detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Sunday, November 17, 2002

: . Playing with Words:

From Jolography:
    by Paolo Manalo

    Misunderstand the initial
         there is no I.

    Ay tell you, the mispronounced
                       goes well
         with the wayward

    Bus on its last trip: no matter
    How you say it, as long as you get their


    Please, allow me to outtalk the obvious:
    An epol is still an apple as long as it’s read

         that way:
                speech not centered on the reaten

         In Russian that red fruit
    May well
         be our tongue’s devil
    In disguise, yabloka/diablo ka,
         the root of evil

         truth was, the moment
                when either epol or fig
    Or figment of epol was partaken,
         the tongue sharpened
    Into the serpent’s form.


    Food for toot: the tongue knows they serve no apple pie in fastfoods.

    It cannot be tricked, servant to substitution, it knows sayote as (its filling/it’s feeling).

    The gap where the teeeth should be.

    And then biting the fruit pit:

    The bale borrowing lost meaning.

    The kuwan.

    The ano.


    Bale, all my friends’ kuwan
         begins and ends with bale:
    It’s more kuwan than habit, more
         kuwan, you know, bale.
    Bale, I can get your kuwan whole-
         sale from Kuwan, bale.
    Bale, but if it’s free, it’s free:
         hindi bale, size doesn’t matter
    it’s the toot that counts.


    Anong toot? What do You take me for,
    Granted? You think I don’t know
    Anything? Now I know everything.

    What do You think of me,
    Thinking of You? I can think
    Of many things now. Before You toot

    Of the moon, I invented the moon
    Buggy, the yo-yo. Now you can’t look down
    On me. I invented the dictionary.

    Look me up. I’m somewhere
    Between agnostic and idiot.
    I’m catholic (“Of broad or liberal scope;
         comprehensive”), Filipino (“The Austronesian
         language, not the people”), Ano?


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