Manong Al of the International Nipa Hut Hotel

Tiny - Posted on 02 May 2012

Oy! Manong!... is that you?

I saw you- again walking Clement Street
strong like bamboo, swaying like fronds of palm trees
furry hat for a crown
caped in a denim jacket
that salt-and-peppered beard wiggling with wisdom
glasses tilting at a glance while
starting each sentence like this:
"hey- man- dig this..."
nudging my arm with a: "... you know what I'm saying?..."
you're hopping
your thoughts hopping
hopping that 30 Stockton Line
hopping down to Onlok/ Manilatown Senior Services
to make sure Mr. Lee or Manong Freddie made his doctor appointment
hopping to the step of a timeless crazy zen poet
holding the stance of a giant
unfolding the stanzas and encantations of a street-side sage
half of which we'll only get a glimpse of understanding
"dig this..."
we will honor you through our memories
we will see you strolling in J-town and
in between book shelves at City Lights Book Store
we will see strutting between rows of "one thousand carabaos"
lining both sides of Kearney Street
bowing and lowing in honor of you
... take your place, not in a palace of crystal nor gold
but sitting royally on a simple wooden box for throne
in the International Nipa Hut Hotel
in a memory that will never die
We will love you always, Manong Al Robles!


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