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17 ways

"Small in Physique, small in stature and living in a foreign land, these Brown Manong and Manang survive whatever that comes their way because they know how to do it on their own way..." - Punajele

1.
Why not the color of the gecko: yellow-green?
Brown I assert and nothing else! The color closest
to his favorite barking pet.
The color of Hawaiian Host chocolates his nieces
always craved in the Philippines.

2.
If you caught her a number of times rubbing
name-brand bleaching cream
on her skin, Why then that Brown still remains?

3.
Brown. The color of her dried-up tears after
dancing at nights until the
wee hours
of mornings in a Korean bar at Keeamoku Street.
The color of her worn-out nipples in the name of
love and tenderness.

4.
Brown. The color of the pupils of his eyes
permanently dilated by abusing
that
precious stone as his wife dances at nights in a
Korean bar at Keeamoku
Street.

5.
Brown. The color of his favorite dipping sauce
smelling like a mouse
rotting in a pool of brackish liquid his wife calls
"patis-bagoong."

6.
Brown. The color of his face as he insists on his
innocence to the
supervisor
of Island Recycling. The poor guy found out notable
discrepancies of the
weight
of three rubbish bags of crushed soda cans he just
sold. He carved out the
bottom
of one and pebbles the size of corn seeds fell from
it.

7.
Pssstt! Pssssssttt!!! I bet you it's not the
popping up tab of a soda can.
Without looking, I can say it's the Brown Man
calling out to his friend
seated
on a bench, waiting for the "The Bus" on the other
side of Alakea Street.

8.
Psssttt! Pssssttt!! Pssssssttt!!! Hoooyyyyy!!
Oh, my! It's the same
sound I hear
as I walk along the cobbled path of Fort Street
Mall, forcing me to stop
right in my
tracks to look where this "pssst-pssst" sound is
coming from.

9.
Ah, it's Farrah Kristine, the Brown Girl I met at
Costco Salt Lake.
I helped her load up 55 bags of Hinode rice to her
CR-V.
At that time a strike was being mulled over
Honolulu Harbor guys.

10.
"Why you gave me a wrong number?" She complains.
"I was trying to call to find out if you want to buy
my excess bags of
rice."

11.
Rice or without rice, Patis-bagoong or without
patis-bagoong, the Brown Man
survives.
He owns underground drug stores peddling a
one-of-a-kind stone, "da kine,"
the man
in blue calls "ice."

12.
Stone or without stone, the Brown Man's not a bit
concerned. He also grows
weeds
with five-fingered leaves hidden under dense foliage
of bitter-melon vines.

13.
Gals and guys clinging to urine-damaged lamp posts
on Hotel Street, thin
and elastic like stretched tongues of lizards
snapping for unwary flies-
roll those
dried buds supplied by the Brown Man into joints and
smoke them like
ordinary cigarettes. The smoke, they swear, brings
them closer to heaven
and clears up
their clogged sinuses.

14.
The Brown Man, losing a sizeable amount betting on a
Sunday cockfight on Ewa
Beach,
eventually finds himself seated at a karaoke bar
somewhere in Pearl City,
taking swigs
of gin tonic to fire up his subdued spirit.

15.
"Hmmm, Hmmmmm," his forced coughs followed by his
hiccups, all of a sudden
he stands up! The bones of his flat okole sticking
out, he closes his eyes
watery
from smoke, purses his lips, and starts singing "My
Way."

16.
"May prend ayl sey it kler, Ayl stet may kis op wits
aym sertin." Lifting
up towards his
coned mouth his closed right hand suggesting an
invisible microphone.

17.
Ear-tickling accent and bad enunciation disregarded,
wild applause and
catcalls
from among his audience in drunken stupor drown his
now wailing voice.
He nods. He smiles. He stomps his extra-wide
feet, waves his hands
showing
callouses, enjoying all that misplaced adulation,
forgetting even for a
while he's still
a Brown Man as he belches out the last line of his
song: "Ay did it my
weyyyyyyyyy."

Notes on 17 Ways to Look at a Brown Man and Woman:
Da Kine - Pidgin word for "The kind."
Ice - Crystal methamphetamine.
Stone - Crystal methamphetamine.
Okole - Hawaiian word for butt.
Manong - Ilocano word paying respect to an elderly man.
Manang - Ilocano word paying respect to an elderly woman.

[Some people belonging to other ethnic races often use Manong and Manang in a demeaning way to the Filipinos in Hawai'i.]

© Elmer Omar Bascos Pizo

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PROSE 
CINQUAINS 
SEPTEMBER 11
SOLOS 
SETS 

  ELBINA BATALA
  Heart
  There Is No Silence

  CARLENE SOBRINO
  BONNIVIER
  Surface Tension
  Fog
  Breakfast
  Haiku

  LUIS CABALQUINTO
  Red Layt
  Kay Emmanuel
  Mahiwagang Umaga

  SOTERA CATAYAS
  Only Pride
  Mixed Feelings

  GLORIA DEL
  CARMEN
  This Death
  Mad World

  FELIX FOJAS
  Orange Grove Road
  Far Country
  Ithaca

  ELMER OMAR
  BASCOS PIZO
  17 Ways of Looking
    at a Brown Man
    and Woman

  Fish Sauce
  Black Dog

  AL SANTOS
  Pasensiya na Po
  Unang Umaga
    sa Europa

  Dalawang Pulis,
    Dalawang Pinoy

  Dinuguan sa Tren
  Bulaklak at Tren
    sa Tagsibol

  Pag-uwi

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