Poetry / December 2014 (Issue 26)

Lumpia Family Politics

by Amalia B. Bueno

Recruit, persuade, horse trade and line up your troops
       On Saturday all of you helping me make
       500 lumpia for Boyet’s baptismal party.
       9:00 bright and early, no excuses.
       Be there and be ready to work.
       I already told the kids next door
       they are coming. You going get
       kankanen treat for helping out.

Organize according to skill and commitment

       Chop these green beans slanted,
       thin but not too thin like this.
       This much carrots only because
       it will be too sweet, do not grate.
       Chop like skinny matchsticks like this.
       Do not bite the ends of the bean sprouts,
       Pull and snap, I said. What you think
       this is, kalua cabbage? Cut ‘em like
       cole slaw thin, long, graceful.

Be the boss of everything
       Everybody get your wrapper, no no no
       Put in the middle, pile it, not too much.
       Roll roll tuck tuck roll fold over pull roll again
       close tight, tight. Tight like this. Good.
       Keep going, only 300 more to go.

Reward and punish accordingly
       If I see you lick the ends fo’ be funny
       you not going be laughing.
       Out, out, you. You are finished, go home
       Charlie Chaplin with your fat cigar
       nobody going like eat any of that.
       Wow, all pau that’s 600. Pick a
       present from the basket over there.

Apply lessons to real life. Repeat.
       And how are you to going to finish everything.
       You are not using your coconut shell.
       Stop daydreaming and look at what’s here.
       You the leader. They are listening.
       Keep going, keep going.
       Treat yourself when all done.
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