Uncle Al's Biography - By Tony Robles


root - Posted on 18 November 2009

by Tony Robles

Manong Al

Born in Fillmore Street dreams

Born in a pot of a adobo

Born in a bowl of fish and rice

Born in a river of patis

Born in tomatoes and chili

Born in a plateful of jazz

Born in sweet potato pie

Born with getas on his carabao feet

Born with ghettos in his black/brown

Brown/black mind

Born sucking fingers stained

With bagoong

Born in Sorsogon dreams in

His mother’s mud fish eyes

Born in his father’s

Fighting fists

Born in mud-caked

Bulosan Shoes

Born in Santos’ broken

Exile heart

Born in Miyasawa’s sad snow

Born in Ryokan’s broken tea pot

Born with black and brown

Soy sauce rivers on his tongue

Born with carabao mud

On his skin

Born in the alley with

Sorro

Campos

Ricaw

Punzal

Delfino

Villa

Rendon

Palapas

Born in the orchards

And in the campo

And in the rivers

And in the mud

And in fish tales

Swirling around

His Pilipino mind

Born sucking

Tomato beef chow

Mein at Soo Chows

On Post Street

Born in the rain

Of 10 thousand

Rice cakes inside the

Window at Benkyodo

In J-Town

Born on Trains carrying

Issei and Nisei to

Manzanar

Poston

Heart Mountain

Tule Lake

Amache

Jerome

Topaz

Minidoka

Rohwer

Gila River

Born on Pine

Ridge with

A red Lakota

Face

Born on Tatami

Mats riddled with

Cat dung and in

Sakurai’s mind

Crawling with roaches

Born in vacant

Fillmore lots

On door steps with

Musicians, pimps,

Artists, poets and

Prostitutes who’d

Ask: How’s your mama?

Born in Fillmore

Pressing poems between

White langendorf bread

Squeezing it into a

Ball, throwing it at

Nob Hill windows

Born holding a brown

Paper bag with a tape

Recorder collecting

Manong tears and manong

Rivers and manong eyes

And manong tongues

And manong hearts and

A thousand bursting manong

Suns

Born in the hollow

Of Mary Tall Mountain’s

Whale bone poems

Sharing bowls

Of good grease

(good good grease)

Born in Waipahu lava faces

Born in banana leaf dreams

Born in the strumming ukelele heart

Born in a humming banyan tree embrace

Born in the sakada’s bolo

Born in the Kali dance

Born in the Kris knife sky

Born with hands

That cry

Pilipino Ako!

Pilipino Ako!

Pilipino Ako!

Born on

Fillmore Street

Ifugao Mountain

J-Town

Nihomachi

Mission Street
South of Market

The I-Hotel

Manong Al,

Born in the

Faces of 10 thousand

Children

Born in a pot

Of adobo

Child of

10 thousand

Manongs!

PNN RADIO

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