PoetryIssue 12 | June 2011

Hot, or Why I Boogie

by Edmond Menchavez

The neighborhood smelled of
lechón kawali, fried baby pork
belly, the paunch of my father
exposed to an electric fan.
I was pulling the tail off a gecko,
how it danced as the body escaped,
when I heard a clamoring. We had one
lamppost on all of Aguilar Street,
a teepee of light draping a crowd.
They must be betting on dogs or fighting
roosters
. I wedged inward and found
a boy, shiny and my arm’s reach taller,
wearing thong sandals, jeans, a cobalt blue
shirt tied closed at the front, and a fedora
that cost him everything. He moved

like his own planet. Spun. Teetered
on an axle. An ocean welled in his fingers,
flooded his shirt holes, and boiled over me.
This kick from the other side
of the world. This walk from
the other side of the moon.
Face from another universe.
He grabbed his chest, offered his hand
to a field of rice patties, yelled Hoooooooo!,
his shirt flailing open from the gusting breath
of the throng shouting in three languages,
Michael! Michael! Michael!

Some say that yell toured the world
for decades until the King of Pop heard it.
Some say his nose fell off
from the smell of lechón kawali
that came along. Until the day I left
Lucena, I never saw that boy again. Some say
he was Michael Jackson. Today, I imagine him
thatching palm fronds, selling bottled water
and banana chips on the back of a jeepney, or
dead and buried. But once, by becoming one,
he made a planet fit on a dirt road,
turned a streetlight to a spotlight,
with just his sandals and nothing
and everything.

About the author

Edmond Menchavez, born in the Philippines, is the son of a gamecock farmer. He used to breakdance at Coney Island for rent, and now scooters through nor’easters to attend Boston College Law. Recently, he and his buddies eluded a knife-wielding gang in Negril, Jamaica. He has released one chapbook titled Still, Weightless, an Outlaw Star.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok