Neal Tayco

Neal Tayco is a second-year MFA in Writing grad student at the University of San Francisco, where he is the associate poetry editor for the program’s student-run literary journal, Invisible City. Originally from Subic Bay, he is currently based in the Bay Area where he also works as a Filipino translator/proofreader for the County of San Mateo. Neal can be found online at @nealtayco on both Twitter and Instagram, where he habitually overshares aspects of his life with internet strangers. Neal’s writing can also be found published in The San Franciscan

Poem on Belonging

IN OLONGAPO CITY

the Apo’s head is statued on the rotunda,
 		his eyes toward here, 
 	his repaved homeland—
Home is a place named after this
 	beheading. I do not know my ancestors. 
 	They have always been watching 
me. Home was the largest overseas 
 	US military installation. 
 	There, we learned to worship	
above the waters of warship wreckages, 
all the American frigates 
 	we could not repair. 
 	We fucked the sailors, 
and we mended their broken ships. 
Under our care, what we could salvage 
 	we took to open auction—and when the wars
finally ended, the rest we turned into museums 
 	commemorating a victory against 
 ourselves. We were rich off the offal, 
 	so we bought our own exit
wounds: I cannot now write about home without
the visa. 
I, too, cannot be a whole body: 
 	doomed to survey those prior worlds, 
 		these chief parts of mine, stuck seeking
my childhood home. In California,
weather is the kind of warmth we have 
no language for. I have never lived far from the sea, 
 	a bad pursuit this body 
 	          refuses to break. 

Copyright © 2022 by Neal Tayco. Used with permission of the author.