a “mixed-use development”—huge shopping mall—in Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila
Between the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and The Body Shop
a station of the Cross. On a trodden lawn browning into
desert, two lines are formed for shoppers to be Christ-like. Christ-lite, puns the Pinoy. The devout come forward to suffer,
put their suffering on display. They’d strap a stretch of varnished
four-by-four across their shoulders, ropes tied around their wingspan
arms, the weight of sins redeemed by Jesus on his march to Calvary.
Born near the Cape Verde Islands, Hurricane Irma swished
her skirts of winds & rain, toyed with Puerto Rico,
stole light from 1,000,000 Puerto Ricans, her eye
on Florida. Some say she roared past like a train
Not sleepwalking, but waking still,
with my hand on a gun, and the gun
in a mouth, and the mouth
on the face of a man on his knees.
Autumn of ’89, and I’m standing
in a section 8 apartment parking lot,
pistol cocked, and staring down
at this man, then up into the mug
of an old woman staring, watering
the single sad flower to the left
of her stoop, the flower also staring,
He looked to be in his early 60s: compact build, a designer baseball cap tight on his head, beard close-cropped, clutching a smartphone in his right hand. It was eight in the morning, we were in line at Whole Foods, and the guy was wearing sunglasses.
And after we officially gained entry into the Brotherhood of Bad Motherfuckers, what could our mothers do but lose sleep, wake into prayer, prepare herbs & apples, cursive the names of our enemies on loose leaf, & let their names dust in the sunlight.
Now everything is clean, rezoned & paved, tenements abandoned like whack parties, what is left for us to do but summon bullies from their graves & liberate ourselves from influence.