Te Amo

June 24, 2007

I watch myself move
from place to place, leaving footprints
that gradually disappear- languages,
learned and unlearned in a span
of ahello, muli bwanji? and au revoir, leaving
only remnants at the backs of old photos.

And even those images fade, lost
somewhere between my growing up
from suplada[ to maulawon to this quiet
wariness of one tired of being redefined
every time I translate my memories, tired
of dropping friends as often as I did my R’s.

So when I found out you spoke spanish,
in a Mexican drawl you found I didn’t care to learn,
you brought your lips to mine, in a silence
that became my personal rosetta stone
etching this memory and those yet to be born:
ones where I found myself

whisper between kisses
“Ndimakukonda…je t’aime…mahal kita…”
in a flawless translation
of how you taught me to love:
with everything
I am.


  1. I love it, you had me looking up those words, still havent gotten the meaning off all of them… I’ll keep working on it unless you want to help me out…regardless i love it..

  2. ooops sorry hehe: here’s the glossary for quick reading.
    some quick translations:

    Te amo (spanish) -I love you

    hello, muli bwanji? (chichewa – East Africa) and au revoir, (french)
    -hello, how are you? and goodbye

    from maulawon (cebuano) to suplada (tagalog) to…”
    – from shy to snob to …

    Ndimakukonda (chichewa )… je t’aime (french)… mahal kita (tagalog)…
    -I love you, I love you, I love you

  3. neat poem. I got part of the french (it has been a long time). My problem is, there is multilingual and bilingual and monolingual (or unilingual or how about singulinguality) and I am sublingual.
    but I digress, great poem. I love the evolution of the story line.

  4. I REALLY like this poem, Rax. Very well-done.

  5. Great poem rax and it brought back memories. When my husband was in Vietnam in the 60’s he always signed his letters to me Te Amo. One of his buddies had told him that meant ‘I Love You’. I’d forgotten that. I still have his letters…they must be antique by now!

    Hey, thanks for the memories…and the great poem.

  6. The ending is breathtaking. I also loved this phrase
    that became my personal rosetta stone

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