Poetry / July 2018 (Issue 40: Writing the Philippines)

Letter Home from Oyster Bay, Palawan

by Sean Labrador y Manzano

Compare competitive gestures
each daughter conceives the sidewalk,
a catwalk, the stroll from the beach
to the welcoming pier, patented strides
and the rumors of dignified rewards
nothing less than brown aphrodite
no longer confined to berth and fantasy
nurtured the long journey from San Diego
to a pop-up bar with readied l.e.d.s
framed to palms, the cheap beer
of liberty as sanctioned as merry
now blurs deployment widows
because servicemen need Morale,
Welfare, and Recreation. Am I
to translate these machinations
for charity, for innocence, for struggle
or do I explain how patrons we are
in this country, and affinity
for deception, as monetized,
every breech of autonomy
as Congress professes impermanent
stationing is not, they will
obey a much higher calling, when
the drinking games watered
to a tone deaf of leer, and rotations
begin, the mamasan matches
pairs in the short-time rooms
where each man prides his difference
to the sooth talk, the mirror clings
to ceiling, and lifted lifted
shakes with each revolution
shakes with each revolution
the fan blades whisper and
orgasm, a mighty empire
seizures once again
the ghostly capiz of once was
colony afraid of what it has become.
Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.