Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Al Robles: Asian Center

By Al Robles

Reprinted with permission of the poet

Asian Center

Asian Center For the old—downstairs

in the basement—near the International

Hotel. Mr. Low cares for the old Chinese

Legaspi cares for the old pilipinos

two ancient Chinese

standing in the center like an orange egg yolk

in a lotus bun

“is Legaspi here?’

(a chinaman points his finger)

Legaspi sits quietly

Silver-gray hair

ancient ifugao eyes

a spring sprig

pushed through

kearny street cries

young faces crowd

the pool halls

“we have to clean up

the philippines.

there has to be a revolution”

back alleys


in cheap coffins

dead and forgotten


out of a finger

a widow bleeds

shield and sealed

in holy water

drowning primitive minds

wrapped in angelic garments

and metal crosses

break the eternal rituals

of the priest

pressing pilipino minds

into wailing fanatics