detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

: . Brotherly Love:


From Returning a Borrowed Tongue: Poems by Filipino and Filipino American Writers:
    Little Brown Brother
    by Nick Carbo

    I've always wanted to play the part
    of that puckish pubescent Filipino boy

    in those John Wayne Pacific-War movies.
    Pepe, Jose, or Juanito would be smiling,

    bare-chested and eager to please
    for most of the steamy jungle scenes.

    I'd be the one who would cross
    the Japanese lines and ask for tanks,

    air support, or more men. I'd miraculously
    make it back to the town where John Wayne

    is holding his position against the enemy
    with his Thompson machine-gun. As a reward,

    he'd rub that big white hand on my head
    and he'd promise to let me clean

    his Tommy gun by the end of the night. But
    then, a Betty Grable look-a-like love

    interest would divert him by sobbing
    into his shoulder, saying how awfully scared

    she is about what the "Japs" would do
    to her if she were captured. In one swift

    motion, John Wayne would sweep her off
    her feet to calm her fears inside his private quarters.

    Because of my Hollywood ability
    to be anywhere, I'd be under the bed

    watching the woman roll down her stockings
    as my American hero unbuckles his belt.

    I'd feel the bottom of the bed bounce off my chest
    as small-arms fire explodes outside the walls.

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