Career Day with a Filipino Cowboy from Hawaii By Tony Robles

I’d landed in Hawaii
With the silent thud
Of a coconut falling
From a tree

My father’s wife
Was from the islands
So we packed up our things
And made the 2 thousand
Mile trip from San Francisco

It was tough

We lived in
Back of a house
Owned by my dad’s
Mother and father in law

It was In the back
That he kept his
Janitorial equipment,
Imported from San Francisco

He had dreams
Of working for himself

Vacuums, mops, buckets,
Carpet shampoo machine,
A whole arsenal ready to take
The Hawaii janitorial industry
By storm

I was a senior in high school
Who had ideas of being a
Radio DJ

And I’d pick mangoes from
The ground, bruises and all
(It was like gold)
As I walked to school with the
Smell of burning sugar cane
In my nostrils

And at school I was introduced
To pidgin and was told, eh brah,
You talk like one haole

(Which was true, I did talk like
A whiteboy compared to the locals)

And one day the school had
Career day, with professionals
From many fields talking about
The opportunities in a number
Of professions

One of them was a DJ
From a local radio
Station

(A country station)

He was a Filipino guy
Who stood no more than
5 foot 3

He wore a cowboy hat
With huge feather
Sticking out

(Which made him look 5 foot 5)

He stood in front
Of us and began
Pacing across the floor

He spoke with an affected
Southern accent and moved
As if having ridden a horse for
A week or suffering from a bad
Case of hemorrhoids

And he said,

I work at a
Station, rot thar,
Pointing towards the
Back of him with his thumb

And rot thar
Is where I made
My mistakes

Like playing the record
At the wrong speed

And rot thar
Is where I got my
Experience

And he continued to
Talk about radio, this 5 foot
3 inch Filipino guy with an
Affected southern accent who
Moved with what appeared to
Be a very sore ass on career day

And I sat
Right here

And he was
Rot thar

© 2015 Tony Robles

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