blackmail press 31 Margin alization
Marginalization - Pauline Canlas Wu
Tony Robles Author of the Children's books: Lakas and the Manilatown Fish and Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel. Pushcart Prize nominee for short story, "In My Country". Co-Editor and Revolutionary Worker Scholar of POOR Magazine--www.poormagazine.org.
Poem for a brother who tends to overtalk me We’ve known each Other for a Short time But it seems we’ve Stuffed years into That short space He speaks of women, his Military service, Women, his health Women…and women again Takes 9-10 pills a Day for as many Ailments Sometimes we’ll speak On politics or something Heavier and his voice Will rise At times we’ll start speaking At the exact same Moment And his voice will take Off, leaving mine stuck In a series of stutters And false starts Nothing false about Him, neither teeth Nor hair or pride He doesn’t overtalk Me by intention, he’s merely Been talked over most of His life He’s a 57 year old black Man from St. Louis who looks at his Life and decries his lack Of ambition If I had a little more Of this and a little more Of that, he says And I listen And pour him a little more Coffee And listen Some more And the birds outside Also listen And echo His song Ambitiously Snails We’re two working Men going at our Own pace He’s just a Janitor We’re both born In this city and work At an apartment complex Housing the affluent He mops and sweeps the Marble floors while I greet Residents who inquire about the Status of their dry cleaning Sometimes they complain That the water is too hot In the spa (Burns their toes) I’m just a Desk clerk I refer those issues To the appropriate Departments The janitor and I are Required to raise the American flag in the morning The flag is tightly Wrapped into a triangle That pokes my side as I Carry it The janitor walks Ahead of me He fastens the flag Into place and raises it By pulling a rope The flag slithers Up the pole We look to the ground Where snails have sprouted All around like moles Others would kick or step on them but He picks each one Raises it to the Kiss of weeping leaves The snails look At us and laugh We head back To the apartment complex at a snail's pace just a janitor just a desk clerk