Back in the Philippines, it is very common to see a security guard standing outside the doors of malls, stores, and restaurants.  They open and close the doors for customers.  But more importantly, they keep both suspicious characters and homeless people out.  It’s all about images in the business, you know.


oh my asthma
so much air pollution
why can’t I work inside
open, close
infernal doors!
am I Saint Peter?
and those pesky rats
always trying to sneak in
filthy and stinky
bothersome pests
ruining the image
of our prestigious store
a new group
every night
they pick this spot
a sleeping swarm
every morning
I wake them up
and shoo!
get out of here!
the store is opening!
oh my asthma
why do I work here?

With no home or parental care, street children sleep together for warmth and protection. © 2005 Marcus Bleasdale

With no home or parental care, street children sleep together for warmth and protection.
© 2005 Marcus Bleasdale

Day 6 of 2013 November PAD challenge.

Conceal / Unconceal

In the city of Manila, I remember always seeing kids go from car to tourists to jeepneys and people coming out of churches with strings of Sampaguitas in their little hands.  As a kid, sometimes it made me scared to talk to them.  Other times, I wished I had money so I could buy some from them – at the very least, because I loved the smell of those tiny, white, fragrant flowers…

Day 5 of 2013 November PAD challenge.

Conceal / Unconceal

sampaguita girl

Ma’am, please buy some flowers
They’re lovely, you see?
And smell them!
They smell like heaven!
Even one would be good
My mom, you see
She’s terribly sick
And my dad has run away
My little brother right here
Hasn’t eaten for days
And my baby sister
is in need of milk
You’ll buy them all?
Thank you, Ma’am!
God bless you, Ma’am!
My family thanks you, Ma’am!

one peso…
five pesos…
ten pesos…
twenty pesos…

Here you go, Boss!
I did good today, right?
Can I have my dinner now please?
And can I play after that?
Thanks, Boss!
I’ll be good tomorrow too
Just wait and see
And you won’t even have to beat me
I’ll meet my quota
And maybe more
Just please
Don’t beat me
Don’t beat me


One Good Piece of Sheet

If you haven’t personally seen them on the streets, consider yourself lucky.

Because to see one of these is truly heartbreaking.

Day 4 of 2013 November PAD challenge.


One Good Piece of Sheet

That’s all I ask

Wide enough
To lay on the cold ground
And wrap around
My front and back

Long enough
To pull up over my head
Without exposing my feet
To the freezing night’s air

Thick enough
To withstand a deluge
And keep the chills
Off my skin

Strong enough
To use until
The good earth becomes
My one good piece of sheet

At last…


The Last Time I Was Here

When I was a young girl living in the Philippines, I was fortunate enough to have the privilege of sometimes eating out in restaurants.

I don’t remember the names of the different restaurants anymore, but no matter which one it was, they were there too…

Day 3 of 2013 November PAD challenge.


The Last Time I Was Here

They were serving deep fried fish
Big bowls of white rice
And an unknown dish
Smothered in thick brown sauce

There were drinks of every flavor
And coconut juice with ice
Each plate a different color
Oh wouldn’t it be nice

If everyone could freeze
And I could just sneak in
A quick, silent breeze
Tasting every dish within

And I could tell too
That my brother wanted a taste
But there was nothing I could do
Except leave in haste

Today I am here again
Same window, same spot
Standing in the rain
Cursing what I haven’t got