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The House of my Memory

By  Maria Justa Polotan
I learned today that the small house where my brothers and I spent our early years was finally torn down. I suppose it was about time – it was already a very old house, even before my family moved in – and it stood in a small community, in a small district, in a small town.


The house of my memory was the first shelter I ever knew, the first address to which I moved after leaving the hospital where I was birthed – it was where I had my first home-coming, in a way. It was witness to the first, in a long line, of my mother's sleepless nights, when bedding down was accompanied by cloth diapers and blankets and pins and towels and wraps. Yet to this day, my mother counts herself lucky in that she breast fed all of her children and, thus, never needed to rest within reach of a baby bottle.


The house of my memory was where I first took a tumble, and where I first learned to walk and eventually – run. Naturally, running led to falling – again… and again. I still fall to this day, but the tumbles I am prone to now have nothing to do with running. The house saw me through the trappings of my first birthday party, my first Christmas get-together and my first New Year's Eve.


I remember the field just outside the house of my memory. It served as the first playground for my brothers and me, as well as for the other children of that little town. It was where I learned to play the games of my childhood – pico (hopscotch), taguan (hide and seek), bahay-bahayan (play house), dyakstones (jackstones, the letter 'j' was not, at that time, part of the Filipino alphabet),patintero (a sort of organized game of group tag) and Chinese garter (which involved jumping over a stretched string that was held higher at every turn.) The field was surrounded by aratiles(Jamican cherry) trees. Their fruits resembled rubies when they ripened, and the girls would smear the juices on their lips because it made them look like they were wearing lipstick. The boys, in turn, would capture and harness the huge spiders whose webs dangled from the branches, for 'spider-fights.' I am sure that more than a few of those same boys graduated to breeding fighting cocks in later life. My brothers and I headed off for that expanse of youthful freedom right after breakfast. We spent the better part of the day playing under a sun that was kinder back then, and went home grudgingly – it was almost a betrayal to leave when there was still a tiny bit of sunlight left.


Neighbors knew each other in our little community, the 'hometown' of my memory. It was not a wealthy place, far from it, but everyone was willing to share what they had. And they shared more than the material – they shared in the joy and good fortune that occasionally came, and they shared in the pain and misery, which was doled out more often by fate and the 'bad spirits' that were ever present, but hinted of only in whispers.


Nothing is left now of that small town, nor the field of my youth. They fell prey to ever changing zoning rules and 'appropriation laws' penned by a group of very smart government officials whose names were never mentioned and whose faces we never saw. And today the house that I remember no longer stands. It was old and small, but my memories of it will forever be renewed… and they will always be grand.






Whisper me,

Breeze-kissed murmurs of slumber awakening

Like dawn, shy but beguiling, rising reluctant

To the gentle insistence of dew on grass, silvered,

As grey lightens to morning.

Captive me,

Gentle the restless soul with passion reined

The refuge found in your measured heartbeats

No longer alone, solitude cast away, like the shadow games

Of youthful days.

Passion me,

Love and need numbing all, only senses in tune

To the wordless song of desire endlessly played

The eternal ebb and flow of fervor’s sea, beckoning,

Till the harbor is reached.

And there,

Release me.




A Latticework of Tears


I stood beside my window today,

The one through where I first saw you,

Standing beneath the old wooden archway

With the white latticework

Carved on its broad posts.

You were young and strong,

With flesh browned by the eastern sun

And eyes that promised mischief,

And a smile that dared any and all.

While I was just shyness and fear,

And inconsequence.

I stood there until the light turned grey,

Until the raindrops curtained the window,

with a latticework of tears.

How careless of me to have

Left the window open.





Bound for Home



And when this vagabond comes home

To lay her heart at your feet,

Will she have then reached far enough

To make your life….replete?


And when this traveler’s journey ends

Beside the open gate,

Will crossing through mend all your ills,

And all your pain….abate?


And when this wand’ring soul returns

To tend your wounds so deep,

Will she herself find longed-for peace,

Will she find love….to keep?


And when, at last, she takes your hand,

And sings, again, her song,

Together, will you find tender joy,

And together, at last….belong?
















Maria Justa Polotan lives half way across the world in a country where heat and rain compete the year round and where extraordinary typhoons are very ordinary. her three favourite activities are music, reading and writing. A few of her works are scattered around various sites; The Writing Garden,  Medium, Poem Hunter, The Writer's Garden and now Jotters United, while her poetry collection, A Darker Shade of Need and a novella, The San Isidra Mysteries, The Story of Maria de Suenos, are available on Amazon Kindle.

There is also a blog site: Musings and Other Thoughts and if you want to listen to her soul – go to SoundCloud where you can find her as justa335.




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