Salamat

The rain had just stopped
And I boarded the bus
On the way to
Work

The engine roared
And I sat with
The other passengers

I looked to my left
And saw a young
Pinay sitting next to
An older Filipina

They looked out
The window nodding
Their heads

Salamat means
Thank you, the
Young lady said

(a question yet not a question)

That’s correct
Said the older
Woman

And the younger woman
Spoke of her parents
Who had come to
America in the early 60’s

She apologized for
Not knowing
Much Filipino

I listened, not
Understanding
Any Filipino at all

And the older
Woman got up
To leave

It was nice
Talking to
you

Then she
Was gone

A minute or
Two went by and
The young woman
Began to cry

She tried to hold
It back but
She couldn’t

What could I
Say, what could
Anybody say

Except

Salamat
Means
Thank you

© 2009 Tony Robles

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Two Kinds

There always seems

To be two kinds

Of guys

 

Those that talk

Out of their nose

And those that talk

Out of their ass

 

The guys that talk

Out of their ass seem

To walk around with

Their fly’s open

 

(Unaware, of course)

 

The guys who

Talk out of their

Nose knows everything

 

(especially things they know not)

 

Some guys are clever

And are able to talk

Out of their nose and

Ass at the same time

 

Many of these guys (not

Limited to guys) are known

As politicians

 

Some are known

As president

 

The college professor

Who told me to major

In business was talking

Out of his ass

 

The former boss from

Years ago who told me

To work more, give more

Without mention of a raise

 

…was talking out of

His nose

 

Mind you, there are

Kernels of truth in

Talking out of your

Ass and nose

 

It sometimes

Comes out

 

Like a

Poem

 

 

© 2016 Tony Robles

Thank you

Thank you to the black
men who taught me how
to laugh

Thank you to the black
women whose voices and
songs weave thru thick
weeds, leading me home

Thank you to those who
weave quilts to uncover
the truth

Thank you to
the ravens who
are always close by

Thank you to the
elders with one good
ear, one good eye, one
good hand because those
things are useful

Thank you to the
guy that said, hey
why don’t you leave
that kid alone?

Thank you to the
one who writes that
song in their mind
every day, too busy
to put it to paper

Thank you to the one
who signed their name
on the line that was
drawn and didn’t back
down

Thank you to the
mothers who had
to be fathers

Thank you to those
that took a shot
and missed

Thank you
to those whose eyes
never suffered a
drought

Thank you to
the poets whose
poems are stored
somewhere

Thank you to those
who sit in meditation
for they are in mediation
with the universe

Thank you for
those who keep
account

and those that
forgive

Thank you for
the grease stained
kettle on the stove that
screams when our lungs
can’t

Thank you to
those that didn’t
mistake kindness
for weakness

Thank you for
reading this
poem

Thank you for
adding to
it

PS: Thank you to my mother for
continuing to show me what
grace is

(c) 2016 Tony Robles

No other place

There’s no other place
That changes colors
Changes faces
Changes places
Changes plume
Changes fume
Like this place

Moving at a flaccid
Placid pace with
Chameleon intentions
With everywhere and
No where to go

No other place
Where trickled down
Tye dyed tears tell
Lies while rainbows
Are painted the
Color of blood

There’s no other
Place that can assume
You and consume you
In a cup with a $5
Price tag

No other place
That tattoos it’s
Buildings on our
Skin in the ink of
Thick fog then
Burns it off over
And over again

No other place
Where eye sockets
Are mined and flags
Are planted the length
Of spine

No other place
Where the bridges
Cross you and dare
You to jump into
The deep end of a
Post card

No other place
Where your face
Is on a wanted poster
One day and on an
Unwanted poster
The next

No other place
That makes love
To you and makes life
To you and sucks you
Thru a straw and leaves
You with a thin blanket

No other place that
Suspends you
Upends you
Unearths you at
The drop of an
Eyelash

There’s no
Other place for
Me to be

No other
Place that kisses
Me goodbye over
And over again

No other
Place

(C) Tony Robles 2017

Based in San Francisco

Born and bred
With not a lot
Of bread but lots
Of bologna
Cotto salami
Head cheese by products

Born not
Based

Debased in
San Francisco
Erased in San Francisco
Untraced in San Francisco
Laid to waste in
San Francisco
Replaced in
San Francisco

Fleeing in
Haste from
San Francisco.

Born and bred
With little or
No bread

without a dill

pickle to show for

it

 

No bread to
Break but so
Many bones to
Mend

 

born and bred

born and bled

born and bled

born and bred

A nothing sandwich
On slices of
Bland inbred bread

born and bred

born and bled

 

It is great
To be based

In San Francisco

(C) Tony Robles 2017

Black in the Philippines

we bring the black
with us from our
neighborhoods

we bring the music
of our skin and bones
and the moving ripples
traced across our bellies

we bring it back
we bring it front
we bring it black

in the Philippines
in the mall
in the line
a black man’s
eyes meet mine

some sort of recognition
closes the gap between
us

waiting to get an
ice cream cone,
he says he’s from
the Bahamas

his daughter is
in his arms, her
head rests on his
shoulders

she smiles her
father’s smile as
he tells me he is
with a church

spreading what ever
it is that it
spreads

and we are in
the Philippines

and my blood
is black too,
like my mother
like my great grandmother
and grandfather

and we bring
the black with
us, from the Bahamas,
from Frisco

it comes out
and goes back in
and comes out
and goes back in
and comes out

breathing

(c) 2017 Tony Robles

Philippine Connection

Coming back from
the Philippines I
feel disconnected

its good to
have connections

i was told, it isn’t
what you know but
who you know

in my dreams i’m
on a connecting
flight that doesn’t
seem to connect

arms are connected
to torso, head is
connected to neck
belly button connected
to umbilical cord

but connections are
severed especially
on the phone

talking on the phone,
my uncle in Mindanao
always sounded like he
was in a speeding car
with the window down or
in a helicopter

and the call would
drop

and i am back in
SF and my spirit
calls me back from
the Philippines

i pick up the phone
and the voice breaks
through

“Where are you?”
it says

and then there’s static
and the sound of a
speeding car with the
window down

body and
spirit

connected

disconnected

(c) 2017 Tony Robles