Friday, December 14, 2018


above the hood of an illegally parked red Toyota Corolla
on Mabini Street. He was tired of all that descending
into and ascending from those pretentious
New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly  poems.
He asked me to give him new clothes so I dressed him
in an old barong tagalog and some black pants.
Because he wanted new friends in a new land, I introduced
him to Kapitan Kidlat, our local comic book hero.
But after a few whips of that lightning bolt, Orpheus
recognized Kidlat as Zeus in another clever disguise.
So, I took him to Mt. Makiling where Malakas & Maganda
(the mythical first Filipino man and woman) live
in a mansion with an Olympic size swimming pool.
He said Maganda's aquiline features remind him
of Eurydice and Malakas has the solid torso
of a younger Apollo. He asked me to translate
the word, threesome into Tagalog.
Malakas & Maganda agreed and they stripped
Orpheus of his clothes as they led him
to their giant bamboo bed.
I waited outside in the car all afternoon before he emerged
from the mansion smelling of Sampaguitas and Ylang-Ylang.
He was hungry so we drove to the nearest
Kamayan restaurant where he learned
how to eat rice and pork abobo with his bare hands.
"It's wonderful! This was the way it used to be.
When the industrial revolution happened, all of us on Mt. Olympus
suddenly had forks and knives appear in our hands. We used
them as garden tools at first." Afterwards, he wanted to drink
and go dancing. I paid the hundred peso cover charge
for both of us at the Hobbit House in Ermita. The first
thing he did in the dark, smokey bar was trip over
one of the dwarf waiters, all the waiters were dwarfs. "I'm sorry,
I couldn't see. It feels as if I had just walked into a Fellini film."
He placed his hands in front of him as if he were pushing
back a glass wall."No, No, I'm not in a movie,
I'm inside a fucking poem!
I can see the poet's scrunched-up face on the other side
of the computer screen!"  I told Orpheus to shut up
or the bouncers, who were not the same size as the waiters,
would throw us out of the bar. We sat
in a booth across from each other and ordered double
shots of Tanduay Rum. I asked him if he understood
the concept of "the willing suspension of disbelief." 
I asked him to look me straight
in the face before he ran out into the street.