Alex Maskara


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Migratory Bird (circa 2005)



Migratory Bird *(circe 2005)


You are not probably interested with his story, the story of Miguel that is. It is not full of laughter or philosophy or life-altering lessons. It is written in poor English, broken English like his heart. You know what a broken heart is. It is weeping with blood. And the blood goes to the brain and the brain becomes crazy. All that sad blood is dirty. He gets rid of it by drinking. Wine will remove dirt from his brain. Wine will remove everything from his brain. Memory and reality will temporarily go away.

Sometimes it is difficult to understand his English, but don't worry, you'll get it, it will not hurt you if you keep hearing him repeating himself, you understand? His English is learned from his fellow orange pickers in the groves, picked up from hookers and pimps, from bars serving cerveza negra and Taco Bell. It is mixed with adoring the Lord Jesus Christ. And calling home using a prepaid phone card. Hola, my life is fine, Teresita.

Miguel is standing inside a phone booth by the side of the road, dressed like a farmer ready to cultivate the entire continent. For real you say? Yeah, for real. He is holding the receiver against his ear, unmindful of the cars passing by whose drivers are either unaware of his existence or aware of his non-existence. Ay caramba!

He once came to this country well dressed with good manners and a lot of confidence. Now he is reduced into this: wearing clothes bought from Salvation Army. Who really wants to see him in the USA dressed as handsomely as he used to be in the old country? Who wants to see him at all, standing by the roadside looking at every driver, eyes asking, "Do you have a job for me?”

And all the odd jobs he does - less than minimum wage - lifting, pushing, shoveling, cultivating, digging, planting, cementing, cleaning, washing - what else is left? Every kind of labor he does. Everything except what he did professionally in his country.

He was an Accountant back home. But jobs back home aren't worth anything.

You see, you can have some decent things in your home country - education, love, romance, respect, dignity, honor, history, friendships - but without money, all fall to pieces. He has no home here, no family, he doesn't even understand every English word spoken. But that doesn't matter because he's got muscles, quietness, servitude that make him won't react even if poked, spat at, cussed at, treated like shit, which at the end, for real, at the end, earns him dinero. Yeah dolares for real. Money, that's what's important. Everything else can wait, you know, it doesn't matter how he is treated in Gringo-land. Who cares about all that when he earns dinero, solamente dinero? At least, he can feed himself and his family.

Miguel replaces the receiver back on the hook. He turns his eyes at the long winding road that is kept clean. Thanks to workers like him, America is very very beautiful.

Everyday, cada dia, he is learning more about the Gringo system. And he can't help but notice how hard work is awarded here. There is no low-class job here as long as you pay taxes(but he is still an illegal) and commit no public scandal and crime(so far). In Gringo-land, you can do your business and no one would bother you. So long as you follow the rules. So he will be here - weeks, months, years, even for eternity - until he becomes one of the Gringos. A Gringo who pays taxes. A Gringo treated as equal.

Ah, this plastic card, this phone card will someday turn into a real American Express card. Or Visa. Or Discover. Or Mastercard. How can he get there from here?

Miguel sits by the side of the road, mapping his plot. He can marry a Gringa. Or, he can be lucky and be given a 'legal pardon' for a politician's political points. He can study in an American school and become a Nurse like Filipinos. He can start a landscaping business and apply for a 'business visa'. He can...oh why does it all sound so near to impossible?

Today, he can't even find anybody to hire him. But is this what life is for him? Born in a poor country, gravitating toward a promising country. Will life be like this forever? Scheming, plotting, planning on a goal as simple as becoming another Gringo? He is a migratory bird, that's all he is. He flies to where abundance is, and if the abundance is permanent, he tries to become one of the native birds.

How long will he acquire the plumage of the local birds, to fly like them, live like them, lay eggs like them? Ah, these things can wait. All the other migratory birds have flown away, even they start parting in their migratory ways. Schools of migratory birds no longer exist, They were split into individuals just going around now in limbo, locating a place each thinks is appropriate for him.

And he chose this Gringo-land, but how does he start?
2024-04-12 04:17:30
barrio

Lazaro Sembrano

Manila in the Dark

Boy Luneta

A Night at the Luneta Grandstand

Migratory Bird (circa 2005)

Manila Travel 2022

On Bad Blood (Part 1)

Understanding my unique Self on my way to Retirement

Intramuros 1

Pasig River

Proenneke

A Visit to Quiapo with El Fili2

Visiting Quiapo with El Fili

The Very Thought of You

THE DIARY OF ANTONIO PIGAFETTA

Visions of St Lazarus 1

Popong 9

Diary of A Masquerade

Acacia

Brother, My Brother (Ben Santos)

Popong 8

F Sionil Jose

Four Students - 2

Popong 7 - Meditation

Popong 6 - Meditation

Friday Night Thoughts

Current Interests

Bulosan Syndrome

Maid of Cotton

Popong 5

Popong 4

Current Readings 2

Popong 3

Reading: Name of the Rose

Current Readings

Popong 2

Web Projects

Getting Back in the Game – Technology

Four Students

Selya

Last of the Balugas

Introduction To Popong