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.