Someone Once Asked Me, “What’s Your Personal Drive?”

and I took a deep, overextended pause because truthfully
i have more drive that could fit into one conversational sentence that this person would ever remember
i could tell them that it was for my ancestors and my family
that my debt, my utang loob,
to my ancestors and to my family were bigger than any American construct of loyalty or favor
that i could feel our history, our struggle down to every bit of my veins
and when someone speaks Tagalog or any resemblance to the Philippines narrative of history,
my veins feel on fire
and my mind immediately wonders to a place i’ve only been to once and
envisions every single brown skin face i’ve ever met or seen
and i think about the stories that have been passed down to me
that they hold so much value, love, and honor
people don’t know about but should
and maybe i’m just a messenger for the past
and being a historian meant that i’d record their voices
and being a writer was to become a medium
and being a teacher was to ensure that future generations never forget
So to the person who asked what my personal drive was,
It’s as simple as
Becoming a hero of spoken word for my people.

-S. May 05, 2019.