"To bring the poem into the world / is to bring the world into the poem."

Sunday, November 20, 2011



My Great Recession experience has everything to do with my future. As a conscience youth and an upcoming teacher, I believe that people are so job security- and money-wary that they are only in survival mode. Teaching guidance to my students, I see they only know that money will make you live comfortably. But really it should be about moral values. In this economy I believe that’s what we need.



How the GR has affected my poetry is by me living in a neighborhood with the least income families, in a school in the middle of what feels like a third world (I'm calling it urban Honolulu)--it's all I know. To live being compassionate about people struggles, including mine and my families’. And by writing my community into awareness.

Faith and her Mommy, with their two dogs (left) Bruno and (right) Pacman!



My GR poem talks about my mother going through layoffs at work, telling her I love her regardless.


At night in my house when everyone should be sleeping eyes close minds

drifting towards wonderland,

She’s still awake in the living room flipping through memories of

what used to be,

Crying wishing her storied scrapbook past was reality again.

She reminisces over pages of smiles; compiled accomplishments enough

to fill miles of trophy cases.

She was the original dust buster dirt devil housekeeper winner of the

2006 Housekeeper of the Year award.

She remembers wanting to vacuum the red carpet something majestic;

Floors so shiny, you could see your inner child in the reflection. She

idolizes perfection

That hotel was her home away from home, her fortress of solitude and

it has been for over 16 years.

She cleans hotel rooms; finds the history in dirty laundry, closet

skeletons and linens.

Knows what happens in a honeymoon suite, and is capable to clean the

fuck out of them

She knows that business trips are filled with more personal endeavors


Seeing infidelity with the mistake of forgetting the do not disturb

sign on the doorknob; she has seen it all.

Until last fall when my brother and I watched her crumble under the

fall of the economy,

The uncertainty placed her waiting by the phone.

She’s on call for work now. Today she’s number 4 but they didn’t

even make it to 3…

This job is her first baby, 16 years in the making,

At first this job was just to pay the bills, just for now, just until…

It became her passion, found sanctuary in her pink flowered uniform,

and comfort gelled shoes

She’s my mother, sobbing solo under the single light in the living


Resisting to open her scrapbook, trying not to find a reason to be

angry at the super natural because she’s losing faith. Like a

flickering candle…

When she thinks no one is around she still tries her uniform on, this

is her battle suit;

Her idle hands turn to iron and from wonder woman to wondering woman

she feels like she lost her super powers.

My mother is an aglet, found at the tip of shoelaces,

She’s capable of keeping your sole in place,

She will tell you she loves you by just being there… but she’s forgotten.

Her paycheck is the only way she remembers her value,

That coming home without one renders her useless.

Mommy, you are not an ATM, not an automated teller machine,

Worth is not measured in money; Your amount balance will never be zero to me.

See no one remembers what an aglet is…

No one cares about the life of the housekeeper who cleaned their hotel


But mom, you are more than a source of income

You’re my monster in the closet inspector, and the detector of sorrow

and sobbing anywhere

When the shake of the money problem earthquake leaves our home, I want

you to know

I love you more than a full-time laid off housekeeper, but my full

time mother. Assuring you that even if your Faith fades away, your faith will be here.



Faith Pascua, 17 years old, is a high school senior in Honolulu, Hawai’i. The Youth Speaks Hawaii 2010 Grand Slam Champion, she is a student teacher. She also can be seen and heard presenting her poem "Mommy" for YouthSpeaksHawaii over HERE.


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