Tuesday, March 15, 2005

a prose poem I was supposed to send to Peter Johnson but never got around to sending off


My name is Kanlaon and I used to live under the Mayon Volcano in Albay province in the Philippines. All I asked was a week of merriment and drinking from the people who lived in the villages at the base of the volcano. For hundreds of generations I had been known as the terrible god of destruction who would pelt burning boulders and flood hot lahar toward the offending communities if the residents did not celebrate me and my name at least once a year after the end of the rainy season. Now I am stuck here in this retirement home in Miami with all these senior citizens complaining about the lack of adequate medical coverage. There is Mildred with her stuffed toy basset hound which she feeds milk to every morning with an eyedropper. There is Howard, the former UPS delivery guy who refuses to lift anything, even himself from whatever chair he is sitting on. The white-robed staff are hardly gentle, more often, they like to astound us with their capacity for harm. Do you think Ally over there in the wheel chair got that four inch gash on her forehead because she fell out of her bed the other night? If only I could have my superhuman powers back, I could have a cauldron of lava waiting for each one of those idiots at the end of their work day. But this is my punishment for sneaking into the Greek books and seducing one of those nubile water nymphs. How was I supposed to know she was one of Zeus daughters? Why do these Euro-centric Gods always have the power to control all the narratives? Of all the places to become mortal again and die, why here in Miami?