poetry quarterly

10th anniversary

LANGSTON HUGHES TRIBUTE ISSUE

Regie Cabico

 


LEARNING TO BE MY FATHER'S SON

you were a carabao lifting rice sacks under the Pangasinan sun
a handsome sailor on his way to Greece instead found a Filipino nurse
who hummed Elvis tunes she thought America would be a Technicolor beach
but arrived during the coldest Baltimore winter surprised by foods like pizza

you bought a house with a fireplace it was romantic mom said while mom
worked late shifts taking care of crack babies in south east DC you watched
basketball the bounce of your belt breaking me when I was three
for twisting the controls of the portable tv called me destroyer

you fed me the finest adobo, stews of blood garlic, chili peppers
when driving me to piano lessons you said you could never eat a piano
you could turn so red & jelly you convinced all the neighbors that you
should play Santa Claus when you were really hiding a temper that fists

thru doors the house you bought is boarded up with too many holes
to be sold your belongings strung outside a yard sale for the damned
the gorgeous cherry tree you killed with insecticides gone too
did you even know what you were doing pisces man lover of seas

whose hot spit I felt on my cheek the way my head spilt bloody
beaten by the boy across the street you lifted me by the neck
told me how you were slapped by Japanese bayonets don’t cry
it doesn’t hurt
shaking me like a wet umbrella I want to know if you
ever saw me dad you hiding behind a hammock and sunglasses

saw the boy you made rub your back for a nickel I am tired of growing fat
like you know that you’ve become that apathetic sack of rice
buried in the fields what can I do to make it worth the miles
I want to play a sonata of love for you arpeggios of anger scaling

thirty-two years of tears for you metronome clicks for disappointment
in you my hands reach out to lift you higher than the volcanoes
where gods gave men rice and from the altitudes of angels
I am not afraid to say I’ve come home

 


RegieCabico is the Artistic Executive Director of Sol & Soul, an arts and activist organization promoting spoken word art culture. He received second Place in The First Annual Windy City Story Slam and has performed in Speakeasy DC's Showcase Showdown as part of the 2010 DC Capital Fringe Theater Festival. He has served as a guest mentoring poet for Kundiman and The Kenyon Review recently named him "the Lady Gaga of Poetry."

 

 

Published in Volume 12, Number 1, Winter 2011.

To read more by this author:
Regie Cabico
Cabico's Intro to the Split This Rock Issue: Vol. 9, No. 1, Winter 2008
Regie Cabico: Audio Issue
Regie Cabico: Tenth Anniversary Issue
Regie Cabico on DC Slam: Literary Organizations Issue

Regie Cabico: Floricanto Issue
Regie Cabico on Essex Hemphill: Poetic Ancestors Issue