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

Etiquette for EJKs

by Alfred A. Yuson

Wash hands clean
before you leave
your own hovel.
Put on gloves
when palms are dry.

Cross the muddy creek
and alleys of forever.
Wait at the corner
for your partner
with the helmets
and the bonnets.

Ride pillion, revel
in passive wind
and aggressive
tailpipe smoke
of the familiar city.

Pay no heed
to countless faces
on narrowing streets.
Their anonymity
serves your purpose
until the area of choice.

There an identity
steps up to the plate—
the round figure
of a quota adding up
lackluster certainty.

Any youth will do.
Idling on a bench
or closing shop.
Just avoid line of sight
of CCTVs that have a way
with post-mortem reality.

The hell with the public.
Drive slowly for accuracy.
Or if you have to, park
and dismount, strong-arm
the lean boy to privacy.

Nearing a dark dump,
tell him to run. Shoot
him in the back, approach
him fallen, and make sure
his life stops begging. Drop a gun
by his hand, a sachet into his pocket.

Walk off as epitome of cool.
Ride the wind again, and when
you reach home, before you sit
for late dinner, wash your hands
of the war—on truth's tough morsels.

Pick at your teeth as nightly you do
your duty for bounty. Pick lives clean.
Wipe off any slop from the table.
Wipe off the blood from your mind.
Deny yourself of scraps of memory.
Sport no stains that may be seen.
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.