some who can speak or read it others will teach

today it is raining
 i am thinking about what is missing you are calling us in
 you are the only woman in the room at the table legal pad pages poised ready to strike
 two men sitting by your side are joking around wondering when lunch time is wondering what you will be asked to bring rows of men sitting behind you
 slumped in their chairs 
before they leave they've left

we are all saying the same thing 
the difference is your red, knit vest
 small enough to be a child’s with the black eagle soaring across the room toward us the first thing i notice your rib cage swelling

heart almost bursting through
 held back only by the weaving of milagros chanted into each click of knitting needles that were offered up to protect you
 your fierce, small body relentless beyond miles beyond broken ribs
 you call us to the eagle that soars proclaiming in every language
 here is what america is 
we are what america is
imua rise huelga rise beyond what is presented in the hallway
 come enter the heart cave
 rise we are all saying the same thing enter the room enter this room

~ ekphrastic poem based on “One Life: Dolores Huerta” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, July 3, 2015 - May 15, 2016