Blue Aspect #2

She had an
Empty guitar case filled
With fragments
Plucking sounds from lost birds
Rooted honey stalks
That conformed to everything
Yet fit into nothing except
Old stained jars

And she was black
As black can be,
Night falling on her
Bones and shoulders
Downward as the day’s
Flower came into focus

And she played
Her blue song on a
Yellow electric guitar
On Market and Powell
As the day shadows passed
Into night, young into old,
Peace into war

And her blue
Song covered the
Bone parades walking
In every direction

And her strum
Became a hum
That was imperceptible
To the sum
Of some

Yet it
Was there

And still
Is

In the wings
Of lost
Birds

© Tony Robles 2016

Blue Aspect #1

By Tony Robles

I guess you can say it happened

When the jaw breakers arrived

Strung along like neon lights bleeding

Through cellophane

I’d waited days, weeks for those jaw

Breakers to come, as a reward for

Selling teen magazines to raise money

For our junior high school

We had to do our part

And we did and some other kids got

Calculators, chocolate bars and mood

Rings that changed color the way some

Of us changed our underpants, in hues

Ranging from blood red to earthy brown

And the jaw breakers arrived and I got

Them and I wrapped it across my chest

Diagonally like a Hollywood production shot

In Italy. Viva Zapata didn’t have nothing on

Me with those jaw breakers declaring themselves

Like bullets in a wrap-around set of circumstances

Beyond the circumference of my understanding

And I walked around with those jaw breakers

Hugging my body like a Boa Constrictor, like

A half-full Nelson when out of nowhere this older

Boy came from the side and yanked and pulled,

Stretching the cellphone until it snapped

The force of his pull was so great that

The momentum knocked him on his ass

I’ve loved jaw breakers

Ever since

© 2015 Tony Robles

Data Entry

It is my
data driven
duty
to drive you
out by accessing and processing
said data
including
height
weight
race
ethnicity
sex
bathing habits
frequency of
urination in the
wee hours
infractions of etiquette
outstanding library fines
parking tickets
moving and non-moving
violations in a seamless
(So it seems)
effort to get
you out of here
and make way
for someone else

(c) 2016 Tony Robles

Lotta

I wanna Lotta love
I wanna voice with a Lotta warmth
I wanna Lotta houses
I wanna Lotta sweet sounds
I wanna Lotta loving hands making loving things
I wanna Lotta voices from different tongues within earshot
I wanna Lotta songs
I wanna Lotta laughter
I wanna Lotta honor
I wanna Lotta respect
I wanna Lotta peace
I wanna Lotta community
I wanna Lotta smiles
I wanna Lotta homes
I wanna Lotta culture
I wanna Lotta togetherness

I don’t wanna Lotta condos
I don’t wanna Lotta rent
I don’t wanna Lotta forgetting
I don’t wanna Lotta regretting
I don’t wanna Lotta evictions
I don’t wanna Lotta displacement
I don’t wanna Lotta speculation
I don’t wanna Lotta harassment
I don’t wanna Lotta nightmares
I don’t wanna Lotta fear
I don’t wanna Lotta pulling us apart
I don’t wanna Lotta nonsense

I wanna Lotta soup in my pot
I wanna Lotta music in my living room
I wanna Lotta sunlight coming through my window
I wanna Lotta hugs from friends
I wanna Lotta moonlight when it’s dark

I want my staircase to
Sound like a Lotta piano keys

I wanna Lotta love

© 2016 Tony Robles

 

Still

Still here on a
block that doesn’t
recognize you even
though your fingerprints
have been taken
bones dusted
picture snapped without
your consent, photo ID
in the family of humanity
revoked, including your
membership in club native
in which you were clubbed
and shown the door

still here and it seems
the only ones who know
you are the trees lining
the block

they are still here too
and they remember how
you kicked, climbed
and peeled their bark
back in the day when
the dogs were loud

standing side by side
with those old
trees

A silent
choir

still
here

(c) 2016 Tony Robles

Community Guide

Community guide standing
on the corners, crevices
fault lines of my city

Can you guide me
to Jesus or maybe
to the promised land

Community guide
with the jacket
adorned with patches

I’m going through a
rough patch
myself

You think you can
help me get
through?

Guide me like a
pen across a blank
page into a poem or
an incident report where
I’m proclaimed innocent
of indecence

Guide me like a
pencil in a
fill-in-the-babble
scheme where the
truth is a shade between
decline to answer and
none of the above

Community guide
can you tell me
where I’m at because
I don’t recognize it

As blimp pimps
sky, i, a mere blip on
the landscape, a breach
on the laughter of silence
Ask

can you guide
me to a place
i recognize?

(c) 2016 Tony Robles

 

Presenting at career day at Ben Franklin School in Daly City

I’m From Here #7

I was washing dishes

At a restaurant and

I’d seen all kinds of

Folks come through,

Leaving me dirty dish

After dirty dish, clink,

Clink, soiled utensils

And I’d think about my

Father who’d worked at

A high class hotel on

Nob Hill and when I told

Him I was washing dishes

He said, Oh, you’re diving

For pearls, huh? And one

By one they’d come in,

Waiters and waitresses

And cooks. There was fast

Eddy who rode a motorcycle

And spoke about a bad case

Of crabs he caught in New

Jersey and there was another

Guy from Oklahoma who was

A mass of freckles topped with

A wig-like head of red hair

Who had said the Beatles

Were overrated and hated

Music that was too commercial

And there were more folks from

Everywhere else and I was from

Here and I washed those dishes

Between classes at City College

And there was another guy

Who worked at the restaurant

Who’d recently arrived and he

Was reading books about my

Hometown, my city, compiling

Facts and visiting landmarks and

Places that I had missed. Soon

This guy knew more about my

Hometown than I did and

I continued doing those dishes

And the guy kept telling me

About every inch of my city

As if he were born here

Himself and I gazed at the

Dirty plates, every inch of them

As he told me about every inch

Of my city except the space

Of the back of my hand

 

 

© 2015 Tony Robles

I’m From Here #7

I’m from here #7

By Tony Robles

 

I was washing dishes

At a restaurant and

I’d seen all kinds of

Folks come through,

Leaving me dirty dish

After dirty dish, clink,

Clink, soiled utensils

And I’d think about my

Father who’d worked at

A high class hotel on

Nob Hill and when I told

Him I was washing dishes

He said, Oh, you’re diving

For pearls, huh? And one

By one they’d come in,

Waiters and waitresses

And cooks. There was fast

Eddy who rode a motorcycle

And spoke about a bad case

Of crabs he caught in New

Jersey and there was another

Guy from Oklahoma who was

A mass of freckles topped with

A wig-like head of red hair

Who had said the Beatles

Were overrated and hated

Music that was too commercial

And there were more folks from

Everywhere else and I was from

Here and I washed those dishes

Between classes at City College

And there was another guy

Who worked at the restaurant

Who’d recently arrived and he

Was reading books about my

Hometown, my city, compiling

Facts and visiting landmarks and

Places that I had missed. Soon

This guy knew more about my

Hometown than I did and

I continued doing those dishes

And the guy kept telling me

About every inch of my city

As if he were born here

Himself and I gazed at the

Dirty plates, every inch of them

As he told me about every inch

Of my city except the space

Of the back of my hand

 

 

© 2015 Tony Robles

On the Writing of Poultry

On the writing of Poultry
By Tony Robles

I was sitting eating
A tuna sandwich in a
Small park when this
Guy walked up to me

The guy’s face covered
The sun that had been
In my face and he said,
Hey, ain’t you the guy
Who wrote that book of poultry?

Yeah, you mean the
Book of poetry, I answered

Yeah, that’s
The one

i saw it in the bookstore
window and i wanted to
buy a copy but it was 16
dollars, kind of high, you
know. I mean, i gotta eat

And he looked at me
For a moment, as if
Reading me

And I gave myself
A quick glance and I
Seemed to be real, tuna
On my breath and hairs
Sprouting from my arms

And the guy
Was real, the SF Giants
Shirt clinging to his torso
Like the memory of a dozen
Lost loves

And he opened his
Mouth showing a regal
Row of gold teeth

Yeah, I like
Your poultry
He said

I don’t read too
Much poultry, he
Continued

(Sheeeit…I don’t never read
No poultry, he added, under his breath)

But the shit
You wrote in your book,
That was some heavy
Shit, some good poultry

I wish I could
Write some
Poultry like that

“You can” I answered

I don’t know, man, he
Answered, every time I
Try it comes out: Roses
Are red, violets are blue…
And I’m stuck

I mean, it’s like sitting
and taking a crap and
nothing happens,
you know what i mean?

Yes, i answer, I’ve
had that experience
on many occasions, I
have written much crap

And we sat
For a moment

I broke off half
Of my tuna
Sandwich and he bit
Into it with his gold teeth

And we spent some
More time talking
About poultry while the
Sun listened in

Roses are red
Violets are blue

 

(c) 2015 Tony Robles

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