Philippines, February 2009

Edmond Menchavez

Sans helmets,
a dirtbike taxi named chaser takes
me my father of no years and the boy driver,
like too much rice in one hand,
to the rooster farm in the jungle.
I hold my breath and my father’s
shoulders, which mother says are mine;
only the motor with its bloodless lungs
exhales into the banana leaves.

The first white calf I’ve ever seen visits
our farm like a young sultan seeking
diversion, its moist moons alighting upon
two fighting roosters ordered like
soldiers with sweethearts to return to, longer
daggers strapped to their ankles
until one can not stand, their feathers
questioning the air, finding my nostrils,
their talons running each other’s breasts
as if to escape as if
to paint an exit sign only
I will take, before we part
like the distance between muscle
and leather, my father
wants to show me.

Edmond Menchavez was born in the Philippines, son to a gamecock farmer. He paid his rent through undergrad by breakdancing, and was signed to Bloc Dance Agency after graduating. He served on the Urban Poetry Committee for a year and was recently accepted to the Kundiman Asian American Poetry Retreat. He currently attends law school at Boston College.