Barbara Jane Reyes
[from For the City that Nearly Broke Me]

10. For Al Robles

Dear Manong Al,
Wandering, rappin prophet,
Come down to the city from Ifugao Mountain,
Drive your carabao, Poet Lakay,
Alongside Roxas Boulevard jeepneys.
Manileños may point and laugh,
your black betel teeth, eagle, lightning tattoos.
Kolehiyalas will cover pale faces
when your carabao twitches its nostrils.
where the Pasig River opens its mouth,
Raise a gourd of tapuy,
Lay the black boar at its banks.
Heal this river! Let it suffer no longer!
Heal this river! Ancestors hear me!
And in a changed voice, poems will flow.

Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry
Issue 1 | June 2010 | p 66