Continental Drift

by Arlene Biala

Continental Drift

as the truck bumper hits the back of your knees
forcing you to walk
faster
cradle this great country
as you hop trains to seattle, stockton, lompoc,
fresno
to slave for tomatoes, grapes, fish
all the while the bolo knife thwacking
away particles of dreams: saving money to send back home, meeting your american
brothers, equals, compadres,
prospering in the new land
everywhere you go, the
sign reading: absolutely no filipinos allowed
hold fiercely your pen
waving angrily
amidst ugly towns of racism of hatred
as you learn to write in english
swiftly
bleed america free
of indifference

—from “Connecticut Shore”

Arlene Biala’s stark, tender, sensual and political poetry explores stories of the Pacific generations, particularly Filipinos, who have left their native lands to live in America.  This collection goes beyond chronological storytelling into the dance of simultaneous experiences called forth by tragedy, family, and love.

“America, why is your library so full of tears?” — Carlos Bulosan

6 x 9 inches • 36 pages • ISBN 0-931122-95-3 • $7.95