Frisco Feelings in Manila

On the balcony of
The hotel in Makati
The buildings in the
Distance do not hold
Back the glitter swallowed
From streaks of light in
Prisms split in a thousand

I jump into the
Frisco light whose
Pools gather below
On the streets of cast
Aside shadows

I leap head first
Into Frisco feelings
Like an unclaimed fish
That escaped the
Intricate weave of net

Frisco feelings
That say, where
You from?

Fleeting Frisco feelings
Whose taste remained
When you got on that
Plane and tried to forget
Frisco for a minute, a

Frisco, your grip is
Tight. Your voice cuts
Through the smog

Frisco feelings
Fermenting in
A bar

A flickering
Neon match

Keeping Frisco
Feelings alive

In Manila

(C) Tony Robles 2017


The Province

In the car
The air conditioning
Was blowing its voice
In my face

The breath of
The voice was of
The new car smell

And the radio
Blared the loud
Guitar strummings
And pickings from
Back home

And outside the
Window was the

And the air
Conditioned voice
Said, we’re in
The province

And the province
Passed across
The window

The hills
The trees shooting
All over in every
Angle, the burning
Sugar cane and the
Black faces of the
Workers seared in
Shadows whose mouths
Are deep wells holding
Memory and the lingering
Taste of the blood of our

And the air conditioned
Voice said, you’re in
The province

And I said, will you
Shut the fuck up? I
Know I’m in the province

And the air conditioned
Voice shut up

And it began to
Get hot, burning

Sweat came out
Of hiding

And the nipa huts
And sari sari stores
Stood stoically between
Trees on the sides of roads
While mothers fed their babies
And washed clothes at the
Same time

Ants began crawling
Up my arm, first a
Few, then an army

You’re in the
Province, the air
Conditioned voice said

Yeah motherfucker,
I know

(C) 2017 Tony Robles.

Poem for the Peddler in Makati

Seeing you every
Day in front
Of the hotel

With your thick
Glasses that can
Spot tourists, men
Who appear to be
Women (only prettier)
And both sides of the
Coin in the distance of
The moon

Everyday asking
Me if I want to buy
A bulova watch

I told you a hundred
Times I didn’t want
To buy your imposter,
Yet authentic looking watch

But then you told
Me you’d toss in
A pack of sexual
Enhancement pills to
Sweeten the deal

Hey man, back
Home this would be
Considered sexual

How much did you
Say you wanted for
That Bulova?

Man, fuck it! I don’t
Need your sexual
Enhancement pills!

And the bulova Sat
In the box and the
Time ticked under
The makati sun

I thought about my
Grandparents who
Got on that ship in
1920-1926 for SF

With no watch
No money

And nothing
But time

And 80 years
Later I am here

And the watches
And sexual enhancement


(C) 2017 Tony Robles


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

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

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
Any Filipino at all

And the older
Woman got up
To leave

It was nice
Talking to

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


Thank you

© 2009 Tony Robles

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




© 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

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

Thank you to
the poets whose
poems are stored

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

Thank you for
those who keep

and those that

Thank you for
the grease stained
kettle on the stove that
screams when our lungs

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

Thank you for
reading this

Thank you for
adding to

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

There’s no
Other place for
Me to be

No other
Place that kisses
Me goodbye over
And over again

No other

(C) Tony Robles 2017