Hands: A poem for Al Robles in Filipino American History Month

PNNscholar1 - Posted on 15 October 2012


My father joked once
About a man who moved
His hands a lot when
He spoke

Dad would say that if

You cut the man’s
Hands off, he wouldn’t
Be able to speak

My uncle, the poet Al
Robles, my father's
brother, spoke with
His hands

Hands attached to nothing
Hands attached to something
Mind attached to nothing
Mind attached to something
Heart attached to nothing
Heart attached to something

Yet everything

Uncle Al spoke with
Hands not cut

From elders
From manongs
From community
From the whispering kulintang eyes of
From Nihonmachi
From jazz
From thick Manilatown dreams
Dancing in steam rice
From Kearny Street
From struggle
From the I-Hotel
From Delano and Watsonville
From Gold Mountain
From Angel Island
From Fillmore Street
From Ifugao Mountain
From Agbayani Village

With hands
He spoke of

With hands
He felt

Felt life

With his

Never cut

© 2012 Tony Robles

(Photo by Bob Hsiang)


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