Filipino Walk

A friend said, they’re
Gonna know you
Ain’t from there by
The way you walk

I hadn’t yet felt
The Philippine
Ground on my feet

I thought about how
It was going to

Would it be different
Than the ground in
SF, Daly City or Topeka,

How would my soles
Size up among the
Souls I was destined
To see or not see?

Walking in Manila
I am self-conscious

I watch the
Way people

I wear tsinelas
But my cadence
Lacks patience
And grace

An idea: I’ll pretend
I’m bowlegged

I curl my toes, pressing
Them into my sandals
But I end up twisting
My ankle

A kid on
The street looks
At me with sad

My friend, learning
Of my dilemma says,
You’re walking like
You have a lumpia
Rammed up your ass

Thanks, I say, but
I’d rather eat the

I continue walking,
Trying to find my

(C) 2017 Tony Robles


St. Francis Theater

the floor was sticky in
the theater and the seats
held the sweet humidity of
memory in the cushions as
we spilled soda pop, popcorn
and candy wrappers onto the
waiting spaces dipped in shadows
as we hid from the world waiting for
the feature to begin

Grandma described it as
elegant, remembering a time
when you dressed up to go

By the time i came around
downtown was dressed down,
shoeless, shirtless, moneyless
minuses all adding up to the
price of admission with clogged
Toilets, exits and no way out

i didn’t know that the remnants
on those brick walls, those ads
from decades gone by, fading
into the mortar was the montage
of a main attraction, a mortgage
of memory that could not be recalled
nor repaid

and one by one
those movie theaters
shut down
replaced by coffee shops
fitness centers and other

yet, the St. Francis on
Market Street seemed
to survive both good
movies and bad, stale
popcorn and pockmarks
left by cigarette burns

and i’d sit on those
mildew festering seats
and i’d escape

“Enter the Dragon, Kung
Fu Mama, The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre, Good
Guys Wear Black
The Big Brawl etc etc”

and there was a uniformed
guard who patrolled the aisles,
night stick at side and rings
on every finger

He tap that night stick
on your feet if they
were propped up on
the back of a chair

i can still hear
the tapping as
well as remember
his smile

And now i
walk down
Market Street

The St. Francis is
gone, cleared away
and barricaded by
yellow tape

i look at
that empty

where a large
part of my youth
was spent on hot
dogs, popcorn and

The. St. Francis
is gone

Some intermissions
are permanent

(c) 2017 Tony Robles

The Bite

The bite comes
In the gaps between
Your teeth where
Spears could not
Penetrate for so long

The spaces between
Your eyes
Where time flies
And lands whether
You’re having fun
Or not

It all comes
Back to bite

In the ass
On the lobes
Of your ears

On your
Lower back
Where columns
Of spine diminish
Over time

On the bridge
Of your nose where
Dreams ascend and
Perch and reality
Gets crossed as well
As your eyes

The bite

Whether you dot
Your “I’s and cross
Your “T’s”

Its indentation
In your mind as
You try to move
Out of the crosshairs

It comes back
To bite you

So bite back
While you

And don’t
Forget to

© 2017 Tony Robles