Christian Perfas
April 2022
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Christian Perfas is a second generation Filipino-American poet and teaching artist who goes by the moniker, "Soul Stuf." His catalogue of work covers a wide range of material, from the seemingly mundane to the heart-wrenchingly familiar. Raised with a background in theatre, improv, and hip-hop, he has been honing his poetic craft for the past five years and has been blessed with the opportunity to work with some amazing artistic institutions, such as the Melrose Poetry Bureau, Spoken Literature Art Movement, Asian Creative Network - Los Angeles, Palms Up Academy, Get Lit! Words Ignite, the Poetry Lab, and the Poetry Brothel, among others. His debut collection of poems is set to release later this year in collaboration with the Community Literature Initiative and his publisher, the World Stage Press, alongside his first ever poetry album produced by Fictitious Professor. Christian loves good quality boba and is often distracted by small to medium-sized dogs.

FOREST FOR THE TREES

                        after Sabrina Benaim

 

tell me the secret to your serenity,

how you kissed starlight.

I want to savor you in your fleeting sunshine, manifest 

pixie, rebellious bubble blown by wind’s bequest

you belong to no one. 

 

how do you wear your shackles so bangle? 

move flawless, dip, dive, diva strut your way into my sweet jesus—

the only way I can begin to describe the blood rush avalanche 

you spin in my sternum.

you make me spaghetti.

 

tell me how you cup lullaby milk in your palms, 

spin silk from gravel bones, 

and still keep your pockets empty—

where do you keep all your inhibitions? 

or did you give them away 

to the trees, throw them with the prayer beads into the sea of sweat? 

how did you detach yourself?

 

how did you make yourself magic, holy ghost chic? 

can I believe in you?

 

can you show me how to get high off your gaze? 

you walk seven wonders, part fireflies, 

exhale galaxies with glitter lips. 

you, maven maelstrom, rainbow meteor, electric forest. 

you, natural disastrous to preconceived status quo. 

you, body mind breathless.

 

 

CODEBREAKER

 

they always seemed out of reach. the golden few, side eye flashing: affluent tones only.

 

respect was a currency I couldn’t afford from them, so I pleaded; their response: so what?

they were the basis of my upbringing, teaching me about my less than and how they can 

 

easily change what constitutes as toll for passing, though I’ll never quite understand.

 

we, my brown folk and I, are simply trying to survive, despite all their attempts to derive

 

meaning from our blood and blessings, while demanding we return to where we came from,

 

the irony is not lost, even if many of us are. asking for room, only for them to give us space

 

in the ground. they say we need perspective, without realizing the worlds we travel between.

 

we are a nation of drifters, dreamers—trying to hold on to anything to keep us afloat and learn

 

how to hold our breath until it is safe to come up for air. yet, we are also being asked to

 

decipher all of this hate speech into something discernible, easier for allyship to digest, before

 

we become forgotten again, in the midst of everything more palatable. Then, no one will ask.

 

why? because even in social justice, we spotlight victors over victims more often than we

 

should.


 

Code                                        breaker

 

they only

respect what

they can

easily understand.

 

we derive

meaning from

the space

in between.

 

we learn

how to 

decipher before

we ask

why we

should.